Search the Site

Blog / Our America

Our America

Open Letter to the APAC administration

- By The Editors of the Massachusetts Review

July 17, 2023

To the Administrators of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center:

We, the editors of the Massachusetts Review, are writing to express our deep disappointment and concern regarding the recent and very unexpected cancellation of this year’s Asian American Literary Festival, just weeks before its opening and after over a year of planning and investment, in both human and monetary terms, by countless organizations and individuals. This year’s festival was more important than ever, following the last several years of anti-Asian violence and hate crimes in the U.S., and we know many writers from around the world who made plans to attend and bring their creative energies together at this critical time. The last-minute cancellation of the...



- By Erri De Luca

“I would like to open a door”—the sentence was uttered by a prisoner on death row for decades now, in San Quentin. For decades now he has not touched the handle of a door.

California has repudiated capital punishment, but when Jarvis Masters was sentenced to death the gas chambers were still working.

I’ve read his life story, recorded by the journalist, David Sheff: A Buddhist on Death Row (Simon & Schuster, 2020, Italian translation, Emanuela Alverà, Uniliber). Masters began practicing controlled breathing and meditation...

Our America

At Smedley Butler's Grave

- By W.D. Ehrhart

So here I am with Smedley Butler,
Major General, Maverick Marine,
Old Gimlet Eye, the Stormy Petrel,
two-time Medal of Honor winner;
me a sergeant with a Purple Heart
for doing nothing but getting hit.
(Don’t kid yourself, there’s nothing
heroic in that; just bad luck.)

Yet here I am at Butler’s grave. But why?
Well, we were both Marines, there’s that.
And he graduated in 1898 from the school
where I taught decades later for 18 years.
And he wrote a book called War Is a Racket
in which he concluded, “To Hell with War!”
How can you not love the guy for that?


W.D. EHRHART is an American poet, writer, scholar, Vietnam veteran, and active member of...

Our America

Seeing Through Madness: A Roman Holiday

- By W.J.T. Mitchell

This essay was written in Rome on the eve of what may be a turning point in the fortunes of democracy, the political system that Plato called a “ship of fools” for its tendency to elect incompetent captains on the basis of their popularity. On November 8, the United States will conduct a kind of national referendum that could determine the future of the oldest and most powerful democracy in the world.

The very idea of free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power is at stake, though the question appears nowhere on the ballot. Scores of candidates are running for office on the explicit commitment to the Big Lie—that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen from Donald Trump, who lost by seven million votes. The Big Lie is accompanied by a mass...

Join the email list for our latest news