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Untitled image from the Freezing Falling Project (detail) 2010
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Volume 52, Issue 3 & 4

WHEN JIM HICKS approached me about co-editing this special issue of Massachusetts Review I was happy to sign on. The issue’s proposed title, “casualties,” with its attention to that word’s origins, intrigued me. It offered an invitation to think back on the many “casual companies” I’d come across during my time in the military. Those casual companies acted as holding stations, veritable limbos, where those passing back and forth from war zones, from injury to recovery, from military to civilian status, lived out empty days; they were places where story and history rubbed against each other to lead us beyond the track of the usual narrative to more revealing places, in our recent history to the doors of Walter Reed and Abu Ghraib.

I hope that the stories, essays, poems in this issue of Massachusetts Review may in some small way do something similar. Some of the stories may rub the wrong way, or say things we are not always ready to hear, in ways not always so polished or beautiful; yet, there is one thing they share: a commitment to stretch our definitions of both literature and war. In Aristotle’s deepest sense, they represent an attempt to make us “see,” and see not in the simple graphic (and, unfortunately, sometimes pornographic) sense, but see the ways that words and stories, as they rub against each other, irrevocably enlarge our scope of vision. As someone whose work for the last three decades has meant very much living in a “casualty company” of sorts, I offer deep thanks to Jim Hicks, Ellen Watson, and the staff of the Massachusetts Review for this timely and important volume.

Kevin Bowen

BY CHANCE, I write these lines on a beautiful summer morning in Geneva, Switzerland. On a much earlier and darker day in June, precisely one hundred years before the first issue of the Massachusetts Review was printed, a Genevois businessman named Jean Henri Dunant happened upon the aftermath of Solferino, a nine-hour battle that resulted in perhaps 40,000 casualties. Dunant helped organize aid for the wounded and later wrote of his experiences, calling for international cooperation in the establishment of relief organizations. This work led directly to the first Geneva convention and the founding of the International Red Cross. In 1901, Dunant would be co-recipient of the first Nobel Prize for Peace.

The more specific impetus for this double issue dates to a pair of conversations a little over a year ago. First, Editor-at-Large and MR Archivist John Emil Vincent and I met for coffee. At some point we two began discussing possibilities for themed issues. John insisted that MR do something related to my research on the representation of war, and that day, I believe, was the first time I thought of calling an issue “casualty” (or “casualties”). Not long after, Contributing Editor Charles M. Sennott came to Amherst for some meetings and a public talk, and over dinner the subject resurfaced. Charlie was the first to suggest that such an issue should, by all rights, appear in the fall of 2011 — a decade after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and after the start of the US war in Afghanistan. That evening was also the first where I heard the hair-raising story from Iraq which Charlie recounts within these pages; by the end of his visit, I got up the nerve to ask if he could tell it in print. Fire and brimstone, Charlie reminds us, have burned in Babylonia since the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet a year ago, the talk in our country was already of wars “winding down,” and of whatever the opposite of “surge” is. Ebb, perhaps.

With Bosnia-Herzegovina as my second adopted country, I’ve gained some sense of how silly chatter about “phased withdrawal” must sound to anyone intimate with these, our most recent, wars — the latest in what seems an accelerating assembly line. “Closure,” it seems clear, is a word usable only from outside. And, to be frank, I’ve never placed much hope in catharsis either. Nietzsche long ago put the last nail in that coffin. “Sure,” he punned, “purgation may happen, but it’s not a regular effect.” Instead, I can only echo here the protagonist of a recent Coetzee novel: “The generation [. . .] to which I belong, and the next generation, and perhaps the generation after that too, will go bowed under the shame of the crimes that were committed in their name.” I simply can’t imagine it any other way.

That said, the first thing one does in planning a special issue is make a wish list — every author you love whose work resonates with your theme. In this case, though, the first thing I did was wonder who had the experience, the taste, and wisdom to make this issue fly — and I knew damn well it wasn’t me. The obvious pick was Kevin Bowen: Vietnam vet, professor today at the same university where he studied after the war, Danforth and Fulbright Fellow, former speechwriter for Tip O’Neill, and head of UMass Boston’s William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences. Nowhere is better work done in thinking, writing, and working through the world come from war. In sum, much like George Kovach, editor-in-chief of Consequence magazine, Bowen has as his permanent mission the very goals, and the values, which MR here runs up the flagpole. Without him, the present chunky volume would have been both thin and poor; instead, it is chockful of the very writers I’d been dreaming of. So, our gratitude goes to Kevin, as to the artists and authors here assembled. Not to mention Henri Dunant. Fine company, indeed.

