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Massachusetts Reviews: Moxie

- By Allison Bird Treacy

Moxie by Alex Poppe (Tortoise Books, 2018)

Scott Hamilton was wrong when he said that the only disability in life is a bad attitude. In fact, you ask many self-described disabled people, a bad attitude is just our other disability. That’s why, when an abled writer puts a disabled character at the center of a story, as is the case in Alex Poppe’s debut novel Moxie, the text must walk a fine line: avoid the inspiration porn trap.

Often ascribed to the late disability activist, journalist, and comedian Stella Young, inspiration porn describes the majority of mainstream disability...


Massachusetts Reviews: Kill CLass

- By Allison Bird Treacy

Kill Class by Nomi Stone (Tupelo, 2019)

Living as we do in a time of ceaseless, overlapping wars, I would venture that most Americans believe that we know how soldiers prepare for war, through basic training and boot camp, the persistent physical trials of young men to ensure their strength. In order to enter into Nomi Stone’s incisive second collection, Kill Class, however, we have to let go of this vision of military training, and follow her through the vortex of the anthropologist’s camera. There we encounter Pineland, the military training ground that “has room for whatever the world does to itself.”

Home to a special class of war games, Pineland can be anything, but today it’s Iraq—any city there, any Middle Eastern...


Massachusetts Reviews: Sadakichi Hartmann, Collected Poems, 1886-1944

- By Edward Moran

SADAKICHI HARTMANN: COLLECTED POEMS, 1886-1944, edited by Floyd Cheung, Little Island Press, 2017.

Despite approving nods from Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. Karl Sadakichi Hartmann (1867-1944) remains one of the most eccentric—some say, dilettantish—figures in American literature. In that crepuscular, liminal era between Victorianism and Modernism, Hartmann held court as the quintessential jack-of-all-trades: a poet, a playwright, an art critic, a pioneering photography critic, a newspaper reporter, a proto-beatnik/hippie (he was crowned King of the Bohemians in Greenwich Village exactly a century ago), silent-film extra (he appeared as the...


Massachusetts Reviews: A Partisan Review

- By David DeGusta

Accomplice to Memory, by Q. M. Zhang (Kaya Press, 2017)

Editor’s Note: Given that this magazine was the first to publish pages from Zhang’s book, and that, since that time, the author has herself joined our masthead as fiction and nonfiction editor, this magazine certainly can make no pretense to absolute objectivity in her regard. We know what we like, and we think it’s our job to convince you to share our tastes. That said, we’re also happy that David DeGusta shares our enthusiasm.

Reading studies of human memory is a profoundly unsettling experience. We are all, it turns out, unreliable narrators. Our eyes are not cameras—filtering and...


Kempowski Sounds Out the Second World War

- By Nil Santiáñez

I am posting this blog entry on 6 August 2018. At 8:15 a.m. local time, exactly seventy-three years ago, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. This is a fact. In three days we are going to commemorate the seventy-third anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki—yet another fact. There are many other indisputable facts about the Second World War: the German invasion of Poland, the siege of Leningrad, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Allied landing in Normandy, the Warsaw uprising, the Battle of the Ardennes, and so on. And yet, in order to make sense of such facts, one must put them together within a narrative. And as soon as we attempt to do that, problems arise. The most basic of those problems could be...

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