Berfrois

Marian Janssen on Elizabeth Bishop

Marian Janssen on Elizabeth Bishop

Thomas Travisano paints a structured, sensitive portrait of Bishop. He is at his best when explaining her work, which he immaculately interweaves with her life.

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Jessica Sequeira: Two Augurs

Jessica Sequeira: Two Augurs

Archaic, oracular and paradoxical ,  inspired by studies of occult philosophy yet destined for a wider readership unacquainted with these currents , this collection of poems by Olga Acevedo

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Poet Times

Poet Times

The poet is born in squalor, his first love. Some of the poet’s favorite words include seedy, shabby, seamy.

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Amit Majmudar on Anthony Madrid

Amit Majmudar on Anthony Madrid

Not all limericks are not-quite-nonsense, but the most limerickish ones are. As Anthony Madrid, author of a new collection of limericks illustrated by Mark Fletcher, says in a short essay...

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Cry On My Stomach

Cry On My Stomach

The title of Elaine Kahn’s new collection, Romance or The End (Soft Skull Press, 2020), feels like an ultimatum. Traditionally—heteronormatively—the end comes just after the wedding

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Writing Differently

Writing Differently

Danilo Kiš famously observed that the western bracketing of Balkan literature as narrowly ‘political’ rested on a set of mutually reinforcing stereotypes.

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A loss in the vocabulary of attention…

A loss in the vocabulary of attention…

I am 18 years old. It’s the first week of college. I’m sitting in the third row. The classroom is overflowing — students are spilling out of benches, their voices bigger than their bodies — when the professor walks in.

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Ass as Raw Heart

Ass as Raw Heart

Over more than three decades and thirteen books of poems, Carl Phillips has been conducting an inquiry into intimacy, especially sexual intimacy...

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Ed Simon on Sean Bonney

Ed Simon on Sean Bonney

Prophets often die before their time, usually when the rest of us need their voices most. This was the fate of the English radical poet Sean Bonney, who died last November

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Deep, slow moving darkness!

Deep, slow moving darkness!

Tucked on a side street in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood is Foyer, a small store specializing in plants, stationery, and “treasures.” On a bleak January day I stopped in for a couple of tillandsia and succulents...

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Were has the butterfly flown?

Were has the butterfly flown?

As Randall Jarrell once wrote of Walt Whitman, “baby critics who have barely learned to complain of the lack of ambiguity in Peter Rabbit can tell you all that is wrong with Leaves of Grass.”

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Jessica Sequeira: Gloss on a Betel Nut

Jessica Sequeira: Gloss on a Betel Nut

Fodder: cows and horses eat the stuff, dried hay or straw, but what is it exactly? A beige substance to be consumed and excreted, a material to be burnt, pure fuel.

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Medha Singh on Octavio Paz

Medha Singh on Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz grants himself the permission to write long poems, and in doing so he grants it to all the imitators he knows his work will engender.

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Cavafy wrote his poetry here…

Cavafy wrote his poetry here…

I arrived in Istanbul with the hope of solving a literary mystery. Like many readers before me, I wanted to locate the house where Cavafy had lived...

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The prose poem is one of the most abiding whatabouts…

The prose poem is one of the most abiding whatabouts…

It’s the insiders—the poets, the tenured—who like to “problematize” poetry and wield their whatabouts.

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Triple Bluffs by Jessica Sequeira

Triple Bluffs by Jessica Sequeira

Two books about solitary poets travelling the Mediterranean and writing poems came my way within a relatively short period of time; it made sense to treat them within the same space.

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Andrew Epstein: John Ashbery, Jordan Ellenberg and Math

Andrew Epstein: John Ashbery, Jordan Ellenberg and Math

To my surprise, in the car the other day my math-obsessed 14-year-old son Dylan suddenly exclaimed “John Ashbery!” from the backseat. It turns out he’d reached the last pages of Jordan Ellenberg's...

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Poetry Oblivion Evito-Meter

Poetry Oblivion Evito-Meter

What is your favourite lost poem? There’s a lot of material (not) out there to choose from, from the lost plays of Aeschylus to the discarded hospital poems of Anne Sexton and Ivan Blatný.

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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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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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