Berfrois

January 2017

Only Somewhat

Only Somewhat

Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change.

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Four Hits From Døves Tidsskrift

Four Hits From Døves Tidsskrift

I was in my early twenties when my aunt handed me a VHS cassette with my mother’s name written on the label. My aunt and mom worked at a school for hearing-impaired children in Oslo, Norway, and at some point in the 1980s the school introduced video technology

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Angry Young Socialist

Angry Young Socialist

Though no one would mistake Hare for a populist—his dozens of plays, adaptations, TV and movie scripts, several books, and countless newspaper columns are too cerebral for that—he has struck an antiestablishment stance since his early career.

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Anti-Archive

Anti-Archive

Page has been making annual trips to the Texas-Mexico borderlands since 2007, and one of her projects is walking along the river in search of objects people leave behind when they’re crossing.

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‘Which side are you on?’

‘Which side are you on?’

The woman with sandy brown hair was nodding and smiling and crying as she sat behind the wheel of her stationary car on the Southeast Freeway in Washington DC. We made our black-clad way through the rows of quiet vehicles while chanting and clapping and smiling at those we...

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Ed Simon: Darkness Made Visible

Ed Simon: Darkness Made Visible

A few months after the end of the United States’ bicentennial year, and an unassuming, unpublished junior professor from Wordsworth and Southey College in bucolic Susquehanna, Pennsylvania found himself at the center of a media firestorm that was jocularly called “Miltongate.”

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“Editorial policy is defined at the top of the BBC”

“Editorial policy is defined at the top of the BBC”

In the interwar period, the system of broadcasting pioneered by the BBC was referred to as ‘remote state control’. It emerged from a situation where politicians did not want a chaotic system of broadcasting to develop, especially given the presumed political power of the new medium.

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Informal actors came to the Kremlin’s aid…

Informal actors came to the Kremlin’s aid…

"Kompromat", meaning compromising materials, as a tactic to smear one's opponents, came into use in Russia in the late 1990s, and back then it was a mix of intercepted phone calls and analytical profiles prepared by the oligarchs' shadowy security details or the government security services.

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Marsha Pomerantz: Left/Right

Marsha Pomerantz: Left/Right

Mothers don’t eat. It had come to my attention that mothers were fueled by something other than food: possibly telephone talk and worry. I wondered how old you had to be to turn into a mother and not have to eat anymore.

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Anthony Ausiello on Magical Realism

Anthony Ausiello on Magical Realism

Reading Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men made me realize magical realism could play a complex role in fiction, that it could be utilized as another literary tool in an author’s craft.

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The erasure of Islam from Rumi’s poetry started long ago…

The erasure of Islam from Rumi’s poetry started long ago…

Rumi was born in the early thirteenth century, in what is now Afghanistan. He later settled in Konya, in present-day Turkey, with his family. His father was a preacher and religious scholar, and he introduced Rumi to Sufism.

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X: A Machine to End All Machines

X: A Machine to End All Machines

Can you feel it coming? The machine? Can you feel it, can you see it from your high window, beneath the yellow sun, in the distance, furrowing beneath that black soil as it makes its way toward you?

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Davos is particularly fond of borrowing authoritarian capitalist ideas…

Davos is particularly fond of borrowing authoritarian capitalist ideas…

While it’s easy to see how this establishment structure could provoke an uprising, two developments over the last decade have made it especially susceptible.

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‘At the heart of this game of betrayal is trust’

‘At the heart of this game of betrayal is trust’

A former MI6 agent is commissioned, by the opposition, to investigate an American presidential campaign that most people regard as a joke. He uncovers an international conspiracy led by the Russian secret services to put their man in the White House.

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Maybe these pills can do the trick?

Maybe these pills can do the trick?

by Steve Mentz Motion disorients bodies. When they are moved, bodies seek stable refuge—whether the bodies in question comprise shipwrecked sailors, strife-torn nations, dislocated asylum-seekers, or even confused students. Poetry offers a partial, not always effective, response to motion sickness. In disorienting times and places, we imagine refuge—while not averting...

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Menachem Feuer: Pynchon and the Schlemiel

Menachem Feuer: Pynchon and the Schlemiel

What many literary critics overlook, however, is the fact that the schlemiel has also found its way into the pages of great Anglo-American writers like John Updike (see his “Beck” series) and Thomas Pynchon.

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John Canaday: Unriddling

John Canaday: Unriddling

Jeredith Merrin’s Owling, winner of the 2016 Grayson Chapbook contest, consists of 19 poems, each named after one of 18 species of owls from around the world.

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Various Costumed Dramas

Various Costumed Dramas

“I can’t just sit here and watch Netflix for the next four years and disappear into various costumed dramas,” said Belieu, the “Writers Resist” organizer. “I’m not going to live in fear. And I’m not going to keep my mouth shut.”

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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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