2024 – Spring

Which Shakespeare Character Are You? – Quizzes

We have prepared three quizzes for you to find out which badass female Shakespeare character, which evil Shakespearean character and which drama-llama Shakespeare character you are. Enjoy!

Which badass female Shakespeare character are you?

What is your worst flaw?

A. What are you talking about, I’m flawless!

B. I’m too short.

C. I’m too faithful and dedicated to my husband who has trust issues with me.

D. I look like my brother.

Are you in love?

A. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

B. Yes, with my boyfriend but my father doesn’t approve of him.

C. Yes, with my husband but we’re having issues right now.

D. Yes, but he’s in love with someone else (sighs).

Do you believe in true love?

A. Honestly, what is your deal with love?!

B. Of course I do and I’d do anything to protect it!

C. I thought I did but my husband’s strange behaviour is making me doubt the relationship.

D. I truly do but things are a bit complicated with my crush right now…

Do you have any impressive skills?

A. I can beat your ass at a battle of wits.

B. I have all the men fall in love with me without me even trying.

C. My commitment to others is as firm as a rock.

D. I can pretend to be a man.  

What is your guilty pleasure?

A. Coming up with smart insults.

B. Provoking my father.

C. I’m afraid I have none.

D. Pretending to be a man.


If you got mostly A. you are Beatrice from Much Ado about Nothing! Beatrice is Leonato’s niece and Hero’s cousin. Unlike her cousin and most women of their time, she is feisty, cynical, witty and sharp. However, Beatrice also has a softer and more vulnerable side. During the play she is tricked into falling in love with Benedick, a soldier with whom she has a “merry war”, basically an exchange of witty insults. She is a strong character for she refuses to marry because she has not discovered the perfect, equal partner and because she is unwilling to eschew her liberty and submit to the will of a controlling husband. When Hero has been humiliated and accused of violating her chastity, Beatrice explodes with fury at Claudio for mistreating her cousin. In her frustration and rage about Hero’s mistreatment, Beatrice rebels against the unequal status of women in Renaissance society. She has often been described as a protofeminist character.

If you got mostly B. you are Hermia from A Midsummer Night’s Dream! Hermia is a strong-willed and brave young woman who at the start of the play stands up to her father to defend her love for Lysander. When things start to get rocky, the two lovers run away in the forest, followed by Demetrius and Helena and where Puck interferes and causes a heated mess between the lovers. In the end all turns out well and Hermia is allowed to live happily ever after with her beloved Lysander.

If you got mostly C. you are Desdemona from Othello! Desdemona is the daughter of Brabantio (a Venetian senator) and Othello’s wife. Desdemona is a courageous young woman defending her husband against her father’s racist disapproval and she remains faithful to her husband until her very last breath. She thinks the best of people and gives everyone a chance. She is also an extremely caring and empathetic character.

If you got mostly D. you are Viola from Twelfth Night! Viola survives a shipwreck at the start of the play which separates her from her twin brother Sebastian and she ends up on shore in Illyria. There she decides to cross-dress as a man and to take a job at Duke Orsino’s court. As the boy servant, “Cesario,” Viola quickly becomes Orsino’s favorite page and is given the task of wooing Olivia on Orsino’s behalf. As “Cesario,” Viola’s a little too good at her job and she finds herself in the middle of a messy love triangle when Olivia falls in love with “Cesario,” who can’t return the Countess’s favors because Viola is in love with the Duke. I promise you, it all works out in the end.

Which evil Shakespeare character are you?

What is your guilty pleasure?

A. Nagging my spouse.

B. Wooing my brother’s wife.

C. Manipulating people, duh.

D. Plotting murder. 

What are you most skilled in?

A. Pep talks.

B. Pathologically lying.

C. Gaslighting.

D. Turning someone into a hitman. 

What is your worst flaw?

A. I married a coward.

B. Murderous tendencies.

C. I have none. I’m perfect, don’t you see?

D. Jealousy. 

What is your biggest fear?

A. That I won’t become queen of Scotland (I deserve it).

B. That my nephew will come after me for murdering his father (my brother).

C. Failing to manipulate people, it’s so entertaining, mouahahaha.

D. Caesar ruling one more day. 

Do you believe in love?

A. There’s no such thing, I only believe in power.

B. Love? What is that?

C. In other people yes, and boy, don’t I love ruining romantic relationships.

D. Don’t have the time for the affairs of the heart. 

If you got mostly A. you are Lady Macbeth from Macbeth! Lady Macbeth is the wife of the play’s tragic hero, Macbeth (a Scottish nobleman). She encourages her husband to commit regicide and consequently becomes queen of Scotland. She’s got quite some power over her husband as she manipulates him to do as she pleases, especially when it comes to killing others. After he becomes a murderous tyrant, surprisingly, Lady Macbeth looses her cool and is driven to madness by guilt and as a result commits suicide.

If you got mostly B. you are Claudius from Hamlet! King Claudius is the brother of King Hamlet, whom he secretly assassinates in order to become king. He then marries his brother’s wife, Gertrude, and becomes Prince Hamlet’s stepfather. Prince Hamlet finds out about the assassination once his father’s ghost pays him a visit and plans to kill him. Claudius gets suspicious about Hamlet once he starts behaving all weird and hires his childhood friends to keep an eye on him. Claudius eventually comes up with a plan that will kill Hamlet but ends up slain by him right before he dies.  

If you got mostly C. you are Iago from Othello! Iago is Othello’s standard-bearer and trusted advisor but he hates his guts. He plans to destroy him through manipulation by making him believe that his wife Desdemona is having an affair with his lieutenant, Michael Cassio. Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most sinister villains, often considered such because of the unique trust that Othello places in him, which he betrays while maintaining his reputation for honesty and dedication. Iago is a Machiavellian schemer and manipulator, as he is often referred to as “honest Iago”, displaying his skill at deceiving other characters so that not only do they not suspect him, but they count on him as the person most likely to be truthful.

If you got mostly D. you are Cassius from Julius Caesar! Cassius is the leader and organizer of the assassination plot to kill Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome. Motivated by his envy and jealousy over Caesar’s rise to power, Cassius manipulates others to join him. A keen letter writer, Cassius forges letters from dissatisfied citizens to influence Brutus, a fellow senator and general. Cassius had been Caesar’s friend for much of their lives; in addition, Cassius served as a capable general under Caesar.

Which drama-llama Shakespeare character are you?

You identify as:

A. A spaniel and a bit of an emotional roller coaster to be honest.

B. A hilarious person.

C. The worthy heir to the throne.

D. A master procrastinator.

Do you have any best friends?

A. I used to when I was little but my crush is now pining after her so we’re not on speaking terms.

B. Does plotting murder together make us best buds?

C. What is that?

D. I might have, like, two friends, but I don’t even bother remembering their names right.

What is your relationship status?

A. A situationship, I guess (sighs).

B. Single like a happy pringle!

C. I’m married to my terrifying spouse.

D. I have a girlfriend, but I have more important things to deal with right now! Stop distracting me!

When were you at your lowest?

