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Magazine Stand :: The Common – Issue 27

Amherst’s Whiting Award-winning magazine, The Common joins the arrival of flowers and birds with its new issue (27). For the past eight years, the magazine, whose mission is to deepen our individual and collective sense of place, has published a portfolio of fiction translated from Arabic, transporting English-language readers to places from Morocco to Palestine. This year’s fiction comes from Chad, South Sudan, and Eritrea, and it explores non-linear time, the resilience and failure of love, and the corrosive effects of political instability. Also featured is a new story from Chlorine author Jade Song, an essay from ANGI co-editor Sven Birkerts, and three Hawaiian Pidgin poems excerpted from a forthcoming Kaya Press anthology.

Find out more about many of these titles with our Guide to Literary Magazines and our Big List of Literary Magazines and Big List of Alternative Magazines. If you are a publication looking to be listed in our monthly roundup or featured on our blog and social media, please contact us.

Event :: The Common Postcard Auction 2023

The Common Postcard Auction 2023 image of book and postcard

The Common‘s annual postcard auction opens for bidding on Monday, November 13. If you aren’t familiar, it’s an annual fundraiser where you can bid to receive a postcard from your favorite author. This year’s list of 40+ authors includes folks like Anthony Doerr, Gina Chung, Sandra Cisneros, David Sedaris, Rick Russo, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Anne Tyle, Alison Bechdel, Julia Alvarez, and Rabih Alameddine just to name a few. Authors always put a lot of their creative energy into writing (and drawing!) these, and they’re always completed by the holidays if you want to buy one as a gift for someone. Bidding closes at noon EST on December 4, 2023.

Magazine Stand :: The Common – Issue 26

The Common Issue 26 cover image

Two-time Lambda Literary fellow and co-editor of The Common‘s Issue 26 Miguel M. Morales offers these words to consider as we head into a season of feasting and celebration: “our farmworking hands helped harvest the feast.” The Common is a Whiting Award-winning literary magazine based out of Amherst College, and their latest issue features a portfolio of work from Latinx farmworkers, exploring issues of labor, immigration, identity, and “the farming culture that once coursed through the valley where Amherst is now located,” as David Applefield fellow Sam Spratford writes in the magazine’s opening essay. Issue 26 also features a new translated story from O. Henry Prize-winner Amar Mitra, a haunting essay about coming of age in 1990s Yugoslavia, and a poem from Whiting Award-winner Rickey Laurentiis, “Tall Lyric for Palestine (Or, The Harder Thinking).”

Find out more about many of these titles with our Guide to Literary Magazines and our Big List of Literary Magazines and Big List of Alternative Magazines. If you are a publication looking to be listed in our monthly roundup or featured on our blog and social media, please contact us.

Magazine Stand :: The Common – Issue 25

The Common Issue 25 cover image

Issue 25 of The Common features a special portfolio of Arabic fiction from Kuwait, stories set in the USSR during perestroika and on the Texas-Mexico border, essays about romance during Ramadan, and the legacy of artist Marcel Duchamp, and poems by Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Karen Chase, Robert Cording, Tina Cane, and Felice Bell. The Common is an award-winning print and online literary magazine publishing literature and images with a strong sense of place, inspired by the mission of the town common—a gathering place for the display and exchange of ideas.

To find more great reading, visit the NewPages Guide to Literary Magazines, the NewPages Big List of Literary Magazines, the NewPages Big List of Alternative Magazines, and the NewPages Guide to Publications for Young Writers. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Magazine Stand :: The Common – Issue 24

The Common literary magazine Issue 24 cover image

The Common‘s mission has always been to deepen our individual and collective sense of place. This fall, Issue 24 of the magazine gives readers the chance to explore the creative possibilities of disaster, ponder the responsibility of telling others’ stories, and reflect on the power dynamics that arise along racial, religious, and regional lines. Contributors to this most recent issue include Fiction by Sindya Bhanoo, Ahmed Naji, Kathleen Heil, Gerardo Sámano Córdova Logan Lane, Gabriel Carle, Rossella Milone; Essays by Alexis M. Wright, Robin Lee Carlson Alexandra Teague, Meera Nair; Poetry by Tommye Blount, Joseph O. Legaspi, Akwe Amosu, Austin Segrest, Hussain Ahmed, Anacaona Rocio Milagro, Sara Munjack, Tom Paine, Elizabeth Metzger, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Darius Simpson, David Mills, Robert Fanning, Terri Witek, Daniel Tobin, Matt Donovan.

Lit Mag News :: The Common Author’s Postcard Auction

Rumann Alam Personalized Postcard image

The Common, the award-winning literary magazine based in Amherst, MA, is opening its ninth annual Author Postcard Auction on November 7, 2022. Authors will write and send postcards in time for the holidays! This unique online auction gives book lovers from around the world the opportunity to bid on handwritten, personalized postcards from their favorite writers. The Common, whose mission is to deepen society’s sense of place through literature and nurture the careers of new and international writers, is directly benefited by proceeds from the auction. They support payment to and mentorship of emerging authors as well as The Common’s post-grad editorial fellowship.

