AV 144.1

Page 1

Grace Ma


Stan Rogal


Emily Zou


Elana Wolff


Bruce Meyer


Madhav Mukundan


Sven Goslinski


Matthew James Friday


Jade Riordan


Sabrina Almeida


Renee Butner


Zach Da Costa


Skylar Cheung


Amy LeBlanc


Ian C Smith


Erika Dickinson


Carolyn Chung


Trevor John Robertson


Nila Inalouie


Frances Koziar


Margaryta Golovchenko


Dallas Fellini


Lainh Hrafn


Robert Beveridge


Carol Barbour


Joel Robert Ferguson


Anni Wilson


Editors-in-Chief Marco Istasy Thomas Sider Design Editor Jay Bawar Editorial Board Katrina Agbayani Claire Ellis Lucy Faria Vivian Li Veronika Zabelle Nayir

Autumn 2019 Acta Victoriana CXLIII IV Acta Victoriana 150 Charles St W, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K9 Acta Victoriana, est. 1878, is the literary journal of Victoria College in the University of Toronto. It is produced and published on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Wendat, as well as other Nations that have been subject to historical erasure. As members of the literary community on campus, we recognize the need to be part of the collective conversation required for the ongoing process of decolonization and reconciliation.

Letters from the Editors Impassivity is the sign of our times. From Lyotard to Harari, we are warned time and time again that ours is an affective struggle: one of belonging and homewardness. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our desire for rectitude unkind. Advancements which, by their very nature, ululate to the connection of Humanity have isolated us. An antidote must be proffered, but from which sphere of thought is it to be demanded? It is on this injunction that Art functions, and it is for the once-more engrafting of Humanity to itself that this corpus is collected. Holistically, it is a work of neo-Romanticism. From Wolff’s lament, ‘[w] e of the fraught begotten bodies, / pixilated thoughts, all in some way bent to be connected’, to Dickinson’s admonishment that ‘you don’t understand the glass ceiling / until you’ve been a fly’, an ostensible plea, furtive but indubitably present, weaves itself into this collection to reverberate and awaken the strings of our solicitude. It is against the throes of insouciance that the Romantic contends. However, the Romantic does not arise a maudlin figure: one who is hyper-sensitive and beset by emotion; rather, the Romantic arises an hero: one who is able to understand grief, both personal and catholic, and to modulate that grief into beauty. Whoever is able to sanctify the defiled is a Romantic; to turn stone into bread; water into wine. The chief mannerism of Romance in Art, then, is not consonance with nature or seamlessness in affection but sympathy with suffering. To love and laugh when life is fair is as natural as the unfurling of flowers, though significantly less spectacular. To do the same during the vicissitudes of fortune is a supreme act of Romance. It is the latter that should be cherished and cultivated. As for the cover? Well, when Narcissus descries his reflection in the lagoon, he is enraptured by his beauty. When the Romantics see themselves in the looking-glass, they fall in love with Humanity. This is what profits Art. Marco Istasy


To read this volume’s poems is to explore the vicissitudes of time as they impact poetic consciousness. The poets here play with time, or, rather, pit themselves against its flow, to allow us to experience the difficulties of finding ourselves in a fluid world. The poems range in their encounters with time from the playful to the deeply antagonistic. Grace Ma’s speaker in “Relieved Burdens,” in the final lines, seems to take a stoical satisfaction in her present being informed by her family’s past. Zach Da Costa’s “How I Measure Time” interposes the speaker’s personal memories, the stream of self in conversation with self, with reminiscences of past conversations. Bruce Meyer in “Deer in Town” seems incredibly bothered by how the circumstances life offers us lead us to our confusion of both the self and how we should continue forward. However, throughout the various ways of exploring time—the hopeful or the existential—there is rarely an acquiescence to what the past has determined for us. Rather, there is often an attempt to reconcile our past and our desires. As Elana Wolff writes, despite being ‘Berthed into the middle of things, it’s up to us to redirect.” The poems, in the end, were of course chosen for their excellence. What appealed to us was that beyond being excellent they seemed to loosely create a thematic dialogue that would yield insight into what binds poetry when the poems do not intend to represent a single theme. I hope you enjoy such excellence in the following pages, and I also hope that in the same way I was able to find great meaning within the implicit connections between the poems, that in reading them you may discover your own. Thomas Sider


Relieved Burdens Grace Ma

Chinese parents will talk about anything between tea and sunflower seeds. Ayi recounts her own yi, a woman who made a career as a poet. Made a career and consequently a life, “an inevitable one of inevitable pain.� Mama asks me to bring down one of my poems, and I grab a pink review which shushu flips With more intent than I envisioned, finding my name, exclaiming his discovery. Later mama tells me Ayi is a mystic who can sense the future. She trained for years with her shifu, mastering feng shui, yijing. Mama tells me how she predicted that I will have no issues, finding a boyfriend.


