Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy Holidays!

The Fiddlehead office is closing for the holiday season.

On behalf of the editors and staff, we wish you safe and happy holidays. And we wish you all the best for 2015!


Monday, December 1, 2014

An Interview with Charlie Fiset, contributor to Fiddlehead 261 (Autumn 2014)

No. 261, Autumn 2014
The Autumn 2014 issue of The Fiddlehead, No. 261, features a story by UNB Alumni, and current student, Charlie Fiset. This story, entitled “Maggie’s Farm,” is a fictitious account based on Fiset’s own European travels, imbued with a Greek mythological theme drawn from Homer’s Odyssey. This story was originally part of Fiset’s creative thesis for her MA in Creative Writing.

Charlie Fiset is now in her first year of PhD studies at UNB. Originally from Kirkland Lake in northern Ontario, she has her undergrad degree in Classics and English from Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario. “Maggie’s Farm” is her first publication, but she has another story upcoming in The Fiddlehead's summer 2015 fiction issue. That story is about gold-mining and Persephone’s katabasis to the Underworld.

Fiset was kind enough to offer some insight into “Maggie’s Farm” and her creative process, in response to the following questions.

Greg Brown
Editorial Assistant
The Fiddlehead

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Greg Brown: What types of stories or works do you like to read, and which ones inspire you? 

Charlie Fiset: I love epic poems, Ernest Hemingway, and Flannery O’Connor.

GB: What types of stories do you like to write?

CF: Long-short ones!

GB: Does your current dissertation inform your writing at all? And if so, in what way?

CF: My dissertation will be a comparative study of epiphany in the epics of Pound, H.D., and Eliot. I find modern epicists interesting because of the manner in which they consider the history of knowledge; in studying modern epics you’re able to study particular vantages on epistemology since the time of Homer. Pound begins The Cantos in medias res, when Odysseus and his shipmates are leaving Circe’s island. This modernist refiguring of The Odyssey inspired me to refigure my own experiences in an Odyssean frame. I got the idea from Dr. Demetres Tryphonopoulos’ study of The Cantos called The Celestial Tradition.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

UNB Reading Series: Michael Crummey Reads on November 25! And more!

The University of New Brunswick invites you to a public reading by award-winning Newfoundland author, Michael Crummey! Join us on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 8:00pm in Tilley Hall 102 (Bailey Auditorium) on the UNB Fredericton campus.

Michael Crummey is an accomplished author who grew up in Wabush, Labrador. He has published several books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Hard Light, River Thieves, and Galore. His most recent novel, Sweetland, was shortlisted for the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award; it tells the story of Moses Sweetland—a resident of a small island off the coast of Newfoundland that shares his family name — who fakes his own death in order to avoid forced resettlement by the Newfoundland government. Sweetland is described in the National Post as having a “focus on a contemporary story, imbuing it with the force and weight of history and myth.”

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Catching up on some local news . . . Fiddlehead fiction editor Mark Jarman, who has a new book forthcoming with Goose Lane Editions in 2015, recently read excerpts at two Goose Lane 60th anniversary parties in Fredericton and Toronto. You can read a roundup of the Toronto celebration at Descant's blog! And you can check out some of his work at Numéro Cinq.

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And Qwerty, UNB's graduate student magazine, is launching its issue 32, on Thursday, November 26th at 7pm in Fredericton's Wilser's Room, 366 Queen Street.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Autumn Issue is Out!

The Fiddlehead no. 261 (Autumn 2014)
The Fiddlehead's autumn issue is now on its journey to subscribers' mailboxes and available at newsstands across the country. Visit our website now for a glimpse at the table of contents and a few excerpts from the issue.

As you can see by our cover image, we're celebrating Alistair MacLeod. We've republished "The Vastness of the Dark," his second-ever published story, which appeared in The Fiddlehead back in 1971. It is republished with the permission of Penguin Random House.

In this issue you will find tributes to Alistair MacLeod from editor Ross Leckie, fiction co-editor Mark Anthony Jarman, and friends Douglas Gibson and D.R. MacDonald. You will also find the best poetry and fiction we could find: Stephanie Yorke, Brian Bartlett, Richard Cumyn, Catherine Graham, and Kerry-Lee Powell to name only a few!

Congratulations to another of our contributors to this issue, Michael Prior, who has just won The Walrus poetry prize!

In other contributor news, congratulations to Anne Compton, most recently featured in our Summer Poetry issue (no. 260). Anne has just been awarded New Brunswick's 2014 Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievement in English Language Literary Arts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One Month Left to Submit to The Fiddlehead's 24th Annual Contest

We don't want to scare you (although it is almost Halloween!), but there is just over one month left to submit to The Fiddlehead's 24th Annual Contest. Full details are on our website, but here are the important ones:

The contest deadline is December 1, 2014 (postmarked).

There are two categories, short fiction and poetry.

The winning entries in each category take home $2000 + publication payment ($40/page).

There are two honourable mentions in each category — each win $250 each + publication payment ($40/page).

The total of all prizes equals $5000!

The winning entries will be published in next Spring's issue, no. 263.

You receive a subscription to The Fiddlehead just for entering!

The fiction judge is Craig Davidson.

The poetry judges are Jeremy Dodds, Danny Jacobs, and Sina Queyras.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two more readings in Fredericton this week: Qwerty Reads and Greg Bechtel

On Thursday, October 23, Qwerty, the UNB graduate student literary journal, hosts this year's first edition of QWERTY READS. We will be featuring the talent of UNB's English and Creative writing program, along with the book launch of Claire Kelly's poetry collection, Ur-Moth.

Come to the Wilser's Room of The Capital Complex at 7PM to enjoy the cash bar and plenty of time to socialize throughout the night. Here are this month's readers:

Reid Lodge
Michael Meagher
Clair Kelly

Invite your friends! We hope to see you all at the event.

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The University of New Brunswick invites you to a free public reading by UNB alumnus Greg Bechtel! We hope you will join us on Friday, October 24th, at 8:00pm at the Alumni Lounge in UNB Fredericton’s Alumni Memorial Building.

Greg Bechtel graduated from UNB in 2004 with an MA in English (Creative Writing) and is very excited to return to Fredericton to read from his first book, Boundary Problems, which was published earlier this year by Freehand Books. UNB professor Mark Jarman describes Bechtel’s book as “a chaotic collection with comic touches, a paranoid Pynchonesque mix-tape of hosers and hipster cafes, office jobs and summer camp confessions, lit theory and online porn. Boundary problems? No problem for Greg Bechtel; his debut is wild, sly, and magnetic.” We look forward to seeing you at this reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Readings in Fredericton this Week: Brian Bartlett, Ann Eriksson, and Gary Geddes

Brain Bartlett reads at UNB on Tuesday evening, and Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes read at Westminster Books on Wednesday evening.

