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A Public Space

No. 19

A portrait of Ernst Weiss by his friends, enemies, and critics, including Franz Kafka, Stefan Zweig and the author himself; Yiyun Li on time; Goli Taraghi in Tehran; Robert Sullivan on the invisible ecology of cities; Jorie Graham and Rosanna Warren translate Patrizia Cavalli; fiction by Tom Drury and Sandro Veronesi; poetry by Kimiko Hahn and Robert Fernandez; and introducing J. Scott Smith.

Table of Contents




Amy wins a goldfish at the county fair.

Tom Drury



Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life

My first encounter with before and after was in one of the fashion magazines my friends told me to subscribe to when I came to America.

Yiyun Li



A Phone Call from Heaven

He had lost his ticket, found it at the last minute, but then forgotten it at the hotel and had to turn around to pick it up, missing his plane by the time he made it back to the airport.

Sandro Veronesi



Up in the Gun

Slowly, his vernacular began to change.

J. Scott Smith



I’ll Bury Your Body in a Shallow Pit of Sand

I don’t think about things as / deeply as you

Julie Kantor



Two Poems

Something that the object never can take in, / an empty bucket that won’t carry me.

Patrizia Cavalli



The City

if I close my eyes and hear / the city is right there

Anthony McCann



Two Poems

Barley. Poppy. Then pomegranate. / Now front porch light.

Kimiko Hahn



The Department of the Interior

I’m not even sure I believe / in boundaries

Eric Kocher



Tongue Out (Beginning with a Line by the Painter Francis Bacon)

I like the dog; it looks / As if it’s just lying there

Robert Fernandez



Venus Transit

I heard the voice of reason / swerve bone-ward as it mouthed / the high hills of Art.

Lily Brown




When we say we don’t recall or can’t explain, we don’t / mean to be evasive.

Hilary Vaughn Dobel



Between the Golem’s Teeth: A Portrait of Ernst Weiss

Not all writers feel fiction is the place to directly take stock of their social surroundings, no matter how out of hand things may be getting.

Joel Rotenberg




“In many instances, awareness of place is brief and unselfconscious, a fleeting moment (a flash of recognition, a trace of memory) that is swiftly replaced by awareness of something else.... But now and again, and sometimes without apparent cause, awareness is seized—arrested—and the place on which it settles becomes an object of spontaneous reflection and resonating sentiment.” —Keith Basso

Kate Browne




Hannah and Addy were at it again, and as usual James was right in the middle.

Joseph O’Malley



The Pear Tree

What a blessing to be here, in the garden of my childhood.

Goli Taraghi



Street Life: The Invisible Ecology of Cities

Like life, a city requires imagination.

Robert Sullivan

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