All posts tagged: Poetry Feature

March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey

Please welcome poet FRANCES RICHEY to our pages.


—The Times Square Hotel

—After the Diagnosis

Frances Richey is the author of two poetry collections: The Warrior (Viking Penguin 2008), The Burning Point (White Pine Press 2004), and the chapbook, Voices of the Guard (Clackamas Community College 2010). She teaches an on-going poetry writing class at Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, and she is the poetry editor for upstreet Literary Magazine. She was poetry editor for Bellevue Literary Review from 2004-2008. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from: The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Plume, Gulf Coast, Salmagundi, Salamander, Blackbird, River Styx, and Woman’s Day, and her poems have been featured on NPR, PBS NewsHour and Verse Daily. Most recently she was a finalist for The National Poetry Series for her manuscript, “On The Way Here.” She lives in New York City.

March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey

February 2020 Poetry Feature: Victoria Kelly

Five New Poems by VICTORIA KELLY

Headshot of Victoria Kelly

Victoria Kelly graduated from Harvard University, Trinity College Dublin, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of the poetry collection When the Men Go Off to War (Naval Institute Press), about her experience as a military spouse. Her poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry and has been made into an animated short film by Motion Poems. She is the author of the novel Mrs. Houdini (Atria Books / Simon & Schuster). She lives in northern Virginia, where she works in public relations, writes and is raising her two young daughters. 

Table of Contents

  • After the War
  • In the Next World
  • Cathedral
  • Before My First Husband’s War
  • Conversation on My Boyfriend
February 2020 Poetry Feature: Victoria Kelly

January 2020 Poetry Feature


New work by our contributors:

John Freeman  |  Translation in Paris

marcus scott williams  |  meadow on Wabash

Megan Pinto  |  The Blind

Reilly Cox  |  Silence of the Lambs: A Matter of Height


By John Freeman

There are no editors in the café
called Les Éditeurs. There’s not
a single novelist in the Saint-
Germain store gilded by novels.
There are no beasts of the chase
paddocked in the park, but that’s what
the West Germanic word—parrukmeant.
It took the overrunning of London
by its immigrant population in 1680
to turn the word into the spot we’d
park humans, so they could stumble
around in bewilderment at how time
is translation, change is nature’s rime.

January 2020 Poetry Feature

December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season



Table of Contents:

Adam Scheffler, “Checkout”

Megan Pinto, “Faith”



A poem can’t tell you what it’s like
to be 83 and seven hours deep
into a Christmas Eve shift
at Walmart, cajoling
beeps from objects like the secret
name each of us will never
be sweetly called, can’t show
you her face and eyes like the
night sky, or the white-haired
man wearing reindeer horns,
mumbling into his collar’s
static-y radio-gadget; a poem
can only mention her eyes,
shocking blue, like desert
pools, the red & white of her
Santa hat, or take note of the
little carts carrying each beached
customer to the doom of their
product; but a poem can place
this curse upon the Waltons:
that they be given her job
manning the conveyer as it
rattles its barren Torah through
miles of product, or be given a list
of every item they sell, and be
made to wander like Israelites
back and forth through their
endless stores until they find them,
until their heads and toes grow
lighter, and Christmas music
lifts and carries them & lifts
and carries them, like each
one is a burst suitcase of
money blizzarding open.

December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season

November 2019 Poetry Feature: Ron Welburn


Please welcome back The Common contributor Ron Welburn.


  • Marginal Note for Historical Revision
  • Pretty Memory
  • Analog to Ancestry



“Neither Huguenot nor Timucuan gained much
from the other. The Huguenots tried to convert
the Timucuan to Protestantism. The Timucuans
taught the Huguenots to smoke tobacco.”

(Charles Hudson, The Southeastern Indians, 1976. p. 429)

November 2019 Poetry Feature: Ron Welburn

October 2019 Poetry Feature: Sasha Stiles


The Common is thrilled to welcome Sasha Stiles to our pages for the first time.

Table of Contents:

  • Introductory Note
  • Uncanny Valley
  • Vision



What does it mean to be human in a nearly posthuman era? How are the cornerstones of our universal condition—birth, breath, love, sex, faith, death—evolving in the context of biological and computational advances? How does it feel to be mostly flesh and blood in a world increasingly dominated by plastic and silicon, virtual presence and spectral signals? What dark corners of the future and of cyberspace can ancient wisdom illuminate? What does motherhood mean in a world of artificial wombs, lab-grown brains, self-replication, and the uncertain continuation of our species as we know it? Who are these robots, chatbots, androids, cyborgs and intelligences already walking and talking amongst us? Do our avatars make us, in some measure, immortal? TechnELEGY—the ongoing transmedia project and poetry collection from which these pieces are excerpted—is my attempt to grapple with these impossible questions.