(Un)natural Disaster Stan Rogal

the white bellies of fish provide a weird excitement the kitten shows itself bloodied from some small mouse a river nudges Coors Light beer cans into the reeds crows talk back in their black velvet voices limestone & pine : a dry country : lightning-eyed splattered like an egg of fire hovered uneasy on the edge of allegory they have strange license plates & engines that devour America technological presence of bodily comfort & abominable fear ...the white peacock roosting might have been Christ... this country (a nation on no map) it exists as image — a rugged Marlboro Man riding a palomino quarter horse across an unspoiled landscape whose day is done the new age now exhausting the fertility of the semen p.s. : aside the obvious inflammatory, remarks : I still plan to travel, still plan to holiday in olÊ Mexico


Vulnerability Emily Zou 7

Traffic Elana Wolff

Berthed into the middle of things, it’s up to us to redirect. We of the fraught begotten bodies, pixilated thoughts, all in some way bent to be connected. The smashed raccoon on Bloor was my cocky second cousin, the woman in the badger mask, my other. She owns me like a bit of breath. Put your head to mine and let us feel less indirect. This won’t be disgraceful and we crave it. When Kafka leapt to the river in “The Judgment,” I was on the bridge. He changed his name for the story, but it was him. I was on the omnibus, passing with the “traffic.” I saw the body in the water, sinking. Even in this minor role— without a name or face—I feel the disappearance still, the deep seat always waiting: need that brings a being into reach.


Deer in Town Bruce Meyer

It follows the ravines into town and runs wild. As a white tail meteors between cars jamming their brakes on the road where it dips into the valley, I feel the fear a buck must feel, the sudden confusion of not having a name for where I am or what it was I needed to find – not that terror comes with a vocabulary because it happens so fast: the crushed side door, glass spun into a thudded web, the blood trailing after it, pleading not to be left behind. I close my eyes and imagine wanting to run away,


following my hoof-beat heart to a mouth shouting in a dream and not a sound appears through my memory of trees, though I once knew their names and how they said to me.


The Love of My Life Madhav Mukundan

I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life. I know that pain is subjective, but I’ve often found myself being able to easily relate to people whenever they talked about suffering they had been through, no matter how rough it was. It was nothing to me . A little while ago, my brother had been going through a very tough time. He was about to lose his apartment, and his girlfriend was to be deported from the United States after losing her job. I wasn’t there for him. Not as much as I wanted to be. I wasn’t there for him was because I had been busy. I was busy because I had met the love of my life. She made me feel the child-like glee and naïveté that I never got to feel growing up. During times in which I thought true happiness was lost, times where I was over the edge, she’d be there for me. I always wanted to be around her. When I was away from her, I crazed about how I was away from the happiness that I had been deprived of my entire life. She held me like my mother never did, taught me more about myself than my father ever did. She loved me, and always made sure I knew. She made me feel warm inside, comfortable in my own head, just happy to be myself. I felt loved for the person I was, and for once in my life I stopped wanting to change myself for other people.


I met the love of my life. My muse. The core of my soul. My key to true happiness. And her name was cocaine. Do not do cocaine. Granted, you will feel absolutely fantastic for a few hours, literally the greatest high that one can comprehend, but you may also end up wide awake at 6am listening to “Party in the USA” while simultaneously reading a Pinterest article about how to escape from being buried alive in a coffin (cross your arms, kick the lid with your legs, and sit up). She’s wild. I love the adventures that I have with her, and she’s everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m in love with her, but she’s taking years off of my life. Slow breaths, deep breaths. She loves you, but she will take your soul. She will make you stop talking to your close friends. She will make you spend all of your money. She will make you hate waking up in the morning, because she won’t be there for you to immediately turn to. Don’t let her take your soul. Love exists, but this isn’t it. I think this is something that I have yet to understand.


