Front Cover by Barkley L. Hendricks
Lawdy Mama, 1969. OIL AND GOLD LEAF ON CANVAS.
Courtesy of the artist's estate, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and American Federation of Arts.Order a copy now
Front Cover by Barkley L. Hendricks
Lawdy Mama, 1969. OIL AND GOLD LEAF ON CANVAS.
Courtesy of the artist's estate, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and American Federation of Arts.Order a copy now
"THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY instructs us that the English words “magazine” (from the Arabic makzan, makzin, storehouse) and “review” (from the Middle French, revue, reveue, reconsideration of some subject or thing), in reference to a form of periodical publication, date back only to the early eighteenth century. The lexical choice of “magazine” (as opposed to “periodical”), we are further informed, “typically indicates that the intended audience is not specifically academic”. It hardly needs saying that what a magazine stores, for your (re)consideration, varies: richness in diversity is the promise of any review worthy of its name.
With the advent of digital publication and online access, however, one has to wonder how our periodical reading practices have changed. I, for one, find fewer book lovers these days spending their time strolling through the stacks; similarly, I imagine fewer readers leisurely flipping through pages in print. How wandering on the web stacks up to past practices I’m not sure we know as yet, but I do know we’re not going back. After documenting the favoritism that early Christians showed to codices over the Judaic tradition of scrolls, Peter Stallybrass notes how reading practices changed as a result. You “cannot move easily back and forth between distant points on a scroll,” he comments. “But it is precisely such movement back and forth that the book permits. It not only allows discontinuous reading, it encourages it.” What, then, the effect of digit-surfing?
The Massachusetts Review organizes differently than most other magazines today what publishers still refer to as its “front matter”. Our Table of Contents, both online and in print, eschews categorical divisions into poetry, fiction, essays, etc. and thereby, perhaps, encourages fortuitous finds, discoveries of treasures not intentionally sought. Moreover, we list our works first by title, then identify them by genre, and only lastly by author (and translator, for translations). In doing so, we continue a practice typical of magazines a half-century ago, one hard to find elsewhere today. Privileging the title as first indication of a text’s identity and unicity, in particular, seems unusual—and yet, the title is, after all, a given name, an authorial, and therefore authoritative, labeling of contents. Some things, though, no Table of Contents will teach you, no matter how it’s laid out. In our celebratory final issue last year, we did try to indicate how a large swath of contributions came to us with help from earlier contributors. In this issue, once again, we’ve had plenty of help from our friends, some of it still a result of that earlier call. Also, one of our poetry editors, Deb Gorlin, now lives half the year in Santa Cruz, and her recent bicoastal presence has provided us with two vital resources. Ellen Bass and Gary Young, poets and teachers who hail from those parts, generously passed along the names of a number of remarkable poets, both established and emerging, whose solicited work is included here. Though firmly ensconced, as ever, in Emily Dickinson’s hometown, this magazine hopes to continue casting a wider net of welcome—to poets and writers living on either coast, or, indeed, across our nation and beyond it.
After such prefacing, I ought simply to leave you to your reading, trusting each to find their wondering way through our pages. But instead I’ll conclude with a short list. . . after all, in naming, authors choose to describe, but also to associate, and, wherever possible, to lead into temptation. So, “Mark But This,” “Curiosity Has More Syllables Than Conquer”. “When the Storm Comes,” “The Underworld Also Swallows Sons.” We recall “Italo’s Death,” “Searching for Walter,” and “The Smell of Tansey in the Dark”. Though, of course, “I’m Not Any of the Things I Used to Be,” but “That’s Life, Honey”.
And, last but never least, “Once Upon a Time.”
