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Michigan Quarterly Review – Summer 2005

What makes this issue exceptionally interesting is the range of sensibilities found here.

What makes this issue exceptionally interesting is the range of sensibilities found here. In a hundred pages we move from James Morrison’s consideration of the death of cinephilia (“a particular way of loving movies”) to stunning poems by one of the Arab world’s leading poets, Mahmoud Darwish, beautifully translated by Fady Joudah, to Susan Orlean’s Hopwood lecture at the University of Michigan last spring, “Roads Taken (And Not),” a discussion of her life as a writer, narrated with her characteristic wit and sense of humor, to Alice Mattison’s touching story of family dynamics set against the politics of the ’80’s, “Election Day,” to a three-part treatise on the “decline” and “decay” of the social sciences, consisting of an essay by leading sociological thinker Irving Louis Horowitz, followed by commentaries on Howe’s essay from prominent sociologist’s George Steinmetz and Yu Xie. A lovely poem by the prolific poet Eugenio Montejo of Venezuela, deftly translated by Kirk Nesset, reflects a weary poet’s anguish over the limitations of language… “Some day I’ll write with stones, / measuring each of my phrases / by weight, volume, motion. / I’ve had it with words” …but this issue is a testament to the pleasures and the power of language.

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