Berfrois

June 2016

Austen Powers

Austen Powers

When I was working on my doctorate at Oxford, I lived in a large Victorian house with about 10 other students. My room was on the ground floor at the back; in the room above me lived a Canadian woman named Lenore—after the “rare and radiant maiden” in Poe’s...

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The milk seemed to taste of bone and blood’

The milk seemed to taste of bone and blood’

Todd Haynes’s film Carol (2015), an adaptation of crime grande dame Patricia Highsmith’s obscure 1952 lesbian romance, The Price of Salt, while sometimes exquisite, is the latest uneasy-making case in point.

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Greg Bem on Mathias Svalina

Greg Bem on Mathias Svalina

The fifth book by American poet Mathias Svalina, The Wine-Dark Sea, confronts this image of strange beauty in its own complex way, and as an object representing a body of poems.

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Temporal Bandwidth

Temporal Bandwidth

When the smartphone brings messages, alerts, and notifications that invite instant responses—and induces anxiety if those messages fail to arrive—everyone’s sense of time changes.

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Miniature, Scythes

Miniature, Scythes

To read the poems of Rita Dove, to go where they take you, is to follow her deeply into a series of themes and their subsets: African-Americans in history and right now, ideas of indenture and independence, sex, travel, language.

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Cody Stephens on Amit Majmudar

Cody Stephens on Amit Majmudar

The cover image of Amit Majmudar’s Dothead depicts Shiva in a yogic pose, his third eye obscured by a red laser sight—a projected, menacing bindi. Was it too much to expect a book primarily about race and ethnicity?

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On the ferry from the city of heaven, most of the passengers were Greek…

On the ferry from the city of heaven, most of the passengers were Greek…

When we travel we often yearn for the end of the road, the border between modern life and a time untouched by progress. My son Adrian and I had the opportunity to return to the past when we arrived in May at Mount Athos, a semi-autonomous, monastic peninsula in...

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Timothy Duffy on Ocean Vuong

Timothy Duffy on Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s Whiting Award-winning collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds is indeed an event, a collection that stays with the reader and insists upon its own importance without a shred of entitlement.

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Gerardo Muñoz on Sergio González Rodriguez

Gerardo Muñoz on Sergio González Rodriguez

One cannot but be intrigued by Sergio González Rodriguez's recent essay "Los 43 de Iguala" (Anagrama, 2015) that analytically weaves the kidnapping and massacre of the 43 male students from a rural school in Mexico's State of Guerrero with an autographical exploration.

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Setsuko Adachi: Humanism, Deteriorating

Setsuko Adachi: Humanism, Deteriorating

The bullet train southbound from the capital on a weekend was very crowded. The train conductor apologized: Due to a three-day weekend coming up, the train is very crowded, we apologize for your inconvenience.

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Split Hair

Split Hair

“Only three years had passed,” Lewish Warsh writes of publishing the journal Angel Hair, “but it felt like many lifetimes.”

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Menachem Feuer on Rachel Cantor

Menachem Feuer on Rachel Cantor

Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinita, Henry Holiday, 1883 by Menachem Feuer Good on Paper, by Rachel Cantor New York: Melville House, 299 pp. I didn’t love those who could love me, I loved the candle….I here and I there, I companioned perhaps – now! – by the love of...

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An Improvisational Jazz Symphony

An Improvisational Jazz Symphony

Fiston Mwanza Mujila was announced winner of the 2015 Etisalat Literature Prize at a grand ceremony in Lagos on March 19, 2016.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Great Appropriation

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Great Appropriation

After experiencing last year, as a project assistant for Armando Lulaj’s “Albanian Trilogy”, the reactionary forces of the Ministry of Culture and the exploitative environment of the Venice Biennale, including one of the most scandalously incompetent curators that I ever met.

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Scott Anthony on Reframing Modernism

Scott Anthony on Reframing Modernism

The outcome of an attention-grabbing and likely expensive collaboration with the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Reframing Modernism is the new National Gallery of Singapore's first blockbuster exhibition.

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