Series vI: 2021-2022
Canon Susan Holbrook
Throughout this h0LEE collection, Susan Holbrook reinterprets classic poems, from Sappho to Stein, through the constraint of a calculator. Each poem pops with humour and cuts towards the centre of the pieces, reminding how poetry can not only be funny, but also why it needs to be funny.
Susan Holbrook’s poetry books are Ink Earl (Coach House, 2021), the Governor General’s Award-nominated Throaty Wipes (Coach House 2016), Trillium-nominated Joy Is So Exhausting (Coach House 2009), and misled (Red Deer 1999), which was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award. She teaches North American literature and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. She published a textbook entitled How to Read (and Write About) Poetry (Broadview 2015) and is the editor of Intertidal; the Collected Poetry of Daphne Marlett Vol 1 (Talonbooks, 2017), and co-editor ofThe Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson: Composition as Conversation (Oxford 2010). She lives in Leamington, Ontario.
Starmilk Teeth Callista Pitman
like dandelion seeds
or corn husks on the kitchen table
or tidal foams washing whales upon skeleton shores
In Starmilk Teeth, Callista Pitman explodes the quiet moments of youth with bombastic worlds outside of our own. Constantly searching for a path forward, she wanders and wonders through the anxious moments of change, from the domestic and calming to the dark and mysterious to the whimsical.
Callista Pitman spends most of her time walking through the suburbs, lying on forest floors, and crying to podcasts. She is an alumnus of the Urban Arts Program 2021, and her work lives in several local short story anthologies and contests by Vocamus Press and the Guelph Public Library, as well as various notebooks and untitled Google documents. Callista Pitman currently lives and studies in Guelph, Canada
Series v: 2020-2021
Metis head birth & one hundred heads hydra Shawn adrian
I am twenty six but still
unborn my umbilical cord a root
when I’m ready slice release
me into our one dream
From the streets of Selkirk to the “malevolent prairie,” Shawn Adrian’s Metis head birth & one hundred heads hydra merges mythology, religion, and the Manitoba landscape to explore the slice of life of its narrator. Adrian leans into the land’s uneasiness and violence seeking moments of peace and calm, those “highs/ lined with laughter.” In these poems, Adrian shows spaces where we can find resilience.
Shawn Adrian is a Metis writer currently living in Selkirk, Manitoba. In 2018, he graduated from The University of Winnipeg, where he worked toward a B.A. in English with a specialization in creative writing. During his time in university, he received the Joan Baragar Scholarship in English. He was also selected for the Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program by the Manitoba Writers Guild. Among other identities, he’s been called a student, an athlete, an employee, a friend, an uncle, a brother, and a son.
You can find him on Twitter @shawn_adrian.
Repeater Cristina Holman
I enter the lighthouse
megalamp beam loop. There is care in illumination. I think illumination
is loving. I think
I’m sweeping for something
in the wide hidden ocean.
In Cristina Holman’s Repeater, words are both escape from and reinforcement of anxieties. Holman navigates through thought loops constant and unending, and images that return back over and over. Fear is at the forefront, but by the end this fear is a pathway out, is washed away as we are washed away by the words.
Cristina Holman lives and writes on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She was a participant in the 2017/18 Artspeak Studio for Emerging Writers and the 2018 Banff Centre Emerging Writers Intensive. Her debut chapbook, published with Artspeak Gallery in 2018, is titled Stop Wincing/We’re Fine. Her work can be found in Bad Nudes magazine and Poetry is Dead.
You can find her on Instagram @crissholm.
Undead Juliet at the museum amy leblanc
First we deprive the host of lilac
And turmeric until her antibodies
Dwindle and shrink
A body at war is a beautiful terrible thing, a body at war with itself even more so. Both grotesque and picturesque, Amy LeBlanc’s Undead Juliet at the Museum laces together the weight of isolation, a healthy skepticism of “miracle cures”, and portraits of the “monstrous” women who have come before into a folkloric rendering of one woman’s journey with chronic illness. The delicate bodies of LeBlanc’s poems leave the reader with an ache in their ribs and a taste for the sublime.
Amy LeBlanc is the Managing Editor at filling Station magazine. Amy’s debut poetry collection, I know something you don’t know (Gordon Hill Press 2020) was long listed for the 2021 ReLit Award and was selected as a finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. Her novella, Unlocking, was published by the University of Calgary Press in June 2021. Her work has appeared in Room, CV2, PRISM International, and the Literary Review of Canada among others. Amy is a recipient of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award and has been a finalist for an Alberta Magazine Publishers’ Association showcase award for poetry. Undead Juliet at the Museum is her third chapbook.
You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @amylia_leblanc and on her website https://amyjleblanc.com.
preparing dinosaurs for mass extinction Rena Su
your ashes have been reassembled into your descendants.