2022 Postcard Auction Authors: Rumaan Alam, Rabih Alameddine, Gina Apostol, Christina Baker Kline, Alison Bechdel, Matt Bell, Alexander Chee, Tara Conklin, Jennifer Croft, Edwidge Danticat, Anthony Doerr, Esi Edugyan, Jennifer Egan, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Craig Finn, Jonathan Franzen, Neil Gaiman, Andrew Sean Greer, Lauren Groff, Joe Hill, Leslie Jamison, Hari Kunzru, Fran Lebowitz, Min Jin Lee, Megha Majumdar, Elizabeth McCracken, Natalie Merchant, Claire Messud, Christopher Moore, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Tommy Orange, Julie Otsuka, R. J. Palacio, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Safran Foer, George Saunders, David Sedaris, Jim and Karen Shepard, Amanda Shires, Lynn Steger Strong, Elizabeth Strout, Donna Tartt, Jeff Tweedy, Anne Tyler, Claire Vaye Watkins, Chris Ware.

Call :: The Common Seeks Writing from Farmworkers

The Common literary magazine seeks writing submissions from the Farmworker Community promo image

The Common, the award-winning literary journal based at Amherst College, is announcing an open call for writing submissions from the farmworker and farm laborer community—the migrant, seasonal, and often immigrant laborers who make up much of the US agricultural workforce—to be published as a special portfolio in the fall of 2023.

The Common invites work from current and former farmworkers of all ages, as well as those raised in farmworker families who experienced the stories and effects of this work through their parents or other relations. This portfolio offers space to work that voices the diversity of farmwork and farmworkers and their wide range of experiences: the physical, emotional, and financial struggles, the dangers and injustices, but also the rituals and celebrations, and the profound strength, skill, ingenuity, and resilience that are essential to this life.

This portfolio will be edited in collaboration with guest co-editor Miguel M. Morales, a Lambda Literary Fellow and an alum of VONA/Voices and of the Macondo Writers Workshop who grew up in Texas working as a migrant and seasonal farmworker.

Submissions close February 1, 2023. Payment for accepted work is $200 for prose pieces and $40 per poem.

For more information, click here.

Magazine Stand :: THE COMMON – Spring 2022

The Common literary magazine cover image

In 2016, THE COMMON began its relationship with the Arabic literary world when Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker and prominent Jordanian writer Hisham Bustani collaborated to publish a special issue devoted to contemporary Arabic fiction. THE COMMON now publishes annual Arabic portfolios of short fiction and visual art each spring. Palestine authors featured in this issue: Mahmoud Shukair, Samira Azzam, Suhail Matar, Abeer Khshiboon, Sheikha Hussein Helawy, Khaled Al-Jebour, Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud, Izzat Al-Ghazzawi, Ziad Khaddash, and Eyad Barghuthy. These stories are translated from Arabic to English by four celebrated translators: Ranya Abdel Rahman, Nashwa Gowanlock, Nariman Youssef, and Amika Fendi.

Continue reading “Magazine Stand :: THE COMMON – Spring 2022”

Recent Themed Issues to Add to Your Reading List

If you like themed lit mag issues, we’ve got some recommendations!

Each issue of THEMA focuses on one themed prompt. The Autumn 2021 issue’s theme is “Which Virginia?” Twenty contributors try their hand at exploring this Virginian theme.

While not quite a theme, Hanging Loose does feature a selection of high school aged writers in each issue. Issue 111 includes work by eleven different high school writers who close out the issue.

Bennington Review‘s Summer 2021 issue focuses on a theme that’s probably on most of our minds right now: The Health of the Sick. Michael Dumanis’s note from the editor explains, “Many of the pieces in this issue of Bennington Review display a keen awareness of the vulnerability of the human body, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.” The theme “borrows its title from Argentine writer Julio Cortázar’s underappreciated 1966 short story . . . “

Issue 22 of The Common includes a portfolio of writing from the Arabian Gulf introduced by Deepak Unnikrishnan. This includes fiction by Tariq Al Haydar, Farah Ali, and others; essays by Mona Kareem, Keija Parssinen, and Priyanka Sacheti; and poetry by Hala Alyan, Rewa Zeinati, Zeina Hashem Beck, and more.

AGNI Number 94 brings readers a portfolio of work in translation. You can expect to find work by Azzurra D’Agostino translated by Johanna Bishop, Yi Won translated by E. J. Koh & Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Ananda Devi translated by Kazim Ali, and much more.

Finally, The Missouri Review asks the question “How did I get here?” in the Fall 2021 issue, the theme inspired by “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads.

Visit each literary magazine to show some support and learn more about these issues.

