This article originally appeared on February 1, 2012.
"This is not a novel. It has too much to explain, to be one of those. But it is not a history either, for it does its explaining in the form of a story; only the story is the story of an idea, first of all, and only afterwards, glimpsed through the chinks of the idea’s fate, the story of the people involved."
October 1, 2013 by Francis Spufford
This article originally appeared on April 29, 2010.
It’s probably safe to say that you’re the only songwriter I’ve ever come across who’s thrown in a quote from Marilyn Hacker. I’m curious what your relationship is to contemporary poetry or writing in general.
October 1, 2013
This article originally appeared on March 30, 2012.
1. Can you describe your daily routine, any rituals or habits?
It’s general consensus that a writer ought to write, or at least put in the hours behind the typewriter, every day.
October 1, 2013 by Miroslav Penkov
This article originally appeared on April 5, 2010.
Right now I'm reading Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis (1839-1908) and so I'll recommend another of his novels, and one of my favorites, Epitaph of a Small Winner. Originally published in 1880, it seems to me a conversation with an eternal present.
October 1, 2013 by Tom Drury
This article originally appeared on April 1, 2010.
Relevant writers have their place, to be sure. But relevance seems to hold a despotic ascendancy these days—everybody wants to be relevant; everybody wants everybody else to be relevant. Relevance is not the only virtue! Irrelevance is also a virtue! The sun is not only a vector of cancer and vitamin D; the sun also makes my Pomeranian twirl. Here is a list of a few of my favorite irrelevant writers:
October 1, 2013 by Amy Leach
This article originally appeared on March 31, 2010.
A taste for topical relevance is cool. There are better places to look than fiction. Newspapers maybe. On TV, pundits speak provocatively on topics of the day. Fiction can handle these topics too, but I suppose people will always argue whether it’s the most appropriate tool and/or for how long the relevant topic will remain relevant.
October 1, 2013 by Tim O’Sullivan
This article originally appeared on March 30, 2010.
Around Halloween, I packed up my mother’s books and brought them home. She was a committed public library patron, so I’d love to know the books she liked enough to buy and keep, what she saved to go back to. But before I unpack boxes, I’m looking to my own shelves to remember some of what’s been essential to me.
October 1, 2013 by Mary-Beth Hughes
This article originally appeared on March 3, 2010.
Hey Ed, I hope you're well. We're finishing up the new issue, and my proofreaders keep querying the space in the fourth stanza of your poem, so I thought better safe than sorry. Attached are your proofs—would you confirm that the space in the line "down from the outer layers inward into—" is supposed to be there? Thanks! Anne
October 1, 2013 by Ed Roberson
This interview was conducted by Emily Cook and originally appeared on October 1, 2009
Do you consider yourself to be a dramatic sort of person?
Yes, but not dramatic in a good way—the way, say, someone is who risks his life for a common good, to save the life of a drowning child, or who takes an unpopular but principled stand on a moral issue at a critical moment. Or even a tragic hero who makes a terrible mistake and pays a terrible price. Dramatic rather in a bad way.
October 1, 2013 by Gary Amdahl
This article originally appeared on October 8, 2009.
Everyone likes a shipwreck story. I’m certainly not the first writer to be drawn to the La Pérouse expedition, an ill-fated voyage of exploration that left France in 1785 with two frigates under the command of Jean-François de Galaup de La Pérouse, and disappeared three years later in the South Pacific. Part of the early mystique of the La Pérouse story, of course, was that for almost forty years no one knew what had become of the expedition. It’s always a boon to fictionalizers when people disappear into thin air.
October 1, 2013 by Naomi J. Williams
This article originally appeared on September 29, 2009.
There are two kinds of magazines—those which fascinate with nouns, and those which delight in verbs. The former are more proper: dealing modestly with time and life, they assert rather than explain; to sell things, they name things. The latter, more common, more active, tend to make a statement, ask a question, give a command. Their tenses are generally more progressive and less tangible. This is a perfect situation for dialectic, but there isn’t one.