[…]the birds lift your blood
while taking flight
Some people bury their grief; Rena Su excavates hers, digging up bone after bone to assemble the skeletons of the dead. In Preparing Dinosaurs for Mass Extinction, Su explores death as an extinction event that buries the living as well as the dead. Read as Su digs herself out, examining the monuments we create to the dead, observing how memories turn to sand with their bodies, and sending fruitless warnings back through time.
Rena Su is a writer from Vancouver(ish) and writes a little too frequently about dinosaurs, cyborgs, and offbeat pop culture references. Her work has been recognized by the Pulitzer Centre, The Poetry Society of UK, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, among others. When not writing, Rena enjoys coding impractical things, watching documentaries, and playing the ukulele. She thanks you for stumbling across the vast expanses of the literary world and landing on her debut chapbook.
You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @RenaSuWrites.
Series Iv: 2019-2020
Can I ask you a question? jESS NICOL
Where does one go from here? Where does one start? Jess Nicol’s Can I Ask You a Question? shoots through the scattered questions of two women waiting waiting waiting in a healthcare centre, trying to figure out the answer when all they can do is continue questioning. Swept away thinking about everything in their lives, this chapbook bounces and introspects, interrogates the choices that led up to their moments in the centre. Their thoughts blend and fly into one another barraging unrelentingly.
Jess Nicol is a writer, teacher, and educational developer from Calgary. She studies and works with archives, material objects, and autofiction. Her writing has been published by places like filling Station, antilang., Loft on EIGHTH, and The Featherhead Review, and online at Propeller Magazine, LRC Weekend, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. A stand-out moment in her life was when, at a bar, she correctly answered the trivia question “who is the musical group who sings the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego theme song?”
Series III: 2018-2019
the peach poems Terrence Abrahams
This peach sweats under fragrant summer sun. It splits. Slipping your fingers into damp flesh, you pluck out nostalgia, its weight resting on your palm. You can feel it finding new ways to touch you. Terrence Abrahams writes of boyhood romance in the peach poems, tangibly constructing a summer that will leave you sunburnt and craving.
Terrence Abrahams is a Libra, poet, and peach enthusiast. This, his second poetry chapbook, is preceded by a wish (Penrose Press) and followed by a forthcoming collection of prose poems, published with baseline press.
dis-connect kellie chouinard
The places (people) we love and the places (people) we leave mark us. dis-connect, a chapbook by Kellie Chouinard, paints the ways in which travel traumatizes through a series of stark and biting prose poems. Cycling through car accidents, road trips, and plane rides, Chouinard picks at the difficulties of leaving one location for another, and how closely linked place (and the idea of place) is to individual memory.
kellie chouinard: writer, photographer, editor, archivist, grammar lover, genealogist, poet. Quirky, environmentally-conscious Ontarian who used to be an Albertan who used to be an Ontarian. Lover of punctuation and radical feminism, collector of lost ampersands and semicolons. Other poems can be found in The Windsor ReView, OffSIDE, filling Station, and on the walls of bathroom stalls from Windsor to Calgary.
Bottle Rockets Ryan Skaryd
Some boys howl. Some boys wake up in liquor stained hotel rooms. Some boys find themselves bathed in neon. And some boys don’t. bottle rockets, a chapbook by Orlando based writer Ryan Skaryd, weaves a non traditional coming of age narrative which confronts the crafting of self within the queer community and today’s volatile cultural climate. From childhood bathroom, to college dorm bed, to club entrances; Skaryd paints an evocative portrait of the oft messy and always electric road one walks to settle into their own skin.
Ryan Skaryd holds an MFA from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he currently teaches college writing. His work has appeared in Blue River Review, The DUM DUM Zine, Hashtag Queer, and elsewhere.
Test Centre MA|DE
“Some questionnaires can only be taken together.” Bechdel, Turing, Draize, Rorschach, Uhlenhuth, are just names of a series of tests used to question, quantify, and label the world. In Test Centre, these and more pose deep questions as its poems crack open and peek into your soul, and perhaps you will even pose a question to what you find there. Test Centre is a chapbook by MA|DE, the collective voice of Toronto-based creators Mark Laliberte and Jade Wallace.
MA|DE is a collective gesture, a unity of two voices fused into a poetic third. It is the name given to the joint authorship of Toronto-based creators Mark Laliberte and Jade Wallace, artists whose active solo practices differ quite radically from one another. MA|DE’s collaborative writing formalizes a process that began as an extended conversation between two people newly discovering one another. Over a number of months, the pair messaged, texted, emailed, telephoned, conversed in person, left links on social media for the other to find, and mailed letters; their long, exploratory conversations opened up a language-space all their own. MA|DE is currently working on their first full-length collection of poetry, which formulates a set of shared visions, symbols, and ciphers that invites the reader into their complex, continually expanding internal universe.
