Berfrois

Nothing, Nothing but Hell

Nothing, Nothing but Hell

The death of champion boxer Muhammad Ali is an occasion to remember one of the strangest moments in popular culture, when Ali collaborated with legendary poet Marianne Moore on a work of verse.

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Once a Great Sleeper

Once a Great Sleeper

The question: “Why do so many women have so many problems with sleep?” is an important question for me because I am a bad sleeper who was not always a bad sleeper, who was once a great sleeper.

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The Sea’s Salty Spray

The Sea’s Salty Spray

My first teaching job carried me straight from the RAF and England to St. John’s, Newfoundland, when I was but 27. I still find my first impressions to be the overpowering ones: of fog or knocking sea.

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Dossing Down in Doorways

Dossing Down in Doorways

Paris, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Nuit Blanche : Nathan Coley, 2006. Photograph by Vincent Desjardins From Dublin Review of Books: Sante’s chapter on insurgents across the centuries is detailed and evocative but ties itself, however colourfully, to a history of facts and dates and salient events. By chapter 11 even the...

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Helen Blejerman: Dessert First

Helen Blejerman: Dessert First

by Helen Blejerman Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews, Edited by Sarah Lightman, McFarland, 316 pp. Sarah Lightman uses the word confession in her title, but it is clear that these women artists were not looking for repentance or absolution. The word is used to mean...

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Words never make anything that is useful…

Words never make anything that is useful…

The title of this series is “Words Fail Me,” and this particular talk is called “Craftsmanship.” We must suppose, therefore, that the talker is meant to discuss the craft of words — the craftsmanship of the writer.

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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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Sorokin has long been tarred as a scandalmonger and, even worse, a postmodernist…

Sorokin has long been tarred as a scandalmonger and, even worse, a postmodernist…

I’ve been waiting for years for Vladimir Sorokin’s second novel, Norma (The Norm), to appear in English translation. It wasn’t published in the author’s native Russia until 1994, a decade after Sorokin finished it, so perhaps there’s hope yet.

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The Goethezeit

The Goethezeit

If he hadn’t lived from 1749 to 1832, safely into the modern era and the age of print, but had instead flourished when Shakespeare did, there would certainly be scholars today theorizing that the life and work of half a dozen men had been combined under Goethe’s name.

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Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

For the third time this month I’ve locked myself out of my online banking facility. Each time I have run over the limit of making three mistakes in my password.

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Supremacy or Privilege?

Supremacy or Privilege?

From the cover of Black Panther No. 1, to be published this year, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Drawn by Brian Stelfreeze. From Dublin Review of Books: The ubiquity of smartphones and dashboard cameras has meant that digital capture of police transgression is more available than ever, and the viral spread of...

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Tomoé Hill on scent and sex in Ulysses

Tomoé Hill on scent and sex in Ulysses

As a scent obsessive, these lines from the “Nausicaa” chapter in Ulysses represent much more than they might seem.

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Tui

Tui

Here are some words I’ve been writing down recently: Mingimingi. Ponga. Horoeka. Titoki.

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Max Ritvo on family, Mortal Kombat and cancer

Max Ritvo on family, Mortal Kombat and cancer

Illustration by Victoria Ritvo by Max Ritvo 1 My only act of violence as a child was one of mutual play. I was friends with Miranda, our housekeeper’s niece, and we were playing pretend Mortal Kombat. We were very conscious of the fact that it was a game. Neither...

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An ecopoem is urgent, it aims to unsettle…

An ecopoem is urgent, it aims to unsettle…

A familiar argument against didactic poetry is that it preaches to the choir. A poem should not preach, but it may teach the choir a new tune, the chorus a new step.

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The Same Lakeside House

The Same Lakeside House

“In the sand of Brandenburg, every square foot of ground has its story and is telling it, too – but one has to be willing to listen to these often quiet voices.” Thomas Harding chooses this quote, from Theodor Fontane, to open his personal, yet historically wide-ranging, account.

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