The International Literary Quarterly

May 2010


Luis Cernuda
Sally Cline
Christine Crow
Paul Scott Derrick
Paulette Dubé
Sarah Glazer
Tomás Harris
Philippe Jaccottet
Pierre-Albert Jourdan
Susan Kelly-DeWitt
Peter McCarey
Deborah Moggach
Vivek Narayanan
Georges Perros
Tessa Ransford
Sue Reidy
Daniel Shapiro
Rebecca Swift
John Taylor
Yassen Vassilev
Alan Wall
Stephen Wilson
Tamar Yoseloff
Karen Zelas

Volta: A Multilingual Anthology
(One poem: 93 languages)

Issue 11 Guest Artist:
Catherine McIntyre

President: Peter Robertson
Deputy Editor: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
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
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
Martha Nussbaum
Sari Nusseibeh
Tim Parks
Molly Peacock
Pascale Petit
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
Élisabeth Roudinesco
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
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

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. Excerpt from Talon by Paulette Dubé  


Première sélection:

In the end, what we need to survive is maimed, burnt and broken, but refuses to be forgotten.

Pour faire une tresse - assemblez trois longues mèches de cheveux; une pour l’âme, une pour la raison et une pour l’action.

She’s sitting in her chair.
The rocking chair in the kitchen.

She slowly licks the palm of her left hand
then between the fingers
curving her tongue over the skin web
like Marc used to do.

She thinks of her brothers
of her son Raoul – gone away, safe to grow up in Montana
safe from the vicious traps her neighbours are setting.

The clock is ticking.
It chimes 7:30.

It’s not her fault Zoë Trefflé wasn’t able to keep the baby.
Not her fault the baby died.
Not her fault Zoë died.
She had done what she could,
warning Zoë against the drink,
warning her that Télèsphore bothering her all the time would hurt the baby,
weaken her.
and working around those sick cows was asking for trouble,
but Zoë wouldn’t listen.

And now she knew tonight,
tonight they would come
under cover of the new moon
led by the drunken courage and useless fury of Télèsphore Trefflé.

They would come and they would kill her.

She hears footsteps on the frozen ground.

She hears Antoine Trefflé calling her names. She hears Télèsphore cursing, stomping on the porch, crashing into the door. He comes in a rush, ready with the ropes, but stops clumsily when she simply rises and turns her back to him. The others crowd in, pushing him forward. They smell of ragotte, burped over pork and cabbage. She cannot bear to see them look at her as if she is an animal they must hunt and kill. Their fear has a smell that threatens to choke her, make her cry.

She turns when she hears Télèsphore’s laboured breathing and knows the lung infection has not cleared. With no one to help him, he will be dead before the year is out.

Antoine catches the ghost smile creeping. He slaps her across the face, screaming about her arrogance and the others laugh loudly, slapping each other on the back.

Télèsphore grabs the jug of ragotte from Antoine and spins Rubis around to face the men. She stumbles forward. A young boy near the door makes a little movement, but Télèsphore curses him to keep his place.

-I told you to keep yourself quiet! he bellows. -The Almighty Madame Rubis Morin, the cursed healer, does not need your help, little Baptiste. Here Healer, you want something? You want some help? Take some of this, he slurs, wrenching her chin down with his free hand and shoving the jug into her face. –This, this is my medicine. This, is holy water. Let’s see what good it does you.

Rubis jerks her head back and crosses her arms, saying nothing.

-I said drink goddamn you, he snarls, gripping her arm and splashing the alcohol.

Rubis splutters and coughs, the liquid burning her eyes and mouth.

Antoine steps forward. -Don’t waste it for Chrissake. If she don’t want it Télèsphore, I do!

He wrestles the jug from his brother’s grip and tips it eagerly to his own mouth.

-Come on, Télèsphore barks, -I didn’t come here for no party. We got things to do einh? he leers. -We came here to do something, so let’s do it.

He yanks the rope expertly around her wrists, hobbles her to her own ankles.

–Come on bitch, you’re coming with us, he snarls, pushing her toward the door.

The men shove themselves up against her as she passes, rubbing their hands on her body and laughing about a waste of good meat. Télèsphore ignores them, pulls her roughly behind him into the night.

They take her through the yard and up the road, more roughly than is necessary. They need to hear her cry or plead, whimper or shout, anything to show that they have finally broken her. Rubis says nothing. She keeps her eyes on the ground, refusing to give them the satisfaction of knowing, she is already broken.

They drink heavily from the flasks they had filled at Trefflé’s earlier. They shout obscenities to egg each other on and pull her along, jerking on the rope to make her stumble.

They gather stones along the way, large blue field stones.

They bring her to water.

Six-year old Baptiste Trefflé stays in the deepest shadows.


a woman
slow eyes of the most kissing blue
red hair flowing down to the middle of her back
field stones in a bag around her waist
chafing rope binds her wrists

thrown in from above
shoes and all

lungs filling with water
fire in her veins
bubbles –
huge silver balloons
filled with fire

within 12 heart beats
                                                “J’entends le moulin

within 12 breaths
                                               tique, tique, taque.

an open mouth
                                               J’entends le moulin

a circle mute

her dress up above her face
                                               Mon père a fait bâtir maison,

her hands open in front of her
                                               l’a fait bâtir à trois pignons

                                               tique, tique, tique, taque

the woman
folds over herself
and the power
they cursed as evil

blinks once

like a star

and is gone

                                               tique, tique, taque.”

                                     J’entends le moulin, tique, tique taque.
                                     J’entends le moulin, taque.

…Rubis begins to braid her hair…