Berfrois

December 2015

Jeffrey A. Bernstein: Such Wonderful Offspring

Jeffrey A. Bernstein: Such Wonderful Offspring

Franz Kafka was no stranger to fear and anxiety—his works radiate them. Yet his oeuvre is not simply a catalogue of the terrifying and traumatic situations that can befall humans.

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Amanda DeMarco interviews Hannes Bajohr

Amanda DeMarco interviews Hannes Bajohr

I call what I do “corpus poetry” because I start with gathering a large body of text—a corpus—which I then process according to specific rules. It's similar to older poetics that work with found text.

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Berit Jane chats with Jeremy Fernando

Berit Jane chats with Jeremy Fernando

What we need is techne to attempt to approach, but we never will reach, as it were, since becoming is infinite - or eternal if we want to drop that bomb.

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Jessica Sequeira: Chorizos and Black Beer

Jessica Sequeira: Chorizos and Black Beer

The crime of Barruecos, Arturo Michelena, 1895 by Jessica Sequeira The days are at last softening into summer, and your mind does not allow you to read anything heavy. You flip through a book of photographs called Private diary of a nation, which shows page after page of objects and...

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Pynchon is truly the forgotten founding father of colonial New England…

Pynchon is truly the forgotten founding father of colonial New England…

On October 16, 1650, the General Court of Boston summoned the town executioner. Like his name, the executioner’s thoughts as he made his way to the marketplace that afternoon, far from the gallows at Boston Common, remain lost to history.

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Three Shadows

Three Shadows

Three factors hold the Facebook phenomenon together. It promises eternal youth. It offers a virtualised version of Christian faith. It allows us to enter the game of life without taking undue risk.

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Masha Tupitsyn on Ryan Gosling

Masha Tupitsyn on Ryan Gosling

Gosling is publicist, trainer, stylist, singer, and ad executive wrapped into actor wrapped up as your dream man. And stardom is authenticity wrapped as the right kind of artifice and that is just for you.

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Is addiction what a writer should want in readers?

Is addiction what a writer should want in readers?

Copyright has been with us two hundred years and more, but the consequent attention to sales numbers has been recently and dramatically intensified by electronic media and the immediate feedback it offers.

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David Beer on Walter Benjamin

David Beer on Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin’s Archive, which has just been published in paperback to mark the 75th anniversary of his untimely death, has left me thinking that Benjamin might just have been a blogger in the making.

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Alone With the Cat

Alone With the Cat

Born in 1972 (or, as the back cover of his new book of poems puts it, “during the Nixon administration”), Michael Robbins experienced, growing up, a tremendous run of good luck.

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Friedman’s view largely prevailed. This was both an intellectual and a policy error…

Friedman’s view largely prevailed. This was both an intellectual and a policy error…

Economists struggling to make sense of economic polarization are, increasingly, talking not about technology but about power.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Expert Dreamers

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Expert Dreamers

I have always been interested in what other foreigners write, imagine, or fantasize about Albania, to offset my own ramblings.

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Heather Lang on Gregory Robinson

Heather Lang on Gregory Robinson

American Aristocracy, Triangle Film Corporation, 1916 by Heather Lang The other world is ours, yours and mine, this hazy kingdom of silent film and forgotten Polaroids. – Gregory Robinson The quiet associations between silent movies and prose poems within Gregory Robinson’s unique book, All Movies Love the Moon, are...

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Message From John Skelton

Message From John Skelton

Berfrois, wanton, ye want: Your meddling, Berfrois, is mannerless;

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What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us.

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Every time you click a link, you pass through another door of the Borgesian library…

Every time you click a link, you pass through another door of the Borgesian library…

Imagine the internet as a nearly infinite, Borgesian library. Each article, widget, slide, game level and landing page forms a room in the library. Every time you use a link to go to a new page, you pass through a door.

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Wes Anderson and Tina Fey

Wes Anderson and Tina Fey

I’ll tell you this: I have not written anything of consequence since my daughter was born. It’s easy to say, You had a baby, you’re busy, it gets better, and I’m really glad to hear from those of you who have said as much.

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It felt like a moral duty to rescue Jeff Schmalz from near obscurity…

It felt like a moral duty to rescue Jeff Schmalz from near obscurity…

Jeff died on November 6, 1993, at the age of 39. On a strangely glistening night several weeks later, I went to his favorite restaurant, Chanterelle, for a private memorial service that somehow, in an unforced way, became a festive celebration of his life.

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Foliage Traffic

Foliage Traffic

Autumn is an economic windfall for New England, as millions of visitors descend waving foliage maps and cameras. There is even a peeper lingo: “peak,” “leaf spotter,” “foliage traffic.”

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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