October 1, 2013 by Charles Newman
This article originally appeared on April 9, 2009.
A couple of years ago I found myself working as an artist on a new animated film being made overseas. Although the movie's creators were Californian, the money behind the film was Israeli, and the principal investor had a much cherished vision of creating a vibrant arts and culture hub in the unlikely location of Jerusalem. Dour, Stoney, Combustible, Contested Jerusalem.
October 1, 2013
This article originally appeared on August 17, 2009.
Years ago, I became fascinated with a hotel in Portland, Maine, though I’m not sure why. The Inn at St. John is a basic hotel near the bus station, not gritty enough to explain my fascination. I’ve never been in, but pictures on the website show velvet curtains and furniture that’s meant to look Victorian. Quotes promise that it’s "comfortable and a good value" and “CLEAN!” It offers three room tiers: pet-friendly rooms, economically priced rooms for extended visits, or romantic luxury accommodations for weekend getaways. If you want any of these things, it says, the hotel is exactly what you’re looking for.
October 1, 2013 by Sara Majka
This article originally appeared on November 25, 2008.
Thomas Wolfe couldn't go home and William Faulkner couldn't seem to leave very successfully and Ernest Hemingway seemed to be looking for some lost idea of it everywhere and T.S. Eliot apparently found it about five minutes after arriving in England, becoming even paler and more prunish and speaking with an accent, and then you've got Annie Proulx who seems to feel so right at home just about anywhere she is that she can't get a pen in her hand fast enough to suit her, and there's Eudora Welty who says home is where everything begins, really, in whatever little place, to which someone like James Baldwin might say, Yeah, right, it does, and isn't that a bitch, and then F. Scott Fitzgerald comes along and trumps them all by pointing out how home is not just a place, but a place in time, how we're all borne (born?) ceaselessly into the past.
October 1, 2013 by Keith Lee Morris
This article originally appeared on August 14, 2008.
I was sitting in the living room the other night trying to get through Middlemarch, the same thing I’ve been doing for most of this decade, and my ten-year-old son and his buddy kept interrupting to ask questions as part of this game they were playing. One of them would say, “Where do you want to go?” and the other one would say, “Georgia,” and the first one would say, “Which direction is it?” and the other one would point, and the first one would say, “Dad/Mr. Morris, what direction is Georgia?” and I would pretend I knew and point in the opposite direction from whoever pointed first, and then they’d go, “Ha! Told you! You couldn’t make it to Georgia!” Then they’d start over with Kentucky.
October 1, 2013 by Keith Lee Morris
This interview was conducted by Tracey Hill and originally appeared on July 31, 2007.
How did you become interested in Antarctica?
Well, I was born in Invercargill--called by Rudyard Kipling "the last lamppost in the world"--so I grew up knowing that if I got in a small boat and rowed south for a very long time, I would eventually bump into an iceberg. But my sense of Antarctica was probably shaped by the heroic explorers.
October 1, 2013 by Bill Manhire
This letter originally appeared in 2012.
Dear Fellow Reader,
Am I a typical A Public Space reader? I have no idea. I have a television; I watch it. I use the Internet as if it were a second television, boinging my way down the rabbit hole of “related” YouTube videos until I feel gutted through and through. I visit Disneyland; I shop at Target. That is to say, I haven’t sequestered myself in a hermitage or an ivory tower. I live a version of contemporary life in America. As a result, I often despair about our culture and where it’s headed. I recognize that this is typical, that people have always despaired over the decline of culture, that the youth have always been crass, as it were, but I feel it nevertheless, The Decline, and I despair. A Public Space has frequently lifted me from the depths of that despair.
October 1, 2013 by Antoine Wilson
This letter originally appeared in 2011.
A Public Space has become one of our most remarkable small magazines by being a forum for creativity, tolerance, experiment, and witness. Each piece in the magazine, whether written about domestic affairs or from an international point of view, underscores William Carlos Williams’s faith in the “universality of the local.”
October 1, 2013 by Teju Cole