Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Speaking of Broken Pencil, the current ish (lovingly displayed to the left) also contains my review of the latest Coming Attractions anthology, featuring Rebecca Rosenblum, Daniel Griffin (up for the Journey Prize this year) and Alice Petersen. The review is not as exciting as the anthology, but it's certainly more exciting than used q-tips or bent bicycle spokes, so check it out.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Anyway, here's the review:
Hand-made chapbooks typically vacillate between the shoddy and the over-ornate – in other words, either photocopied booklets of staple-stitched construction paper or precious little darlings laced with gold thread and pasted feathers. Arnaud Brassard, designer and printer of the new Toronto micro-press Ferno House, manages to avoid either extreme with resounding panache, producing with For Crying Out Loud (Ferno House’s premiere release) a surprisingly beautiful, perfect-bound masterstroke of hand-crafted restraint.
For Crying Out Loud is a collection of poetry and fiction by the students and instructors enrolled in the Masters degree in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. It boasts a poem fragment by seasoned veteran George Elliott Clarke, written in his audaciously lyrical, overtly musical hand, and a short story by American-born fiction writer Jeff Parker – a pitch-perfect, hilarious send-up of both presumptuous American ex-patriots holidaying in Canada and a somewhat lesser known, home-grown entity – the French Redneck. The rest of the book is divided between the program’s aspiring writers and students. In terms of poetry, one finds the subtle linguistic play and adventurousness of Catriona Wright; the spare, Biblically-inspired verse of Wendy Prieto; the meditative and sickly sensual lines of Alex Grigorescu, and the morbid, keen-eyed histories of Laura Clarke. As for fiction, Jonathan Simpson writes out the affecting, fragmented history of a father’s love; Andrew MacDonald provides a cheeky, happily-perverse look at voyeurism and crime; and Spencer Gordon (the editor of Ferno House) writes a dark reflection on cigarettes, death, and literary ambition, which takes an apt turn for the surreal. If what’s included in this collection is any indication of promise, then we should expect some remarkable work from these bourgeoning, Toronto-based writers.
According to the Ferno House website, the book might still be found at choice locations around the city of Toronto for a reasonable $15. I say go pick it up – it’s a damn fine combination of DIY, entrepreneurial ‘zine-culture, sophisticated and meticulous design craft, and ambitious literary writing.
by Eddie Leslie
From Broken Pencil 45
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It has a picture of my face on it that I took in my bedroom. One of my cats was there. She likes peanut butter. Is that normal?
Friday, October 9, 2009
Soon we will reconnect. Soon soon.
Until then, you should go to this launch of The New Quarterly at the end(ish) of the month. Here are the details:
Join The New Quarterly for a celebration of remarkable writing, on Thursday, October 22 at Art|Bar (in Kitchener, Ontario).
Have a drink with your favourite editors, meet some of our noteworthy writers, and hear a preview of our fall issue, Travellers in a Strange Land. View the Facebook Event to invite your friends.
Doors open @ 7pm, readings beginning @ 8. Pay what you can.
We’ve recruited our feature writer from the issue, Carrie Snyder, to talk about her work and read a selection. We’ve also partnered with Biblioasis Press, to bring you two rising stars from our previous issues: Amy Jones (Issue 111) and Rebecca Rosenblum (Issue 107, 110) to read from their newest collections.
Featuring the music of Alexander James.
Here is a link: http://theliterarytype.ca/?p=626#more-626
Thursday, September 3, 2009
You should read it. I mention the time a magazine rejected me by not rejecting me. The story only goes downhill from there.
Completely unrelated, but if you haven't read Skim, you should probably do so.
Friday, August 28, 2009
- A triad of reviews in LipStik Indie.
- Packing for my move to the Annex on Tuesday.
- Quitting my job to get set for the thesis year of my creative writing masters.
- An internship at a literary agency, starting in the next couple of weeks (swoon).
- An acceptance letter from Event Magazine. The story's called Eat Fist! and it's a lesbian coming out story about a geeky high school math whiz who falls in love with her giant bodybuilding Ukrainian tutor. Huh? Yeah, you heard me right.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The attempted rape involved a Marlborough girl, named Dora, who had taken piano lessons with Golding. It happened when he was 18 and on holiday during his first year at Oxford.
Carey quotes the memoir as partially excusing the attempted rape on the grounds that Dora was "depraved by nature" and, at 14, was "already sexy as an ape".
It reveals that Golding told his wife he had been sure the girl "wanted heavy sex". She fought him off and ran away as he stood there shouting: "I'm not going to hurt you," the memoir said.
Two years later, the pair met again and had sex in a field, with Golding again introducing crudity by quoting the girl's foreplay remark: "Should I have all that rammed up my guts?"
