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Our America

Local Life under Lockdown

- By Paul Shoul

When the Massachusetts Review approached me to do a photo essay on local life under the COVID-19 lockdown, my first thought was, How could I possibly capture the pandemic? Could I physically do this?

On March 5th, I had undergone rotator cuff surgery. Forty years of heavy cameras slung around my shoulders, the tools of the trade as a photojournalist, had taken their toll. The four to six-month recovery would be arduous and painful. I lost the use of my right arm and, after serious complications, my right hand. I couldn’t even tear a piece of paper or open a plastic bag, let alone press the shutter button. Not a bad time to quarantine, but how could I photograph, when I couldn't hold a camera? Then the death of George Floyd happened. I’d cut my...


Our America

Decency

- By Ward Schumaker

"I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department."
-Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican, Wisconsin) 09 February 1950

Having become famous for lying, constantly and needlessly, and facing a failing future as a politician, Senator Joseph McCarthy propelled himself to national prominence by making a disturbing and astounding speech in front of a small Republican women's club in West Virginia. "I have here in my hands a list..." he began.

In truth McCarthy had no such list, but an American citizenry, worried by China's recent fall into communism and the detonation...


Our America

Lewis and Trump

- By Ward Schumaker

The differences between the two men’s backgrounds could hardly be greater: one was born in 1940, black, the son of sharecroppers, in a small town in Alabama. By the age of six, he had seen only two white people. The other was born in 1946, white, in New York City, the son of a wealthy businessman; by the age of three, he was earning $200,000 a year from his father's real estate empire and at eight had become a millionaire, due to gifts from his parents.

At fifteen, John Robert Lewis heard Martin Luther King, Jr., speak, and at seventeen, he met Rosa Parks; at twenty-one, following in their footsteps, Lewis became one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. In subsequent years he was beaten––with baseball bats, chains, lead pipes, and stones––for...


Our America

Panteha Abareshi
“Chronically Ill and Severe” Artist

- By Pamela Glaven

The Massachusetts Review first featured the work of interdisciplnary artist Panteha Abareshi in Summer 2018 (volume 59. issue 2), when she was 18. I have been keeping an eye on her amazing progress. Such strong work across disciplines. Here is how Panteha introduces herself on her website:

"My name is Panteha Abareshi, and I am an artist currently based in Los Angeles, CA.

My work is rooted in my existence as a body...


Our America

The Presence of the Past of Things

- By Patricio Pron

Some time ago I visited an elderly couple who lived on the outskirts of a small German city. I had never met them, but I already knew some things about them: I knew that they were my girlfriend’s paternal grandparents, that they were readers of Theodor Fontane, that he had been a teacher, that it had been a while since my girlfriend had last visited them. They lived in a small apartment with views of a highway with little traffic and they made exquisite conversation, the result of a life of readings that had left their mark and which they recounted without the slightest affectation as they sliced up the customary cake, served coffee and showed an interest in us, as if there were anything interesting about our lives.

The day after visiting...


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