Reintroducing Tish’s Shitty Issues: Social Deviations, Radical Feminisms, and Queer Failures in Tish 20–E


This essay produces a queer examination of Vancouver’s poetry newsletter Tish. Although narratives and scholarship of Tish have predominantly valorized the experiences of the first male editors and continue to commemorate their efforts (e.g. Davey’s When Tish Happens and Wah’s Permissions: TISH Poetics 1963 Thereafter), this article challenges this trend that dismisses later Tish issues and marks them as failures. Specifically, by engaging with Sarah Ahmed’s and Jack Halberstam’s studies between failure and social spaces and art failure, respectively, I argue that Tish’s later issues (20-E [45]) deviated from the first nineteen issues’ masculinist social relations and ideology by including more marginalized people’s voices, such as women’s and gay men’s works. I demonstrate how the second phase addressed the first phase’s erasure of women, the third phase published radical feminist poetry, and the fourth phase published gay poetry. However, these phases were limited by the first phase’s androcentricism. Instead of disqualifying its later issues, this article’s alternate socio-cultural history of Tish challenges a limited and heteronormative perspective of Vancouver’s poetry newsletter to demonstrate the contributions of women and gay men that have previously been disqualified.

This article “Reintroducing Tish’s Shitty Issues: Social Deviations, Radical Feminisms, and Queer Failures in Tish 20–E” originally appeared in Concepts of Vancouver: Poetics, Art, Media Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 235 (Winter 2017): 34-48.

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