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Magazine of the Writers’ Guild of Alber ta

West Word

Volume 35 Number 3 May June

2015

“The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is a community of writers that exists to inspire,

The

Strong Noble Poet

connect, support, encourage and promote writers and writing; to safeguard the freedom to write and to read; and to advocate for the well-being of writers.”


The Writers’ Guild of Alberta

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Features Volume 35, Number 3 May - June 2015 ISSN: 0821-4203 © Writers’ Guild of Alberta, 2015 WGA Membership Rates: $70/year; $40/seniors and low income; free to post-secondary students until graduation. Membership is open to all writers resident or formerly resident in Alberta.

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WGA Executive President: Peter Midgley Vice President: Barb Howard Treasurer: Kimberley Champigny Secretary: Anne Logan Members at Large: Leslie Chivers Terry Cho Fran Kimmel Rena Traxel-Boudreau Barbori Striebl (Youth Rep) WGA Staff Executive Director: Carol Holmes and Audrey Seehagen Program Coordinator: Natalie Cook Program Coordinator: Julie Robinson Program Manager, Southern Alberta Office: Samantha Warwick Communications and Partnerships Coordinator: Ellen Kartz Member Services Coordinator: Giorgia Severini WGA Contractors WestWord Editor: Nora Abercrombie WordsWorth Director: Colin Matty WGA WestWord Layout & Design: Erin Marie Dewar, Backstreet Communications Printing: McCallum Printing Group Inc. Please notify the WGA office immediately of any address change. Writers’ Guild of Alberta Percy Page Centre, 11759 Groat Road Edmonton, AB T5M 3K6 Ph: (780) 422-8174, Fax: (780) 422-2663 Toll-free: 1-800-665-5354 E-mail: mail@writersguild.ab.ca Website: www.writersguild.ca Southern Alberta Office: 505 - 21 Avenue, SW, Calgary, AB, T2S 0G9 Ph: (403) 265-2226 E-mail: samantha.warwick@writersguild.ab.ca Submission queries can be sent to: ellen.kartz@writersguild.ab.ca We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts; the Edmonton Arts Council; Calgary Arts Development.

The WGA

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Editor's Note ED's Note Note from the Board

The Life 5 Weighty Poet Charles Noble Lost to Translation

The Business

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The Art of Begetting: The Literary Marketing Manoeuvre that Has People Talking Everyone is (NOT) a Critic: The Art of Writing Reviews Will They or Won’t They? Writing Sex in Crime Fiction

The Community

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Member News Calendar of Events New Members WGA Events

The Business Markets Contests and Competitions

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March – April 2015

Editor's Note It’s a simple fact that Alberta’s economy is in the hole and unlikely to recover any time soon. A lot of people have gone into an insane amount of debt to buy a house at cheap interest rates, which has inflated home prices into a scary bubble. Meanwhile, the price of oil has tanked, and the US has so much in reserve that further exploration will be unnecessary for many years: maybe until the world has so much sustainable energy capacity that the remaining oil will stay in the ground. So, it looks like the party’s over for us, but it’s not the end of the world. To me, it feels like cleaning up after a fourdecade party. It’s a process of remembering how much fun we had, sorting out the mess and deciding how we’re going to go back to normal life.

(Normal life. What is that? We have been living in a world fuelled by oil and hubris for so long that it’s hard to imagine.) The good news is that there is a role for us in all this. Writers know what it’s like to be hit with unwelcome change. We had our share of fun at the party, through public funding of writing projects and publishers, but we have already been hit hard by disappearing periodicals and copyright violations: a lot of us were early victims of the new world order. A lot of us have made pretty big changes in our lives, and we’re still around to tell the tale. We can remind people that there is nothing particularly enjoyable or comforting about the decades of naivete and self-congratulation that have brought us to this point. Writers like us have a responsibility to help people face the fact that we’ve made some mistakes, ones that sowed the seeds for the crony capitalism and environmental disaster we now have to grapple with. We can also remind people that economic contraction doesn’t have to spell the end of civilization as we know it. We need to spark and lead public discussion about the most humane and civilized way to shrink our economies and lifestyles. In other words, you’re still going to have a job. Whether you’re going to get paid for it is a different question… but you’ve got a job! With that happy thought planted, I hope you enjoy your spring (and plant a garden, as well – you might need it). Nora Abercrombie

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have been reading a lot about end-of-oil and economic recession, and it can be summed up in a single word: contraction. Our economy is shrinking. Our income is going to shrink, too. So, correspondingly, will our expectations.

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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta

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ED's Note Hello,

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hope you’re enjoying the warmer sun and extended evening light that is May in Alberta. Welcome to this edition of WestWord.

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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta has had a busy springtime. I’m pleased to report that our Drink the Wild Air Photo Credit: youth writing camp at Kamp Kiwanis Angela Seehagen in March was a great success. Colin Matty, WordsWorth Director, and his team provided an exciting program and received enthusiastic reviews from all campers. Preparations are underway for the coming three weeks of WordsWorth in July. For information, check out the Youth section on writersguild.ca. Peter Midgley and I attended a meeting with Honourable Minister Kubinec to discuss the probability of budget cuts to Alberta Arts and Culture in the provincial budget. The Alberta Partnership for Arts Coalition wrote a letter in response that was shared with members in WriteClick on March 20, 2015. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts budget was decreased by 5 per cent, but as there was a new operations grant structure and process for submissions 2015-2018 this year there is no way to know whether our revenue will be affected by the cut. The shortlist for the Alberta Literary Awards was announced on April 10, 2015. The awards recognize and celebrate the literary excellence of Alberta authors. Awards jurors deliberated over more than 150 submissions to select 24 finalists. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on Saturday, May 23, 2015. The WGA Mentorship Program for 2015 is coming to a close and readings will be held in Calgary at Loft 112 on May 9, 2015. Monthly events in Calgary and Edmonton continue to bring learning and networking opportunities, so if you’ve not been out for a while, it’s a great way to participate in the community. Preparations continue for the Words in 3 Dimensions: Intersections conference that we’ll offer in conjunction with Get Publishing Communications Society and the Editors Association of Canada, Prairie Provinces Branch on May 22 – 24, 2015, at the landmark Chateau Lacombe Hotel in Edmonton. Pre-conference workshops are offered Friday afternoon, and Friday evening begins with a welcome party and keynote by Andrew Pyper, acclaimed Canadian author of the psychological thriller, The Damned.

Saturday is a full and exciting day with keynote Douglas Gibson, streams of panel discussions focusing on hot topics in writing, editing and publishing. The Writers’ Guild of Alberta Annual General Meeting will be held in Salon B, in conjunction with lunch, from 12:30 – 2 pm. Notice will arrive in advance of the meeting. Kim Champigny from Red Deer has been our Treasurer for the past four years and leaves us this May. The WGA board is looking for a new treasurer: if you are interested in discussing what the position duties are, please call or contact carol.holmes@writersguild.ca. As well, we have two other Member-at-Large positions. Look to WriteClick for more information on the application process. Words in 3 Dimensions afternoon panels conclude at 5:15, and then it’s time to prepare for the Black and White and Read All Over themed Alberta Literary Awards Gala that will be held in the Chateau Lacombe grand ballroom (on the main floor.) This is expected to be an elegant and exciting evening with cocktails starting at 6:15 pm. I hope to see you there! Sunday begins with a breakout session, then keynote speaker, Cory Beatty, will take us into lunch and networking. Blue Pencil Cafés begin; where you’ll spend 20 minutes with an experienced writer/editor/publisher to work on a short piece of your work. Also happening: the Pitch Camp, is a tremendous opportunity to present your project to a representative of a newspaper, magazine or publishing house. Both Blue Pencil and Pitch Camp require pre-registration and limited spots are available. Marketplace and Silent Auction will run the length of the conference. Julie Robinson, Program Coordinator, in conjunction with the Parkland Regional Library, presented at the Regional Libraries Conference in Jasper (May) on the Read Alberta Books library display project where shortlisted authors from the previous year were displayed at four main regional libraries and then moved through their smaller branches on rotation. In closing, I’m away now, back to my writing life, as Carol Holmes has returned to her post as Executive Director of the busy Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Thanks to the staff, Board, contractors, and members who have made my time as Executive Director a rewarding one. Keep on writing. Audrey Seehagen


March – April 2015

Note From the Board The minister spoke about being from farming stock and how, in hard times, her family had to have “needs” Christmases rather than “wants” Christmases. These moments of suffering, she informed us, had made her family stronger. This would be a “needs” budget in a time of financial austerity and there were going to be cuts. The minister was careful to spell out to those of us present that, just as the lean Christmases had benefited her children in the long run, these upcoming cuts would make arts organizations stronger and more sustainable in the long term. Take one for the team, was the essence of her message. We are going to share the pain across the board. Except, when the budget was announced, it was clear that the pain had not been shared equally. Culture and Tourism took a 2.18 per cent cut overall ($320 million to $313 million); the cut to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts—the main funding source for the WGA—was 5 per cent ($28 million to $26.6 million). How often do we need to take one for the team before we yell abuse? The arts in Alberta have not yet recovered from the 16 per cent cut in 2010. Our current funding levels have not even returned to pre-2010 levels and here we are facing the abyss of a further five per cent. Add inflation, and the cumulative effect of these cuts over a sustained period leaves the arts gasping. The philosophy behind the government’s sustainable arts policy (the minister’s phrase, not mine) is that, over the next five years, arts organizations should be weaned of their reliance on government funding and become more self-sufficient. Arts organizations like the WGA will be expected to rely on “self-funding” to cover increased capital expenditure costs. In other words, fundraise and rely on charity donations. If this were the case, I suggested, the government might consider some incentives to

encourage people to support the arts. And so, to help us with this transition, the government cut the charitable tax credit from 21 per cent to 12.5 per cent. We were assured at the meeting with the minister that our government values the arts as an integral part of our society. I want to believe that, but evidence suggests otherwise. To underscore her commitment to the arts, the minister drew a parallel between her own love of the arts and that of Abraham Lincoln, who found a release in attending the theatre. The minister may be onto something in turning to the past experience of our southern neighbours for an analogy. However, I would suggest that rather than look to Lincoln’s fatal attraction to the arts, our government turn instead to someone who tried a more hands-on approach in a time of prolonged austerity. During the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt invested heavily in artists: the Federal Writers’ Project and the Federal Theater Project supported artists across the political spectrum—from Ayn Rand’s play, Night of January 16th, to John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Another significant outcome of Federal Writers’ Project was the Slave Narrative Collection, one of the largest and most important oral collections in the world. FDR’s heavy investment in the arts in a time of austerity laid the foundation for almost a century’s worth of world-class literature and documented a past that would otherwise have been forgotten. That is how to deal with the arts in times of austerity. The minister ended with a gentle request: The most valuable thing we could do to help her fight our case among her colleagues, she said, was not to make a lot of noise about the cuts. Go quietly into the night and wait for the sunrise. Well, we’ve had several sunrises over the past decade, but no happy Christmases for the arts. Projections for the next five years predict gloomy weather ahead and I suspect that seeing the sun through the cloud cover is not likely. The minister wants to buy our silence with empty of promises of happier Christmases. I think not. I do not plan to roll over. I will need to be pushed. And if the minister thinks I will fall silently, she is mistaken. Peter Midgley President

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n March 3, the Minister of Culture and Tourism invited a number of arts organizations to meet with her ahead of the budget announcement. The minister gave a short introduction, after which each of the organizations had a chance to respond.

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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta The Writers’ Guild of Alberta

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BY STEVEN ROSS SMITH

The Life

Weighty Poet

Charles Noble

C

harles Noble hefts a lot of weight: he tosses poetic and philosophic words, works with huge farm machinery and hoists the heaviest stuff in the gym. You might guess by the clues that Charles is a poet, a farmer and a weightlifter. He divides his time between Nobleford and Banff, with residences in each. For many years, he’s been seeding or harvesting with his brother and clan on their large family farm north of Nobleford, which is north of Lethbridge; in between, in winter and summer, he lives in a cabin in Banff. In both places—in the gym in his village home or in weight rooms in Banff—he is attentive to his life-long practice of pressing metal upwards and outwards. At 69, he can out-lift most of the young bucks sweating and grunting beside him. He tells me that just a few years ago, before complications from bone spurs in his elbow, he could bench press 350 pounds. And recently he leg pressed deep multiple reps of 990 pounds. I sat down with Charles at his office in Banff—a bar stool at the Saltlik Steakhouse— where he makes a regular nightly appearance, about 7:00 p.m. and sits and for a couple of hours sipping just two glasses of red wine, and reading and writing. The staff reserves this spot for him and there is even a small sign to that effect—Reserved for Charles—that sits on the counter until he arrives. On any given night there, he might be reading Marx, Hegel, Zizek or some other deep thinker. Occasionally, he glances up at the big screen to check the latest hockey game, especially if the Oilers are playing. He’ll often stop reading to jot a thought or some verse in the stenographer’s pad he brings along with his two or three fat books. This wintry night when I arrive, Charles is already there, glasses sitting studiously low on his nose as he reads philosophy from a chunky tome. The Saltlik is packed and the roar of conversations competes with the loud piped-in music.

Charles and I huddle in his office—a small section of bar between a pillar and the wall near a door. Despite our proximity to the door that keeps opening to let in customers and cold air, Charles sports a short-sleeve t-shirt that reveals his notable biceps. He is fair-haired with a pale complexion; a shy smile peeks through at moments. Charles Noble has published 11 poetry books. We had lots to talk about and covered considerable ground in two hours. Here’s a condensed version of our conversation.


