The International Literary Quarterly

August 2009


Shanta Acharya
Evgeny Baratynsky
Mary Caponegro
Peter France
Aamer Hussein
Edie Meidav
Ian Patterson
Mori Ponsowy
Jem Poster
Joan Retallack
Fiona Sampson
John Stauffer
Judith Taylor
Karen Thornber
Stephen Wilson
Leslie Woodard

Issue 8 Guest Artist:
Kenneth Draper RA

Founding Editor: Peter Robertson
Art Editor: Calum Colvin

Consulting Editors
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Rosemary Ashton
Leonard Barkan
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boulossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jill Dawson
Junot Díaz
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Edith Grossman
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
Molly Haskell
Beatriz Hausner
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
John Kelly
Mimi Khalvati
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Suzanne Jill Levine
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Alberto Manguel
Marina Mayoral
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Susana Moore
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Caryl Phillips
Elena Poniatowska
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Sudeep Sen
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marina Warner
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Associate Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
Assistant Editor: Jeff Barry
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Two poems by Fiona Sampson  


The Sun-spot

     i.m. A. C.

Freckles, a white school shirt,
your flushes of annoyance –
were we friends?
The sun that killed you
makes only the present real
(I suppose that’s why it ravished you,
sensible Ali),
but it’s three decades
since our troubled alliance.
You were impatient
with my inconsequence,
and for the five years
we sat side by side
believed I was sacrificing thought
for approval.
Of course I was.
Still, you were right and wrong –
applause acts like love
but music’s a discipline
pure and impersonal as calculus…
For years we made a reluctant pair,
and it occurred to neither of us
to articulate the grace we found in form
or in the release it offered, to something promised –
in fact, our selves –
that seemed real and pressing as an odour
in those days
when I misread your passion –
not realising maths
rises to its occasions
but runs deep through the mind
like winterbournes, which we learnt
were local as limestone. 
I hear it now in your obituary.
But you know this – you’ve gone ahead and know everything.


A Second Glance

     Evening, you bring back everything the bright dawn scattered.
                                - Sappho

Call it what you like –
call it a symphony or intelligent design
these monumental trees,
the light silvering a pewter sea,
are exemplars.
One or many, moving against each other,  
they make a harmony of purpose
in broad-brush light
and the eye hardly picks-up tone
or shade.
Rain skirrs the window,
sudden as a half-forgotten fear
or that trace of a dream
in which your failures return,
crudely transfigured.
                                Beyond its veil
afternoon’s transformed  
by millions of droplets
into something light and shuddering
which you could call necessary. This flux.
It marks the start of autumn,
season of ghosts
and of familiars.
To call them home
you must turn –
the way shadows turn
at the feet of a table
placed on a hot stone terrace
above some valley
where everything seems unmarked,
with heat.
            To hesitate here
like a creature on some threshold –
dusk, or autumn –
is to be merely human, afraid
of how light dims.  Though that,
too, is beautiful.