The University of New Brunswick invites you to a public reading by award-winning poet Brian Bartlett! Join us on Tuesday, October 14th, at 8:00pm at the Alumni Lounge in UNB Fredericton’s Alumni Memorial Building.

Brian Bartlett is currently a Professor of English at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, but grew up in New Brunswick and completed his first degree at UNB. He is the author of seven collections and five chapbooks of poetry, and is also the editor of several other works of prose and poetry. Bartlett’s newest book, Ringing Here and There: A Nature Calendar, is his first published book of prose; it presents a full year of daily journals speaking to the human connection to the natural world.

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British Columbia-based authors Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes are embarking on a cross-Canada book tour this fall, covering over twenty-five stops from B.C. to the Maritimes in two months. Join the authors for an evening of fiction and poetry in Fredericton, as they read at Westminster Books (445 King Street) on Wednesday, October 15 at 7pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Both members of this impressive husband-and-wife team have released new books this year. Eriksson’s High Clear Bell of Morning (Douglas & McIntyre, $22.95) is an elegant, affecting novel about a family struggling to cope when the daughter, Ruby, develops schizophrenia. The book also draws on environmental themes through the character of Ruby’s father, a marine biologist studying the mysterious death of a killer whale on our west coast. Geddes’ What Does a House Want? (Red Hen Press, $19.95) is a collection of selected poems from his highly acclaimed poetic career.

Ann Eriksson is the author of three previous novels: Decomposing Maggie (Turnstone, 2003), In the Hands of Anubis (Brindle & Glass, 2009) and Falling From Grace (Brindle & Glass, 2011), which was awarded a silver medal in the 2011 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Eriksson is a biologist and a founding director of the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy. For more info, go to: www.anneriksson.ca.

Gary Geddes has written and edited more than forty books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, criticism, translation, and anthologies, and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

This reading event is made possible with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. For more information, contact Westminster Books at 506-454-1442 or info@westminsterbooks.com.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fiddlehead Contributors, Clea Young and Michelle Butler Hallett, Enjoy Success

Clea Young
Congratulations to Clea Young, who is one of the finalists for this year's Journey Prize! Clea's story, "Juvenile," appeared in last year's Summer Fiction issue, no. 256.

The Journey Prize anthology, which also features "Downturn" by Fiddlehead contributor Jeremy Lanaway, is now available in book stores and online. The two other finalists are Tyler Keevil (The New Orphic Review) and Lori McNulty (Descant). The winner will be announced on November 4. Good luck Clea!

Another anthology just released featuring a Fiddlehead contributor is the Best American Mystery Stories 2014. Michelle Butler Hallett's story "Bush-Hammer Finish," which appeared in last fall's no. 257, is featured along with works by Annie Proulx, Joseph Heller, and Russell Banks. Humber College has a great story on their website.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Upcoming Events: UNB Poetry Weekend & WFNB WordTravels

The University of New Brunswick invites you to our annual celebration of Canadian poetry, Poetry Weekend! Join us on Saturday and Sunday, October 4th and 5th, at 11am, 2pm, and 8pm at UNB Fredericton’s Memorial Hall for a series of readings by Canadian poets and authors. Featured guests this year include: Don McKay, Stevie Howell, James Arthur, Robin Richardson, Linda Besner, Rob Winger, Travis Lane, David Seymour, Jeffery Donaldson, as well as many others!

Poetry weekend is presented by the Canada Council for the Arts, the League of Canadian Poets, the Writers’ Union of Canada, the UNB Department of English, the UNB Bookstore, The Fiddlehead, Icehouse (Goose Lane) Poetry, Biblioasis, and the Porcupine’s Quill.

Admission to Poetry Weekend is free and anyone is welcome to attend. We look forward to having you join us at one of our most exciting events of the year!

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Writer's Federation of New Brunswick presents inaugural WordTravels in Florenceville-Bristol featuring Nancy Bauer, John Barton
September 22 event features workshops, art exhibit, poetry, theatre, music & more

Nancy Bauer, author, founding member and honourary president of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB), will join Malahat Review editor John Barton as guest presenters at the inaugural WordTravels in northern Carleton County, Saturday, September 27, which will also feature an art exhibit by Aunty Political, book launch, readings and music. WordTravels is a new outreach initiative of WFNB, to provide writers in non-urban communities with learning and networking opportunities, with Canada Council assistance.  

The September 27 event leads off a series of events that will take place throughout the Province and will pair authors from outside and within NB to share and showcase Canada’s rich literary tradition and talent. A second full-day get-together will take place in Shediac on October 2, as Barton, former writer in residence at the Saskatoon Public Library and at the University of New Brunswick, continues his New Brunswick tour in support of the Province’s writing community. For the first two events, the featured NB authors are Ann Brennan, author of The Real Klondike Kate, The Hawthorn Bush, as well as several collections of poetry, and poet Rose Deprés, a literary mentor and creator. She is also an accredited translator, musician, spokesperson, dancer, actress, artistic and literary director as well as a teacher and yoga instructor. 

Cost for each workshop is $20 and can be paid at the door. For more information and to pre-register, email WFNB’s executive director Warren Maddox, at info@wfnb.ca or telephone (506) 260-3564.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UNB's New Writer-in-Residence Jeramy Dodds to Read Thursday, September 8

The University of New Brunswick would like to invite you to a reading from our new Writer-In-Residence, Jeramy Dodds, on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 8:00pm in Memorial Hall on the Fredericton campus.

Originally from Ajax, Ontario, Jeramy Dodds is a poet, translator, and editor and a graduate of Trent University and the University of Iceland. Called “a landmark of Canadian poetry,” Jeramy’s debut poetry collection Crabwise to the Hounds was a winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. His recent translation of The Poetic Edda promises to capture the imagination with his careful attention to the details of these vivid Norse and Icelandic myths.

Please join us for a night of imagery and inventiveness as we share our excitement in welcoming Jeramy Dodds!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cultural Stoicism & Atlantic Canadian Vernacular: Phillip Crymble reviews Carmelita McGrath’s Escape Velocity

Having reviewed Danielle Devereux’s Cardiogram for The Fiddlehead blog in 2012, I was reminded, in reading through Escape Velocity, of the cultural and aural vernacular that’s so much a part of the literary geography of Newfoundland. The trick, I think, with any brogue, is to try and do it justice without putting the idiomatic  phrases and language used in jeopardy of being considered a caricature. McGrath deftly straddles the line in this new collection, and her ability to recognize and resist the impulse to essentially reduce native Newfoundlanders to a comic commodity through exaggerated dialect is one of the book’s great achievements. Despite the fact that he was a Maritimes mainlander, Alden Nowlan also had a highly nuanced appreciation of Celtic-influenced Atlantic Canadian speech patterns, in all likelihood because of the impoverished circumstances of his youth, and the vernacular of the Maritime underclasses he was immersed in. “The Red Wool Shirt,” for instance, in which a fisherman’s wife is surprised by a family friend’s sudden news “It’s bad, Mary”, demonstrates his acute understanding of not only the rhythms and rhetorical singularity of this peculiar dialect, but the cultural stoicism that accompanies it. How different, ultimately, are the woman in Nowlan’s poem, who finishes hanging her husband’s shirt on the line before asking “Charlie, it’s not / both of them [?]” and the speaker in McGrath’s “Old Crooked Fellow,” who remarks of her companion, “Now he’s gone. She’s better off. She gets more done. She don’t miss / him”?

