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305 Lost Buildings of Canada by Raymond Biesinger & Alex Bozikovic

A black and white map of Canada. Major Canadian cities are listed along with their page numbers in the book.



Introduction 9

Glossary 195

Acknowledgements 199



In Rome, generations of buildings have been constructed on top of their forebears. Layers of history are preserved in tiers of stone. You can find such physical remnants in Canada, too, if you know where to look. In Montreal, dig through the earth where the Pointe-Saint-Charles shoreline was extended with construction debris in the 1930s. In Regina, you might be able to find columns and pediment of an old Canadian Bank of Commerce building in a mall atrium. That structure started its life a century earlier on Winnipeg’s Main Street. The old Bank of Toronto building at King and Bay Streets is long gone, but these days pieces of its stone columns rest at the Guild Inn, an hour’s bike ride away.

Many more structures live on only in memory. Cities change. Buildings come and go. We all know this, and usually it’s something we take for granted; another beat-up house, an empty church, an obsolete office building pulled down and sent off in dumpsters.

But we lose things along the way: traces of how we used to live, and the art and craft of previous generations. The movie theatre that was the centre of neighbourhood life; the letters that passed through Kelowna’s unlikely art deco post office; the Cecil Hotel’s rambling stories about Calgarian booms and busts.

This book uncovers some of those legacies. They’re buildings from across the country that are now gone but still have something to say. Some are famous, such as Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre, and preservationists have mourned their loss. Others went down without notice.

And, in a few places destruction was greeted as a gift. These are lost buildings that held certain people—Indigenous children, migrants, or young women who had given birth—and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. The world of heritage often overlooks the darker themes in our collective history. We have not.

Raymond is an illustrator and history enthusiast; Alex a critic who writes about buildings new and old. We’ve found stories to bring these structures to life, and studied old photographs, drawings, and records to recreate their details. Wherever possible, we have identified the architects and other designers. We have also identified what stands on the site of the building in 2021. Where no information is provided, the site is currently vacant.

Some of them are easy to love, with craftsmanship and detail that anyone could appreciate. Others speak a more subtle architectural language—including modernist buildings, products of an era when everything old could be thrown out that in turn fell victim to the same logic. And in some cases, architecture itself is irrelevant. No one paid attention to the building that housed Sam the Record Man in Toronto. It was the spinning records of neon on the front that were important. They became icons of a street and a city.

These are the places that mattered, The list is not definitive or exhaustive. Most of the buildings in the book have gone down in our lifetime. Others fell before we were born, in the great culling of buildings in the middle of the twentieth century.

Think of this book as an impossible architectural walking tour. It spans the country, its cities and countryside, and jumps across periods of history without hesitation.

We hope that after you’ve taken this city-by-city trip through what used to be here, you will think twice about how your home city is changing—or not changing. Heritage preservation is a complicated field, and it’s never practical to hold onto every trace of the past. But what we ignore today may well […] treasure tomorrow. Buried treasure, perhaps, but still valuable.



ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland and Labrador

St. John’s is perhaps the oldest city in Canada, and for most of its history it hasn’t been Canadian. John Cabot probably landed in Newfoundland in 1497, but Portuguese, Spanish, and Basque ships all visited and fished for cod. When the city first showed up on a colonial map, it was as São J0ã0. The first permanent British settlement came in the 1630s, and the town was attacked by the Dutch and the French, who burned it. Not all the fires were acts of war; St. John’s had a half-dozen accidental fires in the nineteenth century. Newfoundland argued over confederation for nearly a century, and in the interim the island gave many lives, and some of its strategic ground, to fight the two World Wars. The city’s buildings reflect this stormy history (and the effects of actual storms, too, a big presence in local life). Much of the downtown was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1892, including thousands of the saltbox houses that define the city’s image. Legend has it this is when the tradition of painting houses in cheerful, contrasting colours began. In truth, the brightest colours date to the 1970s, a period when some locals overcame the forces of suburbanization and urban renewal to reclaim the old downtown. Much of the city’s built heritage remains, but waves of commerce and politics (and fire) have taken away many places that linger in the minds of St. John’sers.




Black and white illustration of O’Keefe Brewery

O’Keefe Brewery

1892 – 1965. Designed by August Maritzen with Smith & Gemmell.

Industrial Toronto was fuelled by beer. Eugene O’Keefe was among the first to make this a big business, and in the 1890s his company called on the Chicago brewery specialist Maritzen to create a castle of malt and hops. Concrete floors and a steel-and-iron structure kept away fire; facades of arched brick and Second Empire-styled tower loomed over the spire of the Catholic church across the Street. 11 Gould Street; now part of 10 Dundas East.


Black and white illustration of Wyld, Grasett & Darling Building

Wyld, Grasett & Darling Building

1886 – 1904. Designed by David B Dick.

On the cold […] of April 19, 1904, a watchman on Wellington Street sounded the […] fire! The flames spread quickly across the warehouses and shops of […] downtown, eating up a wave of buildings designed to show off […] growing commercial strength. The dry-goods wholesalers of Wyld, Grasett & Darling had hired prominent local architect Dick for their […] emporium. Two weeks later […] the last flames were out […] Dick’s facades of red brick […] rusticated stone still stood […] wooden structure behind […] with a treasure of […] and groceries, had gone […]. Wellington and Bay St […] now Brookfield Place.


Black and white illustration of Sam the Record Man

Sam the Record Man

1961 – 2010

Somewhere under the piles of records, and, later, tapes and CDs; somewhere under the racks, bins, signs, and autographed memorabilia; somewhere was a building. But Sam the Record Man’s flagship store was all about the music. Long before streaming, its chaotic interior offered routes into new musical worlds. Visually, it was defined by the two neon signs—spinning records—that occupied its front facade. These were saved when the store went bust, and years later they reappeared around the corner, a dozen floors up on top of a building. 347-349 Yonge Street; now the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre.


Black and white illustration of Second Union Station

Second Union Station

1873-1927. Designed by E.P. Hannaaford.

The railways brought wealth to Toronto in the mid-nineteenth century, but they also brought competing stations and tracks that sprawled across the city’s central waterfront. The Grand Trunk Railway built this one of yellow brick, with three mansard-roofed towers to the south and a huge skylit shed to the north. (This meant that, once you left a train, you […] cross the tracks to get into the city, but it looked impressive from […]. The complex grew bigger and dirtier, until the […] Union Station was built, and all the city’s rail traffic […] up in one place. South of Station Street, west of […] Street; now the Skywalk and rail tracks.




Black and white illustration of Le Spectrum

Le Spectrum


Behind the marquee was magic. This venue opened originally in 1952 as L’Alouette, and it became Le Spectrum in 1982, beginning an era in which this somewhat beat-up room hosted top touring acts on their way up, such as Radiohead, and locals like Martha Wainwright and The Dears. Stars would sometimes choose to play multiple nights here, as Jean Leloup did in 2000, rather than an arena show. The strings of light bulbs along the walls went dark in 2007. 318, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest; now a shopping mall, tower, and parking lot.


Black and white illustration of Le Forum de Montréal

Le Forum de Montréal

1925-1998. Designed by John Smith Archibald.

Hockey’s holy place, this was the home of the Montreal Maroons and then for seventy-one years, les Habs. Built for about 12,000 people—most in standing room—the arena was enlarged twice, and routinely sold out during more than thirty Stanley Cup final series up to 1993. Twenty-four cup banners hung from the rafters. Its architecture changed over the years. What began as a brick-and steel structure lined with storefronts was largely rebuilt […] sixties. After the final game in 1996 (the home team won, and […] to Maurice Richard), the Forum was gutted and became a theatre […] party venue. 2313, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest at avenue Atwater.


Black and white illustration of St. Ann’s Market

St. Ann’s Market

1832-1849. Designed by John Wells & John Thompson.

This was a market, then a parliament. A two-storey neoclassical market building bridged the canalized Petite rivière Saint-Pierre, whose rushing waters helped keep the place cool and carried away garbage from the market. In 1842, the United province of Canada decided to move parliament from Kingston, and the market building was renovated to hold the assembly, the legislative council, an archive, and a library with twenty-five thousand volumes. In 1851, a Tory mob burned the building down, and this was the end of Montréal’s place as the capital of Canada. A new market was built in 1851 but demolished in 1901. Now place d’Youville.


Black and white illustration of Silo No. 1

Silo No. 1


The first of Montréal’s huge dockside grain elevators proved the city’s importance as a grain-handling port, connecting the Prairies to the sea. It also represented twentieth-century engineering and technology […] tall concrete structure that stood over the old city like a monolith. In […] leading modernist architect Le Corbusier published a photograph […] silo at the Port of Montréal, calling such […] “the magnificent fruits of the new age.” […] the 1970s construction of the new port […] a different future for the old port as a place […] leisure; this and some other silos were, […] great difficulty, brought down. 116, rue de la Commune.




Black and white illustration of Newfoundland Hotel

Newfoundland Hotel

1926 – 1983. Designed by Ross & Macdonald.

In the 1920s, Newfoundland’s leaders believed the island needed a “modern” hotel to spur tourism. The Montréal firm T.E. Rousseau and the prominent Montréal architects Ross & Macdonald delivered a rather austere Edwardian […] -room hotel with a double-height lobby and (very modern!) […]. The hotel immediately ran into trouble, however […] and the government […] was forced to take it over just as the Depression hit. When Newfoundland […] once again became a colony of Britain, the ceremony took place in the hotel’s ballroom. And when Newfoundland struck a deal to join Confederation in 1947, it included the clause that the government of Canada […] take control of this hotel. CN eventually managed it and […] it to build a modern replacement for the 1980s. Cavendish Square […] the parking lot for the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland.


Black and white illustration of Star Theatre

Star Theatre


This spot had a series of public halls from 1874 to 2010, serving purposes that included a courthouse, theatre venue, and movie house. The third building, constructed in 1922, was a theatre until 1957, when it was taken over by the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Star of the Sea Association. The association (once the largest such fishermen’s group) added a portico to the mansard-roofed shed of the building; after it was pulled down, only the name stuck. 40 Henry Street; now Star of the Sea Residences.


Black and white illustration of New Hope Community Centre

New Hope Community Centre


In the early twentieth century, many of St. John’s poor lived in crowded tenements in one central neighbourhood, which escaped the major fires of 1846 and 1892. The Salvation Army set up shop here as early as 1886 and took over a furniture factory on the edge of the so-called […] Slum. In 1942 it completed a replacement building: a three-storey […] deco details constructed of poured concrete. This neighbourhood […] and razed, making way for private development and city hall. The New Hope Community Building made it to 2014, was damaged by a flood, and was replaced with a building that brings affordable housing back to the area. 18 Springdale Street; now a new Salvation Army facility.





A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib

U.S.A. $27.00 Canada $36.00


At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker was fifty-seven years old, well beyond her most prolific days. But in her speech she was in a mood to consider her life, her legacy, her departure from the country she was now triumphantly returning to. “I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too,” she told the crowd. Inspired by these few words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines—whether it’s the twenty-seven seconds in “Gimme Shelter” in which Merry Clayton wails the words “rape, murder,” a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt—has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib’s own personal history of love, grief, and performance. Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain, infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the […] he loves. With care and generosity, he […] poignancy of performances big and small, each […] intensely familiar and vital, both timeless […] urgent. Filled with sharp insight, […] A Little Devil in America exalts the Black […] that unfolds in specific moments in time […] —from midcentury Paris to the moon, and […] again to a cramped livingroom in Columbus […].




Performing Miracles

On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance

On Marathons and Tunnels

On Going Home as Performance

An Epilogue for Aretha



Suspending Disbelief

On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance

This One Goes Out to All the Magical Negroes

Sixteen Ways of Looking at Blackface

On the Certain and Uncertain Movement of Limbs

Nine Considerations of Black People in Space



On Matters of Country/Provenance

On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance

The Josephine Baker Monument Can Never Be Large Enough

It Is Safe to Say I Have Lost Many Games of Spades

My Favorite Thing About Don Shirley

I Would Like to Give Merry Clayton Her Roses

Bevoncé Performs at the Super Bowl and I think About All of the Jobs I’ve Hated



Anatomy of Closeness // Chasing Blood

On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance

The Beef Sometimes Begins with a Dance Move

Fear: A Crown

On the Performance of Softness

Board Up the Doors, Tear Down the Walls



Callings to Remember

On Times I Have Forced Myself Not to Dance






Movement I
Performing Miracles


On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance

Safe to say none of the other Muslim kids on the eastside of Columbus got MTV or BET in their cribs & we do at my crib sometimes like after Pops got a promotion or after Grandma moved in & kept a Bible on her nightstand & had to watch the channel where her game shows ran 24/7 & so it is also safe to say that I was the only one in the Islamic Center on Broad Street who got to stay up & watch the shows on MTV that came on after my parents cut out the lights & went up to bed & it was only me & the warmth of an old television’s glow & the DJs spinning C+C Music Factory for people in baggy & colorful getups & bouncing on a strobe-light-drenched floor & so it is safe to say that I only danced along the slick surface of my basement floor with the moon out & all the lights in the house out & the television playing hits & this wasn’t exactly practicing dance moves as much as it was learning the different directions my limbs could flail in & there is no church like the church of unchained arms being thrown in every direction in the silence of a sleeping home & speaking of church to be Muslim is to pray in silence sometimes even though the call to prayer is one of the sweetest songs that can hang in the air & there is no praise & there is no stomping in the aisles & there is no holy spirit to carry the blame for all manner of passing out or shouting or the body’s pulsing convulsions & I do not want a spirit to enter me but I do want a girlfriend or at least a kiss from a girl at the Islamic Center where we go on Friday afternoons in the summers for Jummah prayer & kick our shoes off on the carpet & slip into the hallway where the boys & girls would congregate briefly before being separated for prayer & it is absolutely safe to say that with my socks on the marbled tile of the Islamic Center on Broad Street I felt overcome by something we will call holy I suppose for the sake of not upsetting the divine order & this was the mid-‘9os & so no one was really doing the moon walk anymore & even when they did no one was doing it right & there is only one Michael & I am not that n**** & still with the girls at the Islamic Center standing in line for the water fountain I thought Now is the time & I was decidedly not in the dark of my basement anymore where I knew the floors & I understood every corner of the architecture & I slid back on the top of my toes & no one even turned their eyes toward me & so no one could tell me about the stairs I was sliding toward & so no one saw my brief moment of rhythm before it unraveled & just like that I was in a pile of discarded shoes & it is safest to say that there was no girlfriend for me that summer or the summer after & the cable at my house got cut off the year my mother died.



On Marathons and Tunnels

When the thick fog of exhaustion set in on a room, it was desire that kept a dancers body upright. When the desire wore off, it would be another dancer, pulling their partner up by the arms. In the photos from the Depression-era dance marathons, women sometimes appear lifeless in the arms of their men. In some photos, men lean their resting bodies on women who have their backs arched, standing and trying to support the dead weight of the person affixed to them. Dance marathons began in the 1920s, largely in farm towns. As carnivals and fairs began growing along the American landscape, Americans became more obsessed with the impossible. Feats of strength, or human endurance. People attempted flagpole sitting, or long, horrific cross-country foot-races. With the successful modernization of the Olympic Games in 1896, Americans became invested in the idea of world records. Even well before the establishment of the Guinness Book of World Records, everything was measured. ‘I’ime and tenure were benchmarks for the impossible. In 1923, Alma Cummings danced with six men in Upper Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom for twenty-seven hours straight. Cummings was a dance instructor who was interested in the body’s limits on the dance floor. Her triumph sat directly at the intersection of the era’s many fascinations: with excess, with endurance, with testing the limits of the country’s tolerance for more liberal sexual expression. In the only photo of Cummings taken right after she’d stomped and spun along the wooden floor for over a full day, she’s got her feet in a small bowl of water. Her smile would appear to be one of satisfaction, if not for our understanding of what she’d just completed. With that knowledge, her upturned mouth looks as if it might be tilting toward a type of madness, highlighted by her barely open and vacant eyes. In one hand, Cummings holds the shoes she danced in. A hole is blown clean through each of them, near where a foot might strike the ground during a spirited movement. Both holes, wide as two open mouths, in awe, in horror.

When word of Alma Cummings’s accomplishment started to crawl across the records-obsessed country, there was no way folks were going to be outdone. People saw someone do something that had never been done before, and they wanted a piece of that something too. Some churches still said dancing was a sin, but there would be no sin greater than the sin of sitting idle while a chance to carve your name into immortality was available. Cummings had her record broken at least nine times in the next three weeks. In Baltimore, in Cleveland, in Houston, in Minneapolis. Stories of the hours people danced spread […] newspapers, traveling from town to town. If […] hit thirty-one hours on a Sunday somewhere in […], then surely someone a few states over would […] to drag themselves to thirty-two hours by Tuesday […]

[…] Problem, as eager promoters saw it, was that no one was […] on this new obsession. Sure, the boom of […] the early 1920s kept the people in urban centers well […] eager to spend their coin on whatever entertainment […] could find. But the people who lived in America’s rural […] found themselves pushed to dire circumstances. A combination of boredom and a scarcity of resources engineered the perfect opportunity for promoters to cash in on the growing excitement around the dance marathon. There was the space to do it—barns made empty by lack of use, or vast gathering halls that some of the more claustrophobic bigger cities didn’t have. There was also, simply, the ability to capitalize on poverty and need. Organizers would offer cash prizes of a few hundred dollars for the winners, sometimes more. A good competition could offer a prize larger than a farmer’s yearly income. In addition, dancers were lured toward the competitions by the simple promise of food and shelter. Food was provided during the marathons, and the dancers were given short breaks to eat, bathe, and shave. It was a grand alternative to hunger, or having to be immersed in the reality of one’s circumstances. Anything the dancers put themselves through felt worthwhile, given what the marathon was taking them away from. Even if they didn’t win, they still had a purpose for however long they could withstand the sleeplessness, or the blood-swollen feet, or the trembling legs, bent and unsteady.

Once the stock market crashed in 1929, dance marathons became a nationwide craze. Desperation is the great equalizer, after all. The pool of willing contestants widened and spread beyond rural America. People with no job prospects would fill up dance marathons just to get a consistent meal while attempting to bring home a payday. There were hard rules set in place: A dancer’s knees could not touch the floor at any point, or else both people in the team would be disqualified. Participants were permitted fifteen minutes each hour to rest, but once the fifteen minutes were up, they had to immediately return to the dance floor. What dancing was and wasn’t seemed to be debatable, in terms of actual movement. Dancers read the newspaper while dancing; some shaved while their partner held up a mirror. The rules just went that at least one dancer in a couple needed to be moving—one set of feet had to be attempting some directional rhythm. The hours that marathoners held the floor quickly ticked upward, far bevond the twenty-seven hours of Alma Cummings. Winning dancers in the early ‘30s clocked hundreds of hours the floor, then thousands. Some cities, like Boston, banned the events when participants started getting injured—or would pass out and die afterward.

For the most extreme marathons, the dances would oscillate between spirited turns of energetic movement and lazy stretches of half-rhythmic walking. People would choose their partners not always by affection or romantic interest, but simply by the person they most trusted to keep them alive during the marathon’s most unforgiving moments. Someone who had a body weight that was sturdy enough to keep a partner upright, but not too heavy to lift. There were dancers who entered marathons in December with the hope of dancing all the way until June. Two people—sometimes lovers but sometimes siblings and sometimes barely even friends had to commit to each other and the pursuit of staying on their feet. This might have been less difficult in the evening hours, when bands swung […] action to keep a room upbeat. But the real test was during the daytime, when a radio merely droned out some dry […] the spectators were few.

Yes, the spectators, those who watched with cynical excitement. Part […] in the bigger cities, where the marathons were […] draw, spectators packed the venues. Even among […], there was a class divide. The people who […] and out but not down and out enough to subject themselves to the rigors of a dance competition would […] bear witness to the people who were even worse off […] were—the people who collapsed their weary bodies […] other for a chance at temporary shelter or a run of hot meals or a place to rest in front of an audience of people who still had a place to live, or enough food to get by.

I typed “dance marathons, black dancers” into a Google search bar, and all of the results returned with a disclaimer tacked to the bottom. “Missing: Black.” The results ask if the term “Black” must be included. And at least here, it must. It also must be said that yes, there were a few Black dancers taking to their own marathons in Harlem or other pockets of New York City. But the majority of the marathon dancers and spectators were white. The biggest prizes were granted to the white dancers. But make no mistake. Black people were dancing. They were dancing in jazz clubs and small bars and in living rooms. Black people were dancing with an interest in skill over endurance. Requiring a partner who might highlight them rather than hold them up. Some of these Black people were struggling just the same as the white people dancing for hours, toward the edge of death. They were immersed in adjacent desperations, but afforded different opportunities of escape and reward. The Black dancers who Lindy Hopped in segregated ballrooms or casinos were about celebrating their ability to move like no one else around them could move, for whatever time they could. Pushing themselves to the brink of a short, blissful exhaustion, as opposed to a slow, plodding, death-defying one.

After all, what is endurance to a people who have already endured? What is it to someone who could, at that point, still touch the living hands of a family member who had survived being born into forced labor? Endurance, for some, was seeing what the dance floor could handle. It did not come down to the limits of the body when pushed toward an impossible feat of linear time. No. It was about having a powerful enough relationship with freedom that you understand its limitations.

* * *

When I was a senior in high school, there were sock hops in the middle of the day. It was an excuse for juniors and seniors to divide their days, to draw a line between life before sweat and life after. It was also the only way the school could keep those of us with cars in the building. Once administration got hip to the fact that we’d leave at lunch and return only half the time, a compromise had to be made. The midday sock hop was born. During the lunch hour, the school auditorium would allow the students to roll up the bleachers, bring in speakers, and create a dance floor. The school was old, and the auditorium was a cavern. There were few lights to begin with, and by the time bodies were packed into the place, what little light there was got swallowed. A cacophony of noise and shadows, for about forty minutes every afternoon. It was so dark that it didn’t matter who could or couldn’t dance, or who was grinding up against whom—or even what song was being played—as long as it was loud and had some bass that could be felt all the way out to the hallways. Teacher supervision was low, as most of them seemed to decide that this alternative was better than half of the school emptying out for the second half of the day.

For most of the young and overeager teenagers, the prime real estate was in the […] the darkness was even more all-consuming than […] dark room was. There, the boundary between […] and indecency was thinner. If two willing participant[…] to make a little more of the heat their bodies […] or if eyes had met across the classroom at nine in the morning with clear instructions of what might go down a few hours later, the corners were where those deeds […]. As private as one could get in an auditorium […] half the school present.

For maybe the only time in my life, I preferred the center of the floor. There was something seductive about being in a mass of limbs that hadn’t yet figured themselves out, as I hadn’t. My high school was racially diverse, but mostly only the Black people danced. Only the Black people played DJ at these dances. Only the Black teachers would look after the dance, or turn an eye away from the dance when things got a little too spicy but not so spicy that it might become dangerous. Others were invited into the space, of course. But it felt distinctly ours—young Black kids who were mostly too nervous to do anything but try to shake ourselves free from the confines of school, or parents, or sports, or any of the other responsibilities that we would later come to see as gentle winds in the oncoming hurricane of adulthood. I preferred the mass of bodies at the center of the floor, where the ability to dance was just an arbitrary thing in a pool of already arbitrary things. There was barely enough space to truly move, and so what one did within the confines of their small cube of space was dance—and no one was really checking your potentially non-dancing ass anyway, because they had their small cube of space to tend to.

I have never felt more like a dancer than I did then, among other Black kids who either had the moves or didn’t but still wanted to imagine the afternoon as a night without worries. When the music ended and the auditorium doors opened, the harsh light from the hallway would spill into the room, and we’d all walk out covering our eyes, as if we’d spent the last several days underground. It all feels so odd now. To go immediately from that scene to sitting in some desk and reading about Chaucer or a Brontë sister, sweat still stiffening on the back of my neck.

It occurs to me now that this was the real joy of dancing: to enter a world unlike the one you find yourself burdened with, and move your body toward nothing but a prayer that time might slow down.

Before I learned this lesson firsthand, understood the way sweat could gloriously cloak a dance floor, I would go to my television as a child to watch Black people move. Soul Train would air live on Saturday nights on WGN, a station out of Chicago, where the show originated. In Columbus, even if you had just a few basic channels, you’d get WGN. In the early to mid-‘9os, it was the thing to watch before Yo! MTV Raps. In that era, the live show was more than fine. But the real gems were in the reruns, which would sometimes come on during the day on Sundays, when most other channels were bogged down by infomercials or the NFL game of the week. The reruns showed clips from Soul Train’s most golden era, from the mid-‘70S through the late ‘80s, when the weekly musical guests came from the greatest eras of Black soul, funk, R&B, and pop, and the outfits of the audience-turned-dancers were adorned with fringe and frill and gold, their skin dark but for the glitter or jewels along their cheekbones and eyes.

Soul Train was guided bv Don Cornelius, who got his start as a backup disc jockey at Chicago radio station WVON. Cornelius was born in Chicago in 1936, as the era of dance marathons began to die down. He worked primarily as a news and sports reporter, but he […] emceeing a series of concerts featuring […] music talent. On weekend nights, he would […] many people as could fit into Chicago-area high […] and put on his show. He called the series “The […]” and his shows grew in popularity during the […], with people coming from all over the […] to whatever Cornelius decided to spin.

[…] two dance programs were running on the upstart UHF station out of Chicago: Kiddie-a-Go-Go and Red Hot and Blues—both targeted to young people. The latter catered primarily to Black audiences, playing on Friday nights, hosted by Big Bill Hill, a DJ and promoter in the city. Red Hot and Blues featured mostly R&B, and younger kids dancing with varying degrees of enthusiasm to the hits of the day.

This was the seed for Soul Train, but Cornelius was trying to make a show that was distinctly adult, and distinctly rooted in a type of cool that was being bom at the turn of the decade when Black people were redefining themselves once again, after talk of civil rights turned to talk of complete liberation. At his core, Cornelius was a journalist who was driven to journalism by a desire to cover the civil rights movement, with an understanding that the movement was inextricably linked to the music that soundtracked it. It acted as both a call for people to take to the streets and a reprieve after a long day of protest, or marching, or working some despised job. Cornelius was frustrated by the lack of television venues for soul music and the lack of Black people being their whole, free selves on television, and so he created a venue for it himself. By the time a television deal came knocking in 1970, he’d already established an audience. A people cannot only see themselves suffering, lest they believe themselves only worthy of pain, or only celebrated when that pain is overcome. Cornelius had a vision for Black people that was about movement on their own time, for their own purpose, and not in response to what a country might do for, or to, them.

It did help that Don Cornelius was cool. His name itself seemed like something passed through a lineage of mother-fuckers who wore their hats low and kept lit cigarettes in their mouths that never burned all the way down. His full name— Donald Cortez Cornelius—might have been even cooler than the one he’s most known by, but I suppose even the freshest random […]


Photo of Hanif Abdurraqib.


is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in PEN America, Muzzle, Vinyl, and other journals, and his essays and criticism have been published in The New Yorker, Pitchfork, The New York Times, and Fader. His first full-length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was named a finalist for an Eric Hoffer book award and nominated for a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was named a book of the year by NPR, Esquire, Buzzfeed, O: The Oprah Magazine, Pitchfork, and Chicago Tribune, among others. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle and Kirkus Prize finalist and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, A Fortune for Your Disaster, won the Lenore Marshall […]. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.



Also […] from Penguin Random House Audio

[…] design: Michael Morris

Jacket photograph: […] and Willa Mae Ricker demonstrating the Lindy Hop (Gjon […] Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Author photo[…]: Megan Leigh Barnard


© 2021 by Penguin […] LLC




Another Way to Split Water by Alycia Pirmohamed



Meditation While Plaiting My Hair

Nights / Flatline

I Want the Kind of Permanence in a Birdwatcher’s Catalogue


The Fish That Halved Water

After the House of Wisdom

When the Wolves Appear

Nerium Oleander


Prairie Storm

When the Storm Ends

I Am Learning Through Mouths


Love Poem with Elk and Punctuation

Hawwa Discovers Adam by the River

Hawwa Is Creating Her Garden


You Know It but It Don’t Know You

Midnight Vessel Across the Great Sea






Origin of Water II

Persephone’s Crossings

Self-Portrait with Fish Eyes

My Body Is a Forest

House of Prayer


Belief as an Ocean Landscape

Another Last Prayer

Self-Portrait as a Lost Language

Elegy with Two Elk and a Compass

Fire Starter


On My Tongue

Another Way to Split Water

Avian Circulatory System

Ode to My Mother’s Hair


In the Leftover Space


Acknowledgements & notes

A note on the author



Page 5:


Say the word dark

translates to how I fold my body


like a fig

against a stippled moon.


Pull a string of sorrows from

my mouth.


Remind me that I am not a swan –


I am a long night of rain

with my mother’s eyes.


Hold my tasbih to my heart.


Imagine we are

elk walking into tall grass.


This dream is the sky opening,


this dream is a river of faces.


This dream is all of the pine trees

replaced with smoke.




Page 52:


and she imagines this country unwithers,

becomes a different land,


where her body is shaped like the river

and the river


is shaped like belonging.



Page 53:


as a child she wore a skirt of seagulls

and was afraid of the dark called her mother god

because what else


could mother an ocean but god? she ate nankhatai

and plaited her hair she smelled of cardamom


newly crushed and boiled she split into spring’s tulips,

carried a jar of condolences just in case.


she was a daughter caught praying in the mountains.


she was stone through stone melodic a vase of trees

rattled by her name: water, like the roots that hold the earth



ginan and its woven stanzas. she is the sound of a

messenger calling for another bird another


metaphor for god. as a child how was she to know

what to call beloved?




Any Night of the Week by Jonny Dovercourt

Copyright ©Jonny Dovercourt, 2020.
Yonge Street, 1957-65;
Yorkville, 1960-68;
Jamaica to Toronto, 1967-75;
Aftermath: Cancon and Back to the Strip, 1968-75;
Intersystems + Syrinx: Acid, Synths, & Chance, 1967-72;
Stan Spadina, 1971-77;
Rough Trade: Pleasures of the Flesh, 1974-86;
The Garys: Please Welcome…, 1976-83;
Punk Crashes, Bums, Invents Queen West, 1976-78;
Martha and the Muffins: Faraway in Time, 1977-;
The Government: The Band Was A Good Band, 1977-83;
Last Call for Downtown Dives, 1979-86;
Ready Records: Architects of the World, 1979-85;
Truths and Rights + Mojah: Original Roots, 1977-83;
Queen West: The A-List Assembles, 1981-84;
Fifth Column: We Dug a Trench, 1980-95;
The Club Boom, 1984-87;
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet: Having an Average Weekend, 1984-94;
Rheostatics: Canadian Dream, 1978-;
The Export Boom, 1987-91;
Toronto Hip-Hop’s First Wave, 1989-91;
Phleg Camp: In the Rocket’s Red Glare, 1989-93;
Go West: The Drake Before the Drake (And Drake), 1991-93;
King Cobb Steelie: When Will This Struggle End?, 1991-2014;
GUH + Slow Loris: The Twenty-Eight Year Gig, 1991-;
All Ages, All Hours, 1993-96;
Kat Rocket: The Art of Never Winning, 1992-99;
Ghetto Concept: Certified Motion, 1992-;
Queen Vest: The (Counterculture) Establishment Digs In, 1995-97;
Do Make Say Think: Highway 420, 1995-;
The Last Rock Show: College Street Rises Up, 1997-99;
Da Grassroots + LAL: Let’s Just Create Our Own World, 1991;
The First Wavelength: Beginning at the Ends, 1999-2001;
Broken Social Scene: Cause = Time, 1999-;
Epilogue: Any Corner of the City;
Photo Credits;
About the Author.


At the start of 2017, Toronto lost seven of its dedicated music venues. In the space of three months, the Silver Dollar Room, the Central, Holy Oak, Hugh’s Room, the Hideout, the Hoxton, and Soybomb all closed their doors – most of them forever. The alarm bell was sounded in Toronto’s local music community: panel discussions were convened, council meetings were flashmobbed. The ‘Vanishing Venues’ crisis was a teeth-grinding irony in a town trying to brand itself a ‘Music City’ – and the home of the world’s most popular musical artist. In the twenty-first century, new original music is Toronto’s largest and most successful cultural export. The 2010s were the decade of Drake and the Weeknd, when hazy, melodic hip-hop and R&B became – along with Raptors basketball – proud ambassadors for Canada’s largest city, the sprawling, misunderstood metropolis on the north shore of Lake Ontario. A decade earlier, in the 2000s, Toronto became a global hotspot for indie music, with tuneful, communitarian collectives like Broken Social Scene and the Hidden Cameras busting beyond the city’s borders, followed by a breathtaking diversity of visionary artists from Fucked Up to Tanya Tagaq. Considering this bounty, it’s hard to believe that pre-2000 Toronto was a tough place to be if you wanted to make music. For local bands in the twentieth century, hailing from here was a handicap, if not an outright curse. This book is about how Toronto transformed itself from an uptight provincial backwater to one of the world’s musical meccas. It’s the story of how Toronto found its voice in original, homegrown music, and how our current wealth was built upon the hard work of countless community architects and the geography of supportive architecture. But ‘creative cities’ like Toronto – which have identified music and the arts as key economic drivers – still lack the means to sufficiently protect these supportive spaces. And just as these bricks-and-mortar sanctuaries need preservation, so too does our history. Toronto’s musical history […]



Beige Pursuits by Sara Magenheimer

Like Clockwork 7-19

Beige Pursuit 21-127

In order of appearance

Sounds 24, 35

Some things you can ask me 53-60

Images 63-65, 91

Kuleshov Effect 106

Sentences 129-141


Index 143-149

Acknowledgments 150-151

Colophon 152


Page 9:

Cabin sounds: thick beige noise, muted footsteps, clinking of

change, utensils, glasses, indistinct voices, etc.

A calm female voice:

We hope you have endured our friendship in-air.

We are now preparing to fall.

The bar is closed and wc will soon collect your love.

May I remind you to form your soft pink shape by

the time we sublimate.

This is your last chance to use words.

Another voice says:

Prepare for changes.

A calm female voice:

Ladies and Gentlemen, now we re approaching Soul

where the local time is always.

At this stage you should be secure in your body with

your clothing cool and loose.

Personal visualization hats

miniature forests

and retractable comfort architecture

must be concealed


Page 28:

In the middle of the forest, X meets a talking mushroom

declaring platitudes to a rapt bed of pansies […]

exhaling smoke in the shape of letters that grow in the […]

as they ascend, fading up into clouds. Records video […]


To understand is always an ascending movement […]

Hope that is seen is not hope at all.

You pick the enemy you become.

(This page featured illustrations of letters shaped like clouds)


Page 29:

X decides she neither wants to go up nor down, but IN.

X knocks on the Letter Carrier’s door not with her fists,

but with words, “Open! Knock Knock! Let me in!”

X introduces herself. “Have you read me?”she asks.

The Letter Carrier peers suspiciously out of the mail

slot in his front door. “I see the living body of a human

woman, not a book,” he says.


X is aware that her adventure is situated nor merely in a text

or in a series of events, but in their coincidence.

The Letter Carrier appears out of nowhere.

X is not the power that preexists the story and makes the

Letter Carrier speak; X is the story.

X is not the one who inspires the Letter Carrier to speak; X

is speech.


Page 68:

On the street, X gets catcalled by a guy standing in a

hole with only his head coming out, “Oh my, oh my,

oh MAN! I got to quit my job! I just found my dream

girl! SHIT! I can’t quit my job ‘cause how would I

support her?”

He laughs to himself loudly looking down.

X walks away, disinterested in this power dynamic.

Some say a hole is a hole, but this is not a hole it’s,

whole. Relationship. To sex, to power, to architecture,

to control.

Spacing out on the next block, X falls down an open


Arrives in 1980s America. She can tell by interior decor

choices popularized during the Reagan era.


Page 69 shows the interior of a house. There is a blue bathtub in the middle of the room. A pink bath mat and a stool with a pink cushion are in front of the bathtub. The marrow behind the bathtub reveal more of the room: a floor lamp and green chair, green curtains and a fireplace.


Page 70 and 71 show a bedroom. In the picture’s foreground is a small treen. The wallpaper and the bedding have the same design of pink florals, making the bed blend into the wall. A small cupboard made of dark wood is at the foot of the bed. Next to it are a dark wooden chair and a stool, both upholstered with the same pink floral textile used on the bed.


Page 72 shows a portion of a living room. It features a fireplace with a glass covering in front of it, a grey couch with a cushion on top of it and a glass table in front. A single pink flower with a very long stem sits in a glass on top of the glass table.


Page 73:

As X falls she says to herself:

My problem is that I forgot my name, and what’s worse is that I’m forgetting that I’ve forgotten in. I’m taking in each moment as it is. It’s easy to be egoless when you have everything. The burden of keeping my ego tethered to my soul is all mine. Taking myself seriously is exhausting, but if I stop will I just float away?



Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight

A photo of white mail boxes affixed to a grey wall. The caption reads “Clark Drive”.





I think about all the houses

This is for the teachers

Grade six

Waiting out front of the school to be picked up was torture

When the smoke cleared



Dear Current Occupant: Part One

House with the sign in the window

Origami house with the handmade roof

Duplex near Fraser Street with the picture books in the closet

Letter to Santa

House with the green door on East 12th Avenue

Basement suite on Earles Street

Apartment above the East Indian sweet shop just off 49th

Palms Motel, Kingsway

House we all shared on Forgotten Street

Two-toned red-and-white brick house on 41st behind the church


Witness Statements

I didn’t have a father

Pack your things

apartment 301 near the low track

white house where some family lived upstairs

most holidays

like a lion in the trees

of the last house I remember


cracks in the sidewalk

Walking tour, a map

Broadway and Commercial

41st Avenue between Victoria and Elliott, back

Clark Drive 2

Clark Drive 3

East 12th Avenue (off Commercial)

41st Avenue between Wales and Clarendon

East 12th between Windsor and Fraser, back alley

East 12th between Windsor and Fraser, back alley

Clark Drive traffic

East 12th between Windsor and Fraser, front door

East 13th Avenue, attic

East 13th Avenue, front

East 41st between Victoria and Elliott

Broadway and Commercial, back

East 41st between Victoria and Elliott, roof

Fraser and 13th

Kingsway and Fraser […]

Kingsway Hotel

Kingsway Hotel, […]

View from front […] of East 12th

Gate, white […]

Clark Drive […] sction



Dear Current Occupant: Part Two

She’s at the recovery house for the third time

Apartment on Clark Drive above the convenience store

For Uncle Eugene

Owl House Women and Children’s Shelter

The room in the attic of the oldest place we’ve stayed

Pink building, Broadway and 12th

House with the attic apartment where kittens disappear

Neighbour, this is for your daughter

One-room apartment above the grocery store

Third-floor corner unit apartment, East Broadway

House where I accidentally dyed my hair blond

Of every yard I didn’t have


Mirror Talk

let your hair down

the eyes have it

these hands

these lips taste water


Notices of Termination

the occupants of these suites must adhere to the following rules

damage noted

I broke the rules on purpose

someone slashed the tops off coconuts so we could drink the milk

Miss Parker

Lay your head on my pillow



mama, you need to know some things




black and female while writing

never sure how the word Dad

the cracks in the narrative






Chelene Knight





I think about all the houses and I try to remember the little details—I used to cough from the mixed fumes in the air, while Mama’s cigarette smoke and pine cleaner pinned my eyelids to my brows. I try to remember the way I’d only eat a handful of things. I was picky. I was skinny. My hair was big but I had good hair. I had thin wrists and tiny ankles. I kept an inventory of my things. I was light-skinned. Everyone saw me from the outside in. I’d never wear my hair down.

There were so many houses. Never mine, never ours. These houses—carpets, floors, cupboards, missing closet doors, light bulbs, faucets, shelves, bathrooms, shower curtains, phone cords—constantly changing. Vancouver Eastside. Let me count the times the front door would slam in the middle of the night and the hinges squeak, lost in the breath of men… Mama’s visitors would come and go, never staying long enough to remember my name. My name, the skin-crawling sensation of a voice asking something, and then, “No, that’s my daughter.”

Twenty or thirty houses. Many close together, some on the same block. I loved this city. Walk with me: Fraser, Kingsway, Clark, East 12th, Commercial, Broadway, Woodlands, Earles, 49th. Hold your things close. Sometimes we had to leave at a moment’s notice, taking only what we could carry and leaving behind what we couldn’t. We filled shopping carts, baskets, boxes, garbage bags, backpacks. I noticed the colour of paint, walls, and doors. I took shelter in the frames of small spaces I thought no one would see.

The cracks in the sidewalk—

I wanted to crawl in. It wasn’t all bad: like the days I fell into books. Reading about being someone else. In each of these houses I spent my days writing about being someplace where I could mouth the word home and mean it. I wanted a corner nook where I could line my books along a wide windowsill. I wanted a large armchair, tall enough that my legs would swing and hover above a tiled floor. I’d be safe. I could settle into my brother’s laughter at jokes neither of us understood. I’d dream of days spent listening to music. I’d lie on my bed, turn up the radio, and close my eyes. Music played just for me.

I was eleven when I realized there could be music woven into words. Rhythms and cadence shifted in between colons and dashes. I was eleven when my teacher told me to sing loud. I was eleven when I realized I had a voice, and that everyone deserved to be heard. I wanted to sing loud. When I turned twelve, one of my classmates called me a n*****. It was at that moment I learned how to open my mouth and speak.

“Sing loud,” she said. This blond white woman balancing in three-inch heels hovered over me. Her wide body created a criss-cross design of shadow and light.

“Sing loud,” she said.

She pulled me into the dim cloakroom, where yellow, red, green, and brown raincoats lined the wall like infantry. I stood there in the dark of her dress. She placed the palm of her hand on my shoulder. “Never let anyone say that to you again. Don’t let anyone dull your shine.”

I stood there confused, quiet. She lowered one knee to the ground, and her gaze met mine. I stuck my index finger inside my tightly sculpted hair bun searching eagerly for scalp.

“Why, miss?” I continued to […] my hair bun.

“Because you’re going to […] be a strong Black woman. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that?”

I remember that day […] cloakroom. I never wanted to be a woman. I never wanted to […] woman because I had no idea how.


This is for the teachers. Growing up, I never had a Black teacher. I never had a Black woman teacher. I never had a Black or mixed-race teacher. I never had a Black or mixed-race woman teacher who understood what it was like to grow up poor, to live with a mother who struggled with addiction and sex work, or be a child forced to carry the weight of a low-functioning adult on her shoulders while trying to get an education. And I never once questioned this. Until now.

Why does this matter? Teachers hold a lot of power. Teachers are gatekeepers. I will not dance around this. How can a little Black girl be guaranteed she’s offered the same opportunities as all the other children in her classes? We’ve seen the movies that now centre around this very question, but is that enough? How do they challenge her, support her, teach her? How do teachers make sure that girl can sit calm at her desk without the worry that she isn’t good enough, and that what she has to say isn’t good enough? How do they guarantee that her voice will be heard? All of these questions and thoughts formed twenty-five years later. Now, as an adult, a mother, a professional writer, and an editor, I can see the cracks in the narrative.

Looking back at my younger self, I wonder what would have changed for me had I ever been handed a book written by a Black female author. How might that have influenced my life? A big question. Dionne Brand. Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Esi Edugyan, Cecily Nicholson, to name just a few. What are the reasons names like these never crossed my desk?

Society puts so much blame on the parents. It’s the parents’ job to teach their children everything they need to know, and this is true to some extent. But let’s break this down a bit: if a child spends eight hours a day, five days a week, for fifteen years of their life, sitting at a desk listening to “teachers,” then how much of the responsibility falls to these teachers?

Most people may read this book and think, wow, that’s really sad, or they may say they feel bad that a little girl experienced these things. But that’s not the purpose of this book. It took me twenty-five years to figure out that my mother saved my life. And even though it was most likely not her intention, she showed me what could happen if I didn’t have a dream. She showed me what could happen if I didn’t work hard. She showed me could happen if I let the wrong people in, or left the door open for too long. Maybe, for me, she was the only one who could do that.

Maybe she was the real gatekeeper.

So yes, teachers are gatekeepers. Teachers hold a lot of power, and that responsibility will never change. Growing up, I never had a Black teacher, I never had a Black woman teacher. I never had a Black or mixed teacher. I had a mother.


Grade six. Nineteen ninety-two. I had this teacher, Mrs. McCloud. I was eleven years old. She said I was a writer. She said these words. I filled up class journals. One per month. Everyone else had one for the entire year. She asked me to read my short stories in front of the class. She sat at her desk and ran a thin blue comb through her triangular short blond hair. With the paper in front of my face, I mumbled through them. I looked over at her, her short triangular hair, large-framed body, small eyes. Small smiling eyes. She saw me in the basement cafeteria sitting with friends who had their lunches splayed out across the folding linoleum tables: orange slices, sandwiches with iceberg lettuce and thick-sliced tomato. Cheese. Bananas only slightly bruised. Peanut butter and jelly. I sat there. Lips permanently pursed around the straw of my grape-flavoured juice box. Hair pulled back tight. Headband with a plastic white teddy bear on the side. Pink shirt with a scoop neck. She walked over to me. Put her hand on my shoulder, her blue eyes bigger than I’d ever seen them. She said nothing. She eased her hand down to the middle of my back, right between my shoulder blades. With her other hand she motioned for me to stand up. I stood up. We walked away from the table with the splayed lunches over to the hot-lunch line. We stood there in silence. The line moved. We moved. Silence stayed still. My heart pounded. She said nothing. We got to the front of the line to pay. I looked up at her. She motioned for me to keep walking. I did. She looked at the cafeteria cashier with her small but big eyes. Whispered something. The cafeteria cashier nodded in response. I walked back over to the linoleum table with the splayed lunches and added mine to the mix. I sat down with my friends. We picked up where we had left off, talking about New Kids on the Block. I looked up to see if Mrs. McCloud was there. She wasn’t.



Dying Wishes by Anitha Krishnan

It is a good thing the dying have regrets.

Otherwise, everyone would die believing they have unravelled this mystery called life, when nothing could be further from the truth.

And I’d find myself unemployed to boot.





Mr. Paul Peregrine is about to die.

He looks spectacularly fit though. Tall. Upright. An erect posture. Not a stoop. Not a tremor in his mottled hands as he presses the button on his Keurig and makes himself one last shot of espresso. When the machine beeps, he lifts the cup and inhales the rich aroma of coffee, which always smells like early morning to me no matter what time of the day it is, and sips with great relish.

He looks like a man who has probably spent most of his life telling others what to do without ever having found anyone worth listening to. A world unto himself.

I am a visitor. And I am early. I must wait for either an invitation to enter or for him to be only a few minutes away from death.

I stand just beside his door, inside the only brick wall of his enormous penthouse studio. The other three sides of the vast rectangular space bear floor-to-ceiling windows punctuated by the occasional steel frame. The late afternoon sun has slipped out of sight but bright light and warmth gush through the east-facing glass walls and flood the apartment.

Everything is aglow. The spines of the books that cover most of the brick wall I’m hiding in. The appliances on the kitchen countertop tucked against a glass wall, overlooking the glass facades of neighbouring skyscrapers. The large, bright cornflower blue couch in the middle of the studio. The glass coffee table perched in front of it. The dust motes hovering over a golden beige carpet threaded with an intricate design of vines and red, yellow and orange leaves. It is his own slice of autumn, plucked from the world outside and preserved within for late enjoyment at leisure.

I wonder how old he is. His hair is a silvery grey, the colour of the sky caught in a snowstorm. Wrinkles are etched on his forehead like tattoos. He is dressed in cocktail attire, a bespoke charcoal grey suit and black shoes that gleam. The file made no mention of his age, I am certain, although I gave it no more thar a brief glance back at my office on Brant Street Pier in Burlington before making my way to his waterfront dwelling in Toronto.

“I’m only a little younger than Time,” Mr. Peregrine’s deep, baritone voice strums the air around us.

The dying begin to see me in the minutes preceding their departure. But never before have I come across a mind-reader. Intrigued, I step out of the brick wall into his vast studio and smile at him.

“You can read minds,” I state and question simultaneously.

“Only as well as you take me away before my time is up,” he accuses me of something I’m completely incapable of. He glances at this watch and looks back at me, one eyebrow raised. “You’re early,” he says, pretending to be irked by my s0le virtue.

“Most people appreciate the warning,” I say. “I’m usually and unexpected guest.”

“Oh, but we all are, my dear,” he says. “If only babies could speak in a language that adults can comprehend, I am sure their first words upon nascence would be ‘How on earth did I end up here?’”

I smile. For all that I know about death and the dying, I know nothing about babies and birthing. I wonder if Mr. Peregrine has children of his own. I hope he doesn’t. No parent wishes to die without their children by their side. There are no family photos in his apartment. There are no personal effects either, I observe, now that I’m looking for them. I wonder if this is where Mr. Peregrine lives or if this is merely a place he has chosen to die in.

Only a few minutes remain for him to move on from this world. Time for me to carry out my duties. I thrust my hand into the pocket of my jacket, clasp a little vial I had tucked in there, without withdrawing it, and step forward.

“Mr. Peregrine, do you have any last wishes —“ I begin but he cuts me off.

“I have nothing to offer you, m’dear,” he says. “I am dying a content man. Truly. But I don’t want you to leave. I don’t get many visitors and, if I have any say in the matter, I’d much rather not die alone.”

“Of course, I’ll stay until it’s time.” I pull my hand out of my pocket, leaving the vial inside. No use for it now. A very rare occurrence. Which means the God of Death himself will arrive. The thought perturbs my heart like the splash of a pebble in a lake and sends ripples through my entire being.

Mr. Peregrine sets his cup of coffee on the centre table, then reaches for a handle on one of the glass walls and steps out onto a balcony I hadn’t noticed before, beckoning me to join him with a wave of his arm. I step onto the balcony and it is like entering a cool blue world. Winter is still a few weeks away, but a chill has already descended all over us like a cold blanket. I bury my nose into the collar of my indigo leather jacket but am pleased that my hands are still clad in motorcycle gloves.

The autumn sky is a brilliant blue, the kind that doesn’t hurt your eyes to look at, and its splendour is reflected in the waters of Lake Ontario below us and as far as the eye can see. Planes glide like seagulls through the blue air to and from the Billy Bishop airport, a small island of white on the lake. I look to the left and behind, where the CN Tower rises from behind an assortment of skyscrapers like a very tall, long-legged ballerina, wearing a classical tutu. To the right, more glass and steel and construction cranes jostle for space by the lakeshore.

“There,” Mr. Peregrine points into the distance. “You can see the falls.”

I peer at the horizon but am unable to discern the relentless cascade of Niagara Falls. He must have very keen eyesight, I think as I glance sideways at Mr. Peregrine, whose brown eyes are focussed unmoving on something so far away he might as well be looking within himself. It won’t be long now before those eyes cease to soak up the wondrous sights of our world.

“How did you come to be here?” I ask him, shrugging towards his studio. “You mean this? I’m what you’d call an unexpected guest here,” he grins, ready to share a story. “The people who own this place haven’t visited in years. They send around a real estate agent to let this place. For some peculiar reason, he never fails to suggest to prospective tenants that this place may or may not be haunted. It is an arrangement I wasn particularly inclined to disturb.”

“Ah, that explains the Toronto housing market bubble. All these empty apartments that may or may not be haunted.”

“What about you? Are you from around here?”

I’m taken aback. The dying are almost always unable to spare a thought for anyone other than themselves. And this particular question is posed to me so rarely I need to think before I can answer.

“India,” I say finally. “But we moved to Canada four years old and never went back. I grew up in Oakville. Burlington is home now.”

“Aah.” He gives me a knowing smile, as if he has stumbled upon a long-lost nugget of knowledge. “Some wonderful conservation parks you’ve got there in Halton. I’d always dreamed of retiring there. In proximity to Mountsberg or Crawford Lake. Too bad I ended up working until my last day on earth.”

I cannot tell if he is wistful or merely self-deprecating. I hope it is the latter. Regret is such a futile sentiment, yet so many precious moments of life are squandered on it. I need not glance at any manmade timekeeper to know Mr. Peregrine has only a couple of minutes left in this lifetime. I wonder if it is enough for him to explain to me how he can read minds but before I open my mouth, he asks me yet another entirely unexpected question.

“Whose life was spared when you became a Harbinger?”

I feel my insides churn in a concoction of great unease and mild fear. Yes, I am a Harbinger of Death. I present myself to the dying in the minutes preceding their demise so that they may unburden themselves to me. I give them a final opportunity to rid themselves of their unfulfilled desires and their deepest regrets. I absolve them of their darkest secrets and their unpardonable crimes, so that they may step out of this world, out of this life, unfettered by the chains of fear and shame, guilt and remorse that keep them shackled to this endless spiral of life and death and rebirth.

For thirteen revolutions of the earth around the sun have I liberated countless human souls, sinners and saints alike. Towards the end, everyone seeks redemption. Everyone seeks freedom. Emancipation from words spoken or left unspoken, from deeds done or left undone, from temptations resisted or succumbed to, from paths forged or left unearthed. Liberation from all the travails of living and all the tribulations of dying.

But no one has wondered about my role in the unfolding drama of their death. I am merely a bystander, a facilitator. Like the night sky that unfurls herself for the stars to prick her with their light in different places. All eyes in the Universe seek onlv the stars. There is nothing to behold in my blackness.

Yet, here is a man, mere moments from his death, a man who claims to be almost as old as Time, a man who can read minds, who knows what I am, and quite possibly what I’ve had to do to become a Harbinger. He is no mere mortal. And so I choose to answer what may very well be his last question before he dies. Whose life was spared when I became a Harbinger?

“My mother’s,” I reply, a little warily.

“Was it a fair transaction?”

I shrug. “One life for another.” I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

Mr. Peregrine tut-tuts and steps closer to me. He bends to whisper in my ear. “All lives are not equal. Never trust any God who insists otherwise.”

Clearly, he knows too much. “How do you know all this?” I ask. “Who are you?”

“Wrong questions”, he admonishes me. “Listen —“ he begins but is cut off as a black cloud blots out the sun. The wind lobs helpless leaves at us. The blue sky turns an ominousc grey. Thunder threatens to drop the heavens on our heads. Lightning fractures the air. And celestial dwellers pelt us with fat drops of cold rain.

“Death has arrived,” I screamm to make myself heard over the din, fold my arms over my chest, and turn away from the balcony to head inside. But there he is. Death.

The God of Death stands at the threshold, leaning agains the doorframe, dressed in beige chinos and a summer blue shirt, sleeeves rolled up his forearms, a hint of a joke pulling’ his lips into a half-smile, an image of effortless calm, even delight, in the eye of the storm. He loves to stage a dramatic entry, but I fail to see why Mr. Peregrine merits such a thunderstorm of a curtain call. One thing I know now for certain. Mr. Peregrine is certainly dying a content man. Which is why Death is here.

I take a moment to catch my breath, like I always do, at the sight of Death. All my encounters with him have been in the moments leading to another’s demise. It is impossible to describe what he looks like. Most of you will not see him the way I do.

Death is a reflection of our lives, of who we are. How he appears to you is entirely a consequence of what you feel about yourself and your life in the moment you encounter him, which may be at the time of your passing or later. Of course, no one ever lives to tell the tale. And the ones who do, the ones whose lives are spared because their loved ones agree to be recruited as Harbingers of Death, have no recollection of their rendezvous whatsoever.

But remember and believe in this. If you unburden yourself completely to me before dying, then Death himself will arrive to guide your precious, free soul away from this world. As he has arrived now for Mr. Peregrine. It is on occasions such as these that I herald his arrival, albeit unknowingly, like the sky that hangs low before it gives up its first snowflake to the earth.

And you will see Death the way I do. The unencumbered soul finds Death extremely alluring. Like a temptation you yearn to surrender to. Like an addiction you no longer wish to stave off. Like a lover you can no longer bear to be separated from. Also, perhaps a little mischievous, as if he is tempting you to hop on to an adventure with him. The unburdened soul steps away from life with ease and grace, like a rose of Sharon that blooms only for a day and wilts that very night without question or complaint.

“A sad but momentous occasion, Mr. Peregrine,” Death holds out his hand.

For someone who has the most distasteful job of seizing from people their lives, their very souls, Death appears every bit as nonchalant and pragmatic as he did when I first met him more than two decades ago. Back then, I had loathed him. Twenty-two years since, I am unable to walk past him without fearing that my juddering heart will betray the attraction that supplanted my hostility aeons ago.

“Only my greatest delight,” Mr. Peregrine says, his sonorous voice jolting me back to the reality of his presence. I had momentarily forgotten about him since the arrival of Death. I feel the heat of a blush rise to my cheeks as I recall Mr. Peregrine’s uncanny talent for reading minds. I wonder if he has learnt about my feelings for Death. I am ashamed to admit I can’t help but feel a little relieved that my secret shall die w him. Any moment now.

I turn back to look at him. A knowing smile plays on his lips as he steps forward to take Death’s hand in his own. This is evidently not their first meeting. But then something flits across Mr. Peregrine’s face before he reaches Death. A thought. A realization. Something is amiss. A frown erases his smile.

Before I lend a voice to my observations, I feel my body being yanked as Mr. Peregrine first pulls me towards him with surprising strength and agility, and then shoves me against Death, which sends the two of us crashing onto the floor of his studio. As Death and I scramble to our feet, Mr. Peregrine hurls himself over the railing of his balcony.

A gust of wind blows freezing rain into our faces as we leap towards the railing and look below. Lightning forks through the skies and pierces the space below us, striking Mr. Peregrine. In an explosi0n of light and heat and electric charge, the dying man is metamorphosed into a gyrfalcon. The white-and-black speckled bird of prey buffets the wet air beneath its wings and swoops and soars out of reach and out of sight, leaving the echoes of its shrill cries in its wake.

“Dammit,” Death roars louder than the thunderstorm he has created, terrifying it into hiding. The dark clouds in the sky disappear into its azure blue. The late afternoon sun reappears as if a light switch has been flicked on. The only remnants of the thunderstorm are the wet debris on every exposed surface of concrete and the dark look on the face of Death, which doesn’t quite manage to conceal his fury.

“Infinity,” he turns to me and says, “did Mr. Peregrine give up any dying wishes?” There is an anger, a harshness in his face I have never seen before.

“None.” I shake my head.

“Are you sure?” he asks. “Think carefully. What were his exact words on the matter?”

He takes one menacing step towards me and, for a moment, I want to step back and shrink into myself. But I don’t. Because I know the answer to his question. I remember clearly for I’d never before heard such words spoken by a dying man.

“Mr. Peregrine said he was dying a content man. ‘I have nothing to offer you, m’dear.’ That was his precise choice of words.” I think for an instant and add for what it’s worth, “I think he was speaking the truth. I believed him.”

Death looks into my eyes for another instant, then nods.

“Who was he?” I ask.

Death hesitates, but only for a moment. “An Immortal who chose to give up his human life.”

And then he’s gone, leaving me with a million speculations and questions swirling and spiralling in my head. Amid the fracas, two thoughts ensconce themselves firmly in my mind.

First, the existence of Immortals can no longer be denied.

Second, the death of an Immortal plunges our world into the Second Age of Eternal Death.



Ecolinguistics by Arran Stibbe

© 2021 Arran Stibbe


Preface to the second edition
1 Introduction
The stories we live by
The ‘eco’ of ecolinguistics
The ‘linguistics’ of ecolinguistics
The ecosophy of this book
Organisation of this book

2 Ideologies
Destructive discourses
Ambivalent discourses
Beneficial discourses
The discourse of neoclassical economics

3 Framing
The framing of development

4 Metaphors

5 Evaluations
Appraisal and the weather

6 Identities
Identity, gender and the body in Men’s Health magazine

7 Convictions
Facticity in climate change and coronavirus denial

8 Erasure
Erasure in ecosystem assessment and the Sustainable Development Goals

9 Salience
Salience in new nature writing

10 Narratives
Ego, eco and origin narratives

11 Conclusion
The gathering

Appendix: Sources of data


Six years have passed since the first edition of this book was published. Those years saw a great kindling of ecological awareness globally, with millions of people taking to the streets to demand climate and ecological action, and widespread declarations of climate emergency. Strong voices emerged which demanded fundamental changes to society in order to avoid ecological collapse. However, the mainstream still clung to the old goals of perpetual economic growth, profit and material consumption, albeit with a nod towards achieving these goals with greater environmental responsibility. And then came the coronavirus pandemic which, at least temporarily, changed everything. The initial months of the pandemic showed that dramatic widespread change is possible in response to a clear threat. There were huge practical changes, like the shutting down of most air travel and many shops and industries. In some countries there were political changes too. as free-market principles were moved aside for governments to directly support people who were struggling to meet their needs, and public health was put above economic growth. And there were community changes too, where groups spontaneously emerged to help local vulnerable people and refugees get by. Above all, there were personal changes, as some reduced unnecessary shopping and travel, bonded with family members, reconnected with local nature, helped neighbours, grew vegetables and rethought what was important in their lives. Arising from this there were environmental changes too as emissions fell and the air became cleaner. However, any positives have come at an enormous cost, in death and suffering of those who became ill, and the exacerbating of existing inequalities as those in poverty who were already suffering the most from ecological destruction were pushed to the brink of survival or beyond. There were voices which described the changes that were occurring during the pandemic as temporary, something to endure until ‘normality’ returned. But there were others who pointed out that there was nothing normal about the time before the pandemic. The population had never been so high, consumption had never been so high, and the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion and pollution were being felt in ways that they had never been felt before. As Sonya Renee Taylor (2020) describes: “We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack … We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” According to this perspective, going back to ‘normal’ is not only impossible but also undesirable – we must move on to something new. Arundhati Roy (2020) writes that ‘historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next’. This book describes how language structures the stories that cultures and societies are based on. It describes the stories of the pre-pandemic world that were not serving us well, that were leading society towards inequality and ecological collapse. These include stories of perpetual growth as the goal of society: profit as the goal of corporations; material accumulation as the goal of individuals; humans as fundamentally selfish; nature as a resource existing only to be exploited; migration as an invasion; environmental regulations as an attack on freedom; and climate change as a hoax. While some of these stories were paused, the great danger is that we return to them even stronger than before in the wake of the pandemic, abandoning environmental concern in order to grow the economy as quickly as possible. Instead of this, we need to find new stories to live by, which were emerging before the pandemic but have been brought into sharp perspective now: stories of communities coming together to meet their own needs, of humans as fundamentally altruistic, of equality and social justice, of gratitude to key workers, and of the value of other species and the ecosystems that life depends on. The focus of the book is on the forms of language behind the stories that industrial civilization is based on […] for new forms of inspirational language that can help rebuild […] ecological civilization. What has changed from the first edition is that […] now in a situation where the old stories are crumbling, new stories […] already coming to the surface, and we have an incredible once-in-a-life […] chance to contribute to the fundamental social and political change […] necessary if we and countless other species are to have a future. On a practical level, the […] been updated to include some of the recent emerging research in ecolinguistics, including insights from the Routledge Handbook of Ecoling[…]. The definition of ecolinguistics has been made clearer, with a shift […] language as part of ecosystems rather than just influencing how […] treat ecosystems. This move helps unite different approaches to ecolinguistics, while still keeping the focus firmly on the literal ecosystems which life depends on. As love Skutnabb-Kangas and David Harmon (2018. p. 11) state in the first chapter of the Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics: “We use ecology in its literal sense (i.e. not merely as a metaphor) to refer to the biological relationships of organisms (including human beings) to one another and to their physical surroundings. There has been a tendency of many sociolinguists to pay only lip service to this literal sense of ‘ecology’ and to focus only on social concerns.” The second edition makes it clear that ecolinguistics, like all ecological humanities disciplines, focuses on the literal ecosystems which life depends on, and examines the role of language within these ecosystems. Any area of linguistics, from language diversity to rhetorical analysis, can be part of ecolinguistics so long as it considers not only human society but also the ecosystems that all species depend on for their continued survival. This is a departure from how ecolinguistics has sometimes been described in the past, but a necessary one. The second edition also includes analyses of some new example texts, including the influential Sustainable Development Goals, newspaper and political coverage of refugees, the writings of Luther Standing Bear, coronavirus denial, creation stories and fiction. The representation of refugees is a standard topic in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) but has been included to stress that, like CDA, ecolinguistics places importance on social justice and the lives and wellbeing of humans. The difference is that ecolinguistics highlights the ecological context of social justice issues (e.g.. the role of climate change in migration) as well as extending consideration to animals, plants, future generations and life-sustaining ecosystems. Most importantly, there is a new chapter, Chapter 10, which explores narratives. Narratives are without doubt the most complex, important and powerful of all the types of story in this book. The book ends with an exploration of creation narratives and science-based narratives about the origins of the universe. These foundational narratives play an important role in how people see the place of humanity within ecosystems, within the planet, and within the universe. Finally, it is useful to mention the impact of the first edition and the Stories We Live By free online course which accompanied it ( More than 200.000 visitors accessed the materials and more than 2000 people registered to take the full course. To discover what impact ecolinguistics has on people’s work and lives, Mariana Roccia (2019) carried out a detailed research project involving questionnaires and interviews with 272 people who took the course. Her research revealed significant impact in the five areas described in Table P.1. […]
[…] studies. Critical Discourse Studies. 11(1). 117-128 ( Chapter 4 has made use of extracts from Stibbe. A., 2014. The corporation as person and psychopath: multimodal metaphor, rhetoric and resistance. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines, 6(2), 114-136. Chapter 6 has used examples and brief extracts from Stibbe, A., 2020. Towards a grammar of ecocultural identity. In: T. Milstein and J. Castro-Sotomayor, eds. Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity. London: Routledge. Chapter 8 has drawn from Stibbe, A., 2014. Ecolinguistics and erasure. In: C. Hart and P. Cap, eds. Contemporary Critical Discourse Studies. London: Bloomsbury. I am grateful to North Atlantic Books for permission to reproduce the epigraphs in Chapters 1 and 6, which are from Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein, copyright © 2011 by Charles Eisenstein. Also to Bloomsbury for the epigraph in Chapter 7, which is copyright © Martin and Rose (2007), Working with discourse, Continuum, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Other epigraphs have been reproduced with the kind permission of Taylor & Francis, Chelsea Green and Sage. Finally, I’d like to express appreciation for the support of my family and dedicate this book to Shirleen Stibbe, Philip Stibbe and a snow goose cherry tree.


Stories bear tremendous creative power. Through them we coordinate human activity, focus attention and intention, define roles, identify what is important and even what is real.” (Charles Eisenstcin 2011. p. 2) When first encountered, ecolinguistics is sometimes met with bafflement. It is about ecology, and it is about language, but these two initially appear to be entirely separate areas of life. A cursory explanation is that language influences how we think about the world. The language of advertising can encourage us to desire unnecessary and environmentally damaging products, while nature writing can inspire respect for the natural world. How we think has an influence on how we act. so language can inspire us to destroy or protect the ecosystems that life depends on. Ecolinguistics, then, is about critiquing forms of language that contribute to ecological destruction, and aiding in the search for new forms of language that inspire people to protect the natural world. This is a superficial explanation but at least starts to create connections in people’s minds between two areas of life – language and ecology – that are not so separate after all. Ecolinguistics is more than this, though. The analysis goes deeper than commenting on individual texts such as advertisements or nature books Ecolinguistics can explore the more general patterns of language that influence how people both think about, and treat, the world. It can investigate the stories we live by – mental models which influence behaviour and lie at the heart of the ecological challenges we are facing. There are certain key stories about economic growth, about technological progress, about nature as an object to be used or conquered, about profit and success, that have profound implications for how we treat the systems that life depends on. As Thomas Berry (1988. p. 123) puts it: “We are in trouble just now because we don’t have a good story. We are between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story.” We are now in a position where the old stories are crumbling due to coronavirus and the increasingly harmful impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. There has never been a more urgent time or greater opportunity to find new storn The link between ecology and language is that how humans treat each other and the natural world is influenced by our thoughts, concepts, ideas, ideologies and worldviews, and these in turn are shaped through language. It is through language that economic systems are built, and when those systems are seen to lead to immense suffering and ecological destruction, it is through language that they are resisted and new forms of economy brought into being. It is through language that consumerist identities are built and lives orientated towards accumulation, and it is through language that consumerism is resisted and people are inspired to be more rather than have more. It is through language that the natural world is mentally reduced to objects or resources to be exploited, and it is through language that people can be encouraged to respect and care for the systems that support life. In critiquing the damaging social and ecological effects of financial structures, Berardi (2012, p. 157) states that: “Only an act of language can give us the ability to see and to create a new human condition, where we now only see barbarianism and violence. Only an act of language escaping the technical automatisms of financial capitalism will make possible the emergence of a new life form.” Linguistics provides tools for […] the texts that surround us in everyday life and revealing the […] that exist between the lines. Once revealed, the stories can be […] from an ecological perspective: do they encourage people to […] protect the ecosystems that life depends on? If they are destructive […] need to be resisted, and if they are beneficial then they need to be […]. This book aims to bring together theories from linguistics and […] science into a framework which can be used for revealing the stories we live by, judging them from an ecological perspective, and contributing […] search for new stones to live by. The stories we live by As evidence […] scale of the ecological issues we are facing emerges, and the scale […] response required becomes clearer, there are increasing calls to go beyond attempts to address isolated symptoms with technical solutions and instead consider the deeper social and cultural causes of the problems we face. Growing inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, the pandemic, alienation from nature and loss of community are bringing into question the fundamental stories that industrial societies are based on. As Ben Okri (1996, p. 21) points out: ‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves’. David Korten (2006, p. 248) describes four stories at the heart of western imperial civilisation which, he claims, have profound ecological implications. There is the ‘prosperity story,’ which promotes worship of material acquisition and money; the ‘biblical story,’ which focuses on the afterlife rather than the world around us; the ‘security story,’ which builds up the military and police to protect relationships of domination; and the ‘secular meaning story,’ which reduces life to matter and mechanism. These stories, he maintains, perpetuate injustice and lead to both alienation from life and environmental destruction. For Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine (2009), the most dangerous story of all is ‘the story of human centrality, of a species destined to be lord of all it surveys, unconfined by the limits that apply to other, lesser creatures’. Martin Lee Mueller (2017, p. xiii), in his thought-provoking book Being, Salmon. Being Human, expresses the damaging consequences of current stories: “We inhabitants of industrial civilisation still live inside a human-centred story … it shapes our encounters with other-than-human living creatures, as well as with the larger planetary presence. This is the story of the human as a separate self. The human-centred story is causing the ecological web to come undone … We are in the midst of a systemic ecocide … This is the time to abandon humanity-as-separation, and to aid forth the emergence of entirely different stories to live by.” These are not, however, stories in the usual sense of narratives. They are not told in novels, read to children at bedtime, shared around a fire, or conveyed through anecdotes in formal speeches. Instead, they exist behind and between the lines of the texts that surround us – the news reports that describe the ‘bad news’ about a drop in Christmas sales, or the ‘good news’ that airline profits are up, or the advertisements promising us that we will be better people if we purchase the unnecessary goods they are promoting. Underneath common ways of writing and speaking in industrial societies are stories of unlimited economic growth as the main goal of society; of the accumulation of unnecessary goods as a path towards self-improvement; of progress and success defined narrowly in terms of technological innovation and profit; and of nature as something separate from humans, a mere stock of resources to be exploited.



Elements of Indigenous Style by Gregory Younging





1 Why an Indigenous style guide?

2 A history of the portrayal of Indigenous Peoples in literature

3 Contemporary Indigenous cultural realities

4 The cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples

5 Culturally appropriate publishing practices for Indigenous authors and content

6 Terminology

7 Specific editorial issues

Appendix A Summary of Indigenous style principles

Appendix B Draft principles of the Indigenous Editors Circle

Appendix C Compilations of names of Indigenous Peoples

Appendix D Gnaritas Nullius (No One’s Knowledge): The Essence ofTraditional Knowledge and Its Colonization through Western Legal Regimes, by Gregory Younging




About the Author




This book is an extremely important, timely, and well-thought-out resource. It is an excellent guide for publishers, academics, journalists, students, and anyone else who is interested in writing about Indigenous Peoples. Greg Younging’s extraordinary experience, cultural sensitivity, and knowledge base come through on every page, providing readers with very thoughtful and helpful advice on so many areas of potential difficulty. I can see that this book will have very wide relevance even beyond Canada’s borders, though it is well focused on the Canadian context.

The book is written in an eloquent, intimate style that puts readers at ease and positions them as participants in a conversation—a technique that works exceedingly well for the chosen purpose. There is a great need for a resource of this kind, and Elements of Indigenous Style fits that need in a resoundingly positive and productive way. Over time, I feel that this book will make a significant difference in the fair and equitable representation of Indigenous Peoples, and this will lead to empowerment and pride among Indigenous community members.

In addition to the invaluable advice contained in the books editorial principles, the word-usage examples are extremely helpful. The discussion of rights, intellectual property, and the public domain is excellent, as is the material on Métis identity and community history. Throughout the book, the discussion of problematic practices is done in a clear and thoughtful way, explaining why a particular practice is disrespectful or inaccurate. Thus, it comes across not as a prescriptive and authoritarian book (as some writing textbooks do), but rather as a teaching text that informs readers of why certain editorial practices are problematic, and how these situations can be avoided. This book provides solutions rather than solely identifying problems.

Possibly the most important ethos of this book is contained in the advice that there is no substitute for engaging in a relationship with the Indigenous Peoples who are represented in a text. This book foregrounds the Indigenous methodology of working from the basis of relationships, and thus it is an excellent example of decolonial scholarship.


Warren Cariou

Canada Research Chair in Narrative, Community, and Indigenous Cultures

Director, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture

Professor, Department of English, Film, and Theatre

University of Manitoba




This book represents the first published editorial principles and guidelines for works written by or about Indigenous Peoples. I am not putting these principles and guidelines forward as quintessential. This book is, indeed, a first attempt at an Indigenous style guide and a first volume. I fully intend that Indigenous and non-Indigenous publishers and editors, and other interested parties, will consider these as proposed principles and guidelines, and provide feedback that will inform subsequent editions.

Some elements of a higher level of authenticity in Indigenous works are currently in a state of evolution and flux, such that a comprehensive style guide is not yet possible. Here’s an example: we are in an era when Indigenous Nations are rejecting the colonial names that have been applied to and imposed on them, and are reclaiming their original names. Inuit were among the first to reject the term Eskimo in the 1970s; since then, many Indigenous Peoples have been bringing the word their ancestors called themselves back into use.

This phenomenon is occurring across the continent, hemisphere, and world, but not with any degree of consistency. In addition, in some cases, a range of spellings exists for some of these original names.

Consequently, with this and some other issues in the following chapters, I have attempted to state best current practices and I hope that more comprehensive solutions will be developed in future editions of this book or in future work by others. I am also fully open to critique on the propositions I am making in this book and to considering other arguments and opinions, which I’m sure will lead to improvements in subsequent volumes. As this book is published, The Chicago Manual of Style is in its seventeenth edition, and I hope I there will be many editions of this Indigenous style guide as well.

I am not the sole authority, but merely someone who has been working on these issues and has been encouraged to put the first Indigenous style guide out there for consideration. Still, I am confident that this guide will be useful to editors and publishers, and that it has the potential to lead to better works by and about Indigenous Peoples. I hope you will at least find it as interesting and thought provoking as I have.

I would like to thank the contributors: Mary Cardinal Collins, Dr. Warren Cariou, Marc Cote, Lee Maracle, Dr. Sophie McCall, Dr. Deanna Reder, Glenn Rollans, Bruce Walsh, and Wendy Whitebear. I would also like to thank the peer reviewers Dr. Warren Cariou and Dr. Sophie McCall, and Lauri Seidlitz and Lynn Zwicky for their editorial assistance.


Gregory Younging




In 1989, I had some of my poetry included in an anthology by the Indigenous publishing house Theytus Books called Seventh Generation. I was thrilled to be published for the first time.

In 1990, some of my work was published again by Theytus Books. I was an aspiring writer fresh out of university and the book was the first volume of Gatherings: The En’owkin Journal of First North American Peoples. At that time, there was an excitement running through Indigenous communities about the first journal in North America that would publish a current sampling of Indigenous Literatures each year.

The following year, I was asked to be managing editor of Theytus Books. Although I was young and inexperienced, I could not turn down the challenge of working with the first Indigenous owned and operated press in Canada (which had been founded in 1980), and so I found myself editor of Gatherings Volume II in 1991 and Volume III in 1992.

Over the years—as I worked on fifteen volumes of Gatherings, and published or edited more than four hundred Indigenous authors and one hundred Theytus titles—I found myself perplexed by a number of editorial problems pertaining specifically to the publishing of material by or about Indigenous Peoples. Gradually, as more and more unique problems came up in the course of editing, it became apparent that Theytus Books, as an Indigenous publisher, needed to establish editorial guidelines on several specific matters to set standards and ensure consistency.

Working at Theytus has provided many opportunities to discuss these editorial issues with Indigenous writers, editors, and publishers, many of whom have offered their ideas, opinions, and proposed solutions. There have also been valuable discussions with non-Indigenous fiction and nonfiction writers, academics, journalists, and editors. Many of those people also indicated that editorial guidelines would be of great use to them in their work. Based on those discussion, it became apparent that a set of specific editorial guidelines adhering to Indigenous cultural, political, and literary concerns was not only necessary for Theytus, but would also have wider application.

The first draft of this style guide was my Masters project in 1999. In many ways, my thinking about Indigenous editing and publishing has not changed since then. This is partly because Indigenous Peoples have enduring positions on many issues, and the ways to approach and respect Indigenous Peoples are also enduring. It’s also partly because colonialism remains a troubled context for editing and publishing in Canada (and everything else). We need a new relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settler people. That has been true my whole working life, and remains true.

In the last five to ten years, though, I’ve seen major improvement in editing and publishing Indigenous authors and Indigenous content, even by non-Indigenous editors and publishers. There’s a growing awareness that you can’t just “take the stories.” In the 1990s, during intense discourses or […] appropriation, I used to say that non-Indigenous […] just stop writing about Indigenous Peoples. Now that […] good collaborations and respectful work, I don’t say that […].

Indigenous […] to collaborate with publishers to make the publishing […] —this important industry—more inclusive. Indigenous […], and publishers work to create titles that reflect the […] of understanding, and authentic meaningful stories, […]. So, too, should all authors, editors, and publishers. […] Elements of Indigenous Style is useful in this endeavour.




Why an Indigenous style guide?


The need to Indigenize publishing

The paramount purpose of literature focusing on a specific cultural group should be to present the culture in a realistic and insightful manner, with the highest possible degree of verisimilitude. However, the body of literature on Indigenous Peoples mostly fails to achieve this standard. The failure has been a long standing concern of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The failure comes from a colonial practice of transmitting “information” about Indigenous Peoples rather than transmitting Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives about themselves. The anthropologist Franz Boas put a name on this perspective in the mid-twentieth century. He called it ethnocentrism, which he recognized as a barrier to cultural understanding. Cultural understanding, he realized, can only be achieved by a “perspective from the inside.” Indigenous and other scholars have since coined other terms for this perspective, such as Eurocentrism, and have written about, for example, the British-centrism of Canada.

Some members of the Canadian literary establishment have also long recognized the damage of this perspective. Margaret Atwood wrote in 1972, “The Indians and Eskimos have rarely been considered in and for themselves: they are usually made into projections of something in the white Canadian psyche.”1

The need to Indigenize writing, editing, and publishing in many ways parallels the evolution of writing about African Americans and women in the late twentieth century, and the development of concepts such as “Black History” and “Herstory.” Indigenous writers, editors, and publishers have asserted that the experience of being an Indigenous person is profoundly different from that of other people in North America. Many Indigenous Peoples and authors have cited cultural appropriation, misrepresentation, and lack of respect for Indigenous cultural Protocols as significant problems in Canadian publishing. Indigenous Peoples have frequently taken the stand that they are best capable of, and morally empowered to, transmit information about themselves. They have the right to tell their own story. When an author is writing about them—even in established genres such as anthropological studies, history, and political commentary—Indigenous Peoples would at least like the opportunity for input into how they are represented on the page.

Indigenous Peoples add their voices to the argument that it is important for any national or cultural group to have input into the documentation of its history, […], and reality as a basic matter of cultural integrity. In some […] this is especially pressing for Indigenous Peoples in […] parts of the world, because they have been misrepresen[…] so long, which has created a body of literature inconsistent […] and often opposed to, Indigenous cultural understandings.

In So You Want […] About American Indians, Devon Abbot Mihesuah […] plan on writing about Natives you must know much […] them, such as tribal history, their language, religion, […], appearances, politics, creation stories, how they […] Europeans, and how they have survived to the present day.”2 […] further contends, “Can you secure tribal permission for […]? If you are doing a serious study of a tribe, you can not do the work adequately without conversing with knowledgeable members of the tribes.”3

Some improvements in Canadian publishing have come from a slow awakening to the impact of colonial ethnocentrism on who has been writing about Indigenous Peoples, with what process, and in what words. But works are still being produced that contain old stereotypes and perceptions, and that lack respect for Indigenous Protocols and perspectives. In 2017, for example, I asked a well-respected Indigenous colleague, who works as a freelance editor and validator of Indigenous content in a variety of Canadian publishing contexts, for examples of projects that had gone well from her point of view. Her frustration showed in her answer, which was “really none.”

Many Canadian publishers have a sense that they’re not editing work by and about Indigenous Peoples as well as they could. For the most part, they want to do it right, but often they don’t know how to do it right. Part of the solution is to develop and train more Indigenous editors and publishers, so they can work in publishing. Part of the solution is also to train more non-Indigenous editors and publishers so they can better work on Indigenous titles. I take heart from the responses of the more than forty Indigenous and Canadian editors who attended the Indigenous Editors Circle (IEC) and Editing Indigenous Manuscripts (EIM) courses offered at Humber College in Toronto in August 2017.4 The IEC faculty (which I was part of until 2017) has been surprised by the increased number of Canadian publishers who are interested in attending the sessions.

Another part of the solution is to recognize work already in progress. Indigenous writers, editors, and publishers are developing and defining emerging contemporary Indigenous Literatures, and they are establishing culturally based Indigenous methodologies within the editing and publishing process.

This style guide aims also to be part of the solution—part of the process of instilling Indigenous Peoples in the heart of Canadian publishing.



Case study: University of Regina Press

University of Regina Press is an example, among several examples of a Canadian publishing house with a deliberate mix of Indigenous and non-lndigenous staff. This case study presents perspectives from within the press on this choice.


Wendy Whitebear, office manager and manuscript reviewer

Wendy Whitebear is Cree-Saulteaux* from White Bear First Nation.

Honouring Indigenous ways of knowing, our stories, needs to be meaningful—more than a box checked off in a list of things to do for reconciliation. We know these stories: they are our stories, we have lived them. Mainstream society does not yet know them and does not yet value them.

Around the table at the press, I find the significance of Indigenous content can get missed. When Indigenous people talk to each other, we have our own ways of thinking and knowing. We understand each other. I can hear what an Indigenous person is really saying, what they actually mean. Non-Indigenous people don’t have that context. They need help to see through our lens. So, I’m often telling stories from my own family, and from my own experience as an Indigenous woman and activist working for the betterment of her own people.

The Education of Augie Merasty** is about context, too. It doesn’t just talk about residential schools […] to the human experience of it. You feel empathy as an […] person, as the story is ours. Others have no real […], abuse is just a word and they comment on our […] by saying “oh it was bad.” The book speaks to the […] experience was horrific for the ones who had to live it […] has a deeper understanding and can experience real […].

I have strong […] about the Indigenous perspective being told. I have a […] when a book comes out “about us, but not with us”— […] one has consulted the family of the story or an Elder to ensure Protocols are being followed. So I check for that, and ask questions about that. Our team is diligent about ensuring that the authors are taking these steps—however, not all publishers are. Our history and our stories are continually being told from a colonial perspective and therefore lack the magnitude of the atrocities that happened and the resilience of our people.

I want to Indigenize the publishing industry. Indigenous ways of knowing and being should inform the work of publishing. I would like to see a future where this is usual and ordinary, like the pen on your desk.

* […] follows the preference of Wendy Whitebear.

** […] of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir, by Joseph […] Merasty, with David Carpenter, was published by University of […] Press in 2015.


Bruce Walsh, publisher

University of Regina Press currently has three Indigenous staff: a student, an intern, and our business manager. Every week, we have a staff meeting where everything is discussed, from timelines to manuscript development to marketing. Each book is pulled apart in terms of content and everyone weighs in on positioning, packaging, and how the books speak to our brand.

Having Indigenous perspectives around the table has changed the press. From the beginning (the press launched in 2013) we have taken great care with Indigenous content by consulting Elders and getting community approval when appropriate. But discussions were almost theoretical then. Now, with the input of Cree, Saulteaux, and Métis staff, we are much more grounded in community—things have come into sharper focus. They hear subtle bias in wording. They suggest approaches for finding information and who to talk to. It’s a very, very rich conversation.

In one meeting, we discussed a project about RCMP-Indigenous relations, in which staff shared stories of how their parents and grandparents hid in the woods to avoid residential school. Conversations about Indigenous trauma—or Indigenous joy—are real. We’ve shed tears around that table, but we also do a lot of laughing. With dozens and dozens of Nations in Canada, no one individual can speak for all Indigenous Peoples. So having more than one perspective is important. It helps make the office a safe space and encourages conversation.

Every year, the press hires a new Indigenous intern. We think of it as developing capacity from the ground up. We hope that the apprenticeship process—how we really learn publishing—means that one day our interns will be running the press.



Principles of Indigenous style

The twenty-two principles of this style guide are placed in the […] of the discussion where they arise.

They are also collected at the end of the guide as an appendix.

Here is the first principle, based on the discussion on the previous page about the need to Indigenize publishing:



The purpose of Indigenous style is to produce works that:

  • reflect Indigenous realities as they are perceived by Indigenous Peoples
  • are truthful and insightful in their Indigenous content
  • are respectful of the cultural integrity of Indigenous Peoples


The place of non-Indigenous style guides

This style guide does not replace standard references on editing and publishing, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Handbook. Neither does it replace the house styles of individual publishers.

You should still follow these styles, in general, when you are writing, editing, or publishing Indigenous authors and Indigenous content. In some cases, however, Indigenous style and conventional style or house style will not agree[…] that happens, Indigenous style should override […] and house style. If you are not familiar with Indigenous […] may not feel right to you at first. Indigenous style uses […] capitalization than conventional style, for example, and it […] Indigenous Protocols, which require time and […] correctly.

It is helpful […] in mind that Indigenous style is part of a conversation […] to build a new relationship between Indigenous people […] society. Indigenous style is conversing with you, […] first time, in an ongoing decolonizing discourse.




Works by Indigenous authors or with Indigenous content should follow standard style references and house styles, except where these disagree with Indigenous style.

In these works, Indigenous style overrules other styles in cases of disagreement.




A history of the portrayal of Indigenous Peoples in literature


The foundation of settler society’s perception of Indigenous Peoples

Early writings about Indigenous Peoples were authored by explorers such as Samuel de Champlain and Jacques Cartier in the 1500s and 1600s, missionaries such as John McDougall in the 1800s, anthropologists such as Diamond Jenness and Franz Boas around the turn of the century, and literary writers […] James Fenimore Cooper and Stephen Leacock in the early-[…]. Most of these writers referred to Indigenous […] inferior, vanishing race—a description that is […] offensive to most Indigenous Peoples for obvious reasons […] in ways that still escape some Canadian […] editors today.

In The Indians of […] (1932), which was for decades considered the […] text, Diamond Jenness writes in the first […] “When Samuel Champlain in 1603 sailed up the St. Lawrence […] and agreed to support the Algonkian Indians at […] the aggression of the Iroquois, he could not foresee that the petty strife between those two apparently insignificant hordes of ‘savages’ would one day decide the fate of New France.”5

Most of the literature written by explorers, missionaries, and anthropologists provided little insight into the cultural realities of Indigenous Peoples. Yet, this literature influenced the intellectual foundations of settler society, in its perception of Indigenous Peoples as primitive and underdeveloped. Indigenous intellectuals, such as the late John Mohawk, have further argued that Darwinian concepts construed, consciously or subconsciously, to locate Indigenous Peoples somewhere on the evolutionary scale between primates and Homo sapiens—also shaped settler society perception.

It was a perception conveyed in the work of high-profile Canadian literary writers, such as Farley Mowat and Stephen Leacock, whose mainstream popularity served to reinforce it.


Imposter literature

Imposters such as Grey Owl and Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance had considerable notoriety lecturing, writing, and publishing while masquerading as Indigenous people (although Long Lance did have some Indigenous ancestry). Generally, these writers displayed a less condescending and more positive attitude toward Indigenous Peoples, although their work tended to reinforce the stereotypical image of Indigenous Peoples as glorified remnants of the past, à la notions of the noble savage. As noted by Robert Berkhofer in The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present, “Although each succeeding generation presumed its imagery based more upon the Native American of observation and report, the Indian of imagination and ideology continued to be derived as much from the polemical and creative needs of Whites as from what they heard and read of actual Native Americans or even at times experienced.”6

The legacy of the charlatan tradition set by Grey Owl and Long Lance was evident in the work of writers such as Jamake Flighwater […]



Fearless Flourishing by Alissa Chojnacki

• Cross Bar: a horizontal stroke that is closed in between two other strokes, as in uppercase H. • Cross Stroke: a horizontal stroke that crosses a stem, as in lowercase t. • Descender or Tail: the stem of mostly lowercase letters that extends below the baseline. Letters with descenders include lowercase g, j, p, q, y, z, and uppercase Q. • Dot or Tittle: the dot of the lowercase i or j. • Entrance Stroke or Lead-in Stroke: the beginning stroke of a letter, often used for connecting one letter to another. • Exit Stroke: the ending or final stroke of a letter, often used for connecting one letter to another. • Eye: the closed counter of lowercase e. • Finial: a curved exit stroke that tapers, as with lowercase c. • Foot: where a stem meets the baseline. • Joint: where a stem and a stroke meet, as with uppercase L. • Leg: a short stroke pointing downward, as with lowercase k. • Petal Terminal: a stroke ending in a petal shape for decorative purpose. • Stem: the main vertical stroke in most letters. • Shoulder or Arch: an upward-curving stroke extending off the stem, as in lowercase h. • Terminal: the end of the stroke in a letter or flourish. • Terminal Curve: the final curve of a flourish, generally pointing back to the word itself. • Serif: a short line placed perpendicularly at the end of strokes for decorative purpose. • Vertex: the bottom point where two strokes meet sharply, as with lowercase v. A illustration of hand-lettered text follows, with the various sections indicated with lines: shoulder; aperture; axis; exit stroke; arch; eye; bowl; serif; vertex; gadzook; leg; foot; cross stroke; ball terminal; descender; flourish; joint; finial; closed counter; entrance stroke; open counter; apex; terminal curve; stem; dot; ligature.
(A page with space for practice exercises follows).

Simple, Classic, Standalone Flourishes

Now that you’ve mastered all the basic strokes, it’s time to start combining them in interesting ways to create stunning standalone flourishes. The flourishes we’ll go over here are simple and stately and don’t need to be connected to letters. As such, they are fantastic starter flourishes. Place them under or over words, or fill negative spaces in your designs. (An illustration of various flourishes). For these flourishes, you don’t need to be as attentive to the lettering guidelines you are used to, like cap height, baseline, and x-height. Because these are standalone flourishes, they can be created in a variety of sizes and do not need to be connected to letters. Use the lines on pages 38 and 39 to help visualize the spacing within each flourish, but remember that you will tailor the size of these flourishes based on the needs of each individual design. You can combine the basic flourish strokes you just practiced or exaggerate and truncate different parts of each flourish to create something totally new. Use the practice pages until you can do each flourish shape confidently and from memory. This way it will be easy to add them to your future designs. As always, use tracing […] and start with a pencil, then practice them with a brush pen or paintbrush. Practice each flourish going in both directions, and don’t forget to try drawing them in the air. This technique can really help you master the fluid arm motions that lead to confident, fearless flourishing!



Finding Edward by Sheila Murray


Cyril Rowntree migrates to Toronto from Jamaica in 2012. Managing a precarious balance of work and university, he begins to navigate his way through the implications of being racialized in his challenging new land.

A chance encounter with a panhandler named Patricia leads Cyril to a suitcase full of photographs and letters dating back to the early 1920s. Cyril is drawn into the letters and their story of a white mother’s struggle with the need to give up her mixed-race baby, Edward. Abandoned by his own white father as a small child, Cyril’s keen intuition triggers a strong connection and he begins to look for the rest of Edward’s story.

As he searches, Cyril unearths fragments of Edward’s itinerant life as he criss-crossed the country. Along the way, he discovers hidden pieces of Canada’s Black history and gains the confidence to take on his new world.


a novel by SHEILA MURRAY

Cormorant Books




The night his mother died, she said, “I’m glad you come to me early this evening, darlin’. You’re a good boy, Cyril.” He said nothing. Didn’t remind her he often left his friends to come home early, that he always carried the family cellphone so he could be reached if needed. His mother’s illness was unpredictable. Although the attacks were infrequent, the babies, his brother and sister, were too small to help her. It had been two years already since the babies’ father died, and Cyril’s father had been gone for so long he was almost forgotten. There was no one.

Her breathing woke him. The constricted suck of breath she’d made before. Worse this time. He sat beside her and fanned the hot air hanging heavy and moist over her head. His sister cried into her pillow, and his baby brother stroked her hair in imitation of Cyril with their mommy. After fifteen minutes, Cyril sent his brother to fetch a neighbour with a car to take them to the hospital. He made himself watch the fear in his mother’s eyes as, desperate, she stared into his. He felt himself freeze in the August heat. The hospital was nearly an hour away.

His mother’s breathing lasted for less than twenty minutes. It was noisiest just as the road turned toward Brown’s Town. Then it stopped. Right at the silk cotton tree, with its enormous crown and ancient tendrils of strangling ficus vine dropping fifty feet from its branches. Just as the sky lightened with another morning. Their neighbour stopped the car. “For respect,” he said III leave you with her for a little while.”

The funeral was noisy with tears and singing. The pastor said the right things because he’d known Cyril’s mother for all of her forty-one years. She’d gone to that church just about every Sunday of her life. The wake lasted until four in the morning. Even the old ladies stayed with it. His mother was beautiful in a pink coffin with satin and lace for her pillow. Cyril felt singularly alone, his grief stained by anger at the tragedy of his mother’s death and the dollar difference between those Jamaicans who could afford their medicines and those who could not. The ground he stood on had become unsteady, saturated with sadness.

It was a very different funeral from the formal Anglican observance […] served his mother’s employer — whose house she’d […] ten years — his adopted grandpa, Nelson. That had […] years earlier. Cyril, in a borrowed black suit, had sat […] a wooden pew, immersed in heartbreak and loss. […] at the reception, he’d been unable to speak when […] friends asked him how he’d manage without Nelson’s […], his mentorship. Cyril called it love.

[…] as his mother rested in the splendour she’d saved a life- […] for, her friends squeezed the speech from him, plied him […] love and faith, gave him their very best counsel come straight […] Jesus. They held up their church-sister’s son, took their […] of his pain.

After the funeral, the babies went to live with his mother’s sister in Philadelphia. Families were expandable. Sisters, grandmothers, aunties, and uncles looked after kids whose parents spent years working at seasonal jobs abroad, coming home in the winter. Or, having left for good, produced more family that expanded around the globe. Jamaicans were travellers. Many of the educated poured into the brain drain of doctors and lawyers and engineers who travelled to English-speaking countries, making new lives, creating middle-class English and American and Canadian children who would visit their extended families back in Jamaica for Christmas holidays at the beach and stay in homes where hibiscus bushes were strung with tinsel and holiday poinsettia grew vigorous and tall in people’s gardens.

Cyril’s immediate family was tiny: his mother’s sister, Vi, was his only real aunt. But there were many cousins whose blood relationships were muddled and whose catch-all titles were uncle or aunty. Canada-Uncle Junior was one of these.

“Two more small ones won’t make much difference,” said his Aunty Vi as she embraced Keesha and Daren. “But, Cyril, you must go to Junior in Canada. When your mommy was still with us, she wanted you close. But here is not your future. Foreign’s where you’re going to find it.”

The goodbyes and promises followed. Small gifts and requests. The excited jostle of neighbours and the tears of his brother and sister. His college friends, the boys, pledged to meet up when they finished their studies. Cyril had become the enviable one whose life was suddenly thrown wide open, though his friends’ parents watched with some concern.

He’d paid the bills, the electricity and the water and the costs left over from the funeral, after the executor lawyer had released Nelson’s legacy, intended for Cyril’s graduation from college. The lawyer had said the money could come to him now, given the circumstances. Cyril gathered the courage to leave his home and the people there who made up his family. He did it immersed in a grief that made him compliant with other people’s wishes.

Cyril left home because his mother was gone and his father had only ever been absent. He left because he had so badly failed to keep his mother safe. Had not challenged the illusory pride that had stopped her from asking other good folk for help. The cost of a prescription was a small thing beside the value of her life. She’d thought her God would keep her safe. Cyril had failed to understand the peril she’d brought upon her herself. He had neglected to protect his mother even though he’d been aware of her naive belief.

Because other people said he should, Cyril used a part of Nelson’s gift to buy an airplane ticket. He took two suitcases from the giveaways that Nelson’s family had provided — one small, one large. He bought black shoes and black socks for Foreign, and a wallet to safeguard the precious plastic cards that would prove to the world that he was who he claimed to be. A new dark-blue passport contained the coveted Canadian visa, granted because of Junior’s assurance to Canada that Cyril would not become a burden.

His mother’s friend […] to the airport. In addition to his two suitcases, […] small carry-on bag with Nelson’s address book inside […] wore a dark-blue blazer that had belonged to Nelson […] a little too big; he walked with a stiff, straight back […] shoulders filled it. He forced a confident stride as he […] the check-in desk.

‘How […] you going to be away?”

[…] was sticky and dry, and he licked at his lips to wet the […] least… ” He sucked moisture to his tongue. “It will be […] a year,” he said, watching the clerk’s face to see if the open-ended nature of his travel shocked her as it did him. She smiled and handed him back his passport. His excitement overcame his trepidation. He was to be travelling as Nelson’s friends did. As his father had. Easy as the drive from Kingston to Negril. He’d have real wings to fly across the sea.

His mother’s friend watched him as he walked through the glass doors where only passengers were allowed. “Walk good,” she called. “Send us an email when you get there.” When Cyril turned to look back, stopped in a long line to pass through security, she’d already gone.

Cyril had never left his country before, had never been on a plane. When the engines roared and the huge thing began to hurtle down the runway, the old lady strapped in the seat beside him cried, “Jesus is taking the wheels,” and Cyril’s thrill spilled into laughter. He was flying into his future.

Face to the window, he saw below him the green miles of his mountains and the extraordinary turquoise sparkle of his sea, the big hotels of Montego Bay that were so quickly far away, distant ships on the water, and then, incredibly, the way clouds looked from the inside and then from high above.

When the captain announced they were thirty thousand feet above the ground, Cyril saw his mother moving through the brilliant blue sky: her thin and faded pink cotton nightgown, hairnet a cap on her head, knees curled in toward her chest, not quite fetal but deep asleep and unaware of her rush through the heavens. Her vulnerability startled him. He wiped his fingers over his eyes to push back tears. He was not surprised to see her there. He’d been waiting for her. “You are able to see through the creases in the universe,” Nelson had once said. “You are four-eyed, but I promise you, Cyril, you are not destined to become an Obeah Man. Your ability is your own personal blessing, not for exploitation.” His sight arrived without invitation and heightened his vision with a gauzy, bright light that changed what he saw. How he saw. When it happened, he stilled his mind and allowed himself to see what was revealed. It was his mother’s gift; she’d had second sight too. “Don’t tell your teachers, Cyril,” she’d warned him. “It will trouble them. I have seen the spirits of the living and the dead all my life, and they are my friends.” But the spirits hadn’t warned him of the things that mattered most: the loss of Grandpa Nelson and then his mother. He had never missed his father, but he missed his mother in every step of each day.

“How about you, sir?” The woman’s voice pulled his attention from the window. “What would you like to drink?” He didn’t know. But on seeing a drink can he recognized near the front of her trolley, he said, “I’ll have a Coke, please.” He felt a surge of anxiety because he had never before been served by a white woman and he didn’t know how much a drink would cost up here in the sky. All of the serving people were white. But there were lots of Black passengers, Cyril reminded himself. All being served by the […]. He was flying on an Air Canada airplane to Toronto […] place where most of the people would be white. All he […] do was figure out how white people in a white country […] and comport himself appropriately.

“Pretzels […]?”

“Cookie […].” He lowered his tray as the man in the seat on the […] had done. The old lady fiddled with hers, and he […] trays anchored the both of them safely to their seats, […] their seatbelts. The waitress leaned across the man in […] seat with Cyril’s Coke. The lady, who had first refused […], now followed Cyril’s lead, understanding that it was […] in the enormous price of the ticket. He smiled at her, and she nodded back. Could be my granny, he thought, but his adopted Grandpa Nelson had been much younger than she when he died.

Nelson was gone, and all of the kindness and patience that hed given to Cyril was lost with him. But Cyril knew what Nelson expected of him now. To be a successful person in all the ways that mattered, which meant that Cyril should be kind in turn to the people he was going to meet, who would make up his new life.

“Where you going, baby?” asked the old lady in a thin, respectful voice that made him think of church.

“To Toronto like you. ”

“I know that, darlin’, but why you going? I’m going to my daughter. She lives in Scarborough. You know it?”


“I have been a house cleaner all my life, but now I’m going to be a grandmother living in Canada with my grandbabies. I prayed for this a long time.”

“I had an adopted Grandpa Nelson. My mom cleaned his house, but he looked after me.”

“That’s not right,” she said, voice suddenly sharp. “An employer is not your child’s keeper.”

“I didn’t live with him. But I spent a lot of time there from six years old, like with a grandpa. He was a university professor. He taught me things.”

“White man or Black man?”

“Black man.”

“What tings he teach you? ”

“Fast cars. Nature and wild things. Magic stories. Poetry. Philosophy. Then grown-up things.”



Cyril laughed as she kissed her teeth.

Chupse! Young men should know about ladies. Learn it in school. How old are you?”

“Twenty. My mommy taught me how to behave with women.”

“I can see that,” said the old lady.

Nelson had a cancer that had grown, insidious, for a very long time. With its diagnosis, he’d finally learned the source of the pain in his shoulder and the exhaustion that had begun to haunt him. He was gone inside a month. Cyril was with him in the last days, as much as Nelson’s family allowed. The drugs captured Nelson’s mind almost immediately, and he rarely knew who Cyril was. He’d died with Cyril’s school fees paid for the current term. A small legacy was earmarked for university fees, contingent upon Cyril’s graduation from Brown’s Town Community College, where Cyril had been studying for only four months. With Nelson’s passing, Cyril’s mother had lost her reliable and generous client, and Cyril had to find work. Nam’s Hardware, mirroring Nelson’s generosity, increased Cyril’s hours by hiring him as part-time counter help. Since then, his progress at college had been protracted — one course at a time — and he’d fallen behind.

“They’re both passed over […] told the old lady, who sucked loudly at her Coke […] her straw.

Cyril longed for the […] of spirits to travel with him. He turned back to the […]. His mother and Nelson were gone, along with the sea […] world below, hidden by a blanket of cloud.

The plane […] shake and jolt like an old car on a bad road, turning […] excitement into a churn of apprehension. Would the […] from the sky? Blow up in a mighty ball of fire? When the seatbelt signs dinged on and they announced everyone should return to their seats, his anxiety fixed on the nausea that pressed at the back of his throat. He assured himself that there was a sick bag in his seat pocket, though his embarrassment would be unbearable. He squeezed his eyes closed and pretended that he was in a car on the bumpy road to Sturge Town.




The road to Sturge Town was so narrow that when two cars met, one of them had to find a place to pull to the side, a patch of ground where bush was cleared to make a path through the hedgerow that led to a gate or to a field of yams or cabbages. It was a road used mostly by farmers and mules or foraging goats, though a few of the people who lived in the big houses rode in dignity over the potholes in four-wheel drives. Taxis came from as far away as Ocho Rios, carrying people from hospital visits or on urgent family matters. On market days, taxis travelled from Brown’s Town, […] people and bulging bags. At the worst potholes, the […] had to get out and walk, unfolding and untangling […] grumbling because the difficulties of the day weren’t […]. The children, who’d been squeezed into the smallest […] celebrated their liberation by running ahead and waiting […] taxi. No matter where they came from or to whom […], the cars all travelled slowly.

Year-round […] sun dropped below the western horizon at about the […] of day. Night came at six o’clock, but after lunch, […] greeted each other with, “Good evening.” The hours were too short to talk about an afternoon. Birds rushed to complete their business before the swift close of the Caribbean day.

On Saturday evenings, Cyril walked the hour and a half to Browns Town from Sturge Town. It was easy on nights when the moon came up big and bright and lit the road with the conviction of sunshine. Harder when the sky turned black and took everything along with it, hiding the bush that lined the way, the potholes, the bends in the road. The dark took the tall trees that were his landmarks, the way he measured how far he’d come, how far yet to go.

Cyril had taught himself to find his way by holding on to the night. With eyes closed, he walked in the centre, where the road held fewer obstacles, feet feeling for stones and craters under the thick soles of his shoes. He closed his eyes to the black night so that a banana leaf suddenly twisting tall in the breeze would not frighten him with the shape it made, like a tall person hiding behind the bush. If his eyes were open, they’d be caught by a scud of cloud less dark than the night behind it, and he, seeing movement in a brush of light, might imagine that something watched him from the top of the hill because the dark took with it any context to the landscape. If he opened his eyes, he was grabbed by childhood terrors, saw bad men and duppies in shadows. So, with eyes closed, he’d feel his way step by step, walking not at all slowly; if his shoulder or elbow or thigh brushed the shrub and branches at the side of the road, he’d take a few steps back toward the centre and keep on walking in the night thick with the racket of tree frogs and cicadas.

On Saturday nights, he met his friends at Raymond’s, a big, white, burglar-barred house high over Brown’s Town. Cyril’s friends were unlike him, neither church people nor market […]


Photo of Sheila Murray.

Sheila Murray’s articles and short fiction have appeared in Canadian magazines and journals including Refuge Journal, Descant, The Dalhousie Review, Exile, White Wall Review, TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Room and The New Quarterly. Sheila was born and raised in England. Her father was Black Jamaican, and her mother, white English. But her DNA shows a multiracial ancestry that spans much of the globe. Sheila has worked as a documentary filmmaker and television sound editor. She moved to the non-profit sector in 2009, and now leads a grassroots, volunteer driven initiative that engages urban residents in adapting to local climate change impacts. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.


Cormorant Books




Follies by Rory Fraser

(A map of Great Britain showing the locations of the follies mentioned in this book) Walsingham Priory; Freston Tower; Rushton Triangular Lodge; Swarkestone Pavilion; The East Banqueting House; The Mound; Christ Church Greyfriars; The Temple of the Four Winds; Needle’s Eye; The Temple of British Worthies; Worcester Lodge; The Palladian Bridge; The Temple of Apollo; King Alfred’s Tower; Jack the Treacle Eater; Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare; The Great Pagoda; The Temple of Venus; Clytha Castle; Broadway Tower; Sezincote House; Faringdon Tower; The Appolo Pavilion; The Headington […] and The Teapot […]. There is something quietly exotic about Norfolk, with its blue fields of lavender whose furrows rise and fall, as though ripples across a sea of lilac, more in keeping with Provence than the East Midlands. Deep within the county, tucked between Houghton St Giles and Little Snoring, lies the sleepy village of Walsingham. This is home to the remains of Walsingham Priory, one of the most beautiful monastic ruins in England and one of our earliest follies. Put the clock back five hundred years and Walsingham was not a quaint English village but one of the three greatest pilgrimage sites in Christendom, the centre of a cosmopolitan network that extended from Canterbury to Constantinople. It was famed for a copy of the stable where Christ was born which, according to the dubious ‘Pynson Ballad’, was described to Lady Richeldis de Faverches by the Virgin Mary via a dream vision in 1061 – perhaps the first example of subcontracting by spiritual medium in England. Though it’s hard to imagine the three wise men, perched on top of camels, wobbling down Walsingham Hi[…]
[…] than being symbols of ‘little England’, follies are symbols of ‘bigger England’, the direct result of a country formed of Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, Normans, Huguenots, wave upon wave leading down to the Schützer-Weissmanns as they left Budapest for London in the 1930s. Within this book, through a series of sketches, both visual and verbal, I seek to record some of the best, most beautiful examples of this architectural self-expression. In so doing, I hope to provide my reader with an alternative view of this island, where the past jostles with the present at every bus stop and, if we listen carefully, asks to take us by the hand and celebrate its delights. The week after leaving university, therefore, I packed my paints wheeled out my car and made for the road. (The illustration of a folly follows on the next page.)



Frontier City by Shawn Micallef
Frontier City

Toronto on the Verge of Greatness

Shawn Micallef


Signal. McClelland & Stewart.


CAN. 29.95.

Frontier City started out as a series of reports from the civic drama of the 2014 clections. But beyond the municipal circus, writer and commentator Shawn Micallef discovered the much bigger story of a city emerging into greatness. He walked and talked with candidates from all over Greater Toronto, and observed how they energized their communities, never shying away from the problems that exist within them – poverty, violence, racism, and drugs – but advocating solutions that bring people together.
Toronto is a sprawling city with the proportions of Los Angeles and both the prosperity and poverty associated with such vastness. It is a city with an infrastructure that struggles to support its growing population. Toronto, Micallef says, is well on its way to becoming an international paragon, and he reveals the city in all its rich variety.
It is hard, Micallef says, to grasp the size and scope of Toronto until you spend a few hours walking through unfamiliar neighbourhoods. Each leads to another, and then another, and another. The city goes on and on, into unheralded ravines and oblique views of the downtown skyline. Hiding in all that geography is not only great beauty, but a force for change that’s been building for decades as people arrived here from every corner of the globe. Frontier City is an illuminating view of the Toronto of today and an inspiring vision of the Toronto of the near future.



Chapter One: A Population of Populations
Chapter Two: The Front Lines of Discontent
Chapter Three: The folks of Ffolkes and the Politics of Potholes
Chapter Four: Out by the Airport, Running Against Giants
Chapter Five: Bare-Chested Politics
Chapter Six: How the Rules Changed During the Season of Hate
Chapter Seven: The Heart of a Big City that Always Thinks Small
Chapter Eight: Where Downtown and Suburbs Meet
Chapter Nine: Chasing Toronto’s Mythology on the Subway to Nowhere
Chapter Ten: Finding a Place to Live in the Million-Dollar City
Chapter Eleven: While Nero Tweeted
Chapter Twelve: A City Preoccupied with Dividing Itself
Chapter Thirteen: Outliers and Bedbugs on the Scarborough Bluffs
Chapter Fourteen: The End of Toronto?
About the Author




A city election is like a civic autopsy. The corpse lies bare, its internal workings exposed: the diseased tissue is isolated; the torn aorta inspected; and the organs’ failure examined. Yet in this kind of post-mortem the body on the table isn’t dead. The city moves onward, animated as ever, pausing only for a rare moment of self-examination while the competing pathologists offer theories to explain its damaged condition. During an election, we are free to talk openly about what’s wrong with the city, and to look to a brighter future. Usually, when not compelled to pay attention to municipal affairs, residents are content to play ostrich, raising their heads only for the occasional issues that affect them directly.
Toronto is a place that everyone thought they understood. It was a little predictable, not prone to dramatics, maybe even boring. Its politics, like those of all Canadian cities, were overlooked in favour of provincial and federal intrigues. Cities took care of garbage collection and parking violations, not the really important or particularly interesting stuff. Toronto had always worked fairly well historically, so nobody really had to pay attention, it was just going to carry on as it always did. In 2010 Toronto suddenly was very interesting to the people who live here, and ones further afield. City hall became something not just policy wonks paid attention to, and was maybe a bit too interesting for those here. Toronto had never been the Jimmy Kimmel kind of interesting, but suddenly there was the mayor sitting next to him, taking jokes like a boxer takes punches as he goes down.
Research for this book began at the height of civic drama in Toronto during the last year of Rob Ford’s mayoralty in 2014, before he dropped out of the race following his cancer diagnosis. It’s a challenge to get back into the headspace of those days because it seems almost unbelievable now, like some wild, fictional potboiler on the city politics of some mercurial burg.
The city lurched from one leadership crisis to another and international news media were routinely camped out at city hall, their satellite trucks parked in a row outside. There was a sense here of things coming undone, that the foundation civil society had relied on for decades was unsound and that bedrock institutions no longer mattered. “Truth” even seemed under attack, and endless fact checking by reporters didn’t matter much, foreshadowing the rise of Donald Trump.
How did Rob Ford arrive at the top of Toronto? What was happening in the city? What did Rob Ford mean? These are all questions Torontonians and others asked themselves over and over, most without receiving satisfactory answers. Into that void came crude caricatures of the kind of person who would vote for Ford: dumb people; selfish rich people; philistines; car drivers, SUV drivers, suburban people, even. The city needed somebody to blame for Rob Ford.
Beyond Ford’s personal tale, the details of which everyone knows too much about, there is a more complex Toronto story that’s still vital and current. Somebody like Rob Ford, could become mayor again, and the cause, the thing to blame, is the city itself, not any one kind of person or particular political ideology.
That’s why Toronto today is so hard to understand or to neatly put in a box. Mayoral election campaigns try to appeal to everyone and are reduced, by necessity, to focusing on a few issues. Sometimes an entire election can hinge on just one issue, such as a subway, taxes, or a bridge to an island airport. Mayoral elections suck up all the media oxygen too, and obscure the other hundreds of races going on, where the complex nature of this place is more readily apparent.
To get a read on the city close to the ground, I went for walks with ten people who ran for city council and with two who were vying for school board trustee positions. We walked and talked and looked. They showed me their Toronto: the streets, the parks, the shops, and the people they interacted with every day, the people and places that, in part, caused them to undertake something that would consume nearly a year of their lives without the celebrity that comes with the mayoral race. These conversations shared their intimate view of Toronto, and its issues right now, and showed why someone like Rob Ford could be elected again here or elsewhere if such problems aren’t addressed. Like a good city walk, there were ample opportunities for diversion and to follow interesting side streets of thought and ideas to see where they led.
All the candidates I walked with were underdogs. As non-incumbents in local races, where name recognition is everything, they faced a considerable challenge. The underdog’s view has value, though, an enlightened position at the street level that looks up and critiques power rather than trying to hold on to it. The cracks are always visible from below, and these candidates listened to people at the door every day, absorbed their worries and city views, and shared some of them with me while we were on the streets exploring. These candidates heard about the discontent in Toronto first-hand and knew why so many good and decent people voted for a Rob Ford.
Our walks also revealed the geography of this massive city. It’s hard to fully grasp how big this place is until you spend a few hours walking just one or two neighbourhoods in a part of the city that doesn’t get much attention. Each neighbourhood reveals another adjacent to it, and then another, and another.
The city goes on and on. Then there were the unheralded ravines or oblique views of the downtown skyline we came upon, perhaps twenty-five kilometres away from the city centre. Hiding in all that geography is not only the beauty of this city, a place on the verge of its own version of civic greatness that’s been building for decades as people came here from every corner of the globe, but also some less beautiful things that might prove to be the city’s slow undoing.
Rob Ford was an early warning sign that things were not universally all right in Toronto. Populist politicians have always been around and always will. But the particular kind of grievance-based, reactionary politics that give a middle finger both to institutions and the chattering classes who have for so long felt comfortable in this city came when there was still time to find wavs to fix what’s wrong. The post-mortem need not end when the election is over, and to ignore what Toronto learned about itself during these past few years would be perilous. I hope this book provides a reminder of some of those things, but also an abundance of reasons why this place is worth fighting for.
Let’s go for a walk with some Torontonians.




All cities have their magic moments, when they feel like a picture postcard or film set, with clichéd scenes of idyllic urban life that seem too perfect to be real. One of Toronto’s has got to be the ride on the ferry from the Toronto Island park at the end of a summer’s day.
For some, the island means the beach – the water is clean and clear, if a bit on the cold side – or a family picnic, on one of the great island lawns or at the mid-century modern concrete pavilions, with their display of some Expo ’67 flare that trickled down to Toronto from Montreal. There are cute rides at the Centreville Amusement Park, and animals to pet at the Far Away Farm next door. Charlotte, the farm’s Landrace pig, is always a big hit. Some interloping islanders might slip out to the less-frequented nooks on the island for other extracurricular activities unlisted in the official city manual of how to have fun, but there’s space for everyone. The sun seems to move slower across the island sky too, with the speed and urgency of city life temporarily put on hold.
People visiting the island look like Toronto. The ethnic, social, and cultural mix of people found there on a peak weekend day matches the city’s multicultural demographics that […]



It takes a village to write a book about a city.
There are many people who made this project possible over the last two years. Thanks to Doug Pepper and Scott Sellers at Penguin Random House for coming up with the idea for this book and commissioning me to write it during the wildest davs of the Ford era. Early editorial direction and encouragement from Martha Kanya-Forstner and ongoing editorial guidance from Tim Rostron were essential and appreciated. Lynn Schellenberg’s keen eye during copyediting made the text here much sharper. Thanks to all of them for following this project as it went from a little book about a gonzo election to a much broader peripatetic look at Toronto at this moment in its history.
Research time was afforded by some of the publications I write for. My editors at the Toronto Star let me write early, much shorter, versions of segments of this book. Many thanks to Janet Hurley, Dianne De Fenoyl, Mary Vallis, Irene Gentle, Wendy Metcalfe, Julie Carl, Kate Robertson, Tania Pereira, Ariel Teplitsky, Kathryn Lascarious, Sabrina Melchiori, and Amber Shortt, all kind, smart, and humane editors who make the Star a great paper to contribute to. Thanks also to Matt Blackett and my colleagues at Spacing magazine for letting me go AWOL from publication duties save for […]


Photo of Shawn Micallef.

SHAWN MICALLEF is a weekly columnist with the Toronto Star, co-founder of Spacing magazine, and an instructor at the University of Toronto. He is a frequent commentator on urban issues and is known for his passion for the city – its geography, architecture, culture, and people. Follow him @Shawn Micallef.

Jacket design: Five Seventeen
Jacket photograph: SoTeeOh
Author photograph: Beth Darbyshire
Signal McClelland & Stewart



Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador by Mireille Eagan

Page 34 Jamie Fitzpatrick

Manfred Buchheit
Tommy Sexton
Ca. 1988
Dimensions variable
Collection of the artist

This was the early 1980s, late into the evening at a central Newfoundland nightclub. A man who turned up in a dress was taking his life in his hands. But Sexton was shielded by celebrity — he and the rest of The Wonderful Grand Band were local heroes, thanks to their television series. In the flesh, eyes aglow and lips pursed, a gritty streak of rouge high on each cheekbone: he was regal. Impervious to the rising heat and the drunks who jeered and shouted “faggot,” Sexton crossed to centre stage and took the measure of Ron Hynes, who stood waiting to strike up the next song. “Now, Ron. What did I tell you about hanging around with this crowd? What did I tell you? You never listen!” “Sorry, Mom,” said Hynes, staring at his feet. “Is it the drugs? Is it the drugs, Ron? I swear, you’ll have me in the Mental. You’ll be happy then, I expect.” The crowd tittered, broke into nervous laughter. Sexton didn’t flinch. He kept us on the knife-edge, forcing us to keep watching a woman we all knew: the tormented mother, sick with worry over her boy — with his long hair and that foolish music, and what in God’s name is going on with young people, at all? Funny, yes. But also mom, strange and familiar, cutting through the dark room with a sting of truth. Even the louts in the back were cowed by it. I still remember the sad pumps, scuffed and collapsing at the heels. Today, the 1980s are recognized as a bedrock decade in Newfoundland and Labrador’s great cultural revival, justly credited with reanimating our heritage. What’s less celebrated is the spirit of defiance and chaos that defined those times, the drive to not just honour the past, but to push on ahead. Even the hallowed traditional musicians of the day — those weathered fiddlers and accordion […] we installed as icons of bygone times — looked forward as much as they looked back. Many of them composed original music, or played “crooked tunes,” refusing to conform to the anticipated line of a jig or reel, not knowing how the music might turn out until they […]. A Gerald Squires painting of an upturned […] could have been an […] centuries ago. But the longer I looked, the […] seemed like I had never […] an upturned tree before. And Tommy Sexton commanding a sweaty […] club, glorious in floral print and rouge? Until I saw […] it wasn’t possible. The future doesn’t […] everyone in the same moment, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, where we’ve cycled through so many conflicting dreams of what […]. It’s easy to trade one dream for another when you’re young and thrill[…] the velocity of everything. A few years […] that night at the Flyers Club, I had been initiated into a […] different […] of the future. It tool shape in Grade 5, on the day Mr. Banf[…] unfurled […] of “the mighty Churchill Falls” and explained how “this […] natural […] had been reduced to a trickle, harnessed to an even greater (A photograph of a man wearing a leather jacket and holding a cigarette follows on the next page).
(Two pictures of artworks: the left image shows an oversized photograph of a woman on top of an photograph of a lake. The right image shows a person dressed in black with an outstretched arm and a black net on their head.)
Caption on the right page reads:
Lucas Morneau
Fag Hag
(The Queer Mummer Series)
Archival inkjet print
163 x 112
Collection of the artist

Andrea Cooper
Starring: Part 2 (detail)
Digital still from film
Dimensions variable
The Rooms

Page 22: Mireille Eagan

Heather Campbell
7th Generation Inuit Community (detail)
Mixed media on polyester film
58.4 x 44.5
The Rooms

MIREILLE EAGAN is Curator of Contemporary Art at The Rooms. Previously, she was curator at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where she was a founding member of that province’s artist-run collective This Town Is Small. Eagan has curated more than 100 exhibitions, individually or as co-curator, including the nationally touring retrospective Mary Pratt and Mary Pratt: This Little Painting at the National Gallery of Canada (that institution’s first solo exhibition of an Atlantic Canadian woman artist), as well as the Terra Nova Art Foundation’s Collateral Project at the 55th Venice Biennale. She received a Digital Publishing Awards’ Gold Medal in 2018 and the Critical Eye Award from VANL-CARFAC in 2017. Works cited (several works cited follow).
(The opposite page features an artwork. It shows a hilly landscape with several round white structures and two large wind turbines)



Huff & Stitch by Cliff Cardinal

I never thought I’d see the day that my work was published. I never thought it would be produced. I had planned to burn my plays. You know, to punish a sick world by depriving it of my beautiful work. (My agent assures me the money is the same.)

I started writing Stitch when I was twenty-two. I was living in a roach-infested basement. There was no natural light—I wrote under fluorescence. I shared the apartment with a prostitute who paid me ten dollars a trick to rent the bedroom. I’d be writing late at night or early in the morning, get a knock at the door, and have to walk around outside for fifteen minutes and write in a notebook. Imagine following a mascaraed stranger into a dank basement and seeing cheerful little me making myself scarce, skittering out like one of the roaches: “Have a nice time.”

Then I’d come back and write until I had to go to work for a special event company. I carried furniture by day, barely ate, just smoked.

The central image in Stitch came from a dream my mom had. The form was influenced by VideoCabaret, Linda Griffiths’s Baby Finger, and Daniel Brooks and Daniel MacIvor’s Monster. I was reading a lot of Hubert Selby Jr., Chuck Palahniuk, and Irvine Welsh. Leanna Brodie introduced me to a few dramaturges. I started working with her husband, Jovanni Sy. He’s a very generous collaborator and he’s become a good friend.

I was just beginning to write me. What scared me and what turned me on. I was writing what embarrassed me. I tried the first person and I heard my voice.

Then there was huff.

I’ve been touring this show for a few years now. Along the way […] this interview with a French journalist who asked it in writing huff […] any “denunciations.” Not a word you hear every day, but the ESL-style question is a pretty succinct one. The answer is yes. I don’t have anything to say. I don’t know how the world is supposed to work. I don’t have […] ideas. Give me the floor for an hour and I’ll shit in a beer bottle. I […] denunciations. We have disparaging rates of youth suicide. Sexual […] is a dark part of our national history. First Nation’s people are still […] to reclaim parts of our culture that were stolen in genocide. huff […] punk show. It’s a fuck you to a society that would put our little brothers […] and sisters’ backs against the wall. I wanted to throw a brick.

I was singing in a punk band. I was inspired by Jackass the TV show […] hurt myself to make my friends laugh. I was obsessed with telling stories […] about outsiders, people who do weird stuff to make a connection. I thought […] our most taboo subculture was First Nations’ kids abusing solvents, at high […] risk of suicide. I wrote a short story.

I carried the story for four years and made a few attempts at writing a play. I didn’t have much success until Patti Shaughnessy booked it for the Ode’min Giizis festival in Peterborough.

That gave me a year to write and create a new solo play. I g0t some money through the Theatre Creators’ Reserve. Native Earth programmed it in the Weesageechak festival. […] was going to dramaturge again but I wasn’t ever ready to show […]. Opening night was approching and we didn’t have […] into our old rhythms of notes and drafts. Most of the […] happened in rehearsals at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre […] Randoja. That being said, I owe a debt to the creativity of […], David Geary, Elizabeth Kantor, and especially Karin, […] vision was the basis for the two proceeding productions […].

When I […] the show I think about the kids in the story: little […] imaginations. I want to do a play that they would love. […] there’s so much cussing. That’s why I splash the audience […]. That’s why I don’t care what people think about it.




Huff was first produced by Cardinal/Kantor Productions on June 21 and 22 at the Gordon Best Theatre, Peterborough, as part of the Ode’min Giizis Festival. It featured the following cast and creative team:

Director: Karin Randoja

Designer and Stage Manager: Elizabeth Kantor

Performer: Cliff Cardinal

Technician: Em Glasspool

The play was remounted by Native Earth Performing Arts in 2015 and later toured throughout Canada in 2016.





WIND enters. He has a plastic bag over his head. It’s duct-taped around his throat to create an airtight seal.

WIND: Turn off your fucking cellphone.

Put the remote down.

This is an interruption of your regularly scheduled program.

Don’t worry though.

Your normal show will be on again soon.

This isn’t life and death.

Not for you.

Where I am is in my apartment not trying to take a plastic bag off my head.

It’s duct-taped to my throat.

And my hands are handcuffed behind my back.

The key to my handcuffs is stashed in the top cupboard where I can’t reach.

Anoxia is the word for when your brain is deprived ot oxygen.

Anoxia will kill you somewhere between four and six minutes.

You’ll pass out after three.

I’ve been in this bag for two.

Actually about one minute and fifty-seven seconds.

WIND breathes. The plastic bag crumples around his face.



It’s been two minutes.

My breath feels warm inside the mask.

Like a baby’s …

This is a suicide attempt.

I say “attempt” but it’s looking pretty good.

I should know.

I’ve done this before.

WIND hears a gentle whisper through the plastic bag: “Breathe.” He looks around but can’t find where the voice is coming from.

When you hear voices they don’t mean anything.

You’re hallucinating because your brain is screaming out for oxygen.

I’m ninety per cent sure that’s what you are.

“Hi, imaginary friends!”

He hears the whisper again: “Breathe.”

Next time you hear it the voice is familiar.

Like a TV show that’s gone off the air.

A third time: “Breathe.” He shrugs at the plastic bag with his shoulders but can’t remove his death mask. He falls to the floor trying to get the bag off.

I think about yelling at myself.

About cursing my own stupidity.

But I don’t want to give myself the satisfaction.

Anyway, that’s how I got here.

Really, there’s a perfectly rational explanation for all of this.

(to an audience member) Hey, […] get this off me?


Seriously, get this off me.

If you don’t help me I’ll […] right here.

WIND enters […]. He bows to an audience member who removes […] and duct tape and handcuffs. (If the audience member says anything aside from “yes,” WIND goes to someone else.) WIND takes the handcuffs back.

I’ll take those.

WIND thrusts the plastic bag back into the audience members hands.

And this.

Hold onto this for me.

And don’t give it back no matter what I say.


I need you.


He goes back to the stage. He gives thanks.

Hiye hiye.

He turns back to the audience.


See, for my people, “Trickster” is a living, breathing spirit.

Part shapeshifter, part ancient lesson.

The coyote sniffing around your garbage has been tracking you for a long time.


That one drink too many before the drive home: Trickster.

That questionable piece of ass you tapped au naturel: Trickster.

That the very story that brought you into the darkness is the only one that can lead you back to the light: Trickster.

When you’ve got a plastic bag on your head, what you’re doing is rebreathing the same breath until you choke.

This breath is a story that began a long time ago … in the eighties.

One day a young warrior on the hunt met a beautiful girl.

He’d known her since she was a child but looked on her with new eyes.



Junie by Chelene Knight




Summer was dying and the once viridescent edges of the leaves transformed as a ring of orange crawled toward their centres. It seemed to be happening earlier this year. Autumn was Junie’s most-loved season, and not because of the unfolding of a new school term, but because she sensed that nature was given a second chance to rebirth itself, to start anew, a sentiment she often wanted for herself.

Junie took in a generous breath and closed her eyes. The air was smoke-filled but sweet, and jasmine and lavender pooled in her throat. She swirled her tongue around her mouth, letting the tip slip between the narrow gaps of her teeth. She inhaled again. The savoury scent of hickory wafted from the smokers in the street—this was how Junie imagined paradise. She stood fluid amidst all the clanking, shouting, doors slamming, and back and forth of truth-telling on street corners.

Junie floated behind her mother down the unfamiliar yet bustling streets of their new neighbourhood. An unexpected gust of warm wind brushed the backs of her ears. She studied a few of the neighbours, two men and one woman, knee deep in soil. The wooden sign planted in the dirt read East End Community Garden. They were poking shallow oblong holes into the earth with their steady fingers, maybe to check the readiness of the soil. Then they pulled and tugged on clusters of green vegetables and piled them into wooden baskets. She imagined the mud under their fingernails and how sticking a small twig behind each nail, sweeping away the grime in one swoop, would be effortless. There was a peacefulness in watching them work, their backs bent and their eyes veiled by wide-brimmed hats. As they methodically, dug into the earth, loud, rhythmic grunts escaped their parted lips. The men wore brown overalls with patterned shirts underneath. The woman’s white dress was bunched up above her knees. Together, their humming was slight. A tune Junie could not name. Behind them, the sun slipped to the rear of a tall brick building, the veils of their hats pointless. Was this how they got through hard times? Junie had overheard many conversations about community and what it meant to work together. Six bent knees instead of two. Sixty fingernails filled with more than a day’s worth of dirt.

As Junie and her mother continued their walk toward the small row house they were about to call home, the back of Junie’s small hand grazed the back of her mother’s, the warmth an immediate transfer. A jolt. Junie lifted her eyes, shooting daggers into the sludge-coloured sky, and then turned a soft glance toward her mother, but Maddie shoved her hand into her coat pocket and turned her face into the wind. Junie’s gaze sunk down to her shoes. One sole had partially detached from its housing. Just like her insides; clinging to a whole that never truly belonged to her. Junie wanted to glue it shut. She needed to keep something beautiful and lush and have it belong to her. All she asked for was to sit comfortably in this knowing and hold tight what no one would ever dare take from her.

Suitcases in hand, they turned the corner past The Golden Petal, the town flower shop. Junie’s eyes illuminated at the assortment of flamboyant plants and flowers. She counted all the colours in her head. People squeezed past one another on the narrow sidewalks and Junie admired how quickly everyone seemed to move. A pile of worn furniture sat on the curb like a family of abadoned stray dogs, their fur matted. Maddie stopped, lowered her suitcases onto the cement and sucked her teeth.

“People have no shame, I tell you. All these things sitting on the curb like this, it’s sad. Truly pitiful. And look at those overflowing garbage cans on the corner.”

Junie listened to the way her body gave her signals; communicated with her. The pounding in her small chest told her not to ask questions and especially not the ones that came burning into her head like fireballs.

“Maybe they’re moving. Mama. Like us.”

Maddie pushed her hand up her wide hip. Her doe eyes scorched right through the pile of wood and plastic shelving. A softness curled into her face, her cheeks untightened, jowls materialized around her jaw like whipped butter. That buttering was there for only a second. It disappeared just as quickly as it showed up. But there was no tucking it away. Junie wanted to paint her mother’s eyes. Hold her gaze there. Freeze time.

Maddie shook her head and dusted invisible dirt off her skirt like the filth from the mangy furniture had clung to her. Like she was too good, like she deserved better than what she had. “Junie, let’s get going. Now, I have a lot of unpacking to do, and I don’t have time to talk about this place. Not yet.” Maddie pulled a small scrap of paper from her pocket and squinted. “106 Prior Street. This way, come on, girl, let’s g0.” Junie followed.

“But Mama, don’t you want to g—”

“Girl, why are you always beating your gums? I’m not going to stand here talking with you about whether someone moved or didn’t move. Why does it matter? I have important things to do and the last thing I need is for these curls that I just paid good money for to fall out.” Maddie pooled her hair with her hands as she walked, never dropping the suitcase.

Junie, overwhelmed by the mouthful that had fallen like fire from her mother’s lips, did as she was told. Her head was as heavy as a bucket of street coal. She tried hard not to fall too far behind her mother. The back of her mother’s neck glared at her. Scolded her.

Junie’s eyes darted from building to building, from brown face to brown face. Their old neighbourhood was not like this. It was cold. She was often afraid, and shivered under her covers most nights, the waning moon sending icicles down her small body. The sidewalks were empty, and everyone who wasn’t like them scooted along in cars. Dogs sauntered down the tree-lined streets attached to long leather leashes with tight-lipped white people clutching the other end. But here, there was so much flavour to behold. Pleasant feelings and tingly sensations skirted down Junie’s spine into the worn insides of her black shoes.

She ran to catch up with her mother, who was still spouting even in Junie’s momentary absence. As they continued to walk, Junie scanned the small box-shaped shops that hugged one another’s walls and lined the busy streets. She flinched at the roaring horns and bells on doors, and the loud voices screaming of weekend plans. This neighbourhood was already a sweltering hug around her shoulders, it was like she were in the midst of some big family gathering where everyone had something to shout out from across the room. Her face already battered from smiling at all the people who passed by in their slender column skirts pinched tight at the waist and cut just below the knee, the men with hats tilted at angles and their suspenders holding up their loose, high-waisted pants, and the children whose hands were gripped tightly in the hands of their mother, or father, or uncle, or grandparent. Most looked like her, but some didn’t. Now that she was here, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Although the specific reason for the move was unclear to Junie, she was certain it had to do with Maddie losing her last job at Jack’s Lounge. Her mother was always spouting off about Mr. Evans, the owner, and how he didn’t understand her. How she was “too much woman” for him, whatever that meant. Or maybe it was that other place, The Bilt. Her mother jawed off often about so many clubs and lounges that they all sat in one blurred pile in Junie’s head. But all the same, Junie was glad to leave their old neighbourhood behind.

“It’s about time we get you ready for school, don’t you think? In a few days you’ll be starting a new year, new school, new nosy people asking questions. I can’t have people knowing you’re my child when you can’t do anything to that hair. Maybe some ribbons would do that head some good.

Junie’s eyes immediately fell to the ground.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Maddie stopped and pulled her hand from her pocket, pointing a slim, brown finger in Junie’s face, her fingernails bayonets. “Girl, what did I tell you about calling me that? What, do I look like an old woman to you? Save that talk for the old grey-hairs in church, you hear me?”

“Yes, Mama.”

“That’s better.”

Maddie pulled a pack of Du Mauriers out from her purse and lit one as they walked.

“You’re gonna be all right, girl. Just need to think, that’s all,” Maddie said between puffs. “You need to slow down and stop asking so many goddamn questions.”



I sit across from my mother, my arms folded gingerly in my lap. We sit together, but apart, at our small kitchen table, eating each other’s silence around a plate of toast and two half-full glasses of powdered milk, the edges crusted with white. A sliver of sunlight shoulders its way into the room through the sheer curtains that hang above the large double sink. The cadenced sound of the slow-dripping water from the faucet pools into a greasy salad bowl. I listen as the water rises. How can so many droplets fill the dips and valleys like that? How long does it take for each tiny drop of water to build a community in a small bowl? I focus on the sound. It hammers through my cars in time with the thunderous pressure in my chest. I search the table for the berried jam, jam that has disappeared just as quickly as Mama’s wages. Mama’s eyes clutch mine and then release. The split second of guilt in her gaze is quickly replaced with indifference. “Eat your toast, little girl.” Mama wraps her lips around a cigarette, then exhales a fog of smoke that hovers above the bread like a rain cloud.




Library by Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier

A painting of a yellow book with the a handwritten title on it: “Want to know a bunch of stuff you’ll wish you didn’t know?”

Various painted books. Their titles read: “Some of us laughed and some of us gasped and one of us burst into tears.”, “I don’t hate you, but I won’t date you”, “We harvest and then we burn”, “You can only learn the same thing from the same mistake so many times” and “Born in the fetal position, die in the fatal position”.

Various painted books. Their titles read: “I was just kidding when I said I do”, “Dig him up, let’s kill him again”, “My way is the highway”, “The Wiggle Room”, “You can burn the bridge, but I’ll just swim”, “In the be the end”, “The final postage stamp” and “I stopped thinking new thoughts a long time ago”.

Painted books with covers in varying colours. Their titles read: “Help, I’m ok.”, “You vs. Other You”, “I wish I had more middle fingers”, “Every opportunity taken is a million opportunities lost”, “Kissing the mirror of love”, “What have I done to your life”, “Too much death, not enough resurrection”, “Help, I’ve glued my eyeballs together”, “Everything I say is a promise”, “So cute I have to squish it”, “Toothpaste, teeth ground into a paste”, “The part of the story no one wants to hear” and “The quietness”.

Painted books with handwritten titles. Some books have small illustrations on them. The book titles read: “Each the other’s prize”, “What the earth really thinks of the moon”, “The flower came to life”, “This river flows both ways”, “Magic squirrel”, “Not only are you the only you, you are also not only you”, “Absolute nudity” and “I liked me, but then I did what I did”.




Mahikan Ka Onot by Duncan Mercredi


A Remembering Smile

I walk the streets
full of strangers with eyes distant
faces cold against concrete walls
once in a while my eyes go distant
I remember and I smile, a secret smile
a remembering smile

Recalling happier times
long time ago
still hearing the river
the river wild and free

My nookum* still skinned rabbits and squirrels
with hands gnarled and scarred
from too many winters
they were gentle hands
that soothed burning fevers

Winters were cold
children wrapped tight against the wind
still, we played all day
having to be called in at sunset
sitting in front of the hot tin stove
fire red from the heat warming my […]
sharing nookum’s tea

Spring, the river breaks free
loud, ice crackling like rifle fir[…]
we lie awake at nights listening […]
imagination caught up in the […] I tell
about the war raging on […]
all laugh when I am […]
we snuggle into the […] the feather blanket
little brother the […] the middle

Summer, hot, river alive with laughter
young brown bodies dot the clear blue water
some standing naked on the shore
trembling with cold
a breeze whispers gently in my ear
while an eagle rides the sky above me

Fall, the sound of geese in the night sky
singing a good-bye song
as only they can sing
good-bye, good-bye, we shall never forget

I wake to a light snowfall
and the concrete forest that surrounds me
begins to awaken
I ride the escalator with a remembering smile
while others watch me curiously
with fear, I wonder
So I whistle an almost forgotten tune
good-bye, good-bye
We shall never…

* Author’s note: nookum is a possessive form, meaning “my grandmother. kookum is more like “everyone’s grandmother.”



Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking by Jason Logan



Foreword by Michael Ondaatje




On Foraging

A Forager’s Checklist

On Foraging in Winter



What Is Ink and How Is It Made?

Natural Ink: A Bask Recipe

The Ground Rules of Natural Inkmaking

Colors and Recipes














Testing Ink on Paper

On Collaboration with Artists

Conversation with Michael Ondaatje

A Timeline of Ink

Glossary of Terms




A photo of stones and rusted metal pieces



“Only a blinking eye can measure the light.”— Sandra Beasley, “Inventory”


When I begin, it’s not immediately promising. I’ve been up since early morning, it’s a big gray city, and this is unfamiliar terrain. I get off way up at 157th Street at the edge of Washington Heights, without a clue what aboveground will look like. There’s a man selling something out of a rolling suitcase, a couple of bodegas selling bedazzled cell phone cases and cigarettes, and a lone, vaguely Italian restaurant that lets me recharge my cell phone behind the bar after I buy a gritty espresso. The only other place to eat is McDonald’s. And the sky looks like rain.

At the top of the hill is a little graveyard. It’s fully fenced, forcing me to walk down the hill and through the wrought-iron gates to get back up to it. The sidewalks are rolling with acorns, perfect little butterscotch-colored nuts with gentlemanly dark brown stripes up their sides. Only the caps are useful to me. I collect and shuck, filling a bag in just a few minutes. Inside the graveyard, it’s empty. I search for lichen that feeds on the minerals of the old gravestones. There are beautiful examples of copper and bronze, too. Bleeding onto the stone is an almost fluorescing gray-green-blue a color made by the same gradual chemical reactions that turned the Statue of Liberty green—a color made by time.

Out the gate and down the hill, the road ends in pipes, bolts, and heavy construction equipment. I walk past and through an old underpass. Everything smells like limestone. There is water dripping, graffiti, crystals growing—a kind of urban cave. I keep following it, using the flimsiest of maps, printed out from an email. My phone is about to die. The rain falls. Every crevice of the city is dripping but I am being pulled along this path. Rust pushing up from under layers of industrial paint. I collect some of these three-toned chips of color in a zip-top bag and label it. I walk along a bridge over the train tracks. Up high there are vines climbing the fence. More silver rain. Down metal stairs, cars rushing I am under the Riverside Drive highway. Huge piles of construction front of the camera, as I consider each mood coming in through Facebook. I try to shape my makeshift palette of New York ink materials into something that feels beautiful, suggestive, and responsive to the audience. All my focus is on twelve inches of white watercolor paper. Two hours later, I look up. My hands are berry-stained, and powders and liquids and empty dropper bottles litter our little room in the New York Times building. Though I felt engrossed and alone as I completed each drawing. I am told that three hundred thousand people were watching me.


I am often asked what exactly ink is. It’s not paint—which is a liquid color used mainly for creating images or covering surfaces. What distinguishes ink from other art supplies is its use as a tool for communication. People have been leaving marks with berries, burnt sticks, or colored rocks since the dawn of humanity—but the use of ink as a transmitter of language can be traced back to the first evidence of civilization in China and Mesopotamia: most often on shards of pottery, featuring markings that historians say were at first mostly accounting ledgers. But ink quickly became more than a decorator or calculator…. In fact, ink and pen were as vital to the growth of civilization as the wheel or the cultivation of wheat. Gaining the ability to permanently mark symbols on a flat surface meant that ideas could be saved, transported, and shared. Recipes, mathematical formulas, banking, poetry, music, diagrams, history; philosophy, and stories are inseparable from the history of ink.

The symbolic qualities of ink are necessarily backed up by its material qualities: In order to succeed as a conveyor of culture and ideas, ink needs to have certain features. It needs to be a liquid—an easily manipulated substance—so that it flows to a fine point, forming clean lines that dry permanently on paper. The ink needs to be intensely pigmented for maximum legibility and longevity. And finally, its various recipes must work for a whole range of writing utensils: dip pens, calligraphy brushes, printing presses, ballpoint pens, and felt-tipped markers.

So, how is ink made to have these qualities? The basic formula is actually quite simple: color + binder + water or oil = ink. Or, as Collins Dictionary puts it, “Ink is the colored liquid used for writing or printing.’’ From this simple definition, ink can take, and has taken, many different paths. For me, this has meant culling my inkmaking techniques from a wide variety of sources […]


A pair of hands holds a small plant with white blossoms.



A picture of a plants and branches in a forest



One hot summer day a few years ago, I set off with a team of eight color-collecting ten-year-olds, each equipped only with a canvas bag and a decent supply of sunscreen. It was my son’s birthday, and he’d asked for an inkmaking workshop. Otis, one of my son’s best friends, is a creative redhead whose interests range from the creation of alphabets to Korean subway systems to crafting graphic novels from the periodic table of elements. While the other kids were foraging for the more expected sources of color, like rose petals stolen from our neighbors’ gardens and ripe mulberries fallen from a nearby tree, Otis was looking at the ground: “Can we make ink out of these?” He had collected dozens of cigarette butts from the sidewalk on our way to the park. My answer, as always, was, “Yes! Let’s try it.” I have made ink from the flimsiest of ideas and the unlikeliest of materials. The cigarette butts, once cleaned, filtered, and harvested for their tobacco, became an almost golden-colored ink. I later combined it with rust and stinging nettle to create a most extraordinary two-toned ink, one that eventually made its way into the carry-on luggage of an artist who journeyed to the Arctic Circle on an icebreaker boat. Otis raw the potential for ink in less obvious places, but he also approached the craft without any awareness of its rules or limits, the sort of thinking that inevitably leads to beautifully unexpected results—my favorite kind. I try to embody that same spirit when I make ink.

“’s just try it and see what happens.” This attitude is so important. Not in a college-hipster potluck, “who cares what I put in this casserole?” way, but rather in a René Redzepi, “what will happen if I slowly bake this carrot for seven days, topping it with a dusting of woodruff flowers, sourced from the perimeter of the carrot patch?” kind of way that respects the ingredients and their sense of place. As you attempt the recipes I’ve included throughout this book, I hope you’ll always follow your curiosity wherever it leads you.




Below is a list of some of the concepts, tools and ingredients that have proven important to me over time, and should start you off with a decent inkmaking vocabulary.

Some definitions have been omitted from this preview.


Alum (aluminum sulfate) is a naturally occurring basic mordant widely used in the ancient world and now easily found in the spice aisle. It will sometimes help berries retain a red hue on paper and can help natural yellow colors stay vibrant.







[…] bleedthrough






Dip pen

A type of nib pen with no ink reservoir. Natural inks often work best in a dip pen or glass pen, and depending on your recipe, can gum up an expensive fountain pen.

Fountain pen

A nib pen that contains a reservoir of ink.



Gum arabic




India ink


Iron gall ink



A strong alkali that is rich in potassium carbonate, lye is leached from wood ashes and used to raise pH in inkmaking and dye recipes.


A mordant is a chemical used in combination with dye to affix the color to textile fibers. By using different mordants, dyers can often obtain a variety of colors and shades from the same dye. Because paper is made of tiny fibers, mordants are useful in ink recipes as well, as they can help color “bite” into paper.

Oak galls












Tyrian purple




Photos of a sink with ink stains and a ink making supplies on a table.




Making Noise Quietly by Robert Holman

Making Noise Quietly was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 26 June 1986, with the following cast:



Being Friends

OLIVER BELL Jonathan Cullen

ERIC FABER Ronan Vibert








Making Noise Quietly


ALAN TADD Paul Copley

SAM Daniel Kipling


Director John Dove

Designer Kenny Miller

Lighting Designer Paul Denby


Making Noise Quietly was revived at the Donmar Warehouse, London, on 23 April 2012 (previews from 19 April), with the following cast:



Being Friends

OLIVER BELL Jordan Dawes

ERIC FABER Matthew Tennyson





GEOFFREY CHURCH John Hollingworth



Making Noise Quietly



SAM Lewis Andrews/Jack Boulter/Ethan Hammer


Director Peter Gill

Designer Paul Wills

Lighting Designer Paul Pyant

Sound Designer Emma Laxton

Composer Christian Mason






OLIVER BELL, the farmer

ERIC FABER, the artist


The corner of a field at Oxen Hoath in Kent. July 1944.


The corner of a field close to the pond at Oxen Hoath in Kent. July 1944.

It is a pasture field, the grass rough and undulating.

OLIVER BELL is lying sunbathing.

OLIVER is a robust and strong young man of twenty-five. His features have a clean and refined look. He is wearing very baggy working trousers with the braces off and hanging loosely from the waist. The rest of his clothes, including his shoes and socks, are scattered to one side.

ERIC FABER enters, riding on the pedal of his bicycle.

ERIC is a small and thin young man of twenty-three. He is frail, but his features are sharp. He is neatly dressed and has a short-sleeved jersey over his shirt. He has wire-framed glasses and there is a school-type satchel on his back.

OLIVER sits up as ERIC enters. ERIC steps off the pedal and the bicycle comes to a halt.

ERIC. I like to come here at least once every fortnight. It’s my favourite picnicking place. How long have you been here?

OLIVER. About an hour.

ERIC. I stopped off at Hadlow and looked at the church. Then I came away because the vicar disturbed me. I had planned to sketch one of the porticos. Have you been swimming in the pond?

OLIVER. I wasn’t sure you could.

ERIC. A group of local boys have built a diving board from the little bridge. With a plank and some rope, it’s rather clever. Perhaps we could swim together, later?

OLIVER (shyly). Yes. all right.

ERIC. If the boys arrive we could join them. The vicar’s a terrible nuisance. I just get my pencils out when up he comes, wanting to know everything. I felt sad making my excuse and running, because I suspect he’s rather lonely.

ERIC unfastens the cane picnic hamper that is strapped to the back of his bicycle.

I must look foolish dressed for cloudy.

ERIC half stops, half-lets the bicycle fall so that it lies on the grass. He struggles out of his satchel. He takes his glasses off and puts them on the hamper. He takes his jersey off. He puts his glasses back on.

Where have you come from?

OLIVER. Erm, from a farm over there.

ERIC looks.

You can’t see it – it’s about a mile and a half through the trees.

ERIC looks back to OLIVER.

I was milking before I left. I didn’t change.

ERIC. May I?

ERIC leans forward, he sniffs OLIVER‘s trouser legs.

I get drunk on that smell.

ERIC straightens up.

OLIVER. I washed in the pond. For reasons I don’t understand, I get Tuesday afternoon off. I’m beginning my fourth week here. Where d’you live?

ERIC. In Tonbridge.

OLIVER. With your family?

ERIC. Good heavens. No, I live with a friend of mine. And my housekeeper, Helen Nicholson. My friend is in London all this week.

ERIC sits down a short distance from OLIVER. As he does so he winces very slightly.

I had an accident. On my bicycle travelling to my aunt’s in Greenwich, I was knocked over by a car. When I came to, it was like being in a cloud, with faces peering down. I realise now they were asking me how I felt, but just then I was too numb to know. At hospital they found, amongst other things, I’d a fractured spine.

OLIVER pulls a face.

I did give the nurses hell of course, for the nine months of my stay. Refusing this, refusing that. I was drunk on self-pity like a small child.

A slight pause.

I do suspect they want the child in you. It makes one manageable, especially when one is learning to walk again.

OLIVER. I’m sorry. I hope you’re better.

ERIC. Oh much. I screamed and screamed like Violet Elizabeth. And you?

OLIVER. I’m a conscientious objector. I come from a Quaker family in Manchester.

ERIC. I don’t know that part of the world. I’ve walked in the south, mainly through Suffolk.

OLIVER (shrugging). I don’t know the south.

ERIC. If I have to spend a day in bed, I like reading Ordnance maps.

A slight pause.

I’ve bread and cheese if you’d care to share it?

OLIVER (shyly). Thank you.

ERIC. I brought only enough for one. We’ll have to behave like the five thousand.

OLIVER smiles.

ERIC takes and opens the hamper.

I’ve beer and a few cherries, too.





Ocean by Sue Goyette





Poems by Sue Goyette


Gaspereau Press Printers & Publishers ¶ MMXIII


I don’t want to be the oldest performer in captivity…

I don’t want to look like a little old man dancing out there.





We traded an accordion of hours for wood. We traded ladles

of sleep for some hammers and nails. We were setting out


to find the ocean. Our boats leaked. Our boats sank.

Our boats needed to be trained. We burned some of them


for light to build better boats. We turned some on their sides

and lived in them. Our children wrote their names in crooked


letters on the backs of them. Someone even cut a hole in the centre

of one and wore it suspended like pants. For awhile, everyone


wore boats. We built more fashionable boats. We wrote books

about building boats and then wrote more about the writing


of those books. Sure, we digressed but there was always plenty

of wood and a prime-time of hours to trade. A colony of us left


to watch how light moved over our boats. This demanded clocks.

We banged on our boats and howled and in this way created


the Calling of the Ocean ceremony. This became a holiday

with a feast and afire. Dancing. Our population almost doubled


when we drank the fermented fruit and holidayed. We cleared more

land to store the boats. The boatbuilding industry was booming.


We eventually even cooked our boats and ate their ash

then dreamt at night of fish. Fish. Those strange contraptions


that don’t need air. Little wallets swimming just out of reach.



We soon had an orchestra of boats and the songs

that sailed through us put the stars in the sky.


Of course, we were nowhere near the ocean. Our trees

were nuns at the edge of our plans, praying for us


in their way. And our rocks were mysteries we tried solving

but in these parts, the rocks are as stubborn as sisters and held


their tongues. We corded off part of a field beyond our beds

where the right combination of drink and wind


would leave us feeling oceanated. This land later became

a church then later, a music hall. Sacred. There were expeditions


to find the ocean. The reports given upon return always involved

leaping animals and thirst. There was first a swamp of skyscrapers


to cross, a swarm of bankers. There were small shields

called briefcases and banks where you had to wait to be given


what belonged to you in the first place. At this point,

the bigger boats became stages and these journeys would be acted out


for everyone to see. Often children would be cast as bankers

shielding themselves with those briefcases They’d run around at a […]


movie speed, begging everyone for more money. I played a skyscraper

but my arms got tired so I was replaced. Once I played a tree.


You’re not praying hard enough, the audience heckled.




The real estate agent chewed gum to cover the smell

of bank on his breath and told us a snow fence would keep it


out. That it wasn’t so much like student housing

but a wishing well that would one day increase


our property value. Oceanfront was like 24-hour shopping;

we’d browse its surface and wonder who really needed


all this stuff. And what a hurricane of a question!

What a tidal wave of disruption. It got worse


when we walked into it and let it taste us. Courtship!

We had never heard of marriage let alone ceremony.


When we wrote our names in the soft sand of its back,

we didn’t know the first thing about commitment


or about being out of our depths.




Okanagan Print Triennial 2012 – Exhibition Catalogue
Introduction and Jurors’ Statement

The Okanagan Print Triennial, here in its second incarnation, is something of a hybrid creature. On the one hand, it walks end talks like a typical juried print show: artists sent in their prints, some were selected, and up they go onto the walls. But instead of paying a fee to enter, the OPT artists are paid their CARFAC exhibition fee for the group show rate. And instead of the catalogue just reproducing the one to two works accepted, with very little text, we wanted this show to contain a greater number of works by each artist and we commissioned a curatorial essay for this catalogue. We are pleased to include a text by Victoria, BC-based artist and writer on art, Tegan Forbes, titled “Truth and Isolation,” in which she gives her thoughts on the works included. In these ways, then, the project is closer to a curated exhibition than a generic cattle-call-style print exhibition. It has been a pleasure and honour to work with my two fellow jurors and organizers, Lubos Culen, Curator at the Vernon Public Art Gallery, and Briar Craig, artist and instructor in printmaking at the University of British Columbia [Okanagan Campus. The notion of having an important print show that would bring original new work in printmaking to the Okanagan belongs to Craig. But Culen and I have been his willing henchmen in opening up our respective galleries to the organizational details and installation of the prints every three years, alternating locations. Craig had the idea of giving the winner of each triennial a solo exhibition at the other location each three years, and so this year the winner of the OPT 2009, Robert Truszkowski, is having a show at the Vernon Public Gallery, entitled Penance, running concurrently with the OPT 2012. This year’s winner is Mitch Mitchell, who will have a solo show at the Kelowna Art Gallery then, in the spring of 2015. Each year we intend on expanding the catchment area of our call for entry. This year it grew from Canada only to all the Americas, and in 2015, we will have a global call. We had about one hundred entries this year, which we juried from jpeg images. Overall the work was strong but we were surprised at the relatively small scale of much of the work. So many prints would have been really terrific had they been much larger in size. We noticed a great deal of freedom going on in work by artists who deal with digital imagery and processes, combined with techniques and methods that still rely on their hand. As with the 2009
Two artworks are shown. The text below them reads: Rodney Konopaki and Rhonda Neufeld St. John’s Harbourt, 2010 intaglio, 54.2 x 44.4 cm, 21 3/8 x 17 1/2 in. Photo: Yuri Akuney, Digital Imaging Plus. Rodney Konopaki and Rhonda Neufeld The Rooms, 2010 intaglio, 53.9 x 44.1 cm, 21 1/4 x 17 3/8 in. Photo: Yuri Akuney, Digital Imaging Plus.



Okanagan Print Triennial 2018 – Exhibition Catalogue

[…] materials were designed by Kyle L Poirier. Thanks to our curatorial intern Jessie Raymond, who worked on this project along with registrar Julie Martin and preparator Dylan Ranney, in addition to Hanss Lujan, Joshua Desnoyers and Laura Wylie, who provided organizational support. Finally, as always, thanks to all of our donors, members, volunteers, sponsors and granting organizations: City of Kelowna, The Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, the Central Okanagan Foundation and Central Okanagan Public Schools. They contributed to the Kelowna Art Gallery’s exhibitions and education programs, and enabled us to enhance the quality of life in our community. Nataley Nagy, Executive Director Introduction and Jurors’ Statement In Its first four incarnations, the Okanagan Print Triennial has evolved quite significantly. The very first exhibition, in 2009, was open only to Canadian print artists (having never organized a collected group exhibition, we wanted to start with a manageable number of submissions). The second was open to artists in the Americas, and, from that point forward, the exhibition has been open to print artists around the world. Needless to say, the most significant shift in the exhibitions has been the sheer variety of work and the underlying content being explored by artists with such diverse cultural histories and backgrounds. Ultimately, that diversity has always been one of the founding principles behind the OPT. We have endeavored to bring some of the best of contemporary international printmaking, with all of its cultural, contextual and visual diversity, to the Okanagan Valley (a region in the interior of British Columbia) for the edification of its citizens and the students at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. Because of the breadth of what is happening in contemporary printmaking and the magnitude of hosting increasingly expansive exhibitions, the OPT has, from the outset been a joint venture organized through the partnership of three institutions – the Kelowna Art Gallery, the Vernon Public Art Gallery, and UBC Okanagan. For the first three exhibitions, I had the distinct privilege of working with curators Liz Wylie and Lubos Culen. We each agreed that these exhibitions should be more than just collections of single works from a vast number of different artists. We wanted the OPT to showcase bodies of work as a means of allowing the viewing public a more complete immersion into the ideas being explored by a select number of exhibited artists. We have continued with our mandate […]
One artwork is shown on the page. The text below reads: Liu Fu, Lost Paradise Series III, 2015, intaglio, 59 x 59 cm. Liu Fu In my work, I want to record life in a city and discuss the living circumstances there. I strive to discuss the humanity and human nature of city life by exploring life experiences and the consequences they bring to society. I want to engrave harmony and conflict in the existing environment between people and city, as well as the experience and consciousness of the living situation in a group of people. Artist Biography Liu Fu Liu Fu is a Lecturer in the Printmaking Department, Fine Arts College, Northeast Normal University and a member of the Chinese Artists’ Association.



Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling

$27.00 U.S. / $34.00 CAN.
Welcome to QualityLand. the best country on Earth. Here, a universal ranking system determines the social advantages and career opportunities of every member of society. An automated matchmaking service knows the best partners for everyone and helps with the breakup when your ideal match (frequently) changes. And the foolproof algorithms of the biggest, most successful company in the world. TheShop. know what you want before you do and conveniently deliver to your doorstep before you even order it.
In QualityCity, Peter Jobless is a machine scrapper who can’t quite bring himself to destroy the imperfect machines sent his way, and has become the unwitting leader of a band of robotic misfits hidden in his home and workplace. One day, Peter receives a product from TheShop that he absolutely, positively knows he does not want, and which he decides, at great personal cost, to return. The only problem: doing so means proving the perfect algorithm of TheShop wrong, calling into question the very foundations of QualityLand itself.
Qualityland, Marc-Uwe Kling’s first book to be translated into English, is a brilliantly clever, illuminating satire in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and George Orwell that offers a visionary, frightening, and all-too-[…] glimpse at a near future we may be hurtling toward than it’s at all comfortable to admit. So why delay […]? TheShop already knows you’re going to […]
You may as well head to the cash register, […] and see why that is for yourself.


Copyright 2017 by Marc-Uwe Kling
English translation 2020 by Jamie Lee Searle
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Book Group


This book is not internet-enabled. You can, however, still add comments to it. But it’s very unlikely that anyone will read them. You can share this book. But not with all your friends at once. If you do share it, of course it’s possible that someone will read your comments after all, and perhaps even comment on your comments. In order to change or update the contents of this book, the publisher would need to hire someone to break into your house at night, creep over to your bookcase, and cross out or edit sentences with a felt-tip pen or ballpoint. That’s possible, but unlikely. If you want to copy this book in a print shop, it might be cheaper than buying the book, but the copy wouldn’t exactly be a replica of the original.



Dear readers, noble alien life forms (whose existence is highly probable), valued AIs, and respected search algorithms,
I wish you an enjoyable read. What you have before you is Version 1.6 of this work. This most recent update has created an all-around better reading experience—including the following improvements:

  • Major logic loopholes in Chapter 2 have been resolved.
  • Defective punch lines in Chapter 7 have been replaced.
  • Compatibility for the far-sighted has been improved.
  • The newsfeed has been personalized.
  • New option of “flicking back” to repeat difficult passages.
  • Improved synchronization with the reader’s upper temporal lobes.


So all that’s left to say is—have fun in QualityLand!
Calliope 7.3




Your Personal Travel Guide
“Come to where the quality is!
Come to QualityLand!”

So you’re off to QualityLand for the first time ever. Are you excited? Yes? And quite rightly so! You’ll soon be entering a country so important that its foundation prompted the introduction of a new calendar system: QualityTime.
As you don’t yet know your way around QualityLand, we’ve put together a brief introduction for you. Two years before QualityLand was founded—or in other words, two years before QualityTime— there was an economic crisis of such severity that it became known as the crisis of the century. It was the third crisis of the century within just a decade. Swept along by the panic of the financial markets, the government turned for help to the business consultants from Big Business Consulting (BBC) who decided that what the country needed most was a new name. The old one was worn-out and, according to surveys, only inspired die-hard nationalists with minimal buying power. Not to mention the fact that the renaming would also divest the country of a few unpleasant historical responsibilities in the process. In the past, its army had been known to… well, let’s just say they overshot the mark a little.
The business consultancy firm commissioned the creates at the advertising agency World Wide Wholesale (WWW) to come up with a new name for the country, as well as a new image, new icons, and a new culture. In short: a new country identity. After a considerable amount of time and even more money, after suggestions and countersuggestions, everyone involved finally agreed upon the now world-famous name: QualityLand. Can you imagine any name more perfectly suited for appearing after “made in” on products? The parliament voted in favor by a large majority. Or rather, by the “largest” majority, because the new country identity strictly forbids the use of the positive or comparative in connection with QualityLand. Only the superlative is allowed. So be careful. If someone asks you what you think of QualityLand, don’t just say that QualityLand is a wonderful country. It’s not a wonderful country. It’s the wonderfullest country there is!
Even the towns you are likely to visit on your travels used to have other, insignificant-sounding names. Now they have newer, better names, or as one would say in QualityLand, the newest and best names. Growth, the industrial center, expands and prospers in the south, while the university city of Progress pulsates in the north and the old trade capital Profit thrives in the country’s heartland. And then, of course, at the forefront of them all, there’s the undisputed capital of the free world: QualityCity!
Even QualityLand’s inhabitants were renamed. They couldn’t just be ordinary people, after all: they had to be QualityPeople. Their surnames in particular […] very medieval and didn’t fit with the new progress-oriented country identity. A land of Millers, Smiths, and Taylors isn’t exactly a high-tech investor’s wet dream.
And so the advertising […] decided that, from that moment on every boy would be given […] father’s occupation as a surname and every girl the occupa[…] of her mother. The deciding factor would be the job held at […] of conception.
We wish […] unforgettable stay in the land of Sabrina Mechatronics […] and Jason Cleaner, the most popular middle-class rap duo of the decade. The land of Scarlett Prisoner and her twin brother Robert Warden, the undefeated BattleBot jockeys of the century. The land of Claudia Superstar, the Sexiest Woman of All Time. The land of Henryk Engineer, the richest person in the world.
Welcome to the land of the superlative. Welcome to QualityLand.




Peter Jobless has had enough.
“Nobody,” he says.
“Yes, Peter?” asks Nobody.
“I’m not hungry anymore.”
“Okay,” says Nobody.
Nobody is Peter’s digital assistant. Peter picked out the name himself, because he often feels as though Nobody listens to him. Nobody speaks to him. Nobody pays attention to him. Nobody makes decisions for him. Peter has even convinced himself that Nobody likes him. Peter is a WINNER, because Nobody is his WIN assistant. WIN, an abbreviation for “What I Need,” was once a search engine, into […] had to enter questions—very laboriously—by speech […], and before that by typing by hand! In essence, WIN […] search engine, but you no longer need to ask it questions. […] knows what you want to know. Peter no longer has to go to […] effort of finding the relevant information, because the relevant formation goes to the effort of finding Peter.
Nobody has selected the restaurant Peter and his friends are sitting in according to their calculated preferences. He has also ordered the appropriate burger for Peter. The “best recycled meat burger in QualityCity” reads the paper napkin in front of him. Nevertheless, Peter doesn’t like it, perhaps because the restaurant selection had to correspond not just to his tastes, but also to his bank balance.
“It’s getting late, guys,” says Peter to his friends. “I’m going to head off.”
A few indeterminate grunts come by way of response.
Peter likes his friends. Nobody found them for him. But sometimes, and he’s not sure why, his mood turns sour when he hangs out with them. Peter pushes aside his plate, which still contains more than half of the recycled burger, and pulls on his jacket. Nobody asks for the bill. It comes immediately. The waiter, as in most restaurants, is a human being, not an android. Machines can do so many things nowadays, but they still can’t quite manage to carry a full cup from A to B without spilling it. Besides, humans are cheaper; they don’t have any acquisition or maintenance costs. And there aren’t any wages in the gastronomy industry either; you work for tips. Androids don’t work for tips.
“How would you like to pay?” asks the waiter.
“TouchKiss,” says Peter.
“Certainly,” says the waiter. He swipes around on his Quality-Pad, then Peter’s tablet vibrates.
Since its launch, TouchKiss has rapidly established itself as a leading payment method. Researchers from QualityCorp—“The company that makes your life better”—have discovered that lips are far more forge-proof than fingerprints. Critics claim, however, that it has nothing to do with that, but instead with the fact that QualityCorp wants to achieve an even higher emotional connection between its customers and products. But if that really was the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked with Peter. He gives his QualityPad a dispassionate kiss. With a second kiss, he adds the standard 32 percent tip. After eight seconds of inactivity, the display goes black, and his dark mirror image stares back at him blearily. An unremarkable, pale face. Not ugly, but unremarkable. So unremarkable that Peter sometimes thinks he might have […] himself with someone else. On those occasions, such as now, he feels like a stranger is staring back at him out of the display.
Outside of the restaurant, a self-driven car is already waiting for him. Nobody called it.
“Hello, Peter,” says the car. “Do you want to go home?”
“Yes,” says Peter, getting in.
Without any further questions about the route or address, the car sets off. They know each other. Or the ear knows Peter, at least. The car’s name is shown on a display: Carl.
“Lovely weather, don’t you think?” says Carl.
“Small talk off,” says Peter.
“Then let me play you, in accordance with your tastes, the greatest soft rock hits of all time,” says the car, turning on the music.
Peter has listened to soft rock for twenty-three years: his entire life.
“Turn it off, please,” he says.
“With pleasure,” says the car. “It’s not to my taste anyway.” “Oh no?” asks Peter. “So what do you like?
“Well, when I’m driving around by myself, I usually listen to industrial,” says the car.
“Put some on.”
The “song” which immediately drones out from the speakers suits Peter’s bad mood perfectly.
“The music’s okay,” he says to Carl after a while. “But could you please stop singing […]”
“Oh yes, of course […] the car. “My apologies. The rhythm got to me.”
Peter stretches […] car is spacious and comfortable. That’s because Peter […] himself to a flat rate mobility plan in a vehicle category […] can’t actually afford to be treating himself to. One of his […] even mockingly commented today that Peter must be experiencing a quarter-life crisis. From the way he was going […] one would think Peter had bought himself a car. And yet […] super-rich, plebs, and pimps have their own wheels.
Everyone else relies upon the mobility service providers’ huge, self-driven fleets. “The best thing about self-driven cars,” Peter’s father always used to say, “is that you don’t have to look for a parking space anymore.” As soon as you reach your destination, you just get out. The car drives on and does whatever it is that cars do when they feel like no one’s watching. In all likelihood it goes off and gets tanked up somewhere.
Suddenly, Carl brakes sharply. They’re at the side of the road, close to a big intersection.
“I’m very sorry,” says the car, “but new safety guidelines have classified your neighborhood as too dangerous for self-driven cars of my quality. I’m sure you’ll understand that I need to ask you to get out here.”
“Eh?” asks Peter eloquently.
“But you must have known,” says Carl. “You received the updated terms and conditions for your mobility plan 51.2 minutes ago. Didn’t you read them?”
Peter doesn’t respond.
“You approved them, in any case,” says the car. “But I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear that, for your comfort, I’ve selected a stopping point which will enable you to reach your home, at your average walking pace, within 25.6 minutes.”
“Great,” says Peter. “Really great.”
“Was that meant sarcastically?” asks the car. “Unfortunately 1 tend to have problems with my sarcasm detector.”
“You don’t say.”
“That was sarcasm now, wasn’t it?” asks the car. “So you weren’t really pleased just then either, were you? Do you not feel like walking? If you like I could call you a car of lesser quality corresponding to your neighborhood’s new classification. It could be here in 6.4 minutes.”
“Why was the classification changed?” asks Peter.
“You mean you haven’t heard?” says Carl. “Attacks on self-driven cars have rocketed in your area. Gangs of unemploy […] youths are getting their kicks by hacking the operating systems out of my colleagues. They destroy the tracking chip and wipe the navigation system. It’s awful. The poor things are driving around day and night like zombie cars, completely devoid of any sense of direction. And if they get caught, they end up being scrapped because of the Consumption Protection Laws. It’s a terrible fate. I’m sure you know that since the Consumption Protection Laws came into force all repairs are strictly forbidden.”
“Yes, I know. I run a small scrap-metal press.”
“Oh,” says the car.
“Yeah,” says Peter.
“So I’m sure you’ll understand my position,” says the car.
Peter opens the door without another word.
“Please rate me now,” says the car.
Peter gets out and slams the door shut. The car grumbles for a while because it didn’t receive a rating, but eventually gives up and drives on to its next customer.
Nobody leads Peter home by the quickest route. Peter’s home is a small, dingy used-goods store with a scrap-metal press. He lives and works there. He inherited the shop from his grandfather two years ago, and since then he has barely been able to make more than the rent. When he’s just 819.2 meters from home, Nobody suddenly announces: “Peter, be careful. At the next crossing there are four youths with previous criminal convictions. I recommend you take a slight detour.”
“Maybe they’re just running a homemade lemonade stand,” says Peter.
“That’s very unlikely,” says Nobody. “The probability of that is…”
“Okay, okay, I get it,” says Peter. “Take me via the detour.”

