Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nicholas Rombes

Nicholas Rombes, author of Cinema in the Digital Age and A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1972-1984, is an English professor in Detroit and also a columnist at The Rumpus. Some of his work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Oxford American, The Believer, Exquisite Corpse, and other places.


Nicholas Rombes on Olena Kalytiak Davis

What I said at the end last time, about how my friend K. never showed up at the bar, wasn’t exactly true. He did show up, disheveled and unshaven, his black hair long and a little greasy and almost curling, his eyes hollow and out-of-the past like one of those haunting Civil War photos of men in their tents between battles, hungry-looking, wane, lean, close to death.
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1Q84 Liberated

The first in a series of liberated-book-jacket-set-to-music videos, this is Haruki Murakami's IQ84 and "Angels Sing," driving down Livernois Avenue in Detroit, December 13, 2011.
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Choose the Outdoors

A sense of outsideness. Buildings turned inside out on 9-11, and people outside in the streets of Manhattan. The mind, outside of itself with disbelief. The brutal and temporary restoration of the natural world in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities.
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Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

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 return, that it was not I who had chosen them, but rather they who had chosen me?
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Nicholas Rombes: Punk

Mark Perry, the founder of one of the earliest punk fanzines Sniffin' Glue, has said, “Although [punk] was entirely connected to the hippy politics, it was entirely the natural progression of hippies' 'anti-establishmentism,' I think. You couldn't wear bells and flowers to freak the powers out anymore and there was a perfectly logical line from the San Francisco hippies to the London punks."
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‘Blood Wall’ by Nicholas Rombes

I, Bronson didn’t see the note—hand scrawled in red ink on one of my hospital discharge papers—until a few days later, after I had settled back into my apartment. I had been asked (yet again) by my agency to provide documentation of such-and-such a nature about my condition, treatment and release.
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‘The Removals, Part One’ by Nicholas Rombes

They took you to the first house, and then, later, to the second. By the time they had removed you to the third house you knew the process was underway. Each house presented its own puzzles and, ultimately, its own terrors. They tried to make the windows thick enough to obscure the sound of the drones, but you could always hear them.
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‘The Removals, Part Two’ by Nicholas Rombes

It’s my voice, but not my voice. And yet how to be sure? I myself have used the voice putty, but it requires training and practice. “Come in,” the voice says again. I hesitate. “Oh for God’s sake, Bronson, you’ve come this far. This is what you wanted.”
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‘The Removals, Part Three’ by Nicholas Rombes

You can’t go back. And yet here I am going back, to house zero, to the beginning. I can’t remember anything. I remember everything. These are how my thoughts run now, in contradictions that bark against each other. I remember what Evelyn’s face looked like. I can’t remember what her face looked like. The world before the removals began wasn’t like this.
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Nicholas Rombes: Minecrafting Realism

Throughout his career, but especially in writings from the 1950s gathered together as the essay “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema,” film critic André Bazin praised the potential of the cinematic image “not according to what it adds to reality but what of it reveals of it.” And, a bit later: “Is not neorealism primarily a kind of humanism and only secondarily a style of film-making?”
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