The International Literary Quarterly
Contributors

Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Donald Adamson
Diran Adebayo
Nausheen Ahmad
Toheed Ahmad
Amanda Aizpuriete
Baba Akote
Elisa Albo
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Rosetta Allan
María Teresa Andruetto
Innokenty Annensky
Claudia Apablaza
Robert Appelbaum
Michael Arditti
Jenny Argante
Sandra Arnold
C.J.K. Arkell
Agnar Artúvertin
Sarah Arvio
Rosemary Ashton
Mammed Aslan
Coral Atkinson
Rose Ausländer
Shushan Avagyan
Razif Bahari
Elizabeth Baines
Jo Baker
Ismail Bala
Evgeny Baratynsky
Saule Abdrakhman-kyzy Batay
Konstantin Nikolaevich Batyushkov
William Bedford
Gillian Beer
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Ilya Bernstein
Mashey Bernstein
Christopher Betts
Sujata Bhatt
Sven Birkerts
Linda Black
Chana Bloch
Amy Bloom
Mary Blum Devor
Michael Blumenthal
Jean Boase-Beier
Jorge Luis Borges
Alison Brackenbury
Julia Brannigan
Theo Breuer
Iain Britton
Françoise Brodsky
Amy Brown
Bernard Brown
Diane Brown
Gay Buckingham
Carmen Bugan
Stephen Burt
Zarah Butcher McGunnigle
James Byrne
Kevin Cadwallander
Howard Camner
Mary Caponegro
Marisa Cappetta
Helena Cardoso
Adrian Castro
Luis Cernuda
Firat Cewerî
Pierre Chappuis
Neil Charleton
Janet Charman
Sampurna Chattarji
Amit Chaudhuri
Mèlissa Chiasson
Ronald Christ
Alex Cigale
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Lila Cona
Eugenio Conchez
Andrew Cowan
Mary Creswell
Christine Crow
Pedro Xavier Solís Cuadra
Majella Cullinane
P. Scott Cunningham
Emma Currie
Jeni Curtis
Stephen Cushman
David Dabydeen
Susan Daitch
Rubén Dario
Jean de la Fontaine
Denys Johnson Davies
Lydia Davis
Robert Davreu
David Dawnay
Jill Dawson
Rosalía de Castro
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Patricia Delmar
Christine De Luca
Tumusiime Kabwende Deo
Paul Scott Derrick
Josephine Dickinson
Belinda Diepenheim
Jenny Diski
Rita Dove
Arkadii Dragomoschenko
Paulette Dubé
Denise Duhamel
Jonathan Dunne
S. B. Easwaran
Jorge Edwards
David Eggleton
Mohamed El-Bisatie
Tsvetanka Elenkova
Johanna Emeney
Osama Esber
Fiona Farrell
Ernest Farrés
Elaine Feinstein
Gigi Fenster
Micah Timona Ferris
Vasil Filipov
Maria Filippakopoulou
Ruth Fogelman
Peter France
Alexandra Fraser
Bashabi Fraser
Janis Freegard
Robin Fry
Alice Fulton
Ulrich Gabriel
Manana Gelashvili
Laurice Gilbert
Paul Giles
Zulfikar Ghose
Corey Ginsberg
Chrissie Gittins
Sarah Glazer
Michael Glover
George Gömöri
Giles Goodland
Martin Goodman
Roberta Gordenstein
Mina Gorji
Maria Grech Ganado
David Gregory
Philip Gross
Carla Guelfenbein
Daniel Gunn
Charles Hadfield
Haidar Haidar
Ruth Halkon
Tomás Harris
Geoffrey Hartman
Siobhan Harvey
Beatriz Hausner
John Haynes
Jennifer Hearn
Helen Heath
Geoffrey Heptonstall
Felisberto Hernández
W.N. Herbert
William Hershaw
Michael Hettich
Allen Hibbard
Hassan Hilmi
Rhisiart Hincks
Kerry Hines
Amanda Hopkinson
Adam Horovitz
David Howard
Sue Hubbard
Aamer Hussein
Fahmida Hussain
Alexander Hutchison
Sabine Huynh
Juan Kruz Igerabide Sarasola
Neil Langdon Inglis
Jouni Inkala
Ofonime Inyang
Kevin Ireland
Michael Ives
Philippe Jacottet
Robert Alan Jamieson
Rebecca Jany
Andrea Jeftanovic
Ana Jelnikar
Miroslav Jindra
Stephanie Johnson
Bret Anthony Johnston
Marion Jones
Tim Jones
Gabriel Josipovici
Pierre-Albert Jourdan
Sophie Judah
Tomoko Kanda
Maarja Kangro
Jana Kantorová-Báliková
Fawzi Karim
Kapka Kassabova
Susan Kelly-DeWitt
