Kickstarter Success and the Future of The Quilliad Press!

Hello, readers!

I am excited to announce that our Kickstarter was a success, so you’ll be hearing a lot more from us! Thank you to everyone who backed us and shared our project link! We are so grateful.

Now that the Kickstarter is over, we have a lot to do. We’ll be sending out reward surveys, finalizing the lineup for issue 6, working on layout, writing poetry rewards, making Kickstarter reward chapbooks, and more! But we’re also taking some time to celebrate. If you’re in Toronto on Thursday, October 29, drop by Betty’s at 240 King Street East between 7:30 and 11 for readings, art on display, our book table, and good conversation. Our launch party is also a costumed event in honour of Halloween (also, to be honest, we are in favour of any opportunity to dress up). Follow the link for the Facebook event: $5 cover includes a copy of issue 6!

Speaking of issue 6, we’ve also picked a cover image! “The Light” is the work of Stephanie Kenzie, an illustrator whose work we’ve admired for years:

"The Light" by Stephanie Kenzie, cropped for the issue 6 coverBetween a successful Kickstarter for our press, the upcoming release of issue 6, our planned book reviews and artist profiles, the approaching launch of our online store (not to mention our current presence on store and library shelves in Toronto!) and our soon-to-be-announced chapbook submission call, 2015 is turning out to be a very busy–and wonderful–year for us.

Thanks for reading,
Sarah Varnam,
Editor-in-chief and founder of The Quilliad Press.


The Quilliad Press Kickstarter Reward Highlight: Issue 6

With our Kickstarter down to its last few hours (it ends on Tuesday at midnight EST!), we’re highlighting one of our most important rewards: copies of issue 6 of The Quilliad, to be released just in time for Halloween.

The Quilliad is a biannual Canadian journal of writing, art, and everything in-between. We believe in being open-minded and inclusive of different media and genres, and we care more about quality than form. For these reasons, our October issues are Halloween-inspired. We hold the writing and art to the same standards as usual (and we’re pretty picky), but we feature literary science fiction, apocalyptic fiction, magic realism, revised fairy tales, and poems about the undead, as well as seasonally appropriate and horror-inspired art and photography. Here are a few short excerpts from some of our early acceptances:

We also believe in creating a supportive community for our contributors and for other small presses, as well as writers and artists in general. For these reasons, we not only pay our contributors for their work but also post artist profiles and project spotlights, small press book reviews, and coverage of local artistic and literary events here on our blog. We will be adding another page to our website as well that will answer the question “Where are they now?” regarding past contributors to our journal. There, we’ll celebrate contributors’ post-Quilliad publications, exhibits, and other projects.

As of writing this blog post, we’re only 2% away from our funding goal, and every little bit helps. In addition to copies of The Quilliad, we’re offering personalised poetry on demand, art prints, and chapbooks to our backers. Check out our campaign at

Edit: We’ve reached our goal! Now we’re working on our stretch goals. So exciting!

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us thus far.

—Sarah Varnam,
Editor-in-Chief and Founder of The Quilliad Press

More Early Acceptances!

logo roundOur second round of early acceptances revolves around folklore and fairy tales. Long-time supporter and contributor John Nyman graces us with poetry about vampirism and death that manages to be both chilling and free of cliché. Both Erica McKeen (a writer of poetry and fiction based in London, Ontario whose work has been published in This Dark Matter, Nom de Plume, and issues four and five of Occasus) and Ruth Daniell (a BC writer who won the 2014 Young Buck Poetry Prize with Contemporary Verse 2) have provided us with pieces that offer new and spooky perspectives on old tales, through both fiction and poetry.

We’re also excited to be including the artwork of Jill Davis LeBlanc, a New Brunswick artist who is the creator and illustrator of the anthology zine Hollow Round of Skull and the illustrator for The Legend of Hummel Park and Other Stories, currently an Amazon bestseller in the horror short stories category.

If you’re curious about our first round of early acceptances, you can check out our post about them here. If these stories, poems, and artwork sound interesting to you, you can purchase copies of our sixth issue through our Kickstarter, which will be running for only three more days! We’re also offering personal poetry on demand, chapbooks, and art prints to our backers. You can view our Kickstarter project page by following this link: By ordering through our Kickstarter, you’ll be supporting our efforts as a small press to publish and promote both new and established Canadian writers and artists. The Quilliad is a paying publication, and The Quilliad Press as a whole is dedicated to creating a strong literary and artistic community. Support us through Kickstarter and become part of that community!

Thanks for reading.