The author was convinced her approach to his father was a deliberate attempt to discredit him and his older brother who, coincidentally, was having sex with his girlfriend in the same field.
The biography detailing all of Golding's exploits is forthcoming. I'm a total gossip-monger, so I'll clearly be buying it.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
The Conservative government has decided to cut literary publications out of Canadian Periodical Funding.
Here's the source, from Quill and Quire. I think it's something you should read.
But rest assured, gentle reader - important cultural publications like Elle, Fashion Magazine, Flare, and Style at Home (which no doubt absolutely require the 600 to 900 thousand dollars they receive from the government per annum, due to their tiny, marginal audiences and thought-provoking, status-quo challenging content) will still be on the Conservative payroll.
So, if you like to read new writing, by poor or struggling or burgeoning writers, or like to see a viable outlet for anything even remotely avant-garde or 'challenging', please do your country a favour and support the arts.
1) Subscribe to a lit mag (or ten), if you haven't done so already.
2) Repeat step one.
3) Stop voting Conservative, if you haven't done so already for some strange and scary reason that I'm sure wasn't your fault (probably bad parenting or abuse or that accident on the see-saw when you were four that made your forehead look kind of 'funny'). And if you don't vote, please start actively voting against the Conservatives, as this is all mostly your fault, you apathetic loser.
Anyways. Goodnight, sweet magazines. We'll miss you in the fast food concrete suburbs of Harper's happy planet.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I'm supposed to be doing preliminary work on my thesis, a novel about crazy people. Instead I'm reading some pretty cool Larry Doyle articles. If you haven't heard of Larry Doyle or you're too lazy to click the link, he wrote I Love You Beth Cooper, which I read and found comical. Evidently others did also; it won the James Thurber humor award. He also wrote for The Simpsons. And for places like Esquire and The New Yorker.
In particular, I'm enjoying these essays:
Larry Doyle on moving to LA to write for the Simpons.
How Larry Doyle Became a Writer, Part One
How Larry Doyle Became a Writer, Part Two
Pretty good stuff. In characteristically self-deprecating fashion, he claims these puppies contain no helpful advice. Well. I like how much shit he goes through and how he still trucks on. Good on you, Larry Doyle. I also like how he milks his contacts and advises writers to know as many talented people as possible. In my own (VERY LIMITED, TOTALLY AMATEUR WRITER) experience, I've found that to be the case. I know a lot of really talented people who have been kind enough to throw me bones every once in awhile.
Anyway. I should probably put some pants on (my writing pants) and get back to the desk.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
In other news, last night I whipped up a quick piece about the oft-declared death of the novel for one of them pay-per-click sites. The article took me about twenty minutes to write, so it's no skin off my back if this turns out to be an epic bomb. It's an experiment, like.
I'm also probably starting a sister blog to this, if I have the time and inclination, wherein I catalogue, and review, whatever trashy pulp paperbacks come my way. It would be a labor of love.
Finally, I electrocuted myself the other day. Nothing serious, just a weird twitching sensation. I need a new extension cord.
Monday, July 27, 2009
A few months ago I found an old, tattered tome, a musty beast the size of a bible, for less than two bucks outside BMV. Who knows why I noticed it. The cover's the kind of minimalist ugly that people probably liked a century ago. This one has a crude drawing of a hand with a spiderweb of lines charted along the palm. Tell me this title isn't gorgeous: Laws of Scientific Hand Reading. Published in Burma, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, 1962. Sometimes I pick it up and read a few pages. I find it difficult to describe the writing itself, a blend of science and superstition with echoes of some personal narrative in it. The kind of book, in other words, that's made to inspire stories. I hold it dear.
The other day a book of similar portent turned up, an old shorthand workbook, hard cover, for women in the 50s. Someone pasted a little pink sheet with their name on the inside cover. All of the exercises in it had been completed by such an expert hand that I first mistook the cursive for some kind of kooky font.
Someone else saw the book and wanted it.
Breaks your heart when they're prettier than you and beat you to the punch.
Looks like I'll be doing regular book reviews for Lipstik Indie. From the front page: LipStik Indie Reviews is all about Indie Artists. If you are a singer, band, spoken word artist, comic book creator, writer (from zines to novels), have an ezine or online DIY store, you should be reviewed by us. We’ve all been in your shoes and know it is important for the world to know about you.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
For me, the card has this really palatable quasi-taoist philosophy behind it, like, chill out buddy, accept your idiosyncrasies (of which I have many). Wear that bucket on your head and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it.
This year the bucket-head card has competition. The card is white, unadorned. No images on the outside, just the following statement, in plain bold helvetica:
A disturbing birthday greeting card that shows a black and white photographic image of a semi-nude elderly lady. She is standing in a non-provocative pose, revealing her breasts.
