Matt Donovan speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his prose poem “Guy with a Gun,” which appeared in The Common’s fall issue. Matt talks about the conversation that inspired the poem—an encounter with a Sandy Hook parent that highlights the complex gray area around guns and gun ownership. He also discusses how his poetry collection about the issue of guns in the US evolved from a nonfiction book proposal, his aims in undertaking the project, and his job running The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College.
For Rachel, the plague ended in May of 2021, on the day she again touched a stranger.
This stranger appeared when Rachel entered the clothing optional area of Dessert Springs. The name was a pun, the resort’s sign featuring a cartoon girl reclining in a banana split boat. Only two of the nine hot tubs were occupied, both by white women naked except for full suits of what appeared to be rockabilly tattoos. Rachel and her wife SJ, both one month vaccinated, started filling their stock tubs. Then, as Rachel walked past the women on her way to the outdoor shower, they laughed.
Haitian-born poet ENZO SILON SURIN gives “voice to experiences that take place in what he calls broken spaces.” These are the spaces he writes about, writes for, and writes from. In his latest poetry collection, American Scapegoat, following the success of his last book, When My Body Was A Clinched Fist, Surin illuminates our opaque relationship with the truest history of Black America. His poems invoke an urgent conversation, which is why the word “interview” here feels unmalleable; Enzo and DAPHNE STRASSMANN had a vulnerable exchange about the inheritance and meaning of a broken space.
Interrogating the Narrative of Injustice: Daphne Santana Strassmann interviews Enzo Silon Surin
Talia Lakshmi Kolluri speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her story “The Good Donkey,” which appears in The Common’s spring issue. In this conversation, Kolluri talks about writing fiction from the perspectives of different animals, and where the inspiration for those stories comes from. She also discusses how being mixed race can complicate conversations about race and identity in the U.S., how books and literature are making space for those conversations, and how she balances writing with a full-time job as an attorney.
Podcast: Talia Lakshmi Kolluri on “The Good Donkey”
Ravi Shankar speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his essay “The Five-Room Box,” which appears in The Common’s spring issue. In this conversation, Shankar talks about constructing this essay on identity, family, and fitting in from an excerpt of his memoir, Correctional, about his time spent in prison. He also discusses how that time changed the course of his academic work, what it’s like to transition from poet to prose-writer, and the privilege and profiling Asian-Americans experience as the ‘model minority.’
The powerboat clips Scofield point and breaks away from my cabin toward the more serious waters of Lake Superior. My guide, Tom, cranes his neck to view the shore as if he’s never seen it before, though he knows these bends and inlets well. We pass the outer islands—Rabbit, Caribou, Cemetery—which lift like teeth from the blue-green water. The motor quiets as we turn inward and thread the eye of Moskey Basin, toward docks and wooden nets, remnants of a long-gone fishing industry cast along the shoreline.
On the Path from the Edison Fishery to the Moose Boneyard
Wyatt Townley speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her poem “Instructions for the Endgame,” which appears in The Common’s spring issue. In this conversation, Townley talks about experiencing poetry in all parts of her life—in dance and yoga, in astronomy and physics, and in nature. She also discusses her time as Poet Laureate of Kansas, the pleasure of revising poems, and what it’s like seeing her work performed as an opera.
Podcast: Wyatt Townley on “Instructions for the Endgame”