Series II: 2017-2018
Aorta Hanan Hazime
The heart. Beats. Hanan Hazime’s chapbook Aorta searches every definition of heart, explores the meaning and method of the object and the symbol, hoping to find an answer to the way pain and pleasure digs its way into people. Hazime re-maps the heart, re-explores the rhythms, and leaves the reader listening to their own heart beat.
Hanan Hazime is a poet, a story teller, and an avid scripturient living in Toronto. She has a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor. She is the current Writer in Residence and Literary Arts Instructor at Workman Arts. Hanan’s writing has appeared in a number of publications including The Windsor Review, Generation Magazine, andthe these pills don’t come in my skin tone anthology for BIPOC writers. Her writing has also won several awards including the Alistair & Anita MacLeod Prize in Creative Writing in 2011, and the Dr. Eugene McNamara Award for poetry in 2013. When not writing, Hanan enjoys overanalyzing things, photo-blogging, dancing with faeries in the woods, and drinking copious amounts of tea.
Moe’s Skin Khashayar Mohammadi
two boys dipped in the absurd;
two mystery men in blue.
Khashayar Mohammadi’s vivid and rhythmic poetry sequence paints a doomed affair between two young Iranian men through a haze of jazz, liquor, and an oncoming flood. Mohammadi weaves together images of self-discovery, immigration, and tradition to create an exploration of emotion which is cigarette scented and blue stained in its beauty. Teeming with life and motion, Mohammadi’s verse beats with the visceral pulse of having loved and the faith that you will love again.
Khashayar Mohammadi is an Iranian-born writer/translator based in Toronto. He is currently working as an editor for the independent publishing company Inspiritus Press.
Series I: 2016-2017
Deliver Me From Swedish Furniture Hollie Adams
Where the geography of an apartment doubles as the map of a relationship, Hollie Adams’ clever and poignant Deliver Me from Swedish Furniture shows a reader the rise and fall of a love affair through the position of a lamp, the absence of furniture, and the locking of doors. Adams ties the cultivation and navigation of domestic spaces to the maintenance and nourishment of both inter- and intra-personal relationships. Breathing new life into the mundane details of ordinary environments, Adams’ prose highlights the ways we create our spaces and our spaces create us.
In 2018, “Deliver Me from Swedish Furniture” was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award, recognizing excellence in Canadian poetry.
Hollie Adams is originally from Windsor, Ontario. She received her BA and MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor and her PhD in English from the University of Calgary, where she specialized in creative writing, postmodern fiction, and narratology. Her short fiction has been published in journals and magazines across the country, including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Carousel, Filling Station, and The Windsor Review. She has also been published on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, in Calgary Renaissance (an anthology of Calgary’s experimental and avant-garde fiction and poetry writers), and in an anthology of short stories inspired by the band Broken Social Scene: The Broken Social Scene Story Project: Works Inspired by You Forgot it in People. Her first novel, Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother, was published by NeWest Press in 2015. Though she still considers Windsor (and by extension, Detroit) home, she now lives in Red Deer, Alberta with her partner, Brian Jansen, and their adopted maltipoo, Roland Barks. She currently teaches writing and literature at Red Deer College, sells vintage clothing online, and collects too many things.
all the great and terrible Jon R. Flieger
Whose version of history gets told? What interpretation of truth makes it into our consciousness? Jon R. Flieger’s all the great and terrible explores these questions anchored in the life of William Wallace Denslow, Wizard of Oz illustrator and self-proclaimed King Denslow I of Denslow Island. The work blends biography, lyricism, and image; it incorporates crossing out, overlapping, and intersecting text into a polyvalent inquiry of what it means to write and rewrite history.
Jon R. Flieger is a writer from Windsor and kind of from Atlantic Canada through complicated family stuff and a lot of traveling and lost summers and just don’t worry about it. Flieger was educated at Windsor, Calgary, and Oxford. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Canadian Literature, Descant, The Malahat Review, filling Station, The Windsor Review, Rampike, The Capilano Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and Matrix. He is anthologized in The Mays collection of the best Oxford and Cambridge writing and his writing appears on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He is a former editor at The Windsor Review and former head of fiction at filling Station. He was a finalist for an Alberta Literary Award and The Novella Award and was the winner of The Capilano Review’s 2013 Experimental Narrative Contest, the 2011 Norma Epstein Canadian national award for fiction, and an Orison Award. He has a novel called You are Among Monsters coming Spring 2017 with Palimpsest Press and he has previously published with Black Moss. He is currently working on a new magic realist novel about ghosts or history or something. He is afraid of bees.