A. When I slept with this dude who didn’t even love me back.

B. Whenever I have to deal with storms (they’re scary!).

C. When I lost my wife who was my rock whenever I freaked out about all the crimes I committed.

D. When I accidentally killed my girlfriend’s dad thinking he was my treacherous uncle!

In times of trouble you tend to…

A. Run after my lover in the forest, duh.

B. There’s no trouble anymore if you runaway and disappear, right?

C. I freak out to my wife.

D. I ruminate and wear black clothes (I’m in my emo era).

If you got mostly A. you are Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream! Helena is a young Athenian who at the start of the play is in love with Demetrius who is in love with another gal. Regardless, Helena stands her ground and remains committed to her lover. She’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and takes things to heart, but in the end of the day all she wants is to be loved back. And in the end she succeeds!

If you got mostly B. you are Caska from Julius Caesar! Caska is one of the conspirators against Julius Ceaser who assassinated him. He’s quite dramatic, terrified of the weather and extremely superstitious. Cassius describes him as smarter than what he appears to be and decides he will be the first to stab Caesar. Caska fled from Rome after the assassination.

If you got mostly C. you are Macbeth from Macbeth! You guessed it, Macbeth is the protagonist of his eponymous play. Now, he’s a bit of a mess: when he is told that he is to become king, he starts killing in order for that to become true. But it comes at a cost as his conscious awakes and he gets eaten up with guilt. Now, you’d think that he would stop killing after this, but nooooo, he continues doing just that in order to remain king. Lady Macbeth, his emotional support system in this bloody business is the only one that manages to make Macbeth stick to his plan whenever he’s about to lose it…until she loses it herself.

If you got mostly D. you are Hamlet from Hamlet! Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark and mourns his father at the start of the play, dresses in black and is kind of the equivalent of a teenager going through his emo phase. When he finds out his uncle killed his father and is required from his father’s ghost to avenge his death, Hamlet starts to slowly but surely lose it… He spends sleepless nights ruminating and going through one existential crises after another, harasses his girlfriend and mother, kills the wrong person, and so on.

2024 – Spring

Dear Felicity – A Literary Advice Column

Dear Felicity,

I have had a bunch of issues lately. It all started after dad died and his ghost paid me a visit to tell me that, wait-for-it, my uncle, his own brother killed him! And then ghost-dad asked me to avenge his death. Now, killing a man is really hard and I’ve been procrastinating on it for a while, but then, when I finally found the guts to do it, I accidently killed my girlfriend’s dad instead! Can you believe it?? Oh, and speaking of my girlfriend, she drowned herself yesterday… What am I to do Felicity?!

Yours truly,


Dear Master-procrastinator-killer-boy,

Wow, I must say, that is some rough stuff you have going on and I’m sorry to hear about all your losses! I heard two of your friends came to pay you a visit, which sounds quite nice of them. Maybe you should go and hang out with them. It sounds like you need a solid emotional support system to get you through this and prevent you from hurting anyone else in the process. And I know this will be hard to hear, but killing another person won’t make you feel any better about your father’s death, so perhaps you should set that quest aside.

All best,


Dearest Felicity,

I hope you are doing quite well. I’m writing to you because I have this huge dilemma. You see, my boyfriend and I have been given this wonderful opportunity to live freely in this exquisit, heaven-like garden, and honestly I could have never felt happier than I do right now. But there’s this one tree’s fruit that we’re not supposed to eat and all, but then I saw this beautiful and eloquent snake that kept tempting me to eat it and share it with my babe too! Now, I don’t want to upset the big guy upstairs, but that fruit smells sooooo goooood, I’m dying to taste it! Plus, it turns out that it might make me smarter! So why not go for it…? What’s the worst thing that could happen to me if I disobey?

Yours respectfully,


Dear Fruit-craving-girl,

I feel you, just by reading your letter I’ve been craving for that piece of fruit too! But are you sure you want to take advice from some random snake? I don’t know about you, but that guy sounds sketchy to me. Listen, you don’t want you and your hubby to get into any trouble, right? So, do the right thing, and listen to the big guy upstairs and continue living happily with your boyfriend! It would be such a pity if you lost what you have and, oh I don’t know, got kicked out of that scrumptious garden!

All best,


Dear Felicity,

My uncle has this fascinating naughty brother who I’m completely in love with even thought for a while I had never known him until today and we got engaged! But then I met this chick, who I thought was going to become my new best friend (other than the bees that I talk to and the trees I climb on) until I found out that she was engaged to my dear boy too!! What shall I do Felicity?? The bees are as speechless as I am!


The girl with the bees in the trees

Dearest girl with the bees in the trees,

This sounds like quite a situation! Are you two sure you are engaged to the same man? Perhaps it’s all a big misunderstanding. Why don’t you both try and talk to your fiancé(s) and see what they say? I’m sure things will work out just as they should. Congratulations on your engagement and say “Hi” to the bees for me!

Best of luck,


2024 – Spring

Literary Crossword Puzzle

If you prefer filling out this crossword online, here’s the link: Literary Nerd’s Crossword Puzzle – Crossword Labs (but scroll down here for the answers)


  • 3. Nonfiction narrative writing based on the author’s personal memories.
  • 4. Last name of that famous American female author who wrote a famous novel about four sisters.
  • 7. Two successive rhyming lines.
  • 10. Pentameter of an unstressed stressed foot.
  • 12. The ___ Jar, novel by Sylvia Plath.
  • 15. Percy Bysshe Shelley belonged to this literary and artistic movement.
  • 16. Frederick ____ , African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, statesman and author of one of the most famous slave narratives.
  • 18. Last name of the poet who wrote “The Tyger”, “The Sick Rose” and “A Poison Tree”.
  • 19. John Milton lived during this century.
  • 21. Last name of the winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature and author of The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying and “A Rose for Emily”.
  • 23. A closed form consisting of fourteen lines of rhyming iambic pentameter.
  • 24. Last name of female author who wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, And Still I Rise, and Mother.
  • 25. Literary genre linked to fear and horror.
  • 27. This figure of speech is a deliberate exaggeration that adds emphasis, urgency, or excitement to a statement.
  • 28. First name of famous detective whose partner is Dr. Watson.


  • 1. Figure of speech that places opposite things or ideas next to one another in order to draw out their contrast.
  • 2. Jane Austen’s last complete novel.
  • 5. A ____ in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, title inspired by a Langston Hughes poem.
  • 6. This figure of speech assigns human attributes to nonhuman things.
  • 8. Capote’s first name, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Cold Blood.
  • 9. This novel’s titular character often gets mistaken as the monster’s name. Name that novel/character.
  • 11. This Shakespearean character has the same name as that hot-headed talking parrot in Walt Disney’s Aladdin.
  • 13. Last name of Victorian Irish author of A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • 14. Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel about a dysfunctional family of formerly enslaved people whose Cincinnati home is haunted by a malevolent spirit.
  • 16. Probably the most famous short story about vampires you have ever heard of.
  • 17. What colour is the hat worn by Curious George’s owner?
  • 20. Last name of the author who wrote The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast.
  • 22. Musical style originated within African-American communities in the late 19th century; famous composition of this kind of music: “The Entertainer”.
  • 26. A ___ Named Desire, play by Tennessee Williams.