Luke 6 Sven Goslinski 13

Cow Bells at Kandersteg Matthew James Friday

They are still ringing as night falls in sedimentary folds, enclosing the fossilised sky. In the questionable gloom the blinded cows keep grazing the clanging rhythm continues, the discordant music of ownership, of Mankind’s mastery over beasts, the rich fields, even the mountains - the bells ring in valleys, in high pastures, under the melting eye of time. The mountains will play the final note: long after I leave Kandersteg, and the last cow is led to slaughter and the bells themselves become archaeological questions, fusing with the bones we all belong to.


Wonderful Music Jade Riordan

Alone Time echoed through the thicket A wolf came nearer to the hollow inside of trees and said Oh young hazel the air waits for spring The aspen has cut its tender neck Draw the cord of fortune across the human being , beast’s heart and wish the forest Gratitude

The above poem is an erasure of Margaret Hunt’s 1884 translation of “The Wonderful Musician” from Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm


In-Between Home Sabrina Almeida

Listening to the air conditioning in the middle of summer (windows closed) I imagine running away to Ribolhos, where fountain water flows pure from rusted pipes into basins of stone and algae Tell me that time didn’t always bleed like this: surreptitiously out of the mountains, drink of life feeding the fields, eternal constant that flows over lips rounded in the Portuguese word for forgiveness Romanticism is just varying degrees of sadness: voice of mist teasing fingers but never pooling in palms; a home too far away from the reach of North American hands blistered from a lifetime of suburban chlorinated water There the summer wind shudders through open windows My tongue dries up at the thought


Monkey Bars Renee Butner

At the age of six I bashed my mouth on the monkey bars at my best friend’s house next door. Any injury to your face bleeds so heavily. Ten stitches under my upper lip. My mouth was swollen and misshapen and meals became milkshakes partaken from a straw. A school mate’s younger brother was afraid of me and hid in his room when I came to play. My mother asked my father if he would still love me were I to look this way always. Did I overhear her or do I merely remember her telling this story? This morning I awoke with the bitter taste of a pill in the back of my throat. The fog was heavy as I took the dog out in my hoodie and pajama pants. Should the weather clear I will take my grandsons to the park and as always I will swing beside them. I will spot them well when they climb on the monkey bars.


How I Measure Time Zach Da Costa

Sitting on my back porch with roommate/bandmate and two married comfortable yuppie friends— talking about the time I awoke on the livingroom couch fully dressed for the harsh Winter winds in full length sheep-skin coat and hood and big black workboots, insulated, stolen a year prior (walked right outta the store in them!) and awoke on that couch on a Saturday afternoon with my good hand covered in blood and stiff and the knuckles all smashed. —Then the memory— oh, yeah, the glass mirror I punched at that afterhours. Still to this day don’t know if it was accident or what— But retelling this story to my two most boring, unbloodied friends (the one I got a job as a landscaper and he complained about long hours and blisters! Christ!) —I told them, Well, it was 2 Decembers ago, so that must have been... 2 years exactly since my dad’s death and my brother in prison. That’s how I measure time now— like B.C. and A.D. but it all has to do with hammers + hospitals and goddamn schizophrenia and not getting to say goodbye. And they just sit and nod like troglodytic automatons or lobotomized housewives not knowing whether to smile or look grave or having any clue about life or death or how to measure time any way besides the satellite and the cell phone— even the hour and the minute hands having long gone the bloodied way of my bloodied hands, and my father, and my brother, and who I used to be.


Josh Skylar Cheung 19

Musca Amy LeBlanc

Flies bathe in milk. They skate on butter, carry disease to babies, fill graveyards with bulk. We set traps in the backyard: our laneway, an empty lot, where butchered meat strains through a cloth and into a black vat. What has four wheels and flies? We place liver below the traps She’ll harvest the bodies in her grandmother’s button box and begin again. My black boots crush melons and part meat from bones. We keep the dread afflictions from spreading by singing while we swat, and we save our earnings for music lessons. We buzz around the yard in our white dresses, as our subjects kneel in chalky powder beneath the cloth, legs curled inward and belly up.

For Beatrice White, 1912 20

Blest Ian C Smith

Tread softly up stained stairs, sweep dust from cupboards with your hand, kill insects, merciless, learn to light the gas, place a chair so while eating you read, lost in imagery, wearing your jacket, zip broken, as cold creeps in. Know ghosthaunted night passes. In the pale lemon-grey morning locate a laundry, buy bread and newspapers, tobacco and tea, as though nothing has changed, stoic, wary of the future, given youth’s shrapnel, blood pooled on cell floors, a chaos of suffering. Memorise murmurings percolating through walls, Satie’s ethereality, a woman cooing to her cat heard as a thin wail of grief. On your first night exploring, map the neighbourhood, loping in shadow past ancient smells inhabiting alleyways and entranceways. Retrace footsteps, read until sleep overcomes you in your makeshift bed. Awaken to burgeoning light, the hope that won’t be kept out, start a routine by going off to your new casual job where you are unknown, shuffling pigeons nodding knowingly from eaves. No-one, betrayers, liars, has the address of these bricks blackened by exhaust fumes, few have your number. You cannot be found, but can be heard. Attract no attention. Each payday purchase necessary items, cheap bed sheets stiff as thin canvas, a pillow, towel, scissors to cut your hair. Patterned behaviour brings familiarity until, at last, you home in on what brought you here, the same need as those Paleolithic people squeezing deep into the Lascaux caves. Soft rain cloaks the city. Push plates aside, crack open the oilcloth-bound journal you bought, twirl a pen, enclaved with imagination. Plenitude. Nothing disturbs you now unpicking layers of dormant myth, utilising hurt, heartshored, probing uncertainties, mysteries, doubts.


Metamorphosis Erika Dickinson

you don’t understand the glass ceiling until you’ve been a fly. he quotes kafka at me from across the kitchen table and tells me that all the monarch butterflies I’ve seen are actually just viceroy moths. he makes me feel like I have to prove myself he makes me want to prove myself he wants me to prove myself so I nod along instead.


Four Square Carolyn Chung

The ball is Kenny’s, so he is King. The Queen, in the quadrant to Kenny’s left, is green- eyed Aayush in a sleeveless t-shirt that shows the first bars of his rib cage like the beginning of a song. The Jack is Aayush’s sister, Liza, and the Dunce is Bohan Zhang. In line to be the next dunce are the rest of the sixth-graders in Mr. Mobasseri’s 6/7 split class at West Kipling Junior Middle School. You can tell who’s in which grade by what’s in their pockets. The sixth-graders have nothing, or else they have Pokémon cards and sidewalk chalk. Wood chips, maybe, and Pop Rocks. The seventh-graders have earbuds. They have house keys and metal bottle caps. You can hear a seventh-grader coming down the hall. The seventh-graders have lunch with the eighth-graders in the plaza across the street. The girls wear skinny jeans and lean far across the countertop at Triple O Pizza, next to Rabba Fine Foods and Tracey Nail and Beauty. The boys stand, dazed and blinking, against spray-painted walls, sucking on e-cigarettes. The seventh-graders never play four square. Bohan Zhang, a sixth-grader, has a pocketknife in his messenger bag. In the pockets ofhis jeans, he keeps unwrapped Warheads, bus tickets, and a Zippo lighter engraved with a woman’s backside, his good luck charm. He is tall and speaks with an accent. If Bohan hits the pavement running, he is never caught. It is the week before summer break and the ground beneath the sixth-graders’ sneakers takes deep breaths, long and warm. There took place, before recess, a slow collapse of concentration. But within the court, the sixth-graders stand with their hands out, samurai-like in gaze, ready for anything. The first bounce is Kenny’s. The ball kisses Aayush’s right corner. He cycles backward a moment too late—Liza becomes Queen, Bohan becomes Jack, and Lexy is the new


