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The Heart and Power of Cuba and Its People

- By Christopher Louis Romaguera

A Review of Dariel Suarez’s The Playwright’s House

In his debut novel, Dariel Suarez takes the reader into the heart of Cuba, of Havana, of the people of the island. As a Cuban American, I notice how the people of the island are often erased from the stories set in Cuba, the stories written “about” Cuba. Cubans often suffer from a dehumanizing romanticization if not utter erasure from an imperial gaze that doesn’t know how to fit the people into their view of the island they vacation in or dream about. Yet Suarez is too skilled a writer, knows the people of Cuba too well, and The Playwright’s House has too much heart and power, to do anything other...


10 Questions for Trey Moody

- By Marissa Perez

I realize my daughter just turned seven and doesn't know
I was seven when my mother crept into my carpeted room
while I played a video game to say my father, who had been
far away taking fluids from tubes in a California hospital,
has died.
—from "Scrubbing the Skillet", Volume 62, Issue 2 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In fifth grade I wrote a poem for someone I liked who was wearing braces, and the poem rhymed “braces” with “golden laces.” (My first memory of letting form dictate content for the worse.) I’m not sure why I decided to write a poem in the first place—I don’t come from a literary household. While I can’t...


(Not Quite) 10 Questions for Rebecca Kaiser Gibson

- By Marissa Perez

Cigarette smoke wove
into my curls, right through 100%
madras from India, breathed blue-tinged, dizzy blue
through every alveolus,
as my mother lurched the car
down Wisonsin Ave., jamming gas
and brake pedals, tilting—
—from “Osmosis,” Volume 62, Issue 2 (Summer 2021)

We asked Rebecca Kaiser Gibson the same 10 Questions we ask our other contributors. She responded with the following interview.

First Pieces:
I have no idea what impelled me to write a secret message poem to cinnamon (the scent) and roll it into a scroll I could fit inside the empty spice jar that had contained it. Now I can’t remember the poem at all, only the sudden clarity of intention that...


Signs and Wonders

- By Michael Thurston

A Review of The Deposition by Pete Duval (University of Massachusetts Press, 2021).

I’m going to be straight with you: this is not going to be one of those neutral and dispassionate reviews. The fact is, I know Pete Duval. Not only have I chosen his work (including stories in this volume) for publication in the Massachusetts Review, but I have also talked fiction with him over breakfasts in a now-defunct Middletown diner, drunk Jameson and Guinness with him in a Philly dive, and even driven halfway across the country in a snowstorm with him. So when I tell you that The Deposition...


10 Questions for Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

- By Marissa Perez

I am singing about the undone things cited on buried bones.
I am singing them because I like to imagine a valley with a library on it.
A library with catalogues that don’t always read, sorry for the losses.
I like to imagine a lot of things but death.
I am familiar with how each moment
outweighs the knowledge that appears close by.
—from “Monochrome Photo with Fragments in a Closet,” Volume 62, Issue 2 (Summer 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
It’s years ago now, but I first began as a short story writer. And the first piece I wrote, I remember, was a story after Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan. I laugh anytime I remember it. This is because, then,...

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