On the battlefield with Li Ling; Petina Gappah in Zimbabwe with the Mupandawana dancing champion; Tracey Hill in transit; Samantha Hunt gets noticed; Naomi J. Williams goes to sea; Yiyun Li gossips; John Wray and Matt Dojny take a sightseeing tour of New York; Denis Donoghue revisits history; poems by Suzanne Buffam, Mahmoud Darwish, Jennifer Moxley, Adrienne Rich, and others; and introducing Sara Majka.
No. 08 • Samantha HuntI love to hear that another memoir has been exposed as a big phony.
No. 08 • Tracey HillYou are never happier than when you’re in transit.
No. 08 • Yiyun LiThe neighborhood where I grew up and where my parents still live is one of the apartment compounds built in the 1950s in Beijing.
No. 08 • Petina GappahWhen the prices of everything went up ninety-seven times in one year, M’dhara Vitalis Mukaro came out of retirement to make the coffins in which we buried our dead.
No. 08 • Shena MackayThe train carrying Neville back to Hampshire was formed of ten coaches and was scheduled to divide at Eastleigh, where the front five carriages would proceed to Poole, while the rear five branched off toward the New Forest.
No. 08 • John WrayIn the early 1980s, faced with rapidly dwindling shelf space in their seven tiers of stacks, the New York Public Library at Forty-Second Street—the one with the lions—prevailed upon the city to fund the construction of a gargantuan book storage annex thirty feet under the grass and London plane trees of Bryant Park.
No. 08 • Adrienne RichA woman of the citizen party—what’s that— / is writing history backward / her body the chair she sits in / to be abandoned repossessed
No. 08 • Matthew ZapruderI do not acknowledge it, though it is mine.
No. 08 • Fred SchmalzI had not felt so / tired so early in the day / since last winter
No. 08 • Suzanne BuffamThe time and place and manner of my death are three facts that / don’t exist yet.
No. 08 • Francis PongeOn the typographic bushes of the poem down a road leading neither out of things nor to the mind, certain fruits are composed of an agglomeration of spheres plumped with a drop of ink.
No. 08 • Ben LernerThe bird is a little machine for forgetting / The freight trains that pass my house
No. 08 • Jennifer KronovetThe earth’s humus is made fertile / through the worm’s anus.
No. 08 • Carl PhillipsIt was as if they’d stepped into the head / of a wind god, / and gotten trapped there and, / within captivity, made a space they could / sometimes recognize.
No. 08 • Jennifer MoxleyThere is a way in which / I can be distracted / from what matters.
No. 08 • Jürgen BeckerBlackbirds, then other voices.
No. 08 • Julie CarrNothing here, just the sound of the heat, the sound of the cars, / nothing, nothing
No. 08 • Thomas Hummelthough I may not recognize the places I have / seen it, it is still an ornament, an ornament / known well; I know its name, I traced / those lines, and feel easy now about it.
No. 08 • Rebecca WolffThe other side of the mountain / collects / and even cultivates / its mystery
No. 08 • Mahmoud DarwishOn the last evening on this earth, we sever our days / from our trees, and count the ribs we will carry along / and the ribs we will leave behind
No. 08 • Sara MajkaIn 1963, an eleven-year-old boy named Peter Harville was committed to a state mental hospital in the western part of Massachusetts, far from the island where he grew up.
No. 08 • Naomi J. WilliamsIt is the afternoon of August 26, 1785, and Jean-Honoré-Robert de Paul, chevalier de Lamanon, has just returned to the Boussole, exhilarated and exhausted after a successful ascent of the Peak of Tenerife.
No. 08 • Paul McCarthyOn Atsushi Nakajima's masterpiece.
No. 08 • Atsushi NakajimaIn the ninth lunar month of Tianhan 2 (99 B.C.E.), during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Commander of the Cavalry Li Ling led a force of five thousand foot soldiers north from the border fort of Zheluzhang.
Get A Public Space as you like it: the print magazine, the digital version, or a print and digital bundle. The best value? Subscribe to A Public Space and receive three new issues of the magazine as well as exclusive access to the online archive.