Mark But This, a story by Ariel Dorfman
My History with Animals, a story by Hebe Uhart, translated by Anna Vilner
Shelley on the Beach, a poem by SeSe Geddes
The Smell of Tansy in the Dark, an essay by Lesley Wheeler
Birth, a poem by Paola Bruni
Insides, a poem by Dion O'Reilly
I'm Not Any of the Things I Used to Be, a poem by Julie Murphy
My First-Grade Picture, a poem by Nancy Miller Gomez
That's Life, Honey, a story by Gabriella Kuruvilla, translated by Jamie Richards and Alex Valente
Barricades, a poem by Charles Peck
Police Interrogation of Food Critic B.W. Ball, a poem by Peter Krumbach
Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem
Footpad, a poem by Cynthia White
When the Storm Comes, a story by Tad Bartlett
The End of Days at Dave and Busters, a story by Caitlin O'Neil
Guitar, a poem by Keith Leonard
Syllable from Sound, an essay by Melanie McCabe
The Empirical Mr. B, a story by Laura Glen Louis
The Opposite Bird, a poem by Augusta Funk
In the Great Wide, a story by Karin Cecile Davidson
The Underworld Also Swallows Sons, a poem by Jennifer Richter
Once Upon a Time, a story by Sylvia Hanitra Andriamampianina, translated by Rebecca Dehner-Armand
Notes on Contributors
DESIRÉE ALVAREZ is a visual artist whose first book, Devil’s Paintbrush, won the 2015 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Award. Her poetry was recently anthologized in What Nature (MIT Press) and is featured in Other Musics: New Latina Poetry, an anthology published by University of Oklahoma Press (April 2019). She has published poems in Boston Review, Fence, The Iowa Review, and Poetry. She received the Glenna Luschei Poetry Award from Prairie Schooner, fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, Yaddo, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Poets House, and the Willard L. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She exhibits widely, teaches at CUNY and The Juilliard School and is artist in residence at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
SYLVIA HANITRA ANDRIAMAMPIANINA is a literary scholar, author and translator based in Madagascar. In addition to writing fiction, Andriamampianina teaches comparative literature and conducts research in literary studies and cultural anthropology. The author has devoted her literary and scholarly pursuits to Malagasy literary genres, especially ones with their origins in the oral tradition such as myths and fables. Her most recent book, Pourquoi on ne mange pas la tortue: Contes de Madagascar was published by No Comment Editions in 2018.
PATRICK BARRON is Professor of English at The University of Massachusetts, Boston, and has published a number of books of translations from Italian to English, including Celati’s Towards the River’s Mouth (Verso la foce): A Critical Edition (2018, Lexington/Rowman-Littlefield), Haiku for a Season, Haiku per una stagione, by Andrea Zanzotto (2012, Chicago), The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto (2007, Chicago), and Italian Environmental Literature: An Anthology (2003, Italica), which offered for the first time a comprehensive selection of Italian environmental literature from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has also published numerous scholarly articles, reviews, and poems, as well as the edited collection of essays, Terrain Vague: Interstices at the Edge of the Pale (2013, Routledge.) His collection of poetry Spooring is forthcoming in early 2020 (Unsolicited Press).
TAD BARTLETT’s fiction has been published by The Baltimore Review, Carolina Quarterly, Bird’s Thumb, and others; his creative nonfiction has been published by Bitter Southerner, The Chautauqua Literary Journal, and others; and has been listed as “notable” by Best American Essays. Tad is a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.
PAOLA BRUNI’s poetry has been published in the Porter Gulch Review, Comstock Review, and Mudfish. She is the 2017 winner of the Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest judged by Ellen Bass. Her short play, Michelangelo’s Jesus, was produced by the 8 Tens Festival in Santa Cruz during the 2018 season. Paola is also co-author of the nonfiction book, Let God Love You Up, published by The Maria Press (2015).
Widely recognized as one of the most important contemporary Italian writers and a key voice at the forefront of the spatial turn in the humanities, GIANNI CELATI first became known for fiction associated with the neo-avant-garde of the late 1960s that focused on unstable identities and the socially marginalized in books noted for their disjointed, experimental language. His writing later moved towards minimalism, demonstrating a wariness of institutions while compassionately examining contemporary society in the context of cultural landscapes. From his first published book Comiche (Slapstick silent films, 1971), for which Italo Calvino wrote the postface, to award-winning titles such as the 1972 Le avventure di Guizzardi (The adventures of Guizzardi) and the 1985 Narratori delle pianure (Voices from the Plains, 1989), Celati’s reputation has consistently grown. At present he has written over sixteen books and numerous critical essays, and produced four films, three of which focus on the Po Valley—Strada provinciale delle anime (Provincial road of the souls, 1991), Il mondo di Luigi Ghirri (The world of Luigi Ghirri, 1999), and Case sparse—Visioni di case che crollano (Scattered houses— Visions of collapsing houses, 2002). He has also translated many books from French and English—from Balzac’s Droll Stories (1967), Roland Barthes’ Roland Barthes (1980), Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener (1991), Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma (1993), and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1997), to most recently, Joyce’s Ulysses (2013). In 2016, his collected works Romanzi, cronache e racconti (Novels, accounts and stories) was published in Mondadori’s prestigious Meridiani series.