Dunce. Aayush falls to the back of the line, spitting words onto the pavement like chunks of rotten apple. Here, in all this sunlight, Bohan softens. In his own house, behind its red front door, his grandmother’s wire-rimmed gaze made him short and straight like the blade of his pocketknife. He’d feel it down in the basement, too. He’d find himself crouching under the naked bulbs, among the cellar spiders and woven sacks of rice, and having the thought—like a nail in the foot—that he could not strike bottom in this house. It was a low, bad feeling that, if the weather was warm, would drive Bohan away. It is Bohan’s turn to serve, and he does. When the ball finally falls— out of the sky, it seems—Lexy is replaced by Rashawn, who bends at the waist into a wrestler’s stance. Bohan recognizes this as a challenge. There are rules. The ball is Kenny’s, so he serves first, always. Kicking, holding, or bouncing the ball twice within your own square is not allowed. Poaching—returning a shot meant for another member of the court—is okay. This, Bohan likes. He is a crook in this way. He’d steal Warheads from the corner store, pocket them, and during recess it was claps of thunder he’d take for himself—in backflips and handstands and treeclimbing. But Bohan is not careless. He knows just where to step, and when to leap, when jumping a fence. He never tears his jeans, never loses his keys, and checks the weather each morning before leaving the house. When Bohan comes down on Kenny’s ball, he comes down just hard enough and not any harder, because one rule is sacred and has always been so: never lose the ball. Bohan can tell—in the trajectory of his body against the summer sky, in the rise and fall of his forearm and the baring of his teeth, braces flashing blue and red and silver, cop colours— that Rashawn is about to break the golden rule. In the silence that comes afterward, the sixth-graders direct their gazes westward, over the tall chainlink fence and down the hill, past the hillside dandelions and the black foot of the tree line—at the endless surf of trees that seems to tremble only then. Across the street, any rocks the seventh-grade boys skip across the empty parking lot disappear in midair. For a moment, Bohan hears the silver chatter of the West Humber River. Mr. Mobasseri’s sixth-graders agree that Bohan climbed the fence.


They agree about his suddenly deep-set eyes and the flecks of sunlit gold in them, so cool and wonderful, and the way pursuit moved into his face and resided there, swordlike. But whatever took place on the other side of the fence—whether Bohan fell (was it flight?), whether he stumbled or somersaulted down the hill—they cannot determine. “Just now,” Kenny begins, but trails off. “Did it?” Aayush asks. “Or didn’t it?” his sister now. “Where’s the ball?” Lexy asks. “On the roof,” someone replies, but this feels wrong. They expect the sun to shrug out of sight, expect ice-winds and violence, but the heat goes on in all its shimmer. Aayush shivers. Liza closes her eyes and sees pine sap and wood spiders, Warheads and a lone flame. Hands clinging to woven metal, the sixth-graders wait for lunch break to end. When it does, they file indoors. Ball under one arm, Kenny’s free hand picks the burrs off Bohan’s shirt.


Negation Trevor John Robertson

City streets open onto country lanes, Where one might walk in all seasons And hear music of water in spring. Yet winter night holds a greater silence, To show the spirit, as in a mirror, How far it may choose to wander. A woman greets us once with dancing, Then again with quietness, And the second sterner aspect Expands the meaning of the dance. We sit together In that small and private bar, Willing to stay in silence Until forms in us The true impression With which to honour beauty. Salsa in the short black dress, Tango in the cross of gold. I think I may love the world enough To form the inner stillness That negates the world.


Expiation Trevor John Robertson

In all places naked. Down this very street, she, In short jacket and dancing shorts, On her way to winter forest To play under trees, Stars and the cold stab Of quickened breath, Passes, unconsoled mourner, Joyful dancer, time A child playing draughts; The kingdom is a child’s. Forest forms of barest branches Interweave stars With mental nudity, A geography Where loss has formed The hollow depth of gain, Where they are the same. It is the passion of moonlight That her skin may be bare. In winter forest white Passes into white, A wig of platinum hair, A flash of skin, Expiation.


The Endless Flowers of the Sun Niloo Inalouei


Gratitude Frances Koziar

is something I never understood— it was leverage for control in a world where I was already owned, an attack when I was already bloodied beyond recognition; but when I left that dark void, when I nailed the truth to the scars of my flesh and walked away from my parents, it was born in me as if I were the earth itself: the miracle of spring blossomed in my heart, and I dropped to my knees willingly for the first time, lay down my sword for one tender moment of blessing, raised my eyes to an ethereal dawn I had spent my childhood imagining; I spoke words in a tongue unknown to that land of shadow, words that changed the earth with their speaking and wove love through the winds of being, words of a gratitude so powerful that the world itself trembled with light


Tom Sawyer Resurrected Margaryta Golovchenko

At dusk I find myself under a humid bridge, beloved harmonica lodged in my throat my new voice in this life. The white picket fences I dreaded are long gone replaced with iron that has been replaced with an endless sliver of sky running upwards past the heavens, a prayer to something less permanent, a hunger easier to satisfy. I too am changed a fluid body to accompany my newly restless voice which is no less musical or pleasing despite the lack of fine tuning. Let personal preference dictate who will stay to listen. And after all this observation my second, third, or any other thought is not of Huck or Becky (I can’t feel their presence in this world yet) but of the impossible distances and angles at which clothes lines must now be stretched, the weight of doubt that anyone still remembers a rope’s place is not around the neck.