*Scroll down for the answers*


  1. Memoir
  2. Romanticism
  3. Blake
  4. Truman
  5. Raisin
  6. Antithesis
  7. Sherlock
  8. Gothic
  9. Couplet
  10. Persuasion
  11. Ragtime
  12. Sonnet
  13. Douglass
  14. Hyperbole
  15. Iago
  16. Seventeenth
  17. Hemingway
  18. Faulkner
  19. Iambic
  20. Beloved
  21. “Dracula”
  22. Frankenstein
  23. Personification
  24. Alcott
  25. Margaret
  26. Yellow
  27. Streetcar
  28. Wilde
  29. Angelou
  30. Bell
2024 – Spring

Blooming Sea

Author: Sabine Weyermann

As Adichie says: “your hands through
each other’s hair, his soft and yellow 
like the swinging tassels of growing corn.”

… and there are the hidden ladybirds on your arm,
the bumblebee, lost in wild flowers,
the quiet joy in your laugh.

The softness of the yarn on your shoulders,
and those ones over me, moving like tidal waves,
before I see the impact of water crashing
in your eyes. 

There is light, and there is Spring,
I hear the horses at the station for the first time,
it makes me grin, a fragment of you in my life, 
that cannot be withdrawn.

I smile, I kiss you goodbye, as it is stolen, too few,
but there, I smile, still full of that shock darkening
your eyes,
at that very moment the surge broke on the rocks, 
and I’m wishing you good night.

…but my hand in your hair says
Stay, let us navigate the rising tide again.

2023 - Spring

Swiss Landscapes, Modernism, Nostalgia, Politics and All That Jazz: MUSE’s Interview with Matthew Scully

Authors: William Flores and Roxane Kokka

Image: © Nell Wasserstrom (Matthew’s wife). Matt enjoying an éclair in Paris.

Roxane: Hello, Matt! Thank you for accepting this interview with our magazine! It’s an honor for us to interview a new staff member and especially someone who seems to be interested in so many different disciplines. It’s quite fascinating!

Matthew: Thank you, the pleasure is all mine!

R: Could you tell us a few words about yourself? Where are you from? Where did you study and how come you ended up here?

M: It was sort of a strange process getting here. I’m from Connecticut in the US, a very small state between Boston and New York, the major landmarks in the area. But I did my bachelor’s in Montreal at McGill, where we had a bilingual university environment. And then I did all my graduate work in Boston; my master’s at Boston College and my PhD at Tufts. With its 200’000 students Boston was a great space for academics and for university life. As for UNIL, I saw a job advert on Twitter of all places! I think it was after a colleague from the Netherlands posted about it. I had a great experience with the interview process and with getting to know the faculty and, since I was offered the position I decided to take it. That was about a year ago. I think I arrived in mid-February last year.

William: Was it tough for you to leave the US?

M: In some sense, yes. I do miss Boston and a lot of my friends and colleagues who are there, although with things like Zoom and social media it’s easier to stay in touch. But other than that the transition wasn’t too hard. Everyone in the department has been really wonderful and welcoming. So, the shift from teaching in Boston to teaching in Lausanne has been fairly smooth. And my wife, who is also an academic, had already been in France for a year and a half, so I was already familiar with the European academic system. In terms of bureaucratic procedures, however, like health insurance, it took me a few months to truly get into the system, but once I got that settled, it was much easier.

R: So, did you also move with your wife who lived in France?

M: Actually, I was commuting from Boston to Paris about once a month, more or less, and I would also spend a few months over the summer to max out my tourist visa. This is the first time I’m living in Europe for a longer period.

R: And how do you like Lausanne, so far?

M: Well, I didn’t know what to expect at first but I’ve really enjoyed it. Now that I’ve settled and figured out all the bureaucratic procedures, it’s been great! I’ve been exploring Lausanne and taking advantage of all the things to do around, like hiking and the wine country, which has been a highlight! I’ve really liked it so far and, again, the department is truly fantastic and I’ve enjoyed getting to know all of my colleagues! Having people here to talk to and meeting people in Geneva as well, developing all those connections has been nice and helpful. All these friends and colleagues gave me recommendations for things to do and see in Switzerland, so that has kept me quite occupied.

R: Was there anything in particular that stood out to you?

M: When I first arrived, after landing in Zürich and taking the train to Lausanne, that moment when we came out of the tunnel by the Lavaux and I saw the Alps, and the lake, it was all so comically beautiful… Especially because it was such a perfect day and I felt kind of jetlagged and confused! That has really stood out to me. Now I live close to the center and I like to run along the lake and it’s still stunningly picturesque. I love the landscape throughout Switzerland, especially after having been in a place that isn’t quite as stunning.

R: I also love the views here! I like to run in the vineyards while looking at the landscape and then I get all distracted and go “oh, wait, I have to take a picture!”

M: Totally! Do you stay at the lower levels or do you go up?

R: I live further up, so it always goes up and down, but it’s fun!

M: Yeah, I’ve personally stuck to the flat parts…

R: You appear to have a very large range of interests from visual arts, to music and politics, psychoanalysis and, of course, American literature; so, I was wondering, why American literature, specifically? Is there a particular reason?

M: That’s a really good question. I actually came to American literature late during my PhD. In fact, throughout my master’s I was working on British literature and focused on British modernism in particular. But then, for a series of reasons, something about American literature made more sense to me and I also started shifting to the contemporary sphere. I think partly my own reading led me to contemporary American literature, but also some of the questions that come up with American studies and literature that seem open to a very diverse set of texts. It just seemed to fit better with my own theoretical interests.

R: According to UNIL’s website you are currently working on a new book on several different topics. Could you tell our readers a little more about it?

M: Sure! I have just signed my official book contract with Fordham, so the manuscript will be done in June and scheduled to appear next spring. The book is about democracy and democratic anarchy. The motivation for the book was to see how the word “democracy” in the US is now used both on the Left and on the Right, but for completely different purposes. The word has become an empty signifier and can mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean. So, part of the book interrogates this language confusion while also recovering the core principles of democracy, such as equality and freedom. That’s why I make the link between democracy and anarchy, as the latter keeps open questions of equality and freedom where democracy, as it is deployed in the US political discourse, forecloses those ideals. It’s a politically motivated book, but most of the main texts are literary with a few exceptions, such as a visual art piece and a couple of references to film and some political speeches. The goal was to find through these texts a discourse on democracy that resists the status quo of mainstream politics and social organisation. At the same time the book is kind of messy in the sense that democracy is also messy. I bring in several topics and types of literature and theories, and link references from the 19th century to the present, for instance. It’s a big bag of materials and questions.

R: That sounds very interesting! Do you have any other passions or projects aside from your academic ones? We were wondering precisely because you have so many different academic interests.

M: Yes, I think a lot of academics have their scholarly interests blend and bleed into their personal interests. So, for instance, I love going to museums, but at times seeing art ­– or reading even – feels like work. But I also play music.

W: What instrument?

M: The guitar, but I don’t have a band or anything over here.

W: Over here?

M: I used to in the States.

W: What kind of music did you play?

M: Mostly jazz and blues. I was trained as a jazz musician, rather than a classical one. But, my PhD program kind of destroyed the practice routine that I had, so I can’t play as well as I used to. But I still try to keep up with jazz and blues music. That’s my main interest, but I also enjoy running, hiking and swimming. Although, I couldn’t swim in the lake with this temperature…

R: I do understand what you mean by your passions and scholarly interests intersecting. I could be reading a book or be in a museum and suddenly get an idea for a university paper. It’s fun, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to enjoy these passions without that mental load.

