Berfrois

Try Clavics

Try Clavics

In the beginning, there is polyphony, false starts, botched experiments, and mixed motives. Usually.

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‘Trees, a field, and sky’

‘Trees, a field, and sky’

A couple of years ago I was living in Knebel, down by Mols. My window had a view of trees, a field, and sky. I carried on long conversations with that view

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Poetry on the Front Line

Poetry on the Front Line

The canonization of the Moscow poet Kirill Medvedev (born 1975) seems to be taking place in real time: in the past several years, international and critical audiences began catching on to a distinctive voice familiar to Moscow literary circles since the early 2000s.

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Before the Tempest Hurl’d

Before the Tempest Hurl’d

Hunt started his working life as a surgeon’s apprentice before making a living, at different times, as a chemist and druggist, a statistician with the geological survey, and a professor at the School of Mines in London.

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Devin King on Lindsay Turner

Devin King on Lindsay Turner

If you open Lindsay Turner’s new book of poems, Songs and Ballads, at random, you’re going to be looking at a poem that’s meant to be sung, and it’s more than likely on a topic you would never think to sing about...

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Jessica Sequeira: Julio Barrenechea in India

Jessica Sequeira: Julio Barrenechea in India

Sun of India, Barrenechea’s book of poems, was published in New Delhi while he was living there. At first read, it may seem a simple take on the traditions of the country as filtered through the sensibility of the poet...

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“Sell poetry as a hit, the way you sell coffee or chilli”

“Sell poetry as a hit, the way you sell coffee or chilli”

Even after escaping school, Moran’s late teens were miserable. “I was trying to figure out what the hell to do. I didn’t have any qualifications and I was pretty desperate.

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A Politics of Mere Being by Carl Phillips

A Politics of Mere Being by Carl Phillips

When my first book of poems came out in 1992, I learned what it could mean to be seen as a political poet for no other reason than because of who or what one is...

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Now it’s light, now it’s a shadow…

Now it’s light, now it’s a shadow…

A Russian poet died in North Carolina, on Friday. His name was Naum Korzhavin.

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Don’t Cry

Don’t Cry

It’s early on a Sunday morning in January of 2010. I sit on the edge of the bed, already dressed, with my hand on my partner’s foot as he sleeps. The night before, I couldn’t catch my breath, and I told myself that if I felt the same in...

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Poets’ Houses: Hofmann, Forrest-Thomson

Poets’ Houses: Hofmann, Forrest-Thomson

Michael Hofmann is one of the great poets of squalid student digs, and ‘Between Bed and Wastepaper Basket’ is one of his great poems.

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Poets’ Houses: Tonks, Longville, Mew

Poets’ Houses: Tonks, Longville, Mew

My mother almost certainly misdelivered Rosemary Tonks’ newspaper when she was eight...

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Poets’ Houses: Elizabeth Bishop, Edgell Rickwood, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Poets’ Houses: Elizabeth Bishop, Edgell Rickwood, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Lots of poets drank at the Fitzroy. It was a haunt of Dylan Thomas and William Empson and Nina Hammett and Malcolm Lowry; it gets a mention in Briggflatts...

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Poets’ Houses: Ruskin, Larkin, The Group

Poets’ Houses: Ruskin, Larkin, The Group

This building in Warwick, now a venue for wedding ceremonies, has the distinction of being the only place where Larkin had to drudge. In 1942, his second year at Oxford, the ground floor was the Fuel Office, and he took a summer job there which he hated.

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Poets’ Houses: Sitwell, Moore, Gray

Poets’ Houses: Sitwell, Moore, Gray

When it comes to interior shots of Edith Sitwell houses, this blog certainly spoils its readers. This is the room in which she was born in 1887, currently the offices of the lively Scarborough-based Valley Press.

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Rather than vulnerably acquiescent to the drab…

Rather than vulnerably acquiescent to the drab…

In a characteristically passionate 1937 letter to a friend, the novelist Helen Anderson, Murray explains, “Hysteria is to me preferable to the pedantic oscillations of a void. I would rather be mad and bad, erratic and incomprehensible, than vulnerably acquiescent to the drab.”

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Poetry before the Fall by Ed Simon

Poetry before the Fall by Ed Simon

Spare a thought of pity for the person who has looked at the warmth of the sun and not seen him smiling, espied the mysteriousness of the moon without acknowledging her meditative melancholy, or been upon a raging ocean and not empathized with its mad fury.

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