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Contributors
 

William Bedford
Richard Berengarten 1
Richard Berengarten 2
Linda Black
Jean Boase-Beier
Alison Brackenbury
Jill Dawson
Josephine Dickinson
Neil Langdon Inglis
Gabriel Josipovici
Yudit Kiss
Alberto Manguel
John McCullough
Ruth Padel
Rebecca Swift
Alan Wall

English Writers 2 Guest Artist:
Rodolfo Zagert

President: Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
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London Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Geraldine Maxwell
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Meena Alexander
Washington D.C. Editor/Senior
Editor-at-Large:
Laura Moser
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
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General Editor: Malvina Segui
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Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
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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
Marcelo Cohen
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
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Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
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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
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
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James Richardson
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Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
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Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
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Daniel Shapiro
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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

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Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 
Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Five Poems
by
Alison Brackenbury


 

 



              Breaking the fast

When I am alone, toast is ceremony.
I cut bread thick, (cooking is art),
discover butter, for my cracked skin.
Toast must be hot, butter is chill.
I slide both in the microwave’s loud glow,
wait for the chime, heap strawberries.
But I must eat it where I am,
perfect, alone. Love’s toast is burned,
brought cold upstairs, with the wrong jam.



              February 26th

Though I read ‘Notes on Stars’,
yet I always forget
the planet, or comet,
until my blank noon.
But our milkman saved me.
I saw on the dawn’s step
the milk, then high Venus,
by her crescent moon.

They were a white iris,
as crisp as an eyelash,
a slim curve, a great blaze,
taut blue that too soon
is cars, is dulled daylight.
Look quick, you may catch them,
old Venus, though faded,
her smudged crescent moon.



              The gamekeeper's wife

The village noted clean washing.
Where did the keeper go?
Under the hawthorns hung his gibbet,
strands of wire to show
shot crows, dulled magpies, squirrels’ plumes.
Torn weasels danced below.

When we took the gamekeeper's house,
I learned he had a wife.
I knew women named for flowers.
Rose, Daisy, no man’s wife,
kept house for brothers, grim with pills
trudged past me, shut from life.

Her house lay half a mile from lights,
I never saw her face.
The cobwebs held a reeking soot.
They heated the whole place
with paraffin. We tried it once,
each flame a fierce blue taste.

Did the house draughts consume us?
Books cracked me, then instead
I found a boy. Father, retired,
took briefly to his bed.
My mother read there, undisturbed.
Wisely, my sister said

they bought a bungalow. No well
in grass breathed apples’ rot.
No rose from an old garden turned
white petals apricot,
spared by the keeper’s childless wife
one warm hour, while he shot.



              Criticism

‘Good Muses keep hands clean!’

‘Do they?’ she frowns,
sets down the stable fork,
picks up the baby,
welds in the wartime factory
until the siren wails,
notices, in silence,
the whiteness of my nails.



              Eight

He stayed in Crete. The family
beckoned him up, one day, to see
a small back room, a curtained niche.

A photograph? A daughter dead?
Or slubbed gold heaven, the icon’s head?
Cloth dragged the boards with its rough swish.

They held their ground. They stood in rows,
unlaced, like prisoners’, heels to toes,
eight pairs of paratroopers’ boots.

One was bashed by an olive tree,
one bent by rock. How carefully
they had been eased from each warm foot.

One listener asked, ‘Were they for spares?’
‘No,’ he said firmly. They stood there
polished in ranks. It was a shrine.

The deaths that were. The deaths to come-
By sea’s first sigh, the thyme-bees hum.
Eight pairs of boots march down the line.