Laura Moss to give McLean lecture

February 10, 2022

Past editor, Laura Moss, will be giving the prestigious annual David and Brenda McLean lecture at Green College Coach House, “Climate Warnings: The Power of Canadian Environmental Art, Literature, and Creative Activism.” The event will also be live streamed March 2, at 7:30 pm PST.

In this year’s McLean Lectures, Laura Moss will concentrate on creative responses to the global environmental emergency in Canadian art and letters. 
As the climate crisis continues, many artists and writers have raised their voices for awareness, change, and justice. Professor Moss will trace imagined representations of the wounded environment from historical context to the present in order to question the power and the limits of turning to art in a time of crisis. She will focus on works that draw on physical materials from the land and water themselves as they write back to the changing environment. From examining photographs created out of Alberta bitumen to sculptures constructed out of plastic salvaged from the Pacific Ocean to poetry that imagines the consequences of deforestation on West Coast ecosystems, the series will explore the efficacy of art and activism.
This year’s series will be comprised of two evening events. On March 2, Professor Moss will present a public lecture and on March 17 she will be joined by several of the creators whose work she features in the lecture to discuss the relationship between art and activism, the climate emergency, and the limits of art in driving change.


The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with Laura Moss, Warren Cariou, Stephen Collins, and Rita Wong on Art Activism, and Climate Justice, March 17, at 7:30 pm PST.

To find out more, please see the event poster: Laura Moss McLean Lectures




followed by a panel discussion

Canada Reads 2022 Long List

January 14, 2022

Canada Reads has announced their longlist! As always, it’s an excellent collation of CanLit content.

Find out more about the selections on the CBC page.

Call for Papers on “Feminist Critique Here and Now”

December 22, 2021

What is the continued role of feminist theory and feminist analysis in literary studies today in these lands claimed by Canada?  How and why is feminist analysis still relevant to our work? We seek contributions for a special issue of Canadian Literature on feminist critique and/in Canada today.

In the 1980s and 1990s, feminist theory transformed many aspects of literary scholarship in Canada and beyond. The introduction of French feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and critical race theory gave us new tools to think about identity in relation to language. The bilingual feminist journal Tessera became a vital venue of feminist experimentation and theorizing in Canada. Women’s Press and Press Gang became important venues for feminist publishing. Texts like This Bridge Called My Back and Lee Maracle’s I Am Woman offered vital and engaged sites of intersectional feminist thinking and creation. Filmmakers like Deepa Mehta and Patricia Rozema began to explore filmmaking from a feminist perspective, and women’s and gender studies became established as a discipline.

In recent years, feminist analysis and feminist critique have taken on new urgencies in the wake of scandals like #ubcaccountable and #metoo, and in response to the rise of popular anti-feminist and transphobic celebrities and the rise of misogynistic rhetoric on social media. Movements like #Blacklivesmatter and #idlenomore have raised renewed and urgent questions for feminism. The COVID-19 pandemic has created crises around affective labour and service work that have returned attention to questions of class, gender, immigration status, precarity, mental health, and age. These events act as powerful reminders that feminism is still vital and necessary and that we must continue to find ways to advance a feminism that is intersectional, anti-racist, decolonial, and affirming of LGBTQ2S lives.

However, many of us tend to not centre feminism as a methodology in our work. As an entry point to feminism in the introduction to the recent volume In Good Relation, Sarah Nickel points to “a general anxiety around the term itself” among Indigenous feminists and “a desire to explain” how they arrive as feminists (2). Amidst contextual complexities, many scholars adopt what Rosi Braidotti calls a “nomadic feminism,” which she describes as

an opening outwards of the process of redefining female subjectivity . . . that calls for a broadening of the traditional feminist political agenda to include, as well as the issue of women’s social rights, a larger spectrum of options which range from cultural concerns related to writing and creativity, to issues which at first sight seem to have nothing to do specifically with women. (83)

However, as Chandra Talpade Mohanty reminds us, “imperialism, militarization, and globalization all traffic in women’s bodies, women’s labor, and ideologies of masculinity/femininity, hetero-normativity, racism, and nationalism to consolidate and reproduce power and domination” (9). Given these perspectives, we are interested in exploring the continued resonance and urgency of feminist thinking in the twenty-first century.

We invite contributors to respond to one or more of the following questions through an engagement with fiction, poetry, oral traditions, film, music, graphic novels, performance, and/or visual arts in lands claimed by Canada. Contributions might think through diverse feminist theoretical frameworks, including but not limited to, affect, critical race, dis/ability, decolonial, ecological, Indigenous, Marxist, new materialist, post-anthropocentric, postcolonial, posthumanist, psychoanalytic, and queer/trans theory.

