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A Public Space

No. 12

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts in Harlem; Antoine Wilson in Panorama City; John Haskell on Eadweard Muybridge; Sarah Manguso with Evgeny Kissin; Jeffrey Lependorf's dinner with Marcel Proust; Tom Drury's Darlings; Noemie Goudal's Les Amants; fiction by Kiki Delancey, Patricia Engel, and Dorthe Nors; poems by Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich, Karen Volkman, G.C. Waldrep, and others.

Table of Contents


If You See Something

Overheard: Tom Drury on the Comfort of Disapproval

Two teachers, Dave and Jane, are talking in a high school lounge.

Tom Drury


If You See Something

Gold and Azure Beasts: Julian Gough Assesses the Damage

The Book of Kells, in Trinity College, Dublin.

Julian Gough


If You See Something

If You See Something, Don’t Say Something: Yiyun Li Describes an Imagined Panel

With Rabih Alameddine, Elizabeth Bowen, 2 Mary-Beth Hughes, Samantha Hunt, Peter Orner, Natasha Randall, Marisa Silver, and Corinna Vallianatos

Yiyun Li



Joan Comes Home

One spring, after being gone seven years, the actress Joan Gower returned to Grouse County to get her son and take him back to California to live with her.

Tom Drury



A Good Six-Two

He was big, but fragile.

Kiki Delancey



The Winter Garden

It was the night Dirch Passer the comedian died.

Dorthe Nors



Here Is the Evidence

A friend of mine describes certain cities as being full—too much has happened there, you cannot move. Paris, he says, is the quintessentially full city. I suspect he'd say Harlem is another place that is too full.

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts




Sometimes love hits you like a drunk driver on Memorial Day weekend. A tragedy, really, but you don't care because you're the victim and beyond hope anyway.

Patricia Engel



Les Amants

Relics of Desire

Noemie Goudal



Two Poems

Mostly you just disappear.

Lynn Melnick



Axel Avákar (Fictive Poet, Counter-Muse, Brother)

The I you know isn’t me, you said, truthtelling liar

Adrienne Rich



Russian Valley

Lord, jump from the elder tree, / let your feet and eyes flutter.

​Tomaž Šalamun



Scandinavian Skies

One country starts out as a bank / and ends up as a solarium.

G. C. Waldrep



Three Poems

They’ll grow thin anyway

Mary de Rachewiltz



Pulse (Hidden Bird)

Imagine a glass of water, a drop of blood sus- / pended—dead center—one drop, watch it / dissolve.

Nick Flynn



The Riverbank Field

Ask me to translate what Loeb gives as / “In a retired vale... a sequestered grove”

Seamus Heaney



An Historie, An Inverse Structure

At once an utterance and then a song for / direction established like a compass magnet / to history’s repetitive north.

James Meetze



The Queen’s Queen

Or regality is the reigning / indemnity, this thread, as a silk strand / augments the meadow with its redness

Karen Volkman



Dining with Proust

Marcel Proust plans a party while Gabriel-Louis Pringué reminisces about parties attended by Proust.

Jeffrey Lependorf



Why I Sing

By high school I had a composition teacher, an ensemble teacher, a theory teacher, and a studio teacher, but what I really needed was a psychiatrist.

Sarah Manguso



Panorama City

If you set aside love and friendship and the bonds of family, luck, religion, spirituality, the desire to better mankind, and music, and the arts, and obtaining food by hunting and fishing and farming, self-importance, so-called glory, and public and private transportation from buses to bicycles, if you set all that aside, money is what makes the world go around.

Antoine Wilson



The Persistence of Muybridge

I’ve been trying, for more than six years, to write an essay or story or something about Eadweard Muybridge.

John Haskell

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