The Massachusetts Review

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The Massachusetts Review
Fall 2014 cover
DisciplineLiterary journal
Edited byJim Hicks, Michael Thurston, Ellen Doré Watson, Pam Glaven
Publication details
Massachusetts Review, Inc., with support from Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (United States)
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Mass. Rev.

The Massachusetts Review is a literary quarterly founded in 1959[1] by a group of professors from Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[2] It receives financial support from Five Colleges, Inc., a consortium which includes Amherst College and four other educational institutions in a short geographical radius.


MR bills itself as "A Quarterly of Literature, the Arts, and Public Affairs." A key early focus was on civil rights as well as African-American history and culture; the Review published, among many others, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling A. Brown, Lucille Clifton, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Martin Luther King Jr.[3] Sidney Kaplan, a founder of the Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, was a founding member of MR as well; Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, also a founder of Afro-American Studies at UMass, continues to serve as a contributing editor. In 1969, co-editor Jules Chametzky and Kaplan put together a collection of essays from the first ten years of MR; Julius Lester, in the New York Times, called Black and White in American Culture "a rare anthology [...] with a higher degree of relevance than almost any other book of its kind."[4]

In 1972, MR published a double issue, entitled Woman: An Issue, edited by Lisa Baskin, Lee Edwards, and Mel Heath, featuring work from Bella Abzug, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Norman Mailer, Anaïs Nin, Tina Modotti, and Sonia Sanchez.[citation needed] Recent special issues include the 2008 Especially Queer Issue (edited by John Emil Vincent, and featuring new work from Frank Bidart, Michael Moon, and Jack Spicer, as well as an interview with Judith Butler and a conversation between Michael Snediker and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick)[citation needed] as well as the 2011 Casualty Issue (co-edited by Kevin Bowen and Jim Hicks, with work from John Berger, Erri De Luca, Juan Goytisolo, Yusef Komunyakaa, David Rabe, and Nora Strejilevich).[citation needed]


MR is known for visual as well as literary arts.[5] Its cover design was initially conceived by the sculptor and graphic artist Leonard Baskin, who contributed work throughout his career. Jerome Liebling – the photographer, filmmaker, and mentor to Ken Burns – was also an MR editor. Recent artists featured in magazine inserts include Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Whitfield Lovell, Anna Schuleit, and Dan Witz.

The Massachusetts Review has published 10 Nobel Prize winners, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 9 United States Poets Laureate. Influential individual works from its pages include contributions from Chinua Achebe’s “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness", Robert Frost, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Legacy of Creative Protest", Roberto Fernández Retamar’s “Caliban", Adrienne Rich’s “Blood, Bread, and Poetry", and Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Black Orpheus".

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP, formerly CCLM) website notes: "[In 1967, t]he Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM) [was] founded by a board of magazine editors at the suggestion of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to act as an NEA regranter. The signatories of the original letter of intent to the NEA [were] Reed Whittemore (The Carleton Miscellany, New Republic); Jules Chametzky (The Massachusetts Review); George Plimpton (The Paris Review); Robie Macauley (The Kenyon Review); and William Phillips (The Partisan Review).[6]


The magazine awards the Anne Halley Poetry prize to the best poem it published yearly; it also awards the Jules Chametzky Prize for Translation each year, alternating between its prose and poetry translations.[citation needed]


The current staff includes: Jules Chametzky, editor emeritus; Jim Hicks, executive editor; Ellen Doré Watson, poetry and translation editor; Michael Thurston, fiction and nonfiction editor; Pam Glaven, art director; Carl Hancock Rux, multidisciplinary editor; [[Emily Wojcik, managing editor; Edwin Gentzler, translation editor; Corinne Demas, fiction editor; and Deborah Gorlin, poetry editor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top 50 Literary Magazine". EWR. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  2. ^ Julius Lester, "For America on the Eve of the Second Civil War; Black and White In American Culture." The New York Times, Book Review, March 29, 1970.
  3. ^ Lester, The New York Times, March 29, 1970
  4. ^ Julius Lester, New York Times, March 29, 1970. Jules Chametzky and Sidney Kaplan, Eds., Black and White in American Culture: An Anthology from the Massachusetts Review. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Amherst Press, 1969
  5. ^ Grace Glueck, New York Times art critic, Exhibition brochure, "UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center - University Gallery Current EventsMR: Celebrating Fifty Years of Covers". Archived from the original on 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
  6. ^ "Council of Literary Magazines and Presses - History". Archived from the original on 2009-11-29. Retrieved 2009-12-10.

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