Author Spotlights

60th Anniversary Author Spotlight – Prathna Lor

February 18, 2020

Prathna Lor is a poet and scholar who teaches and writes on race, sex, ethics, and poetics. Their poetry and writing have appeared in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, the minnesota review, Jacket2, C Magazine, DIAGRAM, Black Warrior Review, Hobart, Vinyl, Haunt: A Journal of Art, Plenitude Magazine, and elsewhere. Prathna is the author of two chapbooks, Ventriloquism (Future Tense Books, 2010) and, most recently, 7, 2 (Knife Fork Books, 2019). They are currently completing their first, full-length book, HEROISM/EULOGIES.

Their poem “In the archive of sensuality” can be read on our website at canlit.ca/article/in-the-archive-of-sensuality.

Canadian Literature issue 239, 60th Anniversary, is available to order through our online store.


60th Anniversary Author Spotlights: Forum Authors

February 11, 2020

L-R: Karina Vernon, Carrie Dawson, Gillian Roberts, and Lily Cho

Karina Vernon

Karina Vernon is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough where she researches and teaches Canadian literature with a special focus on black Canadian literature, archives, critical race theory, multiculturalism, and black-Indigenous solidarities. Her book The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology (2019) brings to light a previously hidden archive of black writing, from the eighteenth-century black fur traders to contemporary writers. She is currently at work on two SSHRC-funded projects: Black Art and the Aesthetics of Spatial Justice, and, with her collaborator Winfried Siemerling, Call and Response-ability: Black Canadian Art and the Politics of Relation.

Carrie Dawson

Carrie Dawson is the Dean of Arts and Science at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her recent scholarly work focuses on the representation of refugees and undocumented people in contemporary Canadian literature and culture.

Gillian Roberts

Gillian Roberts is Associate Professor of North American Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham. She is the author of Discrepant Parallels: Cultural Implications of the Canada-US Border (2015) and Prizing Literature: The Circulation and Celebration of National Culture (2011), editor of Reading between the Borderlines: Cultural Production and Consumption across the 49th Parallel (2018), and co-editor, with David Stirrup, of Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border (2014).

Lily Cho

Lily Cho’s research focuses on diasporic subjectivity within the fields of cultural studies, postcolonial literature and theory, and Asian North American and Canadian literature. She is co-editor of Human Rights and the Arts: Perspectives on Global Asia. This book rethinks the contexts and subjects of human rights by taking its lead from writers, artists, filmmakers, and dramatists in Asia and the Asian diaspora. Her book, Eating Chinese: Culture on the Menu in Small Town Canada, examines the relationship between Chinese restaurants and Canadian culture. Her book, Mass Capture: Chinese Head Tax Certificates and the Making of Non-Citizens is forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s University Press. This book examines Chinese Canadian head tax certificates known as “C.I. 9’s.” Drawing from this archive, her research explores the relationship between citizenship, photography, and anticipation as a mode of agency. She is a co-editor of, and regular contributor to, the blog, Hook & Eye.

 

“North of Sixty: Surviving CanLit” by Nicholas Bradley

Canadian Literature celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in 2019—at a time when the broader world of Canadian literature has been in nothing resembling a festive mood. When the journal’s first issue was published in 1959, it would have been difficult to envision that, sixty years later, the critical conversation would be epitomized by phrases such as Resisting Canada (see Matuk) and CanLit in Ruins (see McGregor, Rak, and Wunker). Yet here we are.

At the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at UBC in June, the journal hosted a panel discussion with ACCUTE—“CanLit and Canadian Literature”—intended to explore the place of institutions in a field that has been profoundly affected in recent years by acrimonious and polarizing public controversies; engaged in uneasy reckonings with its own limitations, oversights, and injustices; and riven by doubt and conflict. Panellists were asked to consider Canadian literature and literary studies by taking up such questions as: What are the necessary scholarly and public conversations today? What discourses of critique will lead to productive inquiry? How do journals and other institutions shape the field? And how can a more expansive and inclusive Canadian literature be imagined? The essays in this special forum emerge from the panel at Congress. They emphasize the importance of accountability and self-awareness for scholars and teachers of Canadian literature, and are evidence of the complexity of relationships between those individual practitioners and the institutions that influence and even sustain them.

When Canadian Literature turned fifty in 2009, a group of critics was invited to reflect on significant issues; their statements, as Laura Moss wrote in her Introduction to the “Interventions” section of issue no. 204, “mark[ed] the past fifty years while thinking forward to challenges in the field in the future” (103). The following essays suggest that the future of Canadian literary studies is now less certain, or at least less clear, than a decade ago. Lily Cho and Carrie Dawson look back at the fiftieth anniversary to show how much has changed in ten years, while Gillian Roberts writes about the difficulty and ambivalence inherent in teaching Canadian literature today—in her particular case, in the United Kingdom in the era of Brexit. At fifty, a future was presumed, and could be multiply conceived. At sixty, that very future is an open question. Karina Vernon proposes that one way forward is “to remember the genealogies of struggle developed within Canadian literature as critical discourse”—to rethink, in other words, the history of the field itself.