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Steven Ross Smith:

SRS: What do you mean by “governors”?

You’ve been publishing poetry since 1972. What got you started writing?

CN: Governors are what the phenomena are symptoms of, or, say, rooted in. I try to find and dramatize what’s behind what people say and do. But this does not apply to all my poems.

I was writing letters to girlfriends, two, serially speaking, in high school—letters, not formal poems, but I was starting to play with language. Trying to impress them. Then when I went to university [of Alberta] to study physics, I started writing poems instead of going to my physics class. I was published in a little literary magazine that was an insert in the university paper. I met John O. Thompson there. He was quite influential and inspirational. He was in one of my aesthetics classes and even though the prof was very interesting, 18-year-old Thompson was more interesting—thick glasses, a little suit, a tie, while the rest of us were shaggy, long haired and bearded. But this guy, once he started talking to you, he was cooler than anybody. [Note: The Catch Club, J. O. Thompson, Ekstasis Editions, 2009.]

SRS: You open Sally O with a quote from the French philosopher Alain Badiou, which refers to “disciplined invention and uncertain wandering.” Is that a good definition for your work, your approach to poetry?

SRS: In 2009, your 11th book, Sally O, was published and it was selected poems from your previous books. Did you do the selection and did that experience of reviewing and selecting give you a view of an evolving aesthetic?

CN: Well I was thinking of sally-forth, tally-ho, and I have the headless mannequins in the O [the image on the cover], but I don’t want to spell out the ideas. I’d like to leave it indeterminate.

CN: Yes, I did the selection. My last poems in that book were haikus, but they were contradictory haikus. They were consistent with my earlier poems—which, according to Pound’s maybe-overly-schematic concept— are logopoeiac. Pound identifies three kinds of poetry: melopoeiac, phanopoeiac, logopoeiac. Melo is sound, phano is image, and logo is knowing or knowledge. Logopoeia is the riskiest. It’s related to philosophy, but if you get too logopoeiac, you might as well slide right over into philosophy. My poems are not philosophy, though I do read a lot of philosophy.

SRS: Your work is full of puns, sly and obvious. Are puns essential to your poetic thinking and compositional mode?

The logopoeiac tends to go for the deep insight, the deep underlying whatever. I like to find hidden governors in ordinary phenomena; by phenomena I mean the things people say and do, and that includes me—I’m my own phenom! I do do double takes on my own unwitting remarks and idiotic behaviour and make something of it. Philosophy comes in the back door sometimes and it helps in solving problems in a particular poem. It becomes part of a constellation by which I navigate but doesn’t appear as such in the poem.

CN: Yeah. I often say that my aesthetic is digression upon digression and recapitulation—risking getting lost, in fact enjoying being lost, and then recapitulation in order to find out how I got there. I frustrate my relatives in conversation because they can’t remember what I’m talking about and often I forget, too. But when I’m writing a poem I have lots of time to think, to figure out where the hell I am. SRS: Who is Sally O?

CN: It can be just fun, playful, you know, the ludic. The ludic was used a lot in the heyday of postmodernism—you know, the play of words. Puns are very useful to condense, to bring two things together. They can be digressive. I use puns in some of the writing in Doubts Boots where I was deliberately sifting through the garbage in my mind. There are lots of throwaway puns, not terribly significant— garbage in the best sense. McLuhan said that all true poets are interested in garbage. SRS: Your puns are often deeply buried. CN: Yes, in my new manuscript there are lots of really subtle ones. It’s fun to make puns, you get a little frisson and they’re funny; but a book is going to be around for a while, so … but Shakespeare was full of puns; and the Greeks used five-level puns, very integral ones. I think linguists call it equivocation—it goes to the etymology of a word, the way it can split off into various meanings.

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Charles Noble:


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SRS: As you’ve said, you read a lot of philosophy and theory. How does that inform your work?

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CN: It works in the background—it turns and tunes my mind to underlying operators in surface phenomena. The levers don’t come into the poem but inform, or are integral to the perception. I then think of the critic Jerome McGann—a big apologist for language poetry, but also a Byron scholar—he was talking about the bibliographic potential for poetry, where you cite writers, philosophers, historical tags in a poem. I’m interested in that and I do it sometimes. It’s almost like an honesty. If you’ve been reading Marx, Hegel, and that’s in the background of what you’re doing, it’s more honest to cite Marx or Hegel. But you don’t just give the poem over to, say, Marxian doctrine. So, in lots of poems I cite, in a bibliographic way, bits of various writers. I find that introduces something different, chemically, as a poem is developing. To throw something like that in can have quite an effect—an historical anchoring, and of course even making political points. SRS: Who are your poetic heroes? CN: I’m not sure if I like the word ‘heroes,’ though I’ve had too many influences to mention. I find I’m sometimes quoting Yeats or Elliot or other modernist poets, or modernist novelists. And of course Kroetsch— I’ve enjoyed his poetry. It sometimes comes up that Jon Whyte was an influence on me, and he was, as a person, as a thinker, and as a poet, but he was not an influence directly—in fact, I think that what he was doing and what I am doing are quite different. SRS: How did your friendship with Jon Whyte come about? CN: At Edmonton in the University of Alberta, Jon was an editor of a literary magazine. I didn’t know him, but I saw him a few times. It was like Myrna Kostash said—that he was the first beatnik she’d ever met. It was the way he talked, and the way he walked. He used his hips when he walked. And he had this girlfriend with a beatnik sweater and long blonde hair. In about 1971 I came to Banff skiing, and I met Bruce Ferguson, who was a curator at the Whyte Museum. Bruce introduced me to him. Jon was quite interested that I knew John O. Thompson because he knew John O. very well too, and was an admirer. A few months later, Bruce visited me in Nobleford and suggested that I move to Banff, and so I came up and dug Peter Steiner’s basement on the side of Tunnel Mountain on Deer Street.

Peter had the Book & Art Den and the Grizzly House. There were a lot of readings at the Grizzly House—it was much different then, a different décor, with pizzas, and as there was no liquor licence, so I would smuggle beer in, in a bag. Jon used to do readings and there were a lot of folk singers; Jon also managed the Book & Art Den. In no time, after I’d arrived to live in Banff, Jon suggested that we publish a book together with John Thompson— so we’d go up to Thompson’s place in Millet and we eventually published the three of us. SRS: What prompted your more permanent move to Banff? CN: When I first moved here my mother and father were both alive and I wanted a little more freedom, rather than living in my parents’ home. Even though I liked Edmonton, I didn’t really want to live in a big city and I didn’t want to live in a little village [Nobleford]. Banff was ideal; it was a nice size and I would run into these interesting artists and poets. Over the years I’ve lived in a basement suite, and on Bow Avenue, and on Grizzly Street, in the Bison Courtyard, and now in a little cabin off Buffalo Street. I like this one best of all. So now, I have two residences and I like the idea of going back and forth. I like the big [Nobleford] house with its seven-thousand-plus books, and my den, that lazy boy, and a nice lamp. SRS: Your book Haywire Rainbow is indeed haywire. The poems seem surrealistic. Was that touch what you were after? CN: That’s an interesting book because it was often characterized as zany, surreal, as you say. In 1976, Press Porcépic had been inundated with about 150 manuscripts and they wondered what to do and they decided to publish a comic book of Superpoets. They chose my poems, and they were in fact the centrepiece of the comic, which included 14 poets … superpoets, you know, they had a comic book image of a poet with the cape and logo on the chest. The thing behind that is that I had spent a month, which is a pittance, every day, most of the day, reading Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I had to stop when it became time to go back home [Nobleford] for spring seeding. And then all of a sudden, while I was seeding—this goes back to how the reading tunes and turns—I was seeing all the farming operations as being affected by this reading of Kant’s structuralism, his ironic ‘Copernican’ subjectivity. I became overwhelmed by all these little understandings,


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SRS: In “Phantom of the Operation,” at the end you say “Well there’s just me / and m’brother. Pop teetered into the well…” CN: That’s not putting down my father or sending up the family poem. It might refer to my grandfather. Partly it’s a direct example of the logopoeiac idea of a hidden operator in the background and the difference between an underlying perspective and the pressure of the foreground. Not that there is an actual somebody pulling on the levers, like conspiracy theory. In the poem, the phantom authority is opposed by just me and my brother. So there isn’t a patriarchal, or god-like governor controlling it all, just us scatter-brains—who gather. [Charles smiles at this self-allusion to his 1984 book, Afternoon Starlight.]

these epiphanies. So, I began jotting in a notebook while driving the tractor. Finally, when seeding was over for the summer, I made poems from those notes. The only way you could dramatize Kantian operators behind those situations was for it to come out as zany or surreal or bizarre. So, it’s kind of ironic that this surreal aspect comes from a super-rational philosopher—a weird justice, nevertheless. In The Raw and the Cooked, Levi-Strauss analyzes “crazy” as “Kantianism without the transcendental ego.” Then in 1978, the book, Haywire Rainbow, came out with my ‘superpoet’ poems in it. SRS: While taking all those notes while seeding you must have been cutting some pretty wiggly rows. CN: Yes, there were a few times I had to correct the steering. SRS: In Haywire Rainbow you have a few poems sort of about your family, but they seem like tall stories, rewriting family reality. I’m thinking of two poems—“Stuck Up” and “Phantom of the Operation”—clever titles, by the way. Are you making fun of the conventional family poem? CN: The family poem? No, I don’t think so. No, I wasn’t sending up or making fun of the family poem, whatever the family poem is.

CN: No, no. You see, my grandfather—my namesake, Charles Noble—my father’s father, was a very dominating figure. Everybody called him The Chief. Even my father called him The Chief. He was a tall guy, six foot two or so. Humble background, on his own at nine years old, and a really rags-to-riches guy. At one point he had the biggest farm in the British Empire. My father was his right hand man, and was the only one who could stand up to him, because my grandfather would just get on the telephone and start playing the grain market in Chicago and everyone thought, “Oh no. What’s he doing, betting the farm?” He was a great salesman, my grandfather. He was a hard worker, very insightful. He invented the cultivator. I remember cars parked all the way up from the village with my grandfather standing on the cultivator talking about farming and his invention. Once, he was on his own in North Dakota on a farm and was digging a well. He fell down the well and broke his leg so the bone was sticking out of his pants. But somehow he was able to pull himself out of the well and he recuperated in a shed while reading the encyclopaedia. My other grandfather, Andrew Smeaton, a fiery Scot, was a Labour MLA for nine years up until the ’35 Social Credit landslide; and he was a delegate at the founding of the CCF. SRS: Wow, your roots are deeply embedded in the rural west. In Afternoon Starlight you have some great farming poems, including “Big Ears in the Fields Say the Railroad Is Coming Through Till the Trains Flatten Them,” or “The Devil’s CN.” You seem to be honouring life on the farm from many perspectives, and saying something about trains. Can you speak about this?

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SRS: And your father didn’t teeter into the well?


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CN: Originally, I was thinking that the ‘railroadconstituted’ nation has erased its own origin—many implications here—the track has covered its tracks! But recently I was thinking of Hunter Harrison, the head of CP—not CN—playing with my initials, too. Harrison represented the hedge fund that took over CP rail. In 2013, he sent a train over a Calgary bridge during that flood and the bridge tilted and the train got stuck, and he said, “Well, we tested that bridge six to eight weeks before, but we weren’t going to send a diver down in that turbulent water. Commerce had to go through.” But commerce should not have gone through. Nobody else was allowed to do anything in that flooded area. Harrison is representative of the ‘take’ (in two senses) of shareholder value. You don’t think about the employees, you don’t think about service, you don’t think about R&D, you just think about unlocking shareholder value. CP cut close to 5000 employees, took 11,000 cars off, took 400 locomotives off, and so the farmers in the west couldn’t move their grain. SRS: So the farmers were paying for that shareholder value. When did you start actively farming? CN: Since it was a big part of my heritage—I’d been doing field work from the age of 14—my brother and I became partners in a farming venture in 1981—big bank loans, a good parcel of land, and so on. Since then, I’ve spent half the year farming right up until this year. I wanted to recognize the daily activity of farming, draw on it, exploit it even in my writing. In the new manuscript I refer to author Angie Abdou wondering if I was a Marxist

Capitalist (ha-ha), because we farm for the export market. Once our product leaves the farm, it could be widgets, but morally and ethically we recognize that we produce food which is vital and needed, and there are worse products, unnecessary products, in this First-World economy— not that there aren’t issues still with exporting food. My brother is the key man. I wouldn’t be farming if it wasn’t for him. But I retired this year from spring work. I told my brother that I didn’t want to end my days regretting that I hadn’t spent my time doing more reading and writing. But I still do harvest. So, when I step out and look into farming’s daily operation, it’s a great index into world political economy. Marx said—and at first it seems outrageous—he was talking about farming and the family farm; he said that land has no value. You could take that in the sense of meaning ‘priceless’. But also in a strict sense, most farmers never cash in on the value of their land—they hand it down to the family, often to the sons, and the sons hand it down. So back to the farm—I’m a shareholder, I could tell my brother I want to sell the farm to get my value, but I’d never do that. That’s why Marx said the land has no value, because you don’t normally unlock its shareholder value, contrary to Mr. Harrison. And of course the antithetical Marxian unlocking would be to free up all the precursor worker cooperation in the capitalist system. SRS: bill bissett had a book in 1971 called Nobody Owns Th [sic] Earth. CN: Exactly. In fact I’ve cited him in my new work, and related it to First Nations attitude toward the earth. On the one hand I focus on day-to-day farming; on the other hand there’s the politico-economic sphere. SRS: Do you have any idea where that situates you in the world of poetry today, aesthetically? CN: My friend Thompson said, “There’s not poetry, there’s poetries.” I’m open to conservative poets and experimental poets. It’s a huge bin of both. I guess I’m in a grey area. If you personify, or dogify, language as, say a very smart dog; a smart dog likes a job. So, I sometimes think that my approach is that; I like to give language a job. But that doesn’t exclude playfulness. It’s part of the job. In a way, I have more respect for experimentalists because of their daring and thinking about art, the history of art; but some of the other more conservative poets think about the history too, daring to keep within it. I don’t want to play them against each other. Or maybe I do.


