Issue 9: pt 2, Halloween Submissions

We’re seeking writing and art for our October double issue! Literary science fiction, apocalyptic stories and poetry, retold/re-imagined fairy tales/folklore/myths, horror, and other spooky, speculative, or macabre work. If you are a Canadian writer or artist, submit your work to thequilliad@gmail.com between now and September 30.

Please read the details regarding submission format and length at thequilliad.wordpress.com/submissionsbefore sending us your work; feel free to email us with any questions.

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Update on Submissions 

Thanks to everyone for your patience! We are almost ready to announce the winner and runners-up for our chapbook call, and we’ll be reading for issue 9 very soon. Because of staffing changes and health issues this year, we will only be doing one issue in 2017. But it will be extra long, combining the literary submissions we’ve received so far for issue 9 with the Halloween-themed submissions. The call for spooky, whimsical, and macabre lit will be out soon, so keep an eye out!

Sarah

Editor-in-chief for The Quilliad Press

Chihuly at the ROM

Today was the last day of the Chihuly glass sculpture exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum here in Toronto, and I braved the cold (alongside my mom) to see it. 
A few things really struck me about the pieces on display. Some of my favourites made me feel as if I were underwater, with the twisting tendrils sometimes even interspersed with delicate glass sea creatures. And that delicacy created a strange fear in place of the usual desire to reach out and connect with the art around me; with these glass sculptures, the thought of blundering into them and causing them to come crashing down creates a deep sense of hypothetical mortification. 

This instinctive need to take great care not to disturb the work around us was not the only peculiarity of the exhibit.More than perhaps any other roped-off exhibit I’ve ever seen, people were interacting with the work. No one dared touch anything, but photography was not only permitted but encouraged, and many people were contorting themselves, twisting like the sculptures they were observing, in order to get a good shot or even just gain a different perspective. Participants were chatty, energized by the bright colours and wild shapes. The exhibit felt both very personal and communal, and I’ll admit I barely read any of the plaques describing the pieces; connecting with Chihuly’s work seemed to necessitate a more active collective engagement.

For those who weren’t able to make it out to see these pieces in person, here are a few of my favourite shots that I managed to take.

–Sarah

The Quilliad Press’s Second Annual Chapbook Call

logo roundToday begins our second annual chapbook call!

We’re looking for 10-20 pages of poetry and/or flash fiction from a Canadian writer who has never had a chapbook or full-length book published (self-published authors are exempt from this restriction, as this restriction is in place to allow emerging writers without publisher representation an opportunity to become a more active part of the Canadian literary scene). Previous Quilliad contributors are welcome to apply.

We will be paying a $50 honorarium to the selected writer as well as providing the author with 5 copies of their book free of charge (subsequent copies can be purchased by the writer at half price). We will also consider poems from the submitted manuscripts of 2 runners-up for issue 9 of The Quilliad. Publication in The Quilliad will be compensated with an honorarium and contributor copy.

To submit, send your writing to thequilliad@gmail.com by January 15, 2017.

Issue 8 Submission Call: Halloween 2016

logo roundWe’re seeking writing and art for our October issue! Literary science fiction, apocalyptic stories and poetry, retold/re-imagined fairy tales/folklore/myths, horror, and other spooky, speculative, or macabre work. If you are a Canadian writer or artist, submit your work to thequilliad@gmail.com from September 1-30.

Please read the details regarding submission format and length at thequilliad.wordpress.com/submissions before sending us your work; feel free to email us with any questions.

The Quilliad Reviews: Louder Than Everything You Love by Nicole Rollender

This must be what love is:
a shining blade so exquisitely cut that after my throat is slit,
I still sing.

“On a Board Hewn for a Body”

nicole rollender cover
Nicole Rollender
‘s first full-length collection, Louder Than Everything You Love, published by ELJ Editions, is a beautiful and brutal book that explores love, sex, birth, death, and womanhood. A kind of tender violence pervades the text; filled with harsh truths, these intense and eloquent poems nevertheless serve to remind us not only of our mortality but of the precious nature of what little life we have:

You, the living
mother, shake salt from the table cloth, teach your
child to nest where it’s warm, tell your dead to head
toward whatever window is full of light.

