Cassiopeia (three back-to-front songs)
‘Anyway, I did not die. / I lined the sky, inside-out.’ Translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland and Natalia Bukia-Peters.
‘days I talked with Zeus / I ate only ice / felt the blood trouble and burn / under my skin’
Turn the River
‘Backtrack / to the bones of the matter, which are the bones themselves.’
Reflections on shame in sacred spaces
‘At sunset the light is both nasty and nice / in my robe.’
Best Book of 1996: The Lost Lunar Baedeker
‘Mina Loy has been a preferred voice in my head, echoing with a signature delirious chant as a kind of primordial poetry mother.’
Every Day Was Ordinary
‘A life is an open thing / leaking out into / the air around it.’
‘a man caught my eye as I was about to cross the road / and asked to shake my hand. You have a kind face, he said.’
‘She is luscious / and plump like marshmallow; part edible baby, / part nosy neighbour.’
‘Tryptamine skies and the forehand backhand falter / in earth’s revolutions’
There Is No Light of the World But the World
‘The mountain rises and sleeps backward / into a cloud-captured sun’
‘I hadn’t / realised it possible / that I might grow into kinder / ownership of my own looks’
Though I Have Never Been to Ostia, I Have Seen the Place Where Our Dreams Died
‘like pasolini’s dream of an african oresteia let us be ridiculous’
Biscotti Boys / On Men Who Wear Living as Loosely as Their Suits
‘salmaan the second son & his mama’s seventh seal by way of underwater & underemployment’
‘It’s dangerous like a very powerful doorbell. / Or a portrait covered with a blanket.’
‘even more it was a wish for boundless spaces, a wish for the inexpressibly wide and broad, for the unharnessing of human life’ – New poetry by Sharmistha Mohanty.
‘cut a piece from a lip and put in a secret place’ – New poetry translated from the Icelandic by Vala Thorodds.
The Feeling Sonnets
‘Making sense of a feeling is like building a boat from water.’
Fyodor Denisovich Konstantinov
‘A piece of boxwood, gripped in a vise, / waits on the workbench for his knife.’ Poetry by Lev Ozerov, translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk, and introduced by Robert Chandler.
‘Imagine all the prodigal / People, hoping only to / Escape every human mistake.’
‘the earth will heal / eventually / magnificently / when our species / is gone’
‘In my crumbling country every day, / people spend their lives standing in lines / to buy designer sneakers.’
‘I wore off my tongue / like candy’ Translated from the Catalan by Oscar Holloway.