News and Events

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine

I ask
Half-awake
Is poetry possible
At the moment history stirs
Once its steps
Reverberate through every heart?

— From “Can there be poetry after” by Anastasia Afanasieva, translated by Kevin Vaughn and Maria Khotimsky

 

With the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, we at The Common have been reflecting on the powerful words of many Ukrainian poets who have appeared in our pages. In recent years their work has been rooted in conflict, as the country struggled first with self-determination and later with the Russian annexation of Crimea and, since 2014, with a Russian-incited war in the East. This focus lends a feeling of prescience and timeliness to their work now, even though most of these poems are not new. We hope you’ll make time to read and reflect on the work of these poets, as we all keep Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in our thoughts.

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine
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The Common Adds Editors and Educator to Board of Directors

(Amherst, MA—February 21, 2022)—The Common, Amherst College’s award-winning literary
magazine, announces the addition of three new members to its Board of Directors: Kate Nintzel,
Lee Oglesby and Tara Safronoff. Willie Perdomo, The Common’s former Interviews Editor, will
join the magazine’s Editorial Board.

The Common Adds Editors and Educator to Board of Directors
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Announcing LitFest 2022

Amherst LitFest 2022 Logo stating: Illuminating Great Writing & Amhest's Literary Life

We hope you’ll join us virtually for the seventh annual LitFest, hosted in conjunction with Amherst College. This year’s lineup includes Pulitzer Prize winners Natalie Diaz and Viet Thanh Nguyen; 2021 National Book Award nominees Katie Kitamura and Elizabeth McCracken; and journalists Vann Newkirk and David Graham, among others.

This year, we are continuing to highlight the work of The Common’s own Literary Publishing Interns and Amherst Alumni Authors during a virtual reading at 4pm on Saturday, February 26. The Common is also hosting, in collaboration with Restless Books, a conversation with winners of the Restless Books Immigrant Writing Prize, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Grace Talusan, and Ani Gjika. Join us for this packed weekend!

Announcing LitFest 2022
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Weekly Writes Vol. 6: Accountable You

Sign up for Weekly Writes Vol. 6 is now closed. Please add your email here to hear when our next Weekly Writes program opens!

 


 

 
typing on a laptop

Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing, beginning January 24.

We’re offering both poetry AND prose, in two separate programs. What do you want to prioritize in 2022? Pick the program, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for a weekly dose of writing inspiration (and accountability) in your inbox!

Weekly Writes Vol. 6: Accountable You
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Most-Read Pieces of 2021

As 2021 comes to an end, we want to celebrate the pieces our readers loved! Below, you can browse our list of 2021’s most-read pieces to see the writing that left an impact on our readers.

Most-Read Pieces of 2021
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The 2021 Author Postcard Auction is Open!

It’s that time of year again: bid for a personalized, handwritten postcard from your favorite author in The Common’s eighth annual author postcard auction! The personalization of the postcards makes them fantastic gifts, just in time for the holidays.

Join in on the fun this year for a chance to receive a postcard from New York Times-bestsellers, National Book Award-winners, Man Booker Prize finalists, and Pulitzer Prize-winners and finalists. In the past few years, authors have famously gone all out with their postcards: expect to receive anything from long letters to drawings and doodles to haikus. 

handwritten author postcards from Chris Bachelder and Anthony Doerr

Online bidding is open now. Participating authors include literary powerhouses and popular favorites such as Joy Williams, Maggie Shipstead, Alexander Chee, Anthony Doerr, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and Amor Towles. We also have writer-actor-comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jenny Slate, songwriters Jeff Tweedy (singer and guitarist of Wilco) and Craig Finn (frontman for The Hold Steady), and newcomers to the auction Kirstin Valdez Quade, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Aleksandar Hemon, and Lily King.

Winning bids are tax-deductible donations. All proceeds go to The Common Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to publishing and promoting art and literature from global, diverse voices.

If you’re interested in supporting The Common but don’t want to bid, click here to donate

The 2021 Author Postcard Auction is Open!
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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 (Applications Closed, Waitlist Only)

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, which we estimate requires between 3 and 5 hours. 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. 

 

Available Positions with The Common
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Writing from the Arabian Gulf: The Common’s Issue 22 Launch

On November 3rd at 4:30pm EDT, join The Common for the virtual launch of Issue 22! Contributors Mona Kareem, Keija Parssinen, Tariq al Haydar, and Deepak Unnikrishnan will join us from all around the world to read their pieces from our Arabian Gulf portfolio, followed by a conversation about place and culture, hosted by the magazine’s editor in chief Jennifer Acker and portfolio co-editor Noor Naga. This event is co-hosted by Amherst College’s Center for Humanistic Inquiry and sponsored by the Arts at Amherst Initiative.

REGISTER

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email via Amherst College, containing information about joining the event. If you’d like to preorder Issue 22, you may do so here.

Image of issue 22 seashell on a blue background, announcing the details of the event.

Mona Kareem is the author of three poetry collections. She is a recipient of a 2021 NEA literary grant and a fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. Her work appears in The Brooklyn Rail, Michigan Quarterly Review, Fence, Ambit, Poetry London, Los Angeles Review of Books, Asymptote, Words Without Borders, Poetry International, PEN America, Modern Poetry in Translation, Two Lines, and Specimen. She has held fellowships with Princeton University, Poetry International, the Arab American National Museum, the Norwich Center for Writing, and Forum Transregionale Studien. Her translations include Ashraf Fayadh’s Instructions Within and Ra’ad Abdulqadir’s Except for This Unseen Thread.

Keija Parssinen is the author of the novels The Ruins of Us, which received the Michener-Copernicus Award, and The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, which earned an Alex Award from the American Library Association. She is currently an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Kenyon College.

Tariq al Haydar‘s work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, North American Review, DIAGRAM, Beyond Memory: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Creative Nonfiction, and other publications. His nonfiction was named as notable in The Best American Essays 2016.

Deepak Unnikrishnan is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His book Temporary People, a work of fiction about Gulf narratives steeped in Malayalee and South Asian lingo, won the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, the Hindu Prize, and the Moore Prize.

Writing from the Arabian Gulf: The Common’s Issue 22 Launch
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Phosphorescence Reading Series: Poets from The Common

Phosphorescence Reading Series Banner With Poets' Headshots.

Join the Emily Dickinson Museum and The Common on September 23rd at 6PM EDT for the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series, celebrating present-day literary craft that echoes Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary voice. This reading features Elizabeth Metzger, Chloe Martinez, Rodney A. Brown, and Moriel Rothman-Zecher, all of whose work has been published in The Common.

This event is part of the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival, which brings together contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and Dickinson’s legendary writing. This fully virtual festival, running September 20th – 26th, will feature panels, readings, and masterclasses. All of these events are free and open to the public, but registration is required to access the links. Please register here.

Click Here to Register

Phosphorescence Reading Series: Poets from The Common
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