All posts tagged: April

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation



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

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
Pushcart Prize Editors Nominate 8 Pieces from The Common

Love, Under a Falling Sky


Say Chicken Little was right, that the sky 
is falling. What I want to know is,
will the moon fall too? Will it bounce softly 
like swiss cheese, or will it crumble
like a stale cookie? Do skies bruise? 
Do they ache? And is the sky
a metaphor for all the ills and evils 
of the world? A testament
to how the earth can only hold so much 
pain and grief? But why
would God send a chicken? Would you listen 
to a chicken? Is the chicken a metaphor 
for Jesus? Did the Bible mention this 
and somehow I missed it? Is this because
in 6th grade my teacher made me promise Jesus 
my virginity in a gift basket? Actually, if the sky falls,

Love, Under a Falling Sky

Nothing More Human



You are in a chamber, waiting for the bailiff.  

When he comes in, you wish you had been killed. Not your brother. 

The rusted scent of the metal chair you’re on reminds you of the smell of his blood on your hands, chest, and hair: sweetly pungent with a strong hint of iron. 

You start hearing his choked gurgles, see the blood spouting from his mouth. Smelling again the gunpowder-laced air between your body and his. The gurgling stops, his eyes close, and alarm strikes your throat numb, temporarily freezing your screams. His body begins to tremble, violently.

Nothing More Human

Notebooks of Maladies




The oldest boys in the neighborhood—“bullies,” as our Egyptian neighbors would say—chased that boy… chased me.  

I’d long been obsessed with watching Egyptian TV shows and films, sneaking into the cinema to see them because in our house it was forbidden… “forbidden, boy, to go there.ˮ According to my mother, grandmother, and the other women in the neighborhood, screens are the devil’s handiwork: they corrupt good boys and girls. Of course, they’re poor women, without an ounce of luck. 

Notebooks of Maladies

The Infidel and the Devil


Translated by ROBIN MOGER


Not many of us knew Sharif. He had been gone from the village for more than thirty years, and the few times his name came up, the person in question would glance around and lower their voice almost to a whisper. Men’s heads would cluster together in brief and hasty conference. And should his father, Sheikh Abdennabi Wadd Saleh, appear at the head of the alley and walk their way, or his mother, Hagga Amina Bint Suleiman, approach the store, they would fall silent or change the conversation. 

The Infidel and the Devil

April 2019 Poetry Feature: Jessica Lanay

This April we welcome back TC contributor JESSICA LANAY for a single-author Poetry Month feature.

“First Fall”

“Mouth Piece”

“A Brief History of Shrinking”

“Dear Mountain”



First Fall

We dampened the cool white sheets
throwing each other, knowing
we are both liars; we didn’t get
what we wanted: me—a chest

April 2019 Poetry Feature: Jessica Lanay

April Events

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 jubilatMeridians, 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 Bookfest
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!

TesseraeTesserae: 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.

April Events