Meet Riff Raff, The Quilliad’s Poetic Parrot

IMG_5404Meet, Riff Raff, my (well, my and my partner’s) new parrot. This adorable and contrary bird has sat on my shoulder or walked across my keyboard while I sift through submissions for our upcoming issue so often that I’m dubbing zir* our unofficial-official Poetry Parrot Mascot. This honorary title also comes about as a result of Riff Raff’s tendency to walk all over my phone while I am sending messages and “write”. Due to the magic of predictive text, actual English words show up every once in a while–some of them quite surprising! Since contemporary poets have been known to create poetry using computer programs, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to call these avian expressions poetry, at least in a lighthearted way. Similarly, having read derek beaulieu’s “Fractal Economies” and his essay within that book on the tyranny of the signified, I think he would approve of Riff Raff’s blatant disregard for conventional ways of “meaning”.

So, without further ado, here are some parrot poems. I haven’t changed any of the text itself, though I’ve combined a few separate instances of poetic (parrotic? I’m sorry, I like puns, including bad ones) inspiration. The titles are my own.



The Edge of Meaning
Not q7uuuuuu88ut
Oban  swewip
I Zachary my 8oedo9

“Appetites” appears in its original form and is probably my favourite of all of Riff Raff’s writing samples. It feels very raw and strangely imbued with truth (the capital letters and run of R’s feel particularly evocative of the frustration of any sort of strong desire–I know I felt that way while trying and failing to order sushi last week).

Speaking of alliterative titles for our bird, my partner Devin just got home and called Riff Raff a “composition conure”.

While Riff Raff’s work is fun to read, we’re still looking for writing (and art) from our fellow humans for our fifth issue. Our submission call is open until March 22, so if you’re a Canadian writer or artist with work to show us, send us an email with your submission to Our fifth-issue Kickstarter is also still on, and we have some great art and poetry rewards, as well as issues of our publication, available to our generous backers.


*Without doing a blood test, we can’t tell Riff Raff’s biological sex, so we’re using gender-neutral pronouns.


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