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 fiction, essays, poetry, documentary vignettes, and images 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.
Used for decades to describe the tangible local environments and rootedness in works by authors like Faulkner, Frost, and Welty, the idea of a sense of place has fallen out of fashion. Some may think the notion of place outdated or unimportant given our globally mobile populations and technology-driven careers. But these characteristics mean that sense of place is more important now than ever. 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.” The Common aims to renew and reenergize our literary and artistic sense of place.
The Common is published in print biannually from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Ours is a small community with far-reaching ideas. 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.
PROSE & POETRY
The reading period for fiction and nonfiction will reopen on March 1, 2013, and close on June 1, 2013. Poetry submissions are closed until fall 2013.
Subscribers may submit their work, in any genre, year-round for no reading fee. If you are a subscriber, please submit through Tell It Slant and choose the Subscriber Submission genre.
We seek stories, essays, poems, and dispatches that embody a strong sense of place: pieces in which the setting is crucial to character, narrative, mood, and language. We receive many submissions about traveling in foreign countries and discourage writers from submitting conventional travelogues in which narrators report on experiences abroad without reflecting on larger themes.
Works must be in English and previously unpublished. We happily accept translations (for which the translator has secured the rights). There are no length restrictions, except for dispatches (see below). Simultaneous submissions are allowed; please notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere. Submit only one story or essay at a time and up to five poems. Give us three months to read your work, please, before querying.
Dispatches are short evocations of particular places. They are accepted year-round and are published online only. Word count is flexible, but aim for 500 words. Non-fiction and poetry only, please. Reportage welcome.
Starting May 1, 2012, we accept electronic submissions only. Please submit through Tell It Slant, a user-friendly website providing services for journals and writers. Note that there is a minimal charge of $1.50—roughly the equivalent of paper and postage for a paper submission—for non-subscribers. If a financial hardship means you are unable to make this payment, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not accept email submissions.
The Common is committed to supporting authors as best we can. At this time we provide contributors' copies of the current print issue to writers of Dispatches and Reviews. For material accepted for the print journal, we pay $20 per poem and $100 per prose piece or image portfolio
The Common is not currently accepting unsolicited submissions for images.
Student interns for The Common are involved in all aspects of literary magazine publishing. Responsibilities include evaluating fiction and nonfiction submissions; creating and updating web content, including podcasts and videos; writing, editing, and designing publicity materials; editing and proofreading; researching magazine production; office/administrative duties, such as mailings and maintaining databases; and organizing and staffing conferences and events, including new and innovative programs with other community organizations.
Students should be familiar with the MS Office programs. Experience with InDesign, web development, and digital audio and video production are a big bonus.
Summer interns work for 6 weeks, up to 40 hours per week. On-campus housing is provided, but no meal plan. Preference will be given to students who are interested in continuing work for The Common during the school year.
Interterm interns work for 3 weeks, up to 40 hours per week.
Semester interns work for 12-14 weeks, up to 10 hours per week. Preference is given to students committed to working both fall and spring semesters.
Paid interns must be current Amherst College students. Students from other colleges are welcome to submit cover letters and resumes for Reader or Volunteer positions if they will be living locally.
The Common student internships available for 2013: Summer
Interested candidates should submit to editor Jennifer Acker (email@example.com) a one-page letter outlining your interest in working for The Common--why it appeals, what skills you'd bring to the internship, what you think you'd learn; a resume listing education and work and/or volunteer experiences; the names of two faculty references. We will accept applications starting February 15th, 2013.
The Common Community Engagement Scholar
For Amherst College Students Only
An Amherst College-based nonprofit literary magazine, part of The Common's mission is to build vibrant local and international communities through publishing literature and images and free public programming.
For Summer 2013 The Common seeks a community engagement scholar (CES) to build upon our local ties and further engage the public, documenting reportage of our local arts and nonprofit communitites and partnering with such organizations, including libraries and arts exhibition spaces, to provide literary programs for the public. In Summer 2012, for example, the CES created regular Tumblr posts highlighting underrepresented cultural aspects of our local community.
Additionally, the CES for The Common will be involved in all aspects of literary magazine publishing. Responsibilities include evaluating fiction and nonfiction submissions; creating and updating web content, including podcasts and videos; writing, editing, and designing publicity materials; editing and proofreading; researching magazine production; office/admistrative duties, such as mailings and database maintenance; and organizing and staffing conferences and events, including the new and innovative programs with other community organizations mentioned above.
Read more about the Community Engagement Scholar program. Interested candidates should apply directly to Jennifer Acker (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 1 with a one-page cover letter, a CV outlining volunteer and work experience, and two names of faculty references.
Amherst, Mass. 01002
Jennifer Acker: email@example.com
John Hennessy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Gersen: email@example.com
General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick up a copy of The Common at any of the independent bookstores listed below.
Powell's Books (Portland, OR)
Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)
Bennington College Bookstore (Bennington, VT)