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

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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.

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: www.facebook.com/events/1501141953517791. $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 www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-press-and-issue-6.

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: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-press-and-issue-6. 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

 

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 www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-press-and-issue-6. Thank you for reading.

Sarah

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!

Sarah

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: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-press-and-issue-6.

Sarah, Editor-in-Chief and Press Founder

Project Spotlight: TRANSformation, a Photography Project by Maxx Giffen

The TRANSformation Project image 1

The TRANSformation Project image 1

Hello, readers. For our first project spotlight, we’ll be focusing on local trans photographer Maxx Giffen’s The TRANSformation Project. Maxx’s project uses photography to document the physical, mental, and/or emotional changes that take place in the lives of the project’s transgendered subjects over a year, whether those changes involve hormones, therapy, surgery, or new habits. The photos are taken free of charge by Maxx, who is a professional photographer, and posted on the project page. The longterm plan is to create a gallery exhibit featuring these images. To that end, Maxx is reaching out to potential participants and supporters alike through an open call for subjects and a crowdfunding campaign. Maxx was also kind enough to answer a few questions we had:

Quilliad Q&A

Sarah: What made you choose photography as a medium (for this project and/or for your career)?

Maxx: I have always been drawn to photography. I initially was interested in capturing the beauty of a fleeting moment; however, with this project I wanted to use photography to tell a story. My goal is to capture the personal journey of each trans participant as they embark upon a year of change. I want each photograph to mark not only the physical state of the subject, but their relationship with their body, as well as their personality.

The TRANSformation Project image 2

The TRANSformation Project image 2

Sarah: How would you respond to criticism of the ideas behind the project?

I have been lucky enough to receive nothing but positive feedback regarding the project. Of course, there are people who may not see the value of the project. In response, I would like to make it clear that two things are very important to me. The first, is my belief that everyone has the right to love themselves. In regards to trans individuals, and my experiences as a trans individual, it is very difficult to love oneself when your body does not reflect the person who you are on the inside. I want this project to help the participants, as well as the audience, to see the beauty of their body, and to shed the misconception that there are only two types of bodies (male with a penis, and female with breasts and a vagina). My second point of interest is the fact that ignorance breeds hate. I want to create a forum for discussion in an attempt to educate the audience on trans issues and hopefully dispel some misconceptions and stigmas associated with the trans community.

The TRANSformation Project image 3

The TRANSformation Project image 3

Sarah: What would you say to cisgendered* people who’d like to be allies and support this project and the trans movement overall but don’t want to speak over trans voices?

Maxx: Your third question is a very important one, although I think it’s quite difficult to navigate because I cannot presume to be the voice of the trans community. My answer to the question will not correspond with a lot of other trans individual’s answers. I welcome all support, trans or otherwise. In my experience, trans allies are an incredible support system for trans individuals. Not all trans individuals live in an area where they can be in contact with other people in the trans community, so they must rely on support from trans allies. I think the most important thing to remember as a trans ally is not to make assumptions. The trans community is incredibly diverse, and one’s preferences when it comes to things like gender identity, sexual orientation, pronouns, et cetera, are extremely complex. As far as “not speaking over trans voices” goes, I would say that trying to boost the voice of a trans individual would be the best way to go. We live in the age of social media, so that could involve retweeting a tweet from a trans individual instead of making your own similar tweet, or sharing Facebook content with the same context.

Thanks to Maxx for answering our questions! We love to see art and activism coming together so naturally (not to mention how expressive the portraits are). If you’d like to see more of the photos and learn more about how to get involved, whether as a participant or a supporter, you can visit maxwellgiffenphotography.com/thetransformationproject.

—Sarah

*A cisgendered person is an individual whose gender identity aligns with the one they were assigned at birth.

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 new project spotlights, we post small press book reviews, 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.

