Emily Everett

August 2020 Poetry Feature: Raisa Tolchinsky

Poems by RAISA TOLCHINSKY

ON BOXING:

Table of Contents

  • A Note by the Poet
  • Circling the Ring
  • Below the Belt

After training for multiple years with womxn boxers who had the Olympics on their minds, I began to grapple with the dynamics of control I observed within the spaces I encountered. These poems are from a longer series which ask: what does it mean to be a womxn fighter (both inside and outside of the ring) in a world still dominated by men? In what ways is the ring an escape or subversion of the power dynamics encountered outside of it, and in what ways does the ring reinforce or sanction manipulation, harassment, and abuse? Both of these persona poems are composite portraits, representative of the osmosis between bodies and narratives that occurs among close training partners. Though I didn’t have what it took to pursue a fighting career, these poems are a way of writing into the imagined life where I became a boxer instead of a poet & scholar. Through this work I am also asking: how does the poem function as a body? How does the page function as a ring? 

—Raisa Tolchinsky

August 2020 Poetry Feature: Raisa Tolchinsky
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Labor Day: Brighton Beach

By NATHAN MCCLAIN

How lovely, at last, to have nothing to do but sit, shirtless, in my collapsible chair, reading Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets, and lovely to sit, beer in my lap, just a little tipsy, lovely, too, to ignore beauty, or desire, or whatever, the young woman unfolding her nylon tent, smacking each stake into the sand with her sandal’s heel, slipping discreetly into her swim suit, though I could watch the plane zip past, tugging a banner for Wicked, which there was still time to see if you wanted, or the sailboat glide slowly by, and it was a good day for sailing, a good day, so I didn’t have to think about sorrow or loss, though, let’s face it, I did, how not to—the old man missing a left leg—not how it happened, or when—but if it gets easier, you know, living with it, crutch snug under each armpit, and Jill had been gone a long time to warm her goat curry, then further out, a jet ski, like a straight razor, slits the water’s surface, Carmen already asleep under a sun hat.

Labor Day: Brighton Beach
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Tunnel #2 (Merlion)

By LAWDENMARC DECAMORA

The shadow tall and lean, inspired by a lighthouse, squints at the Merlion. My morning behavior skips breakfast just to tell my body to overcome the effects of the Merlion. People at the pet store are quitting their jobs only to watch the Merlion spurt water from its mouth like the tunnels of human love. The newly admitted patient who is seen from the open window waves at the Merlion. Clairvoyants finally predict a winner with the face of Singapura tattooed on the mythic scales of the Merlion. Lovers split, fully convinced about the Mertiger calling itself no more as the Merlion. Children down 10,000 bottles of Yakult so they can help the Merlion save this lion city and the sea overflowing with centillion neon. The televangelist reports about a new miracle and how it takes advantage of the daily shifts of the Merlion, spatial to temporal, particle to plexus. Accountants give celebrities free hugs, their palms are sweating, after taxing the civil case of the Merlion. But hold on there, youngster. What is the color of the Merlion? Does it speak a foreign language like Resilience? Does it roar, swim, walk aimlessly around the Central Business District? Will it quit water and start eating poetry? I know a place where it can go when it’s alone. Through its mouth, a tunnel: right where it starts it ends.

Tunnel #2 (Merlion)
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Available Positions with The Common

Consider any listing on this page active. We will continue to post future opportunities here as they arise.


reading The Common

READING STAFF (Positions filled; apply for wait list.)

The Common invites those interested in the world of literary publishing and passionate about contemporary fiction and nonfiction to apply to join our Reading Staff. Volunteer readers evaluate short works of fiction as well as essays; readers must be open-minded yet analytical. They must judge, quickly and thoroughly, the literary merit of each submission and the rightness of its fit for The Common given its sense-of-place mission. Readers are expected to review an average of 12 stories per week. We welcome undergraduate and MFA students as well as avid, sophisticated readers of all kinds.

Interested applicants should be thoroughly familiar with work published in The Common. All pieces published in print and online content are available in our digital archive. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated skill and experience in critical reading and comprehension, and must be concise and articulate writers. Candidates must be able to read and review 12 pieces per week.

 

Please click here to express your interest in the reading staff position. You will be asked for contact information as well as a CV and cover letter outlining why the position appeals to you and any relevant experience. The next step for qualified candidates is evaluating two test pieces. The Common’s reading team is currently at capacity, so candidates will be vetted and added to our reading team wait list.

 

Available Positions with The Common
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LitFest Friday Reads: February 2019

It’s that time again—The Common and Amherst College will be hosting the fourth annual LitFest at the end of the month. For three days, February 28th to March 2nd, award-winning authors, poets, and critics will descend on Amherst to read, discuss, teach, and celebrate great writing. This year the lineup includes two National Book Award finalists, two Pulitzer Prize winners, and a New York Times bestseller. View the full list of participating writers and a calendar of events here.

LitFest Friday Reads: February 2019
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Multiple Geographies: an Interview with Helen Benedict

MELODY NIXON interviews HELEN BENEDICT

Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict is the author of seven novels and five works of nonfiction. A professor of journalism at Columbia University, Benedict spends her time between New York City and upstate New York, where her latest novel, Wolf Season, is set—though the characters’ lives encompass Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the US. Wolf Seasonwas selected as a 2018 Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association.

As the seasons changed from fall to winter, Melody Nixon spoke with Benedict about her newest book, the “effects of war on the human heart,” Benedict’s path to social justice, and the way forward with the crisis of tolerance.

Multiple Geographies: an Interview with Helen Benedict
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Cirque of Dreams

By LINDA KEYES

Machapachure nepal

Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal

In mid-May 1999, alone on my last morning in the Annapurna Sanctuary, I tramped along the moraine below Annapurna Base Camp. The sun reflected off Machapuchare, the distinctive fish tail peak, at the bottom of the valley. Tharpu Chuli flanked me on the left, its 6000 meter crown glistening with fresh snow. No clouds covered Annapurna’s summits behind me or obscured the immense sky. The trail meandered from 13,500 feet to 12,000 feet. The low-oxygen air, like a drug, rendered the sapphire sky in vivid contrast to the silver cliffs, the white snow, and the wild crocuses that burst from south-facing patches in happy pink dots.

Cirque of Dreams
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Weekly Writes Vol. 2

Signups for Weekly Writes Vol. 2 closed on January 27th. To register your interest in future WW programs, click here.

WW vol 2


Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based
fiction and nonfiction.

WW Volume 2 kicks off on January 28, just in time to help you sustain the momentum of your New Year’s writing resolution! The deadline to sign up is January 27, 2019.

Sign up for Volume 2 is now closed. The $15 fee includes one free, expedited* submission via Submittable after program completion. Prompts and advice are brand new for Volume 2, so Volume 1 participants will not encounter any repetition or old prompts.

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Weekly Writes Vol. 2
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