“Do shrimps make good mothers? Yes, they do.” This is such a weird line. It feels like the turn in a sonnet that isn’t a sonnet, more specifically known as Denise Riley’s “A Misremembered Lyric.” After some very human and fretful missing/not-missing of a thing, this line comes as a complete interruption, a pause and pivot in the work of losing and forgetting and their opposites. I don’t want to work out a reading of the poem here, to worry the line and test what it’s doing. For this post, I just want to point out that a quick Facebook message to a marine biologist who almost wrote a dissertation on shrimp sociality will reveal that “there are thousands(!) of shrimp species, and each have evolved varying degrees of parental care. This can range from laying eggs and moving on with life, to living in a multigenerational colony.” So, now we deduce that if “shrimps” make good mothers then all species must make good mothers insofar as they survive?
Instead of knocking on wood, Russians will spit three times over their left shoulder. If a chicken crows at you three times before noon, the death of a close family member should be expected within the month. Talking about future success: bad luck. Birds that tap on your window: bad luck. Encountering or crossing the path of a funeral procession: bad luck. Bread cut with your hands instead of a knife: bad luck. A woman coming towards you with empty buckets (when would this even happen anymore?): bad luck. There is a very distinct pattern emerging here: nearly everything in the Soviet Union was a cause of bad luck! Though I really think most of it could just be attributed to living in the Soviet Union.
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
Kofi Awoonor was killed in a Nairobi mall on September 21. He had come to Nairobi to participate in a literary festival, traveling the thousands of miles from one side of Africa to the other to teach a master class in poetry and talk about his time in a Ghanaian prison as a young dissident.
“The blonde angel,” the Greek media christened her: this little girl “discovered” during a drug-and-weapons raid in the Roma settlement near Farsala in central Greece. Within days, the story broke in every major European newspaper.