Jim Hicks
for the editors


Entries

poetry

"Here is what the mind does"

By Fred Marchant

poetry

A Poem About War

By Gheysar Aminpoor, translated by Maryam Ghodrati

essay

Liberation Square

By Juan Goytisolo, translated by Peter Bush

poetry

Horses

By Brian Turner

fiction

Endangered

By Euardo Halfon, translated by Anne McLean

essay

Down to the Crossroads: An Iraq War Story

By Charles M. Sennott, photographs by Richard Sennott

poetry

from Love in a Time of War

By Yusef Komunyakaa

essay

from Soviet Computer

By Semezdin Mehmedinović, translated by Una Tanović

interview

Two Soldiers, Two Tours, Two Countries, Two Wars

By Elise Tripp

poetry

I Was There

By Fady Joudah

poetry

Beirut, August 1982

By Chasson Zaqtan, translated by Fady Joudah

poetry

Your Village

By Elana Bell

art

Portfolio

Dan Witz, Michelle Dizon, Anna Schuleit, Sarah Bliss, and Faith Wilding

fiction

Walk with Us

By Askold Melnyczuk

essay

Something Like a Soul

By Doug Anderson

fiction

Last Love

By Deena Linett

essay

Black October, Bloody Sunday

By Jen Marlowe

poetry

Home/Front

By Philip Metres

poetry

Tomorrow

By Christoper Merrill

fiction

Old Men and Their Grandchildren

By Dubravka Ugrešić, translated by Celia Hawkesworth

essay

Collective Memory in Action (and in Motion)

By Nora Strejilevich

Novel Excerpt

from Sloboština Barbie

By Maša Kolanović, translated by Andrea Milanko and Ulvija Tanović

poetry

Air Aria

By Philip Metres

Novel Excerpt

from The Day before Happiness

By Erri De Luca, translated by Michael Moore

fiction

A Man

By Evelio Rosero, translated by Anne McLean and Anna Milsom

essay

Faces and Names

By Tracy Wilkinson

essay

Street Smarts

By Taylor Stoehr

poetry

Telemetry

By Laren McClung

essay

They Steal Your Sweat

By David Rabe

poetry

A Postcard from the Underworld

By Simon Antoon

essay

Scenes from an Illicit War

By Josh Neufeld and Martha Rosler

essay

One Message Leading to Another

By John Berger

poetry

Not Going to Hanoi

By Sam Hamill

essay

White Magic for Gioviano

By Ruth Kennedy, Introduction by Martin Antonetti, Afterword by Nina Antonetti

fiction

Singing Grass

Ly Lan, translated by Ly Lan and Kevin Bowen

Novel Excerpt

from La Grande

By Juan José Saer, translated by Steve Dolph

poetry

My Manhattan, When I Got Down to the Burning, and You with Me inside You

By Robert Dow

essay

War Chatter: Collage

By Donald Anderson

poetry

[white paper #8]

By Martha Collins

Novel Excerpt

from The Unintended

By Gina Apostol

poetry

Quitter's Rose

By Fred Marchant

nonfiction

None of Us Belonged There

By Dick Hughes and Christian G. Appy

nonfiction

Mea Leah

by Mary Kay Magistad, Mila Rosenthal, Boreth Sun, David Rohde, Chris Gunness, and Kofi Annan

poetry

Trauma Market

By Adisa Bašić, translated by Una Tanović

essay

In Harm's Way: Brain Injuries in War

By Susan R. Barry

nonfiction

Excerpts from a Journal for English 183

By Matthew Thompson

poetry

Continuum

By Jack Haley

poetry

Copley Square Blues

By Roy Scranton

essay

The Morally Injured

By Tyler Boudreau

poetry

After the War

By Christine Dumaine Leche

nonfiction

Gulf War: Portrait of the Artist as a Refugee

By Wafaa Bilal and Kari Lydersen, with art by Summer McClinton

translation

A Poem about War

Maryam Ghodrati

translation

Liberation Square

Peter Bush

translation

Endangered

Anne McLean

translation

from Soviet Computer

Una Tanović

translation

Beirut, August 1982

Fady Joudah

translation

Old Men and Their Grandchildren

Celia Hawkesworth

translation

from Sloboština Barbie

Andrea Milanko

translation

from Sloboština Barbie

Ulvija Tanović

translation

from The Day before Happiness

Michael Moore

translation

A Man

Anne McLean

translation

A Man

Anna Milsom

essay

Scenes from an Illicit War

By Josh Neufeld and Martha Rosler

translation

from La Grande

Steve Dolph

nonfiction

None of Us Belonged There

By Dick Hughes and Christian G. Appy

translation

Trauma Market

Una Tanović

nonfiction

Gulf War: Portrait of the Artist as a Refugee

By Wafaa Bilal and Kari Lydersen, with art by Summer McClinton

Table of Contents

Introduction, by Kevin Bowen and Jim Hicks

I. TESTIMONIO
“Here is what the mind does,” a poem by Fred Marchant

A Poem about War, a poem by Gheysar Aminpoor, translated by Maryam Ghodrati

Liberation Square, an essay by Juan Goytisolo,
translated by Peter Bush

Horses, a poem by Brian Turner

Endangered, a story by Eduardo Halfon,
translated by Anne McLean

Down to the Crossroads: An Iraq War Story,
an essay by Charles M. Sennott,
photographs by Richard Sennott 

from Love in a Time of War,
poems by Yusef Komunayakaa

from Soviet Computer, an essay by Semezdin Mehmedinović,
translated by Una Tanović

