December 18th, 2014 | 7:00am

Welcome readers and listeners! This is The Common Contributor Podcast from The Common magazine. Every other month, we invite our contributors to read and discuss each other’s work. This month, we discuss two essays from Issue 06: “Well-Armed” by Rowan Moore Gerety and “Geology Primer (Fogo, Cape Verde)” by Eleanor Stanford.

reviewed by J. Mae Barizo
December 15th, 2014 | 7:00am

J. Mae Barizo reviews two poetry collections: Troy, Michigan by Wendy S. Walters and Dont Go Back to Sleep by Timothy Liu.


Wendy S. Walter’s Troy, Michigan chronicles municipal and personal history in this elliptically elegant collection of sonnets. This book swivels gracefully through eras in the city of the title, alluding to its mythic namesake while divulging the narrator’s observations on industry, race, and the tug of the natural world.

Photo by author
December 12th, 2014 | 7:00am

Photo by author

It’s Thanksgiving Day across the Atlantic in Massachusetts, where I live. There, among my American family and friends, it’s a quiet, contemplative day, but here in the Chiado, the heart of downtown Lisbon and the city’s oldest shopping district, everything is bustling, as if the Portuguese are scurrying to get a one-day head start on Black Friday. It’s a raw, drizzly day, a sign of winter’s approach, and the cobbled sidewalks are slippery. I’ve walked these hilly streets for 35-plus years, often darting from one bookstore to the next—new, used, rare—flipping through the pages of everything from current bestsellers, to obscure dime-store colonial-era comics, to rare folios of brightly-colored, highly inaccurate antique maps. That’s what I’m doing today, I’m book shopping.

December 11th, 2014 | 7:00am

Richie Hofmann reads his poem, “The Harbor,” from Issue 07.


Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Matthew Herndon
December 10th, 2014 | 10:30am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Matthew Herndon

We are standing in front of Mark Rothko’s Black, Red Over Black on Red at the Centre Pompidou.

“I love Rothko,” says my companion. “I am not crazy about modern American art, but Rothko is different.” A painter himself, my companion is a talkative man behind whose frail body and white hair is an energetic, sometimes erratic mind. “Look,” he says, as he moves closer to the painting, the guard keeping a polite watch over us. “The way he has layered the painting—as if he were breathing it.”