In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls



Student poser, presbyterian swami,
When Being and Nothingness ruled the Kelvin Way,

I rebelled by carrying a rolled umbrella
To lectures. I never finished La Nausée.

Chaperoned through suburbs by my virginity,
My act of Existential Choice was pie,

Beans and chips at Glasgow’s boil-in-the-bag
Student Ref. Couscous? I’d rather have died.

Nightlife was homelife, the tick-tock soothe
Of a bowling club clock, long darning needles’ hint

Of suture, so homely and sharp;
Each birthday, a wrapped after-dinner mint.

So, years later, graduated to the glassy Minch,
On the Castlebay ferry, leaning over its rail

Where, below us, a harnessed sailor
Sang from a cradle, painting the ship as it sailed,

I knew, stroking your breasts beneath your blouse,
Both being and nothingness. We kissed like a cashless king

And queen who’ve just splashed out and bought
A Ferrari for the first day of spring.


From the Greek

The tops of the bens and the benside burns are asleep
With nesses and steep-sided glens –
All the dark, gaian larder,
Wildcats and heather-honey bees,
Fins and tails deep in porphyry sealochs –
And the songbirds are flying in their sleep.

That cloud-juiced apple at a high twig’s tip,
Reddening on the utmost branch.
The one the apple-pickers missed.
Not missed. They could never reach it.

Though the garland round Heliodora’s head
Fades now, she sparkles, she is herself
A garland to garland the garland.

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