“How to Talk to Your Dead Mother”

Women’s lives are often the focus in Louder Than Everything You Love. They experience the wonder of life growing within them, as the speaker details in “Psalm to Be Read While My Daughter Sleeps”: “how beautiful that she touched the inside of my uterus: / floated there, her jawbone, torso, skin, hand, hand forming”. They also know the many ways in which they will be used and expected to hold themselves back because of their sex: “women are told to diminish” (Fasting”). And yet, these women find release and voice and power: in good food, in poetry, in the connections between generations. And though they pass on, something continues; Rollender traces a matrilineal line through the speaker’s/speakers’ veins:

She’s learning what dead women / do: swim the blood of their daughters

[ . . . ]

She tiptoes up my spine in her / old slippers, knocking on every vertebra she sees.

“The Light Makes My Grandmother Cry”

Rollender’s collection explores death at length; the speaker and the reader feel it just under the surface of life. In “Prayer, as Ghost,” the speaker states, “Everything is the ghost of something else.” The past echoes; the present whispers of what came before and what will be (and what will cease to be). The speaker doesn’t only speak of the deaths of others; she is surrounded by her own memento mori: “my own ghost singing in my throat, turning its hourglass of snow.” (“Even the Living Can Haunt”) She acknowledges and confronts this reality throughout the text: “in cemeteries I ask how to die well: to part kindly with the women I’ll never become” (“Equinox”)

Despite speaking of hauntings, the speaker’s sense of death is made of flesh. This is no effervescent, ethereal retreat from the world. This is the haunting of veins, ghosts in the genes, a matrilineal legacy of peasant soup, not wispy spirit. The presence of the dead is embodied in those who share their blood. Despite speaking about a concept as abstract as death, the speaker provides concrete images: bones, birds, meals made by past women. Death’s physicality serves to remind us that it isn’t a bogeyman; it is a real loss we will all experience, again and again. Yet, far from being a hopeless tale, Louder Than Everything You Love gives us a speaker who feels life all the more keenly for thinking of its end. Many of her musings center not only around past generations but also her daughter, her line’s future.

The collection’s poems sometimes repeat themselves with similar ideas or images, but no poem truly stands out as redundant. The reader gets the sense that the speaker is rehashing ideas and dwelling on images to delve deeper and explore further rather than just repeat herself. And after all, don’t we all come back to thoughts of loss and meaning and connection, over and over, trying to eke out enough to sustain us?

Louder Than Everything You Love is unrelenting, both in its confrontation of our inevitable pain and death and its urging toward life. There is deep compassion within the raw lines of Rollender’s poems. Every poem seems to contain some line that resonates, with beauty and horror and honesty. This book tells us about our grief, not just the grief of the speaker, and it tells us about our love, too, which haunts and comforts us despite its inability to keep us safe.

 

 

 

 

 

The Quilliad Reviews: Ginger Ko’s Motherlover

motherlover

Feathers stuck beneath your eyelids     don’t you dare rub them
Or you’ll spark your dry mind     on fire

“Starve the Beast”

Reading Motherlover, it’s clear that the speaker’s mind is alight. The voice is bold and in your face; the voice of a woman taking up space. Unexpected twists of language give energy to the poems: “Guts lined with wet fur that had never seen light” (from “Gaslight”); “The ground is softening: raising up the smell of offspring and ghosts.” (“Easter Egg”) The text is daring, purposefully so: “What would you do to my resting bitch face” (from “Gaslight”).

The first section, “Gaslight,” is straightforward, harsh, sometimes accusatory, combating the foggy, anxious experience of being the victim of gaslighting. The book as a whole embodies a struggle between love and selfhood, often reflecting on the challenges of being a woman with strong feelings and opinions while simultaneously having to live in relation to others:

No one ever listens when they ask
Except later when they crash into my words
And think they’re listening to themselves
I’m a daughter and used to remaining unmentioned

“Stay Away from my Windows No One is Welcome”

Much of the final section of the book, “Prairie Lighthouse,” remains difficult for me to parse. The lines sometimes feel haphazard, and many images feel either too personally specific or too abstract for me to connect to. But these poems are not without power, similar to, though structurally more wayward than, what came before.

