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Introduction

FOR THE PAST DECADE, when introducing a new issue I’ve followed a simple rule, more or less strictly. Even though I do believe that all art emerges from history, just as all consciousness is ultimately biology (and also that we’re more or less equally far from understanding the specific pathways that lead to either), for the intros, I’ve always ruled out references to what’s happening now. Publication is a material process and it takes time, so the now I’m writing in will not be the now of your reading. In this moment, my now, spring has officially sprung only days ago, and yet this issue in your hands, in your now, cannot possibly be opened earlier than mid-June, a few days before summer. 

The reason I mention this rule, as by now you will have understood, is to break it. Thing is, this time it’s different. Time itself is different, frozen in some sense, yet...

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fiction

Xyla

By Nia Imara

poetry

Upright

By Tomas Tranströmer, Translated by Patty Crane

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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

blog

This is #rainbow

- By Krzysztof Rowiński

Photo: Kancelaria Sejmu/Łukasz Błasikiewicz / CC BY

At a time when unidentifiable government-paid thugs are abducting people into unmarked vans off the streets of Portland, it might take extra effort to notice and recognize the brutality of police states outside the U.S. Especially when the news comes from a country whose government has worked tirelessly in the last five years to secure a reputation of homophobia-fueled authoritarianism. Last Friday, a Polish LGBTQ activist was detained for two months, and currently awaits trial (a measure reserved for especially dangerous criminals) for "damage to property". The...


Interviews

10 Questions for Julia Sanches

- By Edward Clifford

Mrs. Ebelmayer had not seen the world. She had spent her childhood and youth in a pleasant, roomy house in the suburbs of a large city and , once married, had outgrown the early stages of her life in a house very similar to her first, in another suburb of the same city. After being unanimously advised to move to a warm, dry country, due to Mr.Ebelmayer's illness and following mandatory consulatations with several doctors, Mrs. Ebelmayer kept all her usual routines. She transferred her cold and damp city life to a town that baked daily under the sun and nothing, and no one, could convince her that adaotability was a positive trait. Five years after their move, this preservation was practically intact.
—from "A Foreign Country" by Soledad Puértolas,...


The Next Best Thing

A Toast to Eric Bentley

- By Jules Chametzky

It is Friday, August 7th, and I just finished reading in the New York Times the major, generous, and informative obituary of Eric Bentley, written largely by the late editor of the Times Book Review Christopher Lehmann-Haupt. It was deeply moving to me. For more than sixty years I knew Bentley and much of his major work, sixty plus years out of the 103 he spent on this earth.

In my last year in college, 1949-1950, I began to write plays, more or less successfully, that were produced at Brooklyn College in its Writers Workshop in the late afternoon, as well as a whopper of a production of a longer play staged in the evening, after my graduation, to a large public audience. That year I also read Bentley's first major book, The Playwright as Thinker,...


Interviews

10 Questions for Russell Scott Valentino

- By Edward Clifford

My grandfather Franjo Rejc lived his life in Bosnia. As a high-ranking railroad official, he moved from station to station until, several months before the outbreak of World War II, he arrived in Sarajevo to work at the main headquarters with the title of chief railway inspector. When I first wrote about my grandfather's working as a chief inspector, the critics interpreted it as a postmodern inscription for Danilo Kiš, whose novelistic and actual father had the same job. This, however, was not something I was thinking about the time. I did not compare the life of my grandfather with that of heroes in books.
—from "Kakania" by Miljenko Jergović, Translated by Russell Scott Valentino, Volume...


Our America

Panteha Abareshi
“Chronically Ill and Severe” Artist

- By Pamela Glaven

The Massachusetts Review first featured the work of interdisciplnary artist Panteha Abareshi in Summer 2018 (volume 59. issue 2), when she was 18. I have been keeping an eye on her amazing progress. Such strong work across disciplines. Here is how Panteha introduces herself on her website:

"My name is Panteha Abareshi, and I am an artist currently based in Los Angeles, CA.

My work is rooted in my existence as a body...


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