Sarah Wu

Dark Vader

By ANNELL LÓPEZ

“Dark Vader” is excerpted from Annell López’s I’ll Give You a Reason, out now from Feminist Press.

cover of i'll give you a reason. dark blue cover, with a toolbox that contains a drawing of a city landscape inside

 

I was registering for the GED when Junie stormed into the house, slamming the door behind her. Her heavy Princess and the Frog backpack fell off her shoulder; the drop made the hardwood floors of our walk-up tremble.

Dark Vader
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Translation: Poems from The Dickinson Archive

By MARÍA NEGRONI
Translated by ALLISON A. DEFREESE

Poems appear below in English and the original Spanish.

 

Translator’s note:
The Dickinson Archive is a series of 72 short meditations exploring the creative process through the lens of New England poet Emily Dickinson’s lifework and words. Dickinson said she was in the presence of poetry when “I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off.” The Dickinson Archive is a book that elicits such responses. Its poems, based on a few of the 9,000 words that Dickinson used most often, get under our skin and into our bones—whether our internal scaffolding is thick as a mammoth’s tusk or delicate as the rib of a songbird. Though María modestly describes the book as a “tribute,” the unique and unconventional pieces in this archive showcase Negroni’s own experimentation with form and language. Moments in these translations where word choice or grammatical structure may give the reader pause are not accidents; they are examples of Negroni at her finest as an experimental writer forging a cadence, locution, and syntax all her own. The Dickinson Archive is a book about play and creation. What light and lightness to translate such poems, to join this dialogue between women that spans continents and centuries, to channel the spirit of Emily Dickinson’s work through María Negroni’s words.

Translation: Poems from The Dickinson Archive
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New Poems from YOU ARE HERE, edited by Ada Limón

By ADAM CLAY, KHADIJAH QUEEN, ROGER REEVES, ANALICIA SOTELO, and RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ

To kick off Poetry Month we’re bringing you selections from Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s new anthology, You Are Here, out this month from Milkweed Editions.

As part of her signature project, “You Are Here,” 24th US Poet Laureate Ada Limón has commissioned fifty-two contemporary American poets to observe and reflect on their place in the natural world. The resulting anthology of original poems is a timely portrait of the myriad ways the natural world speaks to us and reflects us. Some of the poems included here contend with the destruction of nature, while others consider its abundance and resilience—and some do both at the same time. While these poems emerge from deeply personal perspectives, together they reveal that nature, like poetry, is universal—and that our interpretations of the natural world are grounded in the nature of our humanity. They also serve as a call for readers to take in the nature all around them, wherever they are. 

(from the Foreword to You Are Here, by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress)

New Poems from YOU ARE HERE, edited by Ada Limón
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Podcast: Nayereh Doosti on “The Little One”

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Transcript: Nayereh Doosti

Nayereh Doosti speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her story “The Little One,” which appears in The Common’s most recent issue. Nayereh talks about the many inspirations behind this story, which follows an older Iranian man coming to America, where he feels out of place with his family members, the community, and the younger generations. Nayereh also discusses her time as an intern at The Common, her MFA program at BU, and her brand new Persian translation of Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of my Lives, out now in Tehran.

headshot of nayereh

Nayereh Doosti is an Iranian writer and translator based in Berkeley, California. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Epiphany Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, and Nowruz Journal, among others. She holds an MFA from Boston University, and is a former intern at The Common.

Read Nayereh’s story “The Little One” in The Common at thecommonoline.org/the-little-one.


The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag.

Emily Everett is managing editor of the magazine and host of the podcast. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Putnam Books. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She was a 2022 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Fiction.

Podcast: Nayereh Doosti on “The Little One”
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Join us for the 2024 Festival of Debut Authors!

The Common 2024 Festival of Debut Authors

Join The Common‘s team on March 27th at 7pm EDT for our 2024 Festival of Debut Authors, an evening devoted to emerging talents! This free virtual celebration will highlight poets and prose writers Felice Belle, Jordan Escobar, Irina Hrinoschi, amika elfendi, Nina Perrotta, and Shanna Tan. 

The Festival of Debut Authors is an annual Zoom celebration of emerging authors who’ve published in The Common. Previous awardees Jennifer Shyue and Farah Ali will host the evening of featured readings by some of The Common’s most dynamic emerging writers. Come to discover fresh voices and support the magazine’s mission to publish and pay emerging writers. 

This year, we’ll be doing some fun prize draws too! At the event, we will draw 3 names from the audience for an open mic. If you opt in, and your name is drawn, you can join our authors and read from any work, published or unpublished, for up to 3 minutes. We will also draw 2 lucky winners to receive a hardback copy of Shanna Tan’s new translation, Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop, courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing!

Register for the free event to receive a Zoom link!

 

REGISTER HERE
 


Join us for the 2024 Festival of Debut Authors!
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Ship Happens

By ELLIOT RAPPAPORT

the image of an ocean with an orange sunset in the background


At Sea

Each summer the cadets of Maine Maritime Academy put to sea with a crew of instructors aboard their eponymous training ship, State of Maine. Here, like medical students at a teaching hospital, they set about practicing the skills of their aspirational careers on a live patient—navigating, steering, chipping paint, avoiding collisions, and tending to a diesel plant whose thundering mass fills a room large enough for basketball. Everything is big on a ship like this, which sleeps 350 people and needs 30 feet of ocean just to stay afloat. In tanks below the living spaces there are 3,300 long tons of fuel and 770 tons of potable water. The anchors weigh 5 tons each, set out on chains with links fourteen inches across. An old Navy ship built for speed, not baggage, the State of Maine is slim and pointy at her ends, like a canoe. In a calm sea she moves with almost no feeling of displacement, just a low white-noise rumble of engines and the shoosh of water sliding by.

Ship Happens
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Review: American Gospel

By MIAH JEFFRA
Review by YELENA FURMAN

american gospel cover

The city as a character in its own right is a frequent device in otherwise disparate novels. In Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion (1987), a water-shimmering, pleasure-seeking Venice forms the fabric of the female protagonist’s life. Andrei Bely’s modernist tour-de-force Petersburg (1916), following a long tradition in Russian literature, portrays this city as both the site and driver of the action. For the navel-gazing narrator of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927), Paris and other locations in France are integral sources of his copious memories. The commonality among such city-infused works is the reputation of said cities: world-renowned and possessed of their own symbolic capital and literary mythology. The associations are not always positive—writers often portray big cities as dirty, oppressive, even demonic—but the cities historically portrayed in literature are famed embodiments of grandeur and stature.

Review: American Gospel
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Podcast: Leo Ríos on “Lencho”

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Transcript: Leo Ríos

 
Leo Ríos speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Lencho,” which appears in The Common’s most recent issue, in a portfolio from the immigrant farmworker community. Leo talks about the process of writing and revising this story, which explores the friendship between two high school seniors in a rural community in California’s Central Valley. Leo also discusses his family’s generations-long history in farm labor, and how a class on reading poetry made him rethink prose writing on the sentence level.

headshot of leo rios next to issue 26 cover

Podcast: Leo Ríos on “Lencho”
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An Ode to I-5

By JANICE LOBO SAPIGAO

image of the hazy road with the sun shining down. POV, windshield of a car

I-5, California

I’ve driven up and down California via the Interstate-5 freeway countless times. There are many ways to find a way through its veins, but I am mostly familiar with the drive between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles or San Diego. I’ve lived a lot of life in and between these three major cities in California, and even at age 36, I am still learning to appreciate the distance between NorCal and SoCal, as well as the static landscapes that I have spent hours gazing at intently.

An Ode to I-5
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