Berfrois

July 2017

  • Ed Simon: Poetry Without Poets

    July 2017 Highlights

    Ed Simon: Poetry Without Poets

    Despite its aesthetic proficiencies or deficiencies, A.I.-Wordsworth’s poem is not necessarily without meaning, even if it’s a message without a messenger.

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Andre Gerard: A Meredithian Reading of To the Lighthouse

Andre Gerard: A Meredithian Reading of To the Lighthouse

George Meredith as caricatured by Max Beerbohm in Vanity Fair, September 1896 by Andre Gerard I hope that, like me, you enjoy reading other people’s letters, as this essay depends heavily on personal correspondence. By means of letters I want to make a case that the conception of Mr....

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Wasn’t Benjamin a tad too comfortable in his outrage?

Wasn’t Benjamin a tad too comfortable in his outrage?

“Left-wing melancholy” was once the title of a review essay that Walter Benjamin wrote in 1931 for the feuilleton section of the German newspaper Die Gesellschaft. 

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Michael Hoak: My Yard/My Life

Michael Hoak: My Yard/My Life

Yard work is never ending. We have a lot of concrete in our back yard, it’s cracked and uneven and we always trip on it. I hate it. Yesterday I dug up concrete with a big sledge hammer and a pry bar.

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‘Humans survive through an intricate logic of interdependence’

‘Humans survive through an intricate logic of interdependence’

Octavia Butler’s tenth novel, “Parable of the Sower,” which was published in 1993, opens in Los Angeles in 2024. Global warming has brought drought and rising seawater...

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Primo Levi on Translating and Being Translated

Primo Levi on Translating and Being Translated

Genesis tells us that the first men had only one language: this made them so ambitious and powerful they began building a tower high into the sky.

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Nest Fling

Nest Fling

What are we when we become mothers? We may not ever be fully ourselves again, but that’s because our selves have blurred into looser but more schematic ways of being—ways of being that are communitarian, multiple, and endlessly dissolvable.

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Before and After Fossil Fuels

Before and After Fossil Fuels

Every round-trip ticket on flights from New York to London, keep in mind, costs the Arctic three more square meters of ice.

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Most checkers games end in a draw…

Most checkers games end in a draw…

At the highest levels, checkers is a game of mental attrition. Most games are draws. In serious matches, players don’t begin with the standard initial starting position.

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Life slips away in the reworking of one’s writings…

Life slips away in the reworking of one’s writings…

by Michael Wood But the desire of the essay is not to seek and filter the eternal out of the transitory; it wants, rather, to make the transitory eternal. —T. W. Adorno Current conversations about the essay—and there are many—emphasize the provisional, speculative nature of the genre, the suggestion of a...

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‘When my daughter thinks of Shakespeare, she’ll be able to imagine Asian American players’

‘When my daughter thinks of Shakespeare, she’ll be able to imagine Asian American players’

The actor playing Olivia happened to be Asian—the first Asian actor I had ever seen onstage, and one of precious few I’d noticed anywhere.

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A compelling impression of untethered bodies floating across vast distances…

A compelling impression of untethered bodies floating across vast distances…

The same year that the US nominated its first female presidential candidate, the Met presented, an opera composed by a woman...

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That Time the Way That It Is and Was

That Time the Way That It Is and Was

So far this makes it sound as if philosophers are a bunch of science fiction spoil sports. Not so! Although philosophers typically agree that we cannot change the past, most think it possible to causally affect the past.

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Nicholas Rombes on George Romero

Nicholas Rombes on George Romero

For some students, Night of the Living Dead opened the door to an angle they had not considered: that a film could be political without being “political.”

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Keith Doubt at Bosnia’s March of Peace

Keith Doubt at Bosnia’s March of Peace

Marš Mira is a commemorative march, like others elsewhere throughout the world, that retraces the long, treacherous route that survivors of the Srebrenica genocide followed to escape the Serbian army.

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Sex became inextricable from Diane Arbus’s photography…

Sex became inextricable from Diane Arbus’s photography…

Arbus was clear about what she wanted and why. The trouble is there’s still such scant understanding, let alone appreciation, for what it means to be a woman and wired the way she was.

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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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