A mentor once told me, “you write to the places you are not,” and I think that is true for not only what I write, but also what I read. Since moving to the Southeast U.S., with its millennia-old forests and rolling thunderstorms, I’ve taken to reading about the places I’ve come from: Oregon, Southern California, and the islands upon which I was born and raised, the place where my family has lived as settlers for over three generations—Hawaiʻi.
Ala Fox speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “Ramadan in Saint-Denis,” which appears in The Common’s most recent issue. Ala talks about weaving together the threads of her experiences living in Paris into an essay that explores a lot of questions but doesn’t try to answer them. The piece dives into the dynamics between neighborhoods, and between native Parisians and immigrant communities, and explores the possibility of creating and sustaining love across language barriers and distance. Ala also discusses why she was nervous about publishing the essay, and how it would be received in the Muslim community.
JANE SATTERFIELD and ROSANNA YOUNG OH—poets who met at the 2023 Poetry by the Sea Global conference in Madison, CT—connected via email between Baltimore and New York City, and reflected on the power of inherited narratives, their shared fandom of Jane Eyre, sustaining creativity, and Rosanna’s newest collection, The Corrected Version.
The Magnetic Pull of Place: An Interview with Rosanna Young Oh
(Amherst, Mass. August 4, 2023)— The Common, the award-winning, international literary journal based at Amherst College, has announced its fourth Literary Editorial Fellow: Olive Amdur ’23. The fellowship launched in 2020 with support from the Whiting Foundation and is sustained by the generosity of Amherst College alumni donors.
The Literary Editorial Fellowship (LEF) was introduced with three goals in mind: to strengthen the bridge between The Common’s existing Literary Publishing Internship (LPI) for undergraduates and the professional publishing world; to provide real-world experience for an Amherst graduate, transferable to a wide range of fields; and to increase the capacity of The Common’s publishing and programming operations.
The full-time, postgraduate fellow writes, edits, and proofreads prose and poetry; creates multimedia web features; writes and designs publicity materials; manages print and digital production; and develops, organizes and staffs innovative events on campus and across the country. The fellow also helps to mentor and train current interns.
The Common Magazine Announces Fourth Literary Editorial Fellow
Award-winning, international literary journal The Common has announced Sarah Wu ’25 as its 2023-24 Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellow. The fellowship was created in 2018 with a $50,000 gift from Sally Wood, whose daughter and late husband, Thomas E. Wood, an avid reader and gifted poet, attended Amherst College. The fund annually supports one student intern who possesses exceptional editorial promise and leadership skills.
The Common Magazine Announces 2023-24 Thomas E. Wood ’61 Fellow
One of the many things that drew me to A Space Bounded by Shadows is the novel’s overarching theme of exile and wandering between worlds — imaginary and real. The narrative weaves the rich tapestry of an artist’s life between art, relationships, and politics and their declaration of love for literature, film, and theatre. As an immigrant myself, the book captured me immediately because it explores how mother tongue and second language can merge, creating a new, enriched language and overcoming speechlessness in exile.
Translation: Excerpt from A SPACE BOUNDED BY SHADOWS