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Volume 62, Issue 4

Front Cover by Mercedes Dorame
Smoke to Water, Chyaar Paar 'Apuuchen 2013

Courtesy of the artist

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I WON’T WASTE YOUR TIME with another litany of doom. Yes, statisticians at the University of Washington recently estimated there’s a 95 percent chance the planet will exceed 2 degrees Celsius warming. Yes, current trajectories for CO2 emissions match the IPCC’s worst-case scenarios, which predict we’ll reach global temperature increases of 4 degrees Celsius or more by 2100, perhaps as early as 2061. And yes, leading ecologists and biologists have warned us that we face “a ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health, and climate-disruption upheavals (...

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2021 Winner of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize

The 2021 winner of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize is Abigail Chabitnoy, for her poem "Girls Are Coming out of the Water," from our Gathering of Native Voices issue (Volume 61, Issue 4).

ABIGAIL CHABITNOY is the author of How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted in the international category of the 2020 Griffin Prize for Poetry. She was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow, and her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, ...

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Join Gina Apostol, Omar El Akkad, Shailja Patel, and Joseph Earl Thomas, alongside Roy Scranton and Noy Holland to launch MR's Climate issue.

To celebrate the launch of our winter 2021 special issue on the climate crisis, the Massachusetts Review is pleased to announce a reading with contributors Gina Apostol, Joseph Earl Thomas, Shailja Patel, and Omar El Akkad, alongside guest editors Roy Scranton and Noy Holland.

GINA APOSTOL has published four novels. Gun Dealers’ Daughter won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award. Publishers Weekly named Insurrecto ,one of the ten best books of 2018. Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, both won the Philippine National Book Award. “At the Hotel Sirena” is an excerpt from her forthcoming novel, La Tercera. She lives in New York City and Hadley, MA.

OMAR EL AKKAD is an author and journalist. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into thirteen languages. It was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Changed Our World. His new novel, What Strange Paradise, was released in July 2021 and is long-listed for the Giller Prize.

SHAILJA PATEL is a queer, radical, internationalist feminist from Kenya, and the best-selling author of MIGRITUDE, currently taught in over 150 colleges and universities worldwide. Patel’s poems have been translated into seventeen languages and featured in the Smithsonian. Her performances have received standing ovations on four continents. Honored by the Nobel Women’s Initiative with a Global Feminist Spotlight, Patel is currently a research associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, and a Civitella Ranieri 2021–23 Fellow.

JOSEPH EARL THOMAS is a writer from Frankford, whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Philadelphia Stories, Gulf Coast, The Offing, and The Kenyon Review. He has an MFA in prose from the University of Notre Dame and studies English in the PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. His memoir, Sink, won the 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize, and he has received fellowships from Fulbright, VONA, Tin House, and Bread Loaf. He’s writing the novel God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer, and a collection of stories, Leviathan Beach, among other oddities.

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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 Salar Abdoh

- By Edward Clifford

My mother does not know a lot of things, and yet she remembers many things. When I tell her over the phone that I am thinking of learning how to sail a boat, she does not ask how it is that I could do something like this in Tehran, a city far from the sea [...]
—from "Hoor-Al-Azim," by Maryam Haidari, Translated by Salar Abdoh

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
I seriously got into translation after Akashic Books asked me to edit and translate Tehran Noir, a volume in their remarkable series of noir collection from major cities around the world.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
Looking back, probably the writer who had the most consistent...



- By Keith Taylor

Meg Kearney’s All Morning the Crows (The Word Works, 2021).

Shelley begins his famous, “To a Skylark”: “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert. . .” Then for the next few stanzas he works hard to show the “birdiness” of the bird, until he finally gives up in a series of similes (“Like a Poet hidden/In the light of thought . . .”; “Like a high-born maiden/In a palace tower. . .” etc.). By the end of the poem Shelley wants to learn to sing with the bird’s “harmonious madness” so the “world should listen” to him as attentively as he listens to the bird. He’s yet...


10 Questions for Maryam Haidari

- By Salar Abdoh and Edward Clifford

My mother does not know a lot of things, and yet she remembers many things. When I tell her over the phone that I am thinking of learning how to sail a boat, she does not ask how it is that I could do something like this in Tehran, a city far from the sea [...]
—from "Hoor-Al-Azim," by Maryam Haidari, Translated by Salar Abdoh

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In 2012 I was traveling north from Beirut to Tripoli. It was the first time I was in Lebanon and I was determined to see my friend up in Tripoli. But ISIS had already crossed over from the Syrian border into the north of Lebanon. My Lebanese friends forbade me to go, saying that if ISIS found out I was Iranian they would surely kill me. I went nevertheless....


Five Lessons Peter Bogdanovich Taught Me About Art (And Life)

- By Michael Dunaway

Peter Bogdanovich passed away this week of natural causes. He was one of the great American directors, of course. His three picture run of The Last Picture Show, What’s Up Doc, and Paper Moon has seldom been equalled, and although his work after that (without his brilliant collaborator Polly Platt) was uneven, it contained some great work unjustly overlooked by critics and fans who adopted an easy narrative about his decline. He was a genius. He never stopped being a genius. That’s evident not only in his films, but also in his criticism, his interviews, his documentaries, and his curation.

He was also my friend. We met at a film festival and immediately hit it off. His multi-hyphenate career lined up nearly exactly with what I was trying to...


10 Questions for CAConrad

- By Edward Clifford

My last (Soma)tic poetry ritual, “Resurrect Extinct Vibration,” used audio field recordings of animals who have become extinct in my lifetime. The ritual momentarily returned the music of the disappeared back to the air, the body, and the land.
—from Ignition Chronicles, Volume 62, Issue 4 (Winter 2022)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My first poem is from 1975. My mother began making me sell bouquets of flowers along the highway, and it turned me into a reader. Think about that year 1975; absolutely nothing digital in our hands to distract us. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday became many hours of forced isolation for me, and reading was the solution.

One Thursday, when I was at the library getting...

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