“All great literature is one of two stories,” said Tolstoy, “a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” That year I was going nowhere but the Greek café beside the inner harbor that smelled of fish, though there were no fish. Strangers showed their faces. “Say, Lev, tell me a story, ” I told them. But they told me no stories. My life, I figured, wasn’t cut with great literature. It wasn’t cut with greatness of any kind. Occasionally I cruised out of bounds in a young man’s TwinAir MiTo or an old man’s Bentley. “I am going somewhere,” I told myself, over and over. “I am leaving it all behind,” I said, stopped at a light, in the fug of traffic, in the empire of good enough.   
                                —“Valet” by Will Schutt.

Read more: new work by Will Schutt, Patrick Pritchett, and Kevin C. Stewart, three poets new to the pages of The Common!
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“All great literature is one of two stories,” said Tolstoy, “a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” That year I was going nowhere but the Greek café beside the inner harbor that smelled of fish, though there were no fish. Strangers showed their faces. “Say, Lev, tell me a story, ” I told them. But they told me no stories. My life, I figured, wasn’t cut with great literature. It wasn’t cut with greatness of any kind. Occasionally I cruised out of bounds in a young man’s TwinAir MiTo or an old man’s Bentley. “I am going somewhere,” I told myself, over and over. “I am leaving it all behind,” I said, stopped at a light, in the fug of traffic, in the empire of good enough.   

                                —“Valet” by Will Schutt.

Read more: new work by Will Schutt, Patrick Pritchett, and Kevin C. Stewart, three poets new to the pages of The Common!

   

Tags: #poetry #Leo Tolstoy #Lev Tolstoy #valet parking #Will Schutt #Patrick Pritchett #Kevin C. Stewart


 

I’m here on the patio, no appetite,drinking a salty margarita. I feelmy liver, ignore it like last night’sglass of water. I’m tired of writingyou down when I should be writingpoems about place. Dusk hits beyondthe man playing the red accordionon the corner, and the strays of Iașibark out a score backed by dissonantfrequencies of the evening bells.This morning I took a walk and founda noseless man pumping gypsy love songson his accordion. I stared into the holesof his face and thought about the girlwith the green ribbon around her neck.Had you read the story backwards,we might not have lost our heads.It’s late. What time is it?I ask a poet who isn’t you.There’s time enough, he says.

"Bar Poem," by Tara Skurtu.
 | 2 notes

I’m here on the patio, no appetite,
drinking a salty margarita. I feel
my liver, ignore it like last night’s
glass of water. I’m tired of writing
you down when I should be writing
poems about place. 
Dusk hits beyond
the man playing the red accordion
on the corner, and the strays of Iași
bark out a score backed by dissonant
frequencies of the evening bells.
This morning I took a walk and found
a noseless man pumping gypsy love songs
on his accordion. I stared into the holes
of his face and thought about the girl
with the green ribbon around her neck.
Had you read the story backwards,
we might not have lost our heads.
It’s late. What time is it?
I ask a poet who isn’t you.
There’s time enough, he says.

"Bar Poem," by Tara Skurtu.

   

Tags: #poetry #bars #margarita #alcohol #romania #iasi #tara skurtu


 

1.
In May, I was abroad finishing a job, the kind that did not exist when I graduated high school. As I prepared to leave, northeast Ohio, where I grew up, came to me. I would fly down remembered winding gray roads. Sometimes I did this in my dreams. Sometimes the dream was different – I would drive out to the country but turn around because I didn’t know what to do out there, outside a car with only long grass and woods around me and no path to hike. The suburbs were my cradle. In the car from the airport to my childhood home, I realized that what I had thought of as flying was the feeling of the car tugging my shoulders in the backseat as we made familiar turns.

Turns like exiting the highway to the right and stopping at the light. Here the mall stood in front of us, flying a tarp over its windows because, I learned, it had been recently sold to a smaller mall holder. (A month or so later, the tenting was gone.) When the light changed, the curved winding gray roads carried us past the mall, rocking at each street bend to the gentle glowing brand signs that cast light into our window. […]

Read more of Sahiba Gill’s essay on the death—and “artificial eternal life”—of malls across the world, from Ohio to the UAE.
 | 1 note

1.

In May, I was abroad finishing a job, the kind that did not exist when I graduated high school. As I prepared to leave, northeast Ohio, where I grew up, came to me. I would fly down remembered winding gray roads. Sometimes I did this in my dreams. Sometimes the dream was different – I would drive out to the country but turn around because I didn’t know what to do out there, outside a car with only long grass and woods around me and no path to hike. The suburbs were my cradle. In the car from the airport to my childhood home, I realized that what I had thought of as flying was the feeling of the car tugging my shoulders in the backseat as we made familiar turns.

