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Volume 60, Issue 1

Front Cover by Toyin Ojih Odutola. What Her Daughter Sees, 2018. PASTEL, CHARCOAL, AND PENCIL ON PAPER. © Toyin Ojih Odutola.
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

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Introduction

AT TIMES DESPAIR is hard to resist. Last semester, for instance, at the very moment when my students were reading Nunca más—the report by the Argentine national commission on the disappeared—along with testimonials about the war crimes committed by the military dictatorship, the citizens of Brazil elected a new president who describes the two decades of similar rule in his country as “glorious.” What’s past is prologue, indeed. In this country, as I write these lines, the Bolsonaro rhetoric of violence, racism, and fear is being offered as justification for a government shutdown, as if political debate, democratic power-sharing, and international law were simply obstacles to circumvent, not categorical imperatives. And, even worse, an elected member of the U.S. Congress has asked, in an interview with the New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?...

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fiction

Beyond the Point

by Caio Fernando Abreu, translated by Bruna Dantas Lobato

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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 Lorraine Boissoneault

- By Abby MacGregor

“Emma has only ever seen him in dreams, which is strange because she read somewhere that the human brain can’t create new faces; it just pulls from the features of strangers. But she would’ve remembered his face if she’d ever seen it on a human: eyes that pro­trude from their sockets; thick eyebrows that meet above his painfully crooked nose; curly, mussed hair that cascades around his cheeks; skin so grimy she’s not sure of its native color; and a shiny scar that bisects his lips, starting to the left of his nose and ending at his chin.”
—from “Hit and Run”, Spring 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 1)

 

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
If we’re going way...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Joshua Michael Stewart

- By Abby MacGregor

Today a man pressed a pillow
over his 7-month-old son’s face,
then strangled the baby’s mother
(who was also his 16-year-old daughter),
called his mother, confessed,
then drove out into the woods and shot
himself in the cab of his pickup.
from “Quills”, Spring 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 1)

 

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of my first poems was called “When the Surrealist No Longer Remembers His Dreams.” It’s one of those what-would-you-tell-your-younger-self kind of poems, except the younger self that was being addressed wasn’t me as a kid, but my younger self as a zombie, because I felt that kid I once was died a long time ago. I was...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Adam Sweeting

- By Abby MacGregor

“A few years back, I took my daughter and her best friend apple picking in central Massachusetts, where we enjoyed a picture-perfect early fall afternoon. It was the kind of day that shouts NEW ENGLAND—slightly cool temperatures, glorious foliage, and apples waiting to be picked. Our timing could not have been more perfect. The year’s weather had proved ideal for apples, with no late frosts, suf­ficient early summer rains, and a storm-free August. A bumper crop followed, one of the best in decades, and we returned home rich in fruit.”
—from “Lost Flavors: Climate Change, Poetry, and New England’s Apples”, Spring 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 1)

 

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Robin Myers

- By Abby MacGregor

Or as self-medicator,
or two-tongued song-
singer, or undersecretary of pre-dawn walks,
or any manner of other
offices. They’re just
conjectures. I still scrawl
my appointments on the back
of my hand, tend
to keep them.
—from “Poem for Self as Single Mother”, Spring 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 1)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Sometime in high school, I wrote a poem about watching a lamb being born and nearly dying in the process (the lamb, not me!). I’d been experimenting with poetry for a while, but that was the first time I tried to grapple with an experience of both wonder and horror. Which I still see as one of poetry’s major purposes and possibilities...


10 Questions

10 Questions for Maria João Medeiros

- By Abby MacGregor

“I have an idea hanging from my head. It’s been out there for ages. Everything suggests it’s a bad idea.”
—from “Animal Stomach” by Rui Cardoso Martins, translated from Portuguese by Maria João Medeiros, Spring 2019 (Vol. 60, Issue 1)

 

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
My very first translation into Portuguese was Daniel Defoe’s The Political History of the Devil, a treatise written in 1726. Since I’m not a professional translator, it was a make-or-break project. So now, whenever I accept a translation job I always thank the Defoe Devil . . .

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
My earliest...


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