Sarah Varnam,
Editor-in-Chief and Founder of The Quilliad Press


Kickstarter Reward Highlight: Personal Poetry (or, Poetry on Demand)

12124443_10204175712867211_935740073_oWith 4 days to go on our Kickstarter, we’re highlighting one of our most popular rewards. This is, of course, our personalised poetry reward. We believe in having our backers become true patrons of the artsand what better way than to write something in their honour? If you select a reward that includes a personal poem, we will write you either a haiku or a glosa (depending on the reward level) on the topic of your choice. In the process of writing these poems for our Kickstarter backers, we’ve written about everything from books and pets to zombie Jesus and sports cars. And since our submissions editor, Steph, is currently teaching English abroad, many of the haiku rewards for our current crowdfunding campaign will be written in Japan and mailed to our backers on Japanese postcards!

We believe poetry can be for everyone; it just has to be presented with the right combination of form and content. With that in mind, we posted some of our previous Kickstarter haiku on post-its around the city on Random Acts of Poetry Day. The event was a lot of fun, and the organizers (Tweet Speak Poetry) even wrote about our contribution! We love writing as much as we love reading, so being able to do both as small press publishers is a real treat. Here are a few photos from the day:

As I’ve mentioned, we also write glosas for particularly generous backers, and one of our highest reward levels includes publication of the glosa we wrote in the issue that backer funded. Here’s a hockey glosa I wrote for Alex Wilson that appeared in issue 5 (I told you: we really do write about everything):

by Sarah Varnam, for Alex Wilson

And hearts will be glowing
when love ones are near.
It’s the most wonderful time. [ . . .]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Edward Pola & George Wyle

The ice is smooth and the night is young,
so let’s toast the game while the anthem’s sung.
We cling to our seats,
eyes glued to the screen,
as we take in heart-pounding scene after scene.
The ref’s whistle’s blowing
o’er the shouts of the crowd,
but no whistle’s enough to drown us out.
The Flames are growing.
And hearts will be glowing.

We’ve got Hudler and Bennett,
Monahan, Hiller, Wideman, and Ramo,
Stajan and Ferland, and
“Johnny Hockey” Gaudreau!
With Flames in our hearts,
we jeer and we cheer
for our team, for our players.
We joke, laugh and cry and
make mem’ries most dear
when loved ones are near.

My heart’s beating quick
with each flick of a stick,
with each smack of the puck.
A new journey begins
with each chance at a win.
Players in their prime
are scaling the stats.
They reach new heights
that are truly sublime.
It’s the most wonderful time.

The stakes are high,
and the pressure is on.
It’s the final test of
their brains and their brawn.
With ten minutes to go,
the ending is near.
We’ve got faith in our team
and their mission is clear.
We’re ready, with jerseys and beer!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

If you prefer spooky writing, especially during the Halloween season, you might prefer this poem written for long-time Kickstarter backer Paul Green:

by Sarah Varnam, for Paul Green

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Robert W. Service

They get drunk ’round their fires,
stirring dark desires,
do men in the eerie Arctic night.
Their chilled blood boils,
and mad thoughts uncoil,
awoken by the whispers in the strange, cold night.
They don’t speak boldly of the things they’ve seen
’til they’re home, tired and old, but
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.

For the wind breathes down the necks of their coats
and the air seems to press in close,
and when they try to sleep through the night,
they feel chill fingers under their clothes.
Ask the Inuit, ask the Alaskans
of the monsters on the ice, and you’ll be told
of Qalupalik, Keelut, and Qallupilluit,
the child-hunting Inuit troll.
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;

It’s said among the men to be a mercy
to burn the heads of men who’ve died near the pole,
for the dead do rise to join the ranks of staring eyes
that peek at you out of the cold.
For we’ve brought our own monsters from our old world;
our undead have travelled to the land without trees.
They’ve joined the men with the legs of dogs
and the deadly green women singing in the sea.
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see

Was a white man walking out alone with a corpse
almost begging to be eaten by Irraq in the dark.
All the tales tell us not to walk alone
’cross the Northern ice, lonely and stark.
But I trudged through the snow to a secluded place
to roast the body of an iced zombie.
I charge you to find a madder way
to set a man’s soul free
Than that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

If you’d like us to write a poem for you (or you like literary and arts journals like The Quilliad, or art prints, or chapbooks), check out our Kickstarter and support small press publishing:


Kickstarter Reward Highlight: Chapbooks

2d8f8fdefddf23715742b2c57e98dfb3_originalWhile some of our Kickstarter‘s chapbook rewards have sold out, several remain available. In addition to the first chapbook in The Quilliad Press’s forthcoming chapbook line (to be released in January of 2016), we have several chapbooks by Quilliad staff members up for grabs.

One copy of Consanguinity by Steph Chaves, our submissions editor and social media assistant, is still available as a Kickstarter reward. Published and handbound in Japanese stab stitch by Grow and Grow in 2013 (with a limited first-edition print run of 80) and signed by the author, Consanguinity contains poems consisting of found and altered text from epics traditionally considered part of the English literary canon. Described as an “archeological dig”, these poems trace Chave’s “poetic geneology”. Consanguinity is an elegant, contemporary engagement with literary history.

