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Arts in Society

Arts in Society brings our previously siloed poetry and fiction—along with cultural criticism and belles lettres—into a common project. It focuses on how the arts—including the visual arts, theater, dance, and film—can speak directly to the most pressing political and civic concerns, including racism, inequality, poverty, demagoguery, sex- and gender-based violence, a disempowered electorate, and a collapsing natural world.

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Poetry

Remembering poets Lynda Hull and Michael S. Harper, with original portraits

Terrance Hayes
Poetry

As my relatives melted, I stood
on one leg, raised my arms, eyes shut, & thought:
tree tree tree as death passed me—untouched.

Ocean Vuong

Critics tend to discount Rich’s later poems, fundamentally misunderstanding how they engage her radical vision of community.

Ed Pavlić
Terrance Hayes

A series of creative reflections on why Yusef Komunyakaa remains one of our greatest living writers and what it means to be a Black Jazz Poet.

Fiction
Faraaz Mahomed

“She would sit upright in her bed and recall the moment she saw Aisha’s face.” An Iraqi émigré explains to a New York doctor why she has enrolled in a study for a new antidepressant.

Poetry
Simone Person

Selected by Sonia Sanchez as a winner of the 2021 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest

Poetry
Justin Jannise

I ask my brother if he can hear cicadas where he is. My brother doesn’t know what cicadas are. He is 40 years old. He asks me to repeat it.

Poetry
Adebe DeRango-Adem

Selected by Sonia Sanchez as a winner of the 2021 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest

Jack Parlett

Cruising extends the political value of the city as a space that brings us into contact with people who seem unlike us until we realize our shared desires.

Poetry
Raisa Tolchinsky

in your carpeted office you lay my life down / and say open up to that small room in my sternum.

John Crowley

In her new book, Danish poet Olga Ravn writes with open love, pity, and compassion for her strange yet familiar creations.

Fiction
William Pei Shih

“I was my father’s son. My father was Nai Nai’s least favorite.” A Taiwanese American man, driven from home by a secret, reevaluates his childhood memories of his grandmother.

Poetry
Porsha Olayiwola

a slave ship hauls / bodies as cargo and / both the surface and ocean floor / rifts. even the clouds break / open in sobs.

Poetry
Anthony Okpunor

loving mother, come watch me be patient, / watch how i describe things that never leave my mouth

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Andrew Spieldenner
Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon

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Chair of African American and African Diaspora Studies; Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies, and the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University.