Two Soldiers, Two Tours, Two Countries,
Two Wars, oral histories by Elise Tripp

I Was There, a poem by Fady Joudah

Beirut, August 1982, a poem by Ghassan Zaqtan,
translated by Fady Joudah

Your Village, a poem by Elana Bell

Portfolio, visual art by Dan Witz, Michelle Dizon,
Anna Schuleit, Sarah Bliss, and Faith Wilding

II. POLITIKOS
Walk with Us, a story by Askold Melnyczuk

Something Like a Soul, an essay by Doug Anderson

Last Love, a story by Deena Linett

Black October, Bloody Sunday,
an essay by Jen Marlowe

Home/Front, a poem by Philip Metres

Tomorrow, a poem by Christopher Merrill

Old Men and Their Grandchildren,
a story by Dubravka Ugrešić,
translated by Celia Hawkesworth

Collective Memory in Action (and in Motion),
an essay by Nora Strejilevich

III. COLLATERAL DAMAGE
from Sloboština Barbie, a novel by Maša Kolanović,
translated by Andrea Milanko and Ulvija Tanović

Air Aria, a poem by Philip Metres

from The Day before Happiness,
a novel by Erri De Luca, translated by Michael Moore

A Man, a story by Evelio Rosero,
translated by Anne McLean and Anna Milsom

Faces and Names, an essay by Tracy Wilkinson

Street Smarts, an essay by Taylor Stoehr

Telemetry, a poem by Laren McClung

They Steal Your Sweat, an essay by David Rabe

IV. DU MONDE CLOS À L’UNIVERS INFINI
A Postcard from the Underworld,
a poem by Sinan Antoon

Scenes from an Illicit War,
an illustrated essay by Josh Neufeld and Martha Rosler

One Message Leading to Another,
an essay by John Berger

Not Going to Hanoi, a poem by Sam Hamill

White Magic for Gioviano, an essay by Ruth Kennedy,
introduction by Martin Antonetti, afterword by Nina Antonetti

Singing Grass, a story by Ly Lan,
translated by Ly Lan and Kevin Bowen

from La Grande, a novel by Juan José Saer,
translated by Steve Dolph

V. IN MEMORY
My Manhattan, When I Got Down to the Burning,
and You with Me inside You, poems by Robert Dow

War Chatter: Collage, an essay by Donald Anderson

[white paper #8], a poem by Martha Collins

from The Unintended, a novel by Gina Apostol

Quitter’s Rose, a poem by Fred Marchant

None of Us Belonged There, an oral history by Dick Hughes
and Christian G. Appy

Mea Leah, a collective remembrance by Mary Kay Magistad,
Mila Rosenthal, Boreth Sun, David Rohde, Chris Gunness,
and Kofi Annan

VI. TIKKUN OLAM
Trauma Market, a poem by Adisa Bašić,
translated by Una Tanović

In Harm’s Way: Brain Injuries in War,
an essay by Susan R. Barry

Excerpts from a Journal for English 183,
an essay by Matthew Thompson

Continuum, a poem by Jack Haley

Copley Square Blues, a poem by Roy Scranton

The Morally Injured, an essay by Tyler Boudreau

After the War, a poem by Christine Dumaine Leche

Gulf War: Portrait of the Artist as a Refugee,
an essay by Wafaa Bilal and Kari Lydersen,
with art by Summer McClinton

Notes on Contributors

Volume Index

Contributors

Iranian poet, GHEYSAR AMINPOOR (1959–2007) was born in Khuzestan and spent elementary and high school in Dezful. He received his PhD in Persian Literature from Tehran University, where he taught and was editor of Soroush, a monthly art and literature magazine. He left many literary works behind, among them Flowers are All Sunflowers, Tornado in Parenthesis, The Grammar of Love Language, and many others which are all in Persian. A square in Tehran was named after him.  

Longtime editor of War, Literature, & the Arts, DONALD ANDERSON is editor, too, of Aftermath: An Anthology of Post-Vietnam Fiction and When War Becomes Personal: Soldiers’ Accounts from the Civil War to Iraq. His story collection Fire Road won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writer’s Fellowship, he teaches creative writing at the United States Air Force Academy. He served twenty-two years in the Air Force.

DOUG ANDERSON lives in Providence, RI. His most recent book is Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, The Sixties, and a Journey of Self-discovery (Norton, 2009). He has poetry forthcoming in Cutthroat, the Cimarron Review, and the San Pedro River Review.