Dead Dog Dallas Fellini

My father’s parents came to this country unwilling to assimilate didn’t learn the language didn’t participate in North American traditions no whiskey, no soda, no rock and roll just their bocci ball court on their front lawn a pigeon coup a large makeshift greenhouse that grew tomatoes all year a cantina making wine by hand in the summers feeling the grapes in-between your toes The one Americanized indulgence they allowed themselves a big pure-bred dog who they gave a big Americanized name Dallas died after 6 years and they went out and got a big pure-bred dog for a second time and named him Dallas for a second time a big dog like a big twisted image of the American dream a big dog like an obligatory component to any good nuclear family a big dog like an embodiment of freedom in a new country with weird traditions a country where you buy your big-dog special big-dog food and take him to a special big-dog hairdresser I never met Dallas I remember when I first began to refer to myself as Dallas they’d say, “like Texas?” yeah, like Texas like Texas and big dreams and loud dogs that bark at anyone who walks down your street Dallas like open air and cool nights Dallas like hunting dogs that never came back empty-handed “smartest dogs I ever knew,” my dad would always say


Dallas like riding shotgun like going fast towards an empty horizon Dallas like freedom in the first and last place you thought you’d find it


Hide the Fallen Lainh Hrafn


Except Robert Beveridge

Except that my hands are dirty and there is so much more to dig Except that “maladroit” means clumsy, not any shade of evil Except that “love” does indeed exist on Maslow’s Hierarchy Except that we have no choice but to live in the twenty-first century Except that a kidney can either be a dinner or a transplant Except that the hellhound on your trail is just Robert Johnson Except that the Wedding at Cana has never featured in a bridal magazine Except that death and except that taxes Except that a bathtub is the worst place to dress a deer save any other room Except that the stars over Phoenix are not the stars over Philadelphia Except that hope sits plucked on a dinner table awaiting the knife Except that the skeletons in my closet are not the right hangers for your ghosts


Except that the razor is rusty but it’s the only thing I have to shave Except that even when you think you’ve seen the movie before, you’re wrong


The Tree of Jezebel Carol Barbour

Get used to it. You are alone. G-d is immaterial. A nasty bit of ideology. Aristotle used sense logic to know, to see, to touch and smell. To hear... the branches linking objects, sprouting fruit, and other things. Plato warned against representation. Reflect on what is known, not intended. Define the essential part from the greater than, separate. To be curious is to turn the eyes and the body towards the neglected parts, shoot the rapids. Inside the complicated mass sits a problem, formerly engulfed by the tumult of propellers in the weeds. T he future is beyond recognition. Vociferous in its grasp, trenchant. A demon laughs and a baby is formed, reluctant, crawling. A toddler trips on the stair, decries visionary reports of children that no one else can see. Human intervention


while phantoms disappear. Attachment is one and only-so stop what you are doing. Take care of me! Form paths and build fences to mark zones. Dante and Virgil crawl up the belly of the beast, enter paradise where no children are allowed. Their mothers go into labor and refuse pain killers, even vaccines. Help is on its way. Don’t worry about the details of how one came to be. Weathering, the party arrives, the children sleep. Driving through a crosswalk and witness a startled pedestrian with a persecuting face. Take away the harsh frequency. Turn it out to gaze in green pastures. Wander over the muscle of the earth, the crowds of people, picking stones. Bounce balls on the tarmac while the passengers embark. A magnetic field holds the gingham dress of a child who makes her home in the pocket of another apron. Soft breasts for the baby when it’s born, the apple of the mommies’ eye. A fig tree reaches maturity despite the weather because that is how we grow; in crevices, folded in the dark, without fresh air. Nostalgia is a place that no longer exists. The ice age has thawed, and the young can stand on their own.


A Second Bar Poem Joel Robert Ferguson

Though this one wasn’t written at a bar and I’ve lost the first one somewhere. The beer I ordered never came, the bartender lacked a voice and body, and the girl I wrote it for (the one with the raven tresses) didn’t exist. In fact, all I can remember of my first bar poem is a line about coming apart like a Raymond Carver slab house couple. It’s probably best to end this now.


