BACK IN 2012, THE FAULKNER estate attempted to sue Sony Pictures Classics over the use of what a CNN article called “one of the most-quoted lines in American literature.” The verdict was, unsurprisingly, that size matters. After all, the quote in question—actually two lines, and cited incorrectly in the Woody Allen script—consists of only nine words from a novel. You have to hope that the fig leaf of fair use still covers that. Plus, as I always say, plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.
That the film paraphrased rather than quoted isn’t...
The 2022 Stravinsky Festival began with an orchestral performance of Fireworks, one of Stravinsky’s early successes, which according to musicologist Charles M. Joseph in his book Stravinsky’s Ballets first drew Diaghilev’s attention to the composer in 1909.
Emerita MR Poetry editors Ellen Doré Watson and Deb Gorlin selected Robert Whitehead's "David" from Spring 2021 (Vol. 62, Issue 1), for our annual Anne Halley Prize for Poetry.
From the judge's note: "By retelling the story of the fabled hero, the breathless narrator of Whitehead’s inspirational, of-the-moment poem, exhorts us to be like David, to marshal our own naked energies and hard-won hopes, our own ‘all-he-had-to-fight,’ to win an improbable victory over the Goliath-like perils in our midst. Whitehead insistently but tenderly leads us to a new understanding of heroism, one that is not a monolithic state of steady bravery. His canny use of hyphens and dashes reveals that courage is instead a mix of muster and mastery, of struggle and success, of fear and fearlessness—this is the state of mind we must develop to be ready to hurl the rock. By the poem’s end, Whitehead has thoroughly convinced us to heed his thrilling imperative not to run from it."
Robert Whitehead received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and has been a fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, Ashbery Home School, and Vermont Studio Center. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from Gulf Coast, Verse Daily, JERRY, Denver Quarterly, The Collagist, and elsewhere. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is a writer and designer for a hospital and managing editor of NightBlock.
“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)
The Massachusetts Review is kicking off the summer with our first of many monthly catalogues of new releases from our recent contributors. This June, we will also list earlier 2022 releases to supplement your reading. Keep your eyes peeled at the end of every month for the next installment!
2021 Kathryn A. Morton Prize winner CJ Evans’ third poetry collection, Lives, is out with Sarabande...
I found a pensión in the Barri Gòtic, not far from La Rambla. An old woman with a limp welcomed me and took my money and showed me to my room. I seem to remember that one of her shoes had a thick heel and sole (to compensate for, I suppose, an abnormally short leg), and that she stumped and shuffled ahead of me down the hall. But maybe I am misremembering this. Maybe instead it was a lazy eye. Or was she missing an arm? I don’t know, only that something about her was off, misaligned. —from "City of Strangers," Volume 63, Issue 2 (Summer 2022)
Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote. When I was about 11 or 12 I wrote and illustrated a derivative fantasy about a young hero who fights a dragon that emerges from the...
“Not just what I feel but what I know And how I know it, my unscholarliness, My rawness, all rise out of the cobbled Landscape I was born to. Those of you raised similarly, I want to say: this is not a detriment and it is not a benefit…” —from “My Education,” Volume 63, Issue 2 (Summer 2022)
Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote. Even before I could speak, I was “writing.” I remember being pre-verbal but making up stories about the dog and cat decals on the crib headboard. One of the first actual poems I remember writing was early in high school. It was about traveling on a steamboat, and my imagined father (my own father was dead) was the captain. I...
A few years ago, I placed my younger self into a poem dreaming of a potato- chip-flavored kiss. All-American kisses occured in lives where candy bars and sleeping with your hair wet were also permitted, where the attention of American mothers cast soft glowe through the house and clicked off at night. —from "Ars Poetica," Volume 63, Issue 1 (Spring 2022)
Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote. One of the first pieces I wrote is a poem that I’ll quote in its entirety here:
You’re my best friend. Let’s not let friendship end. I like you Because you’re so true.
I used to write this on index cards to have on hand to give to best...
The living room is crowned by a painting, one that has no purpose other than to take precedence over the armchairs. In the scene there are two deer, grazing on a sparse, dry plain: everything is yellow, from the animals to the meadow to a shadeless sky at high noon. There is something steppe-like about the painting that could have easily led to Africa but, in this moment, only reminds them of yet another hunting scene. —from "The Odd Month," Volume 63, Issue 1 (Spring 2022)
Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated. The very first translation project I attempted I took on out of pure academic necessity: I was taking a graduate seminar in Latin American poetry & I had to present to the class about Norah Lange, an...