We thought we’d start our antilang. no. 3 previews with one of the issue’s shortest pieces. A dual citizen of Canada and the USA, Miles lives with his family in Bellingham, Washington, where he works the graveyard shift at a non-profit housing facility.
T. A. Hunchak is a writer and poet from Edmonton, Alberta. She enjoys studying languages living and dead and exploiting her library job to indoctrinate children with fantasy literature.
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.
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.
… and eggnog.
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.
Our editors got caught up watching Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and couldn’t resist basing the monthly flash writing contest on that show. We gave our Patrons an image of The ALP’s home-base in Saskatoon (a character home over 100 years old!) and asked them to haunt the house.
Our winning submissions include an eerie poem by Taylor Skaalrud and a letter written by a ghost by Fernando! We will be posting these flash pieces on our blog over the next few days, so be sure to check them out!
Do you want to get in on these contests? If so, all you have to do is head over to our Patreon page, sign up to donate $2/ month, and bingo, you will receive immediate access to our contests and early access to our On Editing blog series. The top three flash pieces will be featured as the winners on our blog every month. The donations made on Patreon are collected on the first of every month, so if you sign up to donate anytime during December, you will get immediate access to all the perks, but you won’t be charged until January 1st!
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:
In comforting solidarity, here’s a view from Jordan‘s front door in northern Calgary. Take care, be safe, and keep warm out there!
October is officially here (we know because there’s snow) and that means we’re ready to let you know about our September Patreon contest.
The September contest was inspired by our new logos and required participants to include the following quote from Robert Kroetsch’s novel What the Crow Said:
“And that was the first time the crow spoke… ‘you don’t know your ass from your elbow…’ After that, there was no keeping it quiet” (64).
If you aren’t in the know, we run a monthly flash writing contest for our donors, and then post the winning entries on our blog! Stay tuned for the winning entry– we will be posting it tomorrow! If think these contests are cool and you want to participate, then all you have to do it head over to our Patreon page and sign up to donate $2/ month and you’ll have immediate access to our latest contest (as well as early access to our On Editing blog series and previews for antilang. and soundbite).
As we start vetting pieces for antilang. no. 3 and soundbite vol. 2 (check out our call for submissions & guidelines!), we want to draw attention to an important aspect of our mandate: work that blends and blurs the lines of genre. Unlike many literary journals and magazines, the ALP’s publications aren’t divided up into genre sections. We also don’t ask you to identify the genre of your writing when you submit it. Finally, we made sure to solicit some hybrid creators for our inaugural issue to lead by example (like Geoff Pevlin’s delightful translation poems and Larissa Lai’s activist-inclined language play). As a result of these practices, we received a huge spectrum of forms and genres for antilang. no. 2 and soundbite no. 1 when we opened for general submissions.
Of course, we can’t take credit for the idea. Challenges to and deconstructions of ‘traditional’ (read dominant) notions of literary genre go back as far as the traditions and genres themselves, but are especially seen in the writings of marginalized groups (i.e., those displaced/silenced by said dominating traditions). What’s interesting is that in contemporary times the challenging of genres has become subtle and fluid, particularly through blurred middle grounds and hybridity. Consider this excerpt from Robert Kroetsch’s The Hornbooks of Rita K: “When I tell you that I love you I’m trying to tell you that I love you” (97).
Now consider the closing of Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach:
I lie on the sand.
The clamshells are hard
against my back. I am no longer
cold. I am so light I could just
drift away. Close, very close, a b’gwus howls–
not quite human, not quite wolf,
but something in between.
The howl echoes off the mountains.
In the distance,
I hear the sound of a speedboat. (374)
Note the absent line breaks from Kroetsch’s “[hornbook #73],” whereas we’ve added line breaks to what was, originally, a single paragraph in Robinson’s novel. And yet, the passage from Monkey Beach seems, or feels, to read more ‘poetically’ than Kroetsch’s, whose line(s) behave like a straightforward statement or piece of dialogue. The telling poem and the novel’s imagistic end reveal the folly of commonly held beliefs about the differences between prose and poetry: that poetry is inaccessible (thanks, modernists!) and that novels are expected to deliver plot and therefore closure. Monkey Beach gives us the opposite of both: accessible concrete images and total uncertainty regarding Lisa’s fate. Hornbooks gives us a self-evident fact, a description with built-in implied plot and closure, for what more can be told on the topic?
A piece in antilang. no. 2 that brilliantly befuddles these typical expectations of genres is Melinda Jane – The Poet Mj’s “Kit” (pg. 25). While ‘clearly’ a poem at first glance, we lovingly call it a micro-novel written in verse. Not only is it broken into chapters rather than numbered or titled sections, “Kit” is a long (relative to our mandate) narrative that features all the staples of a novel: multiple characters and settings, prosaic descriptions, (indirect) dialogue, and, that slipperiest of all fiction ‘requirements,’ plot. How could the short lines full of imagery belong to a novel? How could they not?