Inside the card is nothing (except for the card giver's message, which is itself quite glorious and signed 'the Squid').
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
*note: this is a random internet cat culled from google image. I in no way endorse cat boxing or any other forms of unregulated feline pugilism.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The summer issue of The Fiddlehead is out and contains my story, "Customer X." Information below.
5 Mark Anthony Jarman: Dark Was the Night, Bright Was the Diamond
6 Alice Petersen: Among the Trees
13 Rebecca Rosenblum: ContEd
27 Rebecca Rosenblum: Tech Support
41 Richard Cumyn: The Goddess Throws Down
49 Hazel Lyder: Grasping History
56 Jeff Park: A Boat in Still Water
71 Jeff Park: Back to Disney
81 Paul Martone: Homecoming
92 Lori Hahnel: Excerpt from Love Minus Zero
96 Elisabeth de Mariaffi: Ajaccio Belonged to the Genoese
103 J.M. Villaverde: The Spanish Hour
118 Stephanie Austin: "The Sink in Here Is Always Wet"
127 Hugh Graham: Klenau's Advance
137 Andrew MacDonald: "Customer X"
144 Jennifer Stone: Knowing
151 Steven Heighton: Shared Room On Union
164 Katia Grubisic: Mating Rituals of Homo Sapiens Newfoundlandsis
The Darren Effect, Libby Creelman
166 Pat Leech: Life's Greatest Questions: The Enigmas of Human Emotion
The Withdrawal Method, Pasha Malla
168 Shane Neilson: Not a Traditional Coming-of-Age Story
Skin Room, Sara Tilley
171 Ian Colford: Movie Magic
Silver Salts, Mark Blagrave
173 Richard Cumyn: The Compleat Male
Quintet, Douglas Arthur Brown
The Order of Good Cheer, Bill Gaston
176 Edward O'Connor: His Debate with Pain
The Push & The Pull, Darryl Whetter
Notes on Contributors
Markers, 1 of 3
Monday, July 20, 2009
Doing a bit of research for the eco-friendly sex toy article I'm working on and want to state for the record that dildos have a long, illustrious (and illustrated) history. Like this antique vibrating [pleasure] chair, manufactured by (I shit you not) Kellogg of cereal fame. Well. Have fun eating your Corn Flakes tomorrow morning.
I'm not on staff or anything, but I know they put together a good publication. Submit now.
We are now accepting submissions for Issue 9 of Echolocation! DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 30,
We are accepting:
Fiction, max. 3000 words
Creative Nonfiction, max. 3000 words
Poetry, up to 10 poems
Visual art, submitted in .tif format
We are accepting submissions from students, faculty, or alumni of the University of
Toronto, as well as writers and artists from outside the University.
Please email your submissions in a Word document to:
Feel free to contact us regarding any writing that falls outside of the guidelines
stated above. We're willing to be a little flexible if you've got something good.
We can't wait to see your email in our inbox! Look forward to announcements about future
Thanks in advance for your consideration,
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
It's looking like my review of Oberon's latest edition of Coming Attractions 08 will appear in the next ish of Broken Pencil. Word has it, anyway.
Coming Attractions 08 Edited by Mark Anthony Jarman Rebecca
Rosenblum writes offbeat, innovative stories that tend to show up in the Journey Prize anthology. Her characters come from the brittle world of ex-urban strip malls. In one story she features an Edmonton Oilers toque, but there are many other reasons to like her work. Daniel Griffin has also appeared in the Journey Prize anthology. He’s interested in gender roles and writes about fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters. Alice Petersen was a joy to discover. She writes compelling, painterly stories in assured, sophisticated prose. This book is much the richer for her appearance in it.
8.5 by 5.5 by 120 pages, cover from a bestiary, c. 1500 $18.95 (paper) ISBN 978 0 7780 1322 8 $38.95 (cloth) ISBN 978 0 7780 1321 1
Next up: some as-yet-unwritten-book-related writing for Matrix Magazine and an article on environmentally friendly sex toys for Blackheart Magazine. Coincidentally, both are Montreal-based.
Finally, this hot piece of comic ass was in the paper today and sums up the ebbs and flows of my writing process to a T:
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I encourage all three of this blog's readers to stop by the Toronto Small Press Book Fair this Saturday at the Toronto Reference Library, between 9am - 5pm. Existere is going to have a booth set up there and I'll be dropping by sometime during the day, so if you want to shiv me in the gullivers, hang around and choose your point of attack wisely. I have a big rib cage.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
George Elliott Clarke
Laura Maija Clarke
Existere, a sexy little Toronto-based number with national distribution, is out! I'm holding it in my hands as we speak and it's a thing to behold. My story "Leap" graces its pages. Head over to your local lit journal carrying venue and pick yourself up a copy. Better yet, rustle up a subscription.