BRIAN CHIKWAVA is a London-based Zimbabwean writer. He's associate editor of Wasafiri magazine and a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies.
KARIN CECILE DAVIDSON is originally from the Gulf Coast. Her stories have appeared in Five Points, Colorado Review, The Los Angeles Review, Passages North, storySouth, and elsewhere. Her awards include a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Residency at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a 2018 Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency, a 2015 Studios of Key West Artist Residency, a 2014 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, a 2012 Orlando Prize for Short Fiction, the 2012 Waasmode Short Fiction Prize, and a 2012 Peter Taylor Fellowship. She has an MFA from Lesley University and is Interviews Co-Editor for Newfound Journal.
REBECCA DEHNER-ARMAND is a literary translator of contemporary French and Francophone fiction. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on autobiography, exile, and (self-) translation studies in French-language fiction. In addition to her academic publications, Rebecca’s translations have appeared in Asymptote and Delos.
Considered to be one of "the greatest Latin American novelists" (Newsweek), ARIEL DORFMAN is one of the United States' most important cultural and political voices. Ariel’s newest work of fiction, Cautivos is forthcoming from OR Books in January 2020. The English-edition of his children’s book The Rabbit's Rebellion is also forthcoming in January 2020, to be published by Seven Stories Press. His numerous works of fiction and nonfiction have been translated into more than thirty languages; his play, Death and the Maiden, has been produced in over one hundred countries, was made into a film by Roman Polanski, and will have a revival on Broadway later this year. His writing frequently appears in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, Guernica, and The New Republic, as well as numerous other magazines internationally. He is a distinguished professor at Duke University and lives in Durham, North Carolina.
BRUCE AND JU-CHAN FULTON are the translators of numerous volumes of modern Korean fiction, most recently the graphic novel Moss by Yoon Taeho (serialized at the Huffington Post, 2015-16), Sunset: A Ch’ae Manshik Reader (Columbia University Press, 2017), Mina by Kim Sagwa (Two Lines Press, 2018), and The Catcher in the Loft by Cheon Un-yeong (Codhill Press, 2019). Among their awards and fellowships are the Chametzky Prize for Translation (Massachusetts Review), two U.S. National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships, and the first residency at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre awarded to translators from any Asian language. Bruce Fulton is the inaugural holder of the Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia.
AUGUSTA FUNK is a queer poet from the Midwest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2019, The Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she recently received her MFA at the University of Michigan.
SESE GEDDES lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she teaches creative journal writing and bellydance. Her poetry has been published in The Sun Magazine.
NANCY MILLER GOMEZ’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in River Styx, Rattle, The Bellingham Review, Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, Nimrod, and poetryfoundation.org. She was a semi-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Her first chapbook, Punishment, was published as part of the Rattle Chapbook Series. She has a Masters in Fine Arts in Poetry from Pacific University and currently volunteers as the director of The Santa Cruz Poetry Project, an organization that provides poetry workshops to incarcerated men and women.
PETER KRUMBACH was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, but has spent most of his life in the U.S. His writing has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Copper Nickel, Michigan Quarterly Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. He lives in California.
GABRIELLA KURUVILLA is an Indian-Italian writer, journalist, and artist born in Milan in 1969. She writes, designs book covers, and paints. Her publications include novels Media chiara e noccioline (as Viola Chandra, 2001) and Milano, fin qui tutto bene (2012), the children’s book Questa non è una baby-sitter (2011), and the collection È la vita, dolcezza (2008).
DANUSHA LAMÉRIS is the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), which was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. She has recently completed a second manuscript, Bonfire Opera. Some of her poems have been published, or are forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2017, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Gettysburg Review, and Ploughshares. She teaches poetry independently, and is the current Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.
KEITH LEONARD is the author of the poetry collection Ramshackle Ode (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). His poems are forthcoming in New England Review, Ploughshares, and The Believer. Keith has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and Indiana University, where he earned an MFA. He lives in Columbus, OH.
LAURA GLEN LOUIS's fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, American Short Fiction, The Antioch Review, the New York Public Library's Subway Library, and Best American Short Stories.
MELANIE MCCABE is the author of the memoir, His Other Life: Searching For My Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams, as well as two books of poetry: What The Neighbors Know and History of the Body.
