soundbite Preview: Andriana Minou’s “Lake Labyrinth”

We’re almost ready to launch antilang. no. 3 and soundbite vol. 2, which means it’s time for some previews! 

Andriana Minou is one of only a few international contributors this time around, but her intense blend of spoken word poetry and rhythmic vocals makes her piece “Lake Labyrinth” the perfect first pick for our winter preview.

Andriana Minou is a writer and musician based in London. Her work as a writer has been included in several anthologies and literary journals in Greece, the UK and the US.

December Contest Winner: Taylor Skaalrud’s Holiday Ode

I can still remember as the embers –
like the stars wrapping ‘round the globe –
faded last December.

We were made together, in November,
and I’m reminded of you by the wind;
its seasonal scent carrying you back to me
with hints of nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon;
its chill bites me like you did
after I first held close your shivering sleeve;
when it slows, and writhes and wraps ‘round my face –
like you, as our lips met when I tongued at your sweetness.

I’m mulling over my soul – steeping it in solitude –
when they say you’re back in town.
You – with your raw dark spirit and body like cream –
let me breathe you in;
let me drown in you;
let your arousing aromas
turn my lonely haze – If only just for the holidays –
into a dream of love in fog.

You’re intoxicating,
mystifying,
… and eggnog.

November Contest Winner: Taylor Skaalrud’s Haunting Poem

They can’t see what I see beneath me; marooned & timbered stories.
The sea of history resurfaces, It,
Trauma creaks and seeps and seeks its ghost.
It finds familiar feelings.

Wound in the wound it writhes with time’s tithes – the tides;
the black-bile-mould that festers beneath floorboards that
pours forth from holes in the souls that line these walls
until it touches something – someone warm.
An ember to hold onto to turn house into its home.
But this chill house’s hearth cannot house a lively flame
and so, it smothers shrouded Allison with love beyond the grave.

Why Write?

Turn on any news program or open any social media app and the world comes in. And you realise, that right now, the world is ugly. Fascism dominates, and with it all the ugly -isms and -phobias that generate and feed on hate. When people aren’t killing or hurting each other, they’re destroying the planet. When you see all this, hopelessness becomes inevitable. The words “thoughts and prayers” ring too hollow and you don’t know what to do, what you could do, to make a difference. You aren’t a politician, you aren’t a scientist, and words feel too feeble. Why write?
At the ALP, we’ve been quiet as these tragedies continue. We’ve been hurting. And we’ve been asking ourselves: why write? Why dedicate our lives to writing?
We have two answers: beauty and empathy. We write to create something beautiful in an ugly world. To remind ourselves and others that beauty does exist. And that taking the time to notice beauty and to appreciate it enough to write it is important. This takes us back, to a time before, when we didn’t see the ugly in the world. Who didn’t start writing poetry out of love? You fall in love, that first time you have a crush on someone, so young, and you can’t help but write it. And maybe those first love poems weren’t the best poems, but they tried to capture something beautiful. So, why write? To get back to that.
But what if you didn’t start with love poems? What if you saw the ugly in the world and started writing your anger? Who didn’t, as they wrote love poems, not also write angsty poems about injustice? Even if that injustice was only your parents disallowing you to be with the one you loved, it was still felt, deep enough to write. And this brings us to empathy, because sometimes you can’t write only beauty. Sometimes you must write anger and hurt. Why? Why write? Because you feel a pain so acute that you must communicate it. In this communication we find community–other people with the same pain or other people wanting the same change. That’s what writing does: communicates.
We can’t understand the suffering of other people or the planet. Those hurts are too big. So we put it in writing. We use our craft to create characters, worlds, and we invite readers to know these people, to start to know each other. We begin to recognise others and ourselves, and we start to understand how to support each other.
So, while our mission at the ALP is to curate good. short. writing., what we mean by this is that we want to bring people together. We believe that through writing we can remember to notice beauty. And we can connect to each other, regardless of our backgrounds, to create a community of writers and readers, aware of our differences, and supportive, nonetheless.
All the speeches and rhetoric used for destruction can be turned around. We can use story and poetry and memory, delivered through well-chosen words to understand each other and to create something better.
Why write? Because it gives us hope.

Record Snowfall in Calgary; Or, Why Not Stay in and Read?

If you’re in the Calgary area, as one of our illustrious editors and many of our wonderful contributors are, then you know all about the record snowfall we got over the last two days!

Is a tough day of shoveling getting you down, or are you tougher than the weather? Either way, why not take this excuse to curl up with a warm blanket, some cocoa, and Aritha van Herk’s “Tough Girl,” a kindred spirit from antilang. no. 1:

tough girl

In comforting solidarity, here’s a view from Jordan‘s front door in northern Calgary. Take care, be safe, and keep warm out there!

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soundbite Preview: Lissa McFarland’s “09.13.17”

In competition for the shortest piece in soundbite vol. 1, Lissa McFarland reads her poem about raking leaves (something a lot of us can relate to this season, as long as the snow holds off). You can find her other poem “05.02.18” about spring flowers in soundbite and her creative non-fiction/prose-poem “04.26.17” on page 64 of antilang. no. 2.

antilang. Preview: Kevin Stebner’s “Oilspill”

StebnerWhile our mandate says we like: good. short. writing., we’re also interested in genre-defying/blurring work that avoids easy categorisation. This constraint-based-visual poem is one of the most different pieces in our second issue and the closest we have come to printing visual art. Now that you’ve read his project description, head over to antilang. no. 2, page 15-17 to read the poem!

soundbite Preview: Zelda Baiano’s “Unchained Melody”

Zelda Baiano was, we’re proud to say, our very first fan–the first person who isn’t a personal friend or family member to really take notice and give us lots of virtual love on social media. So we’re equally proud to publish this emerging Canadian poet with “Unchained Melody” in soundbite (she also has another poem, “Intimacy,” on page 40 of antilang. no. 2).BaianoZelda Baiano is currently studying English Literature and Language at Brock University in Southern Ontario. She has been previously published in two anthologies, The Night’s Voice, and Fresh Ink 2016.