Berfrois

Two Lines of Poetic Development

Two Lines of Poetic Development

What seems to me chiefly remarkable in the popular conception of a Poet is its unlikeness to the truth. Misconception in this case has been flattered, I fear, by the poets themselves.

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Daniel Bosch on Adam Kirsch

Daniel Bosch on Adam Kirsch

When it comes to the photograph’s translation into language, shouldn’t the elements of such a speechless photograph have a literal and figurative priority over my “speech”?

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With Weighty Grief

With Weighty Grief

Seminole Chief Osceola (1804–1838), George Catlin, 1838 From Poets.org: The earliest recorded written poem by a native person was composed by “Eleazer” who was a senior at Harvard College in 1678. He most likely died before graduating. We do not know anything about Eleazer’s life. All we have is his...

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What is blue?

What is blue?

Maggie Nelson’s Bluets takes aim at one of today’s most beloved forms of writing—the autobiography—coyly challenging the genre’s attachment to truthful stories of the self and the form thought best to convey them.

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‘Children confiscate your mask, leaving you far more exposed than lovers can’

‘Children confiscate your mask, leaving you far more exposed than lovers can’

A few months ago, I had to go through all of my photo albums, starting from early childhood, in conjunction with a film project with which I am involved.

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Is writing an art or a career?

Is writing an art or a career?

Writers as varied as Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, and Mary McCarthy would have been outraged to be called anything other than professionals, and when you push past Mark Twain’s most renowned books, you find a lot of writing that did little more than spin off from his celebrity.

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‘Tupitsyn is a kind of heretic’

‘Tupitsyn is a kind of heretic’

Whether voiced in the first, second or third person, I take the stories that Masha Tupitsyn tells about her person to be selectively true.

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Popular poetry aspires to a public life in the United Kingdom…

Popular poetry aspires to a public life in the United Kingdom…

As I read postwar British poetry fully, I became less enamoured with the Movement tones of Phillip Larkin or Donald Davie and reviled their small, digestible, miserable artifacts of everyday British life.

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Alone With the Cat

Alone With the Cat

Born in 1972 (or, as the back cover of his new book of poems puts it, “during the Nixon administration”), Michael Robbins experienced, growing up, a tremendous run of good luck.

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What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us.

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Menachem Feuer on Franz Kafka

Menachem Feuer on Franz Kafka

What is most fascinating about all this is the fact that we, Kafka’s readers also return but, like Sancho Panza, we must entertain the possibility that in following Kafka we have decided to follow a modern Don Quixote.

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Daniel Fraser on Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks

Daniel Fraser on Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks

In the resurgent ‘field’ of lyrical British nature writing, a prosaic form given to delight in the relationship of language and landscape, to relish and revel in the world and in words, Robert MacFarlane is one of the leading lights.

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Itō argued that stream of consciousness originated in the works of Edouard Dujardin

Itō argued that stream of consciousness originated in the works of Edouard Dujardin

by Michael Chan “James Joyce’s Method—Regarding the “Stream of Consciousness” “(Jeimuzu Joisu no metōdo “ishiki no nagare” ni tsuite) is an article published in June 1930 in the journal Shi, genjitsu by the author and literary critic Itō Sei (1905-1969), who was also one of a team of three...

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‘The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

‘The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

Diski’s writing has never left much out, and is rarely small. Nony, who narrates Like Mother (1989), is an anencephalous baby, born without a brain, who tells her mother’s story in conversation with an interlocutor who is explicitly non-existent.

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Figure to yourselves Virginia Woolf in a bedroom with a pen in her hand…

Figure to yourselves Virginia Woolf in a bedroom with a pen in her hand…

It is true I am a woman; it is true I am employed; but what professional experiences have I had? It is difficult to say.

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Building ZOOM

Building ZOOM

Comic strips can vividly illuminate a sequential story, and thus bring alive the often long, tedious, disjointed, and arcane process of architecture.

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“Lou just continues to try to woo and be wooed”

“Lou just continues to try to woo and be wooed”

It’s a drizzly summer night, and I’m meeting Tracy O’Neill in Manhattan’s East Village to talk about her debut novel, The Hopeful, the story of a figure skater who breaks her back on the cusp of Olympic competition.

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What Rhythm Holds

What Rhythm Holds

In thinking of the innovative lyric, it seems useful to look at archaic lyric, since it too was experimental in its day - maybe even wildly so.

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