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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Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

by Nicholas Rombes 1. My life, in those days, was to be defined by three female poets: Dana Levin, Olena Kalytiak Davis, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Where lies the fault in that? Could I be blamed for seeing darkness in everything? Or for feeling, at some point of no...

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Ryegrass and Clover

Ryegrass and Clover

Pluies by Toby Harper Seeds of Empire: The Environmental Transformation of New Zealand, by Tom Brooking and Eric Pawson, London: I.B. Tauris, 256 pp. Visitors and residents alike tend to think of New Zealand as a clean, green land, rivaling Ireland in the luxuriance of its verdure and leading...

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The Awful Daring

The Awful Daring

T. S. Eliot in 1923. Photography by Lady Ottoline Morrell From Poetry: In the summer of 1918, T.S. Eliot was alarmed by the news that the American armed forces in Europe, then engaged in the final campaign against Germany, would begin to conscript American citizens living in England. Eliot...

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Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Victorian poetry is famous for documenting the emergence of key strains of secular modern thought, including those associated with natural science and modern biblical criticism. Breathtaking advances in astronomy, geology, and evolutionary biology during this era had produced a very different looking cosmos from that imagined in the book...

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Playing can be the most serious thing in the world…

Playing can be the most serious thing in the world…

Julio Cortázar From The Nation: One evening, perhaps a decade ago, I was walking along Canal Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown when a fishmonger, rushing out of his shop carrying a tank full of eels, slipped. Before he could let out a curse, there were eels and elvers everywhere: dark...

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X & Co.

X & Co.

Melvin B. Tolson by Harris Feinsod Whenever a new anthology of modern U.S. poetry comes along, it seems that some distinguished critic or other is fated to take up arms, defending his or her vision of canonical distinction against the treachery of “inclusiveness.” The latest eminence to cast herself...

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Listen

Listen

by Noah Arceneaux Sonic Persuasion: Reading Sound in the Recorded Age, by Greg Goodale, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 208 pp. Given the subject matter of this work, it seems only appropriate to begin with a musical metaphor. Sonic Persuasions is like one of those rock ‘n’ roll albums...

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High Ships

High Ships

Lampudesa From Poetry: Across the piazza, there’s a little museum for the found leavings of refugees. Here are the things that wash up: plates, water bottles, prayer books in every imaginable language. Its curator is Giacomo Sferlazzo, in dreadlocks, who is a painter and musician (he gives me a...

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Jonathan Lear: Isn’t It, Don’t You Think?

Jonathan Lear: Isn’t It, Don’t You Think?

Crow Indians, photograph by David F. Barry, c.1878 by Jonathan Lear On the face of it, a conception does not seem the sort of thing it is easy to lose. If we think of our life with concepts in terms of our ways of going on, categorizing and thinking about...

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What do poetry editors do with all their time?

What do poetry editors do with all their time?

From Poetry: In a conversation I’m picturing, an imaginary American novelist named Pat is having drinks with a poet who is also the editor of some sort of poetry journal.  This poet is named Kendall: Pat: Does it ever happen that someone gives you a poem for your magazine,...

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Splendid Cabin

Splendid Cabin

Abraham Lincoln famously greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe at the White House in 1862, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

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Waste Paper

Waste Paper

‘Terse As Virulent Hermaphrodites’: Middlebrow Representations of Modernist Poets in the 1920s   by George Simmers Based on a  paper given at the conference on ‘The Popular Imagination and the Dawn of Modernism’, at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, 15 September, 2011. In P.G. Wodehouse’s 1925...

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“Is it a jail, father?”

“Is it a jail, father?”

Engraving of the U.S. Treasury building in 1804, from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 262, March, 1872 by Alison K. Hoagland Fortress of Finance: The United States Treasury Building, by Pamela Scott, Washington DC: Treasury Historical Association, Illustrations. xiv + 318 pp Pamela Scott, the premier architectural historian of...

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