In each of these poems, and for that matter, in poems from Danielle Devereaux’s chapbook like “Mainland Man,” we get the impression that we’re being met with something authentic, something similar to the stress-laden utterances of the “big-voiced scullions” of Seamus Heaney’s youth discussed in the introduction to his Beowulf translation. When reading through “Old Crooked Fellow,” for instance, it’s hard not to think of Dan Taggert in “The Early Purges,” from Death of a Naturalist, and his Ulster-inflected insistence “Sure isn’t it better for them now” in reference to the kittens he’s just drowned in a bucket. Both poems employ cats as subjects in unusual ways, but again, it’s the stoicism we encounter as an almost inseparable companion to the related dialects that’s the true crux of these poems. Just as Heaney’s youthful speaker tries to convince himself that such lessons are crucial to his own emotional survival, the same can be said of the woman in Nowlan’s poem, or McGrath’s speaker in “Crooked Old Fellow,” and her attempt to deceive herself into believing that the cat’s disappearance from her life is welcome.

What we also encounter in McGrath’s collection is a kind of poetry that reads as almost entirely contrary to the earthy, vernacular-driven narratives she does so well. Poems like “Interstice,” “Dispersals,” and “Unsent Letter #5” are as restrained, accomplished, and high-mindedly literary as what we’re accustomed to encountering in the work of our most celebrated academic lyricists. Demonstrating that she is as adept at turning artful and intricate phrases as she is at accurately capturing the native speech patterns of her tribe, McGrath blindsides those new to her work with meditations like “as if absence / itself were a force of permanence,” or, in the same poem, her description of a suddenly vanished clapboard derelict:

Then, one day, gone, not even skeletal evidence
to frame the sky, not even a scattered
old board on the new, tidy driveway,
rolled gravel where the tangle
of goldenrod and aster had drifted
above a well-worn path.

In “Unsent letter #5,” too, we’re met with similarly adorned phrasing that is both elegant and precise: “Stillness for the first time in days; something bronzed / and grey and made of light has laid an overlay / on the maples and the rowan trees.” She does slip into sentimentality on occasion while in this mode (“Light: Variations” comes to mind), but that McGrath is as comfortable and skilled at the high-artifice of lyric poesy as she is at accurately rendering the idioms and cultural sensibilities of native Newfoundlanders really separates her as a pioneering Canadian talent in this respect. And as Danielle Devereaux’s collection clearly demonstrates, there are others as well who are determined to follow in her path.

Phillip Crymble is The Fiddlehead's Poetry Co-editor

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our 2014 Summer Poetry Issue is Out!

You are never old, fair friends, our readers, as long as summer’s near. If poems appear as naturally as leaves unfurl on trees, then let the leaves of this our summer issue unfurl easily in your hands. If winter is the time for vistas, if from the warmth of your home you can see through the bare sticks of winter trees, then summer is intimate, as leaves fold over and against windows. Some poems like this intimacy, speaking the lassitude of a copse or grove. But, hey, it’s summer! Play ball! Home run! Head for the beach, the lake, the ocean’s curling surf, the sidewalk bistro, the ice cream parlour, the lettuce-crisp air conditioning of the Cineplex. That’s where some of these poems have gone. It’s the summer poetry issue!

We celebrate this summer with two special sections dedicated to the magnificent poets Travis Lane and Rae Armantrout. Travis is close to our heart; she has given her head and hands to The Fiddlehead for so many years now. She lives right here in Fredericton and drops in to say hello, to pick up books for review, never afraid to encourage or prune as she sees fit. She has lent her gorgeous poems to us in many issues. If you have overlooked Travis Lane, here is the opportunity to peruse her work and marvel, in this selection so carefully tended and introduced by Shane Neilson.

One day, a student came into my office and said, “my favorite poet is Rae Armantrout.” And it seemed perfect. I recalled a winter at Arizona State reading her poetry assiduously, amazed by her sly and spooky juxtapositions and resonances. I recruited Rebecca Salazar, and we spent afternoons in a café talking, thinking aloud, laughing, debating, and puzzling over how to select what seemed to us to be the too few poems that would represent Rae Armantrout. Rae has given us new poems, and Rebecca and I have selected writing from across her career to introduce Rae’s poetry to Canadian readers unfamiliar with her, and to present the dynamic range of her melodies to those who already love her work.

The purpose of these retrospectives has been to place the best of international authors in the context of Canadian poetry, though this year for the first time we present Travis Lane, who came from the U. S. to become one of our most treasured Canadian poets. But it wouldn’t be The Fiddlehead if we didn’t present these poets together with some of the finest new poets, poets who have yet to publish a book or have just published their first or second. Pay close attention to the inventiveness and surprise of Richard Kelly Kemick, Jenny Haysom, Cassidy McFadzean, Nyla Matuk, Kayla Czaga, Michael Pacey, Shoshanna Wingate, Bren Simmers, and Steve Tomasko.

We are in a poetry renaissance in Canada at the moment, recorded in the explosion of poetry in so many directions at once, scattering its exquisite debris all over the place. The Fiddlehead summer issue cannot sort out all of the pieces, but an impression of the different trajectories can be found in the work of Sina Queyras, Patricia Young, matt robinson, Miranda Pearson, Jan Conn, Jan Zwicky, Stephanie Bolster, Anne Compton, Robyn Sarah, A.F. Moritz, Patrick Warner, and Shane Neilson.

You never grow old, friends in poetry. I know it is but summer poetry, yet it will remain in the full four seasons of your heart.

Ross Leckie
Editor

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day on Salamis’ Seacoasts: Eric Miller Reviews Emery George's translation of Frederich Hölderlin's Selected Poems

Friedrich Hölderlin, Selected Poems, introduced, edited and translated by Emery George. Princeton: Kylix, 2011. 963 pages. Hardcover.

