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WE’VE ALL HEARD the arguments: literature isn’t about politics, or messages, it stands on its own or not at all. Writers with agendas flatten their subjects, and they fail anyway, since art makes nothing happen. Frankly, I’ve never believed it; instead, I’ve come to hear this mantra as an implicit endorsement of our laissez-faire, neoliberal hegemony. If art did nothing, why would it matter at all?

Though I do understand the problem, and I can recognize the symptoms (after all, who likes to be lectured?), I tend to err in the other direction. For me, all the...

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By Kris Hartley

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s birth. It is also one year since Yunchan Lim became the youngest pianist ever to win the gold medal in the sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, held once every four years. Lim’s acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Marin Alsop, clinched his victory and was by all accounts a rare moment.



By Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Translated by Brandon Breen


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“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


10 Questions for Lisa Fay Coutley

- By Franchesca Viaud

When Buddha said silence is an empty
space & space is the home of the awakened

mind, he hadn't yet crossed his legs
& held his spine both firm & calm

in the smoke-filled avocado kitchen
of my small girlhood.
—from "Cuffing Season" by Lisa Fay Coutley, Volume 64, Issue 2 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first poem that comes to mind is not the first ever but the first I revised for many hours in that way I came to know as really working a piece. A few years before that, the dysfunction of my life brought me to the page, which led me to return to school as a young, single mother, and this poem, “Small Girl,” which...

After Us

Erosion (Earth Primer #4)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(Countryside in Algeria, photo by Giacomo Sartori)

(Earth Primer #3)

Cultivated soil is very fragile—just a bit of water running over the surface is capable of stripping away its thin upper layers, which are the most rich and fertile. The soil is then deposited at the base of the slopes, where the water slows, or poured into creeks or rivers that will carry it to the sea. In either case (and both often happen simultaneously), it is a permanent loss. And if the water streams down violently, it tears away all the best soil, opening up rivulets and deep ravines, eating up a stunning amount of earth, annihilating the labor of thousands of years through which the soil had been formed from stone. Steep...


10 Questions for Mónica Gomery

- By Franchesca Viaud

Today, summer is over.
Today, everybody is ready
for autumn's crimson sleight 
of hand. Everybody wants to peel
off a green dress, flirt with the bitter
temperature, get into a fight. 
—from "Rosh Hashanah" by Mónica Gomery, Volume 64, Issue 2 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote constantly as a kid. As soon as I could put letters together, I was exhilarated to give it a try as often as possible. My mother is a visual artist, and she encouraged my brother and me to make art of all kinds. One of her best moves was buying us these blank hardcover books– the pages were unlined and open, even the covers were blank, so I could write the book, give it a...

After Us

Life (Earth Primer #3)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(Mycorrhiza mushroom: Photo by Backpackerin, Pixabay)

(Earth Primer # 2)

Unconsciously, we associate soil with life, because we’ve had the experience of observing the critters that live there: insects, ants, glassy larvae, light little spiders, snails, worms. A swarm of life that somewhat repels us, it is very distant from the ideal nature that we favor, those vast spaces where our gaze gets lost—an immensity that awes us but also attracts us, and where, in fact, we feel at ease. Not in line with our tastes, the life of soil is too humid, too dark, it smells too much of corruption and decomposition, of death. The spaces of our lives have become ever more aerated and sterile, and soil looks more...

Read more on the blog

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