The International Literary Quarterly

November 2008


Gillian Beer
Amit Chaudhuri
Jonathan Dunne
Tsvetanka Elenkova
Ernest Farrés
Paul Giles
Mina Gorji
Geoffrey Hartman
Christopher Lane
Andrew Motion
Wendy O' Shea-Meddour
Tanyo Ravicz
Lawrence Venuti
Stanley Wells
Augustus Young

Founding Editor: Peter Robertson
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Consulting Editor: Marjorie Agosín
Consulting Editor: Jill Dawson
Consulting Editor: Denise Duhamel
Consulting Editor: Beatriz Hausner
Consulting Editor: Mimi Khalvati
Consulting Editor: Suzanne Jill Levine
Consulting Editor: Margot Livesey
Associate Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
Assistant Editor:
Jeff Barry
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Issue 5 Guest Artist: Tom Phillips

Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Four Poems by Mina Gorji  



The female fruit fly cannot sing
but she can recognise
the warm vibrato
of a mate:

a serenade
not issued from the tongue -
but from the high pitched trill
of hidden wings;

if clipped
he grows invisible
to her. They can collide a thousand times
inside this glassy chamber,

but caught
in unnatural silence
she is insensible,
and bears no fruit.


Pearl Diver

"Young women today don't like the sea as much as we do, they lack courage
and don't want to get their skin darkened by working in the water", Kotoyo Motohashi, Pearl Diver, or ‘Ama’.


fishing boats -
dry their wings.

An empty tub
for abalone,
or octopus
settles on the woodblock waves.

One long breath
and Kotoyo descends,
like her mother
and her grandmother
before her.

Currents stir the kelp;
water murkens:
can barely see her hands -

or the knife
that separates
sea-bed from oyster shell.
She is last of the Ama
of Shirahama.



caught alive
just off the Shetland Isles,
two feet in length
and finned along the spine;
her tiny hands
are webbed,
the lower portion
of her breast
scales into
a slippery tail.
Only her voice


Kamasutra (the subsidiary arts)

To make designs
on courtyard floors
with ricepowder and sand
is seventh of the sixty four
arts to hold desire.
Cutting patterns
out of leaves
is number five.
teaching minah birds
and parrots how to talk.
And if you master repartee,
sign language, foreign tongues,
and practice all these arts of love -
there's no room left
for emptiness,
no time
for broken hearts.