Berfrois

Ben Fama Interviews Precious Okoyomon

Ben Fama Interviews Precious Okoyomon

Precious Okoyomon’s writing is like local honey I see being sold at the rest stops in upstate NY: raw and sweet, with positive health benefits if you consume regularly.

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“To walk into a library is like listening to an orchestra tuning its instruments”

“To walk into a library is like listening to an orchestra tuning its instruments”

When I pick up a new novel, I will start in the middle. I will read ten pages in the middle, and if get interested in the sound of the writer’s voice I will go back and start at the beginning.

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Three Writers on Writing

Three Writers on Writing

Work comes from the accumulation: the momentums of routine, patience and attention.

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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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D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

If duende, the source of inspiration that Lorca sets out to champion in his essay at the expense of the Muse, is “in sum, the spirit of the earth”, a force linking body and soil through a struggle akin to death, then the Muse is a force that speaks...

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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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Oh, Sheila

Oh, Sheila

Near the beginning of Sheila Heti’s 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be?, the narrator—coyly, “Sheila”—recalls a jilted ex-lover’s composition of “an outline for a play about life—how it would unfold, decade by decade.”

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‘This book would never be published’

‘This book would never be published’

Was I really willing to write a book that wouldn’t be seen (let alone read) by anyone I knew, or anyone who might want to hire me in the future?

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Sean Kilpatrick on Grant Maierhofer

Sean Kilpatrick on Grant Maierhofer

We place restrictions on love because it never existed. Likewise art regimented by currency does nothing but trend. All creative output has been demoted to the same reliant lung work of some pettier currency.

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Makeup to Steups

Makeup to Steups

I’d been watching the girl in the painting that hung above my desk for a few months before I became obsessed with the idea of her appearing on my book cover.

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Crocodile! Crocodile!

Crocodile! Crocodile!

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg.

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Andre Gerard: How Should One Read Tolstoy and Woolf?

Andre Gerard: How Should One Read Tolstoy and Woolf?

In To the Lighthouse Woolf deliberately included elements of Anna Karenina, thereby putting into practice some of the ideas contained in her essay. For instance, the stillborn marriage proposal between Varenka and Sergei is a template for the suspended courtship between William Bankes and Lily.

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Kamel Daoud’s Inner Vigilance by Suzanne Ruta

Kamel Daoud’s Inner Vigilance by Suzanne Ruta

George W. Bush read The Stranger during his second term in office, at the urging of historian Alexander Horne, whose Algerian war classic, A Savage War of Peace, Bush had also read, we were told. Algeria as a key to understanding Iraq? As if Arabs or “Arabs” were interchangeable?...

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