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After Us

Westerners Have a Way. . .

- By Noy Holland

Editor’s note: On March 28, 2022, in Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the UMass School of Earth & Sustainability, in partnership with the Fine Arts Center and the MFA Program for Poets and Writers convened a unique meeting of artists, climate and social scientists, and activists working at the intersection of climate change, literature, and social justice. Noy Holland, from the MFA Program introduced and moderated this discussion.

Westerners have a way of talking about climate, nature, the environment as though it is over there. Something apart, something other. But we are nature and nature is us and we are making a mess of ourselves and everything that lives. Nature is storm surge and dengue, beetle-kill and Lyme. It is...

The Next Best Thing

All Are Worthy of Song

- By Barbara Krauthamer

Editor's Note: On December 3, 2021, at the Old Chapel on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, friends, colleagues, and community members met to celebrate the work of UMass Professor of English and MR Contributing Editor Martín Espada, to recognize his singular achievements—during his long career but also in a single year where his most recent collection of poems, Floaters, received the National Book Award and where he received one of the inaugural Letras Boricuas Fellowships. Before a reading by the poet, the following introduction was provided by Barbara Krauthamer, Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

It is now my pleasure and...

The Next Best Thing

For David 1: The Great Lie of Ideals

- By Brion Dulac

An introduction to David Lenson's lecture at the Commonwealth Honors College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, on February 13, 2013.



Here are only a very few representative samples of the many, many evaluations made by students with regard to David Lenson and his teaching:


One of the most incredible professors that I have ever had.
He will change your perspective on things and shake up your world.
Lenson is absolutely brilliant. His books are messed up, but so...

The Next Best Thing

For David 2: A Way of Living

- By Aaron Hellem

(Photo: David Lenson, from the 1963 Nutley High School yearbook)

When I remember David Lenson it is his kind eyes and his wicked grin, full of mischief, as though he had just eaten a bird and was waiting, even hoping, for someone to notice.

The first time I met him was in the classroom, during a graduate seminar he taught on the Double in literature. He was the first professor in my experience at UMass to open up possibilities rather than limit them, which in graduate school it seemed everyone was aspiring to do. He explored every tangent not as a tangent but as a tributary that eventually would lead everyone to the same ocean. The one big note. It feels fitting now in retrospect what I first learned...

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