The International Literary Quarterly

August 2009


Shanta Acharya
Evgeny Baratynsky
Mary Caponegro
Peter France
Aamer Hussein
Edie Meidav
Ian Patterson
Mori Ponsowy
Jem Poster
Joan Retallack
Fiona Sampson
John Stauffer
Judith Taylor
Karen Thornber
Stephen Wilson
Leslie Woodard

Issue 8 Guest Artist:
Kenneth Draper RA

Founding Editor: Peter Robertson
Art Editor: Calum Colvin

Consulting Editors
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Rosemary Ashton
Leonard Barkan
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boulossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jill Dawson
Junot Díaz
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Edith Grossman
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
Molly Haskell
Beatriz Hausner
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
John Kelly
Mimi Khalvati
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Suzanne Jill Levine
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Alberto Manguel
Marina Mayoral
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Susana Moore
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Caryl Phillips
Elena Poniatowska
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Sudeep Sen
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marina Warner
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Associate Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
Assistant Editor: Jeff Barry
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. from "The Bosch Bookshelf" by Joan Retallack  

Elliptical Ice Terriers
Just as the blades describe an elegant thicket of parallel curves I will be your personal pronoun for the duration of this sentence. You will be my personal pronoun for the duration of this sentence. Exquisite parallels all about remaining in motion. Poetries and theories of everything propel no-hands bicycle arias. More radical alterity, more biomimicry, more blood sausage fealty, explosions of sweetest beauty. My child, why repeat what some poet or another has already—we live our lives forever taking leave—when a custom-fitted speech act can be yours within 24 hours. With it you can perform rites and ceremonies, weddings, baptisms, extreme unctions, forgiveness of sins, funerals; visit correctional facilities, start your own church.


None Too Soon
To be located in memories without precedent. That’s the necessary antidote to déjà vu where so many syllables have been squandered in pliant confirmation. The more non-existent of the gods are the only ones counting your blunders. Hard to forget. What of the yearning mind, or thoughts that so intricately deform the musculature of a smile. The only worthwhile wish of which I’m currently aware is to construct a logical space-time bracket in which all the animals are sometimes dreaming.


The Ventriloquist’s Dilemma
Bird song entered our words and left with migratory echoes insufficiently dispersed. We weren’t designed to perceive most of what surrounds us or to fully understand the rest. Maybe it’s true that differential equations drove the teenager off the road. The self-propagating slope remains unhindered in its x-y axis. It’s really difficult to find the language to say these things rigorously. Sound waves break on the shore and make one feel unwelcome. And too, there’s that conspicuous absence of real metaphors in nature. Sorry, meant to say, there’s that conspicuous absence of real nature in metaphors. Someone will always claim night flew into a tree. The placement of those words in a line.


The Long And Short Of It Thought Experiment
Feed long and short beaked pigeons the same food, same food. Exercise long and short legged quadrupeds in the same, same manner. Expose long and short-haired sheep to the same climate climate. Then and only then, direct every time-line toward the same set of nesting horizons. Can we go on this way? One step takes longer than anyone ever thought it would and is still hovering in the air, the shadow is getting longer, the whole earth is growing hot and cold, hot and cold. Let any long and short lifespan equal the same function of x divided by zero. We can now observe that the results of these and other experiments are adding up to an old geometry of the tragic spectrum—the more the terror, the less the pity. That’s the long and short of it.


Fierce Love Story
To start with a taxonomic impediment and yet go on. Looking always for news of another kind. Great saturated patches of color stall in their rumble toward the horizon. Squeeze-tube dearth full of biblical pornography. Sit back and watch in awe as one sophisticated critter eviscerates another on the color-coded screen. No greater love, etc. Much too bright or not enough to be convincing descriptions of nature. For the unconvinced, then, the following three consolations: Sonorous cowboys hitch up primate dungarees. To restore the comfort of silence is the role of objects. A little girl wanders in and out of the color field just beyond our grasp.