Mimi Khalvati
Daniil Kharms
Velimir Khlebnikov
Akhmad hoji Khorazmiy
David Kinloch
John Kinsella
Yudit Kiss
Tomislav Kuzmanović
Andrea Labinger
Charles Lambert
Christopher Lane
Jan Lauwereyns
Fernando Lavandeira
Graeme Lay
Ilias Layios
Hiên-Minh Lê
Mikhail Lermontov
Miriam Levine
Suzanne Jill Levine
Micaela Lewitt
Zhimin Li
Joanne Limburg
Birgit Linder
Pippa Little
Parvin Loloi
Christopher Louvet
Helen Lowe
Ana Lucic
Aonghas MacNeacail
Kona Macphee
Kate Mahony
Sara Maitland
Channah Magori
Vasyl Makhno
Marcelo Maturana Montañez
Stephanie Mayne
Ben Mazer
Harvey Molloy
Osip Mandelstam
Alberto Manguel
Olga Markelova
Laura Marney
Geraldine Maxwell
John McAuliffe
Peter McCarey
John McCullough
Richard McKane
John MacKinven
Cilla McQueen
Edie Meidav
Ernst Meister
Lina Meruane
Jesse Millner
Deborah Moggach
Mawatle J. Mojalefa
Jonathan Morley
César Moro
Helen Mort
Laura Moser
Andrew Motion
Paola Musa
Robin Myers
André Naffis-Sahely
Vivek Narayanan
Bob Natifu
María Negroni
Hernán Neira
Barbra Nightingale
Paschalis Nikolaou
James Norcliffe
Carol Novack
Annakuly Nurmammedov
Joyce Carol Oates
Sunday Enessi Ododo
Obododimma Oha
Michael O'Leary
Antonio Diaz Oliva
Wilson Orhiunu
Maris O'Rourke
Sue Orr
Wendy O'Shea-Meddour
María Claudia Otsubo
Ruth Padel
Ron Padgett
Thalia Pandiri
Judith Dell Panny
Hom Paribag
Lawrence Patchett
Ian Patterson
Georges Perros
Pascale Petit
Aleksandar Petrov
Mario Petrucci
Geoffrey Philp
Toni Piccini
Henning Pieterse
Robert Pinsky
Mark Pirie
David Plante
Nicolás Poblete
Sara Poisson
Clare Pollard
Mori Ponsowy
Wena Poon
Orest Popovych
Jem Poster
Begonya Pozo
Pauline Prior-Pitt
Eugenia Prado Bassi
Ian Probstein
Sheenagh Pugh
Kate Pullinger
Zosimo Quibilan, Jr
Vera V. Radojević
Margaret Ranger
Tessa Ransford
Shruti Rao
Irina Ratushinskaya
Tanyo Ravicz
Richard Reeve
Sue Reidy
Joan Retallack
Laura Richardson
Harry Ricketts
Ron Riddell
Cynthia Rimsky
Loreto Riveiro Alvarez
James Robertson
Peter Robertson
Gonzalo Rojas
Dilys Rose
Gabriel Rosenstock
Jack Ross
Anthony Rudolf
Basant Rungta
Joseph Ryan
Sean Rys
Jostein Sæbøe
André Naffis Sahely
Eurig Salisbury
Fiona Sampson
Polly Samson
Priya Sarukkai Chabria
Maree Scarlett
John Schad
Michael Schmidt
L.E. Scott
Maureen Seaton
Alexis Sellas
Hadaa Sendoo
Chris Serio
Resul Shabani
Bina Shah
Yasir Shah
Daniel Shapiro
Ruth Sharman
Tina Shaw
David Shields
Ana María Shua
Christine Simon
Iain Sinclair
Katri Skala
Carole Smith
Ian C. Smith
Elizabeth Smither
John Stauffer
Jim Stewart
Susan Stewart
Jesper Svenbro
Virgil Suárez
Lars-Håkan Svensson
Sridala Swami
Rebecca Swift
George Szirtes
Chee-Lay Tan
Tugrul Tanyol
José-Flore Tappy
Alejandro Tarrab
Campbell Taylor
John Taylor
Judith Taylor
Petar Tchouhov
Miguel Teruel
John Thieme
Karen Thornber
Tim Tomlinson
Angela Topping
David Trinidad
Kola Tubosun
Nick Vagnoni
Joost Vandecasteele
Jan van Mersbergen
Latika Vasil
Yassen Vassilev
Lawrence Venuti
Lidia Vianu
Dev Virahsawmy
Anthony Vivis
Richard Von Sturmer
Răzvan Voncu
Nasos Vayenas
Mauricio Wacquez
Julie Marie Wade
Alan Wall
Marina Warner
Mia Watkins
Peter Wells
Stanley Wells
Laura Watkinson
Joe Wiinikka-Lydon
Hayden Williams
Edwin Williamson
Ronald V. Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Alison Wong
Leslie Woodard
Elzbieta Wójcik-Leese
Niel Wright
Manolis Xexakis
Xu Xi
Gao Xingjian
Sonja Yelich
Tamar Yoseloff
Augustus Young
Soltobay Zaripbekov
Karen Zelas
Alan Ziegler
Ariel Zinder

