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. Four Poems by Siobhan Harvey  


Woman at a Window

I see her as a portrait:
caught behind liquid transparency;
framed; tear-eyed; her pale face
distilling weak light.

As if suspended,
she stands at her window for hours.
The disintegration into sobbing;
the lip-trembling;
the glassiness of the stare:
these draw me to spy
(no, too harsh a word!) to study her,
even though I wish it weren’t so.

If I could erase the distance between us,
we might converse about death,
violence, a star-crossed affair
or whateveritis
that’s causing her to cry.

And if I could tell her that we’re alike,
our worlds equally askew,
I might see reflected back at me
someone other than myself.


Borrowing Anne Sexton’s Attire

I’m thinking of a black dress.

I’m thinking of nakedness.

I’m thinking of becoming an Anne Sexton wannabe who, like a white-trash Marilyn
clone, reminds the world of how dead skin is shed as ruthlessly as a poet discarding
words for the sake of the rhyme.

I’m thinking of a song, of The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator. Serenading myself till
twilight, I drink my whisky neat.

I’m thinking of feet and metre, of dactyls and trochaics, of a villanelle my friend Sylvia
stole, the lament we shared.

I’m thinking of a woman’s voice, of bitterness callused by bad choices, bad marriages and
bad men.

I’m thinking of a tour, of readings where I wear a red gown and nothing underneath. My
cigarette half-cocked, I listen to an inner voice, tender as a girl’s, persuading me to soften
my delivery.

I’m thinking of the children I never bore.

I’m thinking of letting go. Not an oven, but a closed garage and a car.

I’m thinking of the other side, of the paradise of having years trickle from my bones until
old age has drained me, a borehole drawing off the sap.

I’m thinking of a Massachusetts Pine. Return me to it; bury me amongst its roots.

I’m thinking of a suit, skin-tight as a coffin or a collected works. The Complete Poems: an
epitaph. Arriving home. No escape; the end.



No snags, I promise,
simply a gift so that we might part smoothly,
our points of difference buried.

The distance between two spikes
might once have measured our connection,
an infinite world of tenderness there.
But now, it’s enough
that each sharp star speaks of something long gone.

Perhaps you’ll take this cactus with you;
grow into it from afar,
rooted by it wherever you go:
Ulluru, Rio, Arizona.

Perhaps you’ll leave it behind,
allow it to stand in place of you,
holding your memory
in the same way a picture might,
or a closed book on a shelf in your room:
a silent, internal way,
the way of the animate,
the wrist-watch, the ghost.

I’ll tolerate either choice,
for some winter’s morning
you’ll fly home to darkness
and you’ll know that you’re alive,
because you’ll stroke this cactus,
recalling the moment it was offered,
and it will prick you,
and it will hurt.


Black cormorant

Everywhere, a bird sees suggestions.

That bruise upon the headland
is a stray magpie prowling
through chechian grass.

That finger of sand
is a beach parted
by the movement of water.

Those flashes of lightning
are the sun shining
upon the retreating tide.

That vision across the harbour
is a city hidden beneath
a blanket of mist.

And that ghost disappearing  
into the sea is a cormorant
pretending he isn’t here.