The International Literary Quarterly
Contributors

Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Donald Adamson
Diran Adebayo
Nausheen Ahmad
Toheed Ahmad
Amanda Aizpuriete
Baba Akote
Elisa Albo
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Rosetta Allan
María Teresa Andruetto
Innokenty Annensky
Claudia Apablaza
Robert Appelbaum
Michael Arditti
Jenny Argante
Sandra Arnold
C.J.K. Arkell
Agnar Artúvertin
Sarah Arvio
Rosemary Ashton
Mammed Aslan
Coral Atkinson
Rose Ausländer
Shushan Avagyan
Razif Bahari
Elizabeth Baines
Jo Baker
Ismail Bala
Evgeny Baratynsky
Saule Abdrakhman-kyzy Batay
Konstantin Nikolaevich Batyushkov
William Bedford
Gillian Beer
Richard Berengarten
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Ilya Bernstein
Mashey Bernstein
Christopher Betts
Sujata Bhatt
Sven Birkerts
Linda Black
Chana Bloch
Amy Bloom
Mary Blum Devor
Michael Blumenthal
Jean Boase-Beier
Jorge Luis Borges
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Julia Brannigan
Theo Breuer
Iain Britton
Françoise Brodsky
Amy Brown
Bernard Brown
Diane Brown
Gay Buckingham
Carmen Bugan
Stephen Burt
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James Byrne
Kevin Cadwallander
Howard Camner
Mary Caponegro
Marisa Cappetta
Helena Cardoso
Adrian Castro
Luis Cernuda
Firat Cewerî
Pierre Chappuis
Neil Charleton
Janet Charman
Sampurna Chattarji
Amit Chaudhuri
Mèlissa Chiasson
Ronald Christ
Alex Cigale
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Lila Cona
Eugenio Conchez
Andrew Cowan
Mary Creswell
Christine Crow
Pedro Xavier Solís Cuadra
Majella Cullinane
P. Scott Cunningham
Emma Currie
Jeni Curtis
Stephen Cushman
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Susan Daitch
Rubén Dario
Jean de la Fontaine
Denys Johnson Davies
Lydia Davis
Robert Davreu
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Rosalía de Castro
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Patricia Delmar
Christine De Luca
Tumusiime Kabwende Deo
Paul Scott Derrick
Josephine Dickinson
Belinda Diepenheim
Jenny Diski
Rita Dove
Arkadii Dragomoschenko
Paulette Dubé
Denise Duhamel
Jonathan Dunne
S. B. Easwaran
Jorge Edwards
David Eggleton
Mohamed El-Bisatie
Tsvetanka Elenkova
Johanna Emeney
Osama Esber
Fiona Farrell
Ernest Farrés
Elaine Feinstein
Gigi Fenster
Micah Timona Ferris
Vasil Filipov
Maria Filippakopoulou
Ruth Fogelman
Peter France
Alexandra Fraser
Bashabi Fraser
Janis Freegard
Robin Fry
Alice Fulton
Ulrich Gabriel
Manana Gelashvili
Laurice Gilbert
Paul Giles
Zulfikar Ghose
Corey Ginsberg
Chrissie Gittins
Sarah Glazer
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George Gömöri
Giles Goodland
Martin Goodman
Roberta Gordenstein
Mina Gorji
Maria Grech Ganado
David Gregory
Philip Gross
Carla Guelfenbein
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Charles Hadfield
Haidar Haidar
Ruth Halkon
Tomás Harris
Geoffrey Hartman
Siobhan Harvey
Beatriz Hausner
John Haynes
Jennifer Hearn
Helen Heath
Geoffrey Heptonstall
Felisberto Hernández
W.N. Herbert
William Hershaw
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Allen Hibbard
Hassan Hilmi
Rhisiart Hincks
Kerry Hines
Amanda Hopkinson
Adam Horovitz
David Howard
Sue Hubbard
Aamer Hussein
Fahmida Hussain
Alexander Hutchison
Sabine Huynh
Juan Kruz Igerabide Sarasola
Neil Langdon Inglis
Jouni Inkala
Ofonime Inyang
Kevin Ireland
Michael Ives
Philippe Jacottet
Robert Alan Jamieson
Rebecca Jany
Andrea Jeftanovic
Ana Jelnikar
Miroslav Jindra
Stephanie Johnson
Bret Anthony Johnston
Marion Jones
Tim Jones
Gabriel Josipovici
Pierre-Albert Jourdan
Sophie Judah
