CURRENT ISSUE: Fall 2016
New You in Old, Old America (or 1 Month & 2 Weeks in Shit Tons of Pain)
You are new to Georgetown when you arrive the first week of June. All you see are rainbows—flags of them, banners, geotags, advertisements, merchandise. Restaurants and clothing stores covered in streamers fluttering heavily in the thick humid air. It’s kind of South, you think, but Georgetown is so beautiful. Your mother had said, “Don’t walk alone here, people will wonder what you’re doing in this place.” She has already trained you to make a habit out of being very good. She thought it would protect your body from all the people who wanted to break it. But here in Georgetown, flags waving, colors streaming, you explore sidewalks in the daytime, awe-filled and fearless.
[God is a set]
Avoiding the One-Drop Rule
This past January, I attended a concert at Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church. The audience in the church’s dimly lit basement was tattooed, bedecked in social justice slogans and, like most punk show crowds, predominantly white. Two hours into the show, a local hardcore band with both white and Black members took the stage. As they launched into their blistering set, I followed my instinct and, bobbing to the rhythm, started to work my way forward through the crowd. By the time the band had finished playing their first song, I had made significant progress toward the stage. That’s when the band’s lead singer leaned into the mic and yelled:
“It’s fuckin’ 2016! BROWN PEOPLE TO THE FRONT!”
A squat yellow bungalow trimmed neatly in white, with twin wooden planters that had never been filled by anything but tidy beds of gravel—this was the church where Rick and I first met as kids. Inside, a wide-open room, empty until we set up ten rows of metal folding chairs before each service, empty after we stacked the chairs in two teetering columns off to the side. Near the windows, the table set with plates of cookies and lemonade for after the service.
FROM THE BLOG
Poems for Political Disaster: A Reading in Recap
The air of urgency came as little surprise. It read in the face of the woman who closed her parchment store early for a front row seat. It read in the wringing hands of the man who wore a Hillary campaign hat and a fixed scowl in upper left corner of the auditorium. It read in the feet of a pack of book-toting poetry students rushing over late from their Monday night workshop. The silence that sits before speech had never felt so fitting.A poetry reading was held in the basement of the Cambridge Public Library this past Monday, the 30th of January, to premiere a deceptively small and unassuming chapbook of thirty-five different poets titled "Poems for Political Disaster." It was jointly hosted by the library staff and Boston Review, with Review poetry editor B.K. Fisher making the opening remarks.
FROM THE BLOG
14 Sounds of Suzanne Ciani’s Future
In a 2011 article for GQ, John Jeremiah Sullivan opens with one of those long, self-referential ledes about the story he was assigned (the future of the human race), the story he ‘thought he had’ (a look into the Future of Humanity Institute at Oord University in England), and the story he ultimately found (a fundamental change in the nature animal aggression toward humans) –– the kind of delightful decoy lede that seems to take you away from the story but actually crystallizes its central theme. When Sullivan finally gets to his nugget –– the idea that takes him from ‘the future of the human race’ to animal attacks––– it seems simultaneously obvious and unbelievable: “no one knows what’s going to happen in the future.”A minute of reflection will prove this claim true. No one is a fortune teller.