KOFI ANNAN is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from January 1, 1997, to December 31, 2006. Annan and the United Nations were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for his founding of the Global AIDS and Health Fund to support developing countries in their struggle to care for their people. From November 1995 to March 1996, Mr. Annan served as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the former Yugoslavia

MARTIN ANTONETTI received his BA from Western Kentucky University and his MSLS from Columbia University. Antonetti teaches courses in the art and history of graphic communication at Smith College. His special areas of interest include the social impact of the written word, the development of printing technology, typographic theory and practice, and contemporary book arts, on all of which he publishes and lectures.

NINA ANTONETTI received her doctorate in landscape and architectural history from the Victorian Study Centre, University of London, and has held research positions in the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Currently, she is writing a critical analysis of the landscape architecture of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. She teaches at Smith College.

SINAN ANTOON’s dissertation, “The Poetics of the Obscene,” is the first study of the tenth-century Arab poet Ibn al-Hajjaj. His poems and essays (in Arabic) have appeared in As-Safir, Al-Adab, and Masharef and in the Nation, Middle East Report, Al-Ahram Weekly, Banipal, Journal of Palestine Studies, World Literature Today, and Ploughshares, among others. He has published a collection of poems, The Baghdad Blues (Harbor Mountain Press, 2007), and a novel, I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2007).

GINA APOSTOL was born in Manila and lives in Deerfield. She attended the University of the Philippines and the Johns Hopkins University. Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy (1997) and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata (2009), a comic novel about the Philippine revolution against Spain, both won the Philippine National Book Award for the novel. In 2006, Cunanan’s Wake and Other Stories was finalist for the Prairie Schooner Fiction Prize. Her third novel, Gun Dealers’ Daughter, will come out from W.W. Norton in July 2012.

CHRISTIAN G. APPY is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from all Sides (Viking Penguin) and Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (University of North Carolina).

SUSAN R. BARRY received her PhD in biology from Princeton University and is a professor of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions and speaks often to scientists, eye doctors, and educators on the subject of neuronal plasticity.

ADISA BAŠIĆ of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is a poet and short-story writer. In 2002, her short story “Prezivjeti Auto-Stop” (“To Survive Hitchhiking”) won the UNESCO competition for the best short story in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. The story was published in a collection of works last year in Sarajevo. In 2001, she was the youngest poet whose work was included in an anthology of Bosnian poetry, Ponestaja Prostora. Her first book of poetry, Havine Recenice (Eve’s Sentences), was published in 1999. She is also a journalist and cultural affairs correspondent with the independent weekly magazine Slobodna Bosna.

ELANA BELL’s first poetry collection, Eyes, Stones, was selected by Fanny Howe as the recipient of the 2011 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and will be published by Lousiana State University Press in 2012. She currently serves as the writer-in-residence for the Bronx Academy of Letters, and she lives in Brooklyn, New York.

JOHN BERGER is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including Hold Everything Dear, Here Is Where We Meet, the Into Their Labours trilogy, G., and Ways of Seeing. His book Bento’s Sketchbook will be published by Pantheon in September 2011. He lives in a small rural community in France.

WAFAA BILAL has exhibited his art world-wide, and traveled and lectured extensively to inform audiences of the situation of the Iraqi people and the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Bilal’s 2007 dynamic installation Domestic Tension placed him on the receiving end of a paintball gun that was accessible online to a worldwide audience, twenty-four hours a day. He is the author of Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life, and Resistance under the Gun (City Lights, 2008).

Artist SARAH BLISS investigates the bounds of emotional and spiritual conditions, and the relationship between sacred space, the body, and energetic presence. She records these dynamics in video, photography, performance, sound, installation, and sculpture. She received her Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and exhibits nationally and internationally. Currently, she is at work on a project about the loss of sacred language.

TYLER BOUDREAU served thirteen years of active duty in the Marine Corps infantry and deployed to Iraq in 2004. He is the author of Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine (2008) and now lives in Western Massachusetts, where he continues to work on issues related to returning veterans.

PETER BUSH is an award-winning literary translator who lives in Barcelona. He was formerly professor of Literary Translation at Middlesex University and at the University of East Anglia, where he directed the British Centre for Literary Translation and established the BCLT Summer School. His translations of Juan Goytisolo’s Níjar Country and Exiled from Almost Everywhere, Teresa Solana’s A Shortcut to Paradise, and Quim Monzó’s Guadalajara were published in 2011.

MARTHA COLLINS is the author of the book-length poem Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006), which won an Anisfield-Wolf Award, as well as four earlier collections of poems and two collections of co-translated Vietnamese poetry. A new collection of poems, White Papers, is forthcoming from Pittsburgh in 2012.

ERRI DE LUCA was born in Naples in 1950 and lives near Rome today. He is the author of several novels, including God’s Mountain and Sea of Memory. The Day before Happiness will be published by Other Press in October 2011.

