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From Eric Gamalinda:

March 18, 2018

It takes just two people to bring the world
to ruin. So goes the history of love.
At the end of the day we tally the casualties
of war, victory for the one who gets wounded

the least. You say it’s time for a change
but I don’t know to what end, change being
just the skin of some incandescent creature
whose grotesque beauty is what we adore,

whom some people call love, whom we
venerate because it consumes us, slim pickings
for its huge soul. My people say, don’t look
or you’ll go blind. You say the end was always

just around the bend. I say all we have
is unconditional surrender to the future.

Factory of Souls


From Christopher Sodden:

March 12, 2018

You can tear away every tatter
until there is nothing but your raw,
ridiculous flesh, you can scour
your conscience till she knows

every shameful crime that blackens
you like ash. You can murmur prayers
at her miraculous crux, worship
her nipples so delicately the chills
will bring her closer to the grave.

We reach and we reach, aching
to swim in that lunar placenta,
drench our gorilla hide in milky
song of undiluted mercy. She will never
tell you that uncomplicated smile is
stifling disappointment.



March 3, 2018

i saw kim’s tweet the other day and i was like OH YUP DIS ME. i. keep telling people lately that book edits feel like i’m with an imaginary friend. like, people will ask me to go out or share my time with them or do some sort of emotional labour, and basically my answer is “sorry i can’t i have to spend time with this imaginary friend [aka edit this book that isn’t a tangible thing yet and is still in the weird, amorphous stages of being between states.]”

i know people who can write a book in a year. it’s entirely possible to do this, which is heartening. people also do nanowrimo (*shivers*) and ostensibly pound out a book in a month. is the book good because you got to focus only on it for a month and pour all your creative energies into just this one thing? or is the book bad because it was slapped together in a month and there wasn’t any time or space to sit and reflect on it? i don’t have an answer to that question, but it’s a pertinent one.

i know i’ve talked about my publishing timeline, and why it takes so long for a book to come out, from querying an agent to seeing it on the shelves, but seeing this tweet from kim reminded me that i haven’t talked about my writing timeline. in truth, by the time this book is published, in 2019, i’ll have been writing this for nine years.

i went up north to fish at the lodge in 2009 and didn’t make any notes or write anything about that experience, really. i came back to work at the lodge the next year, in 2010, and brought my computer up to “make notes,” but really i was too exhausted to do so because we were just working so much. after the summer was over, i wrote some (admittedly pretty bad) poems about the experience, because early poems are always kind of crappy. still, i worked at it, and workshopped those poems in my creative writing poetry class, and three of them – the pin bones (hart house review); cabin 4, kesagami lodge (event magazine); and naiads (room magazine) – were all decent enough to be published between 2011-12. barrow, another poem, came later in 2013 (cutthroat magazine). the strike was written around 2013, but it took till 2017 to get published (inscape literary magazine).

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here’s one of the first notes i made for what is now, officially, The Lodge. the weirdest part is that this bit is now at the end of the book, but it was one of my prelim pieces. also, yes, the sentence just cuts out in my original notes too.

i started writing notes for non-fiction, a genre i had never written before and never took classes for in school, around 2012. that’s when i realized that i might have had something on my hands, because right away, maisonneuve published the boat pull with very little substantive editing. the shipping platform (malahat review) came a year later. the girls on shit duty (hazlitt) was a hit in 2015, and that’s what i won my national magazine award for (silver). timberwolf was written long ago, probably mainly in 2013, but didn’t find a home until 2016, in prairie fire magazine. (note that not all of these pieces are in the final form that they will take in the book – in fact, some of them like the boat pull and timber wolf have changed radically, been stretched out and woven into other chapters, but at the time, i was thinking about the book in terms of chunks, instead of one big interwoven piece. in fact, i wasn’t even sure i had a book at all. in 2013, i got an ontario writer’s works in progress grant for 40 pages of the non-fic stuff i was writing about the lodge, but i was still like “ennnnnhhh not sure, what if this is all some big joke and i’m secretly writing garbage?”)

this isn’t to toot my own horn (not like “look at the pub credits i got!”) but it’s more like.. yeah, i’ve been thinking about this one big project in different forms (poetry and nonfic) for eight years so far, and by the time it’s published etc., i reckon it’ll be 10 years. that’s a third of my life, on this book (which i love, but that’s a lot of time!). so yes, when you get exasperated with me because i’m “obsessing” over this, or you think i’m dedicating too much of my time to editing and meeting deadlines, it’s because a few extra weeks of writing my brains out really is a drop in the bucket compared with the amount of time i’ve already spent on this.


From Soham Patel:

March 2, 2018

We always
become mysterious—
birds at the end of each evening.
Whoever does the telling stops
time like a crescendo. We hit
blue notes so the edges
of your honey jars rattle laughter
against our teeth.

Mixed with always:


From Nicole Callihan:

February 27, 2018

this morning I am all moonshine on the snowbank
clockwise back to a better self I am
tenderfoot daisywheel though yesterday I was
warpath and daydreams of underfoot animals
o my fishhook in sheepskin I want
to spacewalk in time with you to teaspoon
sugar into your mouth to clean horsehairs
from under your fingernails



from Kaveh Akbar:

February 22, 2018

I’ve given this coldness many names   thinking if it had a name it

would have a solution  thinking if I called a wolf a wolf I might dull its fangs

I carried the coldness like a diamond for years  holding it close  near as

blood  until one day I woke and it was fully inside me  both of us ruined

and unrecognizable  two coins on a train track   the train crushed into one

– Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Inpatient)


From Liz Bowen:

February 6, 2018

i have so much snarl in me / i have so much left to
be put in the ground / do you want to inter it with
me? it’s ok if you don’t / i’ve been grounding /
grinding myself for years / but it might be more fun
with a someone else / it might be more fun to sit back
and descend / i know you are gentle and kind and
impeccably egalitarian / but i know too
your hand on my throat

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