Self-Delusion Anni Wilson


Contributors Sabrina Almeida is a third year student in the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto, completing a focus in management, a specialization in marketing, and a minor in economics. She is the president of UofT Spoken Word and has been published in the UC Review and Feminist Space Camp. When she’s not in class, you can find Sabrina exploring Toronto, reading books about fate and everyday magic, and perfecting her seasonal playlists. Carol Barbour is a poet, visual artist and art historian based in Toronto. Recent publications include Infrangible, a collection of poems, and Alter Pieces, an artist book. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and University of Toronto (MA, History of Art). Her work has been published in literary journals such as The Fiddlehead, The Toronto Quarterly, Impulse, Matriart, Nine Muses Poetry and others. She has delivered papers at various conferences including the Renaissance Society of America, The Sixteenth Century Society, and the Emblem Society. Her visual art and artist books have been exhibited at galleries and book fairs in Canada, United States and Europe. She is currently working a new manuscript of poems titled Frame and a series of new paintings inspired by the Tabula Cebetis. Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Collective Unrest, Cough Syrup, and Blood & Bourbon, among others. Renee Butner in Winston-Salem, NC, and is an owner along with her husband of Kilwins. She is a member of Winston-Salem Writers and the NC Haiku Society. She has been published in numerous publications including Verse of Silence, Haiku Journal, NC Poetry in Plain Sight, and Ariel Chart and she won second prize in Piedmont Plus Silver Games for her poem Silver Moments. Skylar Cheung After inheriting her mother’s unwanted point and shoot at the age of six, Skylar and photography have been inseparable ever since. Her mother grew up in a flat that doubled as a photo development lab. Their mutual love for photography continues their journey through romantic annals of 35mm film. Today, Skylar works as a conference photographer while completing her Bachelor’s at the University of Toronto. She also writes freelance articles and copy for for non-profit organizations. In her spare time, Skylar enjoys giving her dog, Haidyn, unsolicited haircuts. She makes oil paintings while waiting for the hair to grow back. Sometimes her paintings wind up in exhibitions and loving homes.


Carolyn Chung lives and writes in Toronto. Erika Dickinson is a fourth year English student at U of T. She is a writer, a dancer and a wannabe yogi. She enjoys cooking for her friends, wooden scarves and cinnamon raison bagels. You can find Erika’s work in the UC Review (Winter 2018) and in the Trinity Review (Spring 2019). Zach Da Costa writes prose and poems and hates every minute of it. He is a painter by day (houses, not pictures). He has has work published this year in Blaze Vox, Blood and Bourbon, HAG MAG, and other places. He lives in Toronto with his cat, Gin. Dallas Fellini is a writer, arts facilitator, and artist working interdisciplinarily in Tkaronto/Toronto. Their research and writing as of late centers on topics such as anonymity, graffiti, popular culture, queer identities, and dance. In his early 20s, Joel Robert Ferguson had the words “BOOK PUNK’”tattooed on his knuckles, a decision he still stands by. His poetry has appeared in filling Station, The Columbia Review, Grain, Prairie Fire, The Capilano Review, and other publications. Originally from the Nova Scotian village of Bible Hill (seriously), he now divides his time between Winnipeg and Montreal, where he is pursuing a Masters in English Literature at Concordia University. Matthew James Friday has had many poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Blue Nib (Ireland), The Ear (USA), Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal (USA). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA). Margaryta Golovchenko is a settler-immigrant, poet, critic, and academic based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and a book reviewer for The Town Crier and Anomaly. An alumnus of the University of Toronto, she is currently completing her MA in art history and curatorial studies at York University. Sven Goslinski is a cartoonist and visual artist, living and working in Toronto, and leaning on God in everything. His work can be found at svencomics.ca and on Instagram and Twitter @sgoslinski. He is taller in person. Lainh Hrafn is a disabled non-binary multimedia artist located in the Forest City.A life-long fascination with how cultures across time accumulate & collate information led them to focus on the relationships between power structures and their influence over data-hoarding. Presently, Lainh examines how knowledge is “rediscovered” when parsing through archives/private collections, how that information is redistributed into the public sphere, what happens to that knowledge when it is left to decay (either through neglect or by deliberate

