Urbino, a Renaissance jewel in central Italy. My first visit there in many years. I knew no one there, nor was I in touch with anyone from my grandmother Antonia’s family—assuming any were left.
One evening, as I was ascending a cobblestone street towards the city’s outer walls, I noticed a group of people gathered around an uncovered manhole. Intrigued, I moved closer. A group of amateur speleologists was about to begin a nocturnal exploration of underground Urbino; to my surprise they asked me if I wanted to join them. Squeezing down the manhole’s narrow, vertical, metal stairs, I found myself in a long tunnel. The guides began talking, but I wasn’t listening, mesmerized by the scattering flashes of their helmets’ lights. I felt I was physically penetrating the past—an imagined past. My father’s city’s past, unknown to him and to me.
On the Friday of LitFest, Amherst College’s annual literary festival, The Common Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker sat down with Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, among other accolades, to talk about crime, place, and “timely” writing. This is an edited version of that live interview from March 1, 2019.
Julia PikeResisting the Path of Least Resistance: An Interview with Jennifer Egan
Ukrainian poets have long connected themselves to the powerful myth of New York, offering various takes on its aura of urban modernity, its problematic vitality. New York Elegies demonstrates how evocations of New York City are connected to various stylistic modes and topical questions urgent to Ukrainian poetry throughout the past hundred years.
Julia PikeNovember 2018 Poetry Feature: New York Elegies
Excerpt from a speech given by Don Pedro Albizu Campos, Ponce, Puerto Rico, October 12, 1933:
A people’s sense of unity has to come from women … the woman nurtures the unity of a race, the unity of a civilization, the unity of a people … Puerto Rico will be free, Puerto Rico will be sovereign and independent when the Puerto Rican woman feels free, sovereign and independent. And for the Puerto Rican woman to achieve this unity, she has to feel it in her bones…
Whitney BrunoTo The Women Who Feel It In Their Bones
Friday, September 14, 2018 – 7 p.m. at Leonard Library, 81 Devoe St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
with Andrés Cerpa, Francisco Font-Acevedo, Carmen Graciela Díaz,
Joey de Jesus and Carina del Valle Schorske
September 2018 marks one year after Hurricane María devastated the island of Puerto Rico. This event features contemporary Puerto Rican writers of both poetry and prose sharing new creative work and discussing how the ongoing crisis has transformed our styles of survival, our experience of diaspora, and the function of translation. Readings will include a bilingual element to fully represent Puerto Rican linguistic diversity.
Emily EverettPuerto Rican Writing: One Year after María @ Brooklyn Book Festival
Today in the taxi I brought the famous jazz drummer’s wife, Elena, all around Harlem doing errands. Cobb is the last surviving member of the band that recorded Kind of Blue. We went to the bank and to the pharmacy. She let loose with some stories. It was as if his music was not alone waking up from its dream.
Join us in celebrating Issue 15 of The Common! The evening will feature readings from Liz Arnold, Emma Copley Eisenberg, and translator Lissie Jaquette, followed by a discussion with the magazine’s editor-in-chief Jennifer Acker. This event is free and open to the public.