News and Events

Fee-Free Submission Period

Inspired by the mission and role of the town common, an egalitarian gathering place, The Common aims to foster the global exchange of diverse ideas and experiences. As such, we welcome and encourage submissions from writers who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, disabled, LGBTQIA+-identifying, immigrant, international, low-income, and/or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals.

In an effort to remove barriers to access, The Common will open for fee-free submissions for two weeks, from June 17–July 1. Outside of that time, submitters with any financial hardship can contact us at [email protected] for a fee waiver.

Fee-Free Submission Period
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The Common’s Issue 27 Launch Party

This event has passed, but you can watch a recording of it below, or here on YouTube!


  


 

Issue 27 cover of The Common

The Common Spring Launch Party
Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 7pm
Friendly Reading Room, Frost Library
Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Free and open to the public, wine and snacks will be provided. 

Join us for the launch of Issue 27 of The Common! We welcome essayist and AGNI editor Sven Birkerts, poet January Gill O’Neil, and fiction writer Jade Song. Issues will be available for purchase. We’ll have brief readings, a short Q&A, and lots of time to mingle!

 

Left to Right: Sven Birkerts, January Gill O'Neil, Jade Song Left to Right: Sven Birkerts, January Gill O’Neil, Jade Song

Sven Birkerts is the author of a number of books of essay and memoir. His The Miro Worm and the Mysteries of Writing will be published in October. Former Director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he co-edits the journal AGNI. He lives in Amherst with his wife. 

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Glitter Road (CavanKerry Press, 2024), Rewilding (CavanKerry Press, 2018), recognized by Mass Center for the Book as a notable poetry collection for 2018; Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014), winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O’Neil was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and was named the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence for 2019-2020 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She is an associate professor of English at Salem State University and is board chair of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (2022-2024). O’Neil lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Jade Song is a writer, art director, and artist in New York City. Her debut novel Chlorine was published by William Morrow/HarperCollins (US) and Footnote Press (UK) in 2023 and will be translated into Chinese and French. Chlorine was selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice, lauded as “visionary and disturbing,” and listed as a must read book by Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, and other outlets. Say hi @jadessong and jadessong.com

The Common’s Issue 27 Launch Party
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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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The Most-Read Pieces of 2023

As our new year of publishing and programming picks up speed, we at The Common wanted to reflect on the pieces that made last year such a great one! We published over 200 pieces online and in print in 2023. Below, you can browse a list of the six most-read pieces of 2023 to see which stories, essays, and poems left an impact on readers. 

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Two Poems from The Spring of Plagues by Ana Carolina Assis, translated by Heath Wing

bird on a branch

“i wish I could / prevent your death / and bury your body alive / in the puny damp / earth
we tended / so that it kept on living / mandioca corn banana / would not sprout forth / 
but instead / acerola cherry blackberry pitanga hog plum.” 

Read more. 



January 2023 Poetry Feature, with work by Tina Cane, Myronn Hardy, and Marc Vincenz

Purple flowers close up 
“Sheila had IHOP     delivered to her apartment     in El Alto, NY    / on January 6th    
so she could kick back     self-proclaimed terrorist     / that she is     and eat pancakes
     while watching white supremacists / storm the Capital.”

Read more. 



The Story of A Box by Jeffrey Harrison 

box with art on the inside   
“Duchamp gave my grandparents the Boîte-en-valise in the early 1960s. It was one of many handmade boxes Duchamp created containing miniature versions of his paintings and other works. This item… might have been the most intriguing to my siblings and me.”

Read more. 

 



Dispatch from Moscow, Idaho by Afton Montgomery

Moscow Idaho plain    
“The neighbor children are in the Evangelical cult that Vice and The Guardian wrote about last year. They’re not allowed to speak to us, which is a thing no one has ever said aloud but is true, nonetheless. This town is full of true things that no one says aloud.”

Read more. 