Reviewed by Eric Miller

1. Nobility

What is “nobility”? In a society, such as ours, that makes a fretful, often duplicitous, yet admirable pretence to democratic practice, the word may seem insistently, even discouragingly, to flaunt a feudal livery, contaminating all the situations into which we import it with the ghost of a titular presumption over the rest of society: an intractable case of most ancient bloodlines. But the origins of the word “noble” offer a means by which to parry, even to disarm, such narrow atavism. “Noble,” like “nobility,” derives from the same root as “gnosis”—“knowing”. When therefore we call a work of literature “noble,” we may address kinds of knowledge. We may designate not what literature knows, but how it knows: or—better—the specific knowledge that literature, only this literature, can both comprise and produce. Then much knowledge is not of some thing, some circumstance, or some fact. Literary knowledge often concentrates or, rather, dilates—as birdsong, that world-building music, also does—into a case of authoritative tone. Can literary tone be properly “noble”? Must nobility be banality, “fine ideas,” inelastic adherence to a stately elevation? I think not: the work of the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) makes me think not. It is true that to invoke knowledge or “gnosis,” as I do above, already reinstates, in some measure, it must be conceded, the idea of an elect: an elect of knowers. Election is choosing. What could we choose to know? These questions, as they stand, are too broad: and, to modify or retract my earlier assertion, do require the focus of an instance, a thing, a circumstance, a fact. Herodotus and Plutarch provide coordinates for a theory of knowledge, as ironic as it is defiant. Hölderlin supplements that theory with all the resources of his time and place.

2. Our climate of consensus

Fortuitously, a friend of mine, Iain Higgins, wrote me recently that he was translating Hölderlin’s “Archipelago,” an elegy from 1800; that he was enjoying doing so; and that the poem would certainly not fly in our climate of consensus. The poem, if not the poet, too plainly venerates ancient Greece; the law of the father is not just assumed, but reinforced, with important reservations (the Greeks in their actions and their myths are not as unanimous in their conception of paternalism as the culture of their Persian foes, Darius and Xerxes). What we have learned to call “orientalism” compromises the fabric of the 296-line elegy—if by “orientalism” we mean to denote the depreciation of the invader Xerxes, whose horde (bridging the Hellespont with ships lashed together) fought to break and to occupy a contrastingly heroified, if disunited, Greek heartland.

Hölderlin’s partisan poem is divisible into several movements, like a piece of music. It opens with an apostrophe of Poseidon, the sea-god apposite to the sea-fight that history calls “Salamis” and dates to 480 B.C. (lines 1-61). The tutelary deity of Athens is explicably assumed to be Athena, but Themistocles, the statesman and strategist instrumental to the Greek victory at Salamis, in order to develop support for the shrewd high value he placed on nautical strength, instigated a theological campaign to magnify evidences of Poseidon’s interest in the city-state. Following Hölderlin’s address to Poseidon comes a lament for Athens as it was before the Persian invasion, with a cameo of Themistocles himself (61-85). From verses 86-103, Hölderlin describes the antagonist Xerxes’s arsenal and meditated plans of attack, with the corresponding despair of the Athenians, their city already despoiled. Battle in the straits by Salamis is joined and the fluctuating fortunes of the day are delineated, between lines 104 and 124. Xerxes’s disconcertment at the defeat of his great fleet occupies lines 125-135; the desolation of Athens regardless of the triumph, lines 136-160; the rebuilding of that city 161-178; its cultural acme 179-199; a melancholic allocation of all this to the long-ago past (200-256); at last the testimony of the poet’s persona in the first person singular brings Salamis and a revivifiable Athens into his present—into our present, a present substantiated (for example) by Iain Higgins’s translation. The poem ends with a fresh apostrophe of the immortal Poseidon (288-296).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fiddlehead contributor Charles Wright Named US Poet Laureate

Photo credit: Holly Wright, poets.org
Charles Wright, Pulitzer Prize winning US poet and past contributor to The Fiddlehead (nos. 236 and 252), has been named the next US Poet Laureate.

According to the announcement on the Library of Congress website, James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, says, "Charles Wright is a master of the meditative, image-driven lyric. ... For almost 50 years his poems have reckoned with what he calls 'language, landscape, and the idea of God.' Wright’s body of work combines a Southern sensibility with an allusive expansiveness, for moments of singular musicality."

In the summer of 2008, The Fiddlehead published a Charles Wright retrospective along with a selection of new poems. In the summer of 2012, Wright contributed two more new poems to the magazine.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fredericton-Area Literary Events

If you're in the Fredericton area over the few weeks, there are some great literary opportunities on offer. The Fredericton Arts Alliance is hosting writer Forrest Orser as part of its artist in residence program this week. And on June 25, CBC Radio will be recording Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids at the Cedar Tree in downtown Fredericton, which promises to be fun and hilarious. Details on both below. 

UNB alumnus and past Fiddlehead contributor Forrest Orser is one of the artists in residence at the Soldiers’ Barracks in Fredericton’s Historic Garrison District until June 20. He will be available to discuss his work and writing in general from 1:30 to 5 p.m. each day. The other artist in residence is Mariah Sockabasin, an aboriginal artist and fashion designer. She will be presenting her work from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day. This is the 13th year that the Fredericton Arts Alliance has organizing its series of one-week artist residencies in the Soldiers’ Barracks. The residencies are also part of Fredericton Tourism’s cultural tourism programming. Orser has published poems and short stories, including “Wild Horses on an Island” in the Summer 2011 issue of The Fiddlehead. After more than 30 years as a reporter and editor with The Daily Gleaner, he is now a freelance editor.

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Do you still have any of your childhood or teenage writing? CBC Radio presents Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, an open-mic evening of juvenilia — book reports, diary entries, poems, letters from camp — read out loud by adults to a room full of strangers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at The Cedar Tree Cafe (418 Queen St.). Doors at 7:30. Show at 8:00.

Tickets $10 in advance. Readers get free admission.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Writers' Federation of New Brunswick presents WordSpring 2014 Conference & AGM

The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick invites you to its annual WordSpring event, taking place this year in Fredericton from June 6-8. For more information or to register, visit the WFNB website! And follow WFNB on Twitter!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fiddlehead News

No. 258 Winter 2014
The Fiddlehead's Winter 2014 issue has just been reviewed at New Pages! Reviewer Chip Livingston says that it "turns on moments of awareness of awareness, capturing the instants we catch ourselves catching ourselves, revelations of self to self, to the reader, and to other characters. It’s charming, this subtle focus moving from piece to piece, from poem to prose to poem to poem, and the sequence suggests this international journal from the University of New Brunswick is edited with precision." Read the full review here!

Myler Wilkinson, the winner of our recently-announced fiction contest was celebrated in his hometown newspaper, The Castlegar News, with a very nice profile. Wilkinson's story "Blood of Slaves" appears in our Spring 2014 issue. Read the article here.

Myler Wilkinson
Congratulations to Craig Davidson and Adam Dickinson, both UNB alumi and past Fiddlehead contributors, for being shortlisted for Trillium Awards. Davidson is a finalist for his Giller-shortlisted novel Cataract City and Dickinson for his Governor General's Award-nominated poetry collection The Polymers. View the shortlists here.

