To deepen our individual and collective sense of place through bold, engaging literature and art.


To serve as a vibrant common space for the global exchange of ideas and experiences. To be an essential destination for creative work that embodies particular times and places, both real and imagined. To mentor and promote the next generation of writers, editors, and publishers.


what is the common?

The Common is a print and digital literary journal published biannually, in the fall and spring. Issues of The Common include short stories, essays, poems, and images that embody a strong sense of place. The Common Online publishes original content four times per week, including book reviews, interviews, personal essays, short dispatches, poetry, contributor podcasts and recordings, and multimedia features.

Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, the magazine is supported in part by Amherst College and The Common Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Common also runs the Literary Publishing Internship Program at Amherst College, mentoring students in all aspects of literary publishing, and hosts public programming regularly.


Editor's Note

Finding the extraordinary in the common has long been the mission of literature. Inspired by this mission and the role of the town common, a public gathering place for the display and exchange of ideas, The Common seeks to recapture an old idea. The Common publishes pieces of literature that embody particular times and places both real and imagined; from deserts to teeming ports; from Winnipeg to Beijing; from Earth to the Moon: literature and art powerful enough to reach from there to here. In short, we seek a modern sense of place.

In our hectic and sometimes alienating world, themes of place provoke us to reflect on our situations and both comfort and fascinate us. Sense of place is not provincial nor old fashioned. It is a characteristic of great literature from all ages around the world. It is, simply, the feeling of being transported, of “being there.”

Ours is a small community with far-reaching ideas. Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, we’re a place of farmers, professors, immigrants, liberals, conservatives, dairy cows, tobacco plants, strip malls, and Victorian and Brutalist architecture. We have a rich literary history and support a vibrant diversity of artists and authors. The Common fosters regional creative spirit while stitching together a national and international community through publishing literature and art from around the world, bringing readers into a common space.



  • March 1 – June 1
  • September 1 – December 1

PROSE: Our reading period will be open until June 1, 2017. (Subscribers may submit year-round.)

POETRY: Our reading period will be open until  June 1, 2017. (Subscribers may submit year-round.)

DISPATCHES: All dispatch submissions are accepted for free year-round.

IMAGES: We are not currently accepting unsolicited submissions for images.

WE DO NOT ACCEPT EMAIL OR PAPER SUBMISSIONS. (Paper submissions will not be returned to submitters.)

All submissions must be received though Submittable

Subscribers may submit their work, in any genre, year-round for free! If you are a subscriber, please choose the Subscriber Submission genre.

Are you familiar with our content? Check out the latest issues of The Common


Contact Information

The Common
Frost Library
Amherst College
Amherst, Mass. 01002


General inquiries: [email protected]



The Common is carried at independent bookstores and Barnes & Nobles across the country and overseas. We are distributed by Publishers Distribution Group and Ubiquity. To purchase print and digital copies of The Common online, please visit our Webstore.

Click here for a list of bookstores that carry The Common.



Common Foundation Inc