M: Absolutely! It’s really hard to read and then not have the urge to grab a pencil…

R: I happen to be very curious about what people wanted to be when they were growing up, so I was wondering, what did you want to be and who were your role models?

M: That’s an interesting question! I can’t tell you much about my early childhood, because I can’t remember early role models or desires, but I definitely went through a phase of wanting to pursue music as a profession, all the way through high school. I had this idea of making a living as a professional musician. But when I started my bachelor’s I decided to major in literature rather than music. It was a last minute change. As for role models, I’m kind of old-fashioned in terms of music, so I modelled my playing on Jimi Hendrix and other artists from the 1960s and 1970s who would combine jazz principles with blues and mainstream rock!

W: Speaking of the 1960s and considering your interest in the relationship between art and politics, what are your thoughts on the rise of nostalgia in music and film?

M: Nostalgia is a very tricky concept… My knee-jerk reaction to this 90s revival I’m currently seeing, which was an era I grew up in, is a bizarre experience. It’s alienating for me to see the 90s in a nostalgic way. It certainly was three decades ago, but to me it feels much closer, so I don’t perceive it as an object of nostalgia. Whereas the 1960s truly represent for me a distant past that I have no personal connection to, so it becomes more of a detached object of interest. But it seems like everything is destined to come back at least once in some form. And I know that nostalgia can have some negative connotations with conservative politics, such as nostalgia for an idealised past that never existed. On the other hand, there’s nostalgia for remaking things of the past, like from the 1960s, to keep alive some of the possibilities that seem to exist in that space… Nostalgia always appears to be operative and it can be pushed towards a conservative pole or a more progressive pole, or even just a neutral one. Perhaps it also draws attention to the idea that nothing really is new. We’re always recycling and reusing things from the past. Going to college in the mid-2000s, I can tell you that the music of the time was clearly inspired by the 1980s; like the big synthesizer was back and bands like Arcade Fire were becoming popular. So, that 1980s sound really came back with a vengeance. It strikes me that there seems to be this recursive structure, especially with objects like media and music. I guess this wasn’t really a sophisticated answer but more a rambling of sorts…

R: We’re here to pick your brain, so any thoughts you say are interesting to us!

M: Thank you!

W: You said that as a society we tend to recycle old ideas and that it’s normal. Does that mean the current nostalgia we see for the 1980s and 1990s is not a symptom that we have run out of ideas as a society?

M: That’s a good question. I think there are two versions of it. On the one hand there’s a more pathological and vulgar form and on the other just a normal kind of recycling. In film it always struck me how repetition is built into the medium. But when I look at Disney Plus, every day there seems to be another Star Wars series, so it seems that repetition has intensified. Now, I haven’t watched these series, so they could be great, but maybe there is a difference between recycling older forms to make something innovative and interesting with them and then a more vulgar and market-driven approach, where we just reuse old stuff because it’s gonna sell.

R: I also feel that the part about recycling just to sell is certainly a thing. I think that familiarity plays a role in it. It seems to me that people often like staying in their comfort zone and therefore seek to watch something they’re already familiar with. But the other kind you described is a phenomenon we see in art history too: there have always been movements that drew inspiration from the past while adding new features.

M: Yes, it’s like the modernist mantra by Ezra Pound; “make it new”. But, of course, he does not suggest throwing away the past. Rather, we should salvage what is useful and reconfigure things. I think it’s an interesting synthetic and dialectical process.

R: Yes, kind of like Marcel Duchamp’s ready-made art. Take what is already there and give it a new meaning.

M: Yes! That is indeed a great example.

W: But speaking of this desire to take something which already exists and make something new, do you think that people in the past, especially in the second half of the 20th century, had more hopeful ideas for the future? Because when we see renderings of how people imagined the future in the past, the future seemed pretty bright. We don’t really see those grand, retrofuturistic visions anymore.

M: That is an interesting point. It makes me think of that often misattributed quote, I think by Fredric Jameson, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world, than it is to imagine the end of capitalism”. There’s something about the post-70s world and especially post-70s America where neoliberal structures became so entrenched and successful that it becomes quite difficult to imagine an alternate form. But perhaps Afrofuturism is an exception, as it tries to imagine alternate future societies and social organisations. In that sense I find that sci-fi and fantasy remain quite alive. I think they work hard on imagining a future that is not as bleak as the one we’re constantly inundated with and that is authentically different from the status quo. I guess it’s more difficult to imagine that today than in the late 20th century, just because of the normalisation of the neoliberal logic.

W: Do you think that the current crises, such as global warming and the COVID pandemic, are signs that capitalist structures are reaching some kind of breaking point?

M: I always like to think so, but capitalism is insidious and it strikes me that every crisis appears to be a means for the economic system to reconfigure and reassert itself. Remembering the 2007-2008 financial crisis in the US, it really seemed like an opportunity to disrupt finance capitalism, but it just ended up reentrenching it. But there is hope, I think. In my teaching experience I’ve noticed that ecological concerns have become more and more important for students in the last years. But crises themselves are not enough to change the system.

W: You’ve previously mentioned anarchism. Do you think there are things that we can learn from anarchist modes of organisation?

M: Yes, I think that the decentralisation of anarchist organization is really appealing, especially in the US, where anarchism has a much longer history than Marxism. Although it kind of moved into the background in the 20th century, it came back with movements such as Occupy Wallstreet and Black Lives Matter. I think avoiding a big central organization is helpful, because they tend to be hierarchical and thus to reproduce inequalities. With mutual aid, anarchism can bring solidarity in interpersonal relations as well as in bigger political movements. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation with anarchist groups. From what I have learned in Boston, they are also quite open to questions and avoid slipping into dogmatic ways of thinking. There’s also a Marxism vs. anarchism dispute, but that’s another topic… But in general, anarchist groups seem to have a more ad hoc approach to organization and resistance, with a willingness to experiment. That kind of inventiveness and improvisation probably leads to more long-lasting change as well.

R: I agree, I believe you need to have the courage to test new things and think outside of the box in order to move forward.

M: Absolutely! I also think that anarchist protests can be quite funny as well which can be useful in some cases.

W: Right, are you familiar with Murray Bookchin’s work?

M: Yes! Although not as much as I should be. I do know about his social ecology theory. But what I can say is that it seems like a lot of what is going on today is the conjunction of fields, which is why I love American Studies so much. Both Black and Queer studies engage with anarchism and ecology. I like these approaches that use notions of social ecology to think about the interaction between human and non-human groups, and therefore address the totality of the problem.

R: I saw that you worked on William Faulkner, among other authors. What do you appreciate the most about his writing?

M: I love his writing, he’s phenomenal! But like every modernist (it seems) he was a terrible person… I would never want to interact with him. But despite that he writes magnificent fiction that supersedes personal and subjective limitations. So, his fiction produces counter-positions to those of the biographical Faulkner. I have always loved his work partly because of how he manipulates space and time. He gives you a view of a particular object or moment while also changing the point of view. Let’s take the beginning of As I Lay Dying. The dying mother is in one room, one of her sons is building her coffin outside, while two of her sons are walking up the path from the barn and you can really map out the space just by following the shifts in view. He reconfigures the realist tradition and reinvents the fictional language in a stunning way. In that sense he is like Virginia Woolf in the British tradition.

R: Yes, that fascinates me too! You would only gradually understand what he’s describing.

M: Yes, and then in some cases he breaks the realism and there’s a character who’s just speaking in a way that does not correspond to them at all and so he just shows you another mode of thinking. I am also reminded of that boy, Vardaman from As I Lay Dying, who has a one sentence chapter, “My mother is a fish”. Out of context it’s completely enigmatic, but in the context of the novel it makes perfect sense. When you follow all of the references to the mother and the fish in the novel you can piece it all together. So, it’s a completely innovative way of building the fictional psychic interiority of a small boy dealing with his mother’s death. It really is an impressive accomplishment in fiction.

R: Alright, so our last couple of questions are very random… Let’s imagine you’re hosting a celebrity dinner party (the invites can be dead or alive)! Which writers, philosophers, artists or political and historical figures would you invite? With whom would you like to talk? And who would you like to see interact with one another?

M: Well, that’s incredibly difficult, but not Faulkner! I would love to have Toni Morrison. I’ve heard her speak a couple of times but I never spoke with her. I think she would be a wonderful person to speak with. It would also be fun to bring Karl Marx, who would probably hate the whole thing! And then someone like Frantz Fanon, whose work I really love. He’s also quite critical of Marx, so that would be an interesting interaction. I’d be tempted to invite people with whom I’d really love to speak with, as well as those really critical figures who had disagreements. It might end up like a terrible dinner party, more like a boxing match… but those would come to my mind!

R: Our editors’ team would love to know who would you put on Mount Rushmore if you had a say in it.

M: Can I give you an annoying response first?

W and R: Of course!

M: I would just get rid of Mount Rushmore entirely. There’s just such a risk to any kind of monumentalisation of one particular figure. That’s really obvious when it’s on the Right. Take all the Confederate statues in the US. Then, when they’re taken down the obvious answer is to replace them with a left-wing figure. My fear is that any kind of monumentalisation ends up encouraging some kind of dogmatic indebtedness to that figure. But if I really had to choose, I’d say Toni Morrison. Also because her works resist monumentalisation. There’s always something in her fiction that completely disturbs the reader. So, she’s kind of an impossible figure to fix in a stable position.

R: Yes, I noticed that Love is one of her most disturbing books, which is pretty ironic. But that’s what’s interesting about her. She is bold enough to go the extra mile and make us uncomfortable and push us to think about what’s wrong with the system.

M: Yes, and this also makes me think of her novel Paradise which she initially wanted to call War but her editor overruled her. “Paradise” and “Love” probably sell better.

R: How confusing! This reminds me of Recitatif, where, just like Faulkner, she’s not straightforward. As readers we’re left guessing which character belonged to which race, all based on stereotypes.

M: Yes, and right now I’m teaching Sula in a third year class and there’s three characters named Dewey, all with different ethnic identities, but the matriarchal figure just refers to them as “that Dewey”. So, I think Morrison is playing with our own obsession to impose a certain identity on characters and people. She does that in a kind of comic way.

R: Well, that would be all from our part. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

M: I would just like to emphasize how important it is that we, as readers, or students even, remain willing to be surprised and made to feel uncomfortable, precisely to ask us to question our own ethical and moral positions. We might call it productive self-alienation! Well…Thank you very much for these extremely interesting questions!

W and R: Thank you for answering them and taking the time!

Image: © Nell Wasserstrom. Picture of Matt during the couple’s visit of a village in the Lubéron (France).

2023 - Spring

Extinction Gardening, Vol. 1

Author: Manuel Ferrazzo

i overdosed on 21st century

[Content Warning: Substance use, brutality, vulgarity, and sexual violence]

i snorted a skyscraper today.
i let its inhabitants flow in my civilised-white-ash nostrils and
i felt the rush of productivity,
the euphoria of paid slavery,
the lights of steel cogs and fire.

i remembered the first minutes of this millennium,
when the savages attacked other savages,
(which is which?)
and all their lands of god responded by violence.

astral bodies became our new gods,
pushing their product to gather new herds
all around the world.
i remember when they wanted to
crucify christ on live tv,
thinking people would pay to see it.
they would. of course they fucking would.

we raped our planet
and blamed her
because she just couldn’t shut her legs.
i mean, mother nature is a whore.
hunger? what for, hunger doesn’t exist.

i remembered when we handed our power
to hatred, or cowardice,
self-righteousness on all ends,
venomous rats fighting over details,
blindly fighting the other
because they’re other,
because they’re stupid,
because they’re savages,
because they’re black, white, believers, apostates,

the announcers feeding on fear on one end,
and on the other,
the tin-foiled hats started to talk.
governments are nothing. they mean nothing, in our western world,
they have no power without corporations.
government and corporation:
the king and queen
of our game of chess.

i remembered how we liked to push the weak around,
just for the fuck of it.
is idiocy malignancy? can they live without one another?
who knows? maybe the little birds
singing and screaming
through the cage of light
can explain it to us.
when does stupidity become consciousness
“i’ve never been more awake”
said the dreamer to imaginary nightmares.
truth is relative, baby.
“i’m an ally, he said. just let me fuck you.”

i remembered the neons, on the district,
where red meat finds the mouths of carnivorous rats.
they wear suits and talk about family
and cry for forgiveness when they’re not careful enough.
their victims are called Aileen,
they’re the fairer sex so you think they can’t kill you.
but they don’t eat and they don’t sleep
and they let trauma consume them.

americans love rorschach.
the black and the white are all that they see,
and all blackness is evil, and all whiteness is pure.
they hate when their propaganda use rainbows
to feast on the oppressed,
because they’d rather be brainwashed all alone
rather than sharing their lobotomy.
kill the gays, they cried to god.
kill the muslims,
kill the pigs,
kill them all.

we build the west on the back of the poor,
and otherness is feared as much as familiarity.
look at our shiny towers!
look at our watches, our art, our language!
so perfect.
let us debate all these things in the most secluded place in the world,
with complicated words and caviar
and useless books nobody gives a fuck about,
or let the artists who don’t know
shit about what they’re talking about (like me)
tell you you’re evil and you deserve to die.

like library rats,
they yell about ethics and literature,
fascinated by a useless field
that grows something mostly tasteless,
except when the rain falls on the right leaf,
wherever this leaf came from.
they think themselves as the new thinkers of our world
when their destiny is either to rise amongst the elite
and get infected by their greed,
or die forgotten amongst the useless poor.

you all deserve to die in these gutters.
because misanthropy is cool,
look at me,
i’m not like other boys.
i breathe genocide
and smell of supremacy,
but i don’t even realise it.
nietzsche has never been more popular
amongst self-made men,
even though we all know that,
like the rest of us,
they can’t understand jack shit
of what that nietzsche has written.

who knows who we are.
i mean,
we become another person
[insert reference to the ship of Theseus]

And yet,
while the noise blinds us,
we’re still here.
In the ruins of skyscrapers,
We remain.

Image: © Manuel Ferrazzo

haiku for a nuclear winter

the white ash cracking
all the dead skeleton trees
sing doom with the wind

Image: © Manuel Ferrazzo

The Eye That Escapes (Consume Me)

[Content Warning: Profanity]

This eye won’t see you,
when you look at it.
It will look the other way,
to the sky, to its God,
and towards indifference.

