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. Five Poems by James McGonigal  



I saw many things done by heart –
days were counted on an abacus of mesh,
the wire made up a crossword minus clues,
men wore walkie-talkies like campaign medals

while we longed to be where fish drift
between weeds, to speak in water vowels
and master the diphthongs of silt.
The river spilled night from its haversack

and packed instead reflections of three deer
at first light, hooves in mud, drinking.
A boy with shaven head saw this
with his own eyes, he told us.



When sunrise warmed the hills’ shoulders
they rippled with pleasure – such
a treat of heat after darkness.

I was studying for the role of my father
and found hesitations – a glance of unease –
worked like a breeze

stippling shade under a lime tree.
Soon I wore the part like horse skin
visible only when bleeding or pestered by flies.


Not a day

I wanted to write not a day
will go past when you won’t
think of your father – your body
older by years now than ever his was.
Crossing the park under grey skies
maybe for morning rolls it seems
you are walking to meet him.

And even a day
when you think he did not cross
your mind you think now possibly
yes – only his thought escaped you.
He is around here often like the trees
up on that slope standing on tiptoe
to follow the fate of a rain cloud
over each other’s shoulders.

Water in the pond this morning
has camouflaged itself as clay.
Moorhens scratch rules in cuneiform
from a survival book of reed-running.
Their vees of ripples
soon slip back into smooth opaque.
Fathers or mothers pushing go-chairs
bring toddlers to the edge to look –
ducklings and chicks at swim.

Who kick both legs together
rattling their buggies in delight.
I pass them by – just some old guy
of indeterminate age with a grey
beard but still looking not too bad
considering in these Original chinos
with the expanding waistband
‘built for durability and comfort’.


Preparations for Easter

She was sheltering in the church porch
from a sharp wind and the gossip
and he was there in its half-dark too,
taking a break from his mowing.
Holy Week notices, posters for pilgrimages,
a diocesan letter twitched in the draught
as we opened the outer door and stepped inside.

She had a beautiful head, and was taller than he was
and heavier too, I’d say, her jeans were tight
across backside and thighs. And she was hanging
on his every word, and hanging on his every silence.
Magdalene mistook her risen Christ for a gardener,
but there was no mistaking the reek of grass and petrol
off this one, overpowering the perfume from her blouse.

In church, all of the statues were hooded in purple
for Good Friday. Out in the porch, her eyes were starry
for the wee gardener with the crush
of the first mown grass of April on his boots.

Which man here among us would not turn
from his own devotions at the thought of hers?


The Half-Awake Soul

The years of my soul have passed
like the warmth of a bed
under sheets of moonlight or rain.
The length of my soul has turned over
from one side to the other.

The best months were spent in silence,
they were passing over into silence.
I’ll say no more about that
breath silvering life’s mirror
not tell who was glimpsed there.

I remember whole weeks passed at ease
stretched out on the new grass in May,
or awake as the sea is now
turning waves to a lather of light
in the channels of night.

The best days all had their moments
caught in birdsong or bird flight.
The last look of a cloud leaving the hill behind.
Ourselves making little of it,
turning back to the work of tomorrow.

The years of my soul have come to this
chill morning in a long bed.
Under a duvet of sunlight or snow,
is there strength enough in ankle and thigh
down narrow paths to go?