Monday, April 18, 2016

April is the cruelest month, True or False?

In the April of T.S. Eliot's poem, following the April of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, life starts to emerge from what looks like inertia, a cold dry earth.  Chaucer gives us sweet showers to pierce March's drought and bring flowers up into blossom.   And we all know that bulbs and roots underground are just waiting for the weather to improve before they grow.

Here at the magazine, we haven't been just waiting, even if it might have looked like it.  (That is, even though I haven't updated the blog for too long.)  We're putting together the Spring/Summer issue now, and we're starting to accept pieces for the Fall/Winter issue.

But it's also been an unusual year for us.  Two of the editors went to Dublin for their MFA residency; one of us (okay, me) taught in London from January to March--not, perhaps, the months you might want to spend in London if you want to admire the flower gardens, but an excellent time to see the museums.  I'm still marveling at the National Portrait Gallery exhibit on Charlotte Bronte, with her tiny handwritten Angria novel and her almost as tiny boots.  I'd always thought of her as having big footprints to follow...

And now we're back, we're reading your work, we're on the job again refreshed, even if what we got was not April showers but a small snowstorm.  We hope you continue with the work of poetry, too, refreshed, ready to send us more to read, and maybe even ready to read a new Common Ground.

Let us know if you want a current issue--in April and May, we'll send you one for $12, or a sample issue for $5.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Apparently Frozen Website & Miss Clavel

It does look as if this website has been frozen at a particular moment in time, doesn’t it?   As if it’s an archeological remnant from a year ago?  It was a cold winter, but we should have thawed out by now!  
Funny story… our webmaster was working on his engineering degree (which he now has—mazel tov—and a full-time job, very good news, many congratulations to him.)  And he’s a great guy, so when we asked him to make the changes to the website, such as posting information about the contest judge, he said he would.  He would get to it.  Sure, he’d do it. 

Haven’t you done something like that?  I do.  I'm guessing that most of us have more work on our to-do list than we can get to right away, and even when we tell ourselves, we must do this first thing tomorrow, something else always inserts itself into that time.  This summer, I’ve been feeling more and more like Miss Clavel in the Madeline books, sitting up in the middle of the night and saying, “something is not right!”  But the moment I start working on fixing it, the doorbell rings, all the kids in the neighborhood come over, and suddenly I’m making lunch.  Where did the morning go?  Where did the month go, or the summer?

The good news is that we are indeed working on the magazine, which is very much alive—all is right in that regard.  Our Spring/Summer issue should be arriving on campus next week, and we will send it out as soon as it does.  We should have a new webmaster once the Fall semester begins.  We are already working on the Fall/Winter issue.  If you are sending us poems or stories or essays electronically, I would like to ask you to submit work via Submittable, not by the regular email address—it is too hard to keep track of mail that comes in that way. 

And thank you for your patience!

Friday, August 22, 2014


August is the month of the shower of stars--the Perseids--and the month of mosquitoes eating you when you go out to watch. Despite the mosquitoes, Common Ground Review is looking at poems on stars this month and until September 30th for our first theme issue.  Thank you for sending us poems!  The stars don't have to be celestial--they can be celebrities, or asterisks, or anything starry that you are intrigued by.  We are accepting other poems, too.  Officially that deadline is August 31st, but we keep reading until the issue is full.  And we are also catching up on the backlog.

Our Fall/Winter issue spotlights a work of creative non-fiction.  This can be on any subject, but it must be relatively short-- less than or equal to 12 pages (double-spaced).  If you have any questions, you can ask Dan Bevacqua, our Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Editor.  And now, let's not dwell on Fall/Winter.  It's still summer, and for a few short days, still summer vacation!

Here in western Massachusetts, the gladioli are blooming, the tomatoes are turning red, the weeds are thriving...and we start a new semester at Western New England on August 25th, so it's been busy.  We've run into a delay in printing the Spring/Summer issue--sizing the cover properly.  But we think that's been resolved, so we should be getting the issue out to our contributors (and anyone else who'd like an issue, a bargain at $10 including mailing costs) as soon as we can.

We also ran into a delay starting Submittable, but that should be available very soon--the Submittable programmers are working on upgrades this Saturday (August 23rd, also the day of the new Doctor Who episode), and we realized it would be smart to start up after those upgrades were in place. 

