Reviews by Ryan Pratt
The Puritan: Frontiers of New English is an online, quarterly publication based in Toronto, Ontario, committed to publishing the best in new fiction, poetry, interviews, essays, and reviews.
The Puritan seeks, above all, a pioneering literature—work that pushes boundaries, or sees boundaries as unstable, or lines to be re-drawn.
The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence is awarded to the single best submission in the respective categories of poetry and fiction. The prize is open for submissions each year from January 1st to September 30th through our online submissions manager. Last year’s judges were Margaret Atwood (for poetry) and Zsuzsi Gartner (for fiction).
When I first walked into the Argo Bookshop, I fell in love with it all: the slightly sagging, warped bookshelves, the uniquely pungent smell of in[…]
Puritan co-founder and editor Spencer Gordon was recently interviewed for the Toronto Star in an article called “Brave new world for Canada’s literary journals”, written by long-time editor Deborah Dundas.
In the piece, Dundas writes that “Literary magazines are facing a challenging new world. Cuts in funding grants, changes in technology and founders retiring have some worried that a critical vehicle for aspiring writers — a place where all of Canada’s literary superstars first saw print — is disappearing.”
The Puritan, however, is just getting started. Read more and find out how.
Dear Artists, Writers, Editors, Publishers, Friends,
We are just shivery with excitement to announce the release of our long-awaited winter issue—a veritable squall of great poetry, fiction, and long-form non-fiction to see you through the rest of the season!
Dive into Issue 28: Winter 2015 and check out new works of fiction from exciting authors Stephen Thomas and David Huebert. And stay warm with all-new poems by the extremely talented Shane Neilson, Allison LaSorda, Annik Adey-Babinski, Theodore Worozbyt, Natalia Panzer, Michelle Brown, and Jeff Latosik.
For some of the best online author interviews you’ll read this winter, take a good look at Puritan Associate Poetry Editor E Martin Nolan’s expansive dialogue with poet, visual artist, and critic Donato Mancini, “Put on Your Negative Capability Helmet and Go with It,” Town Crier-regular Julienne Isaac’s insightful interview with author Joan Thomas, “The Texture of a Life,” and journalist Jared Young’s far-reaching conversation with writer Christine Fischer Guy, “Use It as Your Own Story.”
Lastly, Issue 28 is capped off with Ryan Pratt’s dual review of Sandy Pool’s Undark: An Oratorio and Gillian Sze’s Peeling Rambutan, two compelling collections of poetry released in the last few years.
Stay snowed-in through February and March with Issue 28: Winter 2015 and you won’t miss spring.
The Puritan | Frontiers of New English is currently seeking a new team of volunteer* Publicity Agents to assist with the promotion, development, and overall quality of the publication.
The Publicity Agents will be responsible for promoting the journal and its sister blog, The Town Crier, at readings and other events, as well as handling all social media promotion. Publicity Agents will:
Interested candidates should familiarize themselves with the history, editorial mandate, and literary works published by The Puritan over the last several years. Puritan associates are expected to devote approximately ten hours per week to tasks and assignments. Publicity Agent positions will last four months. All agents should be available to meet with Puritan editors within the city of Toronto. Agents are expected to check and respond to email correspondence and will also write very short weekly summaries of work completed.
In addition, all Puritan Publicity Agents should have:
Interested parties should send a CV and cover letter as .doc or .pdf attachments to email@example.com. All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on February 14, 2015, and positions will begin in early March, 2015. Only selected candidates will be contacted for an interview.
*The Puritan is a totally volunteer-run organization; the founding and associate editors do not receive any income from the magazine.
Open submissions for Issue 28: Winter 2015 are now closed. We are currently seeking submissions for Issue 29: Spring 2015. Get those submissions in before our deadline: March 25, 2015.
We are accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, recipes, and interviews. Check out our submission guidelines for more information.
Dear Artists, Writers, Editors, and Friends!
We are pleased to announce the launch of the very cool fall issue! Issue 27: Fall 2014 features all new fiction, poetry, interviews, and an essay, and proudly toasts the winners of the Third Annual Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence, judged by Margaret Atwood and Zsuzsi Gartner!
Plunge into Daniel Scott Tysdal’s prize-winning story, “1 Dog, 1 Knife,” and continue the fiction trend by reading new works by Amanda Leduc, Sam Shelstad, Jowita Bydlowska, and Kenan Orhan Dannenberg.
Check out Laurie D Graham’s prize-winning poem, “Battleford Gravesite,” and keep those line breaks coming with new poems by Stuart Ross, Angela Hibbs, Alice Burdick, LeeAnn Olivier, Kevin McLellan, Elisa Gonzalez, Sara Biggs Chaney, Jessica Bebenek, Garry Thomas Morse, gillian harding-russell, Chad Campbell, Shawn Fawson, Jenna Jarvis, Katie Jordon, and Kenzie Allen!
