April 6th, 2014 | 8:00am

April 6, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the horrific genocide in the African country of Rwanda, when an average of 8,000 people were killed per day over a period of 100 days.


April 3rd, 2014 | 8:00am

The first Thursday of each month, The Common showcases an audio recording of a poem from our print issue archive, read by the author.  This month, Maria Terrone reads "Ferdinandea," originally published in Issue 01.

One of several names given to a ghost island that appeared in July 1831

April 2nd, 2014 | 8:00am

            I arrived by evening train from Kyiv, the trees along the tracks slicing through orange light outside my window, an erratic metronome whose meter would set the pace for my three years as a Peace Corps ESL teacher in the village town of Radyvyliv. There would be long camp days with my students stretching into what would feel like weeks, winter flu quarantine days when I would stay indoors to write bad prose until I fell into a deep sleep as the early morning light broke, hours and hours of reading Gogol by candlelight and trying to conjure up some ghost of lunatic inspiration—but in those first few days of struggling to find a grip on the culture, in those first few hours with my host family, everything arrived and departed at a rapid pace.

April 1st, 2014 | 8:00am


Rich Benjamin is a journalist-adventurer and the author of Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey To The Heart Of White America. He is a senior fellow at the think tank Demos in New York City, and a frequent commentator on NPR, Fox News, The New York Times and many other media outlets. Melody Nixon caught up with Rich Benjamin this spring, at his office overlooking the Flatiron building in Manhattan.

reviewed by James Dickson
March 31st, 2014 | 8:00am


I’ll be honest: when The Common asked me to review Ros Barber’s new book, The Marlowe Papers, I was leery. Novels-in-verse aren’t really my thing. Reading the back cover blurbs, I became even more skeptical: a novel in iambic pentameter (rhymed and blank verse) from the point of view of the English poet, playwright, Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), whom conspiracy theorists claim was the real author of Shakespeare’s plays? The book claims Marlowe’s death, in a bar-fight before the Church of England could charge him with heresy, was staged to let him escape England. And while in hiding, he ghost-wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays.