Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Announcing Winners of Our 24th Literary Contest!

Congratulations to the winners of our 24th annual literary contest! Sean Howard has won the Ralph Gustafson Prize for best poem, and the two honourable mentions go to Julie Cameron Gray and Michael Prior. On the fiction side, Lisa Alward has won the Short Fiction Prize, and Kari Lund-Teigen and David McLaren are the two honourable mentions.

Thanks again to our wonderful judges. Jeramy Dodds, Danny Jacobs, and Sina Queyras were our poetry judges, and Craig Davidson was our judge for fiction.

Look for the winning poems and stories in our Spring issue, which is on its way to newsstands and mailboxes.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Local Poet Michael Pacey Launches Electric Affinities

Michael Pacey launches his new book Electric Affinities Thursday, April 23, at Westminster Books. The reading is at 7pm, and it is free and open to the public.

Two of Michael's poems appeared in last summer's poetry issue, "Lightbulb" and "Painters." Here's a few lines from "Lightbulb": Icon of pure idea. Screwed into a sphere of permanence / skin-thin, fragile as eggshell, yet suffused / in an even light...

Electric Affinities is Michael's second collection. It is published by Signature Editions. He lives in Fredericton, NB.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Editor Ross Leckie reads in Halifax April 13th

Ross Leckie, The Fiddlehead's editor, and Anne Compton, whose most recent Fiddlehead publication was in last year's summer poetry issue, will be reading at Saint Mary's University in Halifax tonight (April 13th) at 7:30 pm. The reading will be held in Sobey 255, 903 Robie St. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

UNB Reading Series Presents: Matthew Heiti and Mark Jarman on April 8

The University of New Brunswick would like to invite you to hear readings by acclaimed writers, Matthew Heiti and Mark Anthony Jarman.

In Matthew Heiti’s The City Still Breathing, published by Coach House in 2013, a dead body found on the side of Highway 17 outside Sudbury undergoes a strange odyssey, making its way all around the northern Ontario town and through the lives of eleven very different people. All of them are hoping for something more out of this dying town. All they find instead is one another, in a strange and apocalyptic moment of violence.

Heiti’s fiction has appeared in many periodicals and journals, and his plays have been workshopped and produced across the country. As cowriter with Ryan Ward of the film Son of the Sunshine, he was a Genie Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay at the 32nd Genie Awards in 2012.

In Knife Party at the Hotel Europa, published this year by Goose Lane, Mark Anthony Jarman writes about losing and finding love, marriage and melancholy, the dislocation and redemptive power of travel in Italy’s sensual summer. Through the acute loneliness of one who has abandoned and been abandoned a man finds how beautiful this life can be. In vivid, sensuous prose, Jarman’s stories circle and overlap in surprising, weird, and wonderful ways. Tangents turn out to be crucial, allusions are powerful.

Jarman has been shortlisted for the O. Henry Prize and has won the Gold National Magazine Award in nonfiction, the Maclean-Hunter Endowment Award (twice), and the Jack Hodgins Fiction Prize. His novel Salvage King Ya! Is on’s 50 Essential Canadian Books. He has published in The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, Vrig Nederland, and The Globe and Mail.

Their readings will be held on Wednesday, April 8th at 8:00 pm in the Alumni Lounge of the Alumni Memorial Building on the UNB Fredericton Campus. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month in Canada, and today, the League of Canadian Poets released the shortlists for its annual book awards. Here at The Fiddlehead (where we celebrate poetry year-round) we noticed that many of the shortlisted authors have appeared in our pages recently so we wanted to add our cheers to the general hubbub.

Patrick Lane's Washita and Adam Sol's Complicity were both shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award, which is given to a book of poetry published by a League member in the preceding year. Raymond Souster was a founding member of the League. Three poems by Lane appeared in our special West Coast issue (No. 253, Autumn 2012) and two poems by Sol appeared in No. 258 (Winter 2014).

Two Fiddlehead were also shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, which recognizes the best first book by a Canadian author in the previous year. Gerald Lambert was an arts administrator who took a particular interest in new writers' work. Kerry Lee Powell's book Inheritance and Kayla Czaga's For Your Safety Please Hold On are both on this shortlist. Three poems from Powell appeared in No. 261 (Autumn 2014) and three poems from Czaga appeared in No. 260 (Summer Poetry 2014). Czaga also won The Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem last year, which was published  in No. 259 (Spring 2014).

And two more Fiddlehead authors were shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award, which is awarded to a book by a Canadian woman and honours Pat Lowther, whose career was cut short by her untimely death in 1975. Lisa Robertson's Cinema of the Present and Sina Queyras' M x T were both shortlisted for this award. Robertson's long poem "Toxins" appeared in our West Coast issue (No. 253, Autumn 2012) and Queyras had four poems in No. 260 (Summer Poetry 2014). Queyras was also one of the judges for our most recent literary contest. We'll be announcing the winners very soon.

Congrats to all the shortlisted authors!

New Spoken Word Community in Fredericton

One evening in mid-February, the Cinnamon Café in downtown Fredericton was overrun with poets. The occasion was a Spoken Word Poetry Night, and while poetry events are normally notorious for drawing small crowds, the King Street café quickly ran out of seating.

“We had to borrow chairs from the church next door,” explains Cassidy Ingersoll, who organized the event. A poet herself, Ingersoll is currently working on her first manuscript, but admits that she hasn’t shared much of her writing yet. The spoken word night was one of her first ventures into the Fredericton writing community: “I got into spoken word over the last year, and thought it would be interesting to hear other local writers’ takes on it.”

photo credit: Tom Stanley
The night of the event, there was no shortage of local writers. While eight poets had registered in advance to perform, others added their names as the evening proceeded; Ingersoll estimates that somewhere between twenty and twenty-five poets shared the mic, with some reading multiple poems, or returning to read more than once. “I really planned out this first reading, just so it wouldn’t be a bust,” says Ingersoll, who had the initial eight readers on a paper schedule. “But I did want more of an open mic style, which it did turn into, and that was fantastic.”

Asked to describe some the night’s readers, Ingersoll notes that there was a significant range of age groups: “some writers were in their 40s and 50s, and others were 18, maybe 19 to 22. The younger poets were a bit shyer, and were maybe just there to feel it out, at first, but once the older group got started, the younger ones got inspired. People were going up who hadn’t prepared anything to read, and either improvising, or going from poems they’d started to memorize.”

After the event, Ingersoll was approached by Hayden Wheeler, one of the evening’s performers, who proposed starting an online group for attendees and other local writers to network. The open group Wheeler created, titled the “Fredericton Poetry Scene,” can be found and joined on Facebook. Though it currently only has forty-six members, she aims to expand it into a hub for news about literary and spoken word readings and workshops in Fredericton.

Ingersoll hopes to make the Spoken Word Poetry Night a recurring event. Though a larger venue might be ideal, given the surge of interest at the first reading, she specifies that she would prefer to avoid using a bar venue, so as not to exclude younger, under-19 poets.

Part of the success of the event, she explains, was that it brought out a crowd of writers who tend to feel excluded by on-campus or university-organized literary events. “It’s hard to hear about what’s going on when you aren’t regularly on campus, and if you aren’t a student, it sometimes feels like you might not be welcome there,” she admits, referring to events such as the University of New Brunswick’s annual reading series and student-organized Qwerty Reads, and St. Thomas University’s Stand and Deliver.

Ingersoll’s goal is to create an ongoing, off-campus poetry series that will help to integrate the various writing communities in Fredericton. “We wanted to do this first night just to see if there was any interest at all, and there was so much more than we could have expected,” she says. “I kept thinking how I didn’t know any of these people, but it was great to see so many writers in one place, all interested in sharing the same thing.”

Rebecca Salazar
Editorial Assistant