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CN: That was a real departure. It’s very accessible. It’s funny, every section. I had this idea of a kind of arc to it. The middle section is up on Tunnel Mountain—it plays with mountains, ideas of waves, white caps, a kind of reflexivity, but each section has a kind of punch line, or white cap, too. SRS: I think this makes you and Jon Whyte the poets laureate of Banff. You two are key in bringing Banff to the page. CN: Well, there are other poets writing in and about Banff. But certainly in Banff/Breaking and other poems and my new work there are lots of references to Banff. But it’s not a back-country, mountain climber kind of poetry. And Jon was doing different things than me. He was also very experimental and not all his work can be tied to Banff. But I do have a lot of Banff content. SRS: Your wordplay hits a real peak, through dense complexity in Let’s Hear It for Them. Puns, words broken to display multiple meanings, words bent into other words, jokes and so on? It’s satirical and playful. Were you just having fun? CN: No, not just having fun. You see, I’ll read something very dry like Marx’s Volume Two of Capital; it defeats most people because it’s so dry. But reading it every morning for a few hours is fun. It’s a weird Zen thing. It’s very dry and yet it’s very satisfying. What is fun for me would not be fun for other people. If there’s a pleasure centre of the brain it can be activated by a lot of things. I’m not just having fun, there’s issues I’m addressing. But also, I’m not writing sociology, it’s not political science, it’s not political economy, it’s poetry. It’s poetry as these concerns unnerve the coordinates into ecstatic fun. Jon Whyte used to say, “Poetry should be fun.” And I’d get tired of him saying that. But then his long Henry Kelsey poem is hardly just fun. In the Grizzly House he used to startle us as he began, à la Hamlet’s father’s ghost, to intone loudly, “U-N-G-A-V-A,” the Inuit word (toward the open water) he would translate as “beyond.” So fun in the beyond. SRS: It’s serious fun. CN: Yeah. SRS: Wormwood, Vermouth, Warphistory is a prose poem, a rambling and digressive one. Was your interest here in form or in a particular narrative, touching on some of your philosophical readings and gods?

CN: I like lateral associative shifts and that’s what I was doing in those. Whatever was around. Things I’d read, things that were happening, things I was thinking about. I’d just jam them into the poems and keep making shifts associatively. I had a lot of fun writing those. I think I included everything, for example, Charles Sanders Peirce, the guy who invented semiotics. He was remarkable. It’s been said that he was the most profound mind that America has ever produced. Heidegger was reading him in his last days. Peirce had a hard life. He was down and out in New York where he wrote some very interesting poems, playing with words. In one of my Wormwood poems I quote Heidegger: “We don’t use language, language uses us.” There’s a huge truth in this now-clichéd statement, but in a very commonsensical way we do use language. And, also some say you can’t think without language; but Peirce would say that you can think without language, but you can’t think without signs, but his idea of the sign was so rich you are hardly left in a void. But back to conversation—Hannah Arendt says that thinking is just the conversation you have with yourself— reflexive language with a gut full of signs, where “gut” shades into “grand unified theory”—eh? SRS: In Death Drive through Gaia Paris you’ve reduced your line to single words. What’s up there? CN: It’s a complex Lacanian concept—death drive—say the endless circling of the hidden, untouchable, in plain sight—but the short poems are derived from a strictly external constraint that dictated how I was writing then. Here in the Saltlik I didn’t think I could concentrate enough to write long poems and I didn’t want to bring my laptop and I didn’t want to worry about continuity, so I used steno pads and thought I could write logopoeiac haiku. Each one is discrete so I didn’t have to worry about how they connected up. I could concentrate, in 17 syllables—witty, but with a serious sense of wit. SRS: And not written in the usual three lines of haiku. CN: No. And that’s where puns were useful—haiku are short and puns are economical, so there are a lot of puns in there. I’ve since found out I can write long pieces here at the Saltlik. I take notes here on the steno pad and write the rough poems, then I rework them at home in the morning.

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SRS: You get local, but not too ‘conservative’ in the poems in Banff/Breaking. I like the local references.


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SRS: The poems in your most recent book, The Kindness Colder Than the Elements, seem difficult to me. Leaping around in thought and mostly without so much of your word play. You open section one with two quotes—from Hegel and Fredric Jameson—about syllogisms. But I don’t follow your implementation? Can you help me? CN: My poems in Kindness—“kindness” both as sympathy and as category—take liberties with the syllogism, employing a lot of playful “therefores”—I would say even parodying it/them, but remembering that parody has huge respect for what it parodies. I think my parodies are probably a clichéd idea of the syllogism, somewhere between Hegel’s and the “mummified” one. Ideally, I think I was thinking that Hegel’s syllogism was probably good enough for poetry. I say this, being humbly smartass. I think too of [Charles] Olson again—form as an extension of content. Hegel plays with form and content, so that the syllogism’s elements are micro-dialectical, alive. SRS: So, you’re contrasting the formal against the more playful associative form in poetry. CN: Yes, taking things apart, putting them back together, and the play of content—you go from one level of form to content and then you reach a new form and then you break that down to content again, then more form— endless. It’s almost like physics—you split one particle and then you get to another, atom, nucleus, electron, quark, and so on—you realize that materiality completely disappears, relative to our apprehensions at the molar level. But the molar level persists and so does history and its contradictions—to move on from that misleading spatialphysics metaphor. I start off conversationally, which right away means that there’s two—there’s a dialogue, and that can relate to dialectic, opposing viewpoints. But since I’m the writer, the other conversationalist is a virtual other. A conversation can be banal, but things can erupt because there’s two of ‘you’. I start out with clichés and then can go all kinds of places. As soon as I say something, the ‘other’ person can twist or come back and say I’m getting it wrong. But I might be distorting or I might have a hidden agenda. Also, conversation can be bait for the research reading I do—letting it bite when it’s ready. And conversation includes the much maligned anecdote and ordinary observations, and the fish.

SRS: What’s next from your pen? CN: What I’m working on right now is a long manuscript, in eighth draft, called Mack the Naïf. That’s obviously from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weil’s ThreePennyOpera, which is a satire on capitalism. I like the idea of naïf. I want to assume an everyday/everyman position, no matter how much esoteric reading I do, because ultimately in the cosmological situation, or ontological situation, or economic situation, we are naïve. We have all kinds of inroads with research and reading and thinking, but the naïf is important. It is verse, not prose poem or haiku. I’m hoping to—the old Pound thing—“make it new.” I’m using an old approach, but boosted with the new thinking, new nutrients. SRS: Speaking of boosting, you’re a weight lifter; but you’re also a farmer as well as a poet. Can you elaborate on how those three endeavours fit together? CN: Well, farming is how I make my money since poetry hasn’t been lucrative. With weightlifting I’m staving off dementia so I can keep writing. Poetry is…I don’t like to be too precious about poetry, but it is serious; it’s my happiest activity. But I do worry about getting older, and that I should have been writing more, though I deliberately go on long dry spells. Elliot said a poet should write every day so he doesn’t get rusty. But I like getting rusty, even as I constantly read, think, and talk stupid. SRS: Well, you know what Neil Young says: “Rust never sleeps.” CN: John O. Thompson refers to fire as “rapid rust.” I like that. SRS: Well Charles, may you continue to burn. Cheers. With that, Charles and I clinked empty glasses, slipped from our stools, pulled on coats and gloves, ventured out into the chilly Banff night, and crossed the trafficless road. We shouted goodbyes as we went—a poetic particle splitting—in separate directions. *** Steven Ross Smith writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He has published twelve books and has appeared on several performance recordings. His new poetry book, Emanations: Fluttertongue 6, will be published this fall by BookThug. Smith has performed and/or published in England, Holland, Russia, Portugal, USA, and Canada.


March – April 2015

BY PAUL SONSTEBY

Lost to

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Translation

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respect anyone who tries to learn English. I really respect anyone who succeeds in getting anywhere with it. It’s like watching someone try to ride a stampeding elephant that’s hopped-up on caffeine: it’s simply amazing that a person can stay on for any amount of time. Canadians tend to be a little smug because, while most of us only speak a couple of languages at the absolute most, one of those is usually English. This gives us a leg up most anywhere we go. True, it’s not quite international, but, nine times out of ten, defaulting to English gets results.

I’ve seen a lot of the confusion English can cause, both while travelling and as an English-language teacher. One thing I’ve learned is that this elephantine tongue with its bendable rules and uncountable subtleties is ripe with hilarity. In Norway, I visited some relatives who were farmers like my own Saskatchewan family. Anyone under 50 was fluent in English but, with the older ones, I had to communicate using the universal gestures of farming: shaking a fist at the sky, opening an empty wallet and then shrugging. One of my cousins, perfectly competent in English, asked what my father, brothers, and I would do on our off-days.

Worried that this traditional Saskatchewan pastime might seem a little barbaric to the outsider— understandable, I guess—I tried to get logical.

I considered. “Fix machinery, check crops, shoot gophers…” I ticked them off on my fingers.

“But,” he said in bewilderment, sure that he was hearing me wrong, “you don’t actually shoot them? With guns?”

His eyes widened. Had he heard me wrong?

“Yes,” I said guiltily.

“Shoot?”

“When they’re walking along with their clubs?”

“They’re a nuisance, they damage the crops.” Then I contradicted my logic with an excuse: “We don’t kill that many.”

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But really, there’s so much to this linguistic pachyderm that those of us who have mastered it have only actually mastered about 75 per cent of it. Think about it. The word set, despite its diminutiveness, is one of the most complicated words in our language. Webster’s gives it 116 different possible uses. 116!


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GOPHER: The Canadian prairie dog. A small rodent native to North America which burrows in the earth. An unknown word to English-speaking Norwegians.

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GOLFER: A ridiculously-dressed doctor or lawyer on a day off who whacks a teeny white ball around several over-watered acres of manicured grass. I imagined my cousin’s mental image: four redneck Canadians, decked out in camouflage, hauling about in a half-ton truck, one-wood trophies tied across the hood, dozens of players scattering before them in a flurry of green and pink plaid, spikes churning up the turf as they dive to avoid whizzing .22 slugs. In Mexico, I was talking to a couple of friends— nationals—who were both quite comfortable using English, even given to showing off a bit. One was telling me a funny anecdote about how he was attacked by a couple of squirrels, resulting in a manic phobia of the animals. Our other companion, wanting to show his mastery of the colloquial English and playfully insult his friend at the same time, felt he could sum up the supposed attack by saying, “You’re nuts.” Neither understood why I suddenly doubled over in guffaws. In Sweden, I went out to a club with some of my Norwegian friends. Young men all, they were commenting on their favourite Swedish slang word for a beautiful Swedish girl. Basically it meant cool, good-looking, sexy. I never caught the spelling, but it sounded like “hefty” to me. “Tell her she’s hefty!” an encouraging Norwegian said, elbowing me in the ribs. “Really not a good idea,” I replied. Even once I’d been told what it meant, “Hey, you sure are hefty,” proved a pick-up line I never gave utterance. In Hong Kong, I frequented a night market just down the street from my hotel. I enjoyed buying knock-off Rolex watches and designer shirts for a few Canadian dollars each. Great souvenirs for the folks back home. I had as much fun bartering with the amicable standowners as actually doing any shopping. I’m sad to say, I got a little addicted.

On my last night there, one of the vendors recognized me and waved me over, hoping for more. “Hey, big suspenders, you come over here!” In Washington State, my cousin Baard, whose name sounds like “bored,” was a visiting student from Oslo. He spoke very good English and was an asset to their soccer team. He was quite unpopular with his teachers at first, until they realized that when they were asking him his name, he wasn’t commenting on the lack of entertainment value in their classes. In Taiwan, I learned the foul words later than one usually does when encountering a foreign tongue. Maybe I hadn’t done enough driving… In Mandarin, “gun” is their equivalent of the English F-word. “Bird” is pretty close to the pronunciation of the slang for penis. Yeah, you already see the potential problems. One of my first teaching jobs was in Kaohsiung with four- and five-year-olds who were very new to English. The resource book was basically a colouring book with


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Scene: White Canadian flapping his arms like a giant grounded pelican, saying, “Bird, bird. Y’know kids, a big bird!” Shocked delight, screams and laughter. “What was up with this language and the clowns who spoke it?” they must’ve been thinking. G was worse. They had a popgun on the page along with grapes, ghosts, goats. A popgun? Who designed this book? They could’ve at least had a picture of the teacher charging after golfers with a gun. That’s two possibilities! Regardless, the kids may have thought me flapping and talking about penises a little funny, but they were positively speechless when I started instructing them how to properly drop a G-bomb. In Italy, I chaperoned a school trip with some Canadian students. An Italian guide toured our bus through Rome, pointing out the highlights in her beautiful accent. Her English was superb, but she ended nearly every second word with a sing-songy and stereotypical: “ah.” Example: “Now-ah, you see-ah the beautiful Coliseum-ah. Known-ah all over the world-ah.” Her English was so perfect that a few of the kids on the trip thought perhaps this addition of an “ah” was just a proper way to talk to Italians. I was in charge of a polite group of boys, and although one of them was perhaps not worldly just yet, he certainly was interested in doing what he could to learn about Italy. Sometimes he assumed more than was correct, but kudos for trying. He had a moment and went up to our guide, politely and seriously inquiring, “So, do you get a lot of tourists from Canada-ah?” Like our country needs another A, eh? In Ireland, I found out that it’s even confusing when you throw in different English dialects. I was staying in a hostel in Dingle, and there was an advertisement about a party planned for the coming Saturday night.

