New Issue: Emerging Scholars, Redux #242

March 18, 2021

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 242, Emerging Scholars, Redux. Christine Kim writes in her editorial:

Over the past few years, there have been many debates in Canadian literature about the continued marginalization of BIPOC, LGBTQI, and female voices. These questions about power, and perhaps more importantly about empowerment, have continued to demand our attention during these pandemic times. I am interested in looking closely at the multiplicity of emerging voices and forces and asking how they capture the attention of various audiences. Or to put it another way, how do the emergent and its readers come to form a structure of feeling? And for whom? This question of emergent intimacies is especially pertinent given how the imbalances of social power have become even more pronounced over the past year.

– Christine Kim, “On Feeling History and Emerging Otherwise

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Shannon Claire Toll, Orly Lael Netzer, Geoffrey Nilson, and Charlotte Comtois.
  • An Interview with Fred Wah by Nicholas Bradley.
  • A Forum on Souvankham Thammavongsa’s work by Vinh Nguyen, Beth Follett, Anjula Gogia, Bryan Thao Worra, Candida Rifkind, Joanne Leow, Warren Heiti, Guy Beauregard, Denise Cruz, Y-Dang Troeung, and Souvankham Thammavongsa.
  • Poetry by Kevin Spenst, Isabella Wang, Fred Wah, Jillian Christmas, John Barton, Yuan Changmin, Bill Howell, Jen Currin, Kenneth Sherman, and Camille Lendor.
  • Reviews by Cornel Bogle, Nicholas Bradley, Julie Cairnie, Alessandra Capperdoni, Sunny Chan, Patricia Demers, Shoshannah Ganz, Dorothy F. Lane, Christine Lorre-Johnston, Andrea MacPherson, Krzysztof Majer, Dougal McNeill, Neil Surkan, Hilary Turner, Tracy Whalen, and Lorraine York.

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

Seasons Greetings

December 24, 2020

Happy holidays from Canadian Literature! We hope to see you in 2021 

Verse Forward: Poetry on the Frontlines: Author Spotlight—Jillian Christmas

November 24, 2020

Jillian Christmas is a queer, afro-Caribbean writer living on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam people (Vancouver, BC). She has won numerous poetry titles, notably breaking ground as the first Canadian to perform on the final stage of the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Jillian has presented poetry and theory in a multitude of venues. She is the author of The Gospel of Breaking (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020).

Come hear Jillian Christmas speak on November 25, 2020 at 7:00p.m. (PST) at the inaugural event of Canadian Literature’s new reading series, “Verse Forward: Poetry on the Front Line.” Register here!

Verse Forward: Poetry on the Frontlines: Author Spotlight—Fred Wah

November 17, 2020

BC poet Fred Wah’s most recent project is Music at the Heart of Thinking: Improvisations 1-170, published by Talonbooks in 2020. Also recently, he has published a collaboration with Rita Wong about the Columbia River, beholden: a poem as long as the river (Talonbooks, 2019), and contributed to the collaboratively created interactive website High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese, An Interactive Poem ( He lives in Vancouver and on Kootenay Lake.

Come hear Fred Wah speak on November 25, 2020 at 7:00p.m. (PST) at the inaugural event of Canadian Literature’s new reading series, “Verse Forward: Poetry on the Front Line.” Register here!

Verse Forward: Poetry on the Frontlines: Author Spotlight—Isabella Wang

November 10, 2020

Isabella Wang is the author of two poetry collections, On Forgetting a Language (Baseline Press, 2019) and Pebble Swing (Nightwood Editions, forthcoming 2021). Her poetry and prose have appeared in over thirty literary journals and are forthcoming in four anthologies. She is the Editor for issue 44.2 of Room magazine.

Come hear Isabella Wang speak on November 25, 2020 at 7:00p.m. (PST) at the inaugural event of Canadian Literature’s new reading series, “Verse Forward: Poetry on the Front Line.” Register here!

Verse Forward: Poetry on the Frontlines: Author Spotlight–Kevin Spenst

November 3, 2020

Kevin Spenst is the author of IgniteJabbering with Bing Bong, and Hearts Amok: A Memoir in Verse (Anvil Press) as well as over a dozen chapbooks. He teaches Creative Writing at Vancouver Community College and lives in Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish territory with the love of his life Shauna Kaendo.

Come hear Kevin Spenst speak on November 25, 2020 at 7:00p.m. (PST) at the inaugural event of Canadian Literature‘s new reading series, “Verse Forward: Poetry on the Front Lines.” Register here!