Tomoko Kanda
Maarja Kangro
Jana Kantorová-Báliková
Fawzi Karim
Kapka Kassabova
Susan Kelly-DeWitt
Mimi Khalvati
Daniil Kharms
Velimir Khlebnikov
Akhmad hoji Khorazmiy
David Kinloch
John Kinsella
Yudit Kiss
Tomislav Kuzmanović
Andrea Labinger
Charles Lambert
Christopher Lane
Jan Lauwereyns
Fernando Lavandeira
Graeme Lay
Ilias Layios
Hiên-Minh Lê
Mikhail Lermontov
Miriam Levine
Suzanne Jill Levine
Micaela Lewitt
Zhimin Li
Joanne Limburg
Birgit Linder
Pippa Little
Parvin Loloi
Christopher Louvet
Helen Lowe
Ana Lucic
Aonghas MacNeacail
Kona Macphee
Kate Mahony
Sara Maitland
Channah Magori
Vasyl Makhno
Marcelo Maturana Montañez
Stephanie Mayne
Ben Mazer
Harvey Molloy
Osip Mandelstam
Alberto Manguel
Olga Markelova
Laura Marney
Geraldine Maxwell
John McAuliffe
Peter McCarey
John McCullough
Richard McKane
John MacKinven
Cilla McQueen
Edie Meidav
Ernst Meister
Lina Meruane
Jesse Millner
Deborah Moggach
Mawatle J. Mojalefa
Jonathan Morley
César Moro
Helen Mort
Laura Moser
Andrew Motion
Paola Musa
Robin Myers
André Naffis-Sahely
Vivek Narayanan
Bob Natifu
María Negroni
Hernán Neira
Barbra Nightingale
Paschalis Nikolaou
James Norcliffe
Carol Novack
Annakuly Nurmammedov
Joyce Carol Oates
Sunday Enessi Ododo
Obododimma Oha
Michael O'Leary
Antonio Diaz Oliva
Wilson Orhiunu
Maris O'Rourke
Sue Orr
Wendy O'Shea-Meddour
María Claudia Otsubo
Ruth Padel
Ron Padgett
Thalia Pandiri
Judith Dell Panny
Hom Paribag
Lawrence Patchett
Ian Patterson
Georges Perros
Pascale Petit
Aleksandar Petrov
Mario Petrucci
Geoffrey Philp
Toni Piccini
Henning Pieterse
Robert Pinsky
Mark Pirie
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Nicolás Poblete
Sara Poisson
Clare Pollard
Mori Ponsowy
Wena Poon
Orest Popovych
Jem Poster
Begonya Pozo
Pauline Prior-Pitt
Eugenia Prado Bassi
Ian Probstein
Sheenagh Pugh
Kate Pullinger
Zosimo Quibilan, Jr
Vera V. Radojević
Margaret Ranger
Tessa Ransford
Shruti Rao
Irina Ratushinskaya
Tanyo Ravicz
Richard Reeve
Sue Reidy
Joan Retallack
Laura Richardson
Harry Ricketts
Ron Riddell
Cynthia Rimsky
Loreto Riveiro Alvarez
James Robertson
Peter Robertson
Gonzalo Rojas
Dilys Rose
Gabriel Rosenstock
Jack Ross
Anthony Rudolf
Basant Rungta
Joseph Ryan
Sean Rys
Jostein Sæbøe
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Eurig Salisbury
Fiona Sampson
Polly Samson
Priya Sarukkai Chabria
Maree Scarlett
John Schad
Michael Schmidt
L.E. Scott
Maureen Seaton
Alexis Sellas
Hadaa Sendoo
Chris Serio
Resul Shabani
Bina Shah
Yasir Shah
Daniel Shapiro
Ruth Sharman
Tina Shaw
David Shields
Ana María Shua
Christine Simon
Iain Sinclair
Katri Skala
Carole Smith
Ian C. Smith
Elizabeth Smither
John Stauffer
Jim Stewart
Susan Stewart
Jesper Svenbro
Virgil Suárez
Lars-Håkan Svensson
Sridala Swami
Rebecca Swift
George Szirtes
Chee-Lay Tan
Tugrul Tanyol
José-Flore Tappy
Alejandro Tarrab
Campbell Taylor
John Taylor
Judith Taylor
Petar Tchouhov
Miguel Teruel
John Thieme
Karen Thornber
Tim Tomlinson
Angela Topping
David Trinidad
Kola Tubosun
Nick Vagnoni
Joost Vandecasteele
Jan van Mersbergen
Latika Vasil
Yassen Vassilev
Lawrence Venuti
Lidia Vianu
Dev Virahsawmy
Anthony Vivis
Richard Von Sturmer
Răzvan Voncu
Nasos Vayenas
Mauricio Wacquez
Julie Marie Wade
Alan Wall
Marina Warner
Mia Watkins
Peter Wells
Stanley Wells
Laura Watkinson
Joe Wiinikka-Lydon
Hayden Williams
Edwin Williamson
Ronald V. Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Alison Wong
Leslie Woodard
Elzbieta Wójcik-Leese
Niel Wright
Manolis Xexakis
Xu Xi
Gao Xingjian
Sonja Yelich
Tamar Yoseloff
Augustus Young
Soltobay Zaripbekov
Karen Zelas
Alan Ziegler
Ariel Zinder

