February 2011

A New Zealand Literary Showcase

Issue 14 Guest Artist:
Gordon Walters

Past Features:
Glasgow Voices
Volta: A Multilingual Anthology
(One poem: 93 languages)

15 Miami Poets

President: Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

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 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
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
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: Neil Langdon Inglis
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Five Poems by Siobhan Harvey  



The morning sky breaks with flight.
A large plane appears. Banking,
a hawk hovers over pohutukawa
and kauri, fuscous like wood
or sand at twilight. Bleak
crescent moon, hawk turns, falls.
Sparrows and fantails disperse like rain.

Later, a pair of hawks sky-dance overhead.
The sight of them so close, courting
the air, is such rare pleasure I sway.



Tension at the Airport

The world is all gates, all opportunities,
strings of tension waiting to be struck - Emerson

We sit in the Sky-deck playing Snap.
Out over huddled hills, aircraft are
specks peaking between curtains of cloud.

Connected to invisible wire, each plane
dances in the air, God’s puppetry
guiding it towards the runway.

There, heat rises off asphalt like ripples
on cobalt water or the riverstone grey
dash of wrybills startled by approaching jets.

Close to us, the departure hall is a movie-set
of fraught farewells, tears arriving
(like planes) in apparent synchronicity.

The friction the airport bears, its miracle
of cantilevered steel and glass, strains
under each goodbye, take-off and landing.

While we continue to shuffle,
gripped by what we see, how we deal
and our Snap Snap! Snap!!




A bone
is never just a bone.
This one is a memory,
a storyteller.

It spins its yarn,
little Rumpelstiltskin,
into scapula, humerus, radius,
ulna and metacarpus.

Its skeleton
recounts your body’s
assembly and breakage.

A stormy night;
a bed; a fall:
it’s a nursery rhyme,
it’s true.

The soft landing
that forgot to catch you;
wooden floorboards;
tears during x-ray;
fibres that knit as delicately
as granny glove-making:
these are another story.

When you’re grown,
I’ll reconstruct them
into a fable. It’ll fix
a smile to your face.

Of things unspoken:
how I slumbered
as you tumbled;
how blame calcifies;
how a mother’s guilt
is the only thing
that fails to mend –
these I’ll suffer alone.



The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator’s Wife

after Anne Sexton

like rockets
about to launch,
the bed and he
are wedded;
though aching to shrill,
I must keep still.

Mustn’t let on
I feel his earth shake.
Mustn’t wonder why
he chooses another body
(his own) over mine; nor why
I allow him his fill.
I must keep still.

And so, we both worship
onanism, and are joined
by this almost-adultery.
The dark,
into which he opens up
and I shun, tests the will.
I must keep still.

But fume away
secretly, an undiscovered fire
patient for its spark,
when only silence
knows my answers or how
broken and alone I am until
I stem my need to keep still.



My Sister Writes Poetry

Only when I’m absent,
the ghosted reflection
of home movies and photograph skin
does my sister seek her muse.

Her words fill the earth,
the seasons, climates, bones
I’ve said farewell to.

And as I embrace being
an epitaph of my own country,
a strange and distant voice
at the end of our telephone line,
she grows intimate,
adjectives, nouns and verbs her new lifeblood.

And as I embrace living
my life again,
images, similes, metaphors,
landscapes darker and emptier than the moon,
free verse, rhymes, odes,
villanelles, epics and elegies
become my sister’s ongoing comfort.

And when she wants to summon my return,
she writes out the religion of our past.

And when she wishes to forget me,
she writes of the birth of her new-born.

And then, in ugly joy,
in rage and remorse and guilt,
she rips her reddened words
into a thousand tatters,
petals each that scatter the air,
their delicacy and perfume
too rare for a faraway eye such as mine.