Berfrois

The Famous Black Poet

The Famous Black Poet

It was only as a teenager that I thought to ask my parents why they hadn’t been activists, why they’d never joined any protests and fought for the cause.

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A Piano of Bourbon

A Piano of Bourbon

"Don’t go down the rabbit hole,” my husband tells me, but it’s too late. It is 3 A.M. and I am still at my desk, the lamp burning hot on my notebook.

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Joe Linker on Li Po

Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping.

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F=A=M=E

F=A=M=E

I once felt quite famous as a poet. Indeed, now that I think of it, 
I have felt famous twice. These two periods of really unsettling fame came back to me recently as I dealt with a young poet at the lending desk of the public library where I’ve...

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When the Russians Came

When the Russians Came

It can’t have been easy for Takolander to write the words “just a tourist really,” but she did it. Using a Finnish word, suo, immediately after this admission is an understandable coping mechanism, a reassertion of expertise that tells the English-speaking reader.

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Kevin Higgins’ 21 Poem Corbyn Salute

Kevin Higgins’ 21 Poem Corbyn Salute

As Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign exploded throughout an otherwise decidedly damp July, it became clear that I had left two factors out of my back of the envelope political calculations.

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Daniel Bosch on Yang Mu

Daniel Bosch on Yang Mu

Yang Mu’s verse autobiographical prose, like his verse, relies on close observation of Taiwan’s landscape, flora, and fauna for imagery and metaphor. Yet if the humidity, the light, the tang in the breeze—the embodied experiences of the young Yang Mu—are distinctly Taiwanese, his themes are broadly human.

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‘It is the head of human poetry’

‘It is the head of human poetry’

In the used bookstores of Boston in the late 1980s, the Renaissance section always had multiple cheap copies of two books: E.M.W. Tillyard’s The Elizabethan World Picture and Walter Pater’s The Renaissance.

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What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

A glance at celebrity websites and magazines serves to confirm that it is possible to make a living by taking photos of very famous people doing very ordinary things: walking dogs, pumping gas, dropping children off at daycare.

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Through Art and Buried Memory

Through Art and Buried Memory

From American Poetry Review: Lately, the word extinction floats around in my interior conversations, spurred most obviously by environmental destruction, endless and senseless wars, and of course my own awareness of personal mortality. In the trips I’ve made over the last five years to see the Ice Age painted caves...

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The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The story now feels nearly inevitable. In 1955, Allen Ginsberg moved into an apartment in the San Francisco North Beach area, just a few blocks away from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Pocket Bookshop.

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I Battle Unarmed

I Battle Unarmed

Reading Jen Scappettone’s introduction to Rosselli, I was struck that Amelia Rosselli viewed confessionalism as “a great defect of feminine or slightly feminist literature.”

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Is the poem always a record of failure?

Is the poem always a record of failure?

Rimbaud is the enfant terrible who burns through the sayable; Oppen is the poet of the left whose quiet is a sign of commitment.

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They Are Beautiful, Irresolute

They Are Beautiful, Irresolute

The island of Runmarö lies an hour east of Stockholm, ringed by skerries that rise out of the water. To journey there one must catch a ferry that gurgles through the chop at about 20 knots per hour.

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