Five Poems by Serbian Poet Milena Marković, translated by Steven and Maja Teref

clothes hanging on a line in front of yellow building 
“the girl isn’t wearing warm socks / some men catcall her at the bus station / she pretends not to hear them / the barking dog chases the escaping sun / there used to be a landfill / behind the supermarket / black birds used to have lunch / and even dinner there.” 

Read more. 



Farmworker Poetry Feature, with work by Rodney Gomez

eye of a hurricane

“If I sang I was sinful, I was animal. Stole sips from circumscribed fountains.
I said murciélago, my knuckles drew a ruler. I said San Judas, my arm was viced.
Survived by christening the bruise a train track.”

Read more. 

 


 

Thanks for a great year! We are excited to continue sharing work by writers all over the world with you in 2024. Keep up with the art, prose, and poetry we publish each week by subscribing to our newsletter

The Most-Read Pieces of 2023
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The Common to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Amherst, MA — The Common literary journal is pleased to announce its eighth award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Arts Projects grant approved for 2024 is The Common’s largest NEA award to date and will support the journal in publishing and promoting place-based writing, fostering international connections, and expanding the audiences of emerging writers.

National Endowment for the Arts' logo.

The Common to Receive $15,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
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Call for Submissions: A Special Folio on China after 2008

The Common, in collaboration with guest editor Cleo Qian, will publish a special online folio of work about youth and contemporary culture from writers with a strong tie to Mainland China. Submissions will open on February 1st. 

Call for submissions graphic with same information as is on the web page
For the rest of the world, China’s 2008 Summer Olympics—with its $40 billion budget, dramatic “Bird’s Nest” stadium, and the lavish spectacle of its opening ceremony—marked the ascension of a new economic superpower onto the modern stage. Since then, new generations of Chinese youth have come of age into a society constantly rippling with changes, inundated with globalization, technology, and consumerism. The West continues to view China with curiosity, suspicion, and a sense of enigma as the country rapidly industrialized and urbanized, and its economic and political influence continues to shift. Yet Chinese literature translated into English is still predominantly written by older authors from the period of WW2, Maoism, and the Cultural Revolution, while neglecting the up-and-coming generation of Chinese artists, now dealing with wholly different lifestyles and sets of concerns.

Call for Submissions: A Special Folio on China after 2008
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Issue 26 in the news

Since its publication this November, The Common’Issue 26 portfolio of writing and art from the seasonal, migrant, and immigrant farmworker community has received attention from a variety of news outlets and organizations across the United States. Visit the links below to hear conversations with farmworker portfolio co-editors and contributors, read more about the development of the portfolio, and keep up with ongoing programming involving our fall issue.

Screenshot of NEPM Article about farmworker portfolio Screenshot of LitHub coverage of TC's farmworker portfolio Screenshot of Texas Public Radio's article about the farmworker portfolio Screenshot of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum Website with Narsiso Martinez exhibit description

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Issue 26 in the news
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Celebrate Issue 26 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles!

Skylight Books
Thursday, January 25, 7pm
1818 North Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA
Free and open to the public
 

With so many California contributors to our Issue 26 farmworker portfolio, we had to have a West Coast celebration! Join The Common for a celebration of writing and art from the seasonal, migrant, and immigrant farmworkers who power California’s vast food and agriculture systems.
  

headshots of guest authors 

Come celebrate with us at LA’s renowned Skylight Books for a reading and conversation about place, immigration, writing, justice, farmwork, and family with contributors from California. All are part of our portfolio of writing and art from twenty-seven contributors with family roots in farmwork. It was co-edited by Miguel M. Morales.

Essayist Amanda Mei Kim writes about the ways that collective power, racism, and nature weave through the lives of rural Californians of color, through the lens of her experience growing up on her family’s tenant farm just outside LA.

Poets Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Aideed Medina, and Oswaldo Vargas write about the struggle and the beauty of work in the fields and on farms. Their work highlights the nuance and diversity of that experience—queer discovery, activism and protest, shared labor and community.

