*fiction by Douglas Trevor* Theobald Kristeller settled into his chair in the early printed text room of the British Library. The reading area was deathly quiet, save when one of the youngish, gung-ho librarians stumbled upon someone not using one of the book cradles properly, or writing notes in pen. Theo had himself once been upbraided for letting a first edition of Robert Persons’s De Persecutione Anglicana slip into his lap. “But it’s Persons!” he had exclaimed incredulously. “No one cares about Robert Persons!”
*fiction by Kelsey Ronan* Behind her, Tianna laughs. “Listen to her,” she guffaws. She repeats “dark with anguishhh,” in her white girl voice, the words theatrically elongated. “Who you tryna be?” Tianna’s laughter ripples around the room. Monae turns quickly back and stares down at her desk. Her face burns. Miss McCorkle ineffectively repeats, “Students, students,” but all the eighth graders are so relieved to be pulled away from this impossible poem and given something familiar to ridicule that they laugh and laugh.
* A.L. Major *
I’ve come to expect offensive portrayals of blackness during Halloween, but this past year’s trend of impersonating Trayvon Martin seemed unusually cruel. I’ve never understood why certain white people love black face. I can only imagine those who love blackface or find the use of “blackface” funny enjoy dehumanizing blackness. Blackface has been used for racial parody since the early 1800s, and slowly over the years Halloween has become a season for racial parody within a larger social framework that thrives on dehumanizing blackness for its own survival. Blackness as monstrous. I’ve been thinking about this as a concept more and more, especially this Halloween as I perused photos of people who could not have possibly seen and understood Trayvon Martin as a human being.
MQR goes back to school! Read a cluster of poems, stories, and essays that talk about life in the classroom and the world of academe—work by Rebecca Makkai, Kelsey Ronan, Cindy Clem, Stephen Burt, Douglas Trevor, and Eileen Pollack
Poetry by Karen An-hwei Lee and Li Qingzhao
Fiction by Matthew Baker, Colin Fleming, and David Lynn
The Hopwood Lecture by Gary Snyder
Poetry review by Laurence Goldstein
* Gina Balibrera *
Certain words are brighter and less symmetrical than others, and these are the ones she wants. The twitching red octopuses scare and delight her. They might deliver punishment, a royal beating, or at least scorn. They’re from another world; they don’t belong to her.