Good friends, good music, good crack, it read. “Wow, they sure are liberal here in Europe,” I thought. I would later learn that crack can also be spelled craic and refers to a great, fun, clean time that in no way involves smokeable cocaine. But let’s not even get started on Celtic words that have found their way into English. Or whacky regional dialects. No, on second thought, let’s. In my own home, I once hosted a German student, here for a year of high school. He only had trouble with sarcasm and dialects. (He quizzed me an hour on why an expatriate Saskatchewanian like myself living in Alberta insisted on calling a hooded sweatshirt—or hoodie—a “bunny-hug.”) Unfortunately, he’d learned British English, and was unaware that we in Western Canada spoke a dialect as much American as British. Sadly, he spent his days with teenage boys, meaning that whenever the poor German boy found something a little strange and said, “Hmm, that’s queer,” they’d explode in a flurry of homophobic jokes that, frankly, have to make you a little embarrassed to be a Canuck. In Saskatchewan, my father accepted a Finnish student who worked on the farm for a summer. The kid spoke great English, but unfortunately, he worked with a fiftyyear-old Canadian farmer, and so he picked up a few habits a little surprising for someone his age. First, he used “Well” to start pretty much every sentence he spoke. He also grew over-fond of the F-word, and its myriad of uses. The worst habit he picked up from Dad was yelling. When my father said something to Hannes, and there was a foreign word—combine, swather, gopher—in the phrase, Hannes would say, “Pardon me?” Dad’s solution? Repeat the sentence, word for word, but slower and louder. Like that helped. I think Hannes ended up setting a lot of people on edge when his accent was too thick to understand, for he’d just gather himself up, yell the sentence again in their faces, and maybe end with a profanity for good measure.

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each page dedicated to a letter and pictures of objects that began with said letter. Easy, right? A is for apple, aardvark, and aunt. B? B is for bucket and bat and, well, bird, isn’t it?


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In my Strathmore classroom, South Korean students, like so many of the other students from Asia, sometimes confuse English’s long E sound with the short I sound.

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Joonho was one of the most gifted high school students I’ve ever had. Advanced Math and Science were nothing challenging for him. Social Studies and Literature fell before his intellect. Sadly, his mouth sometimes forgot itself. Sitting next to Roberto, a student from Cancun, Joonho decided to strike up a conversation. What Roberto and I heard was: “Cancun? You have many bitches there, right?” Roberto chuckled and said, “Well, a few, but they’re mostly nice girls at the beach.” Joonho blushed and focussed on his homework, a grammar worksheet. He completed it and then raised his hand. “Yes, Joonho?” I said. What Roberto and I heard was: “Teacher, what do we do when we’re finished our shit?” Roberto laughed again, amicably. “Wipe,” he said. It was an “I’ve been there too, this language is crazy” kind of moment. This time Joonho, brilliant Joonho, laughed with us as well. This is the point. It’s funny. Language is funny. I never mastered the pronunciation difference between the Mandarin “qingwa” (frog) and “qingwo” (kiss me), but it might explain a certain princess’ confusion when searching lily pads for future husbands.

Mistakes get made. Fun gets had. I think half the joy in language can be in learning from your mistakes, because you’ll never forget “that time” you made the error. If you laughed with it, all the better for you. One of my favourite jokes about this language, this beautiful mishmash, hodgepodge of a language with bizarre words like…well, mishmash and hodgepodge, concerns a university professor teaching a grammar course. “English,” he says sagely, crossing in front of his class, “is a great deal like Math.” The students stir uneasily at this comparison. English and Math are as wary of and confused by each other as programmers and linebackers. Where could he be going with this? “Oh, I know what you’re thinking,” the professor continues. “How can that be? Every rule in English can be broken.” He smiles. “True, true. Except when you consider the rule of the double-negative. Except is one of the more valuable words when applied to English grammar rules.” He pauses to chuckle. “If you have a positive and a negative in a sentence, as in Math, it is negative. Two negatives form a positive: the double negative.” The professor raises a finger as he reaches the crux of his lesson. “However—or should I say ‘except,’” he laughs at his own delightful wit, “when you have two positives. As in Math, they never ever form a negative.” From the back of the room a bored voice replies: “Yeah, right!” *** Paul Sonsteby is a writer, blogger, teacher, and apologist for the English language. His most recent publications include fiction in Existere and The Nashwaak Review, and a history book on Strathmore and area published by Polished Publishing Group. His novel’s done and just looking for a good home. Currently, his favourite English word is “present” because it’s either “here,” “now,” or “a gift.”


March – April 2015

2015 POETRY CONTEST

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Sponsored by

Glass Buffalo is amplifying its hunt for mythic power with its first writing contest! Open to all Alberta residents under 30, Glass Buffalo’s 2015 Poetry Prize will be awarded to the best, previously unpublished poem received from an emerging writer!

& publication in the Fall 2015 issue

Deadline: July 31, 2015 Entry Fee: $30

Submit today!

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$500

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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta The Writers’ Guild of Alberta

The Business 17

BY SHELLEY A. LEEDAHL

The Art of Begetting:

Literary Marketing Manoeuvre that Has People Talking The

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omething had to be done, and I knew the responsibility was going to be my own. My latest book, the essay collection I Wasn’t Always Like This, was released in December 2014. It’s somewhat provocative; my publisher warned I might piss some people off with it. That may or may not prove true, but the first challenge is to get people to actually read it. In my experience, writing a book is one animal; selling it to the reading public is an entirely different beast. I needed a strategy, and considered what I’ve learned about people in my half century in this world. Bottom line: we all have stories and a need to share them. Realization: perhaps this isn’t all about you, Shelley A. Leedahl. Strategy: if readers aren’t able to come to where you are, then you must go directly to them. Like to their homes. Sit on their very couches and dining room chairs. Here’s how it works: hosts invite me to present in their living rooms, kitchens or gardens for small groups (12 or more participants), and after I read an intimate piece from the book, I pass around a bowl of questions—based both loosely and specifically on the text—then the audience takes it away. As quickly as one can say your turn, it becomes all about them. I try to make it as easy for the host as possible, i.e.: suggesting that she or he advertise the salon as a bring-your-own-bottle and appetizer event. There’s a major geographical twist to my own story that makes “go[ing] directly to them” (the people and communities who have traditionally been receptive to my work) a fair bit harder. I left Edmonton in April 2014 for infinitely greener Vancouver Island. I understood that the implication of making yet another provincial move would be infinitely less green re: my literary career. I knew few people here, and although I’ve been writing


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and publishing since the 1980s and have one book published by a BC press, I’m unknown on the west coast. I could not expect reading, workshop and editing opportunities to fall into my lap, as they did in my home province of Saskatchewan, and were beginning to in my close cousin, Alberta. But that was okay, because even though I’ve only ever earned a pittance from my literary career, I had a radio advertising copywriting job to fall back on; something I could do from my home office. I’d been working for two rock and roll stations in Edmonton, and the job had been travelling with me for the last four years. When I was oh-so-suddenly laid off, I had to do two things immediately: scramble for non-writing-related work, and work much harder as a writer—and promoter—of my own work. On the nine-to-five front, I did eventually stumble into some disparate, short-term positions—I was a live-in caregiver for a senior with early-stage dementia; an ESL teacher at an international private school; and for eight miserable days I dressed in orange and worked as a Home Depot merchandiser—but on the eve of having my essay collection released, I also came to the hardcore realization that to earn even a modicum of income from this latest book, I was going to have to promote the hell out of it, and in these increasingly challenging times the old marketing methods were just not going to cut it. It’s a given that small literary publishers don’t possess the humanpower or the funding to full-on tackle the marketing book publication requires. True, I was not prepared to start pitching this book door-to-door, as I did, literally, with my first book, A Few Words for January, in Saskatoon, but I definitely needed a fresh strategy. My own life has been an open book—well, an open 11 books, actually—and at this stage in my life I’m more than happy to share the proverbial podium. I’ll still promote this new book in traditional ways (library, bookstore and school readings), but I now desire a more inclusive audience. Interaction, baby. That’s what I’m about. I’ve completed two salons thus far, and this premise of begetting has worked like a key in a lock. There were goodly amounts of laughter and tears at both events. At the last, one woman said it was the most fun she’d had in over three years.

My theory is that everyone has a compelling story (and, thank you Jesus, Krishna, Mohammed, Creator, rabbits’ feet and lucky stars, we’re not all writers). I genuinely believe this. Who has not experienced drama, oddities, hilarity, and heart-flattening grief? We connect deeply with others when we openly and honestly share our experiences. Yes, I could just read from my work and hope to engage my audience, but I feel it’s actually much more fun (for both me and the audience) when everyone participates. Some of these folks had never had an opportunity to share their deepest secrets and desires; a home salon gave them the platform and permission. The common sentiment was that the salons were liberating. Of course, I’m also wearing the marketing hat: I’m new out here, and trying to develop community. I want to be known as someone who listens, and gives a genuine damn. There’s something else, and it’s critical: I’ve observed that we’ve become a society engaged more with cell phones and computer screens than we are with each other. Recent experience at Home Depot: the majority of my co-workers didn’t sit in the staffroom at coffee and lunch breaks; they retreated to their cars to be alone. Those who did stay in the staffroom interacted only with their cell-phones. Oh 21st Century: what has become of us? The good, oldfashioned art of conversation is on the endangered list, and the home salons are a personal mission and a small start toward resurrecting it. Do I get paid for these salons? Only in book sales, red wine, and appetizers. I’m not paying my Hydro and insurance bills off the proceeds, but it’s still worth it. You can’t put a price on human connection. Perhaps my values, like the times, are a-changing. My inaugural salon was held in Roberts Creek, BC on a Saturday night in January, and I could not have anticipated the…well, the transcendence that occurred there. It was an unlikely setting. The host had just experienced a $70,000 flood. Large sheets of plastic hung from ceilings. A fire roared in the hearth and set my own hot flashes off. The kids playing in the next room were, at times, exuberant. After a brief introduction, I read a piece titled “Plenty of Fish” (about online dating, something I wish I did not have quite so much experience in), then passed the bowl of previously-prepared questions around. The questions necessitated a “story” response from participants. I was after their unique, lived-experiences, straight up.

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Examples from the bowl:

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• Have you ever fantasized about leaving your life? If so, where would you go, and how would you envision your new life? • If there is one major thing you could change in your life, what would it be? • Were your parents happy together, and do you think their marital relationship has in any way influenced your own? • Would you marry a man \ woman without first knowing if you are sexually compatible? • Is there a book or movie that has influenced your “view” on relationships, either negatively or positively? • If you could re-live your life as you’ve experienced it, would you? • And a question that perhaps we should all ask ourselves often: What makes you truly happy? Truth be told, I had a lot of nerve asking a room full of strangers such personal questions, but I was astounded by how each individual shared so deeply and eagerly, and how enriched I was from the experience. Those conversations are still reverberating (e.g.: the 65-year-old woman who shared that although life has dealt her several hard blows, including homelessness, physical abuse and brain surgery, she remains grateful for each day she is here). I needed to hear that. And I needed to hear from the grieving widow, and the woman who has ill children, and the Vancouverite who was celebrating a new romance, and from the four gals who wept. The thing became an animal that took off on its own swift legs. Who knew? My publisher, Karen Haughian, believes in this salon idea. She is promoting it via Signature Editions’ website, and hopes it will catch on like wildfire with book clubs. Ideally, I will team salon presentations with paid

reading gigs (in the aforementioned traditional settings), or strategically book salon dates so that they connect geographical dots. At this early March writing I have five more salons booked, all in Saskatchewan and Alberta. “Did you sell any books?” Karen asked after my first event. “Six,” I said. Not bad, but more would have been better. I had to take four ferries and pay $30 for parking, just to get there and back. Certainly I lost money, but it’s a beginning. And that other payback, human response and the connections that were made, is worth a hell of a lot to me. “You are an incredible joiner and connector! You walked into a new group and had people sharing very, very intimate parts of their lives. That is a real gift!” said Jennifer, a host.