And finally, recent Fiddlehead editorial assistant Richard Kemick has been interviewed by Echolocation. Kemick recently graduated from the MA (English and Creative Writing) program at UNB. Read the interview here. And keep an eye out for a few of Richard's poems in this summer's poetry issue of The Fiddlehead!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

An Interview with Myler Wilkinson, winner of The Fiddlehead's Short Fiction Prize

Myler Wilkinson has published award-winning short 
stories set in British Columbia in journals such as Prism
International and Pierian Spring. He has spent extended periods 
in Russia and has written three books, including Hemingway 
and Turgenev: The Nature of Literary Influence. He lives in the 
Kootenay region of British Columbia. His winning story 
is written from the point of view of Anton Chekhov and is
dedicated to the memory of Alexander Vaschenko, friend 
of the heart, mentor.
Myler Wilkinson has won this year's Short Fiction prize. Fiddlehead Editorial Assistant Greg Brown conducted the following interview with Myler. 

Greg Brown: This story was a great reflection on life and death, through a very dynamic imagining of Anton Chekhov. What makes Chekhov, his life, and particularly his death, an interesting topic for you in developing a story?

Myler Wilkinson: “The Blood of Slaves” emerged out of a desire to recapture the voice of an artist, to enter into a kind of second life with a writer I deeply admire. Chekhov remains the one figure who leaves a physical absence, as if he might walk into the room at any moment — with his voice, his laughter (he was by far the funniest of all Russian writers, and perhaps the saddest), his genius as a writer.   Fragmentary images emerge in answer to your question concerning Chekhov:   a bench on the hillside at Oreanda just beyond the Pokrovsky Church where Chekhov gazed down on the Black Sea and imagined his most famous story; the muddy roads south Moscow, and Chekhov’s first country home, Melikhovo; while his guests arrive to eat and drink, the writer retires to a small hut in the garden and begins to write a play which begins with the words: “I am in mourning for my life.”  I wrote “The Blood of Slaves” because this world continues to be very real to me; in some way I simply wanted to be accepted into Chekhov’s company; I missed him — by just over a century.  I arrived when I could.

GB: The story is explicitly about Chekhov's death, but also reflects back on his life and ancestry. There is particular focus on his ancestors as serfs, "slaves." Can you comment on this focus on "slave's blood," and why it becomes a prevalent thought for Chekov as he approaches death?

MW: In one of his most famous letters — to his friend Suvorin, in January 1889 — Chekhov spoke of squeezing the blood of slaves from his body.  He tells of a young boy who has been whipped, who tortures animals, who behaves hypocritically towards man and God . . . all because he is conscious of his own worthlessness, and how that boy begins to squeeze this blood from himself drop by drop until one morning he feels that the blood coursing through his veins is real blood and not the blood of a slave.  Chekhov’s life is defined by an understanding of blood: his heritage as a Russian serf — owned by masters; his contraction of a bacillus which would kill him, suffocating in his own blood; and then finally a reflection on a human truth, which is also an artistic credo:  that blood is impure, humanity infected with the seeds of its own ruin — and salvation — that the blood of slaves runs freely in each one of us, and may, with luck and effort, be squeezed out.

GB: In his short stories Chekov often used a stream-of-consciousness style of writing, which is explicit in your piece as well. Did you consider this a deliberate pastiche of Chekov? What is the value of this writing style for you?

MW: The writer takes pleasure in the text perhaps — the words give a semblance of life as Chekhov once observed. In writing “The Blood of Slaves” I wanted to recover the mystery of a writer’s voice, what he stood for as an artist, what he was as a man. Clearly, memory at the end of one’s life was central to the shaping of the story. This led perhaps to the fragmentary, or pastiche, style you mention. I remember very consciously wanting to bring together beautiful images and words — Chekhov’s words and ideas (and with a scrupulous attention to the words of the artist) but then my own artistic reflections, in my own voice as Chekhov comes back to life — perhaps the micro-history, the private intentions, of a writer that are written down in no book. I wanted to move within that mystery.

GB: Were there any particular stories, plays, or works of Chekov's that specifically drew you to him? Do any of them find a home in some way in this story?

MW: The stories, plays and letters of Chekhov stream through my story — all parts of the voice of a genius. I had hoped to create a home for some in particular: “Lady With A Pet Dog,” a doomed love affair in Yalta above the Black Sea; “Concerning Love,” another unhappy Anna leaving by train, alone, for the Crimea; “Gooseberries,” a narrator who confronts an absent Tolstoy with the question: how much land does a man need; “The Peasants” where Chekhov observes with brutal and tender honesty his own genesis; “The Russian Master” which provides a motif early and late for boredom; and finally “The Darling,” a woman’s story which Tolstoy completely  misunderstood, and deeply admired. These are some of the stories which find a home, and a voice, within my work. And, yes, a dead seagull at the side of the lake makes its appearance, too, as does a doctor named Astrov who sees the coming catastrophe of the natural world.  

GB: I found the characters and their interactions to be very well thought out. To what extent is research or previous knowledge integral to shaping the characters and dialogue in this story? Was it a large part of giving voice to Tolstoy, for example? Or else, what is your process in developing characters and dialogue scenes?

MW: In recreating an artist’s life, you have to know something and you have to know it passionately.
“The Blood of Slaves” is Chekhov’s story, but Tolstoy is in it. However much the great man misunderstood the young genius, he loved him dearly — and he expressed that feeling as only Tolstoy could. How do you get it right? Research, the letters, the writing. You live in it, and then you have a beautiful young man walking up the birch grove at Yasnaya Polyana and he meets a gnarled peasant man, and it is Tolstoy. You enter the voice; it enters you. . . . And then, too, you plan to write other stories — Tolstoy, Pushkin, Akhmatova, others — each voice demands scrupulous attention.

GB: The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov's last great work, was written as a comedy, but is often put on as a tragedy. Both comedic and tragic elements are also at odds in your story. Can you comment on this?

MW: It’s true that comedic and tragic elements mark Chekhov as modernist master. In fact Chekhov famously referred to his play “The Seagull” as a comedy in four acts — which puzzled everyone at the time. With Chekhov, one can never be fully assured within either realm. Perhaps the place one sees this most clearly is in his letters (I have drawn on them freely in creating the master’s voice). There are people who believe Chekhov was the last master of letters as a literary form. They are remarkable — beautifully wrought (as if he could not write a bad sentence), warmly human, a humour which bubbles up from some inexhaustible subterranean source, and always the shadow of sadness. Shadow and light.  I wanted to achieve some of that tone in the writing.

GB: Could you comment on your reaction to winning The Fiddlehead's contest with this story? How confident were you with this submission?

