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Introduction

I OWE A GREAT debt of gratitude to the Massachusetts Review for 35 years of joyous hard work and a wealth of education. As I step down from my role as poetry editor, I want to express my fervent thanks and reflect on an experience that has been a huge part of my life.

I first came on board to co-edit the 1986 double issue on Latin America with Paul Jenkins, after we returned from 18 months living in Brazil — where Paul had a Fulbright for which he was recommended by Jules Chametzky, a founding editor of MR. Little did I know then that I would spend half of my life at the magazine, taking on the roles of business manager, managing editor, and then poetry translation and poetry editor. I’m grateful to my many colleagues over the years for enriching my literary life and for the endless high-spirited times we’ve shared.

As Jim Hicks noted in his introduction to the last issue, we now undertake to go beyond our 60-year legacy of seeking...

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poetry

Milk

By Aracelis Girmay

poetry

Herd

By Barbara Ras

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MR Jukebox

Watch our 2021 Anne Halley Poetry Prize-winner Abigail Chabitnoy read from her collection of poems as well as the winning poem "Girls Are Coming Out of the Water" from MR's A Gathering of Native Voices issue. Purchase a signed Broadside of the poem today!

ABIGAIL CHABITNOY is the author of How to Dress a Fish, 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, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. Most recently, she was the recipient of the Witter Bynner-funded Native Poet Residency at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO, and is a mentor for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA in Creative Writing. She is a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak.

“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)

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Our America

Preaching to the Choir

- By Jim Hicks

(Photo: "Because I have company." Carl Hancock Rux, in an interview about activism, conducted by Carrie Mae Weems)

The poet, playwright, director, musician, actor, and activist Carl Hancock Rux grew up in foster care. His older brother Ralph owned a restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and Ralph managed to locate Carl, who was still living with his foster parents. And then, as Rux puts it, they “had a brief, wonderful, beautiful time together.” One day, though, Ralph disappeared; when Carl chanced upon him, months later, he was almost unrecognizable, suffering from dementia, and dying of AIDS.

The younger brother cared for the older, at a time when AIDS patients were feared and shunned even by the hospital workers entrusted with their care. On the day...


Interviews

10 Questions for Aga Gabor Da Silva

- By Edward Clifford

Corrosive times
can always happen. Forever young
old servant of morality.
Catches trout with bare hands.
A slippery salacious sin.
—from "Can Always Happen," Translated by Aga Gabor Da Silva, Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
It was the poem “Soneto de fidelidade,” written by the famous Brazilian poet and lyricist Vinícius de Moraes. I translated the piece as part of a translation workshop. I remember how I struggled to recreate the rhymes and the rhythm imposed by the sonnet, but the end result was pretty good.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
When I was in graduate school, I took...


Reviews

When Grit Meets Soap:

Mare of Easttown

- By Alexandra Swanson

(Photo: Kate Winslet as Mare in a scene from Mare of Easttown)

I was surprised, and more than a little perplexed, when I realized that Mare of Easttown is a soap opera. I consider myself well-versed in soapy television (I’m currently in the weeds of a dissertation about melodrama), but I had trouble reconciling Mare of Easttown’s gritty dialogue and earthy palette with the plot’s soapy twists and turns. The soaps I know and love, like General Hospital, have historically had a more candy-colored hue.

Each episode of Mare of Easttown got detective Mare Sheehan a little closer to solving the murder of seventeen-year-old Erin McMenamin, and, for me, each episode ushered in a new level of wide-eyed incredulity. My...


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10 Questions for Ewa Lipska

- By Aga Gabor Da Silva and Edward Clifford

Corrosive times
can always happen. Forever young
old servant of morality.
Catches trout with bare hands.
A slippery salacious sin.
—from "Can Always Happen," Translated by Aga Gabor Da Silva, Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
It was a text about loneliness, titled "Street. The Street Emptiness,” sort of an image from the Italian metaphysical artist and surrealist Giorgio de Chirico. The empty streets in his paintings help me relax from the current excess of humankind, but back then, when I was seventeen years old, those empty streets were symbols of loneliness and abandonment.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write...


Interviews

10 Questions for Beth Uznis Johnson

- By Edward Clifford

My brother and I sign the hospice paperwork for our father on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, I fly to San Antonio for a conference even though half of the attendees cancel due to growing concerns about something called coronavirus. There are no travel restrictions or warnings in the United States. Public health officials have deemed it safe. I need to get away from the dread-infused days of my career writing cancer magazines, my personal time caring for my father with dementia and blindness.
—from "Penance and Pandemic," Volume 62, Issue 1 (Spring 2021)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote a short story in elementary school titled, “Revenge of the Nerds,” and remember thinking of the title first. I must...


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