But don’t stop there! Move on to read Jeremy Hanson-Finger’s essay on the sometimes hysterical debate surrounding MFAs, “Top of the Muffin to You! Or, the Paranoid Style in Arguments against the Fiction MFA System.” Then cap off your fall reading experience by indulging in two long interviews: Malcolm Sutton’s cerebral conversation with adventurous novelist Marianne Apostolides, “Self-Control,” and Nicholas Herring’s long and intimate chat with mystery- and crime-writer John McFetridge, “Write What You Want to See Next.”
It’s great to be back! Now tuck in to a cold fall with red-hot readings from Issue 27: Fall 2014!
The Puritan is thrilled to announce the two winners of the THIRD ANNUAL THOMAS MORTON MEMORIAL PRIZE IN LITERARY EXCELLENCE!
Many, many thanks to all who entered!
Winners in fiction and poetry receive will each receive $1000, each win approximately $850 worth of books from 18 Canadian (& Inter’l) publishers (54 books each!) as well as publication in our upcoming fall issue.
OUR FICTION WINNER: “1 Dog, 1 Knife” by Daniel Scott Tysdal
Fiction Judge Zsuzsi Gartner described this story as follows: “Creepily unpredictable and off-kilter, both “1 Dog, 1 Knife” and its tragically misunderstood and deluded teen-age protagonist hurtle the reader along at a furious pace towards destination heartbreak. Daniel Scott Tysdal’s amateur film-maker, Terry, is all the lonely, fucked-up boys on earth and yet sui generis.”
OUR POETRY WINNER: “Battleford Gravesite” by Laurie D Graham
Poetry Judge Margaret Atwood described this poem as “A tone-perfect elegiac meditation on the impossibility of engaging with painful history and the necessity of doing so.”
Both Daniel Scott Tysdal and Laurie D Graham will be coming to our BLACK FRIDAY event on November 28 to read a snippet of their prize-winning work and receive a warm end-of-year toast.
See you in just over two weeks! Remember to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free drink.
Artists, Writers, Editors, and Friends!
We are pleased to announce the launch of our fierce and fiery summer issue! Issue 26: Summer 2014 contains all new fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, and reviews (11 pieces of non-fiction, the most we’ve ever published!) and is supported by our new supplement—a literary urbanist collection of lit and lit-commentary, “Littered T.O.”
The parent issue crackles with a new story by Robert Earle, and shimmers with hot new poems by Jonathan Bennett, Kasia Juno, Chris Hutchinson, Vincent Colistro, Julie Mannell, Marc Di Saverio, Jake Skakun, Matthew Vanstone, and Anzhelina Polonskaya (translated from the Russian by Andrew Baruch Wachtel).
You’ll find a scorching new excerpt from Jeffery Donaldson’s upcoming collection of criticism, Echo Soundings: Essays on Poetry & Poetics and a blistering new essay from Jess Taylor that polls the organizers and agitators of the Toronto literary community.
Inside we’ve got five blazing interviews: Evan Jones’s discussion with poet Elise Partridge, Laura Rock’s conversation with poet and novelist Jonathan Bennett, Nicole Grimaldi’s dialogue with novelist and short-story writer Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Ryan Pratt’s confab with poet Pearl Pirie, and Tracy Kyncl’s talk with prose-writer Nora Gold.
The issue ends with four heated reviews: Andreas Vatiliotou’s take on Miriam Toews’s novel All My Puny Sorrows, Charles-Adam Foster Simard’s look at Chris Hadfield’s autobiography An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Roxanna Bennet’s parsing of Jon Paul Fiorentino’s short story collection I’m Not Scared of You or Anything, and a Puritan first: a special three-way, roundtable review of Chris Hutchinson’s ‘novel,’ Jonas in Frames by Puritan staffers Jason Freure, E Martin Nolan, and Phoebe Wang!
But that’s not all. For the third time, we’ve split the magazine into parent and supplement issues. Be sure to sweat through “Littered T.O.” (curated by Puritan reader Jason Freure and editor Tyler Willis), a literary urbanist take on the city of Toronto and the works of literature that strive to define it.
“Littered T.O.” gives you great new fiction by Graham Arnold, and fantastic poems by Helen Guri, Peter Norman, Emma Healey, and Bardia Sinaee!
It’s features two timely essays: Maggie Helwig’s perspective on the streets of the 1 and 99 percent, and Amy Lavender Harris’s look at what Rob Ford now thinks is a major crisis: our ever-present neighbour, the city raccoon!
Finally, “Littered T.O.” is capped with two superb and in-depth interviews by our curators—the first with Spacing editor and author of The Trouble with Brunch, Shawn Micallef, and the second with the author of the ever-relevant work of thematic engagement with Toronto’s lit, Imagining Toronto, Amy Lavender Harris.
On June 4, 2014, revered Brazilian writer and poet Adélia Prado was honoured with The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award.
You can read Dean Thomas Ellis’s translations of seven poems by Adélia Prado in Bridging the Literary Border: Part II, The Puritan’s Spring Supplement.