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After the group sharing, a surprise: women approached to consult me privately about intimate matters, as one might a therapist—a role I’m inherently unqualified for, but was flattered to be considered worthy of. This mattered, because I felt it demonstrated that I got through. Perhaps all writers sometimes question the relevance of their art. Now that I am past mid-career status—and have not a single breakthrough book to show for it—I ask myself if I really need to keep adding my voice to the surfeit of material out there. When the genre in question is creative nonfiction—and of the genus memoir—self-doubt comes especially easy. This whole salon deal is trial-and-error, learn-as-you-go, take-matters-into-your-own-hands stuff. The events require a heap of my energy. As with musical home salons I’ve attended, it might be wise to charge a modest admission (say $10), and if guests buy the book, have this fee applied toward its purchase. Or not. I’ve discussed this with my publisher. It’s difficult enough to get people to readings; slapping an admission fee onto mine would likely derail the whole shebang. I have been writing and publishing almost all of my adult life. Maybe I was never hungry enough before, but now, alone in the Canadian paradise that is Vancouver Island and with no sweet radio job to fall back on (I miss Alberta wages!), the proverbial wolf is at the door. This is Living Dangerously. This is No More Excuses. Personal finances aside, I feel like my art and industry are in critical condition. Again, it’s bull-by-the-

horns time: as newspapers have less interest in printing book reviews—for a small press writer to get even one published review is a kind of coup these days—I am now posting reader responses on Facebook and my other social media sites. Sisters (and brothers) are doing it for themselves. I did not begin writing because of any notion of fame, and I certainly know that publishing fortune is for precious few. I write because I have a thing or two to say, and the written word is my chosen form of communication. (Hell, I can scarcely even think without pen-in-hand.) This is who I am; it’s what I do. I may not be soaring at this (though those books do keep appearing, thank you aforementioned deities, and small press Canadian publishers), but I’d definitely fail at other occupations (Home Depot, RIP). Even in these precarious, contemporary, keep-to-yourself-at-coffee times, there is still a place for poetry and a need to tell, hear, and read stories. That my story—shared in a rural home draped in plastic sheets—begat other stories, well that’s not such a bad thing. It got people talking—not into a phone, but to each other. And glory be to that. *** Shelley A. Leedahl lived in Edmonton from 2010-2014, and she now resides in Ladysmith, BC. Signature Editions recently released her essay collection, I Wasn’t Always Like This. Leedahl’s next book (a poetic, illustrated children’s book) will be published by Red Deer Press in 2016. See http://www.writersunion.ca/member/shelleya-leedahl .

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Everyone is

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(NOT) a Critic:

BY JULIANNE HARVEY

The Art of Writing Reviews

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n June 1994, I saw the movie Speed and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wanted other people to know why I loved it. I felt a strong urge to examine the plot, characters and high-octane pace beyond simply talking about these things with my friends and family. With all of the brash confidence that comes with being 21 and having nothing to lose, I wrote a 300 word movie review and walked into my local weekly newspaper office in Fort Saskatchewan to ask if they would publish it. I rocked nervously on my heels in front of the editor’s desk, watching the top of his head as he read it. “Sure, I’ll print this,” he said. “What are you going to review for next week’s paper?” On that warm June day, with those encouraging (and wholly unexpected) words, a film critic was born. Throughout the years, I’ve done on-again, off-again reviewing in a variety of genres, but always returned to film as my first love. In early 2012, I began writing film reviews for the Airdrie Echo newspaper. Shortly after, I negotiated a sponsorship deal with Landmark Cinemas for a press pass, which is the best thing I’ve ever owned in my life to this point.

Qualifications What qualifies a person to write critical reviews? I asked five reviewers across several mediums this question. Bonnie Way, a book critic since 2008 who publishes reviews on her blog and in magazines such as The Antigonish Review and the Coastal Spectator, believes that a book reviewer has to be a voracious and widely-read reader who can approach books with an open mind.

Robin van Eck, a WGA member and book reviewer for FreeFall Magazine and Alberta Views, has this to say about qualifications: “You need to love to read and know how to write. Writing book reviews won’t make you rich, but it will establish credibility for you as a writer, which is something we strive for. It’s a great place to start if you’re a new writer trying to get yourself out there.” An important qualification for writing critical reviews is bravery. Early on, I learned that not everyone will agree with my opinions. I’ve given a movie half a star as a rating and been called a moron online by a person who loved it. I think it behooves a critic to know as much as possible about the field you are reviewing in, and also to stay true to your impressions and experiences instead of pandering to public opinion. Kurtis Kristianson, a photographer who reviews restaurants and products for AirdrieLIFE magazine and other publications, concurs on product knowledge. “You need to know a lot about the subject or product in order to be a good reviewer. I’m starting to review outdoor gear now and you have to be able to use the product or experience it and know how to get the most out of it to write a review. If you’re going to be taken seriously, you need to show that you can be thorough, you have the credibility, and [what you say] makes sense for the end user.” Writing theatre reviews for the Strathmore Times newspaper, Laureen Guenther adds, “The only essential qualifications are a love for the medium you review, an ability to be analytical about your experiences, and a capacity to express opinions clearly in writing.”


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Guenther’s beliefs dovetail with the Calgary Herald’s theatre critic Stephen Hunt’s. He says, “Well, you have to love to go see shows, because there are a lot of them and the thrill can wear pretty thin after a while. Theatre is still very much a playwright-driven medium, by which I mean the success or failure of a show usually resides with the writer. So having a strong sense of story structure goes a long way towards breaking down what makes a play work or not work.”

Bonnie Way loves to find new authors. “I’ve read some incredible books that I probably wouldn’t have picked up if it hadn’t been offered to me for review. I also really like spotlighting new authors and debut novels. It’s been a lot of fun for me to review an author’s first novel and then see that author go on to publish more novels. It’s like watching a baby grow up: I feel like I was there for the beginning and so I’m really proud of where they go with their writing after that!”

The Best Part of Being a Critic

Herald critic Stephen Hunt agrees. “Going to see shows is my favourite part! And watching artists and/or theatre companies grow right in front of your eyes, from show to show. Discovering a promising new playwright is always a thrill, too.”

When I asked Kurtis Kristianson his favourite part of this line of work, he responded, “Taking the time to really consider all the aspects of the thing you are critiquing. Most people don’t give enough thought to an experience or a product that they use.” Robin van Eck says the best aspect of being a book critic is, “probably all the books I get to read and keep afterwards. My personal library has gotten very big.”

Strathmore Times reviewer Laureen Guenther also loves seeing good theatre, and usually with complimentary tickets. “I work hard for those tickets, so they’re not exactly free, but it is joyful work. I see more plays than I would otherwise. Plus, reviewing a show leads me to think more critically as I watch, and that enriches my viewing experience.”


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Getting Started with Reviews

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How does a writer begin doing reviews? For Guenther, she was writing book reviews for a new online Canadian newspaper when she noticed they had a page for theatre reviews, but nothing was posted on it yet. “I was planning to attend a play at Rosebud Theatre, so I volunteered to review it. The editor happily agreed, of course: it was free! I wrote reviews of Rosebud productions for that online newspaper for several months, and then for a local print newspaper. In the process, I met the public relations consultant for the theatre and he gave my contact information to Strathmore Times because they were looking for freelancers.” Stephen Hunt had a longer path to professional reviewing. “I used to review the odd show as a student journalist at the University of Winnipeg, but didn’t really start reviewing until years later when I joined the staff of the Calgary Herald in 2006. One of the other entertainment reporters who often reviewed shows was on maternity leave, so they asked me to write some.” For the book reviewers, blogging was their way in. “I’ve always been a reader,” Robin van Eck says. “I started doing reviews and posting them on my blog and on Suite 101. Then I tried FreeFall Magazine and they accepted one, then continued to ask me to do more. Then Alberta Views asked me directly, and it sort of went from there.” Bonnie Way had been blogging for about two years, about herself and what interested her, when Thomas Nelson sent out a request for book review bloggers. “The idea that I could get free books just for reviewing them was very exciting,” Way recalls. “I’m now a book reviewer for multiple publishers and publicity companies and I’ve also been approached by individual authors to review their books.” Kurtis Kristianson’s photography work for a magazine led to his first restaurant review. “One of the magazines I work for had asked me to do my first critique a few years back. I like to write like I’m having a conversation with someone and also like to have fun with my pieces, so my editor thought it would be different and refreshing.”

Like Laureen, I found my way back to writing film reviews by offering to do them for free when every newspaper I approached said they didn’t have the freelance budget for it. I recognize that this is not an ideal situation (like most writers, I prefer to be paid for the work that I do), but I believed that I could write my way into paid work if I improved my reviewing skills over time and made a positive impression on the newspaper editor. I ended up writing for nearly a year before my editor made room for me on the payroll, but I felt the sacrifice was worth it as I had the job I wanted. I love movies and was already seeing as many as possible, so writing a review after didn’t seem like hard work. It’s still fun now, a few years later. I enjoy mining each film for the hidden depths or subtext that I always hope to find. Hinting at this in the review keeps the process fresh and interesting, plus it helps me to look at the movie in a different way.

Iron-Clad Rules The final question I asked the five critics I interviewed was this: Do you have any iron-clad rules that you adhere to when reviewing? Book reviewer Robin van Eck chuckled


March – April 2015

at my choice of wording. “Iron-clad? LOL. Iron-clad isn’t a word I would use for any type of writing. But, if I was to pick anything, I suppose it would be that a review should not be a summary of the book. It should be a way for the potential reader to feel the book the way the writer may have intended. Most themes in stories are universal but every reader’s experiences are different. It’s the reviewer’s responsibility to find and enhance that connection for the potential reader.” When Bonnie Way writes her book reviews, she tries not to spoil the plot. “I usually give a plot summary for fiction or a book overview for nonfiction, an author bio, and a quote from the book (for nonfiction). I’m a very positive person and I have a hard time writing negative reviews, so I usually try to find something good to say about the book, even if I hated it. At the same time, I try to respect my readers and be honest about what I liked and didn’t like in the book.” Restaurant and product critic Kurtis Kristianson also ranks honesty as his number-one rule, along with being unbiased. “I also like to express what I thought the restaurant or product manufacturer should maybe have done instead of just focusing on the bad aspects.” Laureen Guenther’s main priority is to tell the truth. “I want my readers to be able to rely on my word. If I love something, I say so; and if I say I love it, they can be sure I really do. At the same time, if I don’t love a show or a work, I won’t say that I do.” Stephen Hunt said he tries to answer the three questions the Toronto Star critic Nathan Cohen used to ask: “1. What are they (the theatre company) trying to achieve? 2. How well did they achieve it? 3. Was it worth trying to achieve? I also try to be a proxy for the audience, too.” My philosophy for writing film reviews involves bringing my authentic self to the process. I’m often asked if I bring a pen and paper (or infinitely worse – a glowing electronic device!) to the movie to take notes. The answer? A resounding NO! My job is to experience the film as an audience member first and foremost, paying attention to where my mind wanders, my heart catches, or my laughter

bubbles up. I go to the movies to be transported, changed, stirred. If I can swing it with my deadline, I prefer to wait at least a day before penning my review to give it time to settle. Then I write with as much honesty and kindness as possible, trying to remember that no one sets out to make a bad film or work of art.

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies We live in an Internet age, where quite literally, everyone is a critic. People hide behind anonymous screen names to fire the most vile, cruel barbs at anyone for any reason. So what separates the professionals from the amateurs? Does the abundance of online criticism in an evercompetitive culture erode respect for carefully-reasoned critical writing? Or highlight how important it is? James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) published a book in 1890 that tackles this question. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies is a transcript and response of Whistler’s libel suit against critic John Ruskin, who publicly referred to one of Whistler’s paintings as, “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” The book compiles Whistler’s letters to newspapers detailing his feelings about art criticism, most of them facetious and scathing. At the heart of their fabulously famous fight was the right of the critic to speak his mind when those harsh words had the potential to impugn or damage the artist’s character or reputation. Whistler maintained that the price of 200 guineas was fair for his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold - The Falling Rocket; not because it only took him two days to create, but because he was owed it for “the knowledge of a lifetime.” When Whistler was asked, “You expect to be criticised?” he answered, “Yes; certainly. And I do not expect to be affected by it, until it becomes a case of this kind. It is not only when criticism is inimical that I object to it, but also when it is incompetent. I hold that none but an artist can be a competent critic.” Later in the proceedings, Whistler stated, “A life passed among pictures makes not a painter—else the policeman in the National Gallery might assert himself. As well allege that he who lives in a library must needs die a poet.”

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Over and over again did the Attorney-General cry out loud, in the agony of his cause, “What is to become of painting if the critics withhold their lash?” Whistler answered, “As well might he ask what is to become of mathematics under similar circumstances, were they possible. I maintain that two and two the mathematician would continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five.” These questions will likely go on for as long as we have artists and critics. Is it imperative to be kind and respectful when writing reviews? Or does the critic have the right to say anything at all about the art, in the name of honest expression? And what exactly is it that qualifies a critic? My opinion is that professional critics owe it to themselves and their readers to approach each review with careful consideration of the art’s merit. Honesty is required, but even a professional opinion is still, after all, an opinion, and one day our own work of art could be ripped to shreds by an anonymous online review or a New York Times critic. It behooves critics to know as much as possible about the

subjects they are reviewing, but I have also found that humility goes a long way to ensuring I don’t burn bridges in my relationships or my work. One day, I may hope for the same circumspect scrutiny when others are criticizing my best efforts. Perhaps we’ll give the final word to Mr. Whistler, who gave this answer when the Attorney-General suggested that some people would do away with critics altogether, “The art critic alone would I extinguish. That writers should destroy writings to the benefit of writing is reasonable. Who but they shall insist upon beauties of literature, and discard the demerits of their brother littérateurs? In their turn they will be destroyed by other writers, and the merry game goes on till truth prevail.” *** Julianne Harvey is a freelance writer in Crossfield, AB. Being opinionated was described by several people as a character flaw in her younger years, but it suits her quite well now as a film critic. Find out more at www.julianneharvey.com.

