April 19th, 2015 | 6:00am

AMHERST, MA. APRIL 19 –The Commons Issue 09 takes readers on a journey around the globe to show us that although suffering can be found everywhere, so can empathy, beauty, and love. The issue contains short stories, poetry, essays, and images that explore human difficulty, and the ways in which the unique comforts of the most unexpected places, along with the places we hold most dear, can pull us through.

Photo by author
April 16th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by author

Your Name: Melissa Kwasny

Current city or town: Jefferson City, Montana

How long have you lived here? I live four miles up a dirt road from Jefferson City, a stage stop that has seen better days, hence the unlikely name Jefferson City. It consists of a post office, a bar that closes and reopens depending on the fortunes of a nearby gold mine, and a hall for the volunteer fire department, wherein we vote. I have lived in this particular canyon for 25 years, and in the shade of these particular mountains, on and off, for 40.

Three words to describe the climate: determined by light

Photo by author
April 15th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by author

My first day in Bukit Tinggi, a town in the rain forest-swathed mountains of West Sumatra—a region home to the Minangkabau ethnic group, the world’s largest matrilineal society—I swore I heard a woman calling the Muslim midday prayer broadcasting from a white mosque.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user slimmer_jimmer
April 10th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user slimmer_jimmer

Celebrate Poetry Month with 9 new poems by our contributors!

Bruce Bond

           —The Reeds


April 9th, 2015 | 6:00am

Brendan Galvin reads his poem, “Mayhem,” from Issue 06.