Turns like exiting the highway to the right and stopping at the light. Here the mall stood in front of us, flying a tarp over its windows because, I learned, it had been recently sold to a smaller mall holder. (A month or so later, the tenting was gone.) When the light changed, the curved winding gray roads carried us past the mall, rocking at each street bend to the gentle glowing brand signs that cast light into our window. […]

Read more of Sahiba Gill’s essay on the death—and “artificial eternal life”—of malls across the world, from Ohio to the UAE.

   

Tags: #dead malls #malls #dubai #abu dhabi #consumerism #ohio #sahiba gill #joan didion


 

Our first week, you showed me aroundyour empty capital in a dream. We skippedParliament and headed down Calea Victoriei,lit beeswax candles for the living,
drank jasmine tea at Serendipity, thena big one hit. I would’ve askedwhat happened next, but I was in it, I knew,I could feel it: you’d have saved yourselfif it weren’t for each day you forget how.
[…]

Read more of “Richter Scale,” a new poem-dispatch from Tara Skurtu in Bucharest, Romania.
 | 3 notes

Our first week, you showed me around
your empty capital in a dream. We skipped

Parliament and headed down Calea Victoriei,
lit beeswax candles for the living,


drank jasmine tea at Serendipity, then
a big one hit. I would’ve asked

what happened next, but I was in it, I knew,
I could feel it: you’d have saved yourself

if it weren’t for each day you forget how.

[…]

Read more of “Richter Scale,” a new poem-dispatch from Tara Skurtu in Bucharest, Romania.

   

Tags: #Romania #Bucharest #earthquake #Richter Scale #poetry #dispatches


 

We were back in the Hudson Valley, in the marvelous town of Beacon, to make some images of a new park on the solstice. I found Brooklyn photographer James Ewing stalking the faint pre-dawn, about 5:15AM. A golden haze that had built behind the Hudson Highlands, in an instant, crested over to illuminate this little riverfront peninsula. We scrambled to make the most of the sun, searching out the best views, the right moments. The whole Saturday passed this way, really, though with less urgency than those first minutes. All across Beacon’s Long Dock Park, in a bit of solar sport, we either laid traps ahead of or chased just behind the light.

Read more of Architecture Editor Scott Geiger’s feature “Photographing the New Nature,” on seizing “beautiful, high-resolution images of our present world, even as it changes everywhere around us.” Geiger and photographer James Ewing visit the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires to witness “a metamorphosis, from gritty infrastructure to anthropogenic work of nature.”
 | 0 notes

We were back in the Hudson Valley, in the marvelous town of Beacon, to make some images of a new park on the solstice. I found Brooklyn photographer James Ewing stalking the faint pre-dawn, about 5:15AM. A golden haze that had built behind the Hudson Highlands, in an instant, crested over to illuminate this little riverfront peninsula. We scrambled to make the most of the sun, searching out the best views, the right moments. The whole Saturday passed this way, really, though with less urgency than those first minutes. All across Beacon’s Long Dock Park, in a bit of solar sport, we either laid traps ahead of or chased just behind the light.

Read more of Architecture Editor Scott Geiger’s feature “Photographing the New Nature,” on seizing “beautiful, high-resolution images of our present world, even as it changes everywhere around us.” Geiger and photographer James Ewing visit the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires to witness “a metamorphosis, from gritty infrastructure to anthropogenic work of nature.”

   

Tags: #nature #the hudson valley #photography #The Clark Art Institute #James Ewing #Scott Geiger #Williamstown #Beacon #architecture


 

Your name: Diane Roberts
Current city or town: Tallahassee, Florida
How long have you lived here? A slightly more complicated question than it would seem. I was born in Tallahassee and lived here till I went abroad to university. I spent ten years in England and fourteen years in Alabama and then came back to Tallahassee. The short answer is that, in my head, I’ve lived here all my life. 
Best time of year to visit? Late February or early March. It’s spring and that ain’t no joke: azaleas, dogwood, redbud, daffodils all going boom at once.
Three words to describe the climate: hot wet towel.

Read more of our latest installment of “Ask a Local,” in which author Diane Roberts illuminates Tallahassee, Florida: politics, football, and worm-grunting.
 | 3 notes

Your name: Diane Roberts

Current city or town: Tallahassee, Florida

How long have you lived here? A slightly more complicated question than it would seem. I was born in Tallahassee and lived here till I went abroad to university. I spent ten years in England and fourteen years in Alabama and then came back to Tallahassee. The short answer is that, in my head, I’ve lived here all my life. 

Best time of year to visit? Late February or early March. It’s spring and that ain’t no joke: azaleas, dogwood, redbud, daffodils all going boom at once.

Three words to describe the climate: hot wet towel.