Stay tuned...Our next theme issue will be on food!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Here’s what’s happening right now:

We are in the process of switching from straight email submissions (which we have no good way to keep track of) to Submittable.  We hope this will enable us to respond to submissions much more efficiently.  At the moment, I’m creating descriptions and setting up links; there’s some HTML code to put in, but you should see the link to submit work via Submittable on this website by the end of July.  Of course we will continue to accept work though the regular mail.

Recently the esteemed literary journal Triquarterly has been in the news for sending a letter that apologized for a backlog and returned submissions unread.  We sympathize both with the writers whose submissions were not read, and with the editors of the magazine.  In our situation, we will continue to work through our backlog and to read all submissions sent before the installation of Submittable, as well as those sent by way of Submittable.  This takes time, and we apologize for the wait, which in some cases has been very long indeed. 
However, please be aware that we allow simultaneous submissions, and we are genuinely pleased (if sometimes annoyed with ourselves and our own slowness) when you tell us that you are withdrawing work because it has been accepted elsewhere.  It may be that just the act of sending work to us will bring you luck!

We are proof-reading the Spring/Summer issue, which is looking great--and that isn't even including Lorna Ritz's gorgeous cover.  We hope to be able to send it to the printers by the end of July.  At that point, we will start focusing on submissions for the Fall/Winter issue. 

Thank you, everyone who has sent us work--we really appreciate it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mid May

And what is happening here?

I am relieved to say that the Fall/Winter issue finally came out! 

Our judge, Karen Skolfield, determined the 2014 Poetry Contest winners and Honorable Mentions.  We will be posting those and comments on the Contest page shortly.   We are sending letters to the other entrants this week.

We are continuing to read submissions for the Spring/Summer 2014 issue, which we hope to be able to send to the printers in June. 

**Inspired by last year's graduation speech given at Western New England University by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, we have decided to make the next Fall/Winter issue a theme issue.  The theme is stars--whether celestial, or in the realm of celebrities, or the symbols used to indicate excellent food, or some other variant is up to you.** 

We will continue to accept poems on other topics, but we're looking forward to seeing what you send!

We are also still looking for short stories and short non-fiction (10-12 pages) for our Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter issues, respectively.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Proof Is On the Way

Have you ever clicked on to the link to a package coming your way via FedEx or the Post Office, thinking, I hope it's here soon!, only to find that it won't arrive (apparently) until next week?  Here it is four days into Spring (technically), and I am waiting for the proof of the Fall/Winter issue; as soon as I can okay it, we can get the magazine to you!  I keep looking out the window hoping that a delivery van will drive up.  I'm also hoping that the Nor'easter projected for tomorrow night will miss us, but if not, maybe it will be the last of the wintry storms that have delayed us so much this year.

In the meantime, we have great news about our Poetry Contest Judge, Karen Skolfield--her book, Frost in the Low Areas, just won the New England PEN Award for Poetry!  It is well deserved--the book is wonderful, and I'm only bragging a little when I say that we had the wit and foresight to print two of the poems in it in Common Ground Review 14.1 (the one with the cat on the cover).

Finally, we are still reading submissions as far back as from last summer for consideration for the Spring/Summer issue, and with any luck, we may be able to get that issue out when it is actually still Spring/Summer.  (Probably Summer.  But Summer 2014.)

Thank you for your patience!  and let us know if you'd like a copy of the magazine, or a back issue.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow Days, Sneezes, and COLD

Snow days are joyous things--especially when the forecast got it quite wrong, skies are blue, and schools are closed (having believed the forecast).  That's the perfect time to play, make hot chocolate for the happy children zooming about the house like self-propelled rockets, and wonder when you're ever going to finish formatting the magazine.  It's 16 degrees today, going below zero by about that much tonight, and I at least slow down a bit in the cold.

The good news is, we are formatting the Fall/Winter issue, which should be ready in February. 

More good news, we are accepting entries for the poetry contest (judge to be named soon).  And of course, the poems we are reading now are being considered for the Spring/Summer issue--whether they have been sent recently or whether we are just getting to them.  The reading is going on apace; notifications are following a little more slowly.  (If only we could harness the children's energy--those rockets could get letters to you in record time!)