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The Next Best Thing

From Shining Pearl to Shining Sea

- By Xu Xi

A Transnational View of Hong Kong

Before I introduce our speaker this evening, I have a lot of thanks to give to those who supported and made this event possible. Thanks to Hampshire College Eqbal Ahmad Endowed Lecture Fund, the Ethics and Common Good Project, and the Creative Writing Program. Thanks to Smith College Office of Equity & Inclusion and the Lewis Global Studies Center. Thanks to the UMass MFA for Poets & Writers Program, Five Colleges, Inc., and The Massachusetts Review. Finally, thanks to my student, Judy Ha, for making the beautiful poster for this event and distributing it to all five campuses!

I’m very excited to welcome writer Xu Xi to Hampshire College and to welcome her back to the Five...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Neil Shepard

- By Catherine Fox

There is no sadness like today’s sadness¾
a spring day so achingly alive I want to break
out of my body. But somebody already said that.—From “There Is No Sadness” Volume 60, Issue 3 (Fall 2019)

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
In my formative years—grad school in the mid-1970s—I immersed in the contemporary poetry of the time: The Beats, the Feminist poets, the New York poets, and the Deep Imagists. I found a deep affinity, in particular, with this latter group, especially for the nature poetry and elegiac tones of Bly, Wright, Merwin, and Kinnell.  Despite the thousands of other poets I’ve read and absorbed since then, these four poets are still in my...

Our America

The Awakening of Dignity

- By Manuel Garcia

The ongoing crisis in Chile has brought the country to a standstill, unsettling the daily lives of all citizens. However, it has done more than just that. Mass protests have a way of altering the personhood of everyone involved in ways previously unimagined. Over the last week, thirty days after the eruption of social unrest, I have talked extensively with four people from Santiago who have lived the uprising from the ground up. Here I will share some of their experiences and testimonies during this process. To the best of my knowledge, none of them know each other. Let me introduce them to you now.

Maria is thirty-eight years old, married and the mother of two. She is self-employed as a baker and works mostly from her home in La Pintana. La Pintana is one of the most spatially...

10 Questions

10 Questions for Jesse Bertron

- By Catherine Fox

I flushed that flock of doves three times.
An hour’s worth of wingbeats in a rush
and then a rush and then a rush.—From “Walking on a Path by Fisher Creek, I Flushed a Flock of Doves,” Volume 60, Issue 3 (Fall 2019)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first thing I wrote that I think still holds up, I wrote when I was about fifteen. I had a Livejournal, which was an early blogging platform. And some of the stuff on there I still find very funny. There were some poems, but mostly just silly riffs. Like here's one I went back and found:

There are three towels in my room.

These clearly represent the three wise men.


Favorite Things

William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance: A Meditative Choreographic Act

- By Mark Franko

Photo: Ander Zabala (left), Parvaneh Sharafali (right) in A Quiet Evening of Dance. Photo: Mohamed Sadek. Courtesy of The Shed.

This fall Peter Brook presented Why?, a play-as-conversation between three actors in which they reflect intellectually and performatively in deftly sketched scenes on theater-making from the actor’s perspective. This chamber work, composed of discussions about the actor’s craft, is directed in part toward the audience with no lack of enlightening, whimsical, and sometimes quite moving illustrations. Why? is a theoretical and historical brief on theater’s infinite possibilities and mortal dangers, a fit addition to the distinguished career of Peter Brook, which now spans seven decades. In the play’s...

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