means), and the ramifications these acts have on society.Under the moniker “dolmantle” we see an exodus from their traditional paper-based medium into live ambient performances using speculative fiction, derelict journals, memory fragments, and a self-made/sourced Foley library; weaving these into otherworldly soundscapes. Nila Inalouei was born in Tehran, Iran. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University in 2015. She is now based in Toronto and is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts at York University. Inalouei works with drawing, painting and sculpture as a mean to examine the notions of cultural hybridization, liminality, and diasporic existence in relation to the contemporary socio-cultural and political codes within the west and the East. She has exhibited in several exhibitions across Canada including Our Gallery in Toronto, Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts in Ottawa, Untapped Artist Project in Toronto and was part of Timeraiser exhibition at Power Plant Contemporary amongst others. Frances Koziar has publications in 25 literary magazines, and is seeking an agent for a diverse NA/YA fantasy novel. One of her poems shortlisted for the 2019 Molotov Cocktail Shadow Award Contest, and her poetry has appeared in Snapdragon, Dodging the Rain, and Roanoke Review. She is a young retired (disabled) academic and a social justice advocate, and she lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.. Amy LeBlanc is an MA student in English Literature and creative writing at the University of Calgary and non-fiction editor at filling Station magazine. She is the author of two chapbooks, most recently “Ladybird, Ladybird” published with Anstruther Press (August 2018). Amy’s debut poetry collection, I know something you don’t know, is forthcoming with Gordon Hill Press in Spring 2020. Her short story collection “Homebodies” will be published by Pedlar Press in 2021. Her novella “Unlocking” will be published by the UCalgary Press in their Brave and Brilliant Series in 2022. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Room, PRISM International, and the Literary Review of Canada among others. Grace Ma is a third-year student at The University of Toronto pursuing a double major in English and Environmental Science. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Review, and would do a lot for sun and wool socks. Bruce Meyer (VIC 8T0) is a former editor of Acta (1978 Centennial Issue), and author or editor of 64 books of poetry, short fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, and literary journalism. He was the 2019 winner of the Anton Chekhov Prize for Fiction, the 2019 Freefall Prize for Poetry, the 2018 Woolf Poetry Prize (SWI), and a finalist for the Carter V. Cooper Prize, the Tom Gallon Trust Fiction Prize (UK), and the Bath Short Story Prize (UK). He teaches at Victoria College and lives in Barrie, Ontario

Madhav Mukundan is a third year Linguistics and Film major from San Francisco, California. In his free time, he enjoys making films and screenwriting. Jade Riordan is a poet from northern Canada, a student at the University of Ottawa, and a volunteer selection committee member (poetry reader) with Bywords. Her poetry has appeared in CV2, The Dalhousie Review, L’Éphémère Review, The Malahat Review, The Maynard, NōD, Room, and elsewhere. Trevor John Robertson ‘s poetry has been published in Grain, CV2, Prairie Fire, Vallum, and Poiesis. He is interested in the role of language in phenomenological accounts of the world. He lives in Korea. Stan Rogal lives and writes in Toronto. Work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US and Europe, including: Rampike, NoD, filling station, Arc, The Fiddlehead, Exquisite Corpse... The author of 25 books: 6 novels (most recent, “Investigation into the Death of Roberto Bolaño,” 2019), 7 story and 12 poetry. A produced playwright. Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal, Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania. Anni Wilson is a print-maker working in linoleum, in a style which might becalled “allegorical satire.” Her work is set in the universe of theIndustrial Revolution, a period whose themes resonate with those ofour own: class divides, gender inequalities, capitalistic greed, thealienating effects of technology. Recent work has appeared inellipsis, Folio, Gigantic Sequins, and on the covers of EmersonReview, Iconoclast, and Portland Review. Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, editor, and designer and instructor of social art courses. Her poetry collection, SWOON, is forthcoming with Guernica Editions in 2020. Emily Zou is a multidisciplinary artist based in the Greater Toronto Area. She is currently in her final year at OCAD University to complete her BFA in Drawing and Painting. Her work is diverse in theme and style, but is often surreal as she enjoys creating spaces that exist more so in the mind than in physical reality. Many of her art pieces play with the symbolism of dark and light, taking much inspiration from her interior experiences. People have described her work as intimate, mythical, spiritual, thoughtful, detailed, surreal, melancholic, and dream-like. Emily primarily uses drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and digital processes.

Acta Victoriana, volume 144, issue 1. This edition consists of 200 numbered copies printed at Coach House Press in January 2020. It was designed by Jay Bawar and published with funding from the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council. Type is set in Cormorant Garamond and Asul.

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Volume 144 Issue 1

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