The white blinds you,
and the fine dark lines around them
drive you off the edge of the world.
The irises, kaleidoscopical,
Sing in mine.

The red appeals to taste,
reminds me of innocence lost
and whoring-Mary, mother of Christ.
You would devour the apple,
if there was no God.

The soft silk hides,
leather binds,
you and my eyes.
Flowers pierced with swords,
and toys with holy crosses.

Image: © Manuel Ferrazzo

this world is gone, yet there’s still beauty

This world is gone.

But in its ruins, we find our souls.
When all breaks, we become one again.

Yet with all souls comes the impending doom,
the element of fear that keeps us awake
every single night.

Fear of losing everything,
when we know we have already lost it.
Fear of smiling,
when there’s nothing to smile about anymore.

This fear guides us back to the light,
back to the hope and the happiness we once had,
it nurses us back to health,
keeps us safe from despair,
from the perspective of our nothingness.

Because, even in a broken world,
there is beauty.
Death is just the Hierophant of Life.
And even if Life won’t have us,
it will endure,
it will prevail, without us.

Image: © Manuel Ferrazzo


yearning for the roots,
growing out of the heads of children,
grains of milk-sand
drag the leaves across the night sky.
reaching for the beyond,
abandoning the oneness of all gods,
searching through star-filled nightmares,
lead the lost to find the crescent moon they dream of.

Image: © Manuel Ferrazzo

2023 - Spring

Here’s to Broken Promises

Author: Salomé Emilie Streiff

I hate falling asleep, feeling the grasp of a time I can’t feel and won’t see taking me away. I thread the absence of the hours transformed into seconds. Nights are the ellipses that keep us from tomorrow and, although some are obsessed with the day after, I feel stuck in a narrative where every sentence is conjugated in the past tense. Though I fear sleeping, I loved this one night spent next to you. Feeling your breath on my neck and the soft pressure of your hand on my chest, I found myself decoding your body to find poetry between its lines. There was in the way your eyes haunted my rest a house where I could have found some rest. For a night, we had painted a home with ceilings high enough to dream of later, rooms to raise treasures and a larger bed where we could learn to count till forever. Between these walls of intimacy, we could have learnt the languages of our bodies and the song our scars murmur to each other with our eyes closed. Maybe we would have gotten married, I would have had the white dress I dreamed about as a child, and it would have been intimate enough for you to be yourself. My cousins would have walked with flowers in their hair and our dads would have made a few uncomfortable jokes. Despite everything, your gaze would have been glued to me and I would have spent the day capturing your smile. Your eyes tend to talk more than your smiles. The former are as wide as worlds can be. The latter are as discrete and rare as wonders always have been. I wanted both. On this imaginary day, I would have had in my hand the conviction that we belong to each other. But marriage wasn’t our thing. I left in the morning, leaving you alone with your hopes as I was driving home seated next to my deepest fears. For weeks, I counted the stars, wondering if you ever thought about what we could have been. Do you hate me for being too fragile to start something beautiful and new with you? Do you resent me for the way I said I was not as attached? Did you get enough time between your sleepless nights to picture us happy? Since that night, some parts of the world have changed. The oceans belong to you. The pavements are empty on the roadside. You own the colour black and the label soulmate. Marriage wasn’t our thing, but there is in my heart the trace of vows never said.

2022 - Winter


Author: Anonymous

Everything’s dying
And seems to mingle with the melancholy of my sweet soul.
In the depth of despair,
That the scenery captures –
I feel comforted by the found friend.
I am a character
In the Autumn performance.

2022 - Winter

A Cheap Eulogy about Stars (Third Place Winner of the “Tomorrow” Short Story Competition)

Author: Salomé Emilie Streiff

   “You should write about the stars,” she said before coughing.
I nodded. I could write about the stars. I started to picture myself lying on top of a hill, with the sky as my limit and countless of lights. They were dancing to the rhythm of the nostalgic symphony nature plays when no one is watching. So far away from one another, they seemed slightly lonely. It was the price to pay to be this beautiful. Suddenly the night felt too heavy, like the pressure of a thousand worlds was resting on my chest.
   “But it should be comforting”, she added, still coughing.
I nodded again. Stars could be comforting. They are, actually. They remained still throughout countless lifetimes as if they were powered by the gods. They watch from above and listen to every wish. I could imagine talking to them and sending all my grief in unanswered prayers to the sky.
   “And anything but depressing.”
I looked at her with a smile in my eyes.
   “It’s a funeral grandma, it must be depressing.”
She coughed again and let out a sigh. With her wrinkled fingers, she drew a heart on my hand. I was sitting on the side of her bed, on which she was neither sitting nor lying. Old people know how to write poetry without words.
   “I guess you’re right, it has to be a bit depressing.”
I took my pen and started to write again.
   “What about comparing you to a star in your living era and saying something about you watching us from above, among the others?”
   “Come on Mackenzie, even for an old lady like me, it sounds cheap.”
The nurse came to feed her, letting me know my presence was no longer welcomed. I closed my notebook and kissed her on the right cheek. She held my hands for a while and pressed them on her lips, as if she was revealing to them her dearest secret. Old people know how to write poetry without words.
   “You’ll come back tomorrow, and we’ll work on that eulogy a bit more.”
She died that night.
The next week at the funeral, I was standing on a wooden stage in front of her family and what she called her “leftover companions”. My aunt, who drove from the south of France, seemed more tired than sad, her two daughters were too young to capture the essence of the moment, and most of my grandmother’s friends were too senile to understand anything. A few died in the year that followed to support this observation. After six nights of staring at my bedroom wall, searching for inspiration between waves of sorrow, I was left with a few sentences about the stars, and the recurring sound of her bad cough. My grandma sought out to dance among the stars and it suited her. For her eulogy, I said a few words about their shiny dance and her coughing poetry with acoustic feedback as only musical support. It was cheap, but everyone shed a tear; sadness tends to transform weak verses into touching art. For years, her last words haunted me, as if the perfect eulogy were lying in the day after. With each night that separated me from her funeral, it was growing a day older, always in advance. I could picture it, in the form of a young woman full of wit, smiling sardonically at me, knowing I would never capture her. I never came close enough to seize the rhymes that would flawlessly capture her spirit. Her eulogy resisted me, and its absence reminded me of the silence spell she whispered before leaving, as if she put in it the secret recipe to catch the perfect tribute. Every now and then, I still try to translate the poetry that she left in my hands. Sometimes it’s cheap, and sometimes there is a taste of tomorrow between the lines.

2022 - Winter

It’s Been a Day

Author: Furaha Mujynya

[Content Warning: Substance Use]

I wonder if people can feel my excitement just from the way I’m walking. I feel like I’m oozing energy. But I guess there’s no way they could tell. Still, I should probably try to look a bit more relaxed, just in case. Contemplating the possibility of an arrest for a second, Isaiah’s train of thoughts quickly goes back to the object of his desire. It’s the first time I have seen cocaine so pure, so majestic. God am I glad that I gave it a try before buying it! I almost feel like it’s not real. Exhaling deeply, his hands slightly shaking, he thinks – Gosh… I should really hurry home. It doesn’t feel right to walk around with this diamond in my pocket. Forgetting all about his drug-obsession for a minute, Isaiah moves towards a shop window. Oh yeah sencha! That’s the perfect combo. 

