Search the Site


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...

Read more


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


Help the Massachusetts Review publish ground-breaking literature and art.


Subscribe Today

for just $36/year

MR Jukebox

View a recording of our 2023 Anne Halley Poetry Prize Reading with winner Megan Pinto!

“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

After Us

Shit (Earth Primer #8)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(Dung: Photo from

From its earliest days, one of the agriculture’s main problems has been giving back to the earth the organic matter that it steals from it. Harvesting seeds, tubers, and fruit (e.g., wheat grain, potatoes, and apples), we take organic matter away from the fields. And in one way or another, this substance must be restored to it, if one wants to maintain the agrosystem—and this is the technical term, given the extensive parallels with the ecosystem—in a sound and stable condition, and not deplete it further each year. The more vegetable matter removed, the more abundant the harvests, the more it must be replenished. Modern methods...


Staatsraison: Dispatch From Germany

- By Prof. Dr. Sabine Broeck

Dear friend,

Thank you for inviting me to speak on the panel you are hosting. I am writing to you because it  enables me to find words better than speaking into a Zoom group.

I write from Bremen, Germany, as a retired white professor who is no longer in any political or academic collective, and thus bereft of a forum for articulating mourning, grief, anger, and resistance. This loneliness, however, is not just the loss of immediate connection to meetings, discussions on the floors or in the cafeteria, and afterwork gatherings. It is also the fact that I am surrounded by an enveloping silence vis-à-vis the ongoing annihilation of Palestine’s people and their future/s.

Part of this silence stems from the obvious wish to stand still in sadness with the...


The Ongoing Nakba

- By Rabea Eghbariah

Editor’s Note: On the seventieth anniversary of al-Nakba, we published an eloquent essay by Michel Moushabeck, recounting his family story of dispossesion from their homeland in Palestine. Today, with the permission of The Nation, where this piece was first published, after being solicited and then rejected by the Harvard Law Review, we bring you an argument for taking that historical event as framework for legal and human rights action, so that such circumstances never again occur.


After Us

Water (Earth Primer #7)

- By Giacomo Sartori

(RER Ambiente: Erosion on a hillside in Emilia-Romagna.)

(Earth Primer #6)

During rainstorms, soil gets soaked by water, which it then retains within its most minute pores, acting as a reservoir. To achieve their ends, which include bringing nutrients all the way up to the leaves, the roots of plants draw water out, little by little, from these small tubes. Because water from the earth contains the mineral sustenance that plants feed on—it provides the delivery service. So, that is its first function: storing a mineral-rich reserve of water in its capillaries, to make it...


Wheat Beers for a Fulsome Fall

- By Marsha Bryant

Like liquid gold the wheat-field lies,
A marvel of yellow and russet and green…

—Hamlin Garland

‘Twas Demeter that gave the world wheat;
And Triptolemus took to his feet
To bring grains to us all.
They enrich beers for Fall,
As autumnal observance completes.

This Floridian Wheat Beer is light
With a citrusy sweetness that bright-
ens refreshing mouthfeel.
It’s an ale that’s appeal-
ing as sunshine embraces cool nights.

Eclipse is an Oberon ale—
A Citrus Wheat varietal.
Your tongue-tip will savor
Its orangey flavor
That minimal spice won’t derail.


Read more on the blog

Sign up to stay in touch

Get the latest news and publications from MR delivered to your inbox.

Join the email list for our latest news