Issue 1: Peter Manson


         from Mallarmé

The already funereal silence of the silk

arranges more than one fold on the furniture

that must with subsidence of the central pillar

collapse in default of memory.

Our old triumphal frolic of the book,

hieroglyphs exalting by the thousand

to spread with a wing the familiar shiver!

Let me send it back into the closet.

From the original smiling hated uproar

among them, from mistress brilliancies have burst

onto a parvis born for their simulacrum,

gold trumpets swooning aloud on vellum,

the god Richard Wagner lighting a sacrament

unmuted even by the ink in sybilline sobs.

 Canticle of St. John

      from Mallarmé

The sun that supernaturally

exalts in its apogee

instantly redescends


I feel as if in my vertebrae

shadows were spreading

all in a shiver


and my head leaping up

a lone sentry

in the triumphal flights

         of this scythe

as a clean break

rather represses or cuts short

the ancient argument

         with the body

than drunk from fasting

stubbornly maintains

its pure regard

         through a wild bounce

up there where the eternal

ice cannot stand

your surpassing it

         all, glaciers

but in accordance with a baptism

illuminated by the same

principle that chose me,

         tips its hat. 

Peter Manson was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1969. His books and pamphlets include me generation (Writers Forum, 1997), Adjunct: an Undigest (Edinburgh Review, 2005), Before and After Mallarmé (Survivors’ Press, 2005), For the Good of Liars (Barque Press, 2006) and Between Cup and Lip (Miami University Press, Ohio 2008). An audio CD of extracts from Adjunct: an Undigest was released by Stem Recordings in 2004. He co-edits the Object Permanence pamphlet series with Robin Purves, and was the 2005-6 Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at the University of Cambridge. His website, “Freebase Accordion,” is at

Copyright © 2008 by Peter Manson, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.