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Friday Reads: November 2018

Curated by: SARAH WHELAN

Thank you to everyone who bought Issue 16, subscribed to receive a copy, or attended a launch event! To celebrate, this month we have three more contributors are here to give us peak at their bookshelves. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic novel, a contemporary essay collection, or an upcoming book of poems, our writers have you covered.

Recommendations: Hybrida by Tina Chang, Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner, Frantumaglia by Elena Ferrante.

Tina Chang

Flavia MartinezFriday Reads: November 2018
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The Common Issue 16 Press Release

THE COMMON #16 FEATURES PORTFOLIO OF PUERTO RICAN WRITERS

The Fall Issue Recognizes the Vibrancy and Resilience of Puerto Rican Writers and Artists in the Aftermath of Hurricane María

Issue 16 Cover

Amherst, Mass.—October 15, 2018

September 2018 marked one year after Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico, striking an island already in the thick of political and economic instability and causing an estimated 4,645 deaths. In the storm’s aftermath, many wondered: “What is the role of art in times of tragedy? What should writers and artists do with their talents?” THE COMMON’s Issue 16 features a special portfolio of Puerto Rican writers and artists that recognizes the vibrancy of literary and visual arts both on the island and in the diaspora.

Issue 16’s portfolio De Puerto Rico: Un año después de la tormenta / From Puerto Rico: One year after the storm celebrates the resilience and talents of Puerto Rican writers working in a variety of genres. In March 2018, Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acker spent a week in San Juan interviewing and collaborating with writers, artists, and performers. “Hurricane Maria was not merely a setback or temporary disaster,” she writes in an essay published in LitHub in September. “The threat was existential. Would the island ever recover enough to support full lives and future generations?” These finely curated pieces explore this and many other questions related to the storm and its aftermath.

maria luisa headshot

Issue 16 Contributor María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado

In “4,645+,” María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado asks, “What are the Puerto Rican Spanish words for aftermath? / Disaster capitalism? Intentional erasure of a modern colony?” In “Native Shore,” poet Mara Pastor drives home the unwelcome post-Maria reality: “They were counting on the debt, / but not on heavy metals in the water, / cadmium in the ash they breathe. / Nothing prepared for the poverty of the house, / for a piece of the pool collapsing…”

Mara Pastor’s poems appear in both Spanish and English, celebrating the beauty of her verse in two languages. In addition to these poems, two essays appear bilingually, and the issue features a number of works translated into English for the first time.

While the portfolio explores the harsh details of post-hurricane life in Puerto Rico, it also showcases the strength and beauty of the island. In renowned artist Adál’s photo series Los ahogados / Puerto Ricans Underwater, a woman submerged in a bathtub holds a smiling baby above the water. In another photograph, from his series Los dormidos / The Sleepers, a couple sleeps curled around a can of gasoline, the woman’s head on a pillow of ice. “Santurce, Un Libro Mural / Santurce: A Mural Book” brings to the page a collaboration by writer Francisco Font-Acevedo and artist Rafael Trelles currently installed on the streets of Santurce, the most populous and artsiest barrio of San Juan. Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón tells the story of Bimbo, a shy man who learns to love himself and the sea in “People Who Go to the Beach Alone.” National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist Willie Perdomo’s “We Used to Call It Puerto Rican Rain” is an ode to the island’s tropical weather and to its inhabitants.

Wille Perdomo Author photo

Poet Willie Perdomo, Issue 16 Contributor

“I believe the creative process of this issue of The Common is in itself a reflection of the kind of conversations we should be having between the people of the United States and the people of Puerto Rico,” reflects Issue 16 contributor Ana Teresa Toro, whose essay “To Abandon Paradise” opens the portfolio.  “We share the same passport but have very different experiences. To be part of this portfolio represents to me the chance not only to show our view of the world, and to tell our stories, but also to connect with readers who will expand our perspective with their own experiences.”

Ana Teresa Toro Headshot

Issue 16 Contributor Ana Teresa Toro

Also included in Issue 16 are THE COMMON’s characteristically diverse, place-centric short stories, essays, and poems, including work by: David Lehman, series editor for The Best American Poetry and Rhode Island Poet Laureate Tina Cane; as well as up-and-coming poets like Kristina Faust, winner of the 2018 DISQUIET Literary Prize for poetry. Mindy Misener’s debut story “Baby Was Not Fine” recounts a summer job, an act of violence, and the haunting actions we can’t take back. PEN/Robert J. Dau Debut Short Story Prize-winner Ben Shattuck’s story “The History of Sound” ruminates on the connections that grow from a shared love of music. In “Land Not Theirs,” Madison Davis reflects on her experiences growing up in, and growing out of, Black churches. Lisa Chen, winner of a 2018 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, explores Susan Sontag’s “Project for a Trip to China” and ruminates on the death of Chen’s estranged father.


