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Magazine



A Public Space

No. 11

Fall 2010

Mercè Rodoreda at Carnival; Francis Spufford on the Soviets and the story of an idea; Stephen Burt on new American poets; Julian Gough explains how to fall in love properly; Geoffrey G. O'Brien catalogs three years; Annie Coggan makes a home for Ulysses Grant, and Rachel Cohen takes a tour; Allan Gurganus's Lair and Refuge; Ian Chillag, Maud Casey, Brian T. Edwards, and Aviya Kushner on laughter; and reintroducing Charles Newman.

 

Table of Contents



 

If You See Something

Falling and Laughing

Comic writers laugh at the folly of humanity (“Poor, sufferin’ Hugh Mannity,” as Flann O’Brien put it).

Julian Gough


 

If You See Something

Wanting to Be a Fact

In Max Frisch’s strange and beautiful little novel Man in the Holocene, an old man named Geiser is trapped in his home in an Alpine valley in southern Switzerland by the collapse of a supporting wall that blocks the highway to the tiny village.

Maud Casey


 

If You See Something

You Had to be There

No one jokes with me when I go to Tehran.

Brian T. Edwards


 

If You See Something

I’m Not Crazy About That Part

One of my biggest fears is that I will die because I have talked too much.

Aviya Kushner


 

If You See Something

I Was a Microagent of the Body Guard

Red blood cell. For twenty-five years, every time I’ve heard or read the term, I’ve thought of Arby Sea.

Ian Chillag


 

Fiction

How to Fall in Love Properly

Slowed a little by a stone in my shoe, I arrived in Galway City a while after dark. Galway City, the Sodom of the West!

Julian Gough


 

Art

Julia Grant’s Opera Shawl and All That it Suggests

The Grants moved into a brownstone on East Sixty-sixth Street—financed by the general's supporters—in 1881.

Annie Coggan


 

Art

Interiors and Exteriors in the Life of Julia Grant

The house at 3 East Sixty-sixth Street was the third from the end in the Grants’ lives together.

Rachel Cohen


 

Poetry

Three Years

Toying with a gun as a train goes past / June is what I’d imagined, dark / intermittent woods set off / by the whiteness of a collar, a book / I can’t believe we’re left alone with.

Geoffrey G. O’Brien


 

Fiction

The Dentist’s Chair

On the morning of his ex-wife’s appointment, Kenneth Rivers still owed her an RSVP.

D. Wystan Owen


 

Poetry

On New American Poets

Poems routinely solicit—they may even include outright—generalizations about everything from barbecue methods to categorical imperatives, but they raise special puzzles, or paradoxes, when they solicit generalizations about themselves, since good poems try to be as unlike one another as possible.


 

Poetry

The Old Testament

This is the book of three diseases.

Jericho Brown


 

Poetry

Small Philosophies

Now the fever root, / the marsh weed, the marigold.

Jennifer Chang


 

Poetry

158

Incandescent, black body / your soul is on the floor.

Arda Collins


 

Poetry

I Was Married and You’re Supposed To

Do you think everything you’re supposed to think?

​Katie Degentesh


 

Poetry

Anything You Want

My living brother / is treating us to dinner.

Matthew Dickman


 

Poetry

Snow

The beautiful invisible music falling from the speakers in the other room / is Mahler imitating the snow

Michael Dickman


 

Poetry

The Science of Parting

You’re a wet thing in my throat: oyster.

​Carmen Giménez Smith


 

Poetry

Praise Song for the Donkey

Praise the Mohawk roof / of the donkey’s good & grey head

​Aracelis Girmay


 

Poetry

Road

The ice encases the branches / of trees as if beauty can just.

Jennifer Kronovet


 

Poetry

Gun Show

The earliest writing in Golden City / left turn-signal sensors / trafficking / in Variegated Solomon’s Seal

David Lau


 

Poetry

37

(April 3) / Not often is it that I grace / my own eyes

Chris Martin


 

Poetry

No Vehicles Beyond This Point

Tape unspools from a cassette, / collects—a nest—between two / pieces of driftwood

Joseph Massey


 

Poetry

From Film Two

I don’t know a thing about paradise || In my house nobody ever brought it up

Anna Moschovakis


 

Poetry

From Block Chapel

the way orchestra sounds in birmingham / that’s my sound.

Fred Moten


 

Poetry

Frontier

I was lost before I returned.

Meghan O’Rourke


 

Poetry

Heart Set: The Antique Sun

Having fixed the typewriter, / eaten the oranges and eggs / the house’s owner left, I sat / at the white table and tried to tend / to the need for deepening sacrifice / without upsetting my urge / for everything to be responsible / and pure.

Zach Savich


 

Feature

Lair and Refuge: I Work at Home

Imagine a happier Miss Havisham.

Allan Gurganus


 

Fiction

Ecorche (Flayed Man)

The Collector—wearing an oilcloth hat, overcoat, and soaking-wet boots, slogged through rain, a fish-shaped basket of gray willow sealed by a flap of leather across his shoulders.

Melissa Pritchard


 

Feature

On Charles Newman

The 1970s were Charles Newman’s decade.

Joy Williams


 

Feature

Blues for Charlie

A decade ago, I was Charles Newman’s student in St. Louis. A celebrated novelist came through that fall to read a list of current faculty when she stopped at a name. “Newman? Charles Newman?” she said. “God, he’s an icon.” By the time I came into his life, he drank too much and ate too little.

Paul Winner


 

Fiction

The Five-Thousandth Baritone: A Masque in Five Parts

All that we know definitely about Purcell’s history as a choirboy is that his voice broke in 1673... beyond that lies the territory of invention.

Charles Newman


 

Feature

Midsummer Night, 1962

It had all taken longer than it needed to, of course.

Francis Spufford

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