Supermen sleep in transit every time—
no guarantees of when we’ll sleep again, or if,
so we tuck chin to flak jacket and light out
for anywhere else. We wake bitter and panicked,
plane dropping too sharply for Stinger missiles, look up,
read the taut, terrible smiles.
by Ann Marie Thornburg
Although poet Mark Doty’s memoir Dog Years was published over a decade ago, it is timeless in its generous goodwill toward canine subjects, and timely for artists and thinkers who are considering animals under the umbrella of Animal Studies, an interdisciplinary academic field that is now coming into its own. (In the coming months I will be posting additional posts about the representation of nonhumans with language, and the intersections of art and science, on this blog.I hope you will stay tuned.)
We begin 2013 with our first redesign in decades. Take a look, and read Ann Fabian on the sad life of pioneering herpetologist Mary Cynthia Dickerson and Zhanna Vaynberg on growing up between cultures, along with fiction by Cody Peace Adams, Kim Adrian, Morris Collins, Jen Fawkes, Stephanie Friedman, and William Kelly Woolfitt; a review of Witold Gombrowicz by Piotr Florczyk; and poetry by Marianne Boruch.
From the Desert Wars,” is a special section of startling and deeply felt poetry written by American soldiers fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan,“trying to make sense of things,” including work by Benjamin Busch, Clint Garner, Bruce Lack, Hugh Martin, and Patrick Whalen.
by Ann Marie Thornburg
In “Chasing The Ancient Murrelet Taylor writes of a bird’s death “in a place / it doesn’t belong, where it can’t find / the right food or a mate, but where I find it, following / clear directions on the internet.” As birdwatcher and poet, Taylor seeks out his subjects, and often finds them on margins, which is not to say that he looks in these places for self-aggrandizing recoveries. Subjects are everywhere, struggling and thriving, and good poets are receptive to accidental encounters and simultaneously, continue seeking. The entire book, laced through with nimble drawings by Melanie Boyle, takes us through landscapes and across borders familiar to Taylor’s readers, but continually, book after book, wrought anew: the commingling of the wild, the natural, and the domestic worlds; strange, shimmering encounters that are not stripped of their secrets. These brief poems let the light in. They know when their maps-of-language have taken us to openings, windows.
We are pleased to announce that Michigan Quarterly Review has awarded this year’s trio of literary prizes to Rebecca Makkai, for a finely crafted story about connection and quiet reappraisals, Angie Estes, for two exquisite poems “balancing the omnipresence of death with the fragile pleasures of life,” and Margaret Reges, for her poems’ exuberant physical description.