Artist Narsiso Martinez creates moving portraits and scenes of farmworkers in the fields, painted on flattened cardboard produce boxes discarded from grocery stores. This work is drawn from the nine seasons he worked in the fields of Eastern Washington state, to fund his undergraduate and graduate studies. Narsiso writes, “When I nest images of farmworkers amidst the colorful brand names and illustrations of agricultural corporations, I hope to help the viewer make a connection, or a disconnection rather, and start creating consciousness about the people that farm their food.”

The event will include brief readings by each writer, a short presentation of Narsiso’s artwork, and then a moderated conversation and Q&A. It will be hosted by the magazine’s managing editor Emily Everett. Wine and drinks available!

 


 

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke came of age working in fields, factories, and waters. A labor and environmental poet, Hedge Coke was a sharecropper by the time she was mid-teens and continued manual labor until nearing thirty years of age, when disabilities precluded continuation. Following former fieldworker retraining in Santa Paula and Ventura, California, in the mid-1980s, she began teaching and is now Distinguished Professor and Mellon Dean’s Professor at UC Riverside. She is the author/editor of eighteen books, including Look at This Blue (National Book Award finalist), Burn, Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, The Year of the Rat, Effigies I, II, & III, Ahani, and Sing.

Narsiso Martinez (b. 1977, Oaxaca, Mexico) came to the United States when he was 20 years old. He attended Evans Community Adult School and completed high school in 2006 at the age of 29. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles City College, and a BFA and MFA from California State University Long Beach, where he was awarded the prestigious Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture. Drawn from his own experience as a farmworker, Martinez’s work focuses on the people performing the labors necessary to fill produce sections and restaurant kitchens around the country. His portraits of farmworkers are painted, drawn, and expressed in sculpture on discarded produce boxes collected from grocery stores. His work has been exhibited both locally and internationally. His work is in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, MOLAA, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Martinez was awarded the Frieze Impact Award in 2023. Martinez lives and works in Long Beach, CA.

Aideed Medina is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, spoken word artist, and playwright, and daughter of Miguel and Lupita Medina of Salinas, California, and the United Farm Workers movement. She is the author of 31 Hummingbird and a forthcoming full-length poetry collection, Segmented Bodies, from Prickly Pear Press.

Amanda Mei Kim writes about the ways that collective power, racism, and nature weave through the lives of rural Californians of color. Her writing has appeared in The Common, The New York Times, PANK, LitHub, Brick, Tayo, Eastwind Magazine, DiscoverNikkei, and Nonwhite and Woman. Poems are forthcoming in an anthology from Haymarket Press. She is a member of this year’s Changemaker Authors Cohort and a de Groot Writer of Note. She is a former Steinbeck Fellow and California Arts Council Fellow. Amanda is the founder and lead researcher for Kanshahistory.org, which publishes the property transfer records of Japanese Americans who had their farms taken during World War II. Her professional work focuses on agriculture, equity, and ethnic media. She is also a creative strategist for Hmong American farmers who are being persecuted by their local government. Amanda is writing a memoir-in-essays that uses her family’s 125-year history as agricultural workers to show how people of color created a more just and sustainable food system. More at www.amandameikim.com.

Oswaldo Vargas is a 2021 Undocupoets Fellowship recipient. He has been anthologized in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and published in Narrative Magazine and Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day,” among other publications. He lives and dreams in Sacramento, California, for now.

Celebrate Issue 26 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles!
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Weekly Writes Volume 8: Accountable You

Weekly Writes Vol. 8 is now closed for signups. To register your interest in the next round of Weekly Writes this summer, fill out this form


 
typing on a laptop

Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing and stay accountable to your practice in the new year, beginning January 29.

We’re offering both poetry AND prose, in two separate programs. What do you want to prioritize in 2024? Pick the program, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for a weekly dose of writing inspiration (and accountability) in your inbox!

Weekly Writes Volume 8: Accountable You
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