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. Two Poems by Vivek Narayanan  



He Admits He is Delirous in Thinking of How He Carried Her

“I am delirious in thinking of how I carried you,
I know it in your mime of my delirium to me.
And at dawn when our attention turns to

each other, we smother our every
revenge, we garble thought, mangle
words, recall in kisses how we

carried us. From the tango tangle
of that stone’s revenge, our mime of pain
in release of attention in release from the angle

of that construction, I, insane
to the smell of you, the irrelevant
weight of you, the invisible rain

on the dawn of you, the errant
world in that klepto-nanosecond, that shrine
immaterial, that materialised present—

for our attentions are sometimes too available,
for restlessness of the forklifts threatens
the very truth of dawn, renders it metaphorical,
for in that moment I carried you down
from that ledge and you felt

impossibly light we were graceful,
that you in fact must have carried me carrying you
in order for it to have been possible, the idea
that for the exact length of a suspended thought

mimesis and truth were one, dawning
and attention equal, anger set aside, space
opened its vacumn to clarity so clarity—like
the unspoken composite beloved—could appear.”1


1. Yes, for then in the midst of our Subbu’s guttered attention, she arrives. / Our fellow hardly knows—so long has he held implicit conviction in the mimetic function of art to be wed to suffering, as painted horns to bullock cart, as in the centuries of dreary weddings before him, to be bred implacably / in unhappiness. // Might one continue then, if one no longer harboured revenge? Might anger go the way of revenge? Might resentment pucker up, flicker off?



Mr. Subramanian Hides from Rhetoric’s Shadow
(Duet with Mrs. Subramanian)

If you blur, my love, it is only
because we are close. The waking west
beats time upon my skull; that night
it widens in the collective mouth. To
whom is this gift of the already built
given, to whom it unhindered go?

                                                                          I know you are so anxious, dear,
                                                                           before the sprout might pierce
                                                                           the surface, before the dead chance
                                                                           to revive. But the noise it drains me too, remember,
                                                                           and my words, once spoken, evanesce.
                                                                           Must you hold me like an empty vessel?

Forgive me, my love. Their armies somehow
entered; now they guard each cell and
membrane. And some voices are so clear
in the din: the TV’s circulating bang bang,
the paper’s forever grey. Day after day the spell
goes on. Everyone has their say.

                                                                          Yes, everyone has their say. The air so thick
                                                                           with assumed allegiance. And despite
                                                                           the lawns so tidy, the skin
                                                                           so bright in a mist of spring
                                                                           no one is allowed to be happy.
                                                                           I fall dead to your ears, dead to your eyes.

But the speed of rhetoric at my heels!
I cannot run fast as once I did.
The gunman in his tennis shoes
leaping from right to right
somersaulting from west to west
into my vulnerable heart.

                                                                          If you blur, my love, I suppose
                                                                           it’s because we are close.
                                                                           Is there room in our house for others?
                                                                           Do I dim when the sirens blare?
                                                                           In the spell of that noise too:
                                                                           our wayward agile selves.

If you blur, my love, it’s only because
you are close. But the rhetoric
it creeps like the agile dead, shines
like a searchlight in the second
before a reborn dark. And its figures:
so quick, so unstoppable, so gone.

                                                                          That day, by the western ocean, dipped deep in
                                                                           the widening dunes and never, for a moment, lost.
                                                                           If you blur, my love, I suppose it’s because
                                                                           we are close. The prison of the present

unhouses the prison of memory. And suddenly,
I am not at all against memory.
And when they came it was
from the west they came—unhindered, agile,
so good looking and so dead—

                                                                          in the spell of noise that followed
                                                                           you lost your vision. But
                                                                           if you blur, my love—