A Letter from Amy Leach

Amy Leach October 1, 2013

Dear Fellow Reader,

I used to play the piano for an establishment where the roof began to leak. We had to cover the piano and drums and microphones with tarps and clutter the floor with buckets. New leaks were always springing, new buckets and bucket attendants always being drafted. The roof was repairable but we did not have the money for it; we had to close down and the music gave way to the rain. I found another job, but it was playing the organ instead of the piano, and I am an oaf on the organ; it sounds like I have shoes on my hands. Having a venue where you can play your own instrument is better than having wings. It should not be taken for granted.

A Public Space is a venue for writers both preceded and unpreceded by reputation. So is the World Wide Web, however reading the World Wide Web feels like eating hundreds of feathers per bonbon. I enjoy reading A Public Space because it is finite, because it is excellent, and because it is miscellaneously excellent. There was Ian Chillag writing about a pigeon incubating her children on his porch, and John Haskell on Charles Laughton incubating Galileo; Lucy Raven illustrating how copper is grubbed up from the Utah underworld, and Geoffrey Chaucer, translated by Susan Stewart, lamenting the time “when men started their sweaty business,/grubbing up metal and lurking in the dark.” A Public Space makes me think new thoughts and feel old feelings. It has introduced me to Eamon Grennan and Tom Drury, introductions for which I will be grateful forever. It has published the inexhaustible poems of Sean Hopkinson and fresh translations of Russian and Japanese and Catalan stories, and the letters of Shen Congwen, a Chinese writer who after the Communist takeover lost his venue, became silent.

Because A Public Space supports a miscellany of astonishing voices, because it provides a generous space for writers and artists, allowing them to express themselves according to their own heterogeneous sensitivities; because of its serious contributions to the ineffably worthy cause of the imagination, I would like to invite you to join me in supporting A Public Space this year.


Amy Leach

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Amy Leach is the author of Things That Are (Milkweed). Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, and she has been recognized with a Whiting Writers’ Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award.


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