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When, Where, And How to Belong in a Portrait: Big Questions in Countée Cullen’s Harlem Renaissance

- By Shanta Lee

Review of Countée Cullen’s Harlem Renaissance by Kevin A. Brown. Forthcoming in 2024 from Parlor Press.

Will our life’s work be considered a lead melody or an accompanying harmony in the symphony of history? Does it matter if one plays first or fourth chair in the orchestra if we are talking about a piece that forever changed modern music? Or perhaps it does not matter how large or small of a role one played as long as one was in the room, because that symphony was situated within a period that created a lasting legacy for music. This metaphor applies to some of the persistent questions posed by Kevin A. Brown in Countée Cullen’s Harlem Renaissance. By the author’s own admission, this collection is not “. . . an...


Beers for Brrr!

- By Marsha Bryant

One must have a mind of winter . . . 
—Wallace Stevens


Have a beer in cold weather—just see
How it counterintuitively
Warms the blood with cold fire
As the winter transpires.
If you try one of these, you’ll agree.

Here’s a bottle-fermented delight,
For ’tis Trappist and English bedight
With rich, flavorful malts
That Tynt Meadow exalts
With a sweetness and spice that’s just right.

A DIPA for winter? Hell yes!
The trifecta of flavors so bless-
edly blends hops with spruce,
And spiced pear brings a boost
To this Bone Chill—cool brew, I profess....


Myriam Chancy: Toward Black Liberation

- By Jim Hicks

A Review of Myriam J.A. Chancy, Harvesting Haiti. Reflections on Unnatural Disasters. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2023.

If I weren’t invariably late with everything, this review would have been posted at 4:53 p.m. yesterday, January 12, 2023. Like most events that break time and begin a new calendar for some portion of the world (what Jalal Toufic has termed a surpassing disaster), what happened in Haiti at that exact time, in just forty-five seconds exactly fourteen years ago, has no doubt been forgotten by nearly everyone else everywhere else. That’s just how it is. Time is a mother.

For that very reason, along with a host of others (including at least a...


After World: AI and the Act of Writing

- By Helen McColpin

A Review of After World by Debbie Urbanski (Simon & Schuster, 2023)

Artificial Intelligence is the narrator is Debbie Urbanski’s novel After World—a relevant theme since the debut of Chat GPT in late 2022 and the broadening discourse about AI in writing. Urbanski’s consideration of AI predates the controversies over students using Chat GPT to write their assignments, and she isn’t as worried as one might think. While writing After World, Urbanski utilized Chat GPT and GPT-4, even participating in an interview conducted by an AI interviewer to promote this novel.



Haunting. . .

- By Jim Hicks

At long last, I’m finally sitting down to write a piece that I promised ages ago. This will be an admittedly partisan review, responding to the latest book by Tabish Khair, who is both a friend and on the MR masthead. Yet, given that it’s Hallowe’en today, on several levels it does seem the perfect moment to tell everyone why they should read Namaste Trump & Other Stories (Interlink Books, 2023).

The worldwide expansion of a holiday where children traditionally transvest as monsters, witches, and ghosts seems innocent enough—surely a form of what Joseph Nye, more than three decades ago, called “soft power.” That this year...

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