Reliquiae Volume 9 No 1 features excerpts from three forthcoming Xylem Books monographs: Jennifer Spector’s vivid evocations of Panamanian landscapes (Hithe), Kim Dorman’s haiku-like despatches from India’s Malabar Coast (Kerala Journal), and Paul Prudence’s exploration of the lithic imaginary (Figured Stones). We’re also delighted to announce a first-time English translation of Gustav Meyrink’s seminal occult text ‘Fakir Paths’ (1907), featuring a biographical foreword by translator, magical scholar and practitioner, Frater Acher. Alongside this contribution, Frater Acher has also written a short, enlightening commentary on ritual praxis, ‘The Straight Line is a Trap’.
Contributors: Frater Acher, Bede (Peter O’Leary, Trans.), Sarah Berti, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Rebekah Clayton, Alton Melvar M. Dapanas, Don Domanski, Kim Dorman, Rebecca Drake, Michael Goodfellow, Frances Horovitz, Kabir, Kwakiutl Folklore, Isidro Li, Donald A. Mackenzie, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Gustav Meyrink (Frater Acher, Trans.), Constance Naden, Navajo Folklore, William Tyler Olcott, Gaspar Orozco (Ilana Luna, Trans.), Triin Paja, Paul Prudence, Penelope Shuttle, Jennifer Spector, Richard Skinner, Rabindranath Tagore, Shash Trevett, Robin Walter, Sarah Westcott, Erin Wilson.
In poetry, there are evocations of the soul’s need for ‘a body to rove in the animal way’, there are seal-strung harps and the intent of rivers, earthen hollows and rivering winds, songs of antlers and the flooded dark, howling roots and the ‘baccata red’ of yew trees. Continuing our commitment to publishing world poetry in bilingual format, we’re thrilled to be featuring excerpts of new work by Mexican poet Gaspar Orozco, translated into English by Ilana Luna, including ‘Hojas de un cuaderno Híkuri’, the journal of a peyote ritual in the Chihuahuan desert.
Our regular immersion in ethnographic works also sees the desert landscapes of America’s south-west conjured through the folklore, ritual songs and vocabulary of the Navajo and Hopi. Moving further north, there are allusions to the cosmological ‘sky-pole’ in Kwakiutl folklore. Sidereal threads also feature in poems by Don Domanski, Isidro Li and Penelope Shuttle, and are foregrounded in two astronomical essays, both of which dwell on the significance of the Pleiades.
Elsewhere the mystical landscapes of the British Isles are conjured through the lucent work of the late Frances Horovitz. Further afield there are myths from Estonia and the Philippines, and vestiges of the now-extinct Eoran language of Australia. The Indian subcontinent is also strongly represented in this volume, including hymns from Kabir, poems from Rabindranath Tagore, and new work from esteemed poet and translator Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. There is also a new English translation of the Anglo-Saxon vision-poem, ‘Caedmon’s Hymn’ by Peter O’Leary, which finds its contemporary echo in the work of Richard Skinner.