 

President, Publisher & Founding Editor:
Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Glenna Luschei
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
U. S. General Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
London Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Geraldine Maxwell
New York Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Meena Alexander
Washington D.C. Editor/Senior
Editor-at-Large:
Laura Moser
Argentine Editor: Yamila Musa
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
General Editor: Malvina Segui
Art Editor: Lara Alcantara-Lansberg
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Frank Ankersmit
Rosemary Ashton
Reza Aslan
Leonard Barkan
Michael Barry
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Mario Biagioli
Jean Boase-Beier
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Hollis Clayson
Sarah Churchwell
Marcelo Cohen
Kristina Cordero
Drucilla Cornell
Junot Díaz
André Dombrowski
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Klaus Ebner
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Orlando Figes
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Nancy Fraser
Maureen Freely
Michael Fried
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Lydia Goehr
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
François Hartog
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
Beatriz Hausner
Valerie Henitiuk
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
Kapka Kassabova
John Kelly
Martin Kern
Mimi Khalvati
Joseph Koerner
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Mabel Lee
Linda Leith
Suzanne Jill Levine
Lydia Liu
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Thomas Luschei
Willy Maley
Alberto Manguel
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Marina Mayoral
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Edie Meidav
Jack Miles
Toril Moi
Susana Moore
Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Daniel Shapiro
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Daniel Shapiro
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Emily Snyder
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 

Angela Topping

FEATURED INTERVIEW:
Interlitq interviews Angela Topping
 

 



Interlitq: What started you writing poetry?

AT: My parents were in their 40s when I was born, so they had a lot of patience and spent time with me. On our Sunday bike rides from when I was 18 months old, my dad taught me to observe things closely and pointed out many aspects of nature to me, which gave me a poetís eye. My mum used to make up stories for me and my sister used to read me poems from great authors like Matthew Arnold and Walter de la Mere. I taught myself to read at a very young age, preschool, and my ambition was to be Ďone of those people who say thingsí, because Iíd hear my parents say Ďas Shakespeare saidí etc. So being a writer was always on the cards. Poets who have been important to me when I was developing my craft include William Blake, John Clare, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, U A Fanthorpe, Anne Stevenson, Matt Simpson. Two poets gave me Ďpermission to writeí, as though any of us need it. They were Matt Simpson, when I first met him aged 18, he said my poems Ďhad somethingí and he wanted to nurture my talent (his word not mine) and Liz Lochhead on an Arvon course when I was 27, who told me I was a Ďborn poetí and ĎHAD to do ití. I do still suffer at times with Imposter Syndrome, and there have been times in my life when I kept my poetry secret for fear of being mocked.

Interlitq: Where is your favourite place to write?

AT: I have to have silence to write. At home I have a small cosy book-stuffed study, so that is where I spend my writing time, when I am not outside in my writing shed. My local library where I grew up in Widnes, had an upstairs reference library, so I used to secrete myself away up there. I can write anywhere, but silence is my space.

Interlitq: What advice would give to aspiring writers?

AT: Read everything you can get your hands on in your chosen genre. Aim to learn from the best by osmosis. Donít make work out of it, make pleasure. No-one can teach you to write. You have to learn by doing it. So do it. No excuses. Donít wait for a chunk of time. I wrote my first collection in snatched moments as a busy young mum.

Interlitq: What is one thing you would tell your younger self about writing poetry and being published?

AT: Donít listen to anyone who says you canít be a writer. Find out about some of the prizes you didnít know existed, like The Gregory Award. Donít hide away out of modesty and lack of confidence, just get out there and find poets to mix with. Donít hide away feeling under-confidence. Put your work out there and take rejections on the chin. Different editors have different ideas about what makes a good poem. So never take it personally (easier said than done!)

Interlitq: How does writing a poem feel to you?

