All posts tagged: 2021

Podcast: Edgar Garbelotto on “A Fourteen-Hour Lesson in Theosophy”

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Writer and translator Edgar Garbelotto speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his short story “A Fourteen-Hour Lesson in Theosophy,” which appears in Issue 20 of The Common magazine. The story imagines the final hours of author Clarice Lispector’s life. In this conversation, Garbelotto talks about the process of fictionalizing a real person and bringing her to life in the streets of Rio. Garbelotto also discusses the experience of writing and translating in English, which is his second language, and the way that experience has changed his approach to writing original work. Portuguese is a more playful, allegorical language than English, Garbelotto says, and he’s learned to approach each language differently.

Headshot of Edgar Garbelotto and cover of Issue 20 of The Common

Podcast: Edgar Garbelotto on “A Fourteen-Hour Lesson in Theosophy”
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To Autumn: Reading Keats in Pandemic Winter

By NAILA MOREIRA

 

When I nurse my baby son Oliver to satisfaction, a beautiful look grows on his face. His small damp lips purse; his cheeks pinken; his black lashes rest delicately shut. If I try to offer more, those lips squash upwards in contented refusal. “You’ve o’er-brimmed his clammy cells,” my partner Paul always observes.

He’s quoting of course from that most beautiful of poems, John Keats’ To Autumn.

To Autumn: Reading Keats in Pandemic Winter
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Pushcart Prize Editors Nominate 8 Pieces from The Common

We are excited to announce that the Pushcart Prize’s contributing editors have nominated eight pieces from The Common‘s 2020 publications, in print and online! The Pushcart Prize celebrates outstanding works of literature produced by small-press writers; each of these nominations are exceptional works of art that take fresh and memorable perspectives on the modern sense of place. Congratulations to our amazing contributors! 
 
Image of the Issue 19 cover.
Issue 19
 
Image of Issue 20 cover.
Issue 20
 
Online
 
Pushcart Prize Editors Nominate 8 Pieces from The Common
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The Common Young Writers Program Opens Applications for Summer 2021

Students with issues of The Common

Applications are now open for The Common Young Writers Program, which offers two two-week summer classes for high school students (rising 9-12). Students will be introduced to the building blocks of fiction and learn to read with a writer’s gaze. Taught by the editors and editorial assistants of Amherst College’s literary magazine, the summer courses (Level I and Level II) run Monday-Friday and are open to all high school students (rising 9-12). The program runs July 19-31.

The cost of the two-week program is $725 for Level I, and $875 for Level II. Full and partial need-based tuition waivers are available for both levels; we hope that no student will let financial difficulty prevent them from applying.

Click here for more information and details on how to apply.

The Common Young Writers Program Opens Applications for Summer 2021
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April 2021 Friday Reads

Curated by ISABEL MEYERS

Amidst the warmer days and rainy weather, we at The Common are busy preparing to release our spring issue. In this month’s Friday Reads, we’re hearing from our Issue 21 contributors on what books have been inspiring and encouraging them through the long, dark winter. Read their selections, on everything from immigration to embracing loneliness in pandemic times, and pre-order your copy of the upcoming issue here

 

Recommendations: The Poetry of Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke, Transit by Anna Seghers, Stroke By Stroke by Henri Michaux, By the Lake by John McGahern.

April 2021 Friday Reads
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Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

Poems by REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ

Translated by KRISTIN DYKSTRA

Translator’s Note

At first, it seems simple to outline the role of place in poems by Reina María Rodríguez. She began writing poetry in Havana, Cuba, a city that permeates much of her work. She grew up in a building on Ánimas Street, not far from the ocean, in a neighborhood of modest means. Eventually she and her partner built a tiny apartment on that same building’s roof out of largely recycled materials, and there they ran a historic, open-air cultural salon in the 1990s. Today Rodríguez remains interested in everyday life, in the realities accessible to inhabitants moving through the city streets. Alongside her explorations of the present, she incorporates memories from her neighborhood into many poems.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation
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Joss

By PATRICIA LIU 

Image of a river and houses on a hill.

Yunnan Province, China

Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world 

of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet 

lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under-

water. It is easy for water to find home in our bodies. How wonderful it is to think my father’s

dead father a translation of our living selves, the water in-between my cells, the same water of

ghosts. Of women and Buddha, of lotus flower and palace, of lion. See the shine of fire, even

now. See the smoke, encapsulated by the fog. My father tells stories of the state’s inexorable beckoning,

the brothers, and the sisters, too, sent to the countryside. What they remember most is the truck

and the dust, the broad shoulders of horse, that first night and its stars, the mass exodus of dragonflies

following the monsoons—but no, exodus is uniquely a human endeavor. My father cannot bring 

himself to anger; he knows it is shame that is the ugliest language. Somewhere, I have lost my place 

in the life-wheel, and the only words I know in Chinese are our names. Jiayu is rain. Jialei is rosebud. 

Only years later do I learn that Jiayu means jade. Only years later do I long for pure, unadulterated 

fortune over the ritual of early rain. Somehow, turn face to sky. Here. In memory, to burn is to revere.

Joss
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The Solidarity Book Project

By SONYA CLARK 

Sonya clark

The Solidarity Book Project was envisioned by Professor of Art and Art History Sonya Clark, as one way for Amherst College, in its Bicentennial year, to recommit to a more equitable future by pushing against legacies of settler colonialism and anti-Black racism.

The Solidarity Book Project
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Unique Craft Masterclasses with The Common

craft masterclasses with headshots: Jim Shepard, W. Ralph Eubanks, Vievee Francis, and Curtis Bauer 

Give your writing a boost this spring. Join The Common for a series of craft classes with these literary luminaries.
 

