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Arts in Society

Boston Review’s Arts in Society section publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism. It focuses on how the arts loosen the hold of convention, bear witness to injustice, provoke new ways of seeing the world, and speak to the most pressing political and civic concerns of our time.

Browse Creative Writing by Genre


Browse Essays & Reviews by Topic

Images seized from enslaved people are not private property to be owned but ancestors to be cared for.

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay

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

A short story, winner of the Caine Prize.

NoViolet Bulawayo

Who did this to you?

Sean Patrick Mulroy

in 1989 you walk the main road to /
Tiananmen when the inexplicable /

Joseph Cuomo

Why didn't I just say / people like us here / at this table / should not just talk about politics

Peter Dale Scott

Relying a little less on the odd language we’d been left inside / we turned back to feeling: — / more moan, more mumble.

Joy Priest

A tragedy in Birmingham and the making of a radical.

Ed Pavlić

Drowning is something that happens to others, not to them.

Hannah Liberman

trudging back to Eden.

Alfredo Véa Jr.

Polish director Agnieszka Holland's new film exposes the violent contradictions at the heart of EU border policy.

Paul Hockenos

How can you have thoughts without words? The man turned back to his coffee and drank. It was cold. Breakfast was done. Time to move on.

Daniel A. Olivas

AI-generated novels are here, but they hardly spell the end of fiction.

Terry Nguyen

Your lone question —
What happens when you ignore a part of someone?
Would flood me, and in time, knock down
Every structure.

Wesley Rothman

On art in the age of generative AI.

James Duesterberg

Generative AI has made it possible to create lifelike models of real people. Should we?

Mala Chatterjee

most days, during some mid-day hour, / I close my eyes and say the Sh’ma. / But it’s always the wrong time of day, / and it’s the only prayer I know

Matthew Lippman

A long line of films tracks the solidarities that arise when prohibition makes friendship too perilous.

Judith Levine

I resolved to stay close to my mother.

Doris W. Cheng

She described their world at last in a language that they recognized as true.

Joe Pitkin

Chantal Johnson’s debut novel, Post-Traumatic, makes the case that we can—by moving away from representations of individual suffering.

Anna Krauthamer

It’s a thing about being a man. To be so stingy, to deny even a sip of yourself. To deny and deny and deny until one day it all comes out as a violence, like water spewing forth from a hose. 

Jamel Brinkley

When you weren’t sure if a guy was gay, you asked if he was Canadian. The straight ones always look puzzled, and told you they were American.

Peter Kazon

I’m not sure anymore / how far joy gets us

Aaron Magloire

We knew language better than anybody, how you could crack it out of fortune cookies or loop it into a rhythm or rip it to shreds and make money off the confetti. 

Noel Quiñones

a presenter / interrupts a program to break the news of migrants / found dead on the shores of river niger. i look down / the streets through my window.

Abu Bakr Sadiq

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