Verse Forward: Poetry on the Frontlines

October 23, 2020

Join us for the launch of “Verse Forward: Poetry on the Front Line,” a new reading series hosted by Canadian Literature. For more than six decades, the value of creative voices and publishing original poetry have been central to the journal’s critical discourse and deep commitment to Canadian writing. In the context of a global pandemic in which our various publics are at once physically distanced and virtually linked, the separation of our familiar literary communities prompts alternative connectivities and new ways of speaking creatively and critically together. What part can poetry play in articulating the complexities of our conditions in a world that appears to be transforming both too much and not enough? The “Verse Forward” reading series seeks to sustain literary community by amplifying Canadian poetry’s ongoing vitality on the front lines as we interrogate and imagine anew the conditions and locations we inhabit. The inaugural event in the series features a diverse panel of both established and emerging voices speaking on themes of home, race, identity, and the environments we live in. The original poems presented at the reading will be published in an upcoming issue of Canadian Literature.

This event will be hosted on Zoom and is free and open to all. Readings from the four speakers will be followed by an interactive audience Q&A. Registration is required to access the virtual meeting. Registration link provided below.

All registered audience members will be entered into a draw to win a free one-year subscription to Canadian Literature.

Poet Panelists

  • Fred Wah
  • Kevin Spenst
  • Isabella Wang
  • Jillian Christmas

Phinder Dulai (emcee)

Event Info

  • Date: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020
  • Time: 7:00-8:30pm (PST/Pacific Standard Time)
  • Location: (Link TBA)
  • (please register at

This virtual event will be hosted by Canadian Literature, located at UBC on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam people.

Contact for inquiries.

Farewell & Welcome

October 14, 2020

On July 2, 2020, Christine Kim officially became the new editor of Canadian Literature. We look forward to the new directions the journal will be taking under her guidance over the next five years, and congratulate her once more on the appointment. Welcome to our new editor, Christine Kim!

Christine follows in the footsteps of Laura Moss. In July of this year, Laura finalized seventeen years of relentless dedication to the work of Canadian Literature–eleven years as reviews editor and six-and-a-half years as acting editor and then editor in chief. In her final editorial for the journal, “111 Days of COVID and Reading,” she writes about her last day at the office:

And now I am done. I have such mixed emotions: grateful to have had the opportunity to work on such a publication for so long, very proud of the work we accomplished, sad to be    leaving the CL team, ready to move on, relieved not to have the weight on my shoulders, nostalgic already. All good things, etc. Bye CanLit.

We at the journal could not be more grateful to Laura for all she has done to keep our publication running. Now acting as Associate Dean of Students in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia, we wish her the best in all her future endeavours. Goodbye Laura, you will be missed.

Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “The Vietnam War and its Afterlife in Canadian Literature”

October 9, 2020

Canadian Literature seeks contributions for a guest-edited special issue on “the Vietnam War and its Afterlife in Canadian Literature.” As a descriptor, “the Vietnam War” signifies differently across spatial, temporal, and geographical boundaries. Some of its variants, metonymies, proxies, “sideshows,” and “postscripts” include: the American War in Vietnam, the Second Indochina War, the Cold War in Southeast Asia, the Secret War in Laos, the U.S. bombing of Cambodia, and the Cambodian Genocide. Collectively, these asymmetrical wars of empire contributed to the suffering of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Hmong people on a scale that Michel Foucault described in 1979 as “unprecedented in modern history.” These wars also disproportionately enlisted the labour of Black, Indigenous, and brown bodies to fight on the frontlines of the war in the name of securing the extractive economies of Southeast Asia for U.S.-led global capitalism.

Duffin’s Donuts in Vancouver, BC, run by former Cambodian refugees.

Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam War was marked by both complicity with and resistance to empire. On the one hand, Canada sent thousands of troops to Southeast Asia, provided the U.S. military with war material, and allowed the testing of chemical weapons on indigenous lands in Canada. On the other hand, Canada offered sanctuary to 30,000 U.S. war resisters and 60,000 Southeast Asian refugees, more refugees per capita than any other nation in the world. At local levels, Canadian groups mobilized in support of Southeast Asian refugees (e.g. Operation Lifeline) while others (the majority of the Canadian public polled at the time) were against the government’s asylum policies.

