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Michigan Quarterly Review
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The University of Michigan's flagship journal of essays, interviews, memoirs, fiction, poetry, and book reviews.
The University of Michigan's flagship journal of essays, interviews, memoirs, fiction, poetry, and book reviews.

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"I am not a fake. I have two friends, three or four children, five fathers, and a host of tropical fish."

"George Platt Lynes photographed a naked man, curled / into a snailshell’s infinite regress, and I want / to follow suit, my body a starfish, my skin seized / with a Polaroid purchased on a serious / whim: may I become Lincoln Kirstein or Monroe Wheeler,…

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"You feel the walls in you becoming ruins, holy and broken." "Reading Among the Ruins," by Lauren K. Alleyne, appears in MQR 55:4 (Fall 2016).

In the temple’s farthest corner / an olive tree stands, // silver-green leaves like a shawl, / its trunk braided // down into the ancient earth: / You are witnessed by it.

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"It’s partly about finding some freedom in limitations. I like the idea of having a finite set of materials and finding new ways to arrange, explore, contextualize them—only adding to the mix when it feels totally vital."

"Virginia Woolf’s amazing essay 'On Being Ill'—where she interrogates literature’s lack of focus on illness, the collective obsession with the drama of romance over the drama of often inseparable physical and mental ailments—has been a jumping off point.…

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"A door closed for me with [Graham] Greene's death, a door that had opened when I first read 'The Heart of the Matter' at age fifteen, encouraged by my oldest sister. Greene himself once wrote that it is the books of our childhood and adolescence that shape our lives most powerfully, most irrevocably, not those of our later years."

There was one last buzz, then Greene pulled himself reluctantly up off the sofa. As I watched him cross the living room, the part of my mind still working in slow motion pictured the door opening, the gunmen entering and shooting Greene (professionals,…

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"Iran’s major TV show on cinema, Seven, is unlike any other country’s program on movies. Instead of promoting the Iranian cinema, Seven is designed to undermine it."

Farassati also argues that these films tend to be dark in their subject matter and thus provide a bad image of Iran for the West. They reinforce negative beliefs about Iran, which in certain ways can be true. But of course he also knows that many major…

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"I do what I can to get poetry out there in the world. I have worked for literary journals, I write books, I give lots of readings and lectures, I teach poetry to the young. Poetry is central to the world I live in."

"As much as I try to stay open to wherever the poem is going, I know my concerns come with me to the page. Environmental concerns, political concerns, as well as literary concerns. I hope my poems can find an audience, even one outside of the usual…

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"It's what it means to walk into a busload of people and have them dismiss you and have them see you as inhuman. Have them despise you for what you represent physically. No, this is not my "agenda." This is not my field of studies, Ethnic Studies. But, yes, damn right I'm an expert on it."

"I've said that I have a love-hate relationship with the institute of higher learning, but I'm not opposed to scholarship. A poet is a scholar. I really believe that you should know not just your own age, but other ages."

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"Dad had a knack both personally and professionally for grasping defeat from the jaws of victory."

The first time my father tried to kill me I was seven. We had driven to the Miracle Mile strip mall at the edge of the city where Dad said he had to see a man about a horse. I sat in the backseat and when we parked Dad got out and told me he’d only be a…

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"To be honest, writing anything linearly has always struck me as inauthentic to life. For me, moments always crash together. Yet, somehow we find a way to make it all align. We yank meaning out of the bright, swirling chaos."

"Music has a way cutting right through to the bone of the thing, shining a light on all that holy marrow. What it does so well is what I'd like my writing to do: express a feeling or drip a tone, even if it is surreal or doesn't make logical sense."

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"We could say time and ruin has granted the ancient poets a kind of stutter, with many free spaces opened up by what is missing, what will never be heard."

For my last semester in college, in an effort to be practical, I signed up for a graduate humanities course called “How to Live.” On the first day, the professor discussed the syllabus at length, then asked us to introduce ourselves. The air had drained…
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