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Volume 60, Issue 2

Front Cover by Kate Durbin, Unfriend Me Now!, 2018. STILL FROM 3-CHANNEL VERSION OF UNFRIEND ME NOW! (c) Kate Durbin.
Courtesy of the artist.

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Introduction

NOT LONG AGO, a friend from my school days shared a photo with me, a junior high yearbook snapshot taken during art class, apparently. Remember, he posted. Not a bad question (though it may not have been one, since it wasn’t marked as such). As exhortation, it echoes that of Hamlet’s father and seems similarly unnecessary. Faced with such an image, a scrap of time some forty-five years old, life’s Rolodex can’t help but spin, doing its circular best to sort and assemble, identify and classify, until the intrusion is either resolved or left indefinitely suspended, nagging somewhere until it doesn’t, forgotten once more. This particular photo shows seven of us: long-haired, adolescent boys in bell-bottoms and tight sweaters or florid, wide-collared shirts or flannel, five in chairs and two on the floor. Of the four in the foreground, I identified three instantly, myself and two friends. The rest all looked familiar, but without prompting I doubt I’...

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fiction

Two Stories

Antonio Tabucchi, translated from Italian by Anne Milano Appel

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“We are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest [...] the teachings of Thoreau are alive today, indeed, they are more alive today than ever before.”

—REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (MR 4.1, Autumn 1962)

From the Blog

10 Questions

10 Questions for M.A. Untch

- By Christin Howard

“Stars crept through bedroom windows to feed the dark.
Everybody became a friend that died.
Blitzed desire tiptoed in from all directions.
Wintered, feverish roses bloomed on yellowed sheets.
Not me, thinking back as far as I could– who
            did I touch? How many sheets spilled over my bed…” From "Better Angels II," Summer 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote:
I wrote a poem “Estate Sale” while visiting relatives in Appomattox, VA. My aunt was having a lawn sale. When I started the poem, I had no idea where I was going with it until...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Alice Friman

- By Christin Howard

“But I do wish
we had found the courage to use
those purpled hours and put them
to work: defy decorum and undress.
peel off,disrobe, strip down to the very
bones if necessary.” —From “On the Overnight Train” Summer 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 2)

 

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote poems in college. Didn't everyone? Terrible poems of love-longing and seventeen-year-old misery. But the first poem I ever wrote that I worked on and saved I called "Beneath My Heart." I had a friend who was pregnant and I wanted to express, to put into words, the tight clutch of a fetus—that little fist of 3rd month cells, that— well you see, I couldn'...


Working Titles Excerpts

Night Hands (Working Title 4.1)

- By Jen Cross

The Massachusetts Review presents the latest Working Titles e-book: NIGHT HANDS a story by Jen Cross, with an introduction by Elizabeth Harries- available this week!

"As the first rays of sun pierced the night in the surrounding wood, Old Mother Ganz raised the double-headed axe. “Now, my daughter,” said the old witch, “we will give these hands back to the night.” Silence for the pause of a breath, the span of a century, a fragmentary turn of the earth. A shard of sun spliced the top lip of the axe. Gnarled hands tightened about the handle and let the blade fall.

The hands in their pretty boxes, that sweet reckoning of pale yellow skin against velvet against the dark exterior. They stay youthful. They stay...


Reviews

Massachusetts Reviews: Spectra

- By Robert Manaster

Spectra: Poems by Ashley Toliver (Coffee House Press, 2019)

"Kinesis," the first poem in Ashley Toliver's powerful first book Spectra, frames the collection's primary strength: that of movement through trauma and the emotionally dark places in the female self, where one can be "plumbing / a violent kinesis. "This movement takes place via Toliver's poetic form and her charged poetic language. While near the collection's beginning, the female speaker's husband in "Long Division" is waiting for "a woman / to crawl out of / herself," by the collection's last poem, the speaker sees herself "in the last pew / of the lit horizon / in the wide-open field of the...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Robert Carr

- By Emma Kemp

I found a small white tangerine.
It’s in my head, squeezed
Between what I perceive and what
I call things.

From Every Thought Is Citric Summer 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The poem that comes to mind is G.R.I.D (gay-related immune deficiency). In the first years of the epidemic, this acronym was used to describe AIDS. I generated this poem in workshop with Ada Limón at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown about four years ago - which is about the same time I seriously committed to writing poetry. Addressing the AIDS epidemic became a central...


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