From the Archive – Michigan Quarterly Review

From the Archive

The Structure of Pluto

Paisley Rekdal’s poem, “The Structure of Pluto,” appeared in  MQR’s Spring 2002 issue. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Whose only moon is Charon, ferryman of the dead who circles death’s king. No cartoon dog this, Pluto brings its own rules to the table: sheets of rock and frozen methane, an icy mantle of ammonia that cloaks in a perfume …

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Religious Painting Stock Image

From the Archives: Seven Rooms

The poem is both tender and sinister, simply told and yet deeply bizarre. It is a poem seemingly about torture, affection, and the afterlife ambiguously titled “Seven Rooms,” and, though we decided not to include it in our upcoming Anniversary issue, I believe it still deserves some attention.

Singing Worm

Carlos is not just any worm. Carlos’s immune system is so strong that Moonie can bombard it with legions of aggressive invader organisms, and Carlos fends them off. But what’s truly remarkable about this worm is that while gobbling up intruders like a worthy ninja, it screeches out the famous first bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Olufunke Grace Bankole head shot

Aminatu

Aminatu sometimes found comfort in the fact that no one there quite knew her. Their expectation of the things she should have done or could have been was not humiliatingly high. To most who met her, Aminatu was “that young African woman.” That, in its ambiguity, was manageable. So she combined whatever it was to be African with what she was inevitably coming to know as black in America.

Unknown artist portrait of Francis Williams

Race and the Idea of the Aesthetic

In both Europe and the Americas, art was important to African slaves because it offered them the possibility of what I will call a socially transcendental existence; it could be marshaled into everyday life as a condition of survival against the laws that mapped out the place of the black as being outside the framework of modernity…Just as the aesthetic could become a key index in the violence of modernity, it could also provide the subjects of this cruelty with the hallowed place where utopian dreams could be nurtured and secured.

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