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Index: Poetry & Fiction

From ‘Fulmar’s Wing’.

Jeremy Hilton: ’20 giraffes tall in a truck ferried in groups of
seven across the river Nile two
wheatears rest on a lonely hilltop a crossroads
appears twice in the mythical mind’

Eugene Dubnov, 1949–2019.

Anne Stevenson: ‘I suspect it was this personal, Romantic, very un-English sense of an enduring or eternal existence underlying Dubnov’s intense preoccupation with his own life that rendered his work inaccessible to many of his ‘post-modern’ contemporaries. His poems, however, convinced me that our mutual translations deserved an English publisher.’

One poem and one prose poem.

David Hay: ‘I have lived longer now than I ever knew you. Your voices are lost in the sharp darkness of puberty — those cruel years of useless angst I survived with a well-rehearsed yawn and Kurt Cobain’s broken-glass scream, thinking constantly of death.’

Four Poems from ‘Lectio Violant’.

Steve Ely: ‘”Lectio Violant” — ‘profane reading’ — is the name I’ve coined to describe this process, alluding to Lectio Divina — ‘divine reading’ — the long-established Catholic practice of devotional reading, the purpose of which is to draw the reader closer to God by enabling a fuller experience of scripture. I’m not sure this book’s doing the same thing, although you never know.’

Seven small fictions.

Ian Seed: ‘Free now, I wondered where I could live without being thought of as useless and strange. Perhaps in Rome I would find work explaining to foreigners the meaning of pictures for sale along the river embankment, some of which had been painted by an Italian friend before we lost touch.’

Bird of Four Tongues.

By MANASH FIRAQ BHATTACHARJEE .  For Abdur Rahim Khan e Khana’n. OUR MANY TONGUES encircle your tomb Like birds, chirping differently. Their colours Make the blue burst into wings. You Wrote for all the gods you knew. In poetry, You built a neighbourhood of faith. Who else but you, who went to war, and wove […]

The Perturbation of Baruch.

Anthony O’Hear: ‘This linking of the cosmic with the temporal, of the elevated with the lowly and the demotic, even the sordid, and of the well-intentioned with the ill-thought out, even the evil, permeates Baruch as it does much of Hill’s later work.’

Blame It on the Rain.

Michael Buckingham Gray: ‘He sweeps his foot back and forth in the mud, and with every new blare of the horn, prods his bicycle forward until there are no more cyclists ahead. Pulls the helmet off the handlebars and puts it on his head. Throws a leg over his bike. Then stomps on the pedals. His front wheel kicks sideways on the first turn. And in the second, he slides the rear of his bicycle.’

Breakfast with Mrs Greystone.

S.D. Brown: ‘They like to be up early so they can be “in the know” should anyone have failed to survive the night. Even those who are hard of hearing seem to be able to hear an ambulance siren two miles away! Bill Williams says he is keeping a book on who will be the next to go. “You can get good odds on yourself pegging it, given your age Frank,” he says with a wink.’

The last Mantegna.

Michelene Wandor: ‘In her will, Mrs van Hopper left me her library. As I went through the books, deciding what to keep and what to give away, I accidentally dropped a copy of Petrarch. Out of it fell a typed letter, addressed to a Count Alessandro Rietti. Three words were underlined in red: the names Isabella and Andrea, and the word “pearl”. The letter referred to a lost painting by Andrea Mantegna, a portrait of Isabella d’Este, the beautiful and powerful wife to one of the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua.’


Enzo Kohara Franca: ‘In the New World the new language turned out to be the obstacle. Jichan failed to learn Brazilian Portuguese. The morphemes, phonemes, the cadence – none of it made any sense to the Japanese speaker inside his head.’

April 2019. She went to the hospital for an infection.

Thos. Smith-Daly: ‘Baby home alone for 15 hours
so she could go out with her
friends in Swansea’s Wind Street.’

Mother child.

Conor Robin Madigan: ‘The man slept. The child stared at the stars. Insects and animals made their double-faces into a pond. A lumbering giant plodded past and to the beat of the mystic’s heart. The child wanted so awfully to have a companion, a soul to enjoy, but not one that spoke so much. Too much. Often, he spoke when there was nothing to say.’


Shukburgh Ashby: ‘Richard Fitzwalden, the 18th Baron, is said to have taken a piece of chalk and drawn a line down the stairs, running S to N. The eastern apartment was built for the Baron and his mistress, and the western reserved for his wife, Emma Fitzwalden. On the ground floor, Emma Fitzwalden used the Venetian doorway to the S, and Richard Fitzwalden the door on the N front.’

Gibraltar Point.

Iain Twiddy: ‘ The river was a rag wrung out by summer.
But still, it felt like a trespass, to be
stepping her bed, assailing her nakedness,
as the unpushable-back, flash-flood worry
gathered in the highlands of the mind.’