JUNG YOUNG MOON is the prize-winning author of five story collections and nine novels. He was born in Hamyang, South Kyŏngsang Province, South Korea, in 1965 and graduated from Seoul National University with a degree in psychology. He made his literary début in 1996 with the novel A Man Who Barely Exists. He is also an accomplished English-to-Korean literary translator. He is represented in English translation most recently by Seven Samurai Swept into a River (Deep Vellum, 2019) and “Not the Foggest Notion” in Granta, Autumn 2019 (online edition).
JULIE MURPHY developed Embodied Writing™, a somatic approach to creative writing, and teaches poetry, as a volunteer, in the Salinas Valley State Prison. Her poems appear in CALYX Journal, Common Ground Review, The Louisville Review, The Red Wheelbarrow, and The Alembic, among other journals. Julie lives in Santa Cruz, California.
CAITLIN O'NEIL’s short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, and Calyx. She won the Ninth Letter Prize in Fiction, the Women Who Write International Short Prose Contest, and received a Massachusetts Cultural Council individual artist honorable mention. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, she is currently a full time lecturer in English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
DION O'REILLY has lived most of her life on a small farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her first book, Ghost Dogs, will be published in spring 2020. Her work appears in The New Ohio Review, Narrative, New Letters, Sugar House Review, Rattle, The Sun, Tupelo Quarterly, and other literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry has been nominated for Pushcarts and been shortlisted for a variety of prizes. Most recently her poem “Eyes Wide Sockets With No Lights” was the runner- up winner of The Charles Bukowski Poetry Prize. She is a member of The Hive Poetry Collective, which produces podcasts about poetry in the Monterey Bay and around the world.
CHARLIE PECK is from Omaha, Nebraska. He received his MFA from Purdue University where he served as Editor-in-Chief of Sycamore Review. His poems appear or are forthcoming from Ninth Letter, The Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Freiburg, Germany where he teaches at the University of Freiburg.
JAMIE RICHARDS is an American literary translator based in Milan. She holds an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa and a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Oregon. Her many translations include Igiaba Scego’s novel Adua, Zerocalcare’s comic reportage Kobane Calling, and Serena Vitale’s interviews with Viktor Shklovsky, Witness to an Era.
JENNIFER RICHTER’s two poetry collections have both been named Oregon Book Award Finalists: her second book, No Acute Distress, was chosen by Major Jackson; her first, Threshold, by Robert Pinsky. Richter has been awarded an Oregon Literary Fellowship as well as a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship in Poetry by Stanford University; she’s currently an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University.
Born in Moreno, Argentina in 1936, HEBE UHART is the author of dozens of short story and essay collections, as well as two novels: Camilo asciende (1987) and Mudanzas (1995). In addition to her writings, Uhart taught philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires and worked as a journalist for newspapers such as El Pais in Montevideo. In 2017, Uhart received the Manuel Rojas Ibero-American Narrative Prize to honor her literary achievements.
ALEX VALENTE is a half-Yorkshire, half-Tuscan award-winning literary translator and teacher. He holds a PhD in literary translation from the University of East Anglia and has worked on Elena Varvello’s Can You Hear Me?, graphic novel Violeta: Corazon Maldito, and upcoming How to Be a Fascist: A Manual, by Michela Murgia.
ANNA VILNER is a Russian-born American translator. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas, where she also serves as Nonfiction Editor for The Arkansas International.
LESLEY WHEELER’s forthcoming books include The State She’s In, her fifth poetry collection; Unbecoming, her first novel; and Poetry’s Possible Worlds, a suite of hybrid essays. Recent work appears in The Common, Gettysburg Review, Ecotone, and other journals. Poetry Editor of Shenandoah, she lives in Virginia.
CYNTHIA WHITE's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Narrative, Grist, ZYZZYVA, Poet Lore and Catamaran, among others. She was a finalist and semi-finalist for Nimrod's Pablo Neruda Prize and the winner of The Julia Darling Prize for Poetry from Kallisto Gaia Press. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
AMY YEE is a writer, journalist and poet. In 2019 she was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Logan Nonfiction Program, where she wrote "Searching for Walter" in a room with a view of snow-covered trees. She has had three Notable Essays in the Best American Essays and poems in Salamander, Memoir, Bayou, Tiferet Journal, Santa Ana Review, and Fourth River under a pseudonym. Her poetry collection was a semi-finalist in the 2019 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and the 2019 Crab Orchard First Book Award.