The continent, it turned out, was not ready for people. The settlers chopped down every tree and killed every animal, then started in on each other. They hoarded finite resources—furs, lumber, ore—until there weren’t any left to use. Counterfeiters discovered a way to alchemize gold, bringing about hyperinflation and economic collapse. The strong terrorized the weak, not just once but repeatedly, hounding them through one life after another. Normal people became outright thugs, enacting fantasies of domination. Dominated people had a tendency to become informal police, enacting fantasies of justice. Every so often a server crash would plunge everyone weeks into the past, to the most recent backup.
We’ve got a very busy April ahead of us – can you join us at an event? We’ll be sharing our work, our expertise, and our brand new Issue 15 contributors with the world!
Juniper Literary Festival
April 7, 1:45-2:45pm, UMASS Amherst – The Common will be hosting a panel discussion at UMass’s Juniper Literary Festival alongside editors from renowned western Massachusetts literary magazines jubilat, Meridians,and The Massachusetts Review to discuss what they’re looking for, how to submit to literary magazines, and the behind-the-scenes editorial process. Bring your questions! Then swing by the Book Fair to buy discounted copies of The Common. Click here for more info on the event!
Easthampton Book Fest
April 14, 12-5pm, Eastworks Building, Easthampton – The Common will be participating in the Easthampton Book Fest; come find us in the Literary Marketplace! We’ll be selling discounted issues, answering questions, and maybe giving out a few freebies, too. Check out the bookfest website here!
Tesserae: Poetry in Community
April 22, 3:30-5pm, The Parlor Room, Northampton – Northampton’s Poet Laureate, Amy Dryansky, will host a special event on behalf of several local agencies that work to welcome and support immigrants and new Americans in the community. The event, Tesserae: Poetry in Community, will feature readings by award-winning poets Leslie Marie Aguilar, Maria Luisa Arroyo, Tamiko Beyer, Kirun Kapur, Oliver de la Paz and Ocean Vuong. As a sponsor of Tesserae, The Common will be posting an online feature of these poets on our website, so stay tuned! For more information on the venue, click here, and for full details about the event, click here.
Issue 15 NYC Launch Party
April 26, 6:30-8pm, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, NYC – Join The Common to celebrate our Spring Issue 15 Launch, featuring readings by Liz Arnold, Emma Copley Eisenberg, and translator Lissie Jaquette, followed by a discussion with editor in chief Jennifer Acker. The event is free and open to the public, so make sure to stop by! Find all the event details here.
Judith Frank is the author of the novel, Crybaby Butch, and a professor of English at Amherst College. She received a B.A. from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in English literature and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell. She has been the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, and support from both Yaddo and MacDowell. Marni and Judith spoke online about Judy’s new novel, All I Love and Know, and what it means to write about violence in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Isabel MeyersWriting and Violence: An Interview with Judith Frank
Join us at the Amherst College Powerhouse for an electrifying musical performance by Layaali, a Massachusetts-based group committed to furthering the appreciation of traditional Arab music and culture.
Doors open at 7pm on Thursday, March 26. Concert begins at 7:30pm.
PAINO LECTURE HALL, BENESKI MUSEUM, Amherst College
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. Check back for rescheduling. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Hisham Bustani and Thoraya El-Rayyes will lead a translation master class. Drawing on texts in an array of source languages, the master class will focus on important literary considerations for translators, translation techniques, and the experimental and collaborative process of translation.
I studied history in college, because it seemed somehow practical (don’t ask me why), and after three years of study I realized that I was a mediocre historian at best, that what I loved about researching the past were the stories, and so I took a creative writing class.
By sheer luck that class was taught by Kent Haruf. I had no idea of the tradition of great writers who had taught at Southern Illinois University (before Kent, Richard Russo and John Gardner held his faculty position), nor the already strong and growing writing program that was present in 1995 when I was there. I walked into the first day of class like any other, hiding my nervousness with aloofness. I never had the text for any class on the first day.
Olivia ZhengWhere I Once Belonged: A Tribute to Kent Haruf
This month’s recommendations from The Common’s contributors and staff deal with the intersection of old and new, ancient and modern, on every level—personal, religious, political, even supernatural. Perhaps in the spirit of the season, we seem preoccupied by stories of intergenerational strife, love, and ambition. In their urgent focus on belief and truth-seeking, these books represent a literature of searching, a catalogue of quests across time and around the world.
To the End of June by Cris Beam, The Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz, We Others by Steven Millhauser, Hum by Jamaal May, High as the Horses’ Bridles by Scott Cheshire.
Wendy S. Walter’s Troy, Michigan chronicles municipal and personal history in this elliptically elegant collection of sonnets. This book swivels gracefully through eras in the city of the title, alluding to its mythic namesake while divulging the narrator’s observations on industry, race, and the tug of the natural world. Walters spent 15 years of her childhood in Troy, which is in close proximity of Lake Huron and Lake Erie; her father worked for General Motors.
Olivia ZhengReview: Troy, Michigan & Don’t Go Back To Sleep