The International Literary Quarterly

February 2010


Rose Ausländer
Charles Bernstein
Amy Bloom
Jean Boase-Beier
Carmen Bugan
Moira Burgess
Larry Butler
James Byrne
Jim Carruth
Neil Charleton
Ronald Christ
A.C. Clarke
David Dawnay
Patricia Delmar
Des Dillon
Anne Donovan
Gerrie Fellows
Cheryl Follon
Ronald Frame
Hazel Frew
Rodge Glass
David Goldie
Jane Goldman
Martin Goodman
Siobhan Harvey
Beatriz Hausner
Kusay Hussein
A.B. Jackson
Kapka Kassabova
Velimir Khlebnikov
David Kinloch
Micaela Lewitt
Zhimin Li
Gerry Loose
James McGonigal
Gerry McGrath
Donal McLaughlin
Kate McLoughlin
Andrea McNicoll
Willy Maley
Peter Manson
Laura Marney
Ernst Meister
Lina Meruane
Edwin Morgan
Ewan Morrison
Laura Muetzelfeldt
Hom Paribag
Mario Petrucci
Clare Pollard
Sheila Puri
Claire Quigley
Elizabeth Reeder
Alan Riach
Dilys Rose
Suhayl Saadi
Sue Reid Sexton
Bina Shah
Yasir Shah
Jim Stewart
Zoë Strachan
Chiew-Siah Tei
Valerie Thornton
Anthony Vivis
Marshall Walker
Zoë Wicomb
Xu Xi

40 Glasgow Voices

Volta: A Multilingual Anthology
(One poem: 82 languages)

Issue 10 Guest Artist:
John Hoyland RA

Founding Editor: Peter Robertson
Deputy Editor: Jill Dawson
Art Editor: Calum Colvin

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 Boulossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Hollis Clayson
Sarah Churchwell
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
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
Sari Nusseibeh
Tim Parks
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elena Poniatowska
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
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
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

Associate Editor: Jeff Barry
Associate Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Glasgow by Alan Riach  



'Glasgow is the best of plays: you can act in it and watch it at the same time.'
Edwin Morgan

The narrow path leads down on the diagonal, close to the wall.
Intimate enough to see the fossil strata, the wisps of grass, what life
Insinuates its roots into the fissures, holds on, grows its green out upwards from the shadow,
And how the shadows fall across the canyon walls, and slowly lean and move across
Their textures, as the sun does its old arc thing once again. You move in closer when
The mule brigade ride up and want to pass, flatten yourself against the vertical
Plane behind you, watch them place their sure hoofs near the edge.

Thus I was in Arizona, years ago. Today, the pleasure on the path and edges of
The city is the same: a history of stories getting deeper in a walking world
Or maze of traffic made for circling, zig-zags, ziggaruts, explorable depths
And heights that show you out across the world in blue. Let's list a few.
One Sunday afternoon down by the Clyde, walking past the statue with her arms
Raised to remember the reason why the Spanish Civil War was fought, we came
To the Finnieston Crane, no-one around and the small gate in the fence unlocked.

We went up. Steel steps took us to the top, but standing on the horizontal there,
I saw a further ladder on the side wall of the cabin, got to the roof. And smoked a cigarette,
Looking around. The rooftops all before you and blue all the way to Arran, Ayrshire, South.
The conurbation, East. The Islands, West and North, and mountains in the North-West, through
The gap at the end of the Great Western Road, that leads you to the Gaeltacht,
By the pass of the Camel's Hump. Came down again and walked back into town.
Co-ordinate points, a history, a sense of what you still believe is: inextinguishable, live.

Scenic? Hardly. But nevertheless. What archeology supplies sets layers and connections in
The mind. What's now? Bridges and the river still, the skyline: Scott's Gothic tower points up like
Aspiration, spaceship-sharp; so much else points down, is earthed and mobile, Dennistoun bars and
West End brasseries. Take off the top of your skull and open your brain to the air: let's go
For the open-topped tour. Victorian Glasgow: George Square and grandiloquence, architecture
Rising and ornate, that flourishes its culmination in the Art School on its own diagonal, steep.
Below that, Merchant City, slave trade and tobacco lords, and money building East End

Market manners, commerce, a deep exchange of language, a currency we trade in, even now.
Below that, the Cathedral and the crypt to mark old Mungo and his long ago approach
To the Molendinar Burn, the water now to be seen only in a well up in Blackhill. But it's
The mix of the thing, the shoulders rub together, the acting as you walk and watch, the lifting
Of concern, the taking part: looming on that green-roofed, narrow-spired Cathedral is
Victoria's Infirmary, a massive block of stone and glass opaque with grime, and looming over both,
From further East, the shadowy Necropolis, the village of the dead, with John Knox high

On pillar at its summit, arm stretched out, in supplication? benison? Deer and foxes roam here now.
That's good. But not enough. Under that there's more. Just fourteen feet below St Vincent Street:
The carboniferous. Such knowledge as the strata bring began for me in childhood, walking with my
Papa from railway to bookshop to shop, arcade to arcade, where colours were bright on covers and
Spines and diamonds, and language spoke with beguilment, on pages and in air. Conversations
Made and make the space work bright: what seams streak through pollutions of the bad beliefs,
Bodies made to end in haste and unfulfilment, the pathos now itself cliche, industrial and after that.

So, not nostalgia, please. What is so sad and cannot now be claimed, is unreturnable.
Recognise that. Dividedness, and not diversity. It's there all right. But when you feel this city work,
As a friendly force that drives the green life up and out of the earth, the air enamelled blue
With all the conviction of speech in its best gambols, it's something worth a listen to and look
Around, and colourful, as Dore's Dante's deep Inferno, keeps you guessing, horrified, for people,
And knowing that the love and laughter, light, are in there too, right to the end.   
From far beginnings we might never know, but what the present is, is what we do.