Elizabeth Alexander on black experimental poetry, Marian Crotty on the borderline lover, Ilan Stavans on immigration and authenticity, James Morrison on Jonathan Strong, Laurence Goldstein on Philip Levine
Fiction by Peter Ho Davies, Massa Makan Diabaté, Janis Hubschman, Lia Silver, Jonathan Strong
Poetry by Randy Blasing, Todd Boss, Martha Collins, Rick Hilles, Patricia Hooper, Joe Wilkins
fiction by Peter Ho Davies
Perhaps because he had no singing voice, Pop leaned forward to twist the dial when Nelson Eddy came on to do “Song of the Vagabonds.” “What, Saul,” my mother called from the doorway, giving a wiggle of her hips, “you got something against a little music?” but my father shushed her so sharply I looked up from my books. He was bent close to the radio, his eyes on us, but wide and unseeing. “We interrupt this broadcast.” It was the first bulletin.
Things moved fast after that. There was a banging on the floor below—Mrs. Z—and my father hurried down. By the time he’d run back up there were drumming feet overhead and in the halls, the din stilled only momentarily for a statement from the Secretary of the Interior. But where was the President? How I yearned for the calm “Good evening, friends” of one of his fireside chats.
“C’mon, already!” my father cried when he reappeared. “To the basement.” My mother ran to wake Milt and I followed her, looking around wildly for something to save. What was my most valuable possession? My magic apparatus, of course. I’d been given a set—trick deck, silk scarves, and my prize, an oboki box for coin tricks—for my Bar Mitzvah. I snatched the lot up, along with the reel of invisible thread, and stuffed it in my pockets. I could hear my mother trying to explain about the Martians to Milt. “The Martins?” he asked sleepily, scratching the toes that peeked out of the end of his cast. “Who are the Martins?” And then my father was there. “Forget Martians, Edith. Never mind that. These radio fellows don’t know bupkis. It’s Germans. See if it ain’t.” Until then I’d not been so afraid. I didn’t know anything about Martians. But Germans … I could see it in Milt’s saucer eyes … Germans were real.
by Marshall Walker Lee
October’s the thick, sticky middle of my stuff season. I long to see the leaves flaming and falling on the Leelanau Peninsula; In the mornings I want sour cherry preserves on my toast and in the evening, after dinner and a walk in the brisk, fragrant airs, I want donuts from the Franklin Mill. Now that I don’t own a car I find myself fantasizing about a particular stretch of I-75, a corridor that begins north of Wolverine and runs 30 or so miles to the southern anchorage of the Mackinac Bridge, the largest steel suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, a cobalt-and-cream behemoth, every bit as lovely as the Golden Gate. Give me a Detroit-made Corvette ZR-1 and I could tear that road to shreds.
Growing up Motown—a special section on Motown explores how artists such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson grew up within Motown Records, and how the company itself emerged in Detroit to become one of the most distinctive cultural industries of the twentieth century.
essay by Suzanne E. Smith
In the conclusion of my book Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit, I described the fanfare that surrounded the fortieth anniversary of Motown Records, which included a commemorative compact disc boxed set, an ABCTV documentary miniseries, and a special Motown halftime show at the Super Bowl. The show culminated with Martha Reeves singing her signature song, “Dancing in the Street.” As I noted, “[b]y the time the song reached one of its most famous lines, ‘Can’t forget the Motor City,’ nothing seemed more forgotten than Detroit, Michigan, Motown’s birthplace.”