MW: I was confident of the story on Chekhov, and was confident of its worth, from the time I began working on it. I also took an almost unalloyed pleasure in its creation, writerly pleasure perhaps, which can be quite rare. I certainly was not confident of winning The Fiddlehead prize. I assume that there were many fine entries; I am thankful the editors saw merit in what I was trying to do, and out of the myriad of possible choices my story was chosen. I am thankful for that.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

An Interview with Kayla Czaga, Winner of The Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem

Kayla Czaga won The Malahat Review’s
2012 Far Horizons Award for poetry. Her
poems have appeared or are forthcoming 
in The Walrus, The New Quarterly, Best  
Canadian Poetry in English 2012, Arc
and others. Her first book, For Your Safety 
Please Hold On, is forthcoming this fall from
 Nightwood Editions. She lives and writes 
in Vancouver, where she is completing her 
MFA at UBC. 
Kayla Czaga has won this year's Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem. Fiddlehead Editorial Assistant and poetry co-editor Phillip Crymble conducted the following interview with Czaga. 

Phillip Crymble: Congratulations on winning The Fiddlehead’s 2014 Ralph Gustafson Prize for best poem. You’ve now won several prestigious contests over the last few years. In selecting poems to submit to competitions like ours do you have a strategy, or is it simply a matter of sending the most accomplished work you have available?

Kayla Czaga: I’ve only actually won two contests, though I have been on a few short and long lists. I’ve fallen into this rhythm where I send out poems about twice a year. When a deadline to a contest I want to enter is coming up, I take it as an opportunity to send out a lot of writing to other places as well. I sort of put everything I have into a pile with my favourites on top. I often have someone help me. They’ll say, “oh, send this one to them and send this one to the other place.” I usually take their advice because I’m not the best judge of my own writing.

PC: One of the qualities that makes this poem so successful is its movement between relative subjects. The poem takes advantage of the speaker’s “wondering how love / could transpire so oppositely between two / people” to transition and arrive at the generated subject before returning to the initiating subject for closure. Is this an intuitive strategy, or is it learned, and if so, from where or whom?

KC: It’s a both strategy. I don’t have the longest attention span and I go off on a lot of tangents. I’ve been working on cultivating a style that plays into that. It frequently fails, as my tangents are wont, but sometimes it just manages to balance together and arrive at something. I absolutely adore the poets who can do this well and I have learned a lot from their work — Dean Young, Mary Ruefle, and Matthew Zapruder, especially.
 
PC: Based on your publication record, you clearly know a thing or two about how to write successful poems. How do you believe the MFA at UBC has most impacted your continued development as a young writer to this point?

KC: Deadlines, for one. Having someone say, “do such and such by such and such date,” really gets such and such done. Friends, too. I’ve managed to expand my writing community, and those people really help keep you going. Also, learning prose. I only ever took poetry workshops in undergrad and it’s been such a wonderful experience to study fiction and non-fiction with some amazing teachers (Andreas Schroeder, Timothy Taylor, and Maureen Medved).  I never knew I could successfully write something without line breaks before.

PC: How close are you to having a completed manuscript of poems, and if you already have one, is it currently under contract, or are you still fielding offers from publishing houses?

KC: I am pleased to say that I am under contract with Nightwood Editions. I think my book is coming out in the fall — we’re still working on it. I’m calling it For Your Safety Please Hold On.

PC: Is there a moment you can recall when you remember thinking or knowing that you wanted to devote your life to writing?

KC: That’s a very romantic way of putting it — devote your life to writing. I think it’s been an accumulation of moments, rather than just one, that have set me on this route. When I was eleven, after reading (I’m embarrassed to say) A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle, I felt compelled to write a poem. Thus ensued many bad years of rhyming couplets. Eventually someone — thank you! — told me poems didn’t have to rhyme. Later, in high school, when I was taking prerequisites to pursue a career in the sciences, though I hated them, my English teacher told me that I was being dumb and really ought to do something with my writing, so I applied and was accepted to the University of Victoria’s creative writing program. There I met some of my now closest friends who also wanted to be poets and we’ve encouraged each other ever since. I just love poems and I don’t think I could get as excited about anything else.

PC: Which poets do you admire most, and what kind of influence have they had on your own writing as it has developed?

KC: I go through phases. I mentioned three above. Often Anne Carson — I am a sucker for anything she writes. I’d read a car manual if Anne Carson wrote one. I love Anne Michaels’ early work. Gertrude Stein. Robert Bringhurst. Erin Moure’s Furious. Mark Strand. The list could go on and on. Poetry is kind of its own language, I guess, and I’ve learned how to speak it by listening to others who have spoken it well. They are to thank/blame for everything I’ve managed to write thus far.

PC: Of the poetry collections you’ve read recently, which ones have made the greatest impression?

KC: I liked Sarah Peters’ 1996. My press-mate Renée Sarojini Saklikar’s children of air india is very good and thought-provoking. Mary Ruefle’s Selected Poems is great, but I think it leaves out a lot of her great poems. Agony by Steven Zultanski is probably the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mark Jarman Remembers Alistair MacLeod

Alistair MacLeod, flanked by Fiddlehead fiction editors Gerry Beirne (left)
and Mark Jarman (right)
This photo is taken at the Cork World Book Festival in 2011 where Alistair MacLeod and Gerard Beirne and I shared a stage to read at an ancient cathedral in the heart of Cork. Alistair MacLeod was very popular, a master of writing and performing, but the three of us were even more popular after the event because it was Good Friday: all the pubs in Cork were closed, but we could sneak festival-goers into our hotel bar, open to hotel guests only. Some writers were thirsty and the bar served until dawn.

Alistair MacLeod, who won the Dublin IMPAC Prize in 2001, was often in Fredericton; he attended UNB for his MA, and his first story was published by The Fiddlehead back when Alden Nowlan was alive. He read at UNB in Fredericton in the mid-2000s and I took him to my favourite bar, The Taproom, to buy him my favourite beer, Propeller Bitter. He tipped up the bottle in a mug, it foamed violently, and I suggested he not pour it so fast. He glowered at me with those eyebrows, as if to say he’d been pouring beer before I was in diapers. I think he forgave me eventually. We had good craic in Cork, as the Irish say, and in 2013 he wrote Ross Leckie, Fiddlehead editor, to say that he had finished reading the most recent issues of The Fiddlehead: “They are excellent! You are to be congratulated.” Alistair MacLeod seemed to be always reading and heaping praise on others; he was a warm generous man, a funny, smart man, and a great writer of fiction. He will be missed by those of us at The Fiddlehead
— Mark Anthony Jarman

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring has Arrived — Well, at least The Fiddlehead Spring Issue has!

