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Introduction

WE ARE HONORED to present to you the very first Massachusetts Review issue focused on Native American writing. We are thankful to Associate Editor N. C. Christopher Couch and the rest of the MR team for dreaming up this issue and for asking us to be guest editors, and we are especially thankful to the writers and artists whose work we’ve chosen for this special issue. Their words and images are a gift.

This issue, as it was first imagined, was set to coincide with and push back against Massachusetts’s planned celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the settlers’ arrival at Plymouth. Instead of commemorating the settler colonial narrative that surrounds the founding of Plymouth Colony, we sought instead to celebrate Indigenous narratives, not only from the Northeast but also from all of what is now the United States.

This issue emerges in a world much changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current...

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MR Jukebox

We are thrilled to share the Denver Art Museum's video of their artist-in-residence, Rose B. Simpson, who we were happy to feature in our current special issue, A Gathering of Native Voices (Winter 2020). 

 

“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

Interviews

10 Questions for Jessica Mehta

- By Edward Clifford

You don't just get to decide to start eatin again, it happens slow,
a groggy crawl and stumble out of a dream.
I didn't choose to starve mysel,
I didn't choose to stop. It was a cycle, my own metamorphosis
—from "'Eating like a Bird, It's Really a Falsity,'" Volume 61, Issue 4 (Winter 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I have found “poems” that I wrote at six years old, specifically one titled “The Rose.” It was—of course—a far cry from what I write now, but is still indicative of how I’ve always used poetry as my best, most natural form of communication. I also recall writing poems during my undergraduate poetry course days...


Interviews

10 Questions for Lemanuel Loley

- By Edward Clifford

dá’ák’ehdi
    dá’át’ąą yiighaad
    yéego dootł’izh
    ‘iiná yił
Niłtsą́ Bi’áád yiilzhoł
    shádi’aah dę́ę́
—from "dá’ák’ehdi (in the cornfield)," Volume 61, Issue 4 (Winter 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I attended a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding school from tenth grade until graduation. It was one of those schools that was originally intended to eradicate Indigenous identity, but it changed to a place that celebrated Indigenous personhood and encouraged all students to pursue their ambitions. The BIA held an essay contest and I entered an essay...


Our America

So Disgraceful to Our Country

- By Benjamin Franklin

(Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1778. Joseph Siffred Duplessis. Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Over the last four years or so, events in the United States of America—a country in which, as you know, I myself have no small interest—have made it difficult for those of us who are, shall we say, permanently retired from active duty, to remain so.

The recent controversy regarding a book contract, proffered to a certain notorious abuser of the public good and trust, has made it impossible for me, as a dedicated public servant, to remain silent any longer. On this issue, I long ago made my own sentiments and my own practice, clear, so let me indulge myself here by simply citing from my...


Interviews

10 Questions for Erika T. Wurth

- By Edward Clifford

"Jim," she said.

He turned to her. He was sitting on the couch in the living room, that same sinking couch that had belonged to his parents, as had the houes. She was in the kitchen making something to eat. They had been out late the night before, and had woken up only an hour ago. Jim felt horrible. Cecilia, on the other hand, never seemed hung-over. Even when she drank, and she could drfink most women, and some men, under the table, she always seemed in control.
—from "Cecilia," Volume 61, Issue 4 (Winter 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
How far back do you want to go? I think the first story I wrote was in eighth grade and it was a Stephen King style story that ended in “ahhhhh!...


Our America

WTF?

- By A Friend in Sarajevo

(Photo: A "Sarajevo Rose," turned into an ersatz war memorial.)

I’ve been thinking what to write since last night and I keep drawing a blank. Mostly because I figure you already know whatever I might end up saying. Also, cognitive dissonance, I think. The impossible becomes possible, then it becomes actual, but still somehow remains inconceivable. Also, sensory overload from all the news, the images: the dude in the chewbacca bikini, the dude carrying out the dais, waving to the camera with a picture postcard smile and a ridiculous pom-pom hat like he’s going cross-country skiing, so childish, so lovably American, so out of touch with reality… I think we’ve been taking reality for granted.

And then there’s my own baggage. I can...


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