poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Anne Blonstein

Anne Blonstein's book is called that those lips had language. When this manuscript arrived from Switzerland, I was dumbfounded. I wanted to bring it out right away. Communications with the poet had a built-in time delay but we managed to work out the publication in 2005. Blonstein is English by birth but has been living in Switzerland for many years and that is reflected in her work. She insisted that we use a particular piece for her cover, a drawing by Aloise Corbaz. Corbaz was a Swiss Outsider Artist who was committed to an insane asylum for most of her adult life. Her work was brought to the attention of Jean Dubuffet and was included in his groundbreaking work on Outsider Artists. She is one of very few acclaimed female outsider artists. Blonstein was so insistent that we use this image that she secured permission from the Swiss institution herself. During this period, Ann often had her titles placed at the end of each poem, and in German. Her book is the only Plan B Press book with prices listed in four different currencies on the back of the book.


please may i borrow it? your guilty sky. so that i
can paint on it an iridescent mouth to ask my
crime. i've washed my hands. they hold a black
moon. now i'm looking for a tulip envelope.

.......................it will last longer. longer than
their middle ages. regardless of a renaissance
through a silent revolution they'll wear words
softer than theories. will: a hand-knitted

will: a chandelier of orange music. will:
a melange of smoke. coffee. and fresh dreams.
she will find her her tympanists (fifty — take note
of ritual). intentions and pauses stretched
with blue hymens (freundinnenschaft)

Anne Blonstein was born in 1958 in England. She studied Natural Sciences and obtained a PhD in Genetics at Cambridge University. After seven years postdoctoral work on plant hormones in Basel, Switzerland, she left research science to concentrate on her writing, and now earns a living as a freelance translator and editor. She has published The Butterflies and the Burning (2009), memory’s morning (2008), Hairpin Loop (2007), that those lips had language (Plan B Press, 2005), the blue pearl (Salt Publishing, 2003) and worked on screen (Poetry Salzburg, 2004); and one chapbook: sand.soda.lime (Broken Boulder Press, 2002). She also collaborates with the Swiss composer Mela Meierhans, and three works have been performed since 1999: canthus to canthus, 4S, and prelude and echo.


Published in Volume 11, Number 3, Summer 2010.