Berfrois

May 2019

Walt Whitman in Russia: Three Love Affairs

Walt Whitman in Russia: Three Love Affairs

Whitman needed not a mere celebrity endorsement, not just an appreciative aesthete, but a lover in Russia; a passionate, devoted reader who would accept him without judgment.

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An Open Letter to Liberal Idiocy by Medha Singh

An Open Letter to Liberal Idiocy by Medha Singh

Amartya Sen is reasonable in saying that Narendra Modi, re-elected as Prime Minister of India last week, has simply won the vote share, but not the battle of ideas.

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Sans Edits

Sans Edits

Trying to get a point across in public writing, whether established or clickbait media, with just the nuance, force, and connotations you intend, is like trying to perform a violin solo underwater...

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Calliope Michail Reviews AWP

Calliope Michail Reviews AWP

I’ll begin at the beginning of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) instigated adventure. Today we had to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch our 10-hour flight to Seattle.

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Francesco Tenaglia on Alessandro Agudio

Francesco Tenaglia on Alessandro Agudio

The path of Alessandro Agudio’s artistic practice intersects with some of this story: an important moment of institutional recognition for his work was his inclusion in Ennesima...

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Eric D. Lehman: The Real Deal

Eric D. Lehman: The Real Deal

Since David K. Leff’s first book appeared over a decade ago, he has carved out a position in New England’s literary and environmental history. Some of his books, like Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash, reach back to a Thoreauvian past

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Mike Watson: Lucid Dreaming

Mike Watson: Lucid Dreaming

We are fast approaching a point where one third of the global population will play video games on a regular basis. As such, video gaming ought to become a serious object of philosophy...

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Bailout Ducked

Bailout Ducked

Ten years ago today, the Telegraph began publishing, in daily instalments, the expense claims made by British MPs over the previous four years. 

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“In fandom, there are some people who express their love through hate”

“In fandom, there are some people who express their love through hate”

In fandom, there are some people who express their love through hate. When I was at Star Trek, I remember being online, in the early days, like AOL, and there was a fan who was writing a review of one of the episodes I had written.

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XR Inductions

XR Inductions

Monday is the first springlike day after a long stretch of drear, and in true mad-dogs-and-Englishmen style massive crowds are out to greet the midday sun. Swaddled in scaffolding, Big Ben is unrecognizable as it towers above the protests below.

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Privatspanarna are still hard at work…

Privatspanarna are still hard at work…

On the last night of February 1986, the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme and his wife, Lisbet, were strolling home through downtown Stockholm.

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Robert R. Bensen Remembers Derek Walcott

Robert R. Bensen Remembers Derek Walcott

Derek defined his place in the great movements of poetry and history. He wrote, “I accept my function/as a colonial upstart at the end of an empire...

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M. Munro: Not the Flag Flying

M. Munro: Not the Flag Flying

Sketch, Léon Cogniet, 1870 by M. Munro No agreement exists as to the possibility of defining negation, as to its logical status, function, and meaning, as to its field of applicability. “The mystery of negation: This is not how things are, and yet we can say how things are...

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Medha Singh’s India Elections Diary #3: India and her Soul

Medha Singh’s India Elections Diary #3: India and her Soul

The final phase of voting in India recently concluded with approximately 62% turnout. If one is to pay attention to the outrageous exit polls, it looks like the joke is going to be on me...

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Devices of the Imagination

Devices of the Imagination

Half a century ago, Lawrence Weiner noted these conditions for the work of art: The artist may construct the piece; the piece may be fabricated; the piece need not be built.

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Educational elitism isn’t going away without a fight

Educational elitism isn’t going away without a fight

When the headmaster of Stowe argued that the widening participation measures to raise the proportion of state school students were "social engineering"...

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Clubbing

Clubbing

The Literary Club, known simply as “The Club,” was established in early 1764 after the portrait painter Joshua Reynolds became worried about his friend Samuel Johnson...

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Nadia de Vries: A Short History of Ectoplasm

Nadia de Vries: A Short History of Ectoplasm

You test the water with your elbow. You taste the milk before serving it. Is the temperature all right? Tenderness is throwing your body in the ring for someone else, is showing compassion...

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Sand in Your Trade

Sand in Your Trade

Oil and sand are not often commodities conjoined in discussions of global trade. The first is the motive engine of industry and transportation, fuel for heating and illumination, the spirit that animates much global politics.

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Ed Simon: Novel Prognostications

Ed Simon: Novel Prognostications

by Ed Simon He undertakes to write a Chronicle of things before they are done, which is an irregular, and a perverse way. —John Donne, from a sermon preached at Lincoln’s Inn, 1620 Between 1997 and 1998, representatives of His Majesty’s government stationed in Constantinople, Rome, Paris, and Moscow...

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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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