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A Public Space

No. 07

Walter Murch translates Curzio Malaparte; Anne Carson's variations on the right to remain silent; a portfolio on Saadat Hasan Manto, Bombay's watchful son; Peter Orner on Illinois politics; Tom Drury's signs of Los Angeles; Amy Leach looks at outer space; fiction by Janet Frame, John Haskell, Mary-Beth Hughes, and Clare Wigfall; poems by Mary Jo Bang, Arda Collins, Gillian Conoley, Tom Yuill, and others.

Table of Contents


If You See Something

Lincoln in His Grave

When U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the other day that “Lincoln would roll over in his grave” if he knew what Governor Blago was up to, I had to scoff at Fitzgerald’s lame insight into Lincoln’s character.

Peter Orner


If You See Something

A Valentine to Darwin

Dear Darwin, I have a crush on you.

Jillian Weise


If You See Something

La Plata Perdida

This is how you visit the silver mines of Potosí, the highest city in the world: First, take an airplane to El Alto, where some peoples’ hearts collapse under the altitude as soon as they step off the plane.

Leslie Jamison


If You See Something

Brown Loafers

Some years ago, before the big operations for heart and cancer that undermined him, long before he took his life, my great sad friend discovered the obsessive pleasures of fine clothing.

Sven Birkerts


If You See Something

You Have to See This

When I was eight years old, my father returned from a walk and announced he had “found something.”

Ian Chillag



Double Happiness

The outer office was much the same as she remembered it.

Mary-Beth Hughes



Sail On, My Little Honey Bee

There is an altitude above every planet where a moon can orbit forevermore.

Amy Leach




A mixture of mother and kindly aunt, she invited the confidence of children throughout most of the South Island, and even from farther north in the foreign places beyond Cook Strait.

Janet Frame




The Academy Award winning film editor and sound designer Walter Murch is known for his work on such films as The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and The English Patient, but over the past decade he has also been at work translating the Italian writer Curzio Malaparte, who served in a voluntary brigade of Italians fighting alongside the French during World War I, and worked as a war correspondent during World War II.

Curzio Malaparte



Are You Ready?

Los Angeles has been called the City of Dreams; also the City of Angels; Jim Morrison called it the City of Lights, but to me it was just a city.

John Haskell



Signs of LA

I've been taking pictures of Los Angeles and putting them online since May 7, 2007.

Tom Drury



Two Poems

When I began to write, I didn’t know / each of my words would bit by bit remove / things from the world and in return leave blank / spaces.

​Tomasz Różycki



Outnumbered at 0

The silent south, the workers quiet.

Mary Jo Bang



Have I Forgotten Anything

I go out like a slogan / in the morning.

Michael Teig



Incivilities (“Thick”)

Thick lines of trees bind the adjacent shore

Barbara Claire Freeman




It is hard to be at the right funeral.

Gillian Conoley



Four Poems

Blatant and famously / alien hills.

Graham Foust



Two Poems

Thereafter it happened there would be no future / arrangements made

Timothy Donnelly



It Is Daylight

I called my house from a pay phone / down the street before I went home.

Arda Collins



Two Poems

One cannot love more than one other / With the fierceness of the love one torn / Half has for another.

Tom Yuill



Barrack Hill

Liberation sounds the first trees / The wind encounters

Brandon Shimoda




Anguilla, eel, sea-siren / That, making its way from those / Cold Baltic seas to get to ours, / Our estuaries, deltas, / And into our streams, and from / The profound beneath the river rises up, / Against the downstream impetus of flow, / Upstream from branch to branch and into ever / Smaller capillaries, seeking ever / Evermore to enter

Eugenio Montale



Two Poems

Stars & spurs & Spain, / and she wants a bed off the floor!

Martin Edmunds



Sing, Muse, Wrath

Awake or asleep the mind is aware.

Allen Grossman



From Bohr’s Model

About the image of ourselves we like / To project over the rest of the world suppose / The rest of the world were imagined

Noah Eli Gordon



The Critic Natkira

According to the sixteenth century Indian poet Dhurjati, there was a king of Madurai who offered a thousand gold coins to anyone who could compose a poem that would be praised by the critics in his court.

Eliot Weinberger



The Parrot Jungle

Chicka-chicka-chicka-chicka sing the numbers on the counter as they rotate in the late afternoon sun.

Clare Wigfall



Focus: Saadat Hasan Manto

Few names are more revered in the world of Urdu letters than that of Saadat Hasan Manto.

Matthew Reeck




Khushiya was thinking.

Saadat Hasan Manto




We met exactly two years ago today at Apollo Harbor.

Saadat Hasan Manto




When I left Delhi to return to Bombay, I was upset because it meant parting with good friends and a job my wife approved of—stable, easy work that netted us 250 rupees the first of each month. Nevertheless I was suddenly overcome by a desire to leave, and not even my wife’s crying and carrying on could dissuade me.

Saadat Hasan Manto




Dhundhu was outside the Iranian restaurant across from the small park near the Nagpada Police Station, and he was leaning against the electricity pole that he manned from sunset until four in the morning.

Saadat Hasan Manto



Variations on the Right to Remain Silent

Silence is as important as words in the practice and study of translation.

Anne Carson

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