Our Spring issue is in the mail and on its way to subscribers and newsstands! Stay tuned next week for the announcement of our contest winners! Until then, we wish you a happy long weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poetry Co-editor Phillip Crymble Takes Poetry to City Hall

Photo courtesy of City of Fredericton
This past Monday at Fredericton's city council meeting, The Fiddlehead's poetry co-editor Phillip Crymble was introduced as Fredericton's first poet laureate, a position that coincides with national poetry month.

Mayor Woodside welcomed Crymble by saying, "We're really pleased about two things: number one, you're living with us, and selected to call Fredericton home, and second, that you're here tonight to enlighten us."

Part of his role will be to read a commissioned poem to be read at the next council meeting on April 28.

Earlier in the day, Crymble was interviewed by Christine McLean on CBC Fredericton's information morning. Listen to the podcast here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Postage Rates Take Effect

Please note, effective March 31, 2014 Canada Post has increased its postal rates. A single stamp has increased from 63¢ to $1.00. An oversize envelope up to 100g now requires $1.80 of postage to return.

Our American friends are also affected. Standard rates have gone up from $1.10 to $1.20.

Submissions with a SASE sent to The Fiddlehead before March 31 will still be returned, but due to these substantial increases in postal rates, submissions sent to us after April 1, 2014 without sufficient postage for return will be responded to by email.

Monday, March 31, 2014

UNB Reading Series Presents: Rawi Hage

Rawi Hage, Canada Reads finalist this year, defended by Samantha Bee, will be reading from his work at University of New Brunswick on Wednesday, April 2, at 8:00 p.m. in the East Gallery of Memorial Hall. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

Originally born in Beirut, Hage emigrated first to America in 1984 and then to Canada in 1991. After earning degrees in Photography at Dawson College and Fine Arts at Concordia, Hage worked as a visual artist. In a 2008 author profile of Hage published by Quill & Quire, Hage credits this experience as a visual artist with making him a better writer.

Hage’s first novel, DeNiro’s Game (2006), won the 2008 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Hugh MacLellan Prize for Fiction, and the McAuslan First Book Prize.  DeNiro’s Game was also shortlisted for both the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award in 2006. His second novel, Cockroach (2008), was similarly successful, and he was once more awarded the Hugh MacLellan Prize for Fiction, as well as being shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His most recent novel, Carnival (2012), was also awarded the Hugh MacLellan Prize for Fiction. In August 2013, Hage was awarded a four-month tenure as writer-in-residence at the Vancouver Public Library.  He lives and works in Montreal.






Thursday, March 13, 2014

Competiton to Select Poet Laureate for the City of Fredericton


The City of Fredericton issued the following in a press release on March 4, 2014:

"In celebration of National Poetry Month, the City of Fredericton, in partnership with the Writers' Federation of NB, is looking for a Poet Laureate for the month of April."


This competition is a great opportunity to gain exposure and contribute to the arts in Fredericton. 

The deadline for submissions is March 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm AST.

For more information on the competition, visit the City of Fredericton website.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fiddlehead Editor Ross Leckie Launches New Book at UNB March 17

The University of New Brunswick would like to invite you to a reading by local poet Ross Leckie. He will be launching his new book of poety, The Critique of Pure Reason (Frog Hollow Press, 2013).

According to Frog Hollow Press, Leckie's most recent collection “makes philosophy into the stuff of language. . . . Leckie writes huge new poems of incredible verbal music.” The collection is Leckie's fourth. His previous collections include A Slow Light, The Authority of Roses, and Gravity's Plumb Line, and his poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review, Descant, ARIEL, The New Republic, Denver Quarterly, Southwest Review, and American Literary Review. He is also editor of The Fiddlehead and a poetry editor for Icehouse Poetry Books, an imprint of Goose Lane Editions.

His reading will be held Monday, March 17 at 8:00 pm in the East Gallery in Memorial Hall on the Fredericton campus.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fiddlehead Author Selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2014!

Michelle Butler Hallett
Michelle Butler Hallett's story "Bush-Hammer Finish," published in The Fiddlehead No. 257 (Autumn 2013), has been selected to be included in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's The Best American Mystery Stories 2014! This will be the 18th edition of the anthology, which last year included Joyce Carol Oates. The book is slated for an October publication and includes the best 20 stories published in North America, selected by guest editor Laura Lippman.

Gerard Beirne, The Fiddlehead's co-fiction editor who selected Butler Hallett's story, had this to say:
"Every story is a mystery story. From the opening sentence we wonder, where do we go from here? Great stories inhabit the mystery, and in particular they inhabit it through the characters whose existence in the story causes us, the readers, to ask the most wondrous and mysterious questions of all — Who am I? and What am I doing here? Great stories somehow reveal a part of these mysteries to us. 
No. 257 (Autumn 2013)
Michelle Butler Hallett’s story caught my attention initially because of the hyperbolic style, the larger than life characters, the black humour; but more importantly, her story held my attention. To pull all of these challenging formal elements together required great authorial control. Indeed, from an editor’s point of view, the first mystery of a successful story can often be, how did the author achieve it?

Well successful it was, and I am delighted that it has been selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2014. Its inclusion is no mystery to me."
Congratulations Michelle!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thomas Hodd on New Brunswick's Internationalist Literary Tradition

Charles G.D. Roberts
Thomas Hodd, Université de Moncton professor and poet, has written an interesting piece for The Puritan entitled "'Cross Border Kinship': A Tradition of the Literary Internationalism in New Brunswick." In the article, he argues that The Fiddlehead was controversial in the 1950s when former editor Fred Cogswell opened up the magazine to international submissions. Apparently the Ontario elite (Hodd names Northrup Frye and Earl Birney) decried that Canadian identity itself was under threat. But opening up to cross-cultural influences — and Hodd names several prominent examples of New Brunswick writers, starting all the way back with Sir Charles G. D. Roberts — benefits the work produced (and still being produced) in the province. He says,
It seems to me that New Brunswick’s reputation for producing literary work that exemplifies a stereotyped form of Maritime regionalism is misguided. 
Click here to read the whole article.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kwame Dawes Pens Olympic Poetry

Former Fiddlehead Editiorial Assistant Kwame Dawes (now Professor of English at the University of Nebraska and Editor of Prairie Schooner) kept busy during the recent Winter Olympics by writing poetry inspired by the events for the Wall Street Journal.

Here's an excerpt from his poem "Ode to Canada's Hockey Team," inspired by Canada's 1-0 win over the U.S. in the semi-final game, with a nod to Fredericton:
But do you know what it means to Canadians?
I mean, do you really know what it means?
Like how I nearly got my head bashed
in for saying I did not know what the big
deal was when I lived up there in Freddybeach . . .
Follow this link to read the whole poem, which includes references to Wayne Gretzky, Tim Horton, and the Miramichi!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Odd Sundays at Molly's Presents Richard Kemick and Shari Andrews

This Sunday, February 23 at 2pm come to Molly's Coffee House (554 Queen Street) in downtown Fredericton to listen to Richard Kemick and Shari Andrews read from their poetry. This event is free — there's even a draw for free books! — and all are welcome.

