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Signs and Wonders

- By Michael Thurston

A Review of The Deposition by Pete Duval (University of Massachusetts Press, 2021).

I’m going to be straight with you: this is not going to be one of those neutral and dispassionate reviews. The fact is, I know Pete Duval. Not only have I chosen his work (including stories in this volume) for publication in the Massachusetts Review, but I have also talked fiction with him over breakfasts in a now-defunct Middletown diner, drunk Jameson and Guinness with him in a Philly dive, and even driven halfway across the country in a snowstorm with him. So when I tell you that The Deposition...


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...


Limericks for the Beers of Summer

- By Marsha Bryant

O the brews of this season are here!
They’re refreshing, both hazy and clear.

So pour for your pleasure,
And sip at your leisure.
Let’s toast to the Summer with beer.


Hops 4 Teacher (J. Wakefield Brewing, Miami FL)
Hops 4 Teacher, a bright IPA,
Is a honey-hued Summer vacay.
After COVID sequester
And two Zoom semesters,
It washes your grading away.

It’s a coast-to-coast take on the style—
Neither grapefruit nor pine is defiled.
Subtropically hopped,
It’s the beer to adopt
For unleashing your teacherly smile.

Tasting Notes: This IPA has a bright hop profile and frothy head...


Intersectional Voices for a New Generation: How A New Young Adult Anthology in Verse Continues a Conversation Started Decades Ago

- By Shanta Lee Gander

"The very act of writing then, conjuring/coming to ‘see’, what has yet to be recorded in history is to bring into consciousness what only the body knows to be true. The body—that site which houses the intuitive, the unspoken, the viscera of our being—this is the revolutionary promise of 'theory in the flesh…' (xxiv)"—Cherríe Moraga, co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back

You Don't Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves Edited by Diana Whitney (Workman, 2021)

I was three years old when the voices of women of color came together and created living history with the anthology, This...


Happy Times Indeed

- By Jim Hicks

On this day, March 11th (which I predict by this time next year will be recognized as an International Day of Remembrance and Mourning), I’ve decided to write something entirely inappropriate, because frankly, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Those of us still lucky enough to be in the world have realized that much has changed over the last year—and that much more must be changed. Due to the global pandemic, current estimates are that we’ve lost 2.6 million souls in a single year, with over a half million here in the US alone. At some point, no doubt, statisticians will calculate the excess deaths of this year compared to years past, and we’ll likely find that the toll has been much greater than we currently believe.

Faced with this grim reality,...

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