Berfrois

Remembering Jenny Diski

Remembering Jenny Diski

Below are Jenny’s thoughts on being quoted. It’s quintessential Jenny. Wonderfully quintessential Jenny.

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‘A mass-market copy of a book positions a reader in one way, a hardback collected works positions you in another’

‘A mass-market copy of a book positions a reader in one way, a hardback collected works positions you in another’

I read Molloy for the first and second time in an unlovely Grove Press mass-market paperback that contained all three books of Beckett’s trilogy, with yellowed pages and crowded gutters.

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Jessica Sequeira Meets Aalooran Rahman Bora

Jessica Sequeira Meets Aalooran Rahman Bora

what else is a journey around the interior of a tuk-tuk but a journey around the interior of one’s own head?

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T.S. Eliot on Hamlet

T.S. Eliot on Hamlet

Few critics have even admitted that Hamlet the play is the primary problem, and Hamlet the character only secondary.

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Jenny Diski is not cheery or brave or serene at the moment…

Jenny Diski is not cheery or brave or serene at the moment…

I’ve been writing a more or less monthly memoir of my life in the sixties and seventies when I lived with Doris Lessing, and my continuing relationship with her until her death last year at 94. It is also an ongoing portrait of my incurable cancer.

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at/to/on/no/of.

at/to/on/no/of.

At long last, an electronic book for review! Its title—the beginning of a script—is shebang!—hashbang, pound-bang, hash-exclam, hash-pling!

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“There could be that glimmer of collectivity”

“There could be that glimmer of collectivity”

There’s a weird way in which the novels had a relation to poetry: with 10:04 I wrote that long poem, the one that’s excerpted in the book, before I wrote the novel – but I had no idea that it was going to have a life in the novel....

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A Perfect Grill

A Perfect Grill

Della and Tatum, Sweet Pea and Packy, Ida and Cal. You met a lot of unpretentious people in Philip Levine’s spare, ironic poems of the industrial heartland.

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

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 he is a modern-day Oscar Wilde.

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With a Dying Catfish as Witness

With a Dying Catfish as Witness

Robinson’s latest novel, Lila, turns our attention to Lila Ames, who wanders into Gilead in search of work and soon becomes Ames’s second wife.

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are, in the wider scheme of things, small potatoes.

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Andre Gerard Wins!

Andre Gerard Wins!

Congratulations to Andre Gerard of Vancouver, British Columbia, the winner of the inaugural Berfrois Poetry Prize!

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Missing

Missing

The Missing Pieces derives its power from how it pitches its content against formal manipulation of two kinds of syntax: the order and patterning of the unit losses, and the word order and patterning of clauses between the bullets that separate those units.

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MDMA Four Times a Day

MDMA Four Times a Day

How an obscure 1980s collection might be poetry's best one-night stand.

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Eliot was growing old, Eliot was growing old…

Eliot was growing old, Eliot was growing old…

Young Eliot marks both a milestone and a turning point. First, it coincides with the 50th anniversary of his death.

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“The ecstasy of being so high up that you no longer belong to the world below”

“The ecstasy of being so high up that you no longer belong to the world below”

A man in a purple tracksuit jogs along a concrete path across the cemetery. Does the jogger know that he is crossing the escape route of a twenty-nine-year-old man who was shot dead as he attempted to climb the cemetery wall, bound for the canal?

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Virginia Woolf on E. M. Forster

Virginia Woolf on E. M. Forster

There are many reasons which should prevent one from criticizing the work of contemporaries. Besides the obvious uneasiness — the fear of hurting feelings — there is too the difficulty of being just.

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and Forster are just some of the ancestral voices commenting on war.

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Amy Glynn: Ruin Graced

Amy Glynn: Ruin Graced

I suppose the early stage of a journey down a pharmacological rabbit hole is as good a time as any to take in the baked, surreal ruin of Hadrian’s Villa. Crumbling, desiccated, plundered, immense and ancient, the place rambled on for what seemed like miles.

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