menu_englishwriters1

 
Contributors
 

Shanta Acharya
William Bedford
Richard Berengarten
Jonathan Dunne
Giles Goodland
Mina Gorji
Sue Hubbard
Neil Langdon Inglis
Pippa Little
Anthony Rudolf
Fiona Sampson
George Szirtes
Angela Topping
Alan Wall
Tamar Yoseloff

English Writers 1 Guest Artist:
Luis Altieri

President: Peter Robertson
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
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
General Editor: Laura Moser
General Editor: Malvina Segui
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
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
Sampurna Chattarji
Sarah Churchwell
Hollis Clayson
Sally Cline
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
Siobhan Harvey
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
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
Laurie Maguire
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
Paschalis Nikolaou
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Molly Peacock
Pascale Petit
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
Élisabeth Roudinesco
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
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
Rebecca Swift
Susan Tiberghien
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: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 
Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Five Poems
by
George Szirtes


 

 



What we talk about when we talk about talking

Some talk about things,
some talk about other things,
some about people.

Some don't talk at all
but pull faces and pretend
to listen not talk.

Some are trapped inside
an empty conversation
and can't quite get out.

Social intercourse
as hell? Other people have
devils of their own.

See that young man there?
Watch his mouth move. Watch his hands
as he tries to speak.

Something must be said
but it escapes him before
he knows what it is.

Something fugitive
is in the forsaken air
before its saying.

Pity the speechless
with their gesticulation
and their stiff white lips.

Where's the oxygen
of publicity now? Choked
off. Gone for a walk.

Some talk about things.
Some don't talk at all. Talking
is this. This is talk.



Charge Sheet

That is not a man.
That is a thinking machine
with eyes and fingers.

Look at him working.
He's doing nothing useful.
Those are only words.

Do words shift the load
hanging by a thread or turn
a key in the door?

Do words perform tasks
that address the rain and clouds?
Some of us doubt it.

Words have no substance.
They hang around street corners,
menacing shadows

waiting for something
to happen so they may spread
like an infection.

They take up the air
the useful need to function.
We do not need them.

They should let us be
and amuse themselves elsewhere
on some distant moon.

The doors are open.
Out there is light and silence.
Let the silence come.



A Quartet from Finland

What is the music
weaving the night together
like a small spider?

It wriggles this way
and that so delicately,
scuttling up and down,

you would think it had
an agenda, some design
beyond construction

transcending hunger,
when all it looks to achieve
is to build a web

and then shimmy up
and down it and to sit there
at its frail centre.

Eric Tulindberg,
you slender eight-legged slip
of a dead spider,

spinning through the night
in whatever Finland then
existed to spin in,

are you still spinning
your death on a short silk thread,
the draught still blowing

where it hangs and sways
while I wake from my own web
spun out of nowhere?

Is this my morning
or your night? Is it the two
we're both stuck between?



Cargo

Consider the drowned
packing the sea and rising
like a dank mountain.

Crowding the water,
packed close like cargo, the drowned
vanish unlisted.

How deep the sea is,
how fierce and cold, untroubled
by its history.

We have history
in which we drown our sorrows
as in saltwater.

We don't understand
death in the way the sea does.
We set out in hope.

Now we lie, piled up,
as if we were intended
to be together.

But nothing is meant.
The sea does not bear meaning.
It is just a throat.

We too have our throats
but they are filled with water
and grief and money.

Those who ferry us
betray us. We can't trust them
but rely on them.

You will recall us
in your private drowned moments.
You will recall us.



Meet Harpo

Talking to Groucho
wasn't easy. He would roll
his big eyes and sneer.

Talking to Chico
was no easier. His fake
accent took over.

Talking to Harpo
was like talking to a blast
of angry white air.

They were familiars
not people. I knew them all
as shapes in dead fire.

Above all Harpo,
explosive, a child with fits
of terrible greed.

Outside in the storm
the brothers were blown along
ravines and high seas.

Everyone scattered
in the wind. It was wartime.
It was rationing.

Dread sister, Laughter,
have you no care for brothers
of thunderous talk?

Beware the silent
speechifier in the wig.
Cross your legs. Fight back.