Berfrois

Kissing the Pebbles

Kissing the Pebbles

If Basil Bunting were not remembered for “Briggflatts”—his longest and best poem, first published fifty years ago—he might still be remembered as the protagonist of a preposterously eventful twentieth-century life.

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Daniel Bosch: 99 + 1

Daniel Bosch: 99 + 1

The last gasps of the American revolutionary spirit were choked out in the Civil War, when the most conservative form of liberal government ever invented unhinged its jaws and swallowed its antithetical self, the South, whole — only to have to regurgitate some of its bones, of course, every...

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Violets Violets

Violets Violets

Perhaps Rimbaud got the connection between color and language best in his poem “Vowels,” which sets out to illustrate a colored alphabet within a poem. A translation by Paul Schmidt and Peter Bauer goes like this: Black A, white E, red I, green U, blue O — vowels, Some day I will open...

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Daniel Bosch on Peter Cole

Daniel Bosch on Peter Cole

by Daniel Bosch The Invention of Influence, by Peter Cole, New Directions, 120 pp. In his six-page introduction to The Invention of Influence, Harold Bloom writes that Delmore Schwartz and Peter Cole share “the gift of almost never writing badly.” Bloom’s praise seems backhanded to me because on the...

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Victoria Brockmeier: Captain Planet

Victoria Brockmeier: Captain Planet

Early in Matthew Cooperman and Marius Lehene’s collaborative masterpiece, Imago for the Fallen World, we’re told that “a fresh look and a fierce listen induce a lump in the throat.” (11) Certainly the case when the object of one’s attention is a work like this one. The book’s substantial...

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“imagine this inside”

“imagine this inside”

F320 (“There’s a certain Slant of light”) was always my favorite Dickinson poem—and I told my father that—later I memorized it and I love reciting it—when I was a kid my father told me that Dickinson was choosing (or not choosing) between the weight of cathedral tunes and the...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from us, flanked by a couple of tough, angry looking lawyers. Ron looks absolutely soulless.

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“Wearable lines that bring venom in denim”

“Wearable lines that bring venom in denim”

Three of America's most famous poets announced today the immediate availability of new, moderately priced "diffusion lines" based on their celebrated high-end works to be sold online and at mainstream retail outlets such as Walmart, Costco, Sam's, Target, and Barnes & Noble.  Representatives of K2 by Kay Ryan, Frederick...

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Remembering St. Geraud

Remembering St. Geraud

From The New Yorker: When word came again, last week, that Knott had died, no one knew quite whether to believe it. Death makes deniers of us all, but in Knott’s case we had good reason to trust our instinctive disbelief. This time, unfortunately, the facts were unrelenting: on...

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Bishop to Lowell

Bishop to Lowell

Elizabeth Bishop’s most impactful letter of the summer of 1947 was the first substantive one she ever wrote to Robert Lowell. Written from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on August 14, that first real letter of the poets’ storied epistolary friendship begins with a parenthetical aside that nods to their...

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The Sun Shone

The Sun Shone

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, c.1558 From VQR: If my love for poetry could be said to have begun in childhood wonder, in the afternoons spent with my father, in the excitement of early school days, my need for poetry, my faith in it,...

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Clayton Eshleman: North American Poetry Today

Clayton Eshleman: North American Poetry Today

While living in Kyoto, I would ride my motorcycle downtown in the afternoon and work on my translations of César Vallejo’s Poemas humanos in the Yorunomado (“Night Window”) coffee shop. I had determined that a publishable version of this 1989 poem collection would constitute my apprenticeship to poetry. As...

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