Berfrois

Poetry Prize Now Open for Entries

Poetry Prize Now Open for Entries

Between now and 11:59:59 pm GMT on Sunday December 31, 2014, poets may submit to Berfrois, using its online submission manager, a single, original, poem in English which is not a translation, but may be in any mode or form, up to 300 lines.

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‘Superstition is the poetry of life’

‘Superstition is the poetry of life’

Black Cat, Onchi Kochiro, 1952  by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‏ Superstition is the poetry of life; both build an imaginary world, and between the things of the actual, palpable world they anticipate the most marvelous connections. Sympathy and antipathy govern everywhere. Poetry is ever freeing itself from such fetters as...

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A Monk Surfing

A Monk Surfing

What is prayer? When I was a kid, I learned the Catholic prayers, and believed Sister Mary Annette, who liked to quote Shakespeare, when she said, “Words without thought never to heaven go.” King Claudius is trying to pray, looks like he is praying, to Hamlet, anyway, and so...

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‘Feeling something at white heat’

‘Feeling something at white heat’

Amy Lowell, from the cover of TIME Magazine, March 2, 1925 by Amy Lowell Why should one read poetry? That seems to me a good deal like asking: Why should one eat? One eats because one has to, to support life, but every time one sits down to dinner...

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Smiling Moon

Smiling Moon

Le voyage dans la lune, en plein dans l’oeil!!, Georges Méliès, 1902 From Poetry: Schnackenberg’s best poems play form against theme, to the point of subverting form altogether. They are virtuoso creations that mock their own virtuosity, exposing the hollowness beneath the dazzle. They remind us that even in...

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Maryann Corbett on Alan Sullivan

Maryann Corbett on Alan Sullivan

It was jarring to realize it, but there it was: I nearly wished evil on someone. Alan Sullivan’s cancer was starting to close in on him, and I should have been sobered. But what I felt was startlingly close to Schadenfreude. Admittedly, I was lurking on the outskirts of...

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How will it be with those dreams which take such dear reality upon themselves?

How will it be with those dreams which take such dear reality upon themselves?

Bust of James Clarence Mangan by Oliver Sheppard in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin by James Joyce ‘Memorial I would have… a constant presence with those that love me.’ It is many a day since the dispute of the classical and romantic schools began in the quiet city of the...

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One Sun

One Sun

In Gawker's, wry estimation, most of the U.S. simply didn't "get" Richard Blanco's inaugural poem "One Today." In the Washington Post's absurd trollgazing account, Blanco's poem merely signals the "death of poetry." Perhaps this is because the Post imagines the polity as something more like a giant Nielsen Family...

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Daniel Bosch on Frederick Seidel

Daniel Bosch on Frederick Seidel

I mean that the poem, and it’s like a lot of Seidel’s work, dresses his poetry in all the accoutrements of deliberate engagement with issues of class and color and need and responsibility, of inequity and iniquity, and all that equipment ought to be used. The speaker shows no...

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Where Most of the Beats Had Stayed

Where Most of the Beats Had Stayed

Allen Ginsberg outside Shakespeare and Company, Paris by Jenny Diski A great sadness in my young life was to have missed Paris in the Fifties: those existentialists sitting morosely in the Deux Magots (did Beckett really pour a glass of beer over his head without showing any sign of...

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Even the crafted poetry menu would look strange…

Even the crafted poetry menu would look strange…

Much of modern poetry is unintelligible or seems incoherent. That’s not modern poetry’s problem though. The problem with modern poetry is the absence of a general interest reader of poetry. Cautious readers avoid the crafted, arched bridges called poems precariously balanced over esoteric estuaries. But was there ever a...

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‘Iago as much as Imogen’

‘Iago as much as Imogen’

Moby Dick Arises from the Deep, Gilbert Wilson From The Chronicle Review: The poet most likely to practice and evoke ethical imagination is not “poetical,” in the sense of flamboyant or opinionated. Thinking of Shakespeare, Keats, who was Shelley‘s contemporary, claimed that the most powerful versifier “has no identity”...

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But in Love?

But in Love?

Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus, Gavin Hamilton, 1760 – 1763 by Gregory Jusdanis Did they or didn’t they? Only Homer knows for sure. But readers of the Iliad have wondered for centuries about the love between Achilles and Patroclus. The topic was so disturbing to Wolfgang Petersen that...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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