Berfrois

May 2017

Justin E. H. Smith On Plants

Justin E. H. Smith On Plants

Imagine you are in an urban park. Look around. How many animals do you see? I’d imagine you see a few birds, a dog or two, perhaps some insects, and a dozen or so humans.

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The Second Annual Queer Translations Issue from Queen Mob’s Teahouse

The Second Annual Queer Translations Issue from Queen Mob’s Teahouse

The word translation itself contains the prefix trans, signifying movement rather than stability. Instead of thinking of translation as an exchange of “this” for “that” we are looking for pieces that somehow seek to retain the quality of movement and motion and change between languages and cultures.

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Read the Air

Read the Air

Amaro says that success in BotW depends on an important skill in Japanese culture and society: the ability to “read the air”. This means understanding body language, facial expressions and subtle hints, often used to convey information.

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His face goes ashen…

His face goes ashen…

The opening scene of Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Men Explain Things to Me” is, by now, a familiar one, not only because it’s repeated so often whenever Solnit is written about

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Robert L. Kehoe III on Robert Silvers

Robert L. Kehoe III on Robert Silvers

I was not raised on fancy magazines. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw or heard of The Atlantic Monthly until my older brother came home with a copy after his first semester of college.

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Eric D. Lehman: Macbeth as Zen Stick

Eric D. Lehman: Macbeth as Zen Stick

When I was a college freshman, I took a Shakespeare class with a very old-fashioned professor. It was a fun class for someone like me, who loved the Bard, didn’t mind memorizing sonnets

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Denise Goh Hui Jun: Hospitality and the Rohingya Refugee

Denise Goh Hui Jun: Hospitality and the Rohingya Refugee

by Denise Goh Hui Jun May 2015. A smuggler boat of Rohingya passengers dared to entertain the first inklings of hope, as the Malaysian coast guard spotted them and began fixing a tow to their boat. It had been months of unimaginable stresses, living in highly cramped quarters and...

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Rebuilding Cities

Rebuilding Cities

What is a lost city? The vanished metropolises of myth and history are one sort: Atlantis plunged into the sea, Troy razed, ghost towns littered across the American West.

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The Pirate’s Tale

The Pirate’s Tale

In front of me were three pamphlets of poetry by Tennyson: two titled The Lover’s Tale (both dated 1870) and another called The New Timon and the Poets (dated 1876).

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‘Seth Abramson wants you to know that he is not a conspiracy theorist’

‘Seth Abramson wants you to know that he is not a conspiracy theorist’

Since November, Abramson — professor, experimental poet, onetime lawyer — has been building a case against Trump’s administration in the court of public opinion.

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Love Was Everything

Love Was Everything

There are certain things that when said are erotic no matter who says them or how they actually feel about you. Words that carry electricity, power, and charge inside of them.

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Ed Simon on More’s Map

Ed Simon on More’s Map

The sixteenth-century humanist polymath and martyr Thomas More’s neologism “Utopia” literally translates to “No Place,” and yet the author had a detailed and concrete conception of the invented kingdom which bore that name.

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Jennifer Seaman Cook on Grunge

Jennifer Seaman Cook on Grunge

They're saying grunge is almost dead. You can almost hear it coming. As a counterethos to the age of self-entrepreneurial professionalization, grunge held onto the promise of noise at the site of the body.

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Elisa Veini: Saving Valbona

Elisa Veini: Saving Valbona

A remote village on the Albanian alps that seemed an undisturbed paradise only a couple of years ago, Valbona is now a local hub of environmental activism.

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Jessica Sequeira on Tom Pickard

Jessica Sequeira on Tom Pickard

Winter isn’t so much a season as a state of mind. Midnight blues, slate greys, rich yellows. A Schubert lieder, a Vallotton field, the delicate frame of a tree by Nash.

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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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