white feather on a vibrant yellow background I didn’t stay for heroic reasons. I stayed because the country is at a historic crossroads. I felt the need to live all the details of this moment, to take in all its smells and endure its wounds from as close as possible. ” Syrian Writer Colette Bahna   |   New Interview » white feather on a vibrant yellow background The pages curl and crumble. In their place,
In their gray ash, the traits of the beloved face
Show pale. My chest tightens...”
Alexander Pushkin   |   Translated by Philip Nikolayev »
white feather on a vibrant yellow background At the second hospital in as many days, my father starts seeing crows. He points at the nurses’ station with his chin, speaks in perfect Polish, the kind I haven’t heard him speak in decades.” Denver, Colorado   |   New dispatch by Jannett Matusiak »
Private Means book cover

Excerpt from Private Means

CREE LeFAVOUR
Her very ability to offer the reward when others could not inflamed her well-developed sense of existential hypocrisy, of how claustrophobically fucked the world had become. This claustrophobic feeling, since the girls left in the fall, had driven her to fill her waking moments with work.

Image of men smoking in the park

Fragments of Shame and Pride

RAED RAFEI
In the living room of my parents’ home in Tripoli, Lebanon, an elaborate family tree is displayed in a golden frame. It is a constant reminder of a fatalistic vision of life’s ultimate purpose: reproduction. Males are depicted as branches; females as leaves.

The book cover for Ricardo Maldonado's "The Life Assignment"

Poems From The Life Assignment

RICARDO ALBERTO MALDONADO
I feel from dignity and calm. I, / anxiety grabbed me // with sciatica, although I recited poems / at a stone’s throw, inside the machine // elevator. The clattering of the empire / its capital / an arsenal of pain, it made for a rough // odor. Now can you see the monument?

Colette Bahna headshot

Free Expression Under Tyranny: an Interview with Colette Bahna

COLETTE BAHNA
I haven’t written any fiction since the revolution. It has been difficult. I have tried repeatedly to write stories and failed—perhaps because serious and painful events still weigh on my soul. Many thoughts boil inside me but have not found an outlet yet.

Athens

Balconies, Anachronisms, Lamentations

By NATALIE BAKOPOULOS
Here in Ann Arbor, unable to travel, I am missing the Greek balcony, a private and public space: it’s neither in nor out but something in between. Poet Alicia E. Stallings, who lives in Athens, notes on Twitter: “Very Athenian neighbor quarrel tonight: we fired up the grill in the yard to pretend like it was a Friday, but it turns out lady upstairs had just done her laundry. Words were had.”

Semiautomatic cover

Reading Black Voices: TC Staff Picks V

TC STAFF
This is the fifth in a series of features highlighting the Black writers our editors and staff have been reading. To read The Common’s statement in support of the nationwide protests against anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, click here.

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—Martha Cooley, Associate Professor of English, Adelphi University Receive classroom subscription discounts, lesson plans, and more when you TEACH THE COMMON »

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