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A Public Space - Summer 2006

  • Issue Number: Issue 2
  • Published Date: Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

A Public Space, destined to become a “big” journal from the outset, now adds the term “importance” to its resume. Though APS fiction shows surface divergences – teenage assassins (Nam Le), cult followers (David Mitchell), imprisoned women (Malie Chapman) – the aesthetic remains consistent. The essays, by contrast, point to the coutercultural bankruptcy of the present, and environmental destabilization of the future. Which raises a question: are APS’ creative efforts deliberately chosen to turn their backs on the problems of the day and retreat into a frozen imaginative house? Or to show that fiction, long familiar with every ripple of madness, has somehow become a spectator on the streets? One streetwalker here is the late Andrey Platonov: though the black wit of his “Macedonian Officer” may have sacrificed some of its nuance to translation, moments of Twainian force remain. The poetry in APS also remains behind the McMansion window-frame, though it paces more restlessly. W.S. DiPiero’s contributions are the exemplar of the group, mixing suggestive violence with purposeful absence, smattering of pop symbols, and deliberate understatement: a war veteran’s legs have been “trimmed by a panzer shell”; the solution to human suffering is seen through writing “an email to your senator.” It’s a world from which the Moronic Inferno has already broken into, washed over and receded from, leaving glass shards scattered through both the room and the garden. The arguments in APS are better read than criticized. And for that reason, if there really are any relevant floodwaters destined to rise in the world of literary journals, I suspect they’ll come in the form of APS subscribers. It’s a flood I hope to be able to welcome.

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Review Posted on October 31, 2006

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