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Introduction

SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK. As mnemonics go, one of the best, as equipment for living, not the recipe we need. Though this issue hits the bookstands the day after we spin the clocks ahead, if springing forward is what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the wrong place. Many things must change, given where we’ve been, yet none of that will happen unless we come to terms with what we’ve learned. And it isn’t the lies, the self-dealing, the rancor, or even, at some level, the damage done, the lives ended, the fortunes ruined, the friends and family lost. All of that still burns, how could it not, and nothing will be forgotten, because how could it be? Yet what is truly essential, what must at last be confronted, was delivered to us drop by drop during this interminable succession of isolated days, a truth that 2020 hindsight cannot not reveal. Though elsewhere there will be other versions, in the US that truth is simple: this country is nothing like what...

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MR Jukebox

A reading from our 2020 Anne Halley Poetry Prize winner Sam Taylor. Taylor reads his prize-winning poem "Postcards from Babel" as well as an assortment of other poems.

SAM TAYLOR is the author of three books of poems, Body of the World, Nude Descending an Empire, and the forthcoming The Book of Fools: An Essay in Memoir and Verse. His poems have appeared in such journals as the Kenyon Review, AGNI, and the New Republic, and his work has been recognized with the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, The Dobie Paisano Fellowship, and residency fellowships from such places as Yaddo, Ucross, Djerassi, and the Vermont Studio Center.

“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 Jamaica Baldwin

- By Edward Clifford

Begin with a plant
then an animal. Move
your way up the chain of need
till you’ve learned enough
about sacrifice and scooping poop
to join the ranks of mother.
—from "Naturally," Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Let’s see. There is one that has always stuck with me. It was about a woman driving to Canada. It was about the threat of violence that women endure and about the weight of beauty ideals, I think. It was a delightfully strange poem. One line went something like, “If my ear was closer to the ground, perhaps I could hear the conversations between the ants. . . But I have killed many of them in my lifetime and nothing is scarier than...


10 Questions

10 Questions for D.M. Gordon

- By Edward Clifford

Write to me—do not text—in your unpracticed hand.
A postcard with a stamp. Write until you run out of room—
up the sides in smaller and smaller letters, dear little e's,
outrageous y's and confusing s's; send a photograph
from "Mosses and Ivies," Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote poems and short stories on my own in high school, then stopped abruptly in the second week of college when, in my first critique experience ever, the professor used my sonnet to prove that the sonnet was dead, and said of my short story that the writer was psychotic and needed...


Interviews

10 Questions for CJ Evans

- By Edward Clifford

Shattered silverfish bodies in the vanity globes,
they know me. How I hate my body, how it's been

abandoning me. How I look up to the light to not
see mirrored back the emptying cup of my jaw,
—from "To a Wild Place," Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
When I was a senior in high school I was a bit of a mess—getting into all sorts of things I shouldn’t have, not showing up, and was very close to getting kicked out. I was just beginning to read contemporary poetry and listening to spoken word, and there was a teacher that let me do a final project in English class that was, essentially, a groaningly privileged teenager ripoff of Gil Scott-Heron’s...


Interviews

10 Questions for Donna Lee Miele

- By Edward Clifford

Above the pitted black coast, at the house that looks accidentally built, the floodlights have been left on. The owner is not there. He only comes during the winter, when the waves rise and he can pick his way down the cliff to ride the surf off the reef, some two hundred yards offshore. Now, in summertime, the ocean is sleepy under round, slow swells that gently slap the cliff.
—from “A Breath of Plankton Soup,” Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The very first story I wrote, of which I was really proud, was about a Thanksgiving dinner involving woodland animals of the Hudson Valley (illustrated, of course). But if you want to fast-forward past that one, through the 8th...


blog

A History of Anti-Asian Violence in the United States

- By Beth Lew-Williams

 

The Inaugural Kay Johnson Lecture in Asian American Studies at Hampshire College

"The Chinese Must Go: A History of Anti-Asian Violence in the United States”

Beth Lew-Williams, Associate Professor of History, Princeton University

Wednesday 7 April 2021, 4:30 pm

The American West erupted in anti-Chinese violence in 1885  Following the massacre of Chinese miners in Wyoming Territory, more than 165 communities throughout California and the Pacific Northwest harassed, assaulted, and expelled thousands of Chinese migrants. Beth Lew-Williams will discuss this unprecedented outbreak, place it within the broader history of anti-Asian violence, and reflect on the implications for the present day. As we confront a new surge of...


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