Berfrois

In Three Days

In Three Days

It was a deliberately outlandish thing to do, setting up a booth at the largest, noisiest book expo in the world and inviting a small group of writers to sit there, talk, type, and edit a series of answers to the question “what is the future of publishing?”

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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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Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen out of love with the world.” Or something to that effect. In that vague period of late spring and early summer, which in Massachusetts we...

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Pound in Soho

Pound in Soho

When Ezra Pound arrived in London in 1909, he began arranging introductions to all the literary people he could manage. The most felicitous was to the novelist Olivia Shakespear; not only did she connect Pound with her lover, W.B. Yeats, but Pound eventually married her daughter, Dorothy.

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Feroz Rather: Half-Residency

Feroz Rather: Half-Residency

In the winter of 2012, I flew from California to Chicago to attend the annual AWP conference. It was snowing lightly when I emerged from the hotel on Michigan Avenue with Brian, an aspiring fiction writer from Los Angeles. The wind blew ceaselessly, whipping the snowflakes into the chafing...

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‘New movements in literature are those which copy the last century but one’

‘New movements in literature are those which copy the last century but one’

New movements in literature are those which copy the last century but one. If they copy the last century, they are old-fashioned; but if it is quite clear that they are much more than a hundred years old, they are entirely fresh and original.

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Joanna Walsh on Samuel Beckett

Joanna Walsh on Samuel Beckett

The first time I read More Pricks Than Kicks I was assailed by terrible cramps that rippled up and down the front of my torso until I stopped reading. It seemed appropriate. Echo’s Bones is a long short story originally intended as the ‘recessional’ to More Pricks Than Kicks,...

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Michael Munro: Prose

Michael Munro: Prose

“We may laugh at the bourgeois’s inability to parrot his master’s lesson,” concludes this compelling account of our “illustrious,” inescapable precursor, “but we may well wonder whether, just as he has been speaking prose unwittingly, he may unwittingly state a truth about it.” Indeed, what might that truth...

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Did Woolf prefer Joyce or Proust?

Did Woolf prefer Joyce or Proust?

The Sirens imploring Ulysses to stay, 1886 by James Heffernan More than twenty years ago, Suzette Henke challenged what was then the reigning view of Virginia Woolf’s response to James Joyce’s Ulysses. To judge this response by Woolf’s most damning comments on the book and its author, Henke argued,...

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Ryan Chang on Kate Zambreno

Ryan Chang on Kate Zambreno

Photograph by kygp by Ryan Chang Green Girl: A Novel (P.S.), by Kate Zambreno, Emergency Press, 268 pp. When I’m trying to think about Lacan’s jouissance, I think of how my friends describe their trips on dimethyltriptamine, or DMT. DMT, naturally produced by our brains in the last minutes...

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Did Concrete poetry cause Brazilian electronic poetry?

Did Concrete poetry cause Brazilian electronic poetry?

If the first “wave” of Digital Humanities was said to have prompted a quantitative turn, e.g. the compilation and implementation of databases as well as the organization of information in elaborate arrays, then the much anticipated “second wave” is to be “qualitative, interpretive, experimental, emotive, generative in character”.

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How can people be both equal and dignified?

How can people be both equal and dignified?

I have been reading Geoffrey Hartman’s A Scholar’s Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe. By “intellectual journey” Hartman means something like an autobiographical bibliography — it is full of stories surrounding his writing. I started reading it mostly for Hartman’s memories of Erich Auerbach, with whose...

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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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K. Thomas Kahn on Doris Lessing

K. Thomas Kahn on Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing by K. Thomas Kahn [Preface: I wrote most of this piece, just as I read the book in question, while sitting beside my dying father in a hospital room. We have no shared language. My “I” is a “you” he has never pluralized into an eventually embraceable...

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Vernon Lee: Thinking, Talking

Vernon Lee: Thinking, Talking

From De claris mulieribus, Giovanni Boccaccio, 16th Century by Vernon Lee As towards most other things of which we have but little personal experience (foreigners, or socialists, or aristocrats, as the case may be), there is a degree of vague ill-will towards what is called Thinking. It is reputed...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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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...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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