MICHELLE DIZON is an artist, filmmaker, and scholar. Her work focuses on questions of postcoloniality, globalization, migration, social movements, human rights, and historical memory. She works between Los Angeles and Manila. Dizon has had solo exhibitions at the CUE Art Foundation in New York City, the Art Gallery at the University of Texas, Arlington, and the Vargas Museum in Manila, Philippines. Her work has been exhibited in group shows internationally, including the Redcat Gallery (LA, CA), Galleryloop (Seoul, Korea), Kor-i-noor (Copenhagen, Denmark), Tate Modern (London, England), Para/site Art Space (Hong Kong, China), Luckman Gallery (LA, CA), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF, CA) , Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LA, CA), and the Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA).

STEVE DOLPH is the translator of Juan José Saer’s The Sixty-Five Years of Washington, Scars, and La Grande, all from Open Letter. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is a graduate student in the Hispanic Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania.

ROBERT DOW teaches in the Commonweath College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also a fiction editor at the Massachusetts Review. These three poems are from a collection entitled Blue Deer.

MARYAM GHODRATI earned her masters in English Language and Literature in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she is currently working as a research fellow for the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences. Living in Tehran, she is translating poetry from the Iran-Iraq War and documenting the lives of the victims of chemical warfare and those suffering from neurological and other post-war traumatic injuries.

Born in 1931, JUAN GOYTISOLO has lived a life of political and cultural exile. A bitter opponent of the Franco regime, his early novels, including Marks of Identity, were banned in Spain. Since leaving Spain, he has lived mostly in France and Morocco. He is the author of a number of novels, many of which, including The Young Assassins, Count Julian, Makbara, The Marx Family Saga, and Quarantine, have been translated into English.

CHRIS GUNNESS is currently United Nations Spokesman in the Middle East. For twenty-three years he worked at the BBC as producer, reporter, correspondent, and anchor. He served with the UN in the Balkans on secondment from the BBC in the mid-nineties.

JACK HALEY is a poet living and writing on a mountaintop in Vermont.   

EDUARDO HALFON halfon was born in 1971 in Guatemala City. He has published ten books of fiction and won the Café Bretón and Bodegas Olarra Literary Prize (2008), the José María de Pereda Novella Prize (2009), and was Semifinalist for the Herralde Novel Prize (2003). In 2007 the Bogotá Hay Festival named him one of the thirty-nine best young Latin American writers. He is currently a Guggenheim Fellow.

SAM HAMILL is the author of fourteen volumes of poetry, including Almost Paradise: Selected Poems & Translations (Shambhala, 2005), Dumb Luck (2002), Gratitude (1998), and Destination Zero: Poems 1970–1995 (1995). He has also published three collections of essays, including A Poet’s Work (1998), and two dozen volumes translated from ancient Greek, Latin, Estonian, Japanese, and Chinese.

CELIA HAWKESWORTH was senior lecturer in Serbian and Croatian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London, until her retirement. She now works as a freelance writer and translator.

RICHARD HUGHESrichard hughes is an actor working and living in New York City. He founded the Shoeshine Boys Project (1968–76) in Vietnam, and from 1990–96 spearheaded a human rights campaign for two former Vietnamese colleagues from Shoeshine who had become political prisoners in Saigon. Since 2005, he has been running a foundation in Manhattan called Loose Cannons, Inc., to seek redress for the plight of Vietnamese civilians affected by exposure to dioxin, a toxic by-product of the defoliant known as Agent Orange used by US military forces during the Vietnam war.

FADY JOUDAH is a Palestinian-American poet and physician. He is the 2007 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for his collection of poems The Earth in the Attic. He was a finalist for the 2008 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for his translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s The Butterfly’s Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2007).

RUTH KENNEDY (1896–1968) was a distinguished art historian and professor at Smith College from 1921 to 1965. With her husband, Clarence Kennedy, she lived much of her life in Italy and France. She was the author of The Idea of Originality in the Italian Renaissance (1936), Alesso Baldovinetti, A Critical and Historical Study (1938), The Renaissance Painter’s Garden (1948), and many articles and reviews.

MAŠA KOLANOVIĆ was born in Zagreb in 1979. She is working as a junior assistant for the Faculty of Philosophy Department for Contemporary Croatian literature. She is the author of Leeches for the Lonely (2001), Bombshelter Barbie (2008), Worker!Rebel? Consumer . . . Croatian Novel and Popular Culture from Socialism till Today (2011).

YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA's thirteen books of poetry include Taboo, Dien Cai Dau, Neon Vernacular, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize, Warhorses, and most recently The Chameleon Couch. His plays, performance art, and libretti have been performed internationally, and include Saturnalia, Testimony, and Gilgamesh. He teaches at New York University.

