Berfrois

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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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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146

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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A Ferryman is What We Need by Daniel Bosch

A Ferryman is What We Need by Daniel Bosch

Charon the Ferryman, Jose Benlliure y Gil, 1919 by Daniel Bosch “Ferry,” the English noun and verb, is derived from the Old Norse “ferja,” to move across a body of water. “Ferry” is related to German “fahren,” to ride, or to travel, the sense of which includes duration. It...

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Daniel Tobin: Irish Routes

Daniel Tobin: Irish Routes

The apartment building where I grew up in Brooklyn during the Sixties and Seventies had strangely much in common with the kind of close-knit Irish townland from which my grandmother emigrated in 1913. Tucked just beyond the entry on the first floor landing, her small one bedroom flat was...

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18/14

18/14

“Seferis, Seferis. Do we have him? Is he one of ours?” (eínai se mas) shouts the clerk to a colleague sipping a frappé at a desk across the room. Fani Papageorgiou and I are negotiating the labyrinthine bureaucracy of death at some lesser Ministry of the Underworld.

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Imagine Your Audience

Imagine Your Audience

Le corps de ma brune puisque je l’aime comme ma chatte habillée en vert salade comme de la grêle c’est pareil, Joan Miró, 1925 From Poetry: I may not know what reviews are for, but I know who they are for: their readers. And it behooves reviewers to keep...

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For. Us.

For. Us.

by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei It is not my intention to offer the following notes pertaining to one part of the series Narration d’équilibre , written by the poet, translator, photographer, encyclopedist, and radio maker Jean Daive (1941), as a meticulous overview of the different themes,...

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The Spirit of Grimalkin

The Spirit of Grimalkin

Cat and Butterfly, Hokusai, Edo period, From Poetry:  Cats can be cruel and stingy and aloof (although most cats are far less aloof than has generally been supposed). And all of them are half insane. But I have never been disappointed or bored or, aside from several scratches and...

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‘Now as to magic’

‘Now as to magic’

“Dr Faustus in the Magic Circle”, from The Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus, P.F. Gent, 1969 From Lapham’s Quarterly: If the paramount project of W. B. Yeats’ professional life was the perfection of the art of poetry, it was intertwined with a personal preoccupation, the...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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