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Michigan Quarterly Review – Summer 2003

“The trouble with September is, it’s nothing / you can put your finger on…” – Deborah Warren’s poem “From August to Autumn,” which captures brilliantly the precise season in which we find ourselves, is a peak moment in an issue of peak moments.

“The trouble with September is, it’s nothing / you can put your finger on…” – Deborah Warren’s poem “From August to Autumn,” which captures brilliantly the precise season in which we find ourselves, is a peak moment in an issue of peak moments. This is a literary journal lovers’ journal — satisfying reading that meets one’s expectations (memorable poetry and short fiction), stimulates the intellect (solid “academic” essays), and also offers some surprises (a previously unpublished essay of Tennessee Williams and the transcript of a symposium on a new production of Medea). The poetry is particularly appealing, and, in fact, I wish there was more of it: unpredictable and original poems that don’t leave me feeling I’ve read them or versions of them before, often, or again and again. I am particularly taken with “Chief Complaint” by Richard Solomon about an epileptic’s ecstatic seizures. Garnett Kilberg Cohen’s story, “Bad News,” witty and sarcastic, represents a break in tone from most of what appears in this issue, and is all the more pleasing for this reason. Finally, I am always delighted to find myself compelled by writing that deals with a subject that hadn’t, until this moment, interested me in the slightest, as is the case with Peter Eisinger’s brief essay about brick sidewalk construction in the Netherlands. Faithful MQR readers will want to read Part Two of Geoff Eley’s “Hitler’s Silent Majority Conformity and Resistance Under the Third Reich,” though it is not essential to have read Part One to find this long review article of value. There isn’t space here to mention every entry in the issue, but readers will want to linger. 

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