ISSUE 35: Fall 2016

Thomas Morton Prize: Fiction Winner.

In the Name of Me.

by JR Enriquez Amparado

In “In the Name of Me,” one slowly becomes aware of various planes that reveal an existence of perpetual schisms. The writer portrays many dualities: nature’s estrangement from the urban, the complex relationships between men and women, and a father-in-law whose existentialist denial leads to sightings of UFOs. The sense of alienation progresses gradually to reveal a father’s tragic abandonment of his family, the silent devastation and resilient existence of a single mother, and the latent anger of a fatherless child. The narrative voice is singular in its stream of consciousness and prolific in its awareness of the multiplicities of the exterior, and, I might add, contemporary and Canadian in its geography, conflicting loyalties, unremitting transitory identity, openness and self-restraint. —Rawi Hage, Thomas Morton Memorial Prize Judge, 2016   ‘Sorry to hear about your old man,’ Henry says, pausing, trying to remember my name, ‘Anna told …


10 PM on Channel 22.

by Cian Cruise

Down to the Lighthouse (2009) Melodrama. In this rarely seen cult classic, two brothers attempt to put their lives back together after their family suffers from a tragic loss. Starring Gerard Butler. (90 min.) At first it’s just the sound of water. Lonely waves lapping against the shore. Then the credits ease in, all those words that nobody reads floating on the cold, undulating murk. A stone skips across the steel-coloured lake, disturbing the text. And another. As the splashes ripple and diminish, the camera lifts away from the waves and angles toward the shore. We see a rocky beach where two boys sit at the foot of a dilapidated lighthouse. Michael Cera and Justin Bieber. They’re talking and tossing stones. We overhear that it’s the last weekend of summer, Labour Day, and the last chunk of time the boys have together. Michael is heading …

How to Tell Your Own Story.

by Joseph O’Malley

Wally and Rob were in the middle of it going gangbusters when Wally’s wife walked in and caught them bare-assed and red-faced in her own bed, their ...

Hanged Man.

by Pauline Holdstock

It was in the trees up ahead. They saw it at the same time. Heavy and dark and making Tys think of that freaky song his Dad played. Only this fruit ...

Thomas Morton Prize: Poetry Winner.


by Phillip Crymble

John Berryman is reported to have said that the elements of a good poem are imagination, love, intellect, and pain. This is a good list. I’d lead with love; and I would also specify that by imagination I don’t mean unusual imagery or linguistic pyrotechnics. I mean the ability to think analogically: to suss out genuine metaphoric connections—in the world, in the heart, in the mind, among all three—and to render these in apt linguistic music. This ability to think analogically is the source of the clarity that characterizes achieved lyric poems. It gives them a startling coherence. It is also, in my experience, not something that can be willed or conjured by linear intelligence. Lyric talent consists first and foremost in a kind of receptivity—an ability to pick up on non-linguistic resonance. I am under no illusions that Berryman’s list, or my reading of …


After the Ballet: Neumeier’s Nijinsky.

by Maureen Scott Harris

Walking home from the ballet sky midnight blue at six p.m. half-moon blurred behind clouds mind reverberant with mad Nijinsky’s chant: dead dead dead dead … bodies in military jackets flinging themselves across the stage on the trajectory of his voice (I bit my lip to keep from sobbing) Nijinsky’s dead, and so is Mark Strand (who wrote, Wherever I am, I am what is missing) both now as blurred as that moon falling into its darker half. Everything is pared and shorn but I am walking, part of the city’s maze and motion, threading through shadows on the sidewalk, wrapped against the cold, terrified, exhausted, exultant more than half-way towards my own death     The wonder of it     Strand and Nijinsky missing but here     we’re all dissolving into sky, streetlights, the shrubs that cloak the iron fence around the courthouse. Dear Aristotle, is this burgeoning …

Transit of Mercury.

by Dani Couture

The freckle on my sister’s hazel iris replicates the May transit of Mercury across our sun. Every 13 or 33 years, orbits line up to make theory beli...

Two Poems.

by Eva H.D.

Study of Proportions You spent your life with a man, first you were kids together, and then you had to mark things off with an X: voting cards, movi...

Blue Runner.

by Richard Georges

  we must learn again those arts we have forgotten: how to throw our hands up in the shape of a candelabra; the art of paring a fish from its t...

Three Poems.

by Julie Bruck

  KILLER SHRIMP I saw these words in bold across an older woman’s chest, and Amen!— the day of reckoning approaches when every loyal crus...

Periodic Ode: Sodium.

by David Huebert

  You howl my blood like antelope thunderstorms. The sagging years have made you dearer than nicotine. You thrill my arteries, coax each meal t...

Two Poems.

by Matthew Walsh

THE INDIVIDUAL CATS Superstore parking lot December 19th Dartmouth and Mom looked like she was smoking but she wasn’t smoking. It was definitely sca...


by Claire Farley

In Paris ask fourchette & a boiled egg is served, in Fès map medina lines in sugar cubes endless concentric squares to step in & out or was ...


by Maheen Hyder

  A car goes up in flames with thick smoke encircling static air and I am counting the dead, I am counting the dead as dust pirouettes into ski...

boomer sooner.

by William Kemp

  (a found poem comprised entirely of lines from wrestling commentator Jim Ross) wait a minute wait a minute for the love of god someone tell m...