LY LAN writes short stories, poetry, and novels. Her novel Tieu Thuyet Dan Ba (Women’s Novel) won the Award for Novels of the Hochiminh City Writers’ Union in 2009. Her book of poems La Minh (Be Herself) won the Award for Poetry of the Hochiminh City Writers’ Union in 2006.

CHRISTINE DUMAINE LECHE, poet and nonfiction writer, has had work published in Nimrod International Journal, Mississippi Valley Review, Louisiana Literature, and others. She has won the American Academy of Poets Prize and the Deep South Writers’ Competition. She has also spent many years teaching university courses in English and Creative Writing to American soldiers in such locations as Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

DEENA LINETT’s third poetry collection, The Gate at Visby, is due from Tiger Bark Press in October 2011; her short fiction has won international recognition.

KARI LYDERSEN is a staff writer at the Washington Post’s Midwest bureau and freelances for publications including In These Times and The Progressive. She is author of Out of the Sea and Into the Fire: Latin American-US Immigration in the Global Age (Common Courage Press, 2005) and teaches youth and college journalism classes in Chicago.

MARY KAY MAGISTAD is an award-winning American journalist and correspondent. She has covered Northeast Asia for the Public Radio International program, PRI’s The World, a co-production between the BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH Radio Boston since 1996. In that capacity she has covered the geopolitical struggle over North Korea’s weapons program, the SARS epidemic, and tensions in Kashmir. Magistad has brought local perspective to stories with international impact.

FRED MARCHANT is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Looking House (Graywolf Press, 2009). He is the editor of Another World Instead, a selection of the early poems of William Stafford, focusing on his conscientious objection during World War II. Marchant is also the director of the Creative Writing Program and the Poetry Center at Suffolk University in Boston.

JEN MARLOWE is the author of Darfur Diaries and co-author with Sami al Jundi of The Hour of Sunlight, published by Nation Books. Her writing has appeared in the Nation, TomDispatch, Worldfocus, and other publications. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

SUMMER MCCLINTON is a comic-book artist who lives, paints, and draws in and about New York City. She won the Xeric Award for co-creating Thread (with Emily Benz), a comic book about isolation and paranoia in the big city. Her most recently published illustration work is the graphic novel Huntington, West Virginia “On the Fly,” one of the last books written by the late Harvey Pekar.

LAREN MCCLUNG is a graduate student in the creative writing program at New York University. She has been the recipient of a Goldwater Hospital Teaching Fellowship and a Teachers and Writers Collaborative Van Lier Fellowship. She teaches creative writing at NYU and leads a workshop for veterans of the Iraq War. She is currently editing an anthology titled Children of Warriors and is an assistant poetry editor for Washington Square.

ANNE MCLEAN translates Latin American and Spanish novels, short stories, memoirs, and other writings by authors including Héctor Abad, Julio Cortázar, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and Enrique Vila-Matas. She has twice been awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, with Evelio Rosero for The Armies in 2009 and, in 2004, with Javier Cercas for Soldiers of Salamis.

SEMEZDIN MEHMEDINOVIĆ is the author of four books and has worked as an editor, journalist, and filmmaker. The English translation of his spare and haunting Sarajevo Blues, written under the horrific circumstances of the war in Bosnia, was praised by the Washington Post as one of the best literary documents of the conflict. After the war, Mehmedinovic and his family came to the United States as political refugees, settling in Alexandria, Virginia.

ASKOLD MELNYCZUK has recently finished a new novel, SMEDLEY’s Secret Guide to World Literature.

CHRISTOPHER MERRILL’s latest book is The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War. He directs the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa.

PHILIP METRES is the author of a number of books, most recently abu ghraib arias (2011), To See the Earth (2008), Come Together: Imagine Peace (anthology, 2008), and Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941 (2007).  He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

ANDREA MILANKO was born in Split (Croatia) in 1983. She graduated from English and Croatian language and literature program in Zagreb. She works as a junior researcher at the Department of Croatian at the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. She has translated the following: One Day by David Nicholls, I Heart New York, I Heart Hollywood, and I Heart Paris, all by Lindey Kelk, Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran, and is currently translating The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson.

ANNA MILSOM is a senior lecturer in Translation at London Metropolitan University, UK, and her research interests focus on notions of voice and creativity in translated texts. Originally trained as a fine artist, her doctoral thesis involved producing a multimodal, digital (re)presentation of translated folktales by Cuban ethnographer Lydia Cabrera. Her most recent publication is a co-translation, with Anne McLean, of Evelio Rosero’s Good Offices.

MICHAEL MOORE has also translated ThreeHorses and God’s Mountain by Erri De Luca, and is completing Not Now, Not Here by the same author. His most recent translations include Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi and Pushing Past the Night by Mario Calabresi. He is currently working on a new translation of The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni.

