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Volume 59, Issue 2

FRONT COVER by Panteha Abareshi, Roses and Thorns 2017. INDIA INK, PEN, PENCIL, WATERCOLOR, WHITE INK, BRUSH MARKER. Courtesy of the artist.

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ON RARE OCCASIONS, academic conferences turn out as they should, and pilgrims making the journey find what they seek. The trek to the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual meeting is one I’ve made more times than I can count, in part because its seminar format—where participants assemble around a theme and meet as a group for two or three days running—favors such an outcome. This year, I fled to Los Angeles for the ACLA, during a week of so-called spring in New England, and found there a panel on poetry and public feeling, convened by Tristam Wolff and Lily Gurton-Wachter—one site where the call was answered.

On the second day of this seminar, the latter session leader began with a rumination on Blake’s second chimney sweeper poem, that song of experience where “a poor black thing . . . taught to sing the notes of woe” comments: “And because I am happy and dance and sing, / They think they have done me no...

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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 for Rebecca Foust

- By Edward Clifford

"When Iggy moved now, she shimmered in red, blue, and yellow pixels melding into an overall impression of green. And she was always moving, pacing the cage from end to end. She resisted being picked up, struggling and thrashing her tail. The boy could not help being afriad, but his love only grew along with the iguana as if, like the procession of tanks, it could expand indefinitely to hold them both."
from “Iguana Iguana,” Summer 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Well, there was “Lucky the Leprechaun” in second grade, very bad, and then a review for The Altoona Mirror in sixth grade, not much better. I’ve written poems since I was taught to hold a...


10 Questions for Charles Swift

- By Sarah Lofstrom

Alan pulled up in his new car, watching his father hunched over near the curb, grateful the old man had some pants on. His father was sitting on a stack of boxes put out for the garbage truck, looking at a yel¬lowed copy of the local newspaper, making sure no one could get near the boxes before they got hauled off." -From "Boxes" Summer 2018 (Volume 59 Issue 2) 

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote. 
The White Knight Versus the Black Knight. I was about eight-years-old. Cranked it out on my parents’ ancient Underwood typewriter by typing in each quadrant of a page, four pages thick with three sheets of carbon paper in between (no photocopiers in the mid-sixties), then cutting the pages and stapling them...


10 Questions for Andy Sia

- By Edward Clifford

“Once a security guard caught me practicing my art
in the nearby park. He instructed me to stop my obscene
driveling. I paid him no heed, sent a bubble towards him
like a free-spirited man in a parachute. He was
unmoved. I lose hope, sometimes. I grow weary…”
from “At age 10, I showcase my ability by blowing spit bubbles,” Summer 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I began writing poems in high school, and I still remember the first poem I wrote. It came about after a long drive home alone one night. It was late and I’d not taken this route before, and the quiet road glowed orange and stretched on and on like a dream. When I got home, without...



- By Erri De Luca, translated by Jim Hicks

Editor’s note: The rapid rise of arrogant, authoritarian power across the globe today is evident for all to see. In his recent blog post, Erri De Luca reflects on the criminal behavior of European leaders who promote policies on immigration which condemn thousands of innocents to die each year in the Mediterranean Sea. No one need be reminded how similarly heartless behavior today dominates the headlines in our America.

The Gospel According to Matthew tells of the Massacre of the Innocents. In an attempt to forestall a prophecy foretelling the birth of a king, Herod had all newborn children in the vicinity killed.

His precautionary measure failed, since the family unit he sought had been given political exile in Egypt—a country that didn’t...


10 Questions for Molly Quinn

- By Sarah Lofstrom

" The Double Dealer is back in the hospital. He stands at attention in his three-piece suit, waiting to greet the incoming staff. I’m his favorite nurse because my name starts with D. " —From "Therapeutic Recreation" Summer 2018 (Volume 59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The very first story I remember writing was about a princess whose kingdom is terrorized by a dragon. She sets out on a mission to fight him, but when they finally meet she gives him a hug instead.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
I’m sure everything I read influences me, but I’ve never tracked my style. I read as widely as possible and approach...

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