How might we begin to reconcile Canada’s humanitarian image of benevolence with its complicitous actions? How do the literary and cultural works that have been routed through Canada—including Denise Chong’s The Girl in the Picture, Kim Thuy’s Ru, Vincent Lam’s The Headmaster’s Wager, Madeleine Thien’s Dogs at the Perimeter, Dionne Brand’s What we All Long For, Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists, Philip Huynh’s The Forbidden Purple City, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s All the Broken Things, Tian Veasna’s Year of the Rabbit, Greg Santos’s Ghost Face, FONKi’s The Roots Remain, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn’s The Making of an Archive, and Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife, among others—engage with the recurring presence of the Vietnam War and its afterlife? To what extent does the Vietnam War as an imperial formation offer possibilities for rethinking the paradigm of Canadian literature as a field? How might this rethinking coalesce alongside contemporary movements in Asian, Black and Indigenous studies in Canada?

In particular, the journal welcomes bipoc, de-colonial, feminist, queer, trans, transpacific, and/or critical refugee studies approaches. Essays and contributions that blend the creative and the critical, as well as the theoretical and the autotheoretical, are welcomed and encouraged. Contributions need not be limited to the study of “literature” in its conventional sense.

Possible essay topics may include, but are not limited to, the following as they intersect with the theme of the Vietnam War and its Afterlife in Canadian Literature, broadly conceived:

  • The Vietnam War (or variant) as an unsettling method or analytic
  • Southeast Asian refugee memories, lifeworlds, and knowledges
  • Black / Indigenous / Asian formations of the Vietnam War
  • Soldiering, empire, and Canada as “minor empire”
  • Militarism, slow violence, and ecological aftermaths
  • Sponsorship, humanitarianism, and humanitarian violence
  • Canadian civility, complicity, and “quiet complicity”
  • Migrant affects: gratitude, anger, empathy, apathy
  • Aesthetics, form, multimedia, and art
  • Narratives of “good” and “bad” refugees
  • Resettlement in the rural versus the urban
  • French Indochina-Quebecois-Canada triangulations
  • Parallel imperial formations (e.g. wars in Korea, Lebanon, Somalia, Syria)
  • Refugee routes via militarized spaces (e.g. camps in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Canadian bases)
  • Spaces of refuge and carcerality: boat, camp, asylum, prison, deportspora
  • Sanctuary in relation to health, disability, and neurodiversity
  • Refugee patriots and complicities
  • Military industrial complex and war machines
  • Food cultures, memory, and community
  • Anti-racist, anti-colonial, bipoc solidarities and futures

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 7,000-8,000 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 community. Please feel free to contact the journal editor, Christine Kim, at, or the special issue guest editor, Y-Dang Troeung, at, to discuss ideas ahead of time. Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of February 28, 2021. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at General questions about the special issue may be directed to

New Issue: Reading, Writing, Listening #241

September 29, 2020

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 241, Reading, Writing, Listening. Laura Moss writes in her last editorial:

I know that I am living, today, at an important moment in history and so it seems imperative to share even the small stories for posterity. I think as scholars, mentors, teachers, and parents, much of the past three months has been about being open with our vulnerabilities and insecurities because there’s been a kind of solidarity in that—with students, colleagues, friends, and family—letting down the facade of being a composed professional and just being real in our community support. I admit too that keeping reading notes for this editorial served as a kind of coping mechanism for me over the months. I did not plan for forage, “Unless the Eye Catch Fire,” The Collected Poems of Bronwen Wallace, The Black Prairie Archives, or Little Blue Encyclopedia (For Vivian) to be the books that sustained me through a lockdown, but they did.

– Laura Moss, “111 Days of COVID and Reading

This issue also features:

  • Articles by Emilie Sarah Caravecchia, Kristina Getz, Bronwyn Malloy, Dale Tracy, Helena Van Praet, and Sam Weselowski.
  • Poetry by Mark Cochrane, Chelsea Coupal, Joanne Epp, Frank Klasssen, Michael Lithgow, Stan Rogal, Jade Wallace, and Tom Wayman.
  • Reviews by Zachary Abram, Lisa Banks, Laura Cameron, Sunny Chan, Ryan J. Cox, Melanie Dennis Unrau, James Gifford, Julian Gunn, Heidi Tiedemann Darroch, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Carla Harrison, Ceilidh Hart, David Huebert, Scott Inniss, Suzanne James, Sarah-Jean Krahn, Dorothy F. Lane, Angelika Maeser Lemieux, Stephanie L. Lu, Krzysztof Majer, Hannah McGregor, Katherine McLeod, Geordie Miller, Catherine Owen, Neil Querengesser, Dani Spinosa, Robert Thacker, Dale Tracy, Sylvie Vranckx, Paul Watkins, and Carl Watts.

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