Berfrois

September 2015

From Homer to Brave New World

From Homer to Brave New World

The 50-year-old Visionaide class record book is spread open among baskets of corn chips and beer bottles. Its ruled pages, bound with a mottled cover, document the grades of 46 high school students in 1959, the year I found my way in school.

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F=A=M=E

F=A=M=E

I once felt quite famous as a poet. Indeed, now that I think of it, 
I have felt famous twice. These two periods of really unsettling fame came back to me recently as I dealt with a young poet at the lending desk of the public library where I’ve...

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Cavafy thirsted in his isolation for an understanding companion…

Cavafy thirsted in his isolation for an understanding companion…

What made C. P. Cavafy write some of the most original poetry in the world? I went to Athens in January 2015 to find out. Born in Alexandria on April 29, 1863, Cavafy died there, on the same day seventy years later.

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader historical context of national politics, a national politics that has had, by extension, influence on the rest of the world in terms of civil rights.

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world. I lived in the tiny room of a pension on B----- street. Funds were running low.

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Menachem Feuer: Cynical Clowns

Menachem Feuer: Cynical Clowns

Cynicism includes all of the above-mentioned aspects. We see this by way of three great French writers, Charles Baudelaire, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, and Michel Houellebecq.

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Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people will often trot these out when discussing the topic.

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Nicholas Rombes on Wes Craven

Nicholas Rombes on Wes Craven

Wes Craven’s movies were about movies, even when they weren’t. And in this sense they helped bring cinema back to its self-reflective origins.

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When the Russians Came

When the Russians Came

It can’t have been easy for Takolander to write the words “just a tourist really,” but she did it. Using a Finnish word, suo, immediately after this admission is an understandable coping mechanism, a reassertion of expertise that tells the English-speaking reader.

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Threats

Threats

One of the inexhaustible sources of conversation among fans of hardcore punk is the attempt to identify the onset of a band’s (or scene’s, or label’s) irremediable decline. For example: When did Black Flag lapse into long-haired, noodling weirdness?

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The Immortality Stakes

The Immortality Stakes

Cicero thought superior writers, or their souls, would survive death and enter an eternal realm "where eminent and excellent men find their true reward."

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Kevin Higgins’ 21 Poem Corbyn Salute

Kevin Higgins’ 21 Poem Corbyn Salute

As Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign exploded throughout an otherwise decidedly damp July, it became clear that I had left two factors out of my back of the envelope political calculations.

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“This was no Well of Loneliness”

“This was no Well of Loneliness”

Around that same time I think I read the whole Ladies Almanack in my studio, across the hall from Daviel. I asked her to let me know if she wanted to make that film. She told me the whole wish: the dream of Cixous, and Myles narrating; everything.

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