“Creativity,” and the schooling for it, has in the past century become something of an American industry. And perhaps that is not surprising, given how much value has been put on the creative, open stance here, starting with a fundamentally American thinker like the philosopher John Dewey.

But how does the romance of tapping into an inner gusher synchronize with the obligations of a writer’s daily routines? Can one work up toward the unpredictable?

Here are four voices on the conditions of creative practice, presented in different magnification. For the grand Indian novelist Kiran Nagarkar, a true writer’s mark is ‘Shiva’s blue throat,’ form’s collar earned in a fearless plunge into an imaginary world.
Poet Kei Miller thinks back on his first crossing from Kingston to Manchester as a match set between what he calls his stand-up and his sit-down literary selves. The St. Petersburg poet and novelist Polina Kopylova outlines the nursing of creative filiation in Russia’s literary circles.

In two stunning poems, translated and annotated by Sukhee Ryu, the Korean Kim Gyeongmee gives us an intimate and harrowing glimpse of the relationship between everyday life and the peril (to body, self, space) that hides within the most seemingly peaceful interiors.

In the extract from The Moon over the Water, the first novel of Ameena Hussein, the devastation of the recent tsunami uncovers tectonic layers of cultures in today’s Sri lanka. And a fragment from an autobiographical novel by the Palestinian Mazen Sa’adeh conveys the texture of the rubble in Jordania’s war-torn capital, Amman.

We review two volumes from Ugly Duckling Presse’s ambitious catalogue: a thoughtful edition of the language-torn, exile-mad Czech-born poet Ivan Blatný, and a collection of lyric essays by Jacqueline Risset, translated from the French by Jennifer Moxley. The latter review is the first contribution of our new poetry editor Kiki Petrosino.

The requisite 91st postcard is this time from a march against war in Gaza held in Hong Kong. It is framed by a poem-gloss of the Hong-Kong-based American poet Madeleine Slavick.