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A Response to the Literary Address by Kazim Ali

- By Timothy Yu

It’s fascinating that Kazim’s response to the question of a South Asian American “canon” is to consider poetic careers cut short, truncated.  The untimely deaths of Agha Shahid Ali and Reetika Vazirani deprived younger South Asian American writers of figures who might now be considered eminences within the field.  For Kazim, Ali and Vazirani seem to represent an aesthetic spectrum, from Ali’s virtuosic, playful formalism to what he calls the “spiky,” fractured experimentation of Vazirani’s last writings. 

For me, though, it’s the very question of a canon, or its...


Autumn Journal on Autumn Journal: 5

- By Michael Thurston

Read Part Four here.

“To-day was a beautiful day, the sky was a brilliant

You probably remember where you were, what you were doing, when a brilliant blue September sky, the kind some of us look forward to throughout the hot and hazy end of August, was suddenly, strangely, riven by off-course airliners and suddenly, awfully, no more than a backdrop for orange explosions of jet fuel and great black and gray clouds of ash and dust. At 9:00 Eastern time, I walked into my classroom and led a discussion of Frank O’Connor’s “Guests of the Nation,” one of those accidents that seems, in retrospect, like no...


10 Questions for Kathleen Winter

- By Edward Clifford

The famished ermine trimming the patron’s coat

                        was meant as an emblem of wealth.



Making Queer Worlds

- By Subhalakshmi Gooptu

The World That Belongs To Us: An Anthology of Queer Poetry from South Asia, edited by Aditi Angiras and Akhil Katyal (Harper Collins, 2020)

"They say This world isn’t for you
Why then was I born into it, if it wasn’t for me."

These lines hit you like a gust of unforgiving wind. Almost two-thirds through the book, editors Aditi Angiras and Akhil Katyal have tricked you. Lulled with poems of joy, resistance, freedom, love and escape, you flip through pages quickly, looking for more. But some poems stop you in your track. To startle you. Phurbu Tashi’s “This World Isn’t For You”...

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...

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