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February 2011

 
 
A New Zealand Literary Showcase

Issue 14 Guest Artist:
Gordon Walters

Past Features:
Glasgow Voices
Volta: A Multilingual Anthology
(One poem: 93 languages)

15 Miami Poets

President: Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

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 Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Sampurna Chattarji
Sarah Churchwell
Hollis Clayson
Sally Cline
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
Siobhan Harvey
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
Paschalis Nikolaou
Martha Nussbaum
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: Neil Langdon Inglis
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 
Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Two Poems by Harvey Molloy  

 


Diwali

The ponga’s tongue tapped the window
I ignored it.

The room was a bauble blown by candles
floating on a silver plate—

I adored it.
The god had slept a full year

on the dusty mantel. His suit
of light and flowers a forgotten ghazal

until the ritual gathering of children
incense and halwa, the soft thunk of Nani’s mala

stirred him from his dreams. O son
your eyes two newly born worlds not six years old

you held the plate of butterlamps
soft as flowers in water and

if the dusty god stretched then none of us
felt his bronze trunk tap our shoulders.

We sang; we ate.
I did not know the thread and braid of the words.

But somehow the gift was given
somehow we made it work.

 

 

The Exorbitant

*

the exorbitant question of method

*

School’s in. Eleven hundred
legs climb the hill
staff cars sparkle in the sun
the sapphire sky

empty and boundless

as a Tibetan saint’s dream
morning jolts the many-legged
beast awake with an espresso
kick (soon the café will be

caffeine-free)

outside my classroom
Ionatana stands
like a wading kotuku
foot pressed flat

on the corridor wall

while the girls
on the other side talk
of church meetings
merging congregations

passages from Deuteronomy

to be learnt for the pastor
how Nia’s weekend job
at Pak’nSave
can't cover the cost

of her mobile

I clutch my tea tightly
nod them inside
the failing classroom
the key sticks in the door

*

the exorbitant question of mind

*

The lines of the running track
white orbits on green grass
around an absent sun
we sit on a bench in what would be

the park’s Kuiper belt

our philosophical talks as predictable
(and surprising) as our weekly game of chess
there are no universal laws or decrees
the sun does not hold attendant planets in its sway

the king is a thing of nothing

you maintain that we stake possession
over our limbs, eyes, fingers
I and mine demand their a priori claim
assert their difference from the body's reflection

we see and taste the world through sense

(the morning’s plunger blend, the double stars
of Scorpius blurring each year to a single orb)
and in the speeding gulf between I and body
the humdrum nostalgia of middle age

*

the exorbitant question of method

*

the exorbitant question of method
the question of how to pose the question
what exceeds or precedes writing in
a tiny flat in Palmerston North

on the night Muldoon got pissed

and announced the snap election
I copied quotations from Derrida's
Of Grammatology onto thinly-ruled index cards
which I shuffled and arranged

before typing my thesis

on the problem of meaning
(the mirror of reading)
on erasable bond typing paper
(brought by Raj from the United States)

through the black and white snow

of poor reception a ghostly Muldoon
slurred his speech and looked about
to lose it completely as he toddled
down a corridor in The Beehive

somewhere down the line he lost

the plot became unhinged like
one of Derrida’s doors that swing
still he screwed the country his way
and we crossed the guardrail

balustrade

mind the gap fell flat
onto the track as we gambled (lost?)
on games Derrida doesn’t play much
namely Chicken or Consequences

*

the exorbitant question of time

*

Schools out. We step out
into the dark carpark
no moon, stars bright

Heather reckons we should
research online how the school

they built in Australia
without classrooms is working out
how the kids there are getting along

look! sparkling beads
of burning white light

flare and fall from the fading orbit
of a collapsing Soviet satellite
five seconds east of Spica