6 Issues, 6 Reasons to Back The Quilliad

In honour of The Quilliad‘s issue 6 submission call, here are 6 reasons to back The Quilliad Press through our recently launched Kickstarter:

1. To support emerging writers and artists. As our previous issues have proven to us, Canada’s emerging creative talent is worthy of attention. Read the work from our first issue, which featured only university undergrads and recent graduates, to see what we mean.

2. Our contributors go on to do more awesome things, so you’re investing in people who are serious about their craft. Take just a few examples from our list of fifth issue contributors, for instance. Jessica Bebenek and JC Bouchard were part of the recent Worst Case Ontario Poetry Tour. I have the tour chapbook, and the writing in it is fantastic (as were the performances at the Toronto reading). Not to mention the guts and inspiration it takes to successfully crowdfund a poetry tour and then go on a road trip with relative strangers in order to do poetry readings in 9 different cities in as many days!

Suzanna Derewicz—poet, playwright, and performer—is performing in and co-facilitating the Write On Playwright’s Showcase II on Tuesday, September 29 at On Cue in Toronto’s west end. She will be performing “Getting There”, a play exploring the experiences of a dying woman hose consciousness remains intact. The piece is inspired by Ariel, Sylvia Plath’s final book of poetry, and the play is also being adapted into an illustrated poetry chapbook by Suzanna.

3. To see what’s happening in the Canadian arts and literary scenes. We’ve published established authors and artists, up and comers, and everyone in between. Here are a few recent examples:

You can find Issue 3 contributor Kayla Czaga’s work everywhere right now. A recent UBC MFA graduate, her work has appeared in The Walrus, Best Canadian Poetry 2013, Room Magazine, Lemon Hound, Event, The Malahat Review, and The Antigonish Review, among others, and she’s already published her first book, For Your Safety Please Hold On, with Nightwood Editions.

Dan Holst Soelberg 1

Dan Holst Soelberg

Issue 4 contributor Dan Holst Soelberg is a quirky artist with a dark but humorous aesthetic who’s become a regular everywhere from small press fairs to Fan Expo every August in Toronto. You can find his books online or in stores at The Beguiling and The Labyrinth in Toronto and Big B Comics in Hamilton.

Issue 5 contributor Lisa Young is the author of the poetry collection When the Earth, published by Quattro Books, and the chapbook This Cabin, published by Lyrical Myrical Press. She has been published in Jones Av., Misunderstandings Magazine, Quills Canadian Poetry MagazineRampike Magazine, and more. As the former fiction editor and senior poetry editor for Existere: Journal of Arts and Literature and someone who is active at both reading series and in writing groups, Lisa is a staple of the Toronto poetry scene.

Quilliad Issue 5 cover image by Eden Bachelder

Quilliad Issue 5 cover image by Eden Bachelder

Our issue 5 cover artist, Eden Bachelder, creates stunning paintings, illustrations, and masks of animals and monsters. You can find her work at Toronto-area art events and on her website, www.edenbachelder.com.

4. Our rewards. We’re offering copies of The Quilliad (of course), chapbooks, art prints, and poetry on demand on subjects chosen by our backers. For backers who pledge $200 or more, the poetry we write for them will be published in issue 6, and we’ll be composing entire chapbooks for backers at the $200 and $500 levels.

5. To promote small press publishing and Canadian arts. Smaller presses are often more likely to take risks with unusual work or work that isn’t what’s hot right now (but that is still awesome), as well as to give opportunities to new writers and artists (see #1) and to LGBT, POC, and other diverse voices and perspectives. Furthermore, while we think our publication is equally interesting to all lovers of the arts, we also believe that Canadian creative work deserves more recognition. Publishing local writers and artists is our way of helping to build an audience for Canadian creations.

6. We do more than publish. We also promote arts and literature through our blog by writing reviews of small press books, composing artist profiles, and covering local arts and lit events. We’re open to suggestions about what we should cover as well.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to support the work we’re doing, here’s the link to our Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-press-and-issue-6
—Sarah