Berfrois

Gertrude Stein on writing and painting and all that

Gertrude Stein on writing and painting and all that

There is singularly nothing that makes a difference a difference in beginning and in the middle and in ending except that each generation has something different at which they are all looking.

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Not many made their living from academia, let alone literature…

Not many made their living from academia, let alone literature…

I find myself drawn, again and again, to the capsule biographies in the two volumes of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century. The poets of the nineteenth century were not only poets; not many made their living from academia, let alone literature. They were rich and poor.

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How did her dead ladies stay alive?

How did her dead ladies stay alive?

Any number of recent memoirs—most, but not all, by women—face down the question James posed in his essay “Is Life Worth Living?” Should we go on living, and if so, what will our lives look like? If terrible things have happened to us, is healing possible?

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That Moon by Andre Gerard

That Moon by Andre Gerard

It is a truth too often accepted, that a modernist writer with Virginia Woolf's feminist and elitist tendencies, had no use for Victorians in general and for Charles Dickens in particular.

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What Giants!

What Giants!

This April 23rd, the International Day of the Book, we especially commemorated the 400th anniversary of the near simultaneous deaths of two of history’s greatest writers.

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Outside of sex, the New Yorker is not too stylistically risky…

Outside of sex, the New Yorker is not too stylistically risky…

I’ve sent poems to the New Yorker for about 30-40 years. Through three different editors. Not every day or every year but it would strike me every now and then that it was something I ought to do.

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Ed Simon: NPM

Ed Simon: NPM

National Poetry Month recently ended in that cruelest of months. Critics may take aim at the kitschification of poetry which once supposedly existed at the heights of Parnassian influence.

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Greg Bem on Don Mee Choi

Greg Bem on Don Mee Choi

It is difficult to talk about war. And yet many humans do. But how we do it and for how long is another question. Especially with relationships to information today, and relationships to time, I am thinking of fragments.

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Prose With a Poet’s Head

Prose With a Poet’s Head

Lines and sentences: even now, nonfiction—including nonfiction by poets—is approached by readers, and sometimes by writers, chiefly as information, argument, or anecdote.

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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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Peter Marshall on Wallace Stevens

Peter Marshall on Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens lived, for the most part, the life of the neighbor you would probably avoid.

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And in Sad Cypress

And in Sad Cypress

Before my departure for a trip to celebrate my mother’s ninety-eighth birthday, friends suggested that I read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal.

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Shakespeare’s passing was an entirely local event…

Shakespeare’s passing was an entirely local event…

It was not until seven years after his death that Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies were gathered together by his friends John Heminges and Henry Condell in an expensive edition, dedicated to William Herbert and his brother, that first laid claim to their status as high culture.

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