Read more of our latest installment of “Ask a Local,” in which author Diane Roberts illuminates Tallahassee, Florida: politics, football, and worm-grunting.

   

Tags: #tallahassee #florida #Florida State University #the south #football #Diane Roberts #Ask a Local #interviews


 

A year later, and I’m up at dawn again on the longest day. Last time it was driving you to a job you tried so hard to like. This time, it’s me, delivering papers in the limbo between yesterday and today. The date on the front page is tomorrow in my mind because I haven’t slept, but today hasn’t started until someone steps out onto their front porch and picks up this carefully rubber-banded scroll.
It’s not summer break but an economic layoff with no definite return, and I try not to think too much about how it sounds when people ask what I’m doing these days and I say excitedly, “I have a paper route,” as if I’m some golden-age TV kid who’s waiting to hang out with Wally and The Beav. A few months ago when people asked, I could say, “I teach writing at the college.” Like that means anything. But people seem to think it does.

Read more of today’s new dispatch from James Alan Gill, bringing us a pre-dawn paper route account of the summer solstice from Eugene, Oregon.
 | 2 notes

A year later, and I’m up at dawn again on the longest day. Last time it was driving you to a job you tried so hard to like. This time, it’s me, delivering papers in the limbo between yesterday and today. The date on the front page is tomorrow in my mind because I haven’t slept, but today hasn’t started until someone steps out onto their front porch and picks up this carefully rubber-banded scroll.

It’s not summer break but an economic layoff with no definite return, and I try not to think too much about how it sounds when people ask what I’m doing these days and I say excitedly, “I have a paper route,” as if I’m some golden-age TV kid who’s waiting to hang out with Wally and The Beav. A few months ago when people asked, I could say, “I teach writing at the college.” Like that means anything. But people seem to think it does.

Read more of today’s new dispatch from James Alan Gill, bringing us a pre-dawn paper route account of the summer solstice from Eugene, Oregon.

   

Tags: #Eugene #Oregon #summer solstice #solstice #unemployment #james alan gill #dispatches


 

“Once / a single cell / found that it was full of light / and for the first time there was seeing.” With these words from W.S. Merwin, Maria Terrone opens her third full-length collection of poetry, Eye to Eye. If the unifying theme of Terrone’s book is seeing, as this quote and the book’s title imply, then Terrone sees the world in all its blemished and brutal multiplicities. She sets the stage with the collection’s first poem, “Spaccanapoli.”
I’m a stumbling novitiate herein jutting shadow, glancing at my watchwhen a church bell tolls:it’s 1:15, a time of no apparent meaning
“Spaccanapoli” is a poem, like many in the book, of vivid sensory images where
the bell resounds, insistent as old men roaring
by on vespas like God almighty, click of stiletto sandalson Magna Graecia stones, Bulgari jewels that spinprisms down shop-clotted alleys.
This is the only poem in Eye to Eye that places its speaker in southern Italy, the beloved homeland of Terrone’s parents, which she has visited in many poems in previous collections. Italy, it seems, is the dream. Yet for much of the book, the speaker confronts the quotidian, the world of New York. There, the poet is voyeur, spying on not only those around her—neighbors, family, strangers, alive and imagined—but also on herself watching.

Read more of Sarah Wetzel’s review of Maria Terrone’s new poetry collection Eye to Eye, in which “the written word is a bulwark against the advent of night”
 | 1 note

“Once / a single cell / found that it was full of light / and for the first time there was seeing.” With these words from W.S. Merwin, Maria Terrone opens her third full-length collection of poetry, Eye to Eye. If the unifying theme of Terrone’s book is seeing, as this quote and the book’s title imply, then Terrone sees the world in all its blemished and brutal multiplicities. She sets the stage with the collection’s first poem, “Spaccanapoli.”

I’m a stumbling novitiate here
in jutting shadow, glancing at my watch
when a church bell tolls:
it’s 1:15, a time of no apparent meaning

“Spaccanapoli” is a poem, like many in the book, of vivid sensory images where

the bell resounds, insistent as old men roaring

by on vespas like God almighty, click of stiletto sandals
on Magna Graecia stones, Bulgari jewels that spin
prisms down shop-clotted alleys.

This is the only poem in Eye to Eye that places its speaker in southern Italy, the beloved homeland of Terrone’s parents, which she has visited in many poems in previous collections. Italy, it seems, is the dream. Yet for much of the book, the speaker confronts the quotidian, the world of New York. There, the poet is voyeur, spying on not only those around her—neighbors, family, strangers, alive and imagined—but also on herself watching.

Read more of Sarah Wetzel’s review of Maria Terrone’s new poetry collection Eye to Eye, in which “the written word is a bulwark against the advent of night”

   

Tags: #poetry #maria terrone #sarah wetzel #italy #reviews #eye to eye