MR Notes

Welcome to the Mass Review Blog, please feel free to read, comment, and share the content posted here. You can Contact Us if you have any questions. Enjoy!

10 Questions for Brandon Lewis

Date: 09/26/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

 

My cityborn friend snaps limbs from trees for the bonfire
and hands me their greenness.    Why refuse

this gift of smoke and hissing years of rain?
Every tree is difficult. Take this oak and its burl—such handsome infection

to climb. I am sorry but without Violence it's too late to catch up with them…
Was a societal leg up ever real?

-- from "That Difficulty Increases Desire" which appears in the Spring 2016 issue (Volume 57, Issue 1).

 

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

It’s very cliché— the first poem I wrote was for a girl in high school, one who thought of me as just a friend. So, so bad! I was also painting a lot at the time, and after learning about William Blake, I started painting poems into the canvas beside images.

...

Massachusetts Reviews: Fire the Bastards!

Date: 09/22/2016
Blogger:
Gary Amdahl

Jack Green’s Fire the Bastards!  (Dalkey Archive Press, 1992) was first published by the author, in the author’s magazine newspaper (no caps, and the italics are mine), in 1962.  The text was written on a typewriter (again, no caps, very little in the way of punctuation, extra spaces between sentences) mimeographed, and stapled.  It’s hard to imagine that such a homely production had any currency at all, but it did, with Gilbert Sorrentino and David Markson attesting on the back of the DAP edition to its widespread availability in Greenwich Village, in bookshops and coffeehouses, and its popularity with readers who did not feel themselves the least bit marginal, or even out of the mainstream.  The only operative, effective distinction in Green’s literary world was between...

10 Question for Caroline Beimford

Date: 09/20/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

"It was the air. The temperature and density of it, like it was being compressed around the city. It was the emptiness of the streets and the quiet. It was the time: there was no school, no one wanted lessons, there was nothing to do but read and breathe and try not to sweat through everything I put on. Even the walls sweat. Beads of condensation budding, like sap, from the purple paint."  -- from "Asfixia" which appears in our Spring 2016 issue (Volume 57 Issue 1).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

The first real story I ever wrote was for a class with Suzanne Berne at Boston College. It was about a girl who discovers the dead body of a man she barely knows—a man who sold paintings to tourists below her window—but after a run-in with corrupt cops, she feels she should find and tell his family. Suzanne...

Massachusetts Reviews: The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground by Collier Nogues

Date: 09/14/2016
Blogger:
Jeff Diteman

The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground by Collier Nogues (Drunken Boat Media, 2015),

While the conventional approach to poetic production is additive, involving the careful placement of words on the void of the blank page, erasure poetry is subtractive, starting with an existing text and deleting material until only a poem remains. The source texts for such a procedure can be anything--another poem, an ancient codex, a corporate annual report, a scientific study, a newspaper article--any document that the poet thinks can be distilled down to produce the new poetic object.

Erasure poetry is a form of materialist art in the sense that it is interested in the relationship between materials and concepts. Some erasure poetry is...

10 Questions for Genevieve Plunkett

Date: 09/12/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

    

The other mothers covered their children's eyes. April covered her son's ears. She might have expected the animal to cry, or to struggle, grasp for breath. But from the bleachers, there was nothing, not even a crack." -- from "The Rodeo" which appears in the Summer 2016 issue (Volume 57, Issue 2).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written

I tried to write a grisly murder mystery in fourth grade and a YA novel about dragons in sixth. I have started a hundred stories since then, but The Rodeo was one of the first that I actually finished. It was written about seven years ago while I was still in college and working as an office assistant for the Bennington Writing Seminars. There, I was able to see people doing the kind of work that I dreamed of, but had no idea...

Massachusetts Reviews: Aliceheimer’s

Date: 09/06/2016
Blogger:
Emily Wojcik

     

Aliceheimer's: Alzheimer's Through the Looking Glass by Dana Walrath (Penn State University Press, 2016)

“I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” —Alice in Wonderland

Alzheimer’s disease looms large in the American imagination. The stories and movies follow familiar plots: Parent (or spouse) begins to lose things, forgets names, perhaps leaves the house lived in for decades and gets lost. Child (or spouse) watches helplessly until the moment when a decision is made to move the afflicted into a family member’s home, an assisted living community, a nursing facility. We share the POV of the caretaker, the one left behind, as the object of our attention slowly disappears. And then we feel sad, or frightened, or...

10 Questions for Aatif Rashid

Date: 09/06/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

“The church looked strangely beautiful in the early morning light. The street between the houses was narrow and darkened the steps leading up to the wooden doors, but there was enough sunlight spilling out from behind the roof, and the Gothic façade—all angles and points and flying buttresses, architecture I’d always believed brutal and cold—possessed a melancholy grace. I thought of the workers who had once so carefully laid down stones to build the church and the man who’d overseen the construction. Had he imagined, like Mehmed did now, that it would be a beacon of light, something to reflect the divine and live on for eternity?” — from “The Janissary” which appears in our Summer 2016 issue (Volume 57, Issue 2).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written.

Well, if we go all the way back to the distant past that was my childhood...

10 Questions for Colin Fleming

Date: 08/29/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

"It was the day after Christmas, and watching Danny Splighter skate for the first time in my life was like the holiday was happening all over again.from "One Way Zebra" which appears in our Summer 2016 Issue (Volume 57, Issue 2).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written.

When I was in third grade in Mansfield, Massachusetts, I had this teacher named Ms. Ferris. In first grade they thought I was developmentally challenged, especially when it came to reading. I knew that wasn’t the case. I guess I kind of rebelled in second grade, because I was always held back in for recess. I’d read. Then I get to third grade and Ms. Ferris, who everyone said was super strict and scary, would have us write short stories...

10 Questions for Kathleen Kelley

Date: 08/23/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

"When my mother asked me 
what in the world I wanted, we were
driving across the Sagamore Bridge.

I could feel the vibration.
I was ten. My mother 
had never raised her voice before."

from "The Light, the Bridge, and the Fish" which appears in our Summer 2016 Issue (Volume 57, Issue 2).

Tell us about one of the first pieces you’ve written.

I did not give myself over to the writing of poetry until I was well into middle-age.  When I was raising children, the only writing I did was in a journal.  After they left the nest, but before I began writing poetry seriously, I completed the draft of a novel about friendship as well as a book on mindfulness and cancer.

...

10 Questions for Elias Leake Quinn

Date: 08/16/2016
Blogger:
Amal Zaman and Danielle Brown

“The tarthky was a beast from a different era, from back when the dunes were just a thin sheet spread over a second sea, the clumps of dune grasses bobbing like Lilliputian schooners. An adventurer with the right equipment could pierce the sand, dive through the floating grasses, and swim beneath their tangled roots. The shaft light drove down from the surface toward ancient monsters with wide, blind eyes.” —from “Driftwood,” which appears in the Summer 2016 issue (Volume 57, Issue 2).

Tells us about one of the first pieces you wrote

That’s kind of a tough question. Writing has always been a part of the thought process for me. I guess you’d have to think of my life in a bunch of phases—the middle-school wannabe-writer phase, the self-indulgent college sophomore, the post-college existential crisis. Each phase had its own portfolio, and...