The anniversary of Canadian Literature is a time of reflection, but the sober conversations taking place here, as in other venues, hold the promise of genuine transformation of the ways in which we teach and write about literature in Canada—and of renewed engagement with the reasons for doing so. Journals, presses, courses, and even disciplinary formations come and go, but the impulses that underlie literary studies exceed any single institution, no matter how venerable. Together, we are in the business of reading and writing, of listening and responding, with care, precision, and creativity. In a time of social and political disharmony—and, I would add, environmental calamity—language and imagination, and the uses to which they are put, demand our attention and commitment. Whoever we are, our survival depends on it.

Works Cited

“Interventions.” 50th Anniversary Interventions, special issue of Canadian Literature, no. 204, 2010, pp. 103-62.

Matuk, Nyla, editor. Resisting Canada: An Anthology of Poetry. Signal, 2019.

McGregor, Hannah, Julie Rak, and Erin Wunker, editors. Refuse: CanLit in Ruins. Book*hug, 2018.

Moss, Laura. “Introduction: Generous and Grounded Connections.” 50th Anniversary Interventions, special issue of Canadian Literature, no. 204, 2010, pp. 103-08.

Canadian Literature issue 239, 60th Anniversary, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Sherry Johnson

December 30, 2019

Sherry Johnson is the author of two books of poetry: Hymns to Phenomena which was given the inaugural Relit award for Canadian poetry, and Pale Grace which gathers poems written between the ages of 18-21. Her poetry has appeared in many journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Fiddlehead, Grain, Canadian Literature, Exile, The Canadian Forum, and Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems (WLU Press, 2009). A hardcore cinéphile, Johnson has also published many articles on film, on works by directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, Jerzy Skolimowski, Nicholas Ray, and others. Her film articles have appeared in Taste of Cinema, MUBI Notebook, Fandor Keyframe, Senses of Cinema (Australia), and the Swedish academic journal Film International.

Her poem “Fruit as Still Life / Vruchten als stilleven” can be read on our website at canlit.ca/article/fruit-as-still-life.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Shane Neilson

December 23, 2019

Photo credit to Mina Da Costa

Shane Neilson is a poet originally from the Maritimes. He completed his affect trilogy upon publication of Dysphoria (PQL) in 2017, which won the Hamilton Arts Council Book Award. His most recent book is New Brunswick (Biblioasis). In the Fall of this year, Shane published Margin of Interest (PQL), a book of literary criticism on the English language poetry of the Maritime region, and Constructive Negativity, a book of literary criticism on the intersection of prize culture and disability.

His poem “The Death-Trick” can be read on our website at canlit.ca/article/the-death-trick.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Kristiana Karathanassis

December 16, 2019

Kristiana Karathanassis is former Associate of Huron University College’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning (CURL). Her work has appeared in Liberated Arts: A Journal for Undergraduate Research at Huron, and in the 2017 Undergraduate Awards series of Scholarship@Western. She is a recipient of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master’s), and is pursuing a Master’s degree in English at the University of Western Ontario.

 

Article (co-authored with Andrea King)
“Language and Loss in Michel Rabagliati’s Paul à Québec and Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles

Abstract
A decline in verbal and written language ability is an early symptom and an inevitable outcome of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as an eventual result of other degenerative illnesses like cancer. In this article, we analyze two graphic novels—Michel Rabagliati’s Paul à Québec (2009) and Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me (2010)—that challenge the notion that the loss of linguistic capacity due to illness corresponds to a loss of identity. Foregrounding the ways in which language is deployed or withheld at the structural and thematic level of these autobiographical comics, we argue that the hybrid medium is useful for ordering and coping with the isolating experience of illness for sufferers and caregivers at moments when language alone is insufficient, and allows them to express themselves and connect with others beyond words when language fails completely.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Andrea King

December 9, 2019

Andrea King is Associate Professor of French at Huron University College in London, Ontario, where she teaches language, literature, and comics. Her articles on Canadian and Quebec fiction have appeared in journals such as Canadian Literature, Les Cahiers Anne Hébert, and Atlantis. She has a particular interest in mentoring undergraduate researchers and is a founding Associate of Huron’s Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning (CURL).

 

Article (co-authored with Kristiana Karathanassis)
“Language and Loss in Michel Rabagliati’s Paul à Québec and Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles

Abstract
A decline in verbal and written language ability is an early symptom and an inevitable outcome of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as an eventual result of other degenerative illnesses like cancer. In this article, we analyze two graphic novels—Michel Rabagliati’s Paul à Québec (2009) and Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me (2010)—that challenge the notion that the loss of linguistic capacity due to illness corresponds to a loss of identity. Foregrounding the ways in which language is deployed or withheld at the structural and thematic level of these autobiographical comics, we argue that the hybrid medium is useful for ordering and coping with the isolating experience of illness for sufferers and caregivers at moments when language alone is insufficient, and allows them to express themselves and connect with others beyond words when language fails completely.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – John Donlan

December 2, 2019

John Donlan’s collections of poetry are Domestic Economy, Baysville, Green Man, Spirit Engine, Call Me the Breeze, and Out All Day. He is an editor with Brick Books, and was the 2012-2013 Barbara Moon Editorial Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, the 2014-2015 Writer in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library, and the 2016-2017 Haig-Brown Writer in Residence in Campbell River.

His poem “The Muscle Motor Molecule Myosin” can be read on our website at canlit.ca/article/the-muscle-motor-molecule-myosin.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Ana María Fraile-Marcos

November 25, 2019

Ana María Fraile-Marcos is Associate Professor at the University of Salamanca, where she teaches English Canadian and Postcolonial literatures. She is the Director of the USAL Master’s in Creative Writing and the Head of the English Department. Her publications include Global Narratives of Resilience (Routledge, 2020), Literature and the Glocal City: Reshaping the English Canadian Imaginary (Routledge, 2014), Planteamientos estéticos y políticos en la obra de Zora Neale Hurston (U de Valencia, 2003), Richard Wright’s Native Son (Rodopi, 2007), and numerous chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is the Principal Investigator of the research project “Narratives of Resilience” (FFI2015-63895-C2-2-R).

 

Article
“‘Who’s going to look after the river?’ Water and the Ethics of Care in Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle”

Abstract
This paper analyses the trope of water in Thomas King’s latest novel The Back of the Turtle from an ethics-of-care perspective that puts in conversation Indigenous ethics, feminist care ethics, and environmental ethics. I suggest that King’s focus on water offers a harsh—even if often humorous—critique of the anthropocentric, neoliberal extractivist mentality while proposing a transcultural ethics of care. Consequently, my analysis of the novel draws on the dialogue taking place in the realm of the Environmental Humanities in Canada and beyond about the centrality of water (See Cecilia Chen, Janine MacLeod and Astrida Neimais’ Thinking with Water; Dorothy Christian and Rita Wong’s Downstream: Reimagining Water; Astrida Neimanis’ Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology; Stacy Alaimo’s Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times), as well as on Indigenous epistemologies that eschew anthropocentrism in favour of attentive caring for the interconnected needs of humans and non-humans within interdependent ecologies, and feminist environmental care ethics that emphasize the importance of empowering communities to care for themselves and the ecologies that sustain them.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Jake Kennedy

November 18, 2019

Jake Kennedy’s poetry has appeared in The Malahat Review, The Awl, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Best American Experimental Writing. He is also the author of three collections of poetry: The Lateral (Snare Books), Apollinaire’s Speech to the War Medic (BookThug), and Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play (BookThug). He is also the recipient of the Robin Blaser Award, the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Writing, and the bpNichol Chapbook Award. His most recent book—published by OPR Books out of NYU—is entitled Made Line Sing and it’s an entirely made-up biography of NYC poet-architect Madeline Gins.

His poem “Landscape” can be read on our website at canlit.ca/article/landscape.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.


Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings Author Spotlight – Anna Branach-Kallas

November 10, 2019

Anna Branach-Kallas is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland. Her research interests include the representation of trauma and war, postcolonialism, health humanities, and comparative studies. She has published several books, including, most recently, Comparing Grief in French, British and Canadian Great War Fiction (1977-2014) (Brill-Rodopi, 2018), co-authored with Piotr Sadkowski. Her earlier monograph in Polish, Uraz przetrwania [The Trauma of Survival: The (De)Construction of the Myth of the Great War in the Canadian Novel] (NCU, 2014), was awarded a Pierre Savard Award by the International Council for Canadian Studies.

 

Article
“Trauma Plots: Reading Contemporary Canadian First World War Fiction in a Comparative Perspective”

Abstract
The purpose of this article is to examine selected WWI Canadian novels published in the last forty years in relation to a transnational trauma paradigm. My contention is that, similarly to much contemporary British, French, Irish, and Australian Great War fiction, the dominant theme of recent Canadian Great War novels is war trauma and its aftermath. Referring to the concepts of post-memory, wound culture, and trauma studies, I discuss various representations of suffering in Canadian WWI literature, such as the anxieties of shell shocked soldiers, survivor guilt, the distress of women, as well as the individual and collective wounds of colonized groups. Exploring the ethics and aesthetics of Canadian trauma plots, I also draw analogies with other national literatures. In conclusion, the article attempts to highlight the distinctive features of Canadian war literature by showing at the same time how it inscribes itself within certain transnational trends.

Canadian Literature issue 238, Rescaling CanLit: Global Readings, is available to order through our online store.