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March – April 2015

Will They or Won’t They? Writing Sex in Crime Fiction

Sex, explicit or not, has always been a part of the crime genre. Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, published in 1859, is often considered the first detective novel. The story’s hero pursues the mystery, employing sleuthing techniques, driven by his desire for another man’s wife. As the detective genre evolved, investigators became focussed on solving the crime and their personal lives became peripheral to the story. Sex could be a motive for murder, a crime of passion; but the sleuth stayed away from romance, at least on the pages. Sherlock Holmes didn’t have a fling with his landlady or fall for a suspect. Hercule Poirot didn’t marry, divorce and find love with a Scotland Yard policewoman. Miss Marple didn’t flirt with the gent in the neighbouring cottage. In today’s crime novels, they might.

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hen my mystery novel was published, friends and relatives had a lot to say about page 191: the sex scene. A long-time friend informed me that he enjoyed the realism of the scene, including the depiction of odours. My aunt was less enthusiastic. “My granddaughter lends me a lot of books. I enjoy mysteries, among other kinds. I liked yours, but I have to ask you why many authors find it necessary to use explicit sex in order to sell their books.”

Regina writer Gail Bowen is the author of the popular and acclaimed Joanne Kilbourn Shreve mystery series. This spring, Bowen celebrates the series’ 25th anniversary with a book tour in Alberta. In the course of 15 novels, her sleuth, Joanne, has been romantically involved with three men. The third, Zack Shreve, becomes her husband. “Joanne is an attractive, healthy middleaged woman who enjoys sex,” Bowen says. “The sexual relationship between Joanne and Zack shows that, in a mature, loving relationship, sex can be a source of comfort, pleasure, solace and good old-fashioned fun.”

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Bowen’s books reflect the modern crime-novel trend of developing the sleuth’s personal life. Holmes, Poirot and Marple were terrific characters, but they didn’t change. Their relationships with colleagues and friends remained static through the series. The numerous murders they encountered had no lasting effects on them. Canmore mystery author Stephen Legault creates sleuths who grow and change, although their love lives aren’t always important to the stories. The prolific Legault juggles three series with male protagonists. “Writing sex scenes isn’t much of a priority for me,” Legault says. “I don’t think it would add much to any of my characters or mystery series. I’m more interested in creating tension between characters and sometimes that’s romantic.” “Sexual tension is key to setting up good sex on the page,” says Calgary romance writer Sarah Kades. Two summers ago, I attended a workshop she gave with colleague Lorraine Paton on “Writing Sexual Tension.” True to their romance genre, Kades and Paton believe sexual tension can enhance any type of book. “Think of TV shows,” Paton says, “where the question ‘will they or won’t they?’ ripples through the series and keeps viewers returning each week, often more than the main plot does.” “Create those wedges,” Kades says, “those internal or external conflicts that your smitten characters need to overcome. That keeps both the tension and the action high.” When I wrote my novel, I was trying for this tension mix of sex and crime. After my sleuth sleeps with a man who becomes a suspect, she has to know if he’s guilty or not. It fuels her desire to go the distance, beyond safety and common sense. At the same time, his being a suspect spikes the tension in the romance to the story end. Bowen uses a different approach to keep the sparks flying for happily married Joanne and Zack. “Zack is a highpowered lawyer and a paraplegic,” Bowen says. “His condition compromises many areas of his health. Most nights, Joanne and Zack share a mutual massage, an activity that allows them both to relax, and allows Joanne to surreptitiously check for the pressure ulcers that, if left unchecked, could lead to serious health problems for Zack. Not surprisingly, a mutual massage between two passionate people often leads to other intimacies.”

The activity unique to Bowen’s characters makes their intimate scenes fresh, free from cliché and integral to the book. A sex scene isn’t about one or two pages. It’s about the whole story relationship, starting with the moment the prospective lovers meet. “The trick is to build the heat gradually,” Paton says. “In real life, people generally follow twelve steps from meeting to intimacy.” The steps come from the work of zoologist, Desmond Morris, author of the bestseller The Naked Ape, published in 1967. Effective writers move their lovers through these steps, from initial eye contact to touching shoulder and torso, the kiss and, ultimately, sex. As the characters accept and enjoy each level, it makes them— and the reader want to go to the next. Problems arise when you jar the reader. This winter, I read The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first mystery novel by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling). I really liked the book but, toward the end, Galbraith’s private investigator jarred me by landing in bed with a witness he’d met for the first time. I didn’t see it coming and didn’t care about the relationship. I think it was supposed to show him recovering from a recent breakup. How much better it would have been if the investigator had met the witness a few times and taken us through some steps. I’d have been turning the pages to see if he got there and experienced the emotional meaning along with him. Galbraith’s sex scene stopped short of explicit details. Do my two Canadian crime writers go further? “Rarely,” Legault says. “I think only once has it involved on-thepage sex. For me, it’s more interesting from a plot and character development point of view to have folks keep their clothes on than take their clothes off.” Bowen agrees, in part. “I never describe the mechanics of sex between Joanne and Zack,” she says, “Mostly because mechanics aren’t nearly as interesting to read about as foreplay and afterplay.” Bowen makes an exception for particular story situations. She says, “When a sexual act (or acts) becomes central to the plot, my characters are graphic in describing the acts because their descriptions reflect how badly they have been wounded by a betrayal or shocked by an act of cruelty. I would argue that here, the description of the sex act is really just a method of shading in characterization or establishing a plot point.”


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Through my novel, my protagonist, a divorcée, struggles with her problem of trust after her ex-husband’s betrayal with another woman. Trust is a common theme of mystery novels, where everyone is a suspect. I viewed her attraction to a man with hidden motives as a test for her capacity to trust again. During their build-up to sex, she mentally debates going forward or chickening out. Since the reader has been with my point-of-view narrator in every thought until now, it would seem cheating to withhold this experience. I tried to write the scene as she would feel it, with sensual details like the odours lingering from the mountain hike and Greek dinner that brought the couple together. The challenge of not making things too clinical, coy, crude or purple required me to revise the sex scene multiple times.

I must say the work never got boring. I didn’t answer my aunt’s complaint about sex scenes in books. She’s 98 years old, grew up in a different time and has a valid opinion that many people share. I hope she’ll still be here to read my next novel and send me another critique. For my friend who likes reading about sex with odours, I’m on it. *** Susan Calder is the author of Deadly Fall (TouchWood Editions, 2011), a murder mystery. She has completed two subsequent novels with sex scenes. Susan teaches fiction writing courses at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society and is a board director for the Crime Writers’ of Canada.

ALBERTA LITERARY AWARDS

BLACK AND WHITE AND READ ALL OVER May 23, 2015

Join us in the celebration! The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is pleased to host Black and White and Read All Over: The Alberta Literary Awards on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at the Chateau Lacombe in Edmonton. A delicious dinner will be followed by the presentation of numerous literary prizes in categories such as drama, children’s literature, fiction, non-fiction, essay, poetry, and short story. This evening is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Alberta’s writers and their work; there will be plenty of time for visiting with old friends and making new ones. Get dressed up in something black, white, or red (or all three colours), and celebrate with us.

For more information and to register online, please visit: www.writersguild.ca

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In other words, if a sex scene reveals character, has conflict and subtext and moves the action forward it contributes as much as other scenes and deserves to be part of the story.


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CORRECTION: The WGA wishes to run a correction to the write-up for Vivian Demuth’s novel, Bear War-Den, which ran in the last issue of WestWord. The text should read: “While the fire is raging, a woman park warden takes a bear skull and begins an arduous and dream-like journey to the park boundary—where wild animals can seem like ghosts and trauma can strike as suddenly as lightning.” Karen Bass’ fifth YA novel hit the bookshelves in April. Set in northern Alberta during WWII, Uncertain Soldier (Pajama Press) is the story of a conflicted teenaged POW and the son of German immigrants. When the world only sees you as German, how can you forge your own identity? Also, Karen’s multi-award-winning novel, Graffiti Knight (Pajama Press), has been named to the USBBY’s 2015 list of Outstanding International Books for grades 9-12. Jean Crozier is very happy to report that The Writers’ Union of Canada has reviewed and approved her application for membership – making her one of its first independently published authors. She feel it is, “Great validation for the professionalism and hard work that went into No Corner Boys Here (NoCornerBoysHere.com).” Trina St. Jean’s first publication, Blank, was released by Orca Book Publishers on April 1, 2015. A YA novel, Blank tells the story of fifteen-year-old Jessica’s struggle to put the pieces of her life back together after a brain injury. For more information visit trinastjean.com.

WGA Member Jane Harris (who also writes as Jane Harris-Zsovan) tells us that her third book, Finding Home in the Promised Land, a Personal History of Homelessness and Exile in Canada, will hit the bookstores in September. Finding Home in the Promised Land: A Personal History of Homelessness and Social Exile is the fruit of Jane Harris’s journey through the wilderness of social exile after a violent crime left her injured and tumbling down the social ladder toward homelessness —for the second time in her life—in 2013. WGA member Shashi Misra Kalia has launched her new book, Sari on the Snow. Kalia immigrated to Canada from Punjab, India in 1961 and couldn’t speak a word of English. She was the first Hindu pioneer woman in Cold Lake, Alberta. Now, her journey is revealed though the voice of a young immigrant, struggling to learn the language of her new country. Visit shoppagemaster.ca/Sari-on-the-Snow.html for more info. Shirlee Smith Matheson is pleased to announce that her first young adult novel, Prairie Pictures, initially published in 1989 (25 years ago!) by McClelland & Stewart, has been completely updated, and is being released by Heritage House Publishing of Victoria, BC, under their new young adult imprint, Wandering Fox. The sequel, City Pictures will follow, in 2015. Vivian Zenari has published the short story “Melvil Dui Conquers All” in Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries, editd by Hal J. Friesen and Brad OH Inc., available on Amazon and CreateSpace, with proceeds going to Edmonton Public Library.

Welcome to Our New WGA Members Dustin Archibald, Grande Prairie Jacqueline Bell, Calgary Dustin Bilyk, Edmonton Brittney Blystone, Edmonton Nancy Brook, Ryley Lucy Brown, Calgary Jackie Buell, Calgary Patricia Bullock, Edmonton Mary Campbell, Edmonton J.R. Dacanay, Calgary Winifred Day, Calgary Precious de Leon, Calgary Margaret Dorey, Edmonton

Margaret Field, Edmonton Jim Flatman, Edmonton Anthony Fleming-Blake, Edmonton Wanda Fodchuk, Calgary Peter Fratesi, Edmonton Robert Gibson, Edmonton Annie Gionet, Sherwood Park Ashley Gray, Calgary Jenna Greene, Lethbridge Matt Groeneveld, Blackie Alexander Grootelaar, Edmonton Kevin Holowack, Edmonton

Faye Lippitt, Grand Cayman Josephine LoRe, Calgary Heather MacIntosh, Calgary Elaine Maddex, Red Deer Lori Marquardson, Calgary Brian McLeod, St. Albert Lok Yan Ng, Edmonton Jennifer Oujla, Edmonton Martin Parnell, Cochrane Tim Pearce, Calgary Karen Peterson, Edmonton Sheri Pilon, Calgary

Rachelle Pinnow, Calgary Mike Reid, Calgary Ana Ruiz, Edmonton Catherine Saffran, Red Deer Hector Sanguino, Calgary David Savage, Calgary Sandra Somers, Calgary Tamara Soltykevych, Edmonton John Smith, Innisfail Bob Tatz, Edmonton Carol Taylor, Olds Karen Whitehead, Calgary


March – April 2015

Editor’s Note: These writing-related events are in addition to regular meetings of writing groups throughout the province and readings in libraries, bookstores and at colleges and universities. If there are events coming up in your community that have been missed, please call WGA to enquire about a WriteClick posting.

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EAC Travel Grants Deadline June 1 www.edmontonarts.ca

Banff World Media Festival June 7 – 10 Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff www.banffmediafestival.com

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WordsWorth 2015 July 5 - 24 Kamp Kiwanis, Bragg Creek www.writersguild.ca

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EAC Project Grant for Individual Artist Deadline July 2 www.edmontonarts.ca

South Country Fair Music and Arts Festival July 17 – 19 Fish and Game Park, 249 Lyndon Road, Fort MacLeod www.southcountryfair.com

WestWord Deadline July 31 Remember to submit your member news or ad bookings to Ellen at ellen.kartz@writersguild.ab.ca

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WGA Events Stay tuned to WriteClick and our website for upcoming events in the spring.

Words of Exce l l ence

Edmonton May WGA 2015 WORDS IN 3D CONFERENCE: INSTERSECTIONS

May 22 to 24, 2015 Chateau Lacombe Hotel, 10111 Bellamy Hill Rd NW, Edmonton WGA Member Registration: $250 Non-member Registration: $300 Registration at www.writersguild.ca Words in 3D is the only conference that gives you the full industry map— where writing, editing, and publishing intersect and interact. Put yourself at the centre of writerly expertise. Get revved up by inspirational keynote speakers. Break through roadblocks with intensive preconference workshops. Find a new path to your potential with diverse conference sessions, Pitch Camp and one-on-one mentorship at the Blue Pencil Café. Join us for Words in 3D 2015: Intersections to drive your career forward—and enjoy the ride with your peers.

