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. Three Poems by James Byrne  



Blown dust the days since I was called
from the rabbit-hole of childhood. By ear
history is stage-set, it recreates via rains
playing Schubert or untaken photographs. 

They said I came out with a thorn in my foot—
hillcloud child who spoke with a large name, 
blossy among broken hedges and molten fields.

When the house hellbelled I retouched an image
of hyaline mists gridlocked to corn. The memory       
of sky-sagas at Pankridge Farm held like a salve.

Artifice to my own laziness, cold at the leash, 
I listened to the quiet motherese of a voice
until it was clamant, exasperated to nerve—
‘Home’ it repeated. ‘Home. Come home’.


Four Interpretations of Photographs by Claude Cahun

30o (Hand Trio)

The human hand gleams and imposes itself
cannily, like the white glove of SS Wolff.

If such configurations could rejoin the living,
Goebbels would be at the flashbulb, mad as a yapping seadog.  

The black hand belonged to a spying washmaid in Nantes.
Any half-trained eye can see the curlicues.

Unbeknown to her—a '30s Telphousa—
she is grinding the wheelmill of war.  

The baby hand is puppet-like and cut from the wrist.
Its cold digits are sized to the tip of an icicle.
Through the fingers of the child, darkness merges, entwists.
A blousy tablecloth rivers into ice, bloats to a hold, solid.


26o (Military Tailors)

Crocodilian wars where a sacred bull glints the shadow-stamp
of an 8-ball on his own forehead.

On conscripting, I was fitted up here.
Samuel & Finch. Haymarket. A three-piece. 1912.

It was the suit I pillowed my face into
fresh from Loos                                          crying:

God is not dead,
God wears the face of my enemy sleeping. 

Entrenched                proceeding from dark to dark,
the early moon would watch back

doomy, unflinchingly alert,   
like the skull of a pterodactyl.


44f (Self-Portrait Among Masks and a Crystal Skull)

i. Centremask—
Mutant Japanese. The disconnected neck round as the face of a Bodhrán.

ii. Far Left Centremask—
Baselump of Marx’s tomb. Blank eyeholes, the dunce-stare of an age wasted.

iii. Upper Left Crystal Skull—
One thirteenth of world exposed. The ghost-luck beauty fidgets in its glass.

iv. Self-Portrait—
Skeletal hermit, invisible until looked for. Wind-weary with a Gestapo sneer.

v. Right Centremask—
Lunatic humiliated by ancestry. Hair pierced straight. Fraying for lack of evidence.  


35z (Flowerhead)

The seed of it              Hindu/Parisian –        

not the blurry portico
but desire in the bangles of a bronze baroness,
a three-jet of pigeons—

the nine-blossoms of a head-flower
petrified, erect.

Scabbed wrists offer possibilities of self-portrait:

a young-un spaced clear, genderless
but for the touch of a nursery mother.

This is your mother.
Un-witched. Dregs of you.


Chess in Kirkuk
for Fadhil Al-Azzawi

‘Two men tossing a coin, one keeping a castle’
                 Ezra Pound, ‘Provincia Deserta’


In the Café Atlas, you furlonged over countless games of chess
with a signature move: checkmate, X’ings of bishop and queen.
Victorious, to be prized as a prisoner, while those you conquered
were laurelled with limousines and castles, the new ministers
of the slaughterhouse had you wearing old shoes from the dead
who had no time to put on their shoes when the guards burst in.

A thirty-year exile, honing your skill as chessmaster and prophet.
In Leipzig, you saw Saddam bare his polished teeth like Dracula.
In Paris, a mirror returned the blooded forehead of Al-Mutanabbi. 
You saw Iraq’s future torturers flogging their backs for bread
and wished them a square meal and a hex against the atom bomb. 

Arriving into giant shafts of sunlight along the Turkish strait,
you remembered those who traded their poetry for propaganda;
not as turncoats; but simply chessmates flexing pawns for victory.