As part of this fall’s Lusosphere portfolio, The Common will publish accompanying work online. This month’s poetry feature highlights the work of three Lusa-American poets, tracing their roots back to the Azores and Cape Verde: Jennifer Jean, Nancy Vieira Couto, and Carolyn Silveira.
On October 28th at 4:30pm EDT, join The Common for the virtual launch of our 10th anniversary issue! Contributors from across the globe will be tuning in to read excerpts from Issue 20’s portfolio of writing from the Lusosphere: Portugal and its colonial and linguistic diaspora. Don’t miss out! Register for the free event at the link here.
Meron Hadero is a finalist for The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.
Original version published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern Issue 52, finalist for the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing
When I met Herr Weill, I was a lanky 10-year-old, a fish out of water in –, Iowa, a small college town surrounded by fields in every direction. My family had moved to the US a few weeks earlier from Ethiopia via Berlin, so I knew no English, but was fluent in Amharic and German. I’d speak those sometimes to strangers or just mumble under my breath to say what was on my mind, never getting an answer until the day I met Herr Weill.
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.
The archetypal creation story of Latin America, the Popol Vuh began as a Maya oral tradition millennia ago. In the mid-sixteenth century, as indigenous cultures across the continent were being threatened with destruction by European conquest and Christianity, it was written down in verse by members of the K’iche’ nobility in what is today Guatemala. In 1701, that text was translated into Spanish by a Dominican friar and ethnographer before vanishing mysteriously.
The Common Young Writers Program is a two-week (Monday-Friday) online creative writing program for high school students (rising 9-12). Taught by the editors and editorial assistants of Amherst College’s literary magazine, the summer 2020 course will focus on the short story. Through writing exercises and contemporary reading assignments from The Common, we will introduce students to the building blocks of fiction (scene, character, plot, image) and guide them through the process of writing and revising their own short stories.
This apple I have only just bitten into as I stand in the cool dank store room tastes of November, already old and fading, and my tongue, so often dulled by the anaesthetizing effect of regular wine drinking, red wine in fact, and never white which has always produced a low-level ache in what I assume is my liver and is thus to be avoided at all costs, my tongue, as I said, was ambushed by the apple’s unexpected weariness, yes, a tired and indecisive flavor that was perhaps on the turn, perhaps only a day away from being rotten, its wrinkled skin an obvious warning of what lay in wait as it pressed against the roof of my mouth.
From early morning, Arrayga had been smoking ravenously, cigarette after cigarette, staring blankly at the bedroom ceiling. When she opened the third packet, Kultouma came over and, eyes welling with tears, anxiously inquired: “Arrayga, calm down. What is it, sister? You’re going like a train: puff puff puff. Speak to me, Arrayga. What’s upset you?”