November 2010


(Issue 13, section 1: 15 Miami poets)
Elisa Albo
Howard Camner
Adrian Castro
Denise Duhamel
Corey Ginsberg
Michael Hettich
Miriam Levine
Christopher Louvet
Jesse Millner
Barbra Nightingale
Geoffrey Philp
Laura Richardson
Alexis Sellas
Virgil Suárez
Nick Vagnoni

Issue 13 Guest Artist:
Xavier Cortada

President: Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
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
Sampurna Chattarji
Sarah Churchwell
Hollis Clayson
Sally Cline
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
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
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. Three Poems by Jesse Millner  


We still carry those X and Y chromosomes

from the original Adam and Eve,
from fifty million years ago,

from African father and mother,
who, in the Upper Paleolithic, learned
to take those images of sky and water and herds of animals
and translate them into language—

how beautiful to speak the very trees, the spear
that pierced the antelope,

to sing the death of the creature
you would cook over flames

as over and over again
you spoke the magic word for fire.

Later came the words for life and death and God,
though those syllables lacked the perfect
resonance of pounding hooves or the hot, red glow
of branches rendered into smoke,

that was itself defined as an offering
to the flickering constellations.

Later you would shape sculptures of big-hipped women
from wet clay, and with your very hands
you would sketch into cave walls
the likenesses of deer and bison,

the images in your head spilling out
until the whole world
trembled with art, until vast civilizations

raised wheat and brewed beer,
built temples to new gods,
whom language had imbued with new
and terrible meanings.

Old humans, I praise thee!
We have moved so far from your language of the concrete and specific,
from words that equaled fire and hunger, that signaled
buffalo stampedes in the brain. These days
words merely symbolize our obsessions, in these last
days, these desperate days, these long days
spent at the outlet mall,
spent with our televisions, computers, and cell phones,
all of them speaking simultaneously,
all of them arguing consumption and selfishness,

language, language, language,
not like
buffalo, buffalo, buffalo…

for Campbell McGrath



The Coming Surrender

Jonathan Edwards proclaimed us
sinners in the hands of an angry god,
and, all these years later, that cosmic dread
reaches towards me, promises a strangling
damnation that is personal, all mine,
and forever-lasting.

Let me thank the Baptists again
for this late-blooming fury,
this Fear that haunts the night hours
like Florida moonflowers grazed by starlight, moistened
by mist that rolls in from the whispering sea.

Like moonflowers? Yes, like fragile petals
glazed with the coming surrender, the moment
of dissolution when white flesh falls to the hard ground,
when the moon parts the gathering cumuli

and all across this tropical world,
the late clouds thunder
their gospel of storm and trouble.



Heaven of Horses

I is
the center
of my consciousness,
a word I’ve been trying to spell for forty years,
consciousness that is, with its tricky consonants
and extra vowels. But if you lunge deep

below consciousness, you’ll find
that moon-lit place where the bears
are chowing down on your grandmother
while raccoons run laps around the track
where you trained in high school
beneath the light of a silvery moon.

Whoever named those ring-tailed varmints raccoons
was really thinking. Is it onomatopoeia
when the word sounds like the racket
furry creatures make
in the dark dumpsters of 4 a.m.?

Now, there’s another word I’m surprised
I can spell: onomatopoeia. Sounds like
an opium-induced sigh
from a poet dreaming of Mongolia
where warriors worshipped the sky
amid the music of houyhnhnms
from the green-frosted pastures.

God, consciousness, raccoons, onomatopoeia, Mongols, whinnying horses
kerplunk across my brain,

that citadel of the I,

the place from which my essential “me-ness”
rushes out to meet the incoming tide
of everything that is the other,
which is an entire universe,
which is the sky so many have worshipped,
dark and glowing
across nights filled with those heaving constellations,
which themselves are filled with stars
helping sailors plot their journeys
across mighty oceans, beneath
solar systems roiling in the cosmic,

where Walt Whitman dances on the head of a pin.

It is a testimony to the hugeness of Walt’s consciousness
that he takes the place of several angels, yes, he is the better
angel, holy messenger of the cosmic
who sang praises of the “I,” who celebrated
the solitary, who embraced the communal,
who sang the body electric, who mightily
inhaled the fragrance
of sweating humans and horses.

I must say that the sky is a thunder of horses
when the nimbi rock with afternoon storms,
when thunder rolls the once-solid world
into a more wary wakefulness of the heavy rain
still to come. I must say the night sky

is a heaven of horses, ghosting across
the milk and white of interstellar spaces,
those places the “I” is always longing for,
that consciousness gathered beyond the single, hopeful spirit.

I never said God was.
But I’ll never say God wasn’t,
that there wasn’t a moment of fiery creation
that spun out all that would become poets and horses
and moons and stars. I’ll never say God
isn’t, even provisionally in this short
time between breath and thought.