All posts tagged: poetry

April 2022 Poetry Feature

New work from our contributors: ARVIND KRISHNA MEHROTRA, DAVID LEHMAN, and MATT DONOVAN.

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra  |  “The Walk”

David Lehman  |  “Just a Couple of Mugs”

Matt Donovan  |  “Portrait of America as a Philadelphia Derringer Abraham Lincoln Assassination Box Set Replica”


The Walk
By Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

In a tree hollow like a cave mouth,
in which you and your partner
selfied yourselves, is a trash bag
oozing trash juice.

April 2022 Poetry Feature

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine

I ask
Is poetry possible
At the moment history stirs
Once its steps
Reverberate through every heart?

— From “Can there be poetry after” by Anastasia Afanasieva, translated by Kevin Vaughn and Maria Khotimsky


With the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, we at The Common have been reflecting on the powerful words of many Ukrainian poets who have appeared in our pages. In recent years their work has been rooted in conflict, as the country struggled first with self-determination and later with the Russian annexation of Crimea and, since 2014, with a Russian-incited war in the East. This focus lends a feeling of prescience and timeliness to their work now, even though most of these poems are not new. We hope you’ll make time to read and reflect on the work of these poets, as we all keep Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in our thoughts.

Is Poetry Possible at the Moment History Stirs: Poets of Ukraine

They Say You Are Everywhere


colorado from car

Unincorporated Arapahoe County, Colorado


Through mantle, earth, gender, air
                        through false stories and true
undistracted by pectin, pucker, time
                         scale, sugar, seed, dripped rainbow of
oil, prism, crushed berry residue,
                         om of home, acid, oxygen song—
I grip jelly jars to my eyes
                         mock binocular my way to You—

They Say You Are Everywhere

February 2022 Poetry Feature

New work from our contributors: MARK KYUNGSOO BIAS, SARA MUNJACK, and DANIEL TOBIN


Table of Contents:

Mark Kyungsoo Bias  |  Visitor

                                   |  Meeting My Mother

Sara Munjack  |  Friendship Talk after Love-lives

Daniel Tobin  |  The Door

                       |  Prayer in Passing

February 2022 Poetry Feature

Translation: Ġgantija II


Translated from the Maltese by RUTH WARD and IMMANUEL MIFSUD

Poem appears in both Maltese and English below.

Translator’s Note

The Poem

Malta is a country caught in the crosscurrents: between North Africa and continental Europe; between insularity and a constructive role on the world stage; between prehistoric ruins and the blockchain. Mifsud is the voice of Malta, reflecting the archipelago in its richness, complexity, and contradictions. His is the voice through which the margins question the center; myths of progress are challenged; and the ancient interrogates the present, as in “Ġgantija II.”

The Ġgantija (“Giantess”) temples of Gozo were built during the Neolithic and are thought to be more than 5,500 years old, older than the pyramids of Egypt. They were erected by a people who worshipped a mother figure, a goddess. Awareness of intergenerationality and the unbroken cycles of life takes on a peculiar intensity when all that you have ever been surrounds all that you are in the present — and all you might aspire to become. It is comforting; it is confining. “Ġgantija II” was commissioned for an interdisciplinary event and an excerpt from it, in the Maltese, has been incorporated into a public sculpture on the island of Gozo.

Translation: Ġgantija II