1) In light of the fact that we should celebrate Canada Day throughout July, if not year-round, I point to Mark Medley’s article "Read like a maple leaf" for National Post, wherein a variety of Canadian writers reintroduce their favourites in a bid to spice up our nation’s literary reputation. Collaborators include Fernie, BC’s Angie Abdou, Montreal’s Kathleen Winter, and Calgary’s Chris Turner. Consider a few of these picks for your summer reading list.
2) One of my first great finds as a transplant in the ever-expanding Greater Toronto Area has been Echolocation, a print journal and online magazine produced by graduate students at the University of Toronto. Of recent note is a review of Suzannah Showler’s Failure to Thrive developed through conversation between editors Liz Harmer and Michael Prior. Admittedly I was drawn more to the reviewers and format than any verdict on Showler’s new book, although excerpts of her work managed to pique my interest as well. Harmer and Prior touch on a number of issues related to the text, such as the power of metaphor (as underlined by Jason Guriel in this panel discussion), the range of the “millennial voice” and the perils of workshopping the personality out of one’s work. A fantastic read.
(Also of note: Echolocation also hosts readings, including this one on July 11th!)
3) Although initially baffled, I’ve been enjoying the inventive unveiling of Touch the Donkey, a new poetry journal from rob mclennan. Arriving on the scene with little context, issue one has been garnering a noteworthy shadow thanks to a supplementary Touch the Donkey blog (featuring interviews with authors about their contributions) as well as a proper backstory/master plan written by the publisher himself for Open Books Ontario. (I know above/ground subscribers have snagged their copies, in case you need another incentive...)
4) Speaking of above/ground press, Noah Eli Gordon’s Fifteen Problems and Eric Schmaltz’s MITSUMI ELEC. CO. LTD.: keyboard poems have been reviewed at Ottawa Poetry Newsletter. For the latter chapbook, I’d also like to draw attention to Gary Barwin’s excellent Jacket2 piece "Inking outside the fox", which looks at the relationship between Schmaltz's work and Paul Dutton's The Plastic Typewriter.