2015 ALBERTA LITERARY AWARDS GALA

June

Saturday, May 23, 2015 6:16 – 11:00 pm Chateau Lacombe Hotel, Alberta Ballroom 10111 Bellamy Hill Rd NW, Edmonton Cost: $75/person To register for the Awards Gala, call (780) 422.8174 or 1-800-665.5354 (toll-free in Alberta) or register online at www.writersguild.ca

ADAPTATION FOR THE STAGE WITH JENNIFER SPENCER

On Saturday, May 23, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta will host its annual celebration of excellence by Alberta writers in the previous year. We are thrilled to welcome guests from the province’s literary community for this special event. Please join us at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel at 10111 Bellamy Hill in Edmonton.

The thought has crossed your mind that your short story, novel, memoir, or book of poems might work as a performance piece, but you don’t know how to begin adapting it for the stage. How do you make the mental shift from prose writer or poet to playwright, and what technical aspects need to be altered and developed to create a successful dramatic work? Join Jennifer Spencer in this workshop as she walks us through the necessary steps of adaptation.

6:15 Cocktails 7:00 Dinner 8:00 Awards Our host will be Alberta writer Shelley Youngblut, and we will present awards in numerous categories such as fiction, nonfiction, drama, children’s literature, and poetry. This evening is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the excellent work of Alberta authors in the past year. There will be plenty of time for visiting with old friends and making new ones. Our theme this year is Black and White and Read All Over, so get dressed up in something black, white, or red (or all three colours) and celebrate with us!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Edmonton Public Library, Strathcona Branch (8331-104 st) Please RSVP at www.adaptation4stage. eventbrite.ca (space is limited) Free for WGA members, $5 for non-members

Calgary Stay tuned to WriteClick and our website for upcoming Calgary events in June/July.


March – April 2015

The 2015 Alberta Literary Awards Shortlist

Our awards jurors have deliberated on more than 150 submissions to select 24 finalists in eight categories. Finalists represent excellence in literary work written by Alberta authors and published or created in 2014. We encourage you to check out these fantastic titles: R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Supported by UTA Youth Foundation Fund at the Calgary Foundation) • Victor Lethbridge (Rolling Hills) – You’re Just Right, Tatanka Books • Leanne Shirtliffe (Calgary) – The Change Your Name Store, Sky Pony Press • Richard Van Camp (Edmonton) – Little You, Orca Book Publishers James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction (Supported by Tony Johnson) • Susan Hagan (Edmonton) – “Manuals on Being Woman,” WestWord • Bobbi Junior (Edmonton) – “Tell Me About Today,” Telling Truths: Storying Motherhood • Chris Turner (Calgary) – “Owen’s Ark,” The Walrus Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story (Supported by Vanna Tessier and Guy Tessier) • Katie Bickell (Sherwood Park) – “But For the Streetlamps and the Moon and All the Stars,” Tahoma Literary Review • Lee Kvern (Okotoks) – “High Ground,” Enfield & Wizenty • Sheryl Normandeau (Calgary) – “Early Retirement,” Pages of Stories

Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry (Sponsored by Stephan Benediktson) • Tim Bowling (Edmonton) – Circa Nineteen Hundred and Grief, Gaspereau Press • Sarah Lang (Edmonton) – For Tamara, House of Anansi Press • Sharanpal Ruprai (Calgary) – Seva, Frontenac House Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award (Sponsored Members of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors) • Ali Bryan (Calgary) – “Mints After the Meal” • Jennifer Delisle (Edmonton) – “Micrographia” • Kim McCullough (Calgary) – “Tributaries” Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (Sponsored by Alberta Views) • Cheryl Foggo (Calgary) – John Ware Reimagined • Conni Massing (Edmonton) – The Invention of Romance • David van Belle (Calgary) – Liberation Days Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction (Supported In Memory of Ed Marshall) • Ted Bishop (Edmonton) – The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, and Our Relationship with the Written Word, Viking Canada • Lynette Loeppky (Calgary) – Cease: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Desire, Oolichan Books • Chris Turner (Calgary) – How to Breathe Underwater: Field Reports from an Age of Radical Change, Biblioasis Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction (Sponsored by The Banff Centre) • Wendy McGrath (Edmonton) – North East, NeWest Press • Fred Stenson (Cochrane) – Who by Fire, Doubleday Canada • Rudy Wiebe (Edmonton) – Come Back, Knopf Canada

Wo r d s o f E x c e l l e n c e

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2015 Alberta Literary Awards! Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on May 23, 2015 at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel (10111 Bellamy Hill Road, Edmonton). The celebration will also take place alongside the 2015 Words in 3D Conference: Intersections. The Writers’ Guild of Alberta would like to send their congratulations to those who have been placed on this year’s Alberta Literary Awards shortlists.

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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta

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Words of Exce l l ence

WORDS IN 3 DIMENSIONS: INTERSECTIONS SPARK YOUR CAREER WITH THE ONLY CONFERENCE THAT GIVES YOU THE FULL INDUSTRY PICTURE.

WRITING, EDITING, AND PUBLISHING Join us for three stimulating days of learning, networking, and connecting May 22 to 24, 2015, at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel in Edmonton and take your words to a whole new dimension. The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is excited to welcome you to the Words in 3 Dimensions: Intersections Conference. As in 2013, we have partnered with Get Publishing Communications Society and the Editors’ Association of Canada, Prairie Provinces branch to intermingle three points of view: writing, editing, and publishing. The conference will flow in streams of professional learning opportunities. Wi3D offers pre-conference workshops, then keynote speakers, panels, and presentations in an ocean of choices. Take advantage of blue pencils and pitch camp sessions, and all the other usual accoutrements, such as the marketplace and silent auction. Writers, editors, publishers, community – come enjoy the synergistic sizzle. www.wordsin3d.com Tickets to the Alberta Literary Awards and Gala, where eight prestigious awards will be presented, are available to all Writers’ Guild Members, conference attendees, and friends. Our themed evening, Black and White and Read All Over, will be held in the elegant Alberta Ballroom at the Chateau Lacombe. We’re planning a spectacular event. Watch the Writers’ Guild news sites for updates. A reminder to WGA members, our Annual General Meeting (and lunch) will be help on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 12:45 pm to 2:15 pm in Salon B at the Chateau Lacombe. Thank you to Get Publishing Communications Society, the Editors’ Association of Canada, Prairie Provinces branch, volunteers, and each of the Writers’ Guild staff for their excellent work toward this triad effort. Audrey Seehagen


Wo r d s o f E x c e l l e n c e

March – April 2015

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The Writers’ Guild of Alberta The Writers’ Guild of Alberta

The Business 35

Markets

Editor’s Note: Items in Markets and Contests are gleaned from a variety of sources. To the best of our ability, we have attempted to verify the legitimacy and accuracy of all the information. However, authors are encouraged to fully research each competition and the submission criteria before submitting their work. Remember that this information is for members only, a benefit of paying your dues. Please do not share it with non-members or other organizations. WestWord Magazine Website and Information: www.writersguild.ca Details: WestWord is always interested in articles on writing. Articles range from 500-2500 words. Got an idea? Send an email query with writing samples. Unsolicited pieces are welcome but rarely accepted for publication. Payment: Rates per piece range from $200 – $600 Send to: ellen.kartz@writersguild.ab.ca Duende Contact: duende@goddard.edu Website and Information: www.duendeliterary.org Details: Duende is the online literary journal of the BFA in Writing program at Goddard College. Currently seeking work (poetry, prose, translations, hybrid writing, art) that “insinuates authenticity and soulfulness, earthiness, expressiveness and a chill up the spine.” Wants character-driven stories that engage, move, challenge, thrill. They consider poems no more than 75 lines long, hybrid work of no more than 2,500 words, and prose of no more

than 7,500 words. Please send no more than five poems or images at a time. For prose and hybrid work, feel free to send several pieces, up to those total word lengths. For submission guidelines, please visit their website. Send to: submissions can be made through Submittable on the Duende website Deadline: May 15 BookLand Press Contact: books@booklandpress.com Website and Information: www.booklandpress.com Details: BookLand Press publishes high-quality fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books. All manuscripts submitted must be copies only. Please do not mail originals, as we will recycle all manuscripts we choose not to publish. Manuscripts must be typewritten and double-spaced. Each submission must be accompanied by a cover letter, a brief literary resume, and a synopsis of the story. Please provide your name, address, email, and telephone number on the title page, as well as the word count of your work. Print your name on every page of the manuscript. Please send complete manuscripts, or, if this is not possible, a minimum of four chapters. Simultaneous submissions will be accepted, on the condition that it is clearly stated in the cover letter that another publisher is considering your work. Multiple submissions of up to three manuscripts are welcome. Send to: submissions@booklandpress.com Canadian Women in the Literary Arts Contact: admin@cwila.com Website and Information: www.cwila.com

Details: CWILA calls for essays, on any topic relating to literary arts, by female or genderqueer Canadian writers, including poets, novelists, playwrights, storytellers, scholars. We welcome attention to topics or voices that have been marginalized or neglected by the mainstream literary culture. Possible genres include: creative nonfiction, literary criticism, book or oeuvre reviews, interdisciplinary studies. Especially encouraged are innovations that seek to revitalize or re-imagine the form of the essay itself; some examples include: the aphoristic essay, the collaborative essay, the dramatic or dialogic essay, the polyphonic essay, the long poem as essay, the meditative essay, the personal essay as witness, the visual essay. The aim of this initiative is to support female and genderqueer Canadian essayists, to make their work more visible, and to host their ideas in a space of lively and engaged conversation. CWILA encourages submissions from writers with disabilities, genderqueer writers, Indigenous writers, as well as other women and/or genderqueer writers of colour. Payment: $150 honorarium + publication on website Send to: essays@cwila.com Chicken Soup for the Soul Contact: webmaster@ chickensoupforthesoul.com. Website and Information: www.chickensoup.com Details: Chicken Soup for the Soul is accepting submissions of stories. Tell an exciting, sad or funny story about something that has happened to you or someone you know. Make sure that you introduce the character(s). Please know that your story should be written in the first person. 1,200 words max.


March – April 2015

The James Franco Review Contact: online email through their website Website and Information: www.thejamesfrancoreview.com Details: The James Franco Review doesn’t know why some stories and poems get published while others don’t, or what it means for something to be right for a magazine. They seek to publish works of prose and poetry as if we were all James Franco, as if our work was already worthy of an editor’s attention. All submissions received are submitted as James Franco, and are read by a roving cast of guest editors who choose pieces based on their tastes as readers. They are looking for “the story, poem, or essay you wrote that you believe in the most, or that hasn’t found the right home…Think of this as the open door where who you are, where you studied, and where you’ve been published doesn’t matter.” Send to: submissions can be made through submittable on the James Franco Review website. The Masters Review Contact: contact@mastersreview.com Website and Information: www.mastersreview.com Details: The Masters Review is a platform for emerging writers. Their New Voices category is open to any author who has not published a novel-length work. You must not have a novel forthcoming at the time of submission. Published short-story collections do not count as a novellength work and those authors are free to submit. New Voices are published online and will feature a number of stories from new authors each month.

This category aims to expose readers to new voices and talents. They are thrilled to be paying for published pieces but will be highly selective in our choices for publication. For full submission requirement visit their website. Payment: $0.10/word up to $200. Send to: submissions can be made through submittable on the Masters Review website Rawboned Website and Information: www.rawboned.org Details: Rawboned publishes nonfiction shorts, flash fiction, poetry, and hybrids up to 750 words. Unsolicited submissions are rolling for the monthly online magazine. Submissions are blind, so no identifying information on your work (including file names). Please double-space (poetry can be spaced however you like); use a 12 pt. readable font and one inch margins; use title of work for document file name. We will reject submissions that do not follow these guidelines. 750 word limit. Pieces must be true shorts, so no excerpts from longer works unless the piece can stand on its own. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if your piece has been accepted elsewhere, or simply withdraw it from our consideration via your Submittable submissions manager. We do not accept previously published (online or in print) work. Submission fee is $4, which pays Submittable. Payment: $10 honorarium Send to: submissions can be made through Submittable on the Rawboned website. Rebelight Publishing, Inc. Contact: info@rebelight.com Website and Information: www.rebelight.com/

Details: Rebelight needs manuscripts for upcoming line-ups. What genre, you might ask. Is awesome a genre? Send them your awesome middle grade, young adult, and new adult manuscripts. Make sure to check their submission guidelines first. They are looking for well written and edited stories of any genre with riveting plots, dynamic and developing protagonists and antagonists we love to hate. They are seeking work from Canadian writers that appeals to a worldwide market. For submission guidelines visit the submissions page on their website. Send to: submit@rebelight.com The Sockdolager Contact: submissions@sockdolager.net Website and Information: www.sockdolager.net Details: The Sockdolager is a quarterly internet magazine for original adventure fiction. They are looking for short genre stories in which Things Happen—stories about lives saved, discoveries made, worlds changed, days seized, and hearts broken or mended. They want tight plots, snappy dialogue, and smart, engrossing prose—pieces that you can’t help but devour in one sitting. They like to be challenged and love clever stories that make them thin. They strongly prefer science fiction and fantasy, but will consider just about anything that you think we might enjoy. They are particularly interested in hearing from a diversity of voices and perspectives and encourage unpublished to send in their work. Stories should be at least 1000 words, and absolutely no more than 5000 words. Payment: $0.02/word for new stories, $15 flat rate for reprints Send to: submissions@sockdolager.net

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Online submissions only. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website. Send to: Submit through an online process on their website.


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Contests and Competitions

Wo r d s o f E x c e l l e n c e

Editor’s Note: Items in Markets and Contests are gleaned from a variety of sources. To the best of our ability, we have attempted to verify the legitimacy and accuracy of all the information. However, authors are encouraged to research each competition and the submission criteria before submitting their work. Remember that this information is for members only, a benefit of paying your dues. Please do not share it with non-members or other organizations.