Two copies of Devin P.L. Edwards’s Love and Longing, published by Geek Collateral, are available through our Kickstarter. This collection is filled with love poems that investigate love at different stages of its development, from the first hint of beguilement to its death throes, through sonnets and freeverse alike.

You can find one signed copy of my limited edition chapbook Cracked Skin as part of our Kickstarter. Only ten copies were ever printed and bound. The poems within Cracked Skin discuss diverse subject matter, from sugar cubes and shipwrecks to memory and Eastern European family history through freeverse and formal poetry. Each handbound copy is unique, featuring subtly different cover art.

All chapbooks rewards are bundled with at least one other reward, so for $25 plus shipping, you can get any of the books described above plus a print copy of The Quilliad‘s sixth issue. And for especially generous backers who pledge 200 or more, in addition to several other lit and art awards, you will receive a chapbook written for you, by us. We will design, select or write poems, and create or select art to create a chapbook that will have a print run of one. You provide us with a general theme (e.g. “love”, “death”, “words”, “animals”), and we provide the rest.

Our chapbooks are only a small sample of the rewards available to our backers. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our backers thus far and to encourage you to support small press publishing. Follow the link to see our Kickstarter project page: We have only a few days left of our campaign, and any support makes a huge difference!


The Quilliad Reviews Michalle Gould’s Resurrection Party

Michalle Gould’s Resurrection Party

Michalle Gould’s Resurrection Party

Reviewing this book weeks before Halloween seems particularly appropriate; All Hallow’s Eve is, on some level, still about grappling with the spectre of the bones under our skin, while also celebrating the excitement of going out into the dark. While the poems in Michalle Gould‘s Resurrection Party are often about death, this book is very much alivea rare book that justifies its exclamation points. It is dark, yet filled with whimsy and weirdness. The dancing skeletons on the cover are only the beginning.

While I’ve read many beautiful poems, I’ve read fewer that are beautifully crafted and funny. But many of Gould’s poems are just that, ranging from witty to comical. This humour rarely shouts at us; rather, it winks, as in “Untitled”, which begins, “This was supposed to be a landscape without a person in it, / but there you arethat tree slouches the way you do.” Subtle humour is mixed with contemplation and a sort of longing: “Those broad leaves [ . . . ] They are wounded, then lost, then there they are again! / It must be nice to have such an endless capacity for renewal.” The subject matter of each poemwhether it be death, religion, classic literature, or dinosaursis approached without reverence, but the text stops short of mockery. Instead, these poems are filled with empathetic verse that seeks connection and offers up fresh perspectives. With titles like “Self-Portrait as a Rare Book Exhibited at a Museum in England” and “Self Portrait as a Pair of Lovebirds”, her self portrait poems are good examples of her ability to twist around to look at something anew, creating a strange relationship between observer and observed (who is the self in these poems, after all?) worth investigating.

These curious poems are succinct; most are less than a page, and the rhyme interspersed throughout binds some of the shortest pieces together tighter still. The poem that begins the collection, “How Not to Need Resurrection”, sets the tone well, beginning with “Children like to play at death / they hold their breath” and evolving into a fast-paced, clever poem that deliberately skims across the subject of mortality, the hints of a nursery-rhyme sensibility both evading and hinting at the fear that these children have not yet grown into. The collection continues to dance with death to its very last page, sometimes drawing close, at other times twirling away into discussions of Spring and rectangles. As a reader, I enjoyed every cleverly choreographed step.


logo roundP.S. If you’d like to see more content from The Quilliad Press, please consider backing our Kickstarter (we’re a staff pick!). In addition to our small press book reviews, we post project spotlights, artist profiles, parrot poetry, and coverage of local arts and literary events. We also publish a literary and arts journal, The Quilliad, and are planning a line of chapbooks. Our crowdfunding campaign is 50% funded with 6 days to go. Any support is appreciated.

10 Days Left to Support Small Press Publishing

47% fundedWith 10 days left of both our Kickstarter campaign and our submission call for issue 6 of The Quilliad, we’re feeling proud of how far we’ve come, thankful for our supporters, and excited for the future. We’ve sent out the first round of early acceptances for issue 6, and we’ve been busy posting content here on our blog, from details about our participation in #raopoetryday to event coverage, an artist project spotlight, book reviews, and parrot poetry. And in addition to online engagement and sales, being on store shelves and in local zine libraries shows us that there’s interest in what we do.