Richard Kemick is currently completing his MA in English and Creative Writing at UNB. He recently won Grain Magazine's 2013 Short Grain Prize for poetry, and his work will be surfacing soon in PRISM International and The Fiddlehead.

Shari Andrews is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Stone Cloak (1999), Bones About to Bloom (2001), Crucible (2004), and Walking the Sky (2005). She lives in New Maryland, NB.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don Gayton Reading Tonight at UNB Fredericton

The University of New Brunswick would like to invite you to a reading by noted ecologist Don Gayton, who will be reading from a selection of his works.

Gayton has published extensively throughout his career, both in academic and non-academic circles. As an ecologist, Gayton's work has allowed him to travel around the world, and these experiences influence his non-fiction writing. His previous works include Kokanee: The Redfish and the Kootenay Bioregion; Landscapes of the Interior; The Wheatgrass Mechanism: Science and Imagination in the Western Canadian Landscape; Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose in the Garden; Okanagan Odyssey: Journeys through Terrain, Terroir, and Culture, and his most recent work, Man Facing West, a work of short fiction.

Acclaimed over the course of his career, Gayton is the winner of The Lake literary non-fiction contest, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild non-fiction prize, the US National Outdoor Book Award, the Canadian Science Writers Award, and the Peace Corps Travel Book Award. He has also been twice short-listed for the BC Book Awards in their non-fiction category. With a B.Sc in Agronomy and an M.Sc. in Plant Ecology, Gayton's ecological interest is ever-present in his writing.

His reading will be held at 8:00pm, Tuesday, February 11 in the East Gallery of Memorial Hall on the UNB Fredericton campus. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bill Gaston & Michael Christie Read in Fredericton on February 4 at the Fredericton Public Library!

Bill Gaston and Michael Christie will be reading at the Fredericton Public Library next Tuesday afternoon, February 4 at 3pm.

Bill Gaston is the author of 12 books of fiction, several of which have been nominated for awards including the Governor General's Award and the Giller Prize, among others (he's also published a book of poetry, a book of non-fiction, and a play). The Globe & Mail has said, “Given Gaston’s body of work, he merits elevation into the leading ranks of Canadian authors. His writing is gentle, humorous, absurd, beautiful, spiritual, dark and sexy. He deserves to dwell in the company of Findley, Atwood and Munro as one of this country’s outstanding literary treasures.” He comes to Fredericton with his latest, The World, published by Hamish Hamilton.

Michael Christie is the author of The Beggar's Garden, a collection of short fiction published by HarperCollins. The book — his debut — won great acclaim: it was long-listed for the 2011 Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Prize, and won the Vancouver Book Award. It was also named one of Amazon's 10 Best Books of 2011: Canadian Fiction, and one of Quill & Quire's Top 5 books of 2011. Steven W. Beattie says, "In Christie's hands, the Downtown Eastside becomes every bit as thriving and alive as Richler's St. Urbain Street or Michel Tremblay's Plateau-Mont-Royal. The Beggar's Garden takes the pulse of history by unsentimentally dramatizing the way a certain segment of society lives now, and in so doing stands as a sympathetic and compassionate examination of modern urban loneliness and disaffection."

The event is free and all are welcome. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Fredericton Public Library!

Odd Sunday's @ Molly's: Ross Leckie and Sharon McCartney

The next odd sundays at Molly’s event, Fredericton’s longest-­‐running, semi-­‐monthly, persistently-­‐hyphenated, poetry-­‐reading series, will take place this Sunday (February 2nd) at 2 pm with featured poets, Sharon McCartney and Ross Leckie.

So if you are in Fredericton this weekend, drop into Molly's Coffee House at 554 Queen on Sunday at 2 pm to enjoy some poetry and a warm drink!

Sharon McCartney is a past member of The Fiddlehead's editorial team. she received the Acorn/Plantos People's Prize for her book, The Love Song of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her most recent book is Hard-Ass.

Ross Leckie is the editor of The Fiddlehead and director of the Creative Writing program at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. His most recent book is The Critique of Pure Reason.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fiddlehead Editorial Board Member Richard Kemick Wins Grain's Poetry Contest!

The Fiddlehead just received its copy of Grain in the mail today and we're pleased to congratulate Richard for winning the Short Grain Poetry contest with "A Note Left on the Dresser." Judge Méira Cook says about the poem: "images accrue richly and wittily. . . . I love how well this poem ends, its sense of decorum, as well as the amiable and slightly abrasive rub of pragmatism against the density of images that precede it."

Richard is currently a graduate student here at UNB, and last term served as an editorial assistant of The Fiddlehead. He continues to read submissions for us as a volunteer.

Congratulations again to Richard and to the other winners!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Fiddlehead Issue in the Mail

Our new issue No. 258 (Winter 2014) is in the mail to contributors, subscribers, and newsstands.

No. 258 (Winter 2014) features vibrant artwork by Deanna Musgrave. The contents, as always, showcase the best new writing we can find. Of particular note in this issue: a selection from a back-and-forth poetry sequence by Christopher Merrill and Marvin Bell, a story by award-winning UK novelist Jane Rogers, and new work from Adam Sol, Alice Major, Robin Richardson, Shane Neilson, and many others!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Breakwater Newfoundland Poetry Series: Vanessa Moeller Responds to John Steffler

John Steffler
I am a long-standing admirer of John Steffler's work. I find his beautifully crafted poems, with their deft use of language, visceral and epiphanic. The senses cannot help but come alive reading lines like "the tramped grass steamy as seaweed in the migraine / of noon" or "the bone flakes encrusting a bracelet / of kelp," but what sets this work apart is the understated manner in which it asks questions of the reader. What may seem quotidian is suddenly shifted, revealed to be strange. Landscapes become surreal or ominous, borders between what we consider animate and inanimate suddenly blurred, leaving us to think about the complex relationship we have to the constantly shifting world that surrounds us. I doubt anyone can look at hills the same way again after reading the line "the hills no longer playing dead / the way they do in the daytime, but sticking their black / blurry arses up in the drizzle and shaking themselves, / heaving themselves up for another night of / leapfrog and Sumo ballet.” I know I remain haunted by the bizarre and perfect movement suggested by “Sumo ballet” long after I leave the poem.


When I return to the world after reading Steffler's poems it is with renewed insight, with a newly calibrated way of relating to the world. The ten poems chosen for Breakwater's Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry have been taken from The Wreckage of Play, That Night We Were Ravenous, Lookout and The Grey Islands. It is a sample of John Steffler's work that is sure to whet readers' appetites but may leave them ravenous for more.
_______________________________________________

Vanessa Moeller is a writer, editor and translator. Her first poetry collection is entitled Our Extraordinary Monsters.