Berfrois

June 2019

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #3

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #3

by Nicholas Rombes From Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine, 2014. The days of our childhood together were steep steps into a collapsing mind. The sentence appears a little over halfway through the book in the section titled “February 26, 2102 / In Memory of Trayvon Martin,” and it...

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Stonewall 50

Stonewall 50

On a hot and humid summer’s evening in New York City in 1969, the tranquility of a small park in Queens was disturbed by jarring sounds of sawing and chopping and the thump of trees toppling to the ground.

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Abu Bakr II’s 200 Ships

Abu Bakr II’s 200 Ships

Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed. Some remarkable new books make this case in scholarly but accessible terms

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Drifting as Fabulating

Drifting as Fabulating

No one expected the final stage of the Conservative party leadership contest to be a staid and dignified affair. The Tories are now more spectacle than party, more farcical roadshow than government.

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Jessica Sequeira on Xanthi Barker

Jessica Sequeira on Xanthi Barker

The short novel or story can be so condensed it requires multiple scans, just like a poem. I read Xanthi Barker’s nouvelle three times and each time had a different response.

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Modernity as a Heuristic to Study the Great Divergence

Modernity as a Heuristic to Study the Great Divergence

Kaveh Yazdani, in India, Modernity and the Great Divergence, provides the readers with a case study of Mysore and Gujarat to explain why precolonial India could not experience an economic take-off similar to the one that happened in western Europe.

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #2

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #2

by Nicholas Rombes From Pond, by Claire-Louise Bennett, 2016. Everybody knows deep down that life is as much about the things that do not happen as the things that do and that’s not something that ought to be glossed over or denied because without frustration there would hardly be...

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Jackson Arn on Delacroix’s Photograph

Jackson Arn on Delacroix’s Photograph

There was a point somewhere between birth and puberty when I would spend hours drawing pictures of bearded men. What interested me most was the beards themselves...

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Rainy Cafe

Rainy Cafe

To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world...

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Earliest Gestures

Earliest Gestures

I can never go back and know what, as an infant, I first felt, what my original sensations were, nor can I recapture the initial experience of moving, of being touched

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Michael Gottlieb on Drew Gardner

Michael Gottlieb on Drew Gardner

Ronald Reagan dies, goes to hell, eventually earns his horns and pitchfork and comes back up here to bedevil us again. It’s years later now.

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The Black Monday Protests in Polish Women’s Art

The Black Monday Protests in Polish Women’s Art

A dozen women sitting on the streets in Warsaw were surrounded by middle-aged male protestors wearing ‘football hooligan’ red-and-white scarves. There were insults, kicking...

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One Perfect Sentence #1

One Perfect Sentence #1

Not “my mother stayed alive” but “my mother’s body.” The sentence comes near the midpoint of the novel as the narrator thinks back to the death of her parents. Her mother is in a coma where...

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Rodney Sharkey: A Question for Nick Cave

Rodney Sharkey: A Question for Nick Cave

It is early June in 2018. As the lights go down to signal the beginning of “So what do you want to know? An evening with Nick Cave” held at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin...

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How Jung’s collective unconscious inspired Alcoholics Anonymous

How Jung’s collective unconscious inspired Alcoholics Anonymous

According to correspondence between Rowland Hazard and his cousin, he had daily sessions with Jung in Zürich over several months, and stopped drinking...

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Letter to a Young Poet

Letter to a Young Poet

Did you ever meet, or was he before your day, that old gentleman—I forget his name—who used to enliven conversation, especially at breakfast when the post came in...

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Jennifer Seaman Cook: Time is Running Out

Jennifer Seaman Cook: Time is Running Out

Today, we find ourselves encountering a new Southern strategy that appeals, in addition to old racist division, to isolating the structural violence of women, as if the issues of unwanted pregnancy, poverty...

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They Can Tell

They Can Tell

Before they started their successful wildcat strike last year, West Virginia teachers railed against the introduction of a workplace wellness program called Go365.

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Again They Are Scared

Again They Are Scared

When Chinese law professor Xu Zhangrun began publishing articles last year criticizing the government’s turn toward a harsher variety of authoritarianism...

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Marjorie Harrington on Medieval Soul-Health

Marjorie Harrington on Medieval Soul-Health

The idea of Christus medicus, Christ the Physician, is a commonplace in late medieval religious texts. In Soul-Health: Therapeutic Reading in Later Medieval England, Daniel McCann...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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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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