Announcing Masthead No. 5 – now up at
Poetry selections: RANDOLPH HEALY, ELIZABETH JAMES, PIERRE JORIS, TREVOR JOYCE, JACINTA LE PLASTRIER, SOPHIE LEVY, ALAN SONDHEIM, HARRIET ZINNES
Theatre texts: DAVID BIRCUMSHAW and MARGARET CAMERON
Essays: SOPHIE LEVY on innovative lyric poetry by women, JACINTA LE PLASTRIER on gender, JOHN KINSELLA on bioethics, RICHARD TOOP on the controversy around US composer John Adams
Interviews: SLAWOMIR MROZEK by ARNI IBSEN and ABDELWAHAB MEDDEB by FRANK BERBERICH, translated by PIERRE JORIS
Photographs: JACQUELINE MITELMAN
ISLAM AND ITS DISCONTENTS
Interview of Tunisian writer Abdelwabab Meddeb by Frank Berberich, translated by Pierre Joris
"The one who claimed superiority or at least equality cannot grasp the process that has led him to such weakness when faced with the century-old opposite, enemy or adversary. … Nietzsche himself thought that the Islamic subject was a subject that belonged much more to aristocratic morality, the morality of affirmation, which glorifies the one who gives without trying to receive; while the nature of resentment is to be in the position of the one who receives but who does not have the means to give, the one who is not affirmative. Thus the Islamic subject is no longer the man of the "yes" that illuminates the world and creates a naturally hegemonic being; from sovereign being he has become the man of the "no", the one who refuses, who is no longer active but only re-active."
NO ONE BELIEVES PLAYS: AN INTERVIEW WITH SLAWOMIR MROZEK, by Arni Ibsen
"I don’t see myself in a context at all because I don’t construct my ego or my self-image. Absolutely not. I know that sounds untrue because writers usually construct themselves very much in a literary way, but that’s part of the writer’s energy. I don’t do that. It’s an uninteresting part of the writer’s life."
BONE: A MONOLOGUE FOR TWO, by David Bircumshaw
"I have often thought, Bone, of how you would survive without my assistance. For I am a kindly man, Bone. I recall well how I rescued you that day, when I used to walk, the last time I walked, when you were blindly standing by the kerb, pitifully incapable of crossing. We cannot all cross that road, Bone. I, of course, have no need to now. But you, Bone? No, not you."
KNOWLEDGE AND MELANCHOLY: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FICTION, by Margaret Cameron
"How do you think I have lived? You will not grant me autonomy. Inert with depression, you insult me. I try to save this house. Oh the persistent unhappy demands of my life! Anyone would consider escape. Your instability compromises me. I am afraid of you. In your house, my ‘landlord’, I am subject to you. I call witness: be my guard! I am speaking of ‘safe houses’. I cannot let this go unattended. Your support is getting thin. I ration food. Your visits brief as Christmas leave me poor. I savour luxuries you leave everything breaking. You make me cry poor. "
ARE WE SPEAKING (OF) "THE NATURAL LANGUAGE OF MEN"? ANNE CARSON, KATHLEEN FRASER, GRACE LAKE: INNOVATING LYRIC POETRY, by Sophie Levy
"In a sense, claiming the first person pronoun, as lyric does, is always a mistake, as the poem works to throw off its disembodied ‘I’. This is especially striking in the work of experimental women writers like Fraser, who knows that it is as hard to get ‘I’ into the sentence as ‘she,’ when the ‘I,’ like Echo, is a She. Natural language – the image in the water – is always shifting, depending on the perspective from which it is seen. Sometimes the lyric ‘I’ has to be disembodied in order to access ways of speaking of who we think we are."
THE CASE FOR CONTROL, by Richard Toop
"Perhaps the most spectacular contribution to ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ debate came from an academic, Prof. Richard Taruskin, of the University of California at Berkeley. Taruskin is, by general consent, one of America’s leading musicologists, and probably the greatest living authority on Russian music. He is also known as a robust controversialist. On December 9 2001, the New York Times published a near 3000-word essay of his, entitled ‘Music’s Dangers and the Case for Control’; in terms of setting the tone of future arts discourse in America, it may prove to be as significant as anything else he has written."
PLAGUES AND BIOETHICS, by John Kinsella
"Quarantine isn’t just about keeping diseases out, protecting a specific geography from physical contamination, but also about the preservation of "home" values. It is about a mental and spiritual "purity"."
ART AND GENDER: NOTES TOWARDS A POETIC, by Jacinta le Plastrier
"…the issue of gender – the nature of sexual and gender separateness – is both too coarse and too polite for poetry – and, by extension, in the context of this discussion, art.
"Too coarse, because poetry sings into being, which lives in the mouth of life, in the mouth of death; a large mouth, too large for such coarseness. Too polite, because poetry sings into being… a mouth so large it simply annihilates such convention and restraint."
arts, culture and politics