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2015 Public Funding for Berfrois
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Help Berfrois remain publicly funded and free of advertisements. More

Joe Linker: Improvisations on a Theme

Li Po’s restless night

Poetry should be an everyday occurrence, not necessarily a scholarly effort or something for the classroom. It should be a habit of mind, like random thoughts while drifting off to sleep, the kind that turn into dreams where memory is mixed with the present. More

Alexei Grinbaum: Homologic Assurance

Wittgenstein prepared the ground for Logical Positivism

Literature, due to its consideration of science only as a metaphor, enjoys a great advantage over philosophy. More

Janice Lee: Why I Can't Remember My Mother's Face

Memories are like stutters

She exists now only in your memory. And that is a terrifying thought. It shakes you, bitter and nauseous. You fall to the floor choking, gagging, laughing madly, tears streaming down your cheeks. More

Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Hills

Exuberance strikes

The same people walk by, eyes fixated on phone screens. They walk by in silence, no greetings exchanged. Others walk their dogs, or their dogs walk them. The dogs serve the same purpose as the screens: self-eviction, keeping people from being thereMore

Russell Bennetts: Flat White Lit Chat

A sluggish coffee or a glowing tea?

I brew my own tea, but always forget about it steeping and come back to a lukewarm tooth-squeaker potion. That I then have to warm it up in the microwave. More

Jay Aquinas Thompson: Our Criticism Could Be Your Life

An interview with Eric Weisbard

Before the internet era transformed music, the main cultural capital possessed by the critic was access to free records. When your ability to rummage and check things out was very limited if you didn’t get things for free, the critic became an intermediary for the public and in particular had a real role in helping lift someone from obscurity to semi-obscurity. More

Owen Hark: Ephemeral Things

On little magazines

In December, our final issue of HARK will be released. We’re proud of the poets and writers we have published in that time. We’re proud of the editors and artists we have worked with. It is a story repeated many times; the origin myth of all poetry editors. It is tragic, because so often magazines fold not because we want them to, but because of external pressures. ‘Real’ jobs, relationships, the costs of hosting or printing, capitalism, time. Always we battle against time. More

Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles: Luc Moullet’s Double Fake-Out

Tracking food sovereignty in the '70s

How do we as relatively wealthy inhabitants of the Global North, ostensibly the audience for the Moullet's Origins of a Meal, grapple with the system even as we inhabit the system? What are we doing and what can be done? More

Humans seem wired for narrative and analogy, but, at the same time, so much of what happens in our lives is random and out of our control. More

Marcelo Cohen: Ripplestones

Two or more ghosts

In the past few decades, talking about 'a story' has become increasingly practical for a number of disciplines, from philosophy and anthropology to political science and journalism. There’s a widespread agreement that humans see or live their experiences as a kind of narration, that we’re naturally novelists of ourselves.  More

Keith Doubt: Collective Destruction

What is sociocide?

Sociocide is the consequence at the collective level of what Freud calls the destructive instinct. Sociocide reflects the negative energy of necrophilia leading to the near destruction of the human species. Will Iraq ever be a well-functioning society again? Will Syria? More

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Winning

Once upon a time, a young man ventured to hold an exhibition in a museum

Basically, Edi Rama is using his public office to revive his personal artistic career. More

It was clear that a company was setting up a project to reopen and exploit the Spaç mines. More

The bunkers turned the entirety of the Albanian territory into a military space. More

I was stunned to find a group of workers actually constructing a bunker in the middle of the city. More


Heather Lang: The Sounds of Visual Orchestration

On Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

The sound of the poem is more available to a silent reader through what she sees on the page. The imagery is also enhanced for the listener through both the silent and audible music of the piece.More

Stanimir Panayotov: Oleg Mavromatti’s No Place for Fools

Good, you are famous now

Mavromatti’s cinematography of agony is made of a person filming himself at home. A person making a film at home is a kind of ironic technological wedlock between subject and object. More

Menachem Feuer: Cynicism and Comedy

From Charles Baudelaire and Michel Houellebecq to Slavoj Žižek and President Obama

While French writers like Baudelaire and Houellebecq have done their utmost to deepen their commitment to cynicism by way of comedy, we have seen a different response to cynicism in the United States.  More

Wouldn’t it be naïve to think one can simply throw off the ideological mask and escape cynicism? More

Nadav Samin: Existing in History

Genealogy and social contestation in modern Saudi Arabia

Sifting through the religious texts, vernacular poems and oral narratives generated by central Arabia’s inhabitants over the past three hundred years, I found that the words of that far-flung corner of the Islamic world form a distinctive corpus that is ripe for the sort of humanistic inquiry proposed by Edward Said. More

Adam Staley Groves: Shockingly Abhorrent

Radical conservative Jan Mickelson suggests enslaving illegal immigrants in Iowa

His idea is without precedent, for it does not accord with the state’s juridical tradition of progressive, populist civil rights or general enfranchisement.  More

Jessica Sequeira: Animal Spirits

Sitting in a café, day after day

Are there animal spirits about today? It does not appear that the fish are biting.  More

A convincing counter-argument initially seemed difficult to formulate. As I awaited a second cortado, however, a solution came to me. More

Jeremy Fernando: Not-Doing

A triptych

Bartleby challenges authority to reveal itself, to not hide behind the illusion that it is offering a choice. In other words, what Bartleby does is to challenge daddy to show himself. More

M.R. James: Some Remarks on Ghost Stories

The reading of many ghost stories has shown me that the greatest successes have been scored by the authors who can make us envisage a definite time and place, and give us plenty of clear-cut and matter-of-fact detail, but who, when the climax is reached, allow us to be just a little in the dark as to the working of their machinery. We do not want to see the bones of their theory about the supernatural. More

Virginia Woolf: Professions for Women

You have only got to figure to yourselves a girl in a bedroom with a pen in her hand. She had only to move that pen from left to right — from ten o’clock to one. Then it occurred to her to do what is simple and cheap enough after all — to slip a few of those pages into an envelope, fix a penny stamp in the corner, and drop the envelope into the red box at the corner. It was thus that I became a journalist; and my effort was rewarded on the first day of the following month — a very glorious day it was for me — by a letter from an editor containing a cheque for one pound ten shillings and sixpence. More

G.K. Chesterton: A Defence of Detective Stories

The detective story is the earliest and only form of popular literature in which is expressed some sense of the poetry of modern life. Men lived among mighty mountains and eternal forests for ages before they realized that they were poetical; it may reasonably be inferred that some of our descendants may see the chimney-pots as rich a purple as the mountain-peaks, and find the lamp-posts as old and natural as the trees. More


‘The Starship' by Sarah Blake

Short story:

'Bobok' by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


William Blake’s Radicalism



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