“The Purpose of Translingual Poetry Centers on Going Beyond”: A Conversation between Haoran Tong and Ilan Stavans

On August 17 literary magazine The Common featured a conversation between Ilan Stavans and Haoran Tong on poetry and the use of multiple languages. Besides talking on how language is used and how they consider it in their own work, you also get to learn how they grew up and learned their languages from it being completely natural with no dominance of one language over the other to acquiring a new language as being an invasion.

My English education, in contrast, focused more on practical dialogues than on literature. English was taught to me as a useful tool to acquire more knowledge, but Chinese was me. This probably explains my initial reluctance to use English elements in Chinese poems, or vice versa. Moreover, I seriously scrutinized my poems, out of guilt, for any “latinized” syntax that sounded “unChinese.”

Stavans and Tong also talk on “decidophobia” and how common it is now when in societies today choices are constantly demanded and their is always the underlying fear that you may make the wrong one.

Decidophobia is a common social trait, especially in capitalist societies: we are constantly demanding ourselves to make a choice. This, obviously, comes with the fear of making the wrong one. Is it possible to have too many choices before us? Should one try to avoid such a situation? Probably not.

And if you are interested in translation versus translingualism, Stavans and Tong have a lot to bring to the table on the subject as well: “Whereas translation tells, explains, or instructs, translingual writing shows, infuses and liberates.” Check out the interview in it’s entirety.

Regional Writing in New Mag Issues

Want to check out some work by writers from specific regions? Three recent literary magazine issues have you covered.

The Common‘s 21st issue includes a feature on Arabic Stories from Morocco. In this section is translated writing and art from the Hindiyeh Museum of Art by Latifa Labsir, Fatima Zohra Rghioui, Mohamed Zafzaf, and more.

Volume 42 Number 1 of New England Review‘s translation feature is “From Granma to Boston and Havana and Back: Cuban Literature Today.” Here, find work by Víctor Fowler Calzada, Jorge Enrique Lage, Anna Lidia Vega Serova, and others.

And from within the United States, Rattle‘s Summer 2021 issue features twenty-two Appalachian poets. Among these are Ace Boggess, Mitzi Doton, Kari Gunter-Seymour, Raymond Hammond, Elaine Fowler Palencia, and more.

The Common: 2021 Festival of Debut Authors

Celebrate ten years of publishing new voices with The Common‘s special events team. Hop on Zoom on March 25 at 7PM EST and join Ama Codjoe, Sara Elkamel, LaToya Faulk, Ben Shattuck, Angela Qian, and Ghassan Zeineddine for readings and conversation. The event will raise scholarship funds for The Common‘s Young Writers Program. Learn more and register for the reading via the journal’s website.

Join The Common for 10 Weeks of Writing

You have a few days left to register for The Common‘s online writing program Weekly Writes. The ten-week program begins on January 25, and costs $25 to attend.

The poetry and prose programs provide prompts, writing advice, and an angle of accountability to help writers commit to a regular writing practice.

You can find out what you’ll receive if you register at The Common‘s website where frequently asked questions are also answered.

The Common – October 2020

The latest issue of The Common is out. Find a special portfolio of writing from the Lusosphere: Portugal and its colonial and linguistic diaspora, with works in English and in translation exploring Lisbon, Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. A debut short story by Silvia Spring, essays on home and complicity, and the DISQUIET Prize-winning poem.

The Common- Spring 2020

The Common - Spring 2020

The Common’s Spring 2020 issue released today. Inside the issue: an Arabic Portfolio from Sudan with work by Andel-Ghani Karamalla, Ishraga Mustafa Hamid, Bwader Basheer, Jamal Aldin Ali Alhaj, Mustafa Mubarak, and more. Also in this issue is fiction by Thoraya El-Rayyes, Catherine Buni, Bina Shah, and others; essays by A. Kendra Greene, Suraj Alva, and Tanya Coke; and poetry by January Gill O’Neil, Emily Leithauser, Megan Pinto, Mira Rosenthal, Tara Skurtu, John Freeman, marcus scott williams, and more.

“Death of the Farm Family” by Sarah Smarsh

The Common - Fall 2019Magazine Review by Makenzie Vance

In the Issue 8 of The Common, Sarah Smarsh describes how her grandfather’s home became a central gathering place for friends and family and then how it was lost after his death. She begins two generations before her own and skillfully condenses her three-generational story into a compelling length.

Smarsh recounts how her drifter grandmother met her grandfather and finally settled down after a life of wandering with her teenage child—Smarsh’s mother. Though the farmhouse served as a communal space for family and friends and a home for eccentric farm traditions like sledding in a canoe behind a truck, the farm fell apart when her grandfather died, leaving a hole in their lives.

Smarsh speaks to all when she illustrates the importance of a central gathering place for a community, and she reaffirms the importance of small farms and the lives lived upon them.


About the reviewer: Makenzie Vance is a creative writing student at Utah State University.