On submitting to literary journals

I wrote a little article about submitting to literary journals for the WGA. Check it out!

Posted by Writers Hub for Youth – WHY on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Chapbook launch at Loft 112

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the launch last night. It felt amazing to read for a room full of friends and family. Huge shout out to Kyle Flemmer and Katie O’Brien for such great readings and to Lisa Murphy Lamb for helping to make it such a wonderful night!

Here are some photos from the reading:

 

If you would still like a copy, you can get in touch with me or order them online from Anstruther Press. Thanks again for all of the support.

Mrs. Caliban (Review)

“Why do you call him a monster?”
“Well, an eight-foot tall green gorilla with web feet and bug eyes—what would you call him? A well-developed frog? Not exactly an Ivy-league type, anyway.’”
“I’ve met plenty of Ivy-leaguers I’d call monsters.”

Rachel Ingalls’ cult classic Mrs. Caliban is the perfect read for a rainy afternoon. I read this book partway through my practicum with grade eight English students in March and I reread it this past weekend. Sitting at my favorite local coffee shop with a much needed americano, I took this little book out of my bag and dug in. About an hour and a half later, I resurfaced, my coffee long since cold.

Image result for mrs. caliban

Mrs. Caliban has just been reprinted, largely due to the success of Guillermo Del Toro’s cold war film The Shape of Water, but that doesn’t mean that Ingalls is lacking her own audience. Mrs. Caliban has a large cult following that landed the book on BBMC’s “top 20 American novels of the post-World War II period.” The sudden resurgence of interest can probably be attributed to the film, but we can all agree that Ingalls created this unique narrative first when she published this novel in 1982.

In Mrs. Caliban, we meet Dorothy who is unhappily married and living in a suburb where she washes dishes and awaits her husband’s return at the end of each day. One afternoon, she hears a radio announcement that a sea creature has escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research. Everything changes for Dorothy when the 6’7 lizard man walks into her kitchen after killing his captors. He introduces himself as Larry and the two begin a tumultuous love affair that ends in the destruction of relationships, property and life as Dorothy knew it.

caliban

The title alludes to one of my favourite Shakespeare plays The Tempest in which Caliban is a half human, half monster who has long been a symbol of colonial oppression. His name is also an anagram of the word ‘cannibal’ furthering his status as a monster. Placing Mrs. Caliban within the context of The Tempest, we begin to see the alienation and othering of Larry (and Dorothy by association) as an extension of patriarchal and institutional oppression. Larry was meant to be used as a weapon, but instead he finds Dorothy and seeks shelter from his destined role. Through Larry and Dorothy’s relationship, Ingalls criticizes gender roles, the marriage institution and the media with her lizard man at the epicenter of conflict. She leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Larry is real or a figment of Dorothy’s imagination, brought on by boredom and frustration with the patriarchal world she occupies. To be completely honest, I’m still not sure.

I won’t spoil the ending, but after murder, explosions and a surprisingly tender love story, Mrs. Caliban is a book I’ll return to again and again.

 

 

 

In Conversation: Vivek Shraya — NōD Magazine

I had the privilege of interviewing the incredible Vivek Shraya with Kathy Pham for NoD Magazine last year. Her newest publication “I’m Afraid of Men” is released today and I can’t wait to read it. Check out the interview below.

For our most recent issue, we sat down with author, musician, and educator Vivek Shraya to discuss her writing, her career and her imprint at Arsenal Pulp Press. Her most recent publication, “I’m Afraid of Men” is now available for purchase from Penguin Canada. Sections of the interview were condensed and altered for clarity. Who […]

via In Conversation: Vivek Shraya — NōD Magazine

Reading at Soggy Pages

I had so much fun reading at Soggy Pages last night. The event was run by The Blasted Tree and the Brewer’s Apprentice who paired each reader with a craft beer that suited their poetry. Below are photos from the event.

Kyle and I will be reading in the same space, Loft 112, on September 8th for my chapbook launch!

Threats (Review)

“You lose everything you love in the order in which you love it.”

Amelia Gray’s novel Threats is as unnerving and threatening as the title suggests. Threats is like a strange and uneven puzzle where you find a new piece when you didn’t know you were missing any. As information is revealed, falsified, reconsidered and reformulated, we readjust as readers within short spans of time and space.

