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Volume 59, Issue 2

FRONT COVER by Panteha Abareshi, Roses and Thorns 2017. INDIA INK, PEN, PENCIL, WATERCOLOR, WHITE INK, BRUSH MARKER. Courtesy of the artist.

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Introduction

ON RARE OCCASIONS, academic conferences turn out as they should, and pilgrims making the journey find what they seek. The trek to the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual meeting is one I’ve made more times than I can count, in part because its seminar format—where participants assemble around a theme and meet as a group for two or three days running—favors such an outcome. This year, I fled to Los Angeles for the ACLA, during a week of so-called spring in New England, and found there a panel on poetry and public feeling, convened by Tristam Wolff and Lily Gurton-Wachter—one site where the call was answered.

On the second day of this seminar, the latter session leader began with a rumination on Blake’s second chimney sweeper poem, that song of experience where “a poor black thing . . . taught to sing the notes of woe” comments: “And because I am happy and dance and sing, / They think they have done me no...

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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

Interviews

(Not Quite) 10 Questions for Anne Milano Appel

- By Sarah Lofstrom

It’s almost four o’clock and the hour hand quivers.

They told Mr. Ignazio Coppola to sit here and be a good boy now, and wait. And Mr. Ignazio sits waiting sedately as he was told to, his back straight and his hands spread on his knees. Every now and then he looks at the wall clock: it’s almost four o’clock, Arturo and little Camilla will be there at any moment. 
—From"  If I Don't Come Back, Don't Go Looking For Me ," Summer 2018, (Volume 59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated.
While not the first, one of the earliest projects I remember was a book by Enzo Fontana called Tra la perduta gente (Mondadori, 1996). I was attracted to the book...


Our America

Those Boys in the Hoods

- By Jim Hicks

(photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

If you’re reading this blog, one of two things can be assumed: either that you made a point of seeing the new Spike Lee film this past weekend, during the first anniversary of the march on Charlottesville, or that you’ve read at least a review or two, and so already suspect that we may be talking about a masterpiece here. We are. Let’s skip the plot summary, then, so we can move on to what matters more—to this country, and therefore the world, and, I suspect, even to Spike himself.

I don’t need to remind you all that the title of the filmmaker’s breakthrough movie was a call to action, written...


Interviews

10 Questions for Mirfet Piccolo

- By Sarah Lofstrom

 It’s almost four o’clock and the hour hand quivers.

They told Mr. Ignazio Coppola to sit here and be a good boy now, and wait. And Mr. Ignazio sits waiting sedately as he was told to, his back straight and his hands spread on his knees. Every now and then he looks at the wall clock: it’s almost four o’clock, Arturo and little Camilla will be there at any moment. 

-From “If I Don’t Come Back, Don’t Come Looking For Me,” Summer 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of the first pieces I wrote was a small collection of short stories for kids that I wrote for my nephew. It was in 1996. I thought it would have been fun to play with him by reading...


Interviews

10 Questions for Elizabeth Knapp

- By Edward Clifford

"After a heated debate about the nature
of inspiration (poetry versus prose),
with you arguing that idea begets word,
and not vice versa, as I believe is the case

with verse (always the music first),
which was prompted by a discussion
of Dickinson's envelope poems,
and whether she wrote the poem"
from “Sixth Year: Iron,” Summer 2018 (Vol. 59, Issu2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
In the summer between ninth and tenth grade, I read Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, which prompted me to read more about the history of South Africa. At some point later that year, I read a biography of Stephen Biko and wrote an elegy for him in my creative writing...


Working Titles Excerpts

On the Quay at Smyrna (Working Title 3.2)

- By Margot Demopoulos

The Massachusetts Review presents the latest Working Titles e-book: ON THE QUAY AT SMYRNA by Margot Demopoulos—available this week!

From ON THE QUAY AT SMYRNA:

“Look for color in the shadows!” Madame La Fleur fanned herself with a workbook on natural light. “...


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