AT: What happens first is I get a phrase or a line in my head, as though my own voice is whispering it to me. If I ignore it, it becomes more insistent. So I have to reach for a notebook (I write all my first drafts long-hand in a notebook) and see what happens. Iím a great believer in letting the poem tell me things. When I start writing, I am often amazed by what happens and where it takes me. The last line is often surprising to me, a discovery. When that happens, I know the poem has revealed itself to me. I didnít used to be able to write commissions very well because I had to wait for Ďthe feelingí, but Iíve learned enough discipline to do it now. But I at least cannot write from an idea alone. An idea is intellectual, but a poem does not come from the intellect; it comes from the gut, or from the dark side of my brain, dark in the sense of obscure. Ted Hughes talked about getting a poem Ďpast the secret policemaní. I try not to let my intellect take over my writing until the editing stage.

Interlitq: Have you any tips about editing poems?

AT: I always read aloud when I am redrafting. The poem needs to sound right to my ear. If there are any parts that are unintentionally difficult to say, then I know they need smoothing. Sometimes I will do a scansion analysis of a tricky line, or of the whole poem, and that can be illuminating because itís objective. All good criticism is objective, to do with technical errors or lack of clarity. When a poem is right and finished, it sounds to me as though itís correctly translated itself into words from the other world, without words, where it existed in a pure form. I am grateful when I get a new poem to that stage, and when I look back on previous drafts I can see my attempts to find the sculpture, as it were, buried in the rock, and where I was not close enough to finding it. I know that sounds a bit mystical and airy fairy, but itís how it seems to work for me.

I keep a little list of common faults I make in drafts, to remind me not to make them. I think every writer should do this. Rules other people make may not be sensible for you to follow. I met a person whoíd been told not to include a question in a poem, but thatís totally disproved when one sees how many great poems include a question! My own guidelines for myself include: donít say the same thing twice, and watch out for accidental repetition.

Interlitq: Why have you published books with so many different publishers?

AT: Itís because I have been writing seriously for so long. Publishers come and go. My first publisher, Rupert Loydell, of Stride Books, stopped bringing out books when he started teaching full time on Creative Writing courses at Uni, because itís very demanding work. My third collection was published by bluechrome, which vanished overnight and none of the poets really knew what had happened. I then did a childrenís book and a small collection with Salt, who later stopped publishing poetry (though I believe they have started again). I did a book with Lapwing, which was a lovely experience, but the owner of the press is now seriously ill. Motherís Milk Books did a new and selected of my poems on a theme of parenthood, which was a great fit for their mission statement, and is still a steady seller, but a new book wouldnít necessarily fit their brief. My latest collection was with Red Squirrel but the owner of that fabulous press has re-located to Scotland, so I am once again looking for a publisher. Ideally, I would love to find one I could stay with, but thatís a long shot these days when publishers do not get enough funding and the market is crowded with books. Some presses only take on new poets, others have funding constraints which mean any new books have to fit in with them. Iíve also done pamphlets with Rack Press, and they rarely repeat poets unless a special project takes their eye. Iíve done a joint pamphlet with a marvellous poet called Sarah James, published by Motherís Milk Books in their duet series. I will never stop bringing out books as long as I am writing poems, because a book gets the poems off my back and out of the house, stops me meddling with them, and ensures my work is available in hard copy in archive libraries, to stand the test of time. Iím almost 65 now and suspect there is ageism out there which can make things more difficult, but I know I am a better poet than when I first started out. I still have plenty to say!

Interlitq: What is the best thing about being a published poet?

AT: Several things. One, I love reading and performing, and because of my books, people do offer me readings. Two, poetry has brought me some amazing friends. It took me a long time to realise that poets can be terribly competitive and even nasty, but over the years I have gathered some kind, generous and encouraging friends around me and realised the best poets are always the most encouraging, because they are secure. I feel very fortunate to be a small part of the citizenship of the written word. Three, poetry helps me keep alive my memories and has helped me work through times of depression and bereavement. It brings me home to myself and keeps me safe. And four, I like to think I reach out in my work to others and bring them solace and pleasure, as so many poets have done for me, as a reader. Writing well doesnít bring fame, in fact fame can destroy a poet, and it certainly doesnít bring fortune, but it can bring inner peace, which is beyond all monetary value.

Interlitq: What do you read to relax?

AT: I canít get to sleep at night unless I read, but it canít be poetry, because that wakes me up and makes me want to write poems. So I read novels in bed, and often re-read. Iím currently re-reading Barbara Vine books I first read many years ago, and really enjoying them because I have forgotten the mystery. I re-read Austen novels a lot, as her writing is so elegantly done, it keeps me writing with clarity and music. Iím still reading The Handmaidís Tale for the book I am writing on it. I also enjoy listening to audio books in the daytime when Iím ironing or painting or working in my junk journals.

Featured Interviews