    • Jim Shepard: Generating Fiction from History [register]

    • Vievee Francis and Curtis Bauer: Writing Toward a Poetry Chapbook or Collection [register]

    • W. Ralph Eubanks: How to Turn a Place into an Essay [register]

 
Each class includes a craft talk and Q&A with the guest author, generative exercises and discussion in breakout sessions, and a take-home list of readings and writing prompts. Students also receive exclusive access to a free “Behind the Scenes” session about what literary magazine editors look for in submissions.
 
Each class is $125, or $75 for current subscribers or past Weekly Writes participants. 

 


 

Jim Shepard: Generating Fiction from History
April 10, 2-4 pm EDT

Image of Jim Shepard's headshot.

Award-winning author Jim Shepard is known for his wildly imaginative yet historically inspired short stories and novels. In this masterclass, Jim will guide participants through a close reading of the Nathan Englander short story “The Tumblers” while outlining what he has learned and implemented in his own work about turning real events into stirring fiction. Jim’s talk will be followed by a generative writing exercise and open Q&A. The last section of the class will invite participants into breakout sessions with The Common editors to further discuss process and commonly encountered pitfalls. 

Registered students will receive a copy of “The Tumblers” and should plan to read it in advance of the class.

Jim Shepard has written eight novels, including Project Six, forthcoming in May, and The Book of Aron, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Excellence in Jewish Literature, the Harold Ribalow Award for Jewish Literature, the PEN/New England Award for Fiction, and the Clark Fiction Prize, as well as five story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, a finalist for the National Book Award and Story Prize winner, and most recently The World to Come.  He’s also won the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Library of Congress/ Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction, the ALEX Award from the American Library Association, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  He’s written a book on movies and politics, The Tunnel at the End of the Light, and edited another, Writers at the Movies.  He lives in Williamstown with his wife and three beagles, and teaches at Williams College. 

Register here.



Vievee Francis and Curtis Bauer: Writing Toward a Poetry Chapbook or Collection
April 24, 2-4 pm EDT

B&W headshots of Vievee Francis and Curtis Bauer 
Renowned poets, editors, and educators Vievee Francis and Curtis Bauer team up to lead emerging poets through the process of assembling a poetry chapbook or collection. Vievee and Curtis will guide participants through a series of questions and exercises that will identify central themes and structures in a developing body of work. They will speak about collections they admire and how to adopt an editorial eye when reviewing, revising, and readying your own poetry for submission and publication. 

Vievee Francis is the author of three books of poetry: Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006), Horse in the Dark (winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize for a second collection, Northwestern University Press, 2016) and Forest Primeval (winner of the Hurston Wright Legacy Award and the 2017 Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She has been a participant in the Cave Canem Workshops, a Poet-in-Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, and teaches poetry writing in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop (USA, UK, and Barbados). In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She serves as an associate editor of Callaloo and an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

Curtis Bauer is the author of three poetry collections, most recently American Selfie (Barrow Street Press, 2019). He is also a translator of poetry and prose from the Spanish; his publications include the full-length poetry collections Image of Absence, by Jeannette L. Clariond (The Word Works Press, 2018), From Behind What Landscape, by Luis Muñoz (Vaso Roto Editions, 2015) and Eros Is More, by Juan Antonio González Iglesias (Alice James Books, 2014). He is the publisher and editor of Q Avenue Press Chapbooks and the Translations Editor for The Common. He is the Director of Creative Writing Program and teaches Comparative Literature at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Register here.


 

W. Ralph Eubanks: How to Turn a Place into an Essay
May 15, 2-4 pm EDT

Image of Ralph Eubanks's headshot.

In her essay “How I Write,” Eudora Welty noted, “Like a good many other writers, I am myself touched off by place….place opens a door in the mind, either spontaneously or through beating it down, attrition.” Blending the sensory image of place alongside the writer’s inner thoughts creates a unique gestalt that reveals how one locale, no matter how ordinary or distant it may seem, is more than simply the whole of its parts. 

In this class, acclaimed essayist and editor Ralph Eubanks will illustrate how a good personal essay moves from the personal to the universal, and how a piece rooted in a specific place must sometimes make the unfamiliar familiar. Ralph will guide participants through a close reading of fellow Mississipian Kiese Laymon’s “What I Pledge Allegiance To,” focusing on the details of place and discussing techniques you can use to make a particular setting come alive and bear universal meaning for its readers.

Registrants will be asked to read the Laymon essay in advance of the workshop.

Ralph Eubanks is the author of A Place Like Mississippi (Timber Press, 2021), The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South (HarperCollins, 2009), and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past (Basic Books, 2003). His essays have been published in The Hedgehog Review, The American Scholar, and The New Yorker. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, he is currently a visiting professor of English and Southern studies at the University of Mississippi. He divides his time between Oxford, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C.

Register here.


 
Behind the Scenes Session with TC Editor in Chief and Section Editors

Everyone who registers for one of the above masterclasses will receive free and exclusive access to this behind-the-scenes session with The Common’s editors. We’ll address how literary magazine editors evaluate submissions, what we read for, what puts us off, and how best to break into a magazine like The Common

Unique Craft Masterclasses with The Common
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Podcast: Casey Walker on “Vigilancia”

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Casey Walker speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his short story “Vigilância,” which appears in Issue 20 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Walker talks about writing World War II-era Lisbon through the eyes of a police informer who trades in secrets. Walker also discusses the complex nature of complicity in his novel Last Days in Shanghai, and the historical and personal background behind his current project Mexicali, a new novel set in the Mexican-American borderlands.

Headshot of Casey Walker and cover of Issue 20 of The Common

Podcast: Casey Walker on “Vigilancia”
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