Jesus Christ, who does she think she is? Who cares if I was late? I should just dump her and be done with it. Even more annoyed than he was when he slammed the door in Jenny’s face, James gets his phone out. Okay. proteins, kale, bananas and that matcha powder thing. Heading towards the supermarket, he sees a large group entering. I guess that means Asian shop first. Walking up the street, he starts scrolling through dating profiles. This one’s not too ugly. Wait, she loves cats… Ugh and that one is too smiley… As he is about to enter the Japanese grocery shop, he feels something pushing him, causing him to drop his phone to the floor.


I hope she’s okay. It’s not like it’s the first time this happened. Maybe I should just stop by, make sure she’s fine. But I don’t want to impose. Nervously pacing through her apartment, Lizzy starts opening all her kitchen cabinets. If I show up with, like, brownies or something it will seem less weird. I could just say I baked too many. Right. Good. Did I really finish all the chocolate? I guess I’ll go buy some… Oh, and some milk, and maybe bananas. Oh, and I don’t have any more ginger confit or kimchi. On the beat of a slow ballad, she starts reciting her list of groceries, whilst strutting towards the supermarket. Bananas, milk, kimchi, ginger, cacao powder, chocolate, peanuts, and rice.


Dude, what the hell! Can’t you watch where you’re going? James keeps swearing and picks his phone off the ground, checking that the screen is still intact. You’re lucky it didn’t break, or it would have been your face on the floor! Now get out of my way, you moron. In shock, Isaiah stays still for a minute. What just happened… Of course he went into my tea shop. Dammit, I really wanted that sencha. Well I guess, I’ll just go home. After a big exhale he starts slowly humming – Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, It’s Christmas time…

Okay I think I got all the things on my list. Let’s go to the Korean shop! Moving from ballads to a funky pop tune, she whispers – Up up we go. I hope she likes brownies. I mean, everybody likes brownies, right? I don’t even know if she has allergies. Oh I’m probably overthinking this, as usual. As she is walking, Lizzy spots someone blankly staring into oblivion. Is he high? People nowadays really have no shame. It’s broad daylight and this is supposed to be a family friendly neighborhood. Anyway… ginger here I come! Quickly passing him by, she takes a few more steps to the Korean shop. As she walks back out, she spots something white on the ground near the bus stop.

Hello…? Could I get some help around here? Jesus this really is a shit day, he says just loud enough to be heard. I can’t find that matcha powder thing. The cashier points towards a small green box on the counter. Yeah, sorry I guess I didn’t see it. I’ll take just that thanks, he says with an awkward smile. As James heads out, he decides to sit at the bus stop for a second. I really don’t want to have to deal with her tonight. Maybe I can find some girl who’ll let me crash at her place. But I don’t know if I’ve got the energy to deal with some new chick though. I’ll probably have to buy her tons of drinks too. Ugh, might just be easier to go home. Who knows? Maybe she’ll have calmed down by then.


Home sweet home… I hope I have some green tea left somewhere around here. Ooh yeah, found it! Whilst performing what one might call a ‘happy dance’, he starts preparing his tea. God I’m as excited as a child! Maybe that’s not the right comparison, but hey, sugar highs are a big thing with children, so… Laughing at his own joke, he wonders – Maybe I should sleep a bit before though. Give my brain a minute to breathe. Yeah, I can wait 30 minutes. He goes into his room, puts on wave sounds, and starts to doze off.


I probably shouldn’t have picked it up. Geez, I panicked because I saw that douche coming out of the Japanese convenience store. I’m an idiot. I don’t even know what this is… I could contract a disease just from touching that thing. I mean, I probably can’t, but who knows?! What was I thinking? Sickened with worry and confusion, she runs up the stairs and within seconds she is home. I mean, what if he had seen me? It’s not like anything would have happened. How can I hope to be of any help to her if I can’t even face this dude without running away. Come on Lizzy. Just breathe. You got it. First, the brownies. We’ll deal with the rest later.


He takes his shoes off and goes into the bedroom but not without catching a glimpse of Jenny sitting in a corner, her eyes still red and puffy. Geez, she hasn’t moved an inch since I left. She’s pathetic. I’ll just get my stuff for the gym, prepare my shake and leave. With any luck, she’ll be asleep when I’m back. After mixing the ingredients for his smoothie, he looks at her and says: It’s really pointless, sitting here, crying like a three-year-old when you could have cleaned the apartment or made dinner. But as usual, it’s all about your feelings…You better not be in the same position when I’m back from the fit. He slams the door and leaves.

I think the brownies are almost done. Wait, is it him? Looking through the peephole, she sees James stepping out of the opposite apartment. Okay. He left. I guess it’s now or never. What do I say…? Maybe I should just slip her my number in the plate of brownies. I wish I could just give her a weapon, something, anything to fight him off. What if I… No, I couldn’t. I mean if I’m wrong and this is just some dishwasher powder then … I don’t know. But it could give her a chance to fight back. After a few minutes, she rings the doorbell and says to the bruised young woman – I know we don’t really know each other, but I made too many brownies and thought you might want some. I’m just across the hall if you ever need me. Jenny accepts the plate, with a shy smile, and closes the door.


Waking up, feeling disoriented, Isaiah gets up to go to the kitchen. Oh the water’s cold, got to heat it up again. I wonder how long I slept. Looking at his watch, he rubs his eyes. It can’t be. Did it stop working? Turning on the TV, he stares at the date at the top of the screen. It can’t be! I did not just sleep for almost 24 hours. Could it be the coke? Nah… Where did I put it anyway? Oh yeah, my jacket. I think it was in the left pocket… Uhm maybe it fell somewhere on the couch. I should check the bed too. Geez, where did I put it? Suddenly, he remembers yesterday’s altercation. Did he steal it from me? No way! As the weather report finishes, the local news starts:

A 27-year-old was found dead in his apartment yesterday evening at around 10pm. After a sport session at his local fitness center, the young man went home and indulged in some late-night snack, little did he know that this would be the cause of his death. The paramedics first thought that this was a drug OD – many cases have gone through the doors of hospitals since a new and very lethal cocaine has invaded the streets – only to later realize that it was a simple case of peanut allergy. We therefore implore you to be careful of the dangers of both drugs and the ingredients some food may contain.

2022 - Spring

Landscapes – Guillaume’s poems

Image: ©️ Guillaume Amstutz

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Rosy Dawn

A blinding light floods the sky
Stretches from the soil to mountain high
Dyes the land in the sweetest tones
Nourishes the leaves, brightens the stones
The droplets that hung in the air
Now shine bright, pink and fair
The world is a prism bathed in light
Reflecting life, banishing night.

