This fall, in its 26th issue, Amherst College’s award-winning literary magazine The Common will publish a special portfolio of writing and art from the farmworker and farm laborer community: the migrant, seasonal, and often immigrant laborers who make up much of the US agricultural workforce.
Co-edited by Miguel M. Morales, the portfolio includes work by twenty-seven contributors with roots in this community, most of whom started work in the fields as children. It reflects their diverse experiences—long hours and low pay, protests and picket lines, the fierce resilience of their families, the warmth of their communities, and the satisfaction of doing hard work will, among loved ones.
The Common is a print and online literary journal with a mission to deepen our individual and collective sense of place: to reach from there to here. Since its debut in 2011, The Common has published nearly 1900 emerging and established authors from 53 countries, developed unique workshops and educational programs, and built a local and global community of writers and readers of all ages, all from our office in Frost Library.
On November 9th and 10th, as a part of this mission, we will host two events on the Amherst College campus celebrating our Issue 26 farmworker portfolio and exploring the relationship between its questions of land, migration, and belonging and our home here in Western Massachusetts. Contributors Nora Rodriguez Camagna and Julián David Bañuelos, as well as portfolio co-editor Miguel M. Morales, will be guests at both events.
The Common Fall Launch Party
Thursday, November 9, 2023, 6pm
Friendly Reading Room, Frost Library
Amherst College, Amherst, MA
Free and open to the public, wine and food from La Veracruzana provided.
We welcome portfolio co-editor Miguel M. Morales, poet Julián David Bañuelos, and prose writer Nora Rodriguez Camagna for brief readings and conversation about place, immigration, writing, farmwork, and family. All three of our guests grew up doing seasonal farmwork with their families. The event will be hosted by the magazine’s managing editor Emily Everett.
Issues will be available for purchase, but you can also pre-order here.
This event will be co-sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, an organization that works with low wage and immigrant workers across Western Massachusetts to create economic, social, and political change.
Julián David Bañuelos is a Chicano poet and translator from Lubbock, Texas. His poems and translations can be seen in The Cincinnati Review, The Hopkins Review, The Latino Book Review, and many more. His unpublished collection, Las Cancioncitas, was selected as a 2023 National Poetry Series Finalist. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. You can find his work at www.juliandavidbanuelos.com.
Miguel M. Morales grew up in Texas working as a migrant and seasonal farmworker. Selected as a finalist for the 2023-2026 Poet Laureate of Kansas, he is a two-time Lambda Literary Fellow and an alum of VONA/Voices and of the Macondo Writers Workshops. Miguel’s work appears in the anthologies: Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland, Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland, From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction, and The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat &Fierce. His work has been published in Duende Journal, Acentos Review, Green Mountains Review, Texas Poetry Review, Hawai’i Review, and World Literature Today, among other journals. Miguel is the co-editor of Pulse/Pulso: In Remembrance of Orlando and of Fat & Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives, which was named the 2021 Book of the Year by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. Miguel has earned several awards including the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award. Follow Miguel as @TrustMiguel on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Nora Rodriguez Camagna grew up in Texas, Mexico, and California’s migrant labor camps, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. As a child, it was her Abuelita Arsenia’s storytelling under their backyard cherry tree that kept her connected to family in Mexico, and inspired her to become a writer. Nora was also inspired by her public school teachers, who introduced her to the magical world of books. Her work has been featured at The Bay Area Book Festival and Stories on Stage Sacramento. She has been a fellow at many juried writer workshops, and has studied under Tommy Orange, Karen E. Bender, Anthony Marra, Gabriela Garcia, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras. She teaches creative writing to underserved students through 916 Ink, a Sacramento nonprofit literacy organization. One of her favorite parts of teaching is inspiring students to recognize that their imaginations have no borders. She lives in California with her husband, and is a mother of three wonderful sons.
Farmers and Farmworkers: Getting Food on the American Table
November 10th, 2023, 3pm
Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall
Amherst College, Amherst, MA
Join The Common and Amherst College’s Book and Plow farm for a behind-the-scenes conversation about farming and food systems featuring five panelists with direct personal and familial experience! This event is just one of the panels and receptions alumni are encouraged to attend during Amherst College’s 2023 Homecoming Weekend.
Book and Plow Farm Fellow Ana Ascencio ’18, farm intern Ayo Eniola ‘24, and three authors from The Common’s newly released portfolio of writing from the farmworker community—Miguel M. Morales, Nora Rodriguez Camagna, and Julián David Bañuelos—will reflect on their own years in farmwork while commenting on larger cultural, climate, and market forces that affect farming and farmwork today.
The Book & Plow Farm is an on-campus teaching farm that works with students to grow produce for Valentine Dining Hall and beyond, and also hosts faculty staff and students for community, wellness and academic events.
Farm-based treats and drinks served!