 

President, Publisher & Founding Editor:
Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Glenna Luschei
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
U. S. General Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
London Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Geraldine Maxwell
New York Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Meena Alexander
Washington D.C. Editor/Senior
Editor-at-Large:
Laura Moser
Argentine Editor: Yamila Musa
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
General Editor: Malvina Segui
Art Editor: Lara Alcantara-Lansberg
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
Shanta Acharya
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
Hollis Clayson
Sarah Churchwell
Marcelo Cohen
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
Beatriz Hausner
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
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Thomas Luschei
Willy Maley
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Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
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Jack Miles
Toril Moi
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Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
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Tim Parks
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
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Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Daniel Shapiro
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Daniel Shapiro
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Emily Snyder
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 
Click to enlarge picture.
Artwork by Lydia Rubio

The Power of Prose:
Extract 2 from Ameland
A novel by: Hernán Neira
Translated from the Spanish
into the English
by Peter Robertson
 

 



Two foreigners in that inhospitable land, we sought refuge in each other. Moving in with me to the lighthouse keeper’s quarters, with its two bare and spartan rooms, Mareika’s state of mind weathered a sea-change. On falling asleep, she was swept away by nightmares in which she appeared to be falling from a great height, her groans so pitiful they roused me from slumber. Seeing her lying there, shuddering in sweat, I strove to reassure her with words of solace, all the while stroking her tenderly.

Emerging from her dreams in the most profound dejection, she clung to me like a newly-born tortoise bereft of its shell or a chick craving its mother hen’s wing. But Mareika’s bouts of brooding silence were soon to dissipate. No longer desperate to escape, and nourished by her father’s storied anecdotes, she conjured up her own fancied likeness of the mainland. She still wanted to make her way there, but was no longer compelled by any feeling of urgency.

Not just some empty gesture of defiance, leaving the island would ensure that we could get married, have children, and put them through school. Dwelling on a return to the mainland, we saw that our thoughts had run along parallel lines. And it was during such times, basking in the glow of each other’s company, that Mareika became less withdrawn. Having crafted a tacit pact to work for a common goal, we carried about our tasks, together or alone, the most mundane activity a supreme expression of mutual love.

The Amelanders no longer feared I was hell-bent on depriving them of one of their women, finding me in the steadfast company of Mareika, to them an intruder. A year or so after my arrival on the island, and by now living with Mareika, the locals came to speak with us, intent on forging a meager contact. Ameland did not recognize the laws of the mainland, and its only jurisdiction was a council of elders, one of whom held special sway. And so, one afternoon the Arch-Patriarch came to see us, escorted by a group of fishermen and with his wife and daughters in tow. Mareika, who not only spoke my language but also theirs, listened intently, relaying their thoughts to me. But from time to time, she was taken to one side and assailed with words she did not dare to divulge.

And the remarks that she was privy to could hardly have been pleasant, with Mareika’s face registering not only surprise but also dismay. Fearful of direct confrontation with the islanders, I did not later seek to extract from Mareika the details of these exchanges, content to take her muted commentary at face value.

During that initial encounter, the visitors did not ask me anything about the lighthouse or Mareika or, as if their indifference could dispossess me of my past, a single word about my previous life on the mainland. Baffled, I spoke only about fishing, the direction of the winds, how to throw a buoy, and the best way to deliver food, which had until then been carried out haphazardly. This conclave was to mark the first of many occasions that the same bevy would appear at the foot of the lighthouse, at the break of dawn, shouting menacingly in foreign tongues.

Like automata, with no sense of selfhood, each inhabitant performed a gamut of mindless duties. However, while my relations with the island-dwellers were never to become cordial, they were to improve with time, with one passer-by or another greeting me. But I was never to gain access to the private world of these natives, and so not only the social fabric of Ameland, but the lives played out in the several shacks were to remain forever closed to me.

In no time, Mareika and I wanted to have our own child, born on the mainland. We felt that the moment was almost ripe to leave the island, where we had always felt as if we were outsiders. I decided to write to the Maritime School, asking to be transferred to a lighthouse that was less remote and thought it likely, after the years of privation spent on Ameland, that my entreaty would be heeded. This was, after all, the only path open to me, being neither sailor, fisherman nor farmer, and I would have even less chance of finding work in a foundry or bar.

And so, before being in a position to put the island behind me once and for all, I would have to await an answer to my plea. Mareika would set sail first, taking my letter with her. Huddled together, we forecast the best day for her to depart, based on the few rations that remained to us, and our reckonings about the movement of the tides. And then I penned some words to my mother, and which I also entrusted to Mareika who, having no relatives of her own, was sure to find a safe anchor in the haven of my family.





