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. Suite de Poèmes by Tessa Ransford  




This is our mantra
patter noster
words our voice said
phrases repeated
spoken together
older younger
matins compline
now forgotten
as meaningless jargon
thy will be done
What will be done?
- desire of the universe
Who will do it?
through whose life
when, where, how?
Questions unanswered
answers unquestioned

Daily bread is not tomorrow’s
tägliches Brot not yesterday’s
carpe diem, seize the message
open-minded receive and learn -
deep in nature’s curious kingdom
we arise, adapt and change
while beyond our earthly planet
our intensive brainwaves range -
Do we trespass? – who’ll forgive us?
Can we forgive our trespassers:
those who would confine, prevent us
listening to the messengers?

This our mantra
our chant our dance
our gathering, feasting
our wisdom-field
pain de ce jour
draw its sustaining
strength for the step ahead -
breathe out the wastage
from mind and blood -
we will be tested
and misunderstood
yet we keep balance
hold hands with each other
dancing onward
like fireflies in darkness
shining our weakness
through the strewn minefield
of little brown Earth


Steady now forward march
step by clichéd step langweilig
we want to run, to fly, to break-
dance, to climb, to mountain bike
to snowboard, surf-ride
deep-sea dive, rally drive -
why hang about for word
from philosopher or poet?
We’ll taste and see, vision blinded
addicted to the latest gadget –
Zeitgeist? Zeitgemäss?
Keeping time? Outdoing time

We put to death whoever warns us
everytime, we will not hear;
yet when Mandela speaks forgiveness
we recognise his great-heartedness;
why not Israel, why not try
another way, the other cheek
ecce homo Palestinian
why not listen, why not speak?
Words are gifts we have as humans
to sound us out and understand
yet we tie our tongues and exile
heart and sense in no-hope-land

Out of time and out of place
out of kilter the human race
running out of food and water
squandering the oil and gas
wind and sun and wave may save us
not without exacting price
will we respect them, realise
the required sacrifice?


Down by the river
le pont d’Avignon
we float on for ever
like twigs on the water
we find our way further
and into the mid-stream
bearing a sun-beam
divided re-gathered
we dance on the ledges
caught in the sedges
skid under bridges
not fishes not midges
not dippers not divers
we are the free floaters
who cares where we’re going
as long as we’re flowing


we dare say, we can feel
we must think and these three
in community, make humanity

don’t ask much.
expect work
for children
we listen
we love them
we earn them

look after us
the unborn ones
be there for us
we grow minds
to fly with them
and still you
peck around the pen

we dare say we’re dancing
support us, don’t thwart us
we give the world
as we are given
a destiny
we can feel, we do think
we dare say, we must speak


if life is a jig or a twirl or a whirl
or a neat minuet where we practise the steps
or a g-g-gavotte we do - or we’re not
going to - join in the dance
while particles spin through the world
and the brain and we seldom can tell who
concocted the spell or if not interfered with
life could work some magic yet we
want to enjoy once again (ere we die)
the tune and the turn
so we take up the fiddle and step to
the middle till mopping the brow we finish

and bow