Sick and I.

by Katie Fewster-Yan

I. At six, I slurped my strep -infected sister’s leftover soup to summon her. She sauntered in, real cool, to use my throat as a crash pad while she...

Frontier Diaries.

by Claire Caldwell

  A suite of erasures based on the personal accounts of homesteading women, 1867–2016   Labour I will always be here. I gave birth to a ho...


An Excerpt from Deep Salt Water.

by Marianne Apostolides

#7. My nephew was drowned as a Navy SEAL but now he’s beside me, face down in the water. I think he sees bottom. He flipped his hair like teenagers do: he stood, abrupt, and water shot from his head in an arc. He’ll die while in service. His brain becomes plankton and algal bloom. He wants to protect us. ‘The only protection is not to be born.’ That’s what you would’ve said; you would not get along. But that doesn’t matter anymore. Snails have nestled in his hair. In Kuwait, the oilfields were set on fire: a billion barrels up in flames. This war was the first. It’s a longer series—one step follows—‘Left-right-left!’ right into Iraq—until my nephew marched into place. He was only a boy when the wells were exploded. They burned for months, formed lakes of oil six feet deep. His skin …


Always Becoming: Conversations and Correspondences with Jan Conn.

by Phoebe Wang

Jan Conn’s most recent books of poetry are Edge Effects (Brick Books, 2012) and Tomorrow’s Bright White Light (Tightrope Books, 2016). She won the inaugural (2006) Malahat Review PK Page Founders’ Award Poetry Prize and a CBC Literary Award for poetry (2003). She is a member of the collaborative writing group Yoko’s Dogs. Their books include Whisk (Pedlar Press, 2013) and Rhinoceros (Gaspereau, 2016). She has created large format mixed media paintings collaboratively with the visual artist Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber of Saskatoon, SK. She is also a biologist; her genetics and ecological work on mosquito vectors of tropical pathogens results in frequent travel to Brazil and Peru. She grew up in Quebec and now lives in Great Barrington, MA. The first part of this interview took place on the afternoon of April 2nd, 2016, when Jan was visiting Toronto to launch her ninth collection of poetry, …

The House of Memory Playlist: An Interview with Jared Young.

by Christine Fischer Guy

Jared Young is the author of the novel Into the Current, from Goose Lane Editions, which debuted September 20, 2016. He’s the co-founder of Dear Cast and Crew and is a Creative Director at MacMillan. His work has appeared in the The Walrus, Maisonneuve, The Millions, and has been anthologized in McSweeney’s. He’s originally from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and currently lives in Ottawa. Jared and I first met when we were both students at Humber’s School for Writers in 2002. Two years ago, when I published my debut novel, he interviewed me in this space. Now I get to turn the tables. We met in September at the Black Squirrel Books Café in Ottawa on the day he was launching Into the Current, right across the street at the Mayfair Theatre. Christine Fischer Guy: Congratulations on giving birth to this stylish existential thrill ride. …...


Personal Effects: A Review of Look by Solmaz Sharif.

by Nyla Matuk

It’s unlikely that anyone of Persian or Middle Eastern descent living in the United States from mid-century or later could have envisioned, 50 years on, that they would receive so much negative attention because of the “War on Terror,” the US’s aggressive destabilization and control of the Middle East, Afghanistan, North Africa, and those regions’ resources. In August 2016, an imam and his assistant were gunned down in broad daylight on Liberty Street, near a Queen’s, New York mosque, one of several Islamophobic hate crimes perpetrated in a climate of fear-mongering, suspicion, and ignorance that has also gripped France, Canada, and many parts of continental Europe in recent years. This hate crime, along with similar assaults or murders of Muslims, has received scant coverage by mainstream media outlets such as CNN. As a citizen of the West with ethnic, religious, or mnemonic ties to countries …

Evasive Manoeuvres: A Review of The After Party by Jana Prikryl.

by N. Grimaldi

Such a gigantic abstraction withheld makes a person feel more creaturely than is proper. (from The Tempest)  Jana Prikryl’s debut book of poetry, The After Party, thoroughly compels and unapologetically alienates its reader. This ambivalent effect is appropriate given the text’s own investment in ambiguity, paradox, split-sense, and enigma. Everyone I’ve spoken to comes away from this book with dissimilar—even conflicting—observations. The sparse language, non-descript landscapes, narrative intractability, and tendency toward heady abstraction over descriptive closure generate a highly original but fugacious aesthetic of controlled imprecision. The poems are, above all, interested in the arbitrary and associative movement of consciousness; narrative sensibilities give way to the erratic evolution of thought. Prikryl’s family immigrated to Southern Ontario from Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) when Prikryl was just six. She would go on to live in the US, the UK, and Dublin, Ireland. Her nomadic beginnings …...