Dos extraños en esa tierra ingrata teníamos que entendernos: Mareika se instaló en mi casa a los pies del faro: dos habitaciones austeras, sin decoración y con escasos muebles. Mareika cambió mucho con nuestra vida en común. Cuando recién llegó a mi casa, no bien se dormía tenía pesadillas en las que se sentía caer. Tan desesperados eran sus gemidos que me desvelaban y, al verla sudando, con convulsiones, la despertaba poquito a poco, hablándole y acariciándola con dulzura.

Al volver en sí se apegaba a mi cuerpo y se acurrucaba sumida en la más intensa desazón: entonces era como un bebé tortuga con caparazón trizado o un polluelo que necesitaba protección y calor. Todo ello desapareció, sus períodos de silencio disminuyeron y con el tiempo dejó su obsesión por escapar, que se transformó en un simple deseo de ver el continente del que tanto le había hablado su padre. Seguía queriendo partir, y yo también, pero ya no había premura ni urgencia. Marcharse ya no era un fin, sino un medio para vivir libres, para casarnos, para tener hijos y educarlos. Sin darnos cuenta, cuando hablábamos de la posibilidad de un regreso, comenzábamos a planearlo juntos.

Mareika se hizo menos solitaria y menos pensativa, simplemente le gustaba estar conmigo y a mí con ella. Se estableció un acuerdo tácito por el que nuestras ocupaciones eran complementarias; juntos o separados, nuestro trabajo siempre servía a la subsistencia. Nuestra apoyo recíproco estaba ligado a nuestra vida en común y no podíamos imaginar una sin la otra; el amor era inseparable del trabajo destinado a satisfacer las necesidades más elementales.

Viéndome afincado en la isla y en la compañía estable de Mareika, que los habitantes nunca habían considerado propia de la isla y de sus clanes, desaparecieron los temores de que quisiera robarles una mujer. Un día, uno o dos años después de haber llegado, cuando vivía ya con Mareika, Ameland decidió tratar mínimamente conmigo y vinieron a hablarme. En la isla desconocían las autoridades del continente y no había más jefes que los patriarcas del lugar, entre los cuales uno mandaba más.

Aquella tarde lo acompañaban su familia y algunos pescadores, pero, excepto su esposa y sus hijas, no había más mujeres con ellos. Mareika, que conocía mi idioma y el de ellos, hizo de traductora, aunque a veces se la llevaban aparte y le decían cosas que no me trasmitió. No debían ser agradables, su rostro denotaba sorpresa y disgusto, por lo que no le pedí explicaciones y supuse que me traducía lo esencial, evitando que en mí se levantaran suspicacias que hicieran difícil el diálogo.

Los isleños no me preguntaron por el faro, ni por Mareika ni tampoco por mi vida en el continente, como si me hubieran despojado del pasado y ya no tuviera más vida que la de la isla. Me sentí extrañado y nada les dije. Hablamos de pesca, de vientos, de las formas de botar los bous y acordamos regularizar las entregas de víveres, que hasta entonces hacíamos de manera esporádica. Desde entonces, peridódicamente, aparecían en la madrugada, con tono amenazador, en las cercanías del faro.

La vida personal no existía para ellos, todo se resumía en un conjunto de actividades que cada cual desempeñaba con la misma naturalidad que se respira. Mis relaciones con los habitantes mejoraron, sin llegar jamás a la cordialidad. Comenzaron a saludarme al pasar, pero nunca me dejaron intimar con sus familias o entrar en sus casas: la organización de la isla, la vida interior de los bohíos y la historia de Ameland permanecían cerradas para mí.

Tras algunas mareas Mareika y yo quisimos un hijo. Decidimos que lo tendríamos en el continente y que había llegado el momento de partir, de dejar la isla en la que siempre habíamos sido extraños. Como guardafaros podía pedir que me trasladaran a una tierra menos abandonada, ¿no habría, en todas las costas del continente, ni una sóla torre que necesitara de mí? La escuela del mar jamás me negaría el cambio, los años pasados en Ameland contaban, por lo aislado, el doble que en el continente. Ni pescador ni campesino, no me imaginaba con otro oficio y menos aun buscando trabajo en tabernas, herrerías o campos: entonces creía que no otras posibilidades me ofrecía el continente.

En cuanto al mar, cualquier pescador se reiría al verme mareado. Era funcionario de la escuela del mar, quería seguir siéndolo y debía esperar una respuesta antes de marcharme. Calculamos la fecha por el desgaste de las provisiones, previmos la marea e hicimos planes. Mareika debía embarcarse primero y llevar una carta con mi petición de traslado a la oficina. También escribí a mi madre; Mareika carecía de familia y se iría donde la mía.

"The Power of Prose"