A basic synopsis:

On a winter night,Franny walks out of the house where her and her husband, David, live wearing nothing but her pajamas. She freezes to death with a handful of berries in her fist and even more in her stomach. David has trouble coping after her death and is continually visited by police and therapists who claim to have his best interests at heart. He is an ex-dentist and his narrative voice often flashes back to past events.

Shortly after Franny’s death, David has a number of out of body experiences where he sees the situation through the eyes of other characters. This helped to ground me in a narrative where nothing was certain.

Franny’s death doesn’t come as a great shock to him. What shocks him is the threatening notes he finds left around the house after her death. For example: CURL UP ON MY LAP. LET ME BRUSH YOUR HAIR WITH MY FINGERS. I AM SINGING YOU A LULLABY. I AM TESTING FOR STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS IN YOUR SKULL or I WILL LOCK YOU IN A ROOM MUCH LIKE YOUR OWN UNTIL IT BEGINS TO FILL WITH WATER. Other threats involve nails through feet, poison, and other forms of torture. David also discovers a horde of journalists outside his house, all curious about the his wife he may have killed, but most shocking to David is that one of the journalists has moved into his garage. The lines between fact and fiction are blurred so that David doesn’t know what/who is real and what/who isn’t. The one thing we know for sure is that the notes are real. One of Franny’s old work friends finds a note addressed to herself in a coffee cup.

Overall, this book is unsettling and narratively unique. If you want a read with a strong sense of plot and pace, this novel may not be for you. If you’re interested in long unstable character study, this book might be perfect.

an unconventional (and unorganized) summer of reading

jwRight now, I’m between degrees and only working in the archives part time, which means that I have more time for myself than I’ve had in years. The biggest trademark of my English degree was the way it structured my reading and not always in great ways (hello, Chaucer) but now I have full freedom to choose what I want to read and when. This is the perfect opportunity to work through my unruly TBR pile that has been steadily growing for years. Since at any given moment I’m either reading a book, looking for books or talking about books (sorry), I want to document them all in one place and keep myself accountable to keep going. I’ll be posting reviews and musings about the books I read, and I’ll also be using the public library as much as possible to save both my bank account and my poor overworked bookshelves. Please send me all of your book recommendations too! I’d love to know what you’re reading.

What I’ve read so far this summer (fun fact: 9 start with the prefix the)

  • The Taxidermist’s Daughter – Kate Mosse
  • Little Sister – Barbara Gowdy
  • Restlessness – Aritha van Herk
  • I’m the King of the Castle – Susan Hill
  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
  • The Romantic – Barbara Gowdy
  • The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The World According to Garp – John Irving
  • The Bear – Clare Cameron
  • The Girls – Emma Cline
  • Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson
  • The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  • Even this page is white – Vivek Shraya

Fiction I need to read (fun fact: only 11 begin with the but 3 are about birds!)

  • The woman who gave birth to rabbits – Emma Donoghue
  • The Afterlife of Birds – Elizabeth Philips
  • The Genius of Birds – Elizabeth Philips.
  • The End of the Story -Lydia Davis
  • In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  • Villette – Charlotte Brontë
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Astray – Emma Donoghue
  • The Back of the Turtle -Thomas King
  • The Waves – Virginia Woolf
  • The Studhorse man – Robert Kroetsch
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • Swing Time – Zadie Smith
  • Ophelia’s Muse – Rita Cameron
  • Agnes Gray – Anne Brontë
  • The obituary Writer – Ann Hood
  • Moonglow – Michael Chabon
  • Angela’s ashes – Frank McCourt
  • The Break – Katherena Vermette
  • The way the crow flies – Ann-Marie McDonald
  • Son of a Trickster – Eden Robinson
  • Moshi Moshi – Banana Yoshimoto
  • Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon – Nicole Brossard
  • Ana, Historic – Daphne Marlatt
  • Wise Blood – Flannery O’Connor
  • The Falls – Joyce Carol Oates

Poetry I need to read:

  • Nets – Jen Bervin
  • Recyclopedia – Haryette Mullen
  • Joy Kagawa – A Garden of Anchors

Non-fiction/biography I need to read:

  • Shirley Jackson, A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin
  • Virginia Woolf, A Biography – Hermione Lee
  • Charlotte Brontë – Clare Harman
  • Anais Nin, A Biography – Deirdre Bair
  • Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay
  • How to Build a Woman – Caitlin Moran

This list is probably about one hundredth of the books I want to read, but it’s a good start! Please send me book recommendations (especially for new poetry). I’m always up for something new!