IMG_7789 - CopyOur crowdfunding campaign is intended to prepare us for the next year and a half as we expand our reach from our literary and arts journal to a line of chapbooks. Funds raised will go toward publishing costs such as printing and paying contributors. And backers get some pretty great rewards in return, from poetry on demand and art prints to copies of The Quilliad and books from our upcoming print run and work by our talented staff members. Many of our rewards are highly personalised, and several are limited editions. We believe in giving back whenever we can, and that includes providing tangible incentives for our Kickstarter backers.

2d8f8fdefddf23715742b2c57e98dfb3_originalWe believe in the power of small press publishing to bring new voices and perspectives to the Canadian culture scene and beyond. We are endlessly grateful to all our supporters thus far, from our backers to those who have spread the word, attended our events, and read The Quilliad and our blog. Our campaign is currently at 47%, and with your support, we can achieve our goal and take the next steps toward establishing ourselves as a small press. Every little bit counts, including a $5 pledge or sharing a link to our project page.

Check out our campaign at Thank you for reading.


Quilliad Early Acceptances

logo roundHear ye, hear ye! We’ve got our first couple of early acceptances for issue 6 of The Quilliad for you today. We’ll be publishing an eerie flash fiction piece about the weather by Nicole Brewer (a writer, editor, and micro-press publisher in Toronto who’s part of the parenthetical team) called “The Worm Will Eat the Bird” and a quirky science fiction piece about a “nomadic Anne Hathaway lookalike android” entitled “Fanatics Inherit the Earth. Cheap Motels Last” by Alexandra Harrison (an Albertan writer and editor whose work has been published in various journals and anthologies).

If these sound interesting to you, consider supporting our Kickstarter. In addition to getting to read these excellent pieces, we have a variety of other rewards available, including art, poetry, and custom-designed chapbooks. Our campaign is at 47% with 11 days to go.

If you haven’t received a reply from us, that just means we have yet to decide! Also, for those Canadian writers and artists who haven’t sent us their work yet, you still have time. Check out our submission call for details.

That’s all for now!


Yesterday’s Random Acts of Poetry, Tomorrow’s Poetic Possibilities

Hello, readers. Today I’d like to share some cool poetry-related stuff, as well as some info about where we’re at (all good stuff!).

Yesterday was #raopoetryday, and The Quilliad Press participated with enthusiasm. We scattered poems written by our staff for previous Kickstarter backers across the city, placing sticky notes in odd spots (like next to an outlet in a coffee shop, on a payphone, and on the window of the TTC bus I rode home from work in). Here are a few shots of our handiwork:

And we’re very pleased to say that tweetspeak poetry, the organizer of the event, has included us in their post about #raopoetryday highlights.

If you’d like your own poem, consider contributing to our last-ever Kickstarter. We’re offering everything from haiku and glosas to entire chapbooks created for our backers, as well as copies of The Quilliad (our lit and arts journal), our press’s future chapbooks, art prints, and books by our talented staff members (most of which are signed and all of which are illustrated!).

In addition to publishing writing and art by Canadian creators (who we pay, by the way!), we also post artist profiles and project spotlights, compose small press book reviews, share parrot poetry (by Riff Raff, our poetry parrot-in-residence), and write about local art and literary events here on our blog. By supporting us, you’ll be connecting with a large creative community (and receiving some great rewards).

Our campaign is currently hovering around 47%, with 12 days to go. Here’s the link to our project page:

Thanks for reading.


15 Days Left of Our Submission Call & Kickstarter!

logo roundThis is just a quick post to remind everyone that there are 15 days left of both our submission call and our Kickstarter. If you are a Canadian writer or artist, you still have time to submit your work. We’re looking for flash fiction, short stories, poetry, comics, photography, and art from Canadian writers and artists in any of the following genres or on any of the following topics:

  • literary science fiction and horror
  • magic realism
  • fairy tales, folk tales, myths, and legends
  • monsters, death, magic, fear, or anything else that evokes the spirit of the season

Send us 1-5 pieces. We pay $12 per contributor plus a contributor copy and the opportunity to feature at our launch party.

As for our Kickstarter, we’re at 46% as of this afternoon! We’re raising money to pay for The Quilliad: Issue 6, The Quilliad Press’s first line of chapbooks, and our future as a press. We’re a small press publisher committed to publishing and promoting work by emerging and established Canadian creators. In addition to our publishing projects, we also write profiles of local artists and their projects, review small press books, cover local arts and literary events, and post about our poetry parrot-in-residence. And we have plenty of rewards for backers. We’re offering poetry on demand, art prints, copies of The Quilliad and our future chapbooks, and work by our talented staff members, all of whom are published writers.

If you’re interested in supporting the arts, small press publishing, new writers and artists, and/or Canadian culture, check out our Kickstarter:

Sarah, Editor-in-Chief and Press Founder