Berfrois

The Critical Horizon of Barbara K. Lewalski

The Critical Horizon of Barbara K. Lewalski

Three years ago I spent an afternoon with Barbara in her home on University Avenue in Providence, talking a little about the past but mostly about the future, especially politics.

Read More

The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Virginia Woolf

The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Virginia Woolf

If it is true that there are books written to escape from the present moment, and its meanness and its sordidity...

Read More

2 Cups Tea

2 Cups Tea

Poet Joanne Kyger died last year on March 22 at the age of 82, leaving behind a long list of published and unpublished books...

Read More

Milk and Money

Milk and Money

In October 2016 The Bookseller reported the highest-ever annual sales of poetry books, ‘both in volume and value’.

Read More

Gerardo Muñoz on Wilson Bueno

Gerardo Muñoz on Wilson Bueno

That the philosopher or the novelist has rarely withstood the moment of shipwreck in the unfolding of metaphoricity as basic substratum for existence...

Read More

‘South Asian speculative fiction has its own monsters to slay’

‘South Asian speculative fiction has its own monsters to slay’

Somewhere in Britain, a dark wizard has gathered his forces, mustering an army that will hold a magical world in thrall. And somewhere in the future, fertile women are enslaved, their bodies turned to the service of a god-fearing state for whom children are the most precious resource.

Read More

“New times elicit new genres”

“New times elicit new genres”

Belarusian journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for her work documenting the lives of Soviet and post-Soviet citizens.

Read More

Rime of the Algae Gatherer by Jessica Sequeira

Rime of the Algae Gatherer by Jessica Sequeira

In his Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge describes a ‘rotting sea’ full of ‘slimy things.’ What is a slimy thing?

Read More

Eric D. Lehman on Edmund Gosse

Eric D. Lehman on Edmund Gosse

Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments was anonymously published in 1907 and faced immediate backlash in England due to its apparent criticism of Victorian morality.

Read More

‘I was happy living on my own’

‘I was happy living on my own’

The apartment was a dive. There was no way to defrost the freezer. It was just a solid block of ice. When you opened the door, it was like looking out a small window after an avalanche.

Read More

The Art of Fiction by Willa Cather

The Art of Fiction by Willa Cather

One is sometimes asked about the "obstacles" that confront young writers who are trying to do good work...

Read More

Kevin Hong on Critical Assembly

Kevin Hong on Critical Assembly

Thirty-three years in the making, Critical Assembly details the thoughts and experiences of forty-six people involved in the creation of the atomic bomb.

Read More

Over the Grave

Over the Grave

If the circumstances of a not-untypical Denis Johnson character are defined by the story The Starlight on Idaho – “on” not “over” because it’s actually a rehab facility.

Read More

Mary McCarthy’s Factuality

Mary McCarthy’s Factuality

In the winter of 1960, Mary McCarthy—the writer whom Norman Mailer once described as “our saint, our umpire, our lit arbiter, our broadsword”...

Read More

Illegal Literature

Illegal Literature

It was by happy coincidence that my review copy of David S. Roh’s Illegal Literature arrived in my mailbox the day I started sending out permission requests for reuse of material for a forthcoming manuscript.

Read More

Michael J. Seidlinger: An Incomplete List

Michael J. Seidlinger: An Incomplete List

The walking, always the walking, worse when with the wonderful people that opened their lives to me for the day, day and a half, before I returned to the road...

Read More

Up to Heaven All Alone

Up to Heaven All Alone

It was 1995, the year Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” was released, the end of my eighth-grade year, in rural Kentucky where homophobia was—and continues to be—rampant. My secret boyfriend and I—the one I had kissed in darkened classrooms

Read More

Power and New York’s Forgotten Waterfronts

Power and New York’s Forgotten Waterfronts

In Jennifer Egan’s The Keep, a former New York club promoter boasts a sixth sense for authority: “Danny could walk in a room and know who had power the way some people know from the feel of the air that it’s going to snow.”

Read More

Fountain Pens, Ballpoints, Typewriters, Laptops

Fountain Pens, Ballpoints, Typewriters, Laptops

I knew a poet who could only write his poems with a stub of a pencil. Nothing else worked for him as well. His family and friends bought him fountain pens, ballpoints, typewriters...

Read More