  • What dialogues are taking place among feminists of different generations? What intergenerational dialogues need to take place? What can we learn from previous generations of feminists? Conversely, what can we learn from younger generations?
  • How might it be useful to think about your work in relation to feminism, even if you have not previously identified your work through feminist concerns? What kinds of trouble and/or alliances might be made by pairing your work with feminism?
  • What forms of cultural production and activism are occurring at the nexus of trans and/or 2S/queer and feminist studies? What kinds of relations exist? What can trans and/or 2S/queer theory and feminist theory learn from each other?
  • How is feminism imagining ways out of racialized and gendered violence or articulating forms of resilience and resistance? What does anti-racist feminism look like in twenty-first-century Canada?
  • How do we envision decolonial feminisms? What are the implications of applying a feminist analysis to questions of Indigenous sovereignty? How do Indigenous knowledge systems and community wisdoms step into relation with feminisms? How might feminisms and Indigenous sex and gender systems co-conspire?
  • What are the gendered effects of pandemics (COVID-19 or otherwise), specifically with regard to affective labour and care work? How do economics, class, labour, and dis/ability inflect this question?
  • How have neoliberal discourses co-opted and adopted feminism? How has feminism resisted, or capitulated, to neoliberalism?
  • How does feminism manifest in, through, with, and beyond the body?
  • How does feminism help us to understand ecological relations, kinships, and/or trans-species solidarities?
  • How are experimental forms or particular generic concerns shaped/catalyzed/exploded in relation to feminism?
  • What is the relationship between feminist activism and cultural production?

How does literary work bring us to think through, about, or with these clustered concerns? How have writers and other cultural workers responded to these questions in their literary and artistic practice? We encourage contributions from emerging, diversely positioned, and established scholars. We welcome standard academic essays as well as submissions that take on unconventional or creative forms.

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.

Please feel free to contact the journal editor, Christine Kim, at, or the special issue guest editors, Aubrey Hanson ( or Heather Milne (, to discuss ideas ahead of time. Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of 31 August 2022. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at General questions about the special issue may be directed to

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.


Works Cited

Braidotti, Rosi. Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming. Polity, 2002.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, “US Empire and the Project of Women’s Studies: Stories of Citizenship, Complicity and Dissent.” Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, vol. 13, no. 1, Feb. 2006, pp. 7-20.

Nickel, Sarah. Introduction. In Good Relation: History, Gender, and Kinship in Indigenous Feminisms, edited by Nickel and Amanda Fehr, U of Manitoba P, 2020, pp. 1-19.

Memories of Ronald Hatch

December 3, 2021

In memory of Ronald Hatch, we’ve collected tributes from past Canadian Literature editors. Ron will be missed around the office, often swinging by to chat and catch up on the latest in canlit.

Ron was a frequent friendly visitor to Canadian Literature and it was always great to visit with him. Ronsdale Press connected him closely to the world of BC publishing, so he was an unmatched source of news from that front. –Margery Fee

Ron taught—inside and outside the classroom—with an impassioned respect for the interdependence of the mystery of the forest and the mystery of words gathering into literature. His unfailing commitment to this intimate correspondence made him for me an inspiration and the ultimate definition of integrity. –Laurence Ricou

Hatch was a gentle bear of a man—whose strong beliefs never stopped him from engaging with others. An enthusiastic publisher, especially of BC writers, he was also a friend, always ready to help, advise, and appreciate a moment of relaxed laughter.  I loved publishing with Ronsdale Press (three books for children, a long essay on irony, and an anthology of comments on Canadian writing by many of the most articulate writers of the last century) because Ron was such a fine editor—scrupulous with text and sensitive to the demands of each project, always keeping the readership in mind.  The anthology, From a Speaking Place, which I edited along with Réjean Beaudoin, Susan Fisher, Iain Higgins, Eva-Marie Kröller, and Laurie Ricou, collects essays and reviews from Canadian Literature.  I admired Ron’s independence, appreciated his patience, and was stirred by his commitment to the world in which we live.  What a remarkable contribution he made to life, letters, and thought in British Columbia. He is already much missed. –William H. New

We’d also like to invite you to read “A Life of Letters and Mountains,” by Ronald’s grandson Forrest Berman-Hatch.



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:

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, or the special issue guest editors, Max Karpinski ( and Melanie Dennis Unrau (, 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 General questions about the special issue may be directed to


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,


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.