May Subterrain Annual Lush Triumphant Literary Awards Competition Website and Information: www.subterrain.ca/about/103/lush2013-awards-open+for+entries Prize: $1000 + publication Details: 3 categories, 3 cash prizes, one deadline. Work may be submitted in any of three categories; fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Fiction: maximum 3,000 words (no specific theme, we simply want to be amazed)! Poetry: a suite of 5 related poems (maximum 15 pages). Creative nonfiction (Based on fact, adorned w/fiction): maximum 4000 words. Entry fee: $27.50 per entry Send submissions to: online via subterrain website or mail entries to: Lush Triumphant Literary Awards c/o subTerrain Magazine PO Box 3008, Main Post Office Vancouver, BC V6B 3X5 Deadline: May 15 (postmarked) Ploughshares at Emerson College 2015 Emerging Writer’s Contest Website and Information: www.pshares.org/submit Prize: $1000 + publication Details: The 2015 Emerging Writer’s

Contest is now open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book and have no book forthcoming before April 15, 2015. Fiction and nonfiction: up to 6000 words. Poetry: 3-5 pages. Submitted work must be original and previously unpublished in any form. For poetry, they will be reading for both the strongest individual poem and the general level of work, and may choose to publish one, some, or all of the winner’s submitted poems. Submit one entry per year. Entry fee: $24 Send submissions to: online submission manager, see Ploughshares website Deadline: May 15 The New Quarterly The Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award Website and Information: www.tnq.ca/contests Prize: $1000 Details: The $1000 top prize will be awarded for a work of short fiction by a Canadian (citizen or resident) writer who has not yet published a first novel or short story collection. Though there is only one top prize, all submissions will be considered for paid publication ($250) in the magazine. All submissions will be judged blind. Submissions must be previously unpublished. Entrants must be Canadian or currently residing in Canada. Writers must be in the early stages. We define a writer in the early stages as someone who has not yet published a first story collection or novel. There is no word limit. Entry fee: $40 per submission, includes a one-year Canadian subscription Send submissions to: online via Submittable, see website Deadline: May 28, 2015

Canadian International Film Festival 2016 Write Brothers Screenplay Competition Website and information: www.canadafilmfestival.com/ screenplay-competition Prize: $6000 in prizes for three categories Details: Write Brothers Screenplay Award is given out in three categories: Feature Screenplay, Short Screenplay, and Television Script. To be eligible for competition, submit your completed feature, short script, or television script using our secure online entry form or PDF entry form. Awards are based on overall merits of the screenplays. Screenplays must be original work. We do accept adaptations. More than one entry may be submitted. Each must be submitted separately. Entry Fee: early bird, $25 Send submissions to: Visit CIFF website for entry form and to submit Deadline: May 31 (early bird)

June The Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest and Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize Website and Information: www.antigonishreview.com Prize: $2,400 in Prizes! Details: Previously published works, works accepted for publication or simultaneous submissions are ineligible. No electronic submissions, please. Fiction entries must be typed, double-spaced, one side of page only - poetry must be single-spaced. Please include a separate cover sheet containing your identifying information as well as the titles of all entries. Application Fee: $25/contest. $35 for both.


March – April 2015

CBC Canada CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize Website and Information: www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/ literaryprizes/poetry/index.html Prize: $6000 + publication in enRoute + Banff Centre residency Details: Submit your original, unpublished, poem or poetry collection. The entry must be between 400 and 600 words. Competition runs from April 1 to June 1. Open to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada. Entry Fee: $25 Send submissions to: online via Submittable, see website, or by mail at: CBC Literary Prizes Category: (please insert your category here) CBC Radio P.O. Box 6000 Montreal, Quebec H3C 3A8 Deadline: June 1 Arizona Mystery Writers Jim Martin Memorial Story Contest Website and Information: www.arizonamysterywriters.com Prize: $200 for First, $100 for Second, and $75 for Third. Details: The annual story contest for 2014 is now open! Anyone can enter. All you have to do is write a short story in mystery, suspense, or thriller style. Up to 2500 words, which is about 10 double-spaced pages. An official Entry Form must accompany each submission. Your name should not appear on the story itself. For more information, please visit their website.

Application Fee: $10 Send Submissions to: amwcontest@gmail.com Deadline: June 1 Dave Greber Freelance Writers Awards Dave Greber Freelance Writers Awards Website and Information: www.greberwritingaward.com Prize: $5000 (Book), $2000 (Magazine) Details: Awards are presented to a Canadian freelance writer who has a contract for publication of a nonfiction magazine article or book. Projects that delve into issues associated with social justice, whether in the Canadian context or globally are strongly encouraged. Further, the hope that is woven through the creation and continuation of these writing awards is always that people will expand their understanding of the world in which they live and may themselves in their own way become active advocates for change as was Dave Greber. Applicant must be a continuing resident of Canada and at the date of application lived in Canada for the last twelve months. Applicant must be working a minimum of seventy per cent of their work time as a self-employed freelance writer. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website. Send Submissions to: Dave Greber Freelance Writers Awards c/o S. Dunn 606 52 Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta T2V 0B4 Deadline: June 12 Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize Website and Information: www.twosylviaspress.com Prize: $300, publication, copies, and a trophy

Details: Submissions are now open. Electronic submissions only. Chapbooks must contain 17-24 pages of poetry (not including title page, table of contents, end notes). In body of email, include short bio, manuscript title, page length, author’s name, address, telephone, email, and acknowledgements of previous published poems, if any. Send in Word or PDF Format. Name should not appear on manuscript. For more information, please visit their website. Application Fee: $15 Send Submissions to: twosylviaspress@gmail.com Deadline: June 15 Alberta Views Alberta Views 2015 Short Story Contest Website and Information: www.albertaviews.ab.ca/contests Prize: $1000 + publication Details: The Alberta Views annual fiction contest is now open! Have you written a story all Albertans should read? The contest is open to all residents of Alberta except employees of Alberta Views. Stories must be no longer than 3000 words. Entries exceeding 3000 words will be disqualified. Entries must not be previously published. Should an entry be accepted for publication elsewhere after the contest deadline but before the winning entry has been announced, the author must notify Alberta Views immediately. Entry Fee: $30 includes a oneyear (10 issues) subscription to Alberta Views Send submissions to: Alberta Views 2014 Short Story Contest 208-320 23 Ave SW Calgary, AB, T2S 0J2 Deadline: June 30

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Send Submissions to: The Antigonish Review Contest, Box 5000, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia B2G 2W5. Deadline: June 1 (Fiction), June 30 (Poetry)


Donors & Sponsors

Thank you to all our generous donors & sponsors! Friends (up to $99) Saleem Abubacker Candace Allan Christine Almiron Rona Altrows Miroslav Andrix Katherine Antal Jill Arnett S.L. Asmundson Patricia Atchison Kelsey Attard Holden Baker Samantha Baldwin Andrew Barbero Karen Bass Kim Beach Elaine Beaulieu Anna Marie Becker Bernbaum Architect Ltd. Gregory Betts Shirley Black Kate Black-Reid Jennifer Blair Christian Bök Chris Boudreault J.R. Broderick Audrey Brooks Calvin Brown Ali Bryan Eric Bryer Eleanor Byers Mary Campbell Lillian Campbell John Carleton Tony Carter Ricardo Chiang Terry Cho Pam Clark Judith Clark Grant Corey Paula Cornell Joan Crate Jean Crozier Elaine Cust Jean Cyrus Amanda Da Silva Dan Dagostino Lelainna Dahl Estelle Dansereau Danielle Davies Gail de Vos Laurel Deedrick-Mayne Cort Delano Marcia Delves Dolly Dennis Joan Dick Erick Dillman Rayanne Doucet Steve Dunn Jon Dziadyk Wynne Edwards Catherine Elsey

Brian Evans Krystyna Fedosejevs Roxanne Felix-Mah Thomas Finch Bob Firmston Kim Firmston Bernice Firmston Carolyn Fisher and Steve Arthur Kathy Fisher Wendy Flemons M. Jennie Frost Tingfeng Fu Joan Marie Galat Shani Gamble Rebecca Garber Leslie Gavel Shree Ghatage Robert Gibson Amar Gill Nora Gould Lisa Guenther Jacqueline Guest Any Guha-Thakurta David Haas Helen Hajnoczky Carolyn Hall Margaret Hansen Harry Hansen Elizabeth Haynes Amber Hayward Lars Hedlund Kelly Hendricksen Virginia Hervey Karen Hetchler Nicole Hiebert Dee Hobsbawn-Smith Carol Holmes Bethany Horne Nasreen Hossain Melle Huizinga Jean Humphreys Ken Hunt Kirsten Ireland Alex Jalba Sandra Jarvie Sadru Jetha Shirley Jones Abdul Kamal Liena Kano Jeananne Kathol Kirwin Alexis Kienlen Mark Kirtland Warren Knetsch Gregory Koop Jani Krulc Melina Krulc Sonya Krulc Allison Kydd Ann Lakes James Lee Lynn Legge Sara Leishman Shelagh Lenon Raphael Leung

Katie Lewandowski Jamie Lewis Scott Lewis Megan Lewis Dianne Linden Faye Lippitt Stu & Ann Lock Kelly Lock Julie Lockhart Margaret Lonsdale Maciej Lukowski Marc Lynch Helen Lynch Janice MacDonald Simon MacKintosh Sonia MacLellan Margaret Macpherson Emilie Magnon and Travis West Alice Major Ronelda Marks Colin Martin Maria Martin Stephen Mason William Masuak Silvana Mau Vivian Mayne Janice McCrum Brenda McDermott Naomi McIlwraith Catherine McLaughlin Pamela McLean Kathleen McWilliams Peter Meehan Joy-Ruth Mickelson Betty Millham Patty Milligan Angela Misri Lori Montgomery Joanne Morcom Lisa Murphy-Lamb Kim Musselwhite Leanne Myggland-Carter Millie Mytton Shari Narine Bernard Ng Tong Lorna Nicholson Jess Nicol Charles Noble William O’Callaghan Frank O’Keeffe Rob Omura Peggy O’Neill Monique Padiluk Ryan Page Paul Papin Melvin Pasternak Ami Persaud David Peyto Megan Polson Karla Powell Joy Pritchard Darlene Quaife Karen Radke Rebecca Radmanovich

Anne Rae Daphne Raubenheimer David Reid Faye Reineberg Holt Sebastien Ringuette Ken Rivard Hermine Robinson Diane Robitelle Steven Ross Smith Mari Sasano Dorothy Sawatsky Joey Sayer Eileen Schuh Marilyn Scott Elana Scraba Audrey Seehagen Nikki Sheppy Joan Shillington Catherine Simmons Niven Gayle Simonson Natalie Simpson D. Lynn Skillen Janet Smith Nathan Smith Paul Sonsteby Karen Spafford-Fitz J. Alvin Speers Penny Stathonikos Jean Ann Steiner Patricia Stephenson Nora Stovel Merna Summers Deborah Sword Diva Tarbouch Cheryl Tardif Rea Tarvydas Madison Taylor Kelli Taylor Aron Taylor Digna Tembreza Merrena Lea Thompson Kate Train Nhung Tran-Davies Jane Trotter Inge Trueman Daneen Uhrynchuk Tammy Valgardson Jean Van Der Lee Jennifer & Kevin Vance Jacob Vance Diana Villeneuve Bruce & Donna Wakeford Jennifer Walsh Pam Walsh Bianca Watson Jody Watson Tom Wayman David Wenzel Evelyn Whiteford-Carter Alex Whitford Joanne Wiens John and Tracy Williamson Roberta Williamson

Lori Willocks Chris Wiseman Anita Wong Vivian Wood Sonan Yeshopa Barbara Zimmerman Kelsey Zits

Sustaining Patron ($100 - $499) House of Blue Skies Francisco Alaniz Uribe Alberta Central Credit Union Steve Bauer BG Mountain Studio Emily Campbell Ann Campbell Kimberley Champigny Leslie Chivers Daniel Cole Communica Public Affairs Inc. Myrl Coulter Kris Demeanor Vivian Demuth Beth Elhard Roberta Errity Susan Glasier Rosemary Griebel Danielle Guichon Dave Guichon Lori Hahnel Betty Jane Hegerat Brian Hitchon Barb Howard Virginia Hunter Bruce Hunter Shaun Hunter Hazel Hutchins Shannon Kernaghan Doreen Kienlen Fran Kimmel Paul Kostyan Kaliopi Krulc Ron Kube Lee Kvern Dale Kwong James Lavers Dennis Lee Marilyn Letts Anne Logan Joy Magnusson Micheline Maylor Bob McInnis Bob McInnis James McKee MEG Energy Sonny Milne Scott Moore

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Associate Patron ($500 - $999) Glass Buffalo Magazine JoAnn Jones-Hole Shenaaz Nanji Platinum Communications Aritha van Herk

Patron ($1,000 & up) Alberta Views Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation The Banff Centre Stephan V. Benediktson Ann Campbell Edmonton Community Foundation Imperial Oil Foundation Tony Johnson In Memory of Ed Marshall Priviti Capital Corporation Judith Robb Rozsa Foundation TELUS Community Affairs Vanna Tessier and Guy Tessier UTA Youth Foundation Fund at The Calgary Foundation WGA Board of Directors

Westword May-June 2015 web (Volume 35, Issue 3)  
Westword May-June 2015 web (Volume 35, Issue 3)  
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