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WE’VE ALL HEARD the arguments: literature isn’t about politics, or messages, it stands on its own or not at all. Writers with agendas flatten their subjects, and they fail anyway, since art makes nothing happen. Frankly, I’ve never believed it; instead, I’ve come to hear this mantra as an implicit endorsement of our laissez-faire, neoliberal hegemony. If art did nothing, why would it matter at all?

Though I do understand the problem, and I can recognize the symptoms (after all, who likes to be lectured?), I tend to err in the other direction. For me, all the...

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By Kris Hartley

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s birth. It is also one year since Yunchan Lim became the youngest pianist ever to win the gold medal in the sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, held once every four years. Lim’s acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Marin Alsop, clinched his victory and was by all accounts a rare moment.



By Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Translated by Brandon Breen


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View a recording of our 2023 Anne Halley Poetry Prize Reading with winner Megan Pinto!

“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

Our America

Reclaiming & Correcting the Rock Aesthetic

- By Earl Douglas, Jr. and Darrell M. McNeill

(Photo: from the BRC photo gallery, “30 Years of Reclaiming & Correcting the Rock Aesthetic”)

The Black Rock Coalition emphatically and wholeheartedly condemns Jann Wenner’s thoughtless misogynistic and racist statements in the New York Times regarding women and Black artists. While his comments were beyond reprehensible, they are no major revelation to Black artists who’ve struggled with the White rock establishment from Day One: Wenner only confirmed and re-emphasized how mass media outlets have—and to continue...

Working Titles Excerpts

Coming Home (Working Titles 8.1)

- By Judith Filc

In Minima Moralia, Adorno reviles U.S. highways. They represent the irruption of capitalism in nature: “the more impressively smooth and broad they are, the more unrelated and violent their gleaming track appears against its wild, overgrown surroundings.” They are artificially devoid of marks—neither foot nor wheel can leave a trace on them, just as their manufacture is devoid of the impress of the hand. “It is as if no one had ever passed their hand over the landscape’s hair. It is uncomforted and comfortless.”

The highway as a landscape removed from human hands recalls the feeling of inaccessibility linked to the sense of foreignness and uprootedness. Does his refugee status color his view? And he’s not just...


10 Questions for Lisa Fay Coutley

- By Franchesca Viaud

When Buddha said silence is an empty
space & space is the home of the awakened

mind, he hadn't yet crossed his legs
& held his spine both firm & calm

in the smoke-filled avocado kitchen
of my small girlhood.
—from "Cuffing Season" by Lisa Fay Coutley, Volume 64, Issue 2 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first poem that comes to mind is not the first ever but the first I revised for many hours in that way I came to know as really working a piece. A few years before that, the dysfunction of my life brought me to the page, which led me to return to school as a young, single mother, and this poem, “Small Girl,” which...

After Us

Erosion (Earth Primer #4)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(Countryside in Algeria, photo by Giacomo Sartori)

Cultivated soil is very fragile—just a bit of water running over the surface is capable of stripping away its thin upper layers, which are the most rich and fertile. The soil is then deposited at the base of the slopes, where the water slows, or poured into creeks or rivers that will carry it to the sea. In either case (and both often happen simultaneously), it is a permanent loss. And if the water streams down violently, it tears away all the best soil, opening up rivulets and deep ravines, eating up a stunning amount of earth, annihilating the labor of thousands of years through which the soil had been formed from stone. Steep slopes are not needed; water builds up energy from even minimal height differences,...


10 Questions for Mónica Gomery

- By Franchesca Viaud

Today, summer is over.
Today, everybody is ready
for autumn's crimson sleight 
of hand. Everybody wants to peel
off a green dress, flirt with the bitter
temperature, get into a fight. 
—from "Rosh Hashanah" by Mónica Gomery, Volume 64, Issue 2 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote constantly as a kid. As soon as I could put letters together, I was exhilarated to give it a try as often as possible. My mother is a visual artist, and she encouraged my brother and me to make art of all kinds. One of her best moves was buying us these blank hardcover books– the pages were unlined and open, even the covers were blank, so I could write the book, give it a...

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