—Sasha Stiles

October 2019 Poetry Feature: Sasha Stiles

September 2019 Poetry Feature: From CROWN DECLINE


This month we present selections from CROWN DECLINE, by TC contributors John Kinsella and Don Share.

Table of Contents:

  • Crown Decline, #55-62 (DS and JK)
  • I Had That Dream Already (DS)
  • And Counting (JK)
  • Authors’ Statement


From CROWN DECLINE (Odd numbers by Kinsella; even numbers by Share)


In a state of loss
I try to ‘Kick Out the Jams’
But am left sore-toed.
Which doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith —
To the contrary. Come on!

September 2019 Poetry Feature: From CROWN DECLINE

August 2019 Poetry Feature

New poems by Nathan McClain, Sara Elkamel, and Brian Simoneau


| At the Park, a Boy’s Birthday

SARA ELKAMEL | Instructions for getting around a desert

BRIAN SIMONEAU |  Each morning I get up I die a little



The flowers

in the greenhouse
now flowers

in the supermarket

from wherever

they seemed almost
to nod

their agreement with what
the breeze once said

now flowers
in some glass vase

on the dining room table
where no one eats

What race they are
doesn’t matter nor if

their stems are thorny
you see

They’re just flowers
They die

You walk by
them all the time

hardly thinking
twice about their names


At the Park, a Boy’s Birthday Party  

No surprises here, really.
Not the plastic,

white cutlery
or the fancy glass bowl,

cubes of pineapple
and Bosc pear

floating in punch
(naturally red)

that no one
(thank the Lord)

has thought yet to spike.
Each boy, blindfolded,

spun in place, and shoved
down the piñata’s path

with a bat
he can barely lift,

the piñata star-shaped,
tasseled pink at its ends,

seems accurate.
At this age,

their limbs
inarticulate as the smoke

of catfish or pork ribs
that hiss on the park grill.

They hardly notice
the sun’s descent.

            It’s getting late, I think
to say as someone’s father

knots the blindfold
over my eyes. Fits the bat

into my hands. In my ear,
the boys shriek, and there—

the star,
snagged in the oak

of my mind, the rope,

almost gently. How,
even dizzied,

do I step towards it?



Instructions for getting around a desert  

The bride is seeing ghosts today.
She stands expertly with unease

as subtle as a sweet surprise
dissolved under a cloud.

There is nothing around
to quiver. Just our unkindness

pouring out our hands
like sand.

When they describe sugar
they say it looks

like salt. Feels the same when
bitten. For its gentleness,

ideal as a cure for dryness,
acidity, soreness, even weak

eyesight. But when she sees
the same dream twice, the bride

self-medicates: dissolves elsewhere
in gentle hot earth. Fills

her palms with salt, but
are these the kinds of gifts

you give at the end?
How red is a red infinity

if you give it your back,
your head like a rosefinch

caught in the horizon.
How infinite?



Each morning I get up I die a little 

A truck rumbles the day to life, lifts with robotic arm our bin
and sets it softly down. We are living in the future

and the future brought pain to ankles, to knees, my temples
rendered gray. So today I don a fraying t-shirt, silk-screened
logo faded the way our favorite mix-tape songs now slip

from digital lives. What’s come won’t come undone, summer
hungover, and the slang we sang unstrung, each year a little

harder to believe. I walk the girls to school over squares
of cement cracked by frost and passing to nowhere, corners
with no corner stores, even gas stations an indecent drive

away, past bedroom after bedroom, two-car garages hiding
if people are home or not. Kids on the street wait for the day

to begin with vinyl seats and backpacks on laps, their task
what it is for us all: remake themselves to the minute at hand.
Unshaven, unshowered, a baseball cap tugged into place,

I flip-flop down the block, stop to watch a helicopter
overhead. I will hop and skip. I will not step on a crack.


Nathan McClain is the author of Scale(Four Way Books, 2017), the recipient of fellowships from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Frost Place, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. His poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poem-a-Day, The Baffler, West Branch Wired, upstreet, and Foundry. He teaches at Hampshire College.

Sara Elkamel is a journalist and poet, living between Cairo and New York City. She holds an M.A. in arts and culture journalism from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Guernica, The Common, Winter Tangerine, American Chordata and elsewhere.

Brian Simoneau is the author of the poetry collection River Bound (C&R Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, Southern Indiana Review, Third Coast, and other journals. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, he lives near Boston with his family.

August 2019 Poetry Feature

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