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THOUGH UNFINISHED, the most necessary Kafka masterpiece today—as we slowly sort through where we’ve been for the past year or so—is surely “Der Bau,” first translated into English by Edwin and Willa Muir as “The Burrow.” Told from the point of view of a burrowing animal, what Herbert Blau has called the tale’s “manic intensity” is focused—as its original title suggests—on construction. In the seventies, Blau’s experimental troupe KRAKEN staged the story as a frenetic, constant work of building, or “burrowing,” and the latter word quickly became a term of art for his actors.

No one could miss how Kafka’s tale speaks to our plague year: “the most beautiful thing about my burrow is the stillness. Of course, that is deceptive. At any moment it may be shattered and then all will be over.” Isolation, gnawing worries, the obsession with (or invention of) enemies, the...

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2021 Winner of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize

The 2021 winner of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize is Abigail Chabitnoy, for her poem "Girls Are Coming out of the Water," from our Gathering of Native Voices issue (Volume 61, Issue 4).

ABIGAIL CHABITNOY is the author of How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted in the international category of the 2020 Griffin Prize for Poetry. She was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow, and her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, ...

MR Jukebox

Watch a reading and panel discussion with Nicolette Wong, Xu Xi, Sharon Yam, Yeung Chak Yan, and Q.M. Zhang!
Amidst the reshaping of Hong Kong’s social, cultural, political and ideological landscapes, how do we re-envisage a city that exists in our memories? For those who have left their hometown—or the place they once called home—the question, “What does it mean to be a Hongkonger?” marks a constant shift between conflicting realities, identities, and perceptions. Beyond the act of remembering, how do we re-imagine our relationship with Hong Kong in the present and the future?
To mark the launch of the forthcoming book, Looking Back at Hong Kong: An Anthology of Writing and Art (Cart Noodles Press, 2021), writers who have called Hong Kong home will come together to read from their work and reflect on the profound changes and subtle transitions that have transpired in Hong Kong, both in recent times and over the past decades.
Sponsored by The Massachusetts Review and Cart Noodles Press

“We are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest [...] the teachings of Thoreau are alive today, indeed, they are more alive today than ever before.”

—REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (MR 4.1, Autumn 1962)

From the Blog


Last Summer of the City

- By John Gu

A Review of Gianfranco Calligarich's Last Summer in the City, Transl. Howard Curtis; Foreword by André Aciman (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2021)

Is there a more fertile experience for literary aspirants than to be poor in a great city? Every generation of young would-be novelists searches for their own version of the Lost Generation’s Left Bank in Paris, and a few are lucky enough to find it. Around the year 1970, a young Milanese journalist named Gianfranco Calligarich came to Rome on an assignment for a Milanese newspaper. After his assignment ended, he decided to stay in the city rather than return to Milan, and one product of this decision was a novel, L'ultima estate in città...


10 Questions for Christopher Schmidt

- By Marissa Perez

Aristotle imagined that red occured when "luminous transparency is covered by a thin burning smoke." In California, in the Amazon, wherever forest fires spread, visions of a red future multiply. "With all the dust and smoke in the air, the world will begin to look different," writes one reporter.
—from "Fugitive Reds," Volume 62, Issue 3 (Fall 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In college I wrote a poem about the oboe. Or perhaps it was a poem that used the oboe as a metaphor. Clearly, the poem itself was trash. What remains indelible to me is the word I lifted—daedal—from a then unpublished poem by Elizabeth Bishop. As transgressions go, it’s mild stuff. Yet...


10 Questions for Carly Joy Miller

- By Marissa Perez

Meanness is not the only way to access it.

I grew adjacent to Christ: knew him purely by name and sight (limbs on the patibulum)

The crossbar—the patibulum—is an incorrect representation.
—from "A Humility Essay," Volume 62, Issue 3 (Fall 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My second-grade teacher let me continue writing a Space Jam fan fiction after craft time was over! I also wrote Sailor Moon fan fiction in my early middle school years. And for poems, I remember an orange notebook I would carry with me—lots of song lyrics, flowers and investigating my feelings a la Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”

What writer(s) or works have...


10 Questions for Alex Mouw

- By Marissa Perez

The manatee's strangest feature is she's always
working, seven straight ruminant hours pawing

shallow floors for mangrove leaves and pickerel weed.
Even sleeping half the day, each quarter hour
—from "Anxiety Medication," Volume 62, Issue 3 (Fall 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In elementary school I wrote a story about a kid who gets lost at a candy store inside a strip mall. I don’t remember much else about it, but surely it was harrowing and sugary, and probably a troll was involved.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
I’m a serial imitator, so I can’t read a book of poems without trying to copy that person, mostly...

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