There is still something radical and brave about unflattering honesty, and in a sense also a frank beauty to the vulnerability of statements like the opening lines of one of Ko’s “Night Signatures”: “My self-sufficiency has disappeared. I pick up five-dollar pulp books / when I buy cigarettes and I read them at home / in front of television talk shows.” There is so much evoked in these lines, a combination of loneliness and not giving a fuck that’s poignant and refreshing. The emotionality of the text is unapologetic; the cleverness of the lines is tempered by emotional depth.

I will not pretend to understand all of Motherlover. But what stays with me and touches me is liberating, a vulnerable voice speaking honestly of heartbreak and rebellion.

Chapbook? Launched. Issue 7 submission call? Open.

The Quilliad Press is busy this spring! Last night, we launched our first chapbook and hosted our first retrospective. Four of our past contributors, all of whom have been published more than once by The Quilliad, read at the event: John Nyman, Suzanna Derewicz, Larissa Kucharyshyn, and Devin P.L. Edwards. John shared work from previous issues of The Quilliad and some new work from his forthcoming book Players, which launches on April 5 at Another Story Bookshop in Toronto. Suzanna shared both new and old work and plugged her own reading series, Write On Playwright Showcase, the next installment of which is on April 19 at the Junction City Music Hall in Toronto. Larissa, who was one of our chapbook finalists, included in her set a beautiful poem that will be published in our next issue as a preview of what’s to come. Devin read from his chapbook, Love and Longing, as well as some newer pieces.

And we’re not done for the season! Our issue 7 submission call opens today and will continue until the end of April. For more information on our guidelines, visit https://thequilliad.wordpress.com/submissions/.

Last night’s readings gave us a strong sense of the community we’ve built and the wider literary community we’ve connected to. We look forward to inviting new voices into the conversation with issue 7.

Your editor-in-chief,
Sarah

The Quilliad Reviews: Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women, Volume 1

MosaicsA literary exploration of femininity and womanhood, Mosaics approaches its subject matter through stories, poetry, essays, and art. The tales within its pages span across eras and genres. These varied approaches reflect the variety of perspectives contained within the anthology’s pages. This diversity is an intentional political act; the creators of Mosaics set out to produce a book that depicts the experience of women through an intersectional lens, and they’ve succeeded. From a girl with a glass heart to the erotic encounters of lesbian suffragettes, this anthology embraces a diversity of forms that women may take on.  Mosaics tells the tales of robots and the wheelchair-bound, folkloric monsters and Lillith.

If there is one flaw that I might take issue with, it would be that, at times, some of the stories are a little heavy-handed. Most of the time, Mosaics is an engaging and accessible read, but occasionally the stories take on a more didactic tone than is my preference, which takes away from the immersive quality of the narrative. The more nuanced tales still embody their politics, and I am thus left wishing all the stories could find that perfect balance.

That said, Mosaics is a well-written anthology compiled by women who aren’t afraid to imbue their work with political purpose, and there’s power in that. All proceeds go to charity (The Pixel Project to end Violence Against Women), so they are truly walking the walk. Between the valuable social message and the strong writing, Mosaics is a meaningful contribution to both literary and social discourse. You can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.ca/Mosaics-Collection-Independent-Women-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01BW43VLW?tag=smarturl-ca-20

—Sarah

Chapbook Launch and Quilliad Retrospective

Too impatient to wait for issue 7? You’re in luck. We’re releasing our first chapbook at the end of the month! Come out to Betty’s on King in Toronto (240 King Street East) on Thursday, March 31, 2016 between 7 and 11 p.m. for our chapbook launch and journal retrospective. Hear readings from Geoffrey Nilson’s We Have to Watch, as well as performances by past contributors to The Quilliad, all of whom we liked enough to publish twice (or more!). We’ve also invited writers and artists from past issues to bring their work for the merch table, so there will be lots to look at. You can find the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/522313971227071/