All posts filed under: Editorials

Italics Will Never Love You

Italics Will Never Love You By J.D. Mersault Part One: Interior Monologue   Grammar is a subject about which it is easy to be pedantic, especially for those of us who study or produce literature. These days it comes with the territory—it’s difficult to get through one of the brick-like, doorstop novels of the post-modern canon without being able to navigate the minefield of grammatical style within, not to mention the similar feat required if you want to write one yourself for some reason.  Yet when the craft of writing seems to count for less and less each day in the face of declining publisher revenues, disturbing global political trends, and the omnipresent twitter bot, a nitpicky focus on grammar could be seen as at best gauche and at worst distracting. Nowadays, even mentioning the proper position of a comma, semicolon, or apostrophe outside of the lecture hall or editorial meeting is the fastest way to roll an eye. And do you think Tao Lin cares, between taking hits of acid at his New York …

Writing for Performance

What I learned about performing from Ivan Coyote: Ryan and I attended the Wordfest Workshop: “Writing for Performance with Ivan Coyote” back in October 2014. Ivan is one of Ryan’s favourite performing artists, so as soon as we realized that Thomas King and Ivan Coyote would be in Banff Friday night and Saturday afternoon respectively, there was no discussion as to what we would be doing that weekend. Full disclosure: I’m a social klutz. The thought of speaking in front of a crowd doesn’t actually scare me like it once did, but I bumble like I’m twelve years old none-the-less. I remember being terrified when I had to participate in a mock parliamentary debate in high school. I nailed my argument in a way no one else had but I shook the whole time. It’s frustrating to be so confident and still trip over my own tongue, or worse, to have my systematic mind start circling mid-sentence (think of standing in a circle of people at a party, arguing with yourself under your breath, when …

Fourty-Four Fragments

Press Release: “Forty-Four Fragments is a durational writing project done alongside Wreck City: Demo Tape in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. All entries are written by the author, J.D. Mersault. Part aesthetic philosophy, part comedy, part love story, Forty-Four Fragments for a Car Wash is an epistolary novel written in the empty parking lot of a pre-demolition building. Through the fragments, the book follows the life of a narrator obsessed with sexuality, repetition, isolation, and the great abandoned car wash of all things: other people.

In Defence of Meaning

Richard Harrison (February 3, 2010) Last November’s much anticipated Cage Match at Mount Royal University promised us Christian Bök and Carmine Starnino – poets with opposing views of poetry in general, and each other’s poetry in particular – letting their arguments fly in front of a live studio audience. (You can find the recorded event, courtesy of Kit Dobson, the Match’s moderator, at http://www.vimeo.com/7963755.) Though the issue between the two writers was framed in the form of The Avant-Garde vs The Tradition, or Experimentalism vs Mainstream Poetry, the question at the core of their debate as it developed might be unpacked as this: which approach produces poetry that does today what poetry ought to do – show the present to itself as it is, represent the future of poetry as it will be, and offer, implicitly or explicitly, the standards by which any work, past, present or future, is to be judged poetry at all – and, if poetry, poetry worth following. As is almost always true of such staged debates, much was said. And much …

Poetry, Prose, and the Sexual Metaphor

On September 12, The Under Western Skies conference wrapped up in Calgary with a moving keynote address by David Schindler. If you don’t know his work, I’d recommend you look him up. The week of keynotes, panels, and discussion hit on many topics that are dear to my heart and my politics. Despite the great variety of sessions I attended I keep going back to one in particular, “The Earth Works Like a Poem.” Maybe it’s my writing background or maybe it’s because the panel was made up of poets I know and respect but, it got me thinking. Or to be more specific, a question posed by Weyman Chan, a Calgary poet, got me thinking. Weyman asked the audience, “why read poetry?” As a fiction writer who dabbles more and more in poetry and as a fiction reader who loves to get lost in the larger world of the Novel, I had to really think on this. Why do I read poetry? And why are there times when I feel that the poem is …