Berfrois

Gurped Out

Gurped Out

On any given day, walking around the yard, one was almost certain to hear one prisoner ask another, “Hey, man, got any gurps?” I knew it had something to do with drugs...

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Slowly Drinking

Slowly Drinking

The nights I could not sleep, I would walk. There is an idea that London never sleeps; this is not quite true. There is a tidal lull, a drowsy half-stillness in those hazy hours between its periods of madness.

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Max Ritvo Writes to Sarah Ruhl

Max Ritvo Writes to Sarah Ruhl

Dearest Max, A letter. And fair warning—this is a letter about the afterlife, so read on only if you wish to contemplate such things.

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Once a Great Sleeper

Once a Great Sleeper

The question: “Why do so many women have so many problems with sleep?” is an important question for me because I am a bad sleeper who was not always a bad sleeper, who was once a great sleeper.

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The Sea’s Salty Spray

The Sea’s Salty Spray

My first teaching job carried me straight from the RAF and England to St. John’s, Newfoundland, when I was but 27. I still find my first impressions to be the overpowering ones: of fog or knocking sea.

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Dossing Down in Doorways

Dossing Down in Doorways

Paris, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Nuit Blanche : Nathan Coley, 2006. Photograph by Vincent Desjardins From Dublin Review of Books: Sante’s chapter on insurgents across the centuries is detailed and evocative but ties itself, however colourfully, to a history of facts and dates and salient events. By chapter 11 even the...

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Words never make anything that is useful…

Words never make anything that is useful…

The title of this series is “Words Fail Me,” and this particular talk is called “Craftsmanship.” We must suppose, therefore, that the talker is meant to discuss the craft of words — the craftsmanship of the writer.

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Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

For the third time this month I’ve locked myself out of my online banking facility. Each time I have run over the limit of making three mistakes in my password.

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Supremacy or Privilege?

Supremacy or Privilege?

From the cover of Black Panther No. 1, to be published this year, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Drawn by Brian Stelfreeze. From Dublin Review of Books: The ubiquity of smartphones and dashboard cameras has meant that digital capture of police transgression is more available than ever, and the viral spread of...

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Tomoé Hill on scent and sex in Ulysses

Tomoé Hill on scent and sex in Ulysses

As a scent obsessive, these lines from the “Nausicaa” chapter in Ulysses represent much more than they might seem.

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Max Ritvo on family, Mortal Kombat and cancer

Max Ritvo on family, Mortal Kombat and cancer

Illustration by Victoria Ritvo by Max Ritvo 1 My only act of violence as a child was one of mutual play. I was friends with Miranda, our housekeeper’s niece, and we were playing pretend Mortal Kombat. We were very conscious of the fact that it was a game. Neither...

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The Same Lakeside House

The Same Lakeside House

“In the sand of Brandenburg, every square foot of ground has its story and is telling it, too – but one has to be willing to listen to these often quiet voices.” Thomas Harding chooses this quote, from Theodor Fontane, to open his personal, yet historically wide-ranging, account.

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Paul Rowe and Daniel Simonds on Peter Caputo

Paul Rowe and Daniel Simonds on Peter Caputo

Peter Caputo’s oneiric imagination divines prose poems capable of warding off the curse of having gazed upon too many shattered mirrors, broken lines.

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Obama on Eliot

Obama on Eliot

Obama begins with a strikingly suggestive insight into Eliot’s literary and religious tradition and his special relation to it: Eliot is one of a line of Protestant visionary and apocalyptic writers from Thomas Münzer (or Müntzer) in the sixteenth century to Yeats in the twentieth.

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‘Children confiscate your mask, leaving you far more exposed than lovers can’

‘Children confiscate your mask, leaving you far more exposed than lovers can’

A few months ago, I had to go through all of my photo albums, starting from early childhood, in conjunction with a film project with which I am involved.

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Is writing an art or a career?

Is writing an art or a career?

Writers as varied as Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, and Mary McCarthy would have been outraged to be called anything other than professionals, and when you push past Mark Twain’s most renowned books, you find a lot of writing that did little more than spin off from his celebrity.

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‘Tupitsyn is a kind of heretic’

‘Tupitsyn is a kind of heretic’

Whether voiced in the first, second or third person, I take the stories that Masha Tupitsyn tells about her person to be selectively true.

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What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us.

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