Photo by Gashwin Gomes of Flickr Creative Commons
July 22nd, 2013 | 8:00am

We came to the Dead Sea as an afterthought, five of us wedged into one taxi on our way to the airport. So far we had spent our Jordanian daylight inside a conference room, listening to other Fulbright scholars present research about the Middle East and North Africa, and our evenings in large group dinners comparing notes. Within hours, my new friends would scatter back to Morocco, Oman, and Israel, and I would return to my temporary home in the city of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. The conference had been delicious and heady claustrophobia, like interval training for academics. We acquired and processed new information, alternating between externalized and internalized thought, acquisition and analysis, as if variety could substitute for rest. What I’m saying is that we were a certain kind of tired. When we unhooked ourselves from the backseat of the taxi, language was beginning to hurt.

Photo from Amazon.com
July 19th, 2013 | 8:00am

Our July poetry feature celebrates the distinguished career of The Common contributor John Matthias with a selection of several of his poems from the last five decades. This year Shearsman Books completes the publication of the collected poems of John Matthias in three volumes:  Collected Shorter Poems, Vol. 2 (1995-2011), Collected Longer Poems, and Collected Shorter Poems, Vol. 1 (1961-1994).

Photo from Amazon.com

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user bellatujewelry
July 17th, 2013 | 8:00am

I can only assume that Stellwagen Bank is a financial institution. Perhaps a progressive Norwegian firm with a board of directors that is, by law, at least fifty percent women. The kind of bank that would sponsor a football club in Trondheim and a chain of internet cafés in Toronto, as well as a tour of the National Marine Sanctuary from Provincetown’s MacMillan Wharf. A global thought leader. A benevolent presence at Davos.

But no. Mercifully.

 

reviewed by Jen Hinst-White
July 15th, 2013 | 8:00am

My family eats a Long Island diner breakfast every Saturday morning. We say hi to our neighbor, Lucille, who waits tables; our toddler jabs at the jukebox as my husband orders the Hungry Man; we try to ignore the flat-screen on the wall, which is unfailingly tuned to Fox News. Luckily, there’s good eavesdropping to be done. What we overhear from nearby tables usually beats Sarah Palin stumping for the flat tax.

Beverly Gologorsky knew what she was about when she chose a diner as the center of her new novel, Stop Here. I’d wager there’s a diner at every exit on the Long Island Expressway, and they’re rich with fictional possibility. More than other restaurants, somehow, diners feel like places to talk politics, hash out family conflicts, make business plans, cement friendships—and Gologorsky serves up all of these in her novel Stop Here.

artist: Jeremiah Dine
July 12th, 2013 | 8:00am

Curated by Jeff Bergman

Jeremiah Dine records moments of brisk movement, still unreflective silence, and unstinting labor with equanimity. The images that sit obligingly still now are the distillation of activity by the artist and the subject. Dine uses his lens to interpret the field of view and render the whole image from minute elements linked by chance and purpose. Each fragment flattens, and what is left becomes the single instance worthy of illumination. Each image is now interpreted for viewing as RAW file. In the past, the practice of printing an image signaled a work’s finality. With Dine and many other contemporary photographers, an image’s final state can be digital—it need not be printed and exhibited. Of thousands of images and the wide range of themes that Jeremiah Dine records, certainly not all could be reviewed in one exhibition. These images were chosen because they exemplify a single moment of candid street photography.