JOSH NEUFIELD is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist who works primarily in the realm of nonfiction comics. He is the writer/artist of the Eisner and Harvey Award–nominated A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, and the Xeric Award–winning graphic travelogue A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe). He was a longtime artist for Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, and his art has been exhibited in gallery and museum shows in the United States and Europe. “Scenes from an Illicit War” was originally commissioned for “System Error” (Silvana Editoriale, Italy).

DAVID RABE’s first play in New York was The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel in 1971. Next came Sticks and Bones, The Orphan, and Streamers, all Vietnam related and all produced by Joseph Papp. In the Boom Boom Room, Hurlyburly, and other plays followed. He is also the author of Recital of the Dog, Dinosaurs on the Roof, Girl by the Road at Night, and A Primitive Heart. A new play, An Early History of Fire, will be produced by the New Group in New York in the spring of 2012.

DAVID ROHDE is an American author and investigative journalist for Thomson Reuters. While a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1996 for his coverage of the Srebrenica massacre. From July 2002 until December 2004, he was co-chief of the Times’s South Asia bureau, based in New Delhi. He shared a second Pulitzer Prize for the Times’s 2008 team coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. While in Afghanistan, Rohde was kidnapped by members of the Taliban in November 2008, but managed to escape in June 2009 after seven months in captivity.

MILA ROSENTHAL has been an advocate and campaigner on a broad range of international human rights issues. She was the Executive Director of HealthRight International, a global health and human rights organization working to build lasting access to health for excluded communities; before that, as Deputy Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, she oversaw human rights research, policy, and advocacy. She has written extensively about the social impacts of globalization and economic injustice, and taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

EVELIO ROSERO was born in Bogotá in 1958. He is the author of seven novels and two collections of short stories, as well as several books for children and young adults. In Colombia his work has been recognized by the National Literature Award, among others. His novel The Armies won the Tusquets International Novel Prize in 2006 and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2009. His novel Good Offices will be published by New Directions in September 2011.

MARTHA ROSLER works in video, photo-text, installation, and performance, and writes criticism. Her work in the public sphere ranges from everyday life — often with an eye to women’s experience — and the media to architecture and the built environment. A retrospective of her work has been shown in five European cities and in New York at the New Museum and the International Center of Photography (2000). Her writing has been published widely in catalogs and magazines, such as Artforum, Afterimage, and NU Magazine.

JUAN JOSÉ SAER (1937–2005), born in Santa Fé, Argentina, was the leading Argentine writer of the post-Borges generation. In 1968, he moved to Paris and taught literature at the University of Rennes. The author of numerous novels and short-story collections (including Scars and La Grande, forthcoming from Open Letter), Saer was awarded Spain’s prestigious Nadal Prize in 1987 for The Event.

ROY SCRANTON’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in New Letters, Denver Quarterly, LIT, The New York Times, and elsewhere. He served in the US Army from 2002–2006, including thirteen months in Iraq, earned an MA at the New School for Social Research, and is currently pursuing a PhD in English at Princeton.

CHARLES M. SENNOTT is the Vice President, Executive Editor, and co-founder of GlobalPost. An award-winning foreign correspondent with twenty-five years of experience, Sennott has reported on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least fifteen countries, including the 2011 revolution in Cairo and the Arab Spring. He was among the first journalists on the ground in Afghanistan in the aftermath of September 11 and has continued reporting there throughout the last decade. He is the author of two books, The Body and the Blood and Broken Covenant, and  co-author of a third.

RICHARD SENNOTT has been a photographer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune since 1987. His assignments have taken him into conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, El Salvador, and Iraq. Most recently, Sennott won the 2008 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism gold medal for photography and writing for a story about Italy’s convents that was centered in Orvieto. His work has been published in Life, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler.

ANNA SCHULEIT studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her early, large-scale installations revolved around sites of memory: Habeas Corpus (2000) at Northam­pton State Hospital, and Bloom (2003) at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. She has been a visiting artist at Smith College, MIT, Brown, Pratt, RISD, Bowdoin, Boston University, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. In 2006 she was named a MacArthur Fellow. Her paintings and works on paper have been on view at Coleman Burke Gallery in New York, and, this fall, at the Rhodes Art Center in Northfield, MA.

TAYLOR STOEHR’s work with probationers from the Dorchester District Court began in 1994. Founded in 1991, the “Changing Lives Through Literature” program has flourished in a dozen different jurisdictions of the Commonwealth, and has spread to a number of other states. A form of alternative sentencing, the program offers probationers reduction of their probation terms upon completing a semester-long course focused on various literary texts. “Street Smarts” is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Changing Lives, to be published next spring by Paradigm Press.  

NORA STREJILEVICH is an Argentinean writer and professor of Latin American Literature who survived state terror in her country (1977). Her testimonial novel Una sola muerte numerosa was granted the Letras de Oro National Award in 1996. The English version, A Single Numberless Death (2002), was adapted for the stage by Bob Maybery. Her essay “El arte de no olvidar: literatura testimonial en Chile, Argentina y Uruguay” (“The art of not forgetting: testimonial literature in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay” [2006]) will soon appear in translation.

BORETH SUN grew up in a small village in northwestern Cambodia, lived through the Khmer Rouge years and the killing fields, went out through the refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border, and was taken in by a foster family in Western Massachusetts in 1982. He returned to live and work in Cambodia in the early 1990s and has been there ever since, working with various agencies that seek to improve living conditions for Cambodia’s poorest and most vulnerable.

Born in Sarajevo, ULVIJA TANOVIĆ has lived and traveled around the world. She graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature (Faculty of Philosophy) in Sarajevo, and also received a Diploma in American Studies from Smith College in America. She began working as a translator in 1997, translating a great variety of texts, from building reconstruction plans to film scripts. For the past three years, she has become increasingly involved in literary translation. She has translated, among others, Aleksandar Hemon, Mak Dizdar, and Senad Musabegovic

UNA TANOVIĆ was born in 1984 in Sarajevo. She is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her translation of “Transatlantic Mail,” by Miljenko Jergović and Semezdin Mehmedinović, was also published by MR.

MATTHEW THOMPSON was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He enlisted in the military in 1999, and was honorably discharged in 2003.  From 2003 to 2004, he worked odd jobs until he rejoined the army. He was again honorably discharged in 2008 and for five months after, washed dishes and tried his hand at college. Before nearly completing one semester, he was on a National Guard deployment to Iraq with the 269th Military Police Company out of Tennessee for a year. Since then he has been attending school full time at Tennessee State University and currently resides in Nashville,

ELISE TRIPP is a graduate of Harvard, and received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. For fifteen years as an international relations counselor for UN affairs at the World Bank, she coordinated policy with UN agencies in war-torn countries. She is the author of an oral history of the Iraq War entitled Surviving Iraq: Soldiers’ Stories (2008). The two narratives in this issue are excerpted from her upcoming book American Veterans on War: Personal Stories from World War II to Afghanistan, to be published by Interlink in October 2011.

BRIAN TURNER is the author of two collections of poetry: Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005; Bloodaxe Books, 2007) and Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010; Bloodaxe Books in October of 2010). Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division (1999–2000). His poetry and essays have been published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily, the Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals. He lives in Orlando with his wife, the poet Ilyse Kusnetz.

DUBRAVKA UGREŠIĆ is the author of several works of fiction, including The Museum of Unconditional Surrender and The Ministry of Pain, and several essay collections, most recently Thank You for Not Reading. In 1991, when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Ugrešić took a firm antinationalistic stand and was proclaimed a “traitor,” a “public enemy,” and a “witch,” and was exposed to harsh and persistent media harassment. As a result, she left Croatia in 1993 and currently lives in Amsterdam.

FAITH WILDING is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and educator with a BA (Comparative Literature), University of Iowa, and an MFA (Performance/Installation/Feminist Art), California Institute of the Arts. Wilding was a co-founder of the feminist art movement in Southern California, chronicled in her book By Our Own Hands (Los Angeles,1976). She has exhibited in solo and group shows for thirty years in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and Southeast Asia. She co-founded and collaborates with subRosa, a reproducible cyberfeminist cell of cultural researchers using BioArt and tactical performance in the public sphere to explore and critique the intersections of information and biotechnologies in women’s bodies, lives, and work. Wilding lectures and publishes widely both nationally and internationally.

TRACY WILKINSON is Mexico City bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, where she has worked since 1987. She has been the paper’s bureau chief in San Salvador, Vienna (from which she covered the Balkans conflict), Jerusalem, and Rome. Her reports have won the Overseas Press Club and George Polk awards, and she is the author of The Vatican’s Exorcists: Driving Out the Devil in the 21st Century, published in 2007.

DAN WITZ (born 1957) is a Brooklyn, NY–based street artist and realist painter. He grew up in Chicago, and graduated in 1981 from Cooper Union, on New York City’s Lower East Side. Witz, consistently active since the late 1970s, is one of the pioneers of the street art movement. His paintings have been shown in galleries throughout the US and Europe. In June 2010 a monograph, Dan Witz: In Plain View: 30 Years of Artworks Illegal and Otherwise, was published by Ginkgo press.

GHASSAN ZAQTAN was born in 1954 near Bethlehem. He obtained a teachers’ training degree from Jordan and worked as a physical education teacher. Zaqtan worked with the Palestinian resistance movement and was editor of Bayader, literary magazine of the PLO. He is the editor of the literary page of Al-Ayyam, the daily newspaper in Ramallah, and the editor of the new poetry quarterly Al-Shou’ara. He has published a number of poetry collections, and his first novel in 1995. He has participated in countless international poetry festivals, and his works have also been translated into French. He lives in Ramallah.

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