The World in Winter

The mountains are like the earth’s teeth
hungering for a dawn after a long, long night
and the frost takes hold in this barren heath
a potter’s field covered in white

The falling flakes are the cold ashes
of a fire that bright burns no more
on the meadow the snow crashes
burying deep the earth’s ardor

Under the rooftops covered in white
a quiet maze of vacant halls
bathed dimly in faint daylight
when in slumber the pale sun falls
and as the wind howls over the world
whittling the trees with its whistling
carving the rocks with runes all twirled
crushing the hopes and their kindling
a bitter cold devours the groves
turning the wood into splinters
while a waning moon rises up above
silent witness of the winter

The Shattered City

An organism of steel and concrete
spreads like a disease, far out into darkness
with skeletons adorning the streets
waiting for light to shine on the nameless

The dying stars flicker only dimly
as the towers are circled by haze
the ghosts are roaming limply
in this collapsed and dusty maze

Under the ground, hopes are buried
old love letters in the streets scattered
and hate letters in the chimneys burned
down to ashes, by winds carried

Broken wings caught in cobwebs
clipped apart by vicious hands
far below, the water ebbs
and crashes on the cliffs and sands

But far above, a faint glimmer
beyond the forest and the hills
a distant hope that still lingers
before diving in the landfills


It expands to the furthest corners
All the sorrows, the joy, the songs it covers
The darkness progresses, and soils, and gathers
But through the tears in its skin, the light shimmers

2022 - Spring

Literary Quizzes

Image: ©️ USA-Reiseblogger – Pixabay Licence. Source.

Complete the titles or authors’ names of the following works: 

I Know Why the ___ ___ Sings by Maya Angelou

The ___ Land by T. S. Eliot

Moby Dick by ______ _____

___ Lost by John Milton

“The ___ Speaks of ___ ” by Langston Hughes

Little Women by _____ ________

The ___ Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Le Morte d’Arthur by _____ _____

A Rose for Emily by ______ _____

Pick the right answer for the ending of each of these stanzas:

From William Blake’s “The Tyger”:

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?



  1. And when thy heart began to beat, / What dread hand? & what dread feet?
  2. What the anvil? what dread grasp, / Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
  3. What immortal hand or eye, / Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

From Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death”

We paused before a House that seemed

A Swelling of the Ground –

The Roof was scarcely visible –


  1. We passed the Setting Sun –
  2. My Tippet – only Tulle –
  3. The Cornice – in the Ground –

From Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

 And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;



  1. Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— / Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
  2. Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— / This it is and nothing more.
  3. And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor / Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Guess the work and author the following summaries come from:

Emotionally damaged young adult boy drops out of school, consistantly rants about adults being a bunch of fakes, befriends a prostitute and a couple of nuns and keeps nagging everybody else about the ducks from Central Park asking them where the hell do they all go in the winter. Last but not least, he desires to preserve a child’s innocence. 

Answer: ________________________

Young prince deals with an existential crisis while his widowed mother marries his uncle (who we don’t like by the way) and his father’s ghost visits him every now and then to spook him into avenging his death. And of course, his solution to it all is (drumroll please) to pretend to go all nuts, procrastinating on killing his uncle, accidently stabbing the wrong dude, dramatically harassing his mom, driving his ex to insanity, and talking to himself instead of taking action. 

Answer: ________________________

** Scroll down to see the answers :)


First quiz:

  • Caged Bird
  • Waste
  • Herman Melville
  • Paradise
  • Negro ; Rivers
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Canterbury
  • Thomas Malory
  • William Faulkner

Second quiz:

  • For Blake’s “The Tyger” : 2.
  • For Dickinson’s poem: 6.
  • For Poe’s “Raven”: 9.

Last quiz:

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
2022 - Spring

Andrea’s poems

Author: Andrea Karlmann

Open in silence 

When it came to me,
Bit by bit,
It was a piece.
A fragmented piece.

A series of sounds,
Fragrant and raspy.

Just a mutter
At first.

Then a touch
Of motherly warmth.

Walking into a room

A leaf had landed on the windowsill,
So, I tossed it out.
A strange intrusion.
Just a leaf.
No one was to blame.
Just the wind.


Enthused, unready for sense,
Or the redolence of
Infused with motion,
Passions set the pendulum in swing,
Turns and turns,
Ambrosia’s ash,
Ebbing, bending and broken.

Away anathema.

2021 - Winter

A Poppy Field

Image: ©️ BarbeeAnne – Pixabay License. Source.

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Inspired by “The Poppy Field” by Nora May French

I know of a place, just beyond a poppy field, where I sometimes go to sing my songs. It’s quite close from your house, yet so very far away from you. When I go there, I usually sit near the streams, between the sad lilies (they keep their heads down, toward the ground) and I think about which words I should use. I have to carefully choose which words I will write or sing, because not all of them seem to reach your house, beyond the red tangled barrier of poppies. I’ll tell you something I don’t think you know: in my little book, now resting on the slightly wet grass, there are hundreds of words, and in the breeze flowing along the stream, there are even more, and there are still even more unspoken words inside my mind. I don’t think you know this, because in your mailbox, in front of your house, beyond the poppies, there are at best a few dozens of my words, and in your mind, which I feel is very far away from me, I think there are even less of my words. And perhaps, if I know that your house is close to me, yet I can’t see or feel you anymore, it’s because it’s not your house anymore, and you never told me you moved out. And sometimes I tell myself that you did not move out: it’s just that I can’t see you through all the knotted poppies. And if there are so few of my words in your mind, maybe it’s not because you never read what’s in your mailbox, but because so many times I didn’t dare go through the poppy field to put my words in your mailbox. Many times I tried to walk to it, but the wind blew from your house and through the poppy field, and I found myself in a quiet, hypnotic haze, and in this fog I thought I could see you next to your home. You should know that when I see you in these dreams, I can never bring myself to unwind the tangled poppies and make myself a way to you. Now you know why your mailbox needed to be empty for months before welcoming some of my words, and why lately no words came at all. I was simply sitting by the stream, between the sad lilies. Sometimes I wish you had left your house and helped me cut, burn, or untangle the poppy field, but was it even your task to do so? I’m not even sure you knew how potent these poppies were, and how a single step into them would throw me inside this stupor that kept me away from you for so long, and that will probably keep doing so. I could take care of the poppy field myself, but why should I do it? As I already said, I’m pretty sure you moved out of your house long ago, and that behind the field I would only find a rusted, empty mailbox. Besides, I don’t think you realize how afraid I am of discovering what lies beneath the poppy field. I already have an idea: under the poppy field is a graveyard, a graveyard containing all the words I could never bring all the way to your mailbox, all the words that ran along the stream until they got caught into this web of poppies, never to reach your ears. I’ll never know if you understand how much that hurts me to know that I had so much to say, but that I could only tell you so few words, as the rest of it was buried under the poppies. Now every time I go to this place again, I wish I had broken the golden vow while you still lived in your house, so that I could have told you everything I wanted to. But it seems like it’s just wishful thinking, and now the best thing I can do is hope that my decomposing words, resting under the poppy field, serve as a fertilizer for new, beautiful flowers. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see them if you ever pass by your old house. 

2021 - Winter

To A Poetess

Image: ©️ Myriams-Fotos – Pixabay License. Source.

Author: Guillaume Amstutz

Your brightness leaves me awestruck

Overt charm against bad luck

Upheaval found in wonder

Magic that mutes the thunder

Amazement born from great light

Kindness adorns all you write

Every drop of reverence

Instilled by your luminance

Tints the world with solar gleams

Blesses it with graceful beams

Evergreen inspiration

Throws me in admiration 

Trusted poetess you should know

Earth herself with her faint glow

Relies on you to make it grow