Issue 16 Launch Events
 

Monday, November 5
Community Reception
Wisteriahurst Museum, Holyoke, MA
Reception 5:30 pm, Reading and Conversation 7 pm
 

Featuring Puerto Rican writers and translators Ana Teresa Toro, Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón, María José Giménez, and María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado. Filmmaker Michelle Falcón will screen her documentary film PROMESA, which tells the stories of people affected by Puerto Rico’s economic crisis.

Free and open to the public. Dinner provided.
238 Cabot Street, Holyoke MA


Tuesday, November 6
Issue 16 Launch
Powerhouse, Amherst College
Reading and Conversation 7 pm
, Reception 8:30 pm

Brief readings by and conversation with Puerto Rican writers and translators Ana Teresa Toro, Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón, María José Giménez, Willie Perdomo, and María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado, moderated by The Common Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker. Followed by a wine reception at 8:30.

Free and open to the public.


The Common
is co-sponsoring the events below with the Hampshire College Art Gallery:

AgitArte y el Teatro de Papel Machete: Decolonizing Cultural Production and Building Radical Solidarity

AgitArte is an organization of working class artists and cultural organizers that creates projects and practices of cultural solidarity with grassroots struggles against oppression, and proposes alternatives for transforming our world.

October 20-24

Four members of AgitArte—Jorge Díaz Ortiz, Dey Hernández, Sugeily Rodríguez Lebrón, and Agustín Muñoz Ríos—will give a series of campus and community presentations, including Solidaridad y sobrevivencia para nuestra liberación / Solidarity and Survival for Our Liberation, a recent cantastoria created in the aftermath of Hurricane María, and End the Debt! Decolonize! Liberate! Scroll Project, a collaboratively produced, collectively experienced art object that visually unfurls a history of colonialism and resistance in Puerto Rico.

AgitArte’s residency takes place in conjunction with the installation The Museum of the Old Colony by artist Pablo Delano, on view in the Hampshire College Art Gallery until November 11.

Saturday, October 20, 2018
Presentation (5-7 pm) followed by a community celebration
Wisteriahurst Museum, 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA

Wednesday October 24, 2018
Presentation (6-7.30 pm) and reception
Hampshire College Art Gallery
 

About The Common

An award-winning print and digital literary journal published biannually, The Common includes short stories, essays, poems, and images that embody a strong sense of place. The Common Online publishes original content weekly, including book reviews, interviews, personal essays, short dispatches, poetry, contributor recordings, and multimedia features. Based at Amherst College, the magazine is a joint venture between the College and The Common Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Common also runs the Literary Publishing Internship at Amherst College, mentoring students in all aspects of literary publishing, and regularly hosts public programming.

Julia PikeThe Common Issue 16 Press Release
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Friday Reads: August 2018

Curated by: SARAH WHELAN

This month, we’re celebrating our wonderful summer interns who work tirelessly to ensure The Common’s excellence despite the heat. As Amherst College students, these three readers ask us to look towards the margins; the lines between civility and scandal, poetry and prose, black and white.

Recommendations: Passing by Nella Larsen, On Poetry by Glyn Maxwell, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Flavia MartinezFriday Reads: August 2018
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Friday Reads: April 2018

Curated by: SARAH WHELAN

We can’t believe that we’re on the brink of publishing our FIFTEENTH Issue! If you couldn’t make it to our Launch Party, you can still mingle with our Issue 15 contributors in this month’s Friday Reads. When you’re done reading, be sure to purchase your copy of Issue 15 here!

Recommendations: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, In Full Velvet by Jenny Johnson, Plainwater: Essays and Poetry by Anne Carson,  The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott

Flavia MartinezFriday Reads: April 2018
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Friday Reads: February 2018

Curated by SARAH WHELAN

Once again, The Common and Amherst College are honored to welcome a selection of visionary authors to our third annual LitFest–a weekend long series of events celebrating literary brilliance and nuanced expression. The talks, workshops, and panels will include, among other voices, 2017 National Book Award Finalists. This month, our staff and interns have chosen their reading in anticipation of our guests, and we present here our thoughts on just a few of these dazzling works. For more information on LitFest, please visit the Amherst College website.

Recommendations: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz.

Flavia MartinezFriday Reads: February 2018
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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 (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 this 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.

 

Emily EverettAvailable Positions with The Common
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Sidney Waugh, Monuments Man

Curated by PAMELA RUSSELL and SHEILA FLAHERTY-JONES 

waugh

Sidney Waugh was a twentieth-century sculptor best known for architectural and large-scale works on the one hand, and for smaller designs for glass and medallions on the other. As lead creative artist at Steuben Glass in New York, he elevated glass to a fine art medium, while also designing many public and private monuments on the East Coast of the United States.

Julia PikeSidney Waugh, Monuments Man
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