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Matt Reeck

Matt Reeck lives in Brooklyn with his family. He's interested in chronicles, translations, reading, promoting the work of Abdlekébir Khatibi and other writers, and poetic forms.

Writing ‘Not the Whole Story’ History

Ted Greenwald’s Clearview/LIE is a memoir, but it subverts many narrative traditions of memoir-writing through poetic techniques, mainly fragmentation, repetition, temporal shifts, and tonal rebellions.

Ethos, Ethics

Stephen Motika’s Western Practice is a vast poetic anthropology, or archeology. It is a “kulture vulture,” trying to “tell us the culture” through its “description of collections” and “directories.”

from The Chronicle

Listen, my friends, we are punished by the heavens, exiled by time. It is true, we were cast from heaven to earth the day that the stars plucked us from Jahanabad and threw us down in the wilds of Baran where the lights burned from a distance of twelve miles.

Seventh Letter to Uncle Sam

Saadat Hasan Manto (1912–1955) is a giant of South Asian fiction. His Urdu stories, vignettes, anecdotal prose, and satire place him squarely at the center of the Urdu canon. His continued cultural relevance can be attested to new dramatic works centered on his life and writing: the 2018 film Manto by the famous Indian actress, activist, and director Nandita Das, and the 2019 staging of Manto’s work by Motley, the Mumbai theater troupe of the famous Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah.

A Civilized Cemetery

So great are the gifts of English civilization! Has it not given us backward Indians what we used to lack? Has it not told our shameless women how to show off their curves in ever yet newer ways? How to attract men with sleeveless blouses?

Miss Tinman

I was polishing my white shoes when my wife spoke up, “Zaidi’s here.” I gave my shoes to my wife, washed my hands and went into the next room where Zaidi was seated. I was shocked by his appearance.

Miss Mala

When the songwriter Azeem Gobindpuri was hired at ABC Productions, he immediately thought of his friend, the Music Director Bhatsave. Bhatsave was Marathi and had worked with Azeem on several films. Azeem knew how talented he was, and yet how can a man show off his skills when he’s working on stunt films?


This happened eight years ago to the day. My friend Bisheshar Nath’s wedding party was staying in the upscale marriage hall opposite Hindu Sabha College. There were around three hundred fifty guests who, after listening to the performances of famous prostitutes from Amritsar and Lahore, were sound asleep on the floor or in cots in the sprawling building’s many rooms.

The Silent (Silenced) Gap: Reading the Urdu Gothic through Foucault

Michel Foucault’s Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique suggests that the definition of deviant psychological profiles is as much about the operation of state power and the tyranny of Enlightenment rationality as about the norms of psychological reality. Foucault’s discursive and institutional history illuminates how two stories from the Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s 1948 volume Chuǥẖad, “Miss Tin Wālā” (“Miss Tinman”) and “Paṛhiye Kalimā” (“God Save Us from Our Sins”), can be read as allegories of colonial oppression.

Adeel’s Journey

Julien Columeau’s stories belong to the genre of biographical fiction. He avers that every story is based upon a real-life person. His writing practice is in keeping with the example of the French writer Pierre Michon who is famous for his fictional biographies of famous artists, anonymous figures, and imaginary artists.


Matt Reeck’s poems have appeared in magazines and in three chapbooks, including “Midwinter” from Fact-Simile Press. Histranslations from the Urdu and the French have appeared in magazines including the Rail’s own InTranslation.

from Exercises for the Hard at Work

Matt Reeck's translation Class Warrior—Taoist Style from the French of Abdelkébir Khatibi is available this fall from Wesleyan UP. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter, and co-edits Staging Ground magazine.

from Agon of the City, Ahoy of the City

Matt Reeck lives in Los Angeles and helps run Staging Ground Magazine. He's published five chapbooks. His translations include Bombay Stories (Vintage) and the forthcoming Mirages of the Mind (New Directions).


Matt Reeck lives in Brooklyn with his family. He's interested in chronicles, translations, reading, promoting the work of Abdlekébir Khatibi and other writers, and poetic forms.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues