The Passing of Marie Claire Blais

December 2, 2021

We are sad to hear of the passing of Marie Claire Blais. Blais’ writing career spanned many decades. While not a contributor to Canadian Literature, we have reviewed her works over the years in both French and English: https://bit.ly/MCBlais.


The Passing of Lee Maracle & Phyllis Webb

November 12, 2021

We are sad to hear of the passing of both Lee Maracle & Phyllis Webb on November 11, 2021. Both women were strong, powerful writers.

From our archives:

Lee Maracle’s “Yin Chin” from issue #124-125, Native Writers & Canadian Writing (1990).

Phyllis Webb’s  “Two Poems (for Daphne Marlatt)” from our 25th Anniversary issue #100 (1984).


Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2021

Well, our search for “Halloween” on the CanLit website certainly pulled up a mixed bag of treats! Not spooky, but certainly, at times, alarming, we’re happy to feature a wide variety of goodies for your calorie-free Halloween enjoyment!

Check out David McGimpsey’s take in “Washington Irving” and the poem’s narrator’s claim, “I hate Halloween.”

Next up is Clint Burnham‘s “The Plague of Orientalism: Reading Kevin Chong in the Pandemic.” This article is fresh off the press, so you’ll need a subscription to access it! Luckily, you can check out your nearest library to see if they have access, or you can get the full issue, Pandemics, right here on our site!

In “Pronunciations in Diaspora,” Bryan Thao Worra writes, “Whether it’s the Halloween misadventures in her tale “Chick-A-Chee!” or reflections on what the music of Randy Travis meant to a Lao mother, or discovering the fallibility of a father in the titular “How to Pronounce Knife,” we are given a chance to see a community journey from an intimate and refreshing perspective. We see a full range of emotions and questions, humour and deep reflections, that affirm our shared humanity and the importance of the best of our cultural traditions.” You can read the full forum dedicated to Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife on our Issue 242 page.

From 1976, Andrew Thompson Seaman’s “Fiction in Atlantic Canada” argues that “No group of authors in Canada has been more singly concerned with the sense of place and the value of heritage than our Maritime fiction writers, and those values can often be perceived through the intensified quality of “felt life” in their writings” (26). The article briefly mentions Halloween, describing a character’s feeling of angst that can be read as resonating through “Halloween” as a cultural mythology. You can download the full Issue 68-69. Plus, we found this amazing ad from the issue:

Of course, the theme of our next goodie is truly haunting: the Canadian legal system! In Issue 152-53, Gary A. Boire writes on “Theatres of Law: Canadian Legal Drama.” Boire writes, “Ontario, the centre of political and legal order, is presented numerous times as a ghoulish Halloween upheaval, a carnival of precisely those furious desires and violent excesses displaced by the centre onto the periphery.”

And from the same issue, then editors Eva Marie Kröller, Margery Fee, Iain Higgins, and Alain-Michel Rocheleau recall youthful experiences in “Remembering the Sixties: A Quartet,” including the university classroom as a site of the uncanny:

“Eventually I went to university (but I bussed and biked it, since the flowery vans had long since faded), and it has so far held me there the way flypaper holds a fly (it was designed for them, after all). Which is not to suggest that I’ve grown up to be Gregor Samsa—even as the sixties butterfly has shrunk back to a larval state in sundry niche-market cocoons. It has more to do with Hallowe’en, since I now get paid to go trick-or-treating in the classroom, where my costumes are still transparently traditional: a ghost in the machine, a skeleton in a disciplinary closet, a stuffed shirt, even sometimes a hippie, professing to love made and making words” (6).

From all of us here at Canadian Literature, Happy Halloween!


New Issue: Pandemics, #245

October 22, 2021

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 245, Pandemics. Christine Kim writes in her editorial:

 

“Writing of the AIDS epidemic as both a “medical and cultural crisis” (2), Paula Treichler draws our attention to the meanings and metaphors that shape our understandings of AIDS as well as those it has affected. Far from being irrelevant, theory becomes absolutely necessary as we seek to “understand the AIDS epidemic, its interaction with culture and language, the intellectual debates and political initiatives that the epidemic has engendered, . . . and its possibilities for guiding us toward a more humane and enlightened future” (1-2). Treichler’s examination of AIDS as a discursive formation has helped to guide many of us as we attempt to make sense of our complicated and often contradictory experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. That the coronavirus has circulated globally and yet been mediated so differently by local circumstances and national contexts calls into question the very naming of this event as a global pandemic. Given our differing abilities to protect ourselves from the coronavirus by taking measures such as social distancing, handwashing, and vaccination, which presume fairly spacious living and working conditions, access to running water, and wealthy governments, should we instead conceptualize the pandemic as a series of localized events rather than a global one? Who is imagined to be the subject of these national and global discourses of pandemic public health, and perhaps more importantly, who is excluded? Treichler signals comparable concerns about the cultural politics of representation when she addresses the AIDS epidemic and argues that war is perhaps the most useful metaphor to understand it. For Treichler, attention to these concerns means underscoring the differently distributed effects that the AIDS epidemic has had on the public. She notes that “AIDS is a war whose participants have been in the trenches for years, surrounded daily by death and dying, yet only gradually has the rest of the population come to know that there is a war at all” (2-3). Building on this observation, we can see that our collective understandings of global events such as the AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic can only ever be partial if they do not centre marginalized voices.”

  • Christine Kim, “The Cultural Politics of Pandemics Representations”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Emilia Nielsen, Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Quan Zhou, and Clint Burnham
  • A forum titled “Race, Visuality and COVID-19” by Danielle Wong, Thy Phu, Clare Jen, Neel Ahuja, Melissa Karmen Lee, and Ivetta Sunyoung Kang
  • Poetry by Josh Stewart, Erina Harris, James Warner, D. S. Stymeist, Caroline Misner, Tina Do, Larissa Lai, Canisia Lubrin and Liz Howard
  • Opinions and Notes by Clint Burnham with Kevin Chong, John Paul Catungal and Ethel Tungohan, and Sadie Barker.

The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy reading!

 


Call for Papers for a Special Issue on Poetics and Extraction 

October 8, 2021

In “Tarhands: A Messy Manifesto,” Métis scholar Warren Cariou rewrites William Carlos Williams’ poem “This Is Just to Say” into a time capsule to be opened in a hundred years:

 

This is just to say

We’ve burned up all the oil

and poisoned the air

you were probably hoping to breathe.

Forgive us.

It was delicious

the way it burned

so bright and

so fast.

 

Cariou’s poem is an extraction poem in several senses. It is about oil and the petrostate, and it mirrors the modes and moods of a petro-capitalist imaginary. It is also an act of extraction—of mining, cracking, and refining Williams’ poem and the literary tradition. Cariou sums up the history and the poetics of the settler-colonial extractive state, with its illegitimate literal and literary land claims, its pretenses of conservation and of wondering “where is here” while occupying stolen land, and its always failing repression of the wilderness. For Cariou and his imagined reader, it all amounts to “just” a selfish and short-sighted folly. Situated within the manifesto form, the poem becomes available as one mode or element of a larger argument for cultural and social change.

 

Cariou’s intervention also belongs to traditions of resource, extractive, oil, and land poetics in so-called Canada. These traditions include Indigenous poetics as “land speaking” (Jeannette Armstrong) and resistance literature (Emma LaRocque); Confederation-era poetry like Isabella Valency Crawford’s Malcolm’s Katie; Robert Service’s mining ballads; the logger poetry of Robert Swanson and Peter Trower; oil poetry from Peter Christensen’s Rig Talk to Lesley Battler’s Endangered Hydrocarbons; diasporic poetics on place, identity, property, and land, including Dionne Brand’s Land to Light On, Canisia Lubrin’s The Dyzgraphxst, and Brandon Wint’s Divine Animal; plastic poetry by Fiona Tinwei Lam and Adam Dickinson; activist and anti-pipeline poetry such as Rita Wong’s undercurrent and The Enpipe Line; climate change poetry as in Watch Your Head; Indigenous, Black, and speculative futurisms such as Tanya Tagaq’s Retribution and Kaie Kellough’s fiction and sound performances; and myriad other examples not listed here.

 

In tying varied poetic forms and modes together under the sign of resources or extraction for a special issue on “Poetics and Extraction,” we do not mean to impose a particular framework as universally portable to a range of specific contexts and histories. Rather, we ask, what does an attention to resources and/or extraction animate in our analysis of cultural, literary, and poetic responses to this place, the land on and with which we live? This special issue engages the theme of poetics and extraction broadly, considering poetry, poetics, and aesthetics in, of, and against extraction and the extractive state. It highlights historical, contemporary, innovative, and experimental poetics related to energy, resources, and land. It uses the lens of extractive poetics to consider how we got to the intersecting crises of global warming, environmental racism, ecocide, and genocide in Canada, and also to envision decolonial, reciprocal land relations for a just energy transition.

 

We are especially interested in contributions that examine energy or resource poetry, poetics, and aesthetics from the perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour and critical race theory, 2SLGBTQQIA and queer theory, workers and labour studies, women’s and gender studies, and poets, artists, and cultural workers.

 

We welcome submissions of scholarly articles on poetry, poetics, visual art, cultural texts, performance, and aesthetics. We also welcome poetry, essays on poetics, and hybrid/creative forms.

 

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Poetry, visual art, performance, aesthetics, popular culture
  • Extractive industries, including coal, oil and gas, mining, logging, nuclear energy, industrial farming, and hydro
  • Renewable and reciprocal energy systems (traditional/Indigenous lifeways, wind, solar, sustainable hydro, biopower, animacy)
  • Poetics and aesthetics of the staples trap, the oil patch, climate change
  • Ambience, affect, anxiety, and the energy unconscious of the petro-state
  • Comparative analyses of Canadian, Indigenous, and diasporic texts alongside texts from other places
  • Poetry, poetics, and aesthetics of environmental racism in Canada
  • Poetics and aesthetics of just energy transition in Canada
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour poetics related to energy, resources, or land
  • Texts related to the oil and gas industry, including practices such as extraction, production, transport, marketing, pollution, combustion, capture, and sequestration
  • Texts about plastics, polymers, toxicity, and the ubiquity of oil
  • Extractive poetics; poetics of extraction; resource aesthetics and poetics; petropoetics; energo-poetics
  • Anti-oil or pro-oil poetics, aesthetics, and culture
  • Extraction and the poetics and politics of gender, transgender, sex, and purism
  • Class and extractive culture
  • Disability and extractive culture
  • Climate despair as it relates to anxieties about the efficacy of poetry/cultural production
  • The oil sensorium, infrastructure, and petropoetics beyond poetry
  • Theorizing petropoetics in petrocultures/the energy humanities
  • Methods/ethics for the study of extraction; the limits of extraction as a theoretical framework for literary study

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 9th ed.). Word length for articles is 6,500-8,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.

 

The journal recognizes that the current moment is full of challenges and precarities for the Canadian Literature community. We are open to considering submissions that go outside the bounds of conventional research articles, especially collaborative efforts and submissions from graduate students, early career scholars, artists, and activists.

 

Please feel free to contact the journal editor, Christine Kim, at cl.editor@ubc.ca, or the special issue guest editors, Max Karpinski (kmax@ualberta.ca) and Melanie Dennis Unrau (melaniedunrau@gmail.com), to discuss ideas ahead of time. Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of 15 April 2022. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at canlit.ca/submissions. General questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit@ubc.ca.

 

Please limit images accompanying the submission to those receiving substantial attention in the article. Note that contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce images in their article, and must pay any permission costs. The editors can provide a sample template for permission requests and permissions must be cleared before publication. Please send low resolution images (small jpegs), in separate attachments. If the article is accepted, high quality images will be required.

 


The Passing of Douglas Barbour

October 5, 2021

We are sad to announce the passing of Douglas Barbour (1940-2021). A long time reviewer, poet, and author for CanLit, Douglas was also the president, editor, and founding member of NeWest Press. (photo credit: NeWest Publishing, https://newestpress.com/authors/douglas_barbour)

 

One of Douglas’ earlier pieces for our journal was “Poet as Philosopher,” an article published in issue 53, Of Heavenly Hounds and Earthly Men, from 1972. This article looks at Louis Dudek’s legacy and poetry in 1940s Canada.

 

In 1979, Douglas published his first CanLit poem, “Cezanne’s Last Years,” in issue 83.

An accomplished poet, Douglas would go on to publish a total of 6 original poems in Canadian Literature between 1979 and 1984. However, his first work with the journal was in reviewing; Douglas reviewed over 80 books for CanLit between 1968 and 2014. And in 1985, he wrote an Opinions and Notes piece celebrating the life of F. R. Scott (1899-1985) in issue 105.

 

In many cases, reviews of his poetry and writing also graced the pages of CanLit. Jan Lermitte reviewed Listen. If, a “noticeably more experimental and playful” book of poems, “poems that need to be read aloud.” We’ve also reviewed continuations 2, Along a Snake Fence Riding, Lyric/Anti-Lyric: Essays on Contemporary Poetry, Michael Ondaatje, Beyond Tish, Story for a Saskatchewan Night, and many more. You can find them all and more under Douglas’ author page.

 

No doubt Douglas was passionate about Canadian literature, as both an author and a champion of its importance in a global literary marketplace. We are grateful for his many years writing for the journal. He will be missed.


Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

September 28, 2021

With much of August spent on our SSHRC application, we are looking forward to our soon-to-be-published issues! But, before that, we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the new, upcoming holiday in Canada: Canada’s National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

In June, we took a moment to respond to the unmarked graves found at residential schools in BC. We’ve since learned of thousands more across Canada. Our June post featured a reading list of articles that help situate the reclamation of the graves for Indigenous peoples and survivors of the residential school system. We also acknowledge that, in many ways, Canadian Literature has been complicit in histories of oppression, a fact we do not take lightly. In recent years, we’ve done our best to adjust our focus and raise up marginalized voices.

This National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada, on September 30th, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the many different pathways and opportunities available that support Truth and Reconciliation for the Indigenous peoples in Canada and globally.

If you are just learning about Truth and Reconciliation, we invite you to start with Margery Fee’s “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.” This editorial contextualizes the Commission and its role in Canadian culture. No doubt there has been much work done since its publication, and there is yet still more work to do.

In our Post-SSHRC nostalgia, we’d also like to call attention to Julie Cairnie’s “Truth and Reconciliation in Postcolonial Hockey Masculinities.” This article is frequently taught in university classes as an introductory framework for thinking through the process of Truth and Reconciliation in real-world experiences.

There has been much critical attention to Truth and Reconciliation, trauma, and Indigenous rights published within the pages of Canadian Literature. We hope there will be continuing critical attention paid to this important topic in the years to come. If you would like to read more, please check out this curated search on our website.

We wish you a thoughtful and reflective National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

From all of us here at Canadian Literature.

 

 


New Issue: Sensing Different Worlds, #244

August 24, 2021

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 244, Returns.

Christine Kim writes in her editorial:

The shootings and their aftermath have produced much anger, sorrow, and frustration in Asian American and Asian Canadian communities, and led to an outpouring of questions being asked on social media, in newspapers and magazines, at rallies, in private and public conversations: if the deliberate targeting of Asian-run spas and the murders of six Asian women who worked in them do not constitute a hate crime, then what does? What does this say about the law’s persistent inability to protect those who need protection? How do we understand these murders in relation to the sharply escalating cases of anti-Asian racism that have been taking place across Canada and the US during the pandemic? I want to centre these women as I reflect upon these questions. But in order to think about what it means to grieve their untimely deaths, we need to first recognize their lives. So, in the aftermath of the shootings, I find myself wrestling with the question of how we tell the stories of what happened to these women. What contexts inform our individual and collective understandings of these losses?

– Christine Kim, “On Disposability and a ‘Desire for Life’”

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Nicole Go, Dougal McNeill, Emma Lansdowne, Morgan Cohen, Keah Hansen, and Daniela Janes
  • A forum on Eternity Martis’ They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up and Samra Habib’s We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Sonja Boon, Laurie McNeill, Julie Rak, and Candida Rifkind
  • Poetry by Russell Thornton, David Martin, Stephen Bett, Chantel Lavoie, Ayo Okikiolu, and Ulrike Narwani
  • Reviews by Stephanie Burt, Alison Calder, Joel Deshaye, Jessica MacEachern, Catherine Rainwater, Robert Thacker, and Carl Watts

The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy reading!


Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “80 Years and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future of Canadian Comics”

July 9, 2021

The Canadian Parliament passed the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA) late in 1940 to preserve its currency for the war effort by limiting the importation of nonessential goods. Periodicals, including popular American comic books, were one casualty. Within a few months, Canadian artists and entrepreneurs responded by launching a domestic comic book industry often regarded as Canada’s golden age of comics. This industry produced four publishing companies and six years of original Canadian comics production, including Robin Hood Comics and Triumph-Adventure Comics, which featured Adrian Dingle’s Nelvana of the Northern Lights, one of the earliest female superheroes in comics.

The eightieth anniversary of the first comic books published in Canada, now known as the WECA comics era, celebrates one important milestone in a long history of comics production in Canada, from early editorial cartoons to newspaper strips to serials, bandes dessinées, graphic novels, manga, and web comics, and in multiple languages. This special issue invites scholarly articles that reflect the breadth and depth of Canadian comics history before and after the WECA comics, across a diversity of forms and platforms. We are particularly interested in submissions that offer meaningful critical insights into the history, present state, and potential future of Canadian comics studies, as well as contributions engaging in Indigenous, settler colonial, critical race, decolonial, feminist, trans, queer and/or disability studies approaches. Articles that blend the creative and the critical, as well as the theoretical and the auto-theoretical, are welcomed and encouraged.

 

Possible essay topics may include, but are not limited to, the following as they reflect the issue’s focus on the past, present, and future of Canadian Comics:

  • How do we tell the story of Canadian comics from the early 20th century to now?
    • Do Canadian WWII comics have any relevance to today’s comics culture?
    • Which artists, genres, and formats has the dominant historical narrative of Canadian comics, including publications and exhibitions, hidden from visibility?
    • How have Canadian comics of the past stereotyped, excluded, obscured, or ignored certain Canadian voices and stories?
  • How does the current state of Canadian comics both reflect its past and direct its future?
    • Whether or not there is a “national tradition,” or specific regional styles and schools, within Canadian comics.
    • How contemporary Canadian comics can amplify the voices of Canadians and communities who were traditionally (and may still be) excluded from the conversation.
    • Canadian comics publishing, marketing, audience, and reception.
    • The role of translators and translation in Canadian comics (both translations of Canadian comics and translated comics in Canada).
    • The role of exhibitions, comic cons, festivals, and retailers in shaping Canadian comics as a cultural and academic field.
    • Children’s and Young Adult comics.
  • What might the future of Canadian comics and Canadian comics studies look like?
    • How should we be telling the story of Canadian comics?
    • Will the future of Canadian comics, and Canadian comics studies, look different from the past or present?
    • What local/national/global factors will influence the future of Canadian comics?
    • How can we understand Canadian comics today within larger shifts to digital cultures?
    • How can comics studies support comics pedagogy and the teaching of Canadian comics (K-12 and post-secondary)?
    • Comics as labour and the precarity of the profession for comics artists and comics scholars.
  • How have Canadian comics gone “global”?
    • Transnational artistic influences and cross-border collaborations.
    • Canadian cartoonists working in the US and elsewhere outside Canada.
    • Global audiences and the critical popularity of Canadian comics, graphic novels, webcomics, and Quebec BDs outside Canada.

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 8th ed.). Word length for articles is 6,500-8,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.

The journal recognizes that the current moment is full of challenges and precarities for the Canadian Literature community. We are open to considering submissions that go outside the bounds of conventional research articles, especially collaborative efforts and submissions from graduate students, early career scholars, artists, and members of the comics community.

Please feel free to contact the journal editor, Christine Kim, at cl.editor@ubc.ca, or the special issue guest editors, Zachary J.A. Rondinelli (zrondinelli@brocku.ca) and Candida Rifkind (c.rifkind@uwinnipeg.ca), to discuss ideas ahead of time. Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of January 5, 2022. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at canlit.ca/submissions. General questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit@ubc.ca.

Please limit images accompanying the submission to those receiving substantial attention in the article. Note that contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce images in their article, and must pay any permission costs. The editors can provide a sample template for permission requests and permissions must be cleared before publication. Please send low resolution images (small jpegs), in separate attachments. If the article is accepted, high quality images will be required.

 

 


Congratulations to Marta Croll-Baehre on winning ACQL’s Barbara Godard Prize!

June 15, 2021

Congratulations to Marta Croll-Baehre on winning the Barbara Godard Prize from the Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures (ACQL).

From the ACQL:

The Barbara Godard Prize was created by ACQL, the Association for Canadian and Québec literatures, in 2005. This prize identifies promising emerging scholars who deliver exceptional papers at our annual conference.

Marta is a Ph.D. student in the English and Cultural Studies program at McMaster University. Inspired by questions that Sara Ahmed poses in Strange Encounters, the presentation compares the author’s experience of eating “innovative Canadian cuisine” at the Aberdeen Tavern, a special occasions restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario, with select descriptions of food preparation and consumption in Fred Wah’s semi-fictional memoir Diamond Grill (1996). The jury admired this paper for its innovative approach that combined literary analysis with cultural studies, supported by a detailed and nuanced discussion of methodology, as well as an effective integration of relevant theoretical frameworks. Congratulations to Marta for this excellent paper!

In support of the ACQL and the Barbara Godard Prize, Canadian Literature awards a one-year subscription to the prize winner.