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Fun: A Manifesto

by Claire Skinner

Above all else, a poem must be fun. Even poems that deal with decidedly not-fun topics (death, disaster, cruelty) must have elements of joy.

Fun. Not exactly a word thrown about in academic circles or in serious reviews of serious poetry. But, if a poem’s not fun, the likelihood of me finishing it (or enjoying it) are slim to none.

Call for Manuscripts

For a special issue on translation—in the broadest sense of the word—we welcome stories, poems, and essays that either exemplify translation as practice or meditate on translation as phenomenon.

“Invisible Green,” by Tung-Hui Hu

In 1772, the twenty-six-year-old violinmaker Henry Whiteside began to build a lighthouse on a pile of rocks twenty miles off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, called the Smalls. His design was unusual; the light perched on top of eight oak piers like the head of a stiff-legged octopus. Rather than making a solid base, Whiteside reasoned, he would let the force of the waves pass through the structure. But when the waves did so, the living quarters swayed violently; one visitor reported that a full bucket of water was half empty by the time he left. The force of the storm made each thing—bucket, glass, stove, table—resonant; it bent the lighthouse, shaping it into an instrument of music.

MQR 51:4 | Fall 2012

Tung-Hui Hu’s lyrical take on nineteenth-century life in a lighthouse off the coast of Wales, Craig McDaniel on color and perspective in Bonnard, Molly McQuade on Wim Wender’s tribute to Pina Bausch, Jeffrey Meyers on Thomas Mann in America.

Fiction by Mimi Herman, Sharona Muir, Dina Nayeri, Dalia Rosefeld, Charles Antin, Bipin Aurora, and Donald Yates.

Poetry by Angie Estes, Patricia Clark, Chris Cunningham, Sarah Messer, Nance Van Winckel, and Mark Wunderlich.

Blue Balloon

On Maggie Nelson’s Bluets: Azul Simpático

by Gina Balibrera

After reading the book, I pushed it on everyone I knew who might be familiar with eros the bittersweet, with injury, with morbid-hearted love, with ekphrastic inclination, with lust, with loneliness, with bitter laughter, with red wine, with weeping. (An archaic definition for the term “blue-eyed,” relayed by Maggie Nelson: 91…“a blueness or dark circle around the eye, from weeping or other cause.” ) “Heartbreak is a spondee (42.),” I heard myself telling strangers. Twice in one week, I wore pants in a color that shimmered between sapphire and cobalt, and on one of those occasions, I spilled a little wine and later on discovered the butterfly-shaped bone of my hip tinged blue. Bluets came out in 2009; clearly, I’m late to the party.