At precisely the moment when Peter arrives home, a deliver-drone from TheShop turns up. Peter is no longer surprised by occurrences of this kind. They don’t happen by chance, for chance simply no longer exists.
“Mr. Peter Jobless,” says the drone cheerfully. “I am from TheShop—‘The world’s most popular online retailer’—and I have a lovely surprise for you.”
Peter takes the package from the drone with a grunt. He hasn’t ordered anything; ever since OneKiss, that’s no longer necessary. OneKiss is TheShop’s premium service and the pet project of the company’s legendary founder, Henryk Engineer. Anyone who registers for OneKiss, simply by kissing their QualityPad, will from that moment on receive all the products they consciously or subconsciously desire, without the inconvenience of needing to actually order them. The system independently calculates what its customers want and when they want it. Since the beginning, TheShop’s slogan has been, “We know what you want.” No one disputes that anymore.
“Why don’t you go ahead and open the package right away?” the drone suggests. “I always love seeing how delighted my customers are. And if you like, I can upload an unboxing video to your Everybody site.”
“There’s no need to go to the trouble,” says Peter.
“Oh, it’s no trouble,” says the drone. “I always record every-thing anyway.”
Peter opens the package. Inside is a brand-new QualityPad. The latest quarterly model. Peter hadn’t been aware of wanting a new QualityPad; after all, he has the model from the last quarter. It must have been a subconscious wish. Completely devoid of emotion, he takes the tablet out of the packaging. The new generation is significantly heavier than its predecessor; the older models kept getting blown away by the wind. Remembering the unboxing video, Peter forces a smile and makes a thumbs up sign for the camera. If any of Peter’s friends were to look closely at the video […] they would most certainly find the look on his face disturbing.

But Peter’s friends aren’t interested in unboxing videos. Nobody is interested in unboxing videos.
Peter plants a kiss on his new QualityPad. Noboby greets him in a friendly manner and Peter immediately has access to all his data. He crumples up his old tablet and throws it into a waste disposal bin, which, not by chance, is standing at the ready. The waste bin thanks him and goes across the street toward a fat little girl who is unwrapping a chocolate bar. The self-driven cars brake slightly in order to let the bin pass. Peter watches the scene absentmindedly.
The delivery drone’s touchscreen lights up.
“Please rate me now,” she says.
Peter sighs. He gives the drone ten stars, knowing that anything less will inevitably lead to a customer survey about why he’s not completely satisfied. The drone whirrs happily. She seems to be pleased with her rating.
“That’s my good deed done for the day,” says Peter.
“Ohm and by the way,” adds the drone, “could you perhaps take a couple of little packages for your neighbours?”
“Some things never change.”



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Martyn is wearing a nametag. It says, “Martyn Foundation-President-Supervisory-Board-Presidential-Adviser-Chairman.” He normally only uses the last part of his surname, but when conducting tours he likes to make use of its impressive, downright aristocratic length. He is proud of his father’s success. A feeling which, unfortunately, is not reciprocated. When Martyn was a child, his father told him that he was stupid so often that for many years he believed it without question. Only at the age of 19 did the groundbreaking thought occur to him that perhaps not everything his father told him was true, and, ever since that moment, he has considered himself to be very clever. Unfortunately, however, he really isn’t the brightest, and amongst all the things his father can quite rightfully be accused […] to his son about his mental capacities is not one of them.
Martyn has made the […] of his limited possibilities: he has become a politician. A popular, well-established choice, parliament being a kind of modern-day monastery: a place where the upper classes can […] of their superfluous sons. And Martyn has even made [..] the QualityParliament, albeit only as a backbencher. For […] eight years, his main role has been to conduct tours […] the parliament buildings for selected students, otherwise known as QualiTeenies. Martyn always takes the girls-only groups, and today he’s hit the jackpot. The schoolgirls are from an airline hostess academy.
“As I’m sure you know,” he says to the twelve 16-year-olds in front of him, “there are two big political parties in QualityLand. The QualityAlliance, and of course the Progress Party. The parties used to be named differently, but they were changed in keeping with the new, progress-oriented country identity.”
“Which means,” says one of the girls, “that they conveniently got rid of a few troublesome adjectives in the process, like social, Christian, green, and democratic.”
Another smart-ass, thinks Martyn. Wonderful.
He directs his gaze at the heckler, and his augmented reality contact lenses superimpose her name: Tatjana History-Teacher. It’s always the history teachers’ children that cause trouble. How wise the government had been to do away with history lessons sixteen years ago and replace them with future lessons. In future lessons, the pupils are taught—by means of exciting and visually impressive methods—that in the future everything will be good, because—this being the core message—in the future all problems will be easily solved through technology.
Two of the girls at the back of the group are whispering about their grades. Martyn likes the look of one of them. He hears her murmur: “I always get 100 points for body mass index. But that dumb-ass teacher says he’s not going to give me the full grades in sex appeal again, because he doesn’t like how I babble on. What a douche!”
With a focused gaze and a long wink, Martyn bookmarks the girl for later. A confirming PLING resounds inside his right ear. He unconsciously runs his hand through his luscious, full head of hair, which is genetically protected against balding, then clears his throat and continues: “And then of course there’s the Opposition Party, whose founders clearly never had any hope of being part of the government, given that the party is called the Opposition Party.” […]




With thanks for input and feedback […] Daniel 2.9, Daniel 9.7, Daniela 3.1, […] Julius 5.3, Leif 4.7, Lucy 11.3, Maik […] Stefan 5.9, Sven 1.3, Tobias 6.7, and […]

MARC-UWE KLING is a German author and songwriter. Qualityland spent months on the German bestseller lists, has sold more than half a million copies to date internationally, and is currently in production as an HBO series. Kling lives in Berlin.




Talk Soon by Erik Kessels and Thomas Sauvin

Cards of varying solid colours in a spiral bound book. There is text on the back of the cards, with photographs on the front. Each double page spread shows two cards with text and two cards with photographs. The text and photographs shown are as follows:

  • midnight’s jaguar
  • A photo of glass ashtrays.
  • exhaling
  • A photo of empty green dishes with numbers next to each plate.
  • palmed
  • A black and white photo of a boy holding his hands into a bucket of water.
  • and massaged
  • A black and white photo of a circus acrobat practicing a pose.
  • tender flesh
  • A photo of a plastic seal in a small plastic pool.
  • makes fine duck soup
  • A photo of sea lion on display.
  • Violet and Lilly
  • A black and white photo of three women standing in a field of large plants.
  • journeyed by cane chair
  • A photo of a woman with make up wearing a head pieces and clothing made of lettuce.
  • double-crossing
  • A tray of various types of salami and ham.
  • the Eucharist
  • A black and white photo of three pigs, with two men standing behind them.




Teardown by Dave Meslin

I’m often asked how I learned to fight for what I believe in, and I always answer the same way: “that’s the wrong question.’ Children exhibit no signs of apathy. They know what they want, and they ask for it — often loudly. We’re all activists at heart. So the question should be: what is it about our society that puts out the fire in so many people’s hearts? Political apathy is something we learn. It’s not a state of un-caring; it’s a state of hopelessness and an erosion of faith. “Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy,” recited Richard in the 1990 film Slacker. Exactly. But the result is the same if the disgust isn’t somehow resolved. If we feel that we don’t have any power, we simply stop trying to exercise it. This so-called apathy goes far beyond traditional politics, appearing also in our work- places, our schools and our neighbourhoods. How many people are actively involved with a local residents’ group, condo board, tenant group or parents’ association? How many are actively trying to push for change in the places they work each day? The vast majority of people have simply become disengaged from the decision-making processes that shape the world around them. The next time you notice something that you wish were different in the world, pay attention to your reaction. You may have walked past a homeless person and thought, “What can I do?” And you’ve likely seen headlines about climate change that make you worry about the future. When we […] to face with things that make us uncomfortable, we […] work towards change or we can fee1 paralyzed by hopelessness. Taking action requires faith in our own ideas, faith in […], faith in our leaders and faith in the system. Most […] lacking one or more of these faiths. I think many are lacking […]. This is what makes our culture so deeply biased again […]. In the […] of these faiths, we either turn to apathy or offer our […] support to heroic leaders who promise to “drain the swamp.” In Toronto, I remember left-leaning mayor David Miller hoisting a straw broom above his head, promising to sweep away corruption. A few years later, conservative mayor Rob Ford promised to “stop the gravy train.” Again, both left and right, with a similar core message: the whole system is screwing you over, and I can fix it. And years before Trump began spouting his infamous swamp slogan, the exact same phrase was being uttered by Nancy Pelosi, a left-leaning senior Democrat. Before her, it was Ronald Reagan. We’re just going in circles. None of these people can drain the swamp, because the swamp is a culture, and we’re all part of it. It’s bigger than any single lender, party or platform. That said, our obsession with swamp-draining has inadvertently provided us with a useful analogy because politics is indeed a swamp — not in its foulness, but in its potential. Swamps — also known as wetlands — are vibrant ecosystems that filter water and provide a home to countless plants, fish and wildlife. Politics is also an ecosystem: complex, interconnected, fragile and — dare I suggest? — capable of beauty. I’ve spent the last twenty years of my life exploring our democratic swamp. Like a political biologist, I’ve journeyed through the strange and mysterious worlds of protest movements, party politics and non-profit organizations. I’ve danced between conventional democratic institutions and grassroots activism, wearing a suit and tie one day and shouting through a megaphone the next. I’ve worked as an executive assistant at both city hall and the provincial legislature, painted do-it-yourself bike lanes on the street, organized hundreds of volunteers, started a handful of non-profits, helped draft new legislation, survived tear-gas riots in three countries, buried my car and got thrown in jail. Not in that order. I started out protesting in the streets and then slowly learned how to navigate through the maze-like corridors of power, to effect […]



The Address Book by Deirdre Mask

8. IRAN: Why Do Street Names Follow Revolutionaries?
9. BERLIN: What Do Nazi Street Names Tell Us About Vergangenheitsbewältigung?
10. HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA: Why Can’t Americans Stop Arguing About Confederate Street Names?
11. ST. LOUIS: What Do Martin Luther King Jr. Streets Reveal About Race in America?
12. SOUTH AFRICA: Who Belongs on South Africa’s Street Signs?
13. MANHATTAN: How Much Is a Street Name Worth?
14. HOMELESSNESS: How Do You Live Without an Address?
CONCLUSION: The Futu[…] Are Addresses Doome[…]


In some years, more than 40 percent of all local laws passed by the New York City Council have been street name changes. Let me give you a moment to think about that. The city council is congress to the mayor’s president. Its fifty-one members monitor the country’s largest school system and police force, and decide land use for one of the most densely populated places on earth. Its budget is larger than most states’, its population bigger than all but eleven states’. On top of that, New York’s streets have largely been named or numbered since the nineteenth century with some street names, like Stuyvesant and the Bowery, dating from when Manhattan was little more than a Dutch trading station. And yet, I’ll say it again: in some years, more than 40 percent of all local laws passed by the New York City Council have been street name changes. The city council often focuses on honorary street names layered on top of the regular map. So when you walk through the city, you may look up and see that while you are on West 103rd Street, you are also on Humphrey Bogart Place. Or you might be on Broadway and West 65th Street (Leonard Bernstein Place), West 84th (Edgar Allan Poe Street), or East 43rd (David Ben-Gurion Place). Recently, the city council approved the Wu-Tang Clan
District in Staten Island, Christopher Wallace Way (after the Notorious B.I.G.) in Brooklyn, and Ramones Way in Queens. The city council co-named 164 streets in 2018 alone. But in 2007, when the city council rejected a proposal to rename a street for Sonny Carson, a militant black activist, demonstrators took to the streets. Carson had formed the Black Men’s Movement Against Crack, organized marches against police brutality, and pushed for community control of schools. But he also advocated violence and espoused unapologetically racist ideas. When a Haitian woman accused a Korean shop owner of assault, Carson organized a boycott of all Korean grocery stores, where protesters urged blacks not to give their money to “people who don’t look like us.” Asked if he was anti-Semitic, Carson responded that he was “antiwhite. Don’t limit my antis to just one group of people.” Mayor Bloomberg said, “there’s probably nobody whose name I can come up with who less should have a street named after him in this city than Sonny Carson.” But supporters of the naming proposal argued that Sonny Carson vigorously organized his Brooklyn community long before anyone cared about Brooklyn. Councilman Charles Baron, a former Black Panther, said that Carson, a Korean War veteran, closed more […] houses than the New York Police Department. Don’t judge his life his most provocative statements, his supporters asked. Still, Carson was controversial in the African American community as well. When black councilman Leroy Comrie abstained from the street name vote, Baron’s aide Viola […]mer suggested that his political career was over, even if it […] an assassination.” Comrie was assigned police protect […] (Plummer insists she meant a career assassination rather than a literal one.) When […]cil finally refused the Carson-naming proposal (wh[…] […]epting designations for Law & Order actor Jerry Orbach […] choreographer Alvin Ailey), a few hundred Brooklyn residents flooded into Bedford-Stuyvesant and put up their own Sonny Abubadika Carson Avenue sign on Gates Avenue. Councilman Barron pointed out that New York had long honored flawed men, including Thomas Jefferson, a slave-owning “pedophile.” “We might go street-name-changing crazy around here to get rid of the names of these slave owners,” he called out to the angry crowd. “Why are leaders of the community spending time worrying about the naming of a street?” Theodore Miraldi of the Bronx wrote to the New York Post. Excellent question, Mr. Miraldi. Why do we care this much about any street name at all? I’ll get to that. But first, another story. I did not, at first, plan to write an entire book about street addresses. Instead, I set out to write a letter. I was living in the west of Ireland, and I had sent a birthday card to my father in North Carolina. I pressed a stamp on the envelope, and just four days later the card appeared in my parents’ mailbox. I thought, not particularly originally, that this should have been much more expensive than it was. And how did Ireland and the United States share the proceeds? Is there some accountant In a windowless back room of the post office, dividing each penny between the two countries? Answering that question led me to the Universal Postal Union. Founded in 1874, the Universal Postal Union, based in Bern, Switzerland, is the world’s second-oldest international organization. The UPU coordinates the worldwide postal system. I was soon lost in its website, which is surprisingly engrossing, explaining debates about e-banking and postal policing of illegal narcotics, mixed with lighter posts on World Post Day and international letter-writing competitions. After I answered my own question — the UPU has a complex system for deciding the fees countries charge each other



The Centaur’s Wife by Amanda Leduc

The woman was so beautiful he was afraid to touch her. She had lilies in her soft blonde hair and designs painted up and down her arms. The designs asked for happiness, health, children, an ever-loving husband—all of the good things anyone might wish a bride. The husband felt the symbols reach out and touch his stallions heart for the smallest of instants—felt them know, and pull away. A draft blew through the room, then the air cleared again. In less than a month, the woman was pregnant. The pregnancy was hard but not unbearable, and the husband was so besotted with his wife so fearful for her safety, that he carried her almost everywhere they went. In time she grew so big the villagers began to prepare for triplets. A neighbour fashioned a cart like a rickshaw, so when his wife became too big for him to carry, the husband could pull her around like a queen. Sometimes he gave the village children rides when they asked. Sometimes, when his wife was in pain, he did not. She was pregnant for longer than usual. As her belly grew enormous, the rest of her became a shadow. When her time finally came, the panic in her blue eyes made the village midwives nervous, and so the elders sent for one of the doctors who travelled the countryside. Sometimes women left when children came into the world, and they weren’t about to let that happen. The doctor was also a woman. She was kind and gentle, with hands that were as strong as those of any man in the village, except perhaps the wife’s own husband. The wife had gone into labour in morning and struggled all that day and into the next. You […] the babies in her belly, trying to break through this last [….], their sharp little fists and heels making ibumps beneath her […] try as she might, she couldn’t push them out. After the second […], the doctor placed a hand inside the wife and felt legs where […] head needed to be. “The first is […],” she said. “and I can’t turn it. I’ll have to operate.” No one […] village had ever seen an operation of any kind, and people […] around the door and the windows. Everyone was worried. […] babies survive? Would the wife? No one could bear to look […]. […] in die husband’s face. But the doctor was the best, or so they’d been told, and she did not seem worried. She numbed the wife with drugs as best she could, then took her scalpel and made the first incision, quick and clean. Blood beaded up and ran down the wife’s belly. As she worked, the doctor hummed a wordless song to calm the wife. “Three cuts,” she said, and smiled. “Three doors into the world for three special babies.” Her second incision pierced the fascia. The crowd had gone quiet, the only noise the doctor’s humming and the soft sounds of tissue giving way. At the third cut, her scalpel gently slit the uterine wall. She did not stop humming. She set down her knife, pressed down and pushed in and scooped out the first baby. The house went still for the smallest of moments. And then the screaming started. The babies—and there were three of them—were red and squalling, one darker, two pale, all with the wife’s blue eyes and a perfect, plump little torso atop the body of a tiny horse. Each leg, slick with mucus, ended in a dark little hoof. A tiny girl, two tiny boys. The midwives all ran for the door. Monsters! they cried as they fell outside. They are monsters! Heaven help us. Get them away! When the villagers tried to rush inside, the husband roared with fury and blocked the way. The doctor—whose hands didn’t shake, even now—laid each baby on the table, one by one. Then she turned back to the wife, still humming, and stitched up her wound as though nothing had happened. The wife, whose eyes were wide with terror, looked from the doctor to the babies and back, over and over. She didn’t look at her husband, who stood silent by the closed door. When she tried to speak, the doctor hushed her. “You’ve been through so much,” the doctor said. She paused in her stitching and laid a hand against the wife’s cheek. “I think you should sleep now.” Perhaps the words were magic, perhaps it was the touch of her hand, but the wife fell asleep almost right away. When her breathing was untroubled and her stitches were done and the wound bandaged, the doctor moved to the crying babies and checked them over. They had strong lungs, she saw, and two hearts—one above, and one below—beating in sync.



The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig


Simon & Schuster


Copyright © 2021 by John Koenig



















The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of new words for emotions. Its mission is to shine a light on the fundamental strangeness of being a human being—all the aches, demons, vibes, joys, and urges that are humming in the background of everyday life:

kenopsia: the atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.

dès vu: the awareness that this moment will become a memory.

nodus tollens: the feeling that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

énouement: the bittersweetness of having arrived here in the future, seeing how things turn out, but unable to tell your past self.

onism: the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.

sonder: the realization that each random passerby is the main character of their own story, in which you are just an extra in the background.

It’s a calming thing, to learn there’s a word for something you’ve felt all your life but didn’t know was shared by anyone else. It’s even oddly empowering—to be reminded that you’re not alone, you’re not crazy, you’re just an ordinary human being trying to make your way through a bizarre set of circumstances.

That’s how the idea for this book was born, in that jolt of recognition you feel when learning certain words for emotions, especially in languages other than English: hygge, saudade, duende, ubuntu, schadenfreude. Some ot these terms might well be untranslatable, but they still have the power to make the inside of your head feel a little more familiar, at least for a moment or two. It makes you wonder what else might be possible—what other morsels of meaning could’ve been teased out of the static, if only someone had come along, and given them a name.

Of course, we don’t usually question why a langue has words for some things and not others. We don’t really imagine we have much choice in the matter, because the words we use to build our lives were mostly handed to us in the crib or picked up on the playground. They function as a kind of psychological programming that helps shape our relationships, our memory, even our perception of reality.

As Wittgenstein wrote, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

But therein lies a problem. Language is so fundamental to our perception, we’re unable to perceive the flaws built into language itself. It would be difficult to tell, for example, if our vocabulary had fallen badly out of date, and no longer described the world in which we live. We would feel only a strange hollowness in our conversations, never really sure if we’re being understood.

The dictionary evolves over time, of course. New words are coined as needed, emerging one by one from the test lab of our conversations. But that process carries a certain bias, only giving names to concepts that are simple, tangible, communal, and easy to talk about.

Emotions arc none of these. As a result, there’s a huge blind spot in the language of emotion, vast holes in the lexicon that we don’t even know we’re missing. We have thousands of words for different types of finches and schooners and historical undergarments, but only a rudimentary vocabulary to capture the delectable subtleties of the human experience.

Words will never do us justice. But we have to try anyway. Luckily, the palette of language is infinitely expandable. If we wanted to, we could build a new linguistic framework to fill in the gaps, this time rooted in our common humanity, our shared vulnerability, and our complexity as individuals—a perspective that simply wasn’t there when most of our dictionaries were written. We could catalog even the faintest quirks of the human condition, even things that were only ever felt by one person—though it is the working hypothesis of this book that none of us is truly alone in how we feel.

In language, all things are possible. Which means that no emotion is untranslatable. No sorrow is too obscure to define. We just have to do it.

This is not a book about sadness—at least, not in the modem sense of the word. The word sadness originally mean: “fullness,” from the same Latin root, satis, that also gave us sated and satisfaction. Not so long ago, to be sad meant you were filled to the brim with some intensity of experience. It wasn’t just a malfunction in the joy machine. It was a state of awareness—setting the focus to infinity and taking it all in, joy and grief all at once. When we speak of sadness these days, most of the time what we really mean is despair, which is literally defined as the absence of hope. But true sadness is actually the opposite, an exuberant upwelling that reminds you how fleeting and mysterious and open-ended life can be. That’s why you’ll find traces of the blues all over this book, but you might find yourself feeling strangely joyful at the end of it. And if you are lucky enough to feel sad, well, savor it while it lasts—if only because it means that you care about something in this world enough to let it under your skin.

This is a dictionary—a poem about everything. It’s divided into six chapters, with definitions grouped according to theme: the outer world, the inner self, the people you know, the people you don’t, the passage of time, and the search for meaning. The definitions are arranged in no particular order, which seems fairly true to life, given the way emotions tend to drift through your mind like the weather.

All words in this dictionary are new. Some were rescued from the trash heap and redefined, others were invented from whole cloth, but most were stitched together from fragments of a hundred different languages, both living and dead. These words were not necessarily intended to be used in conversation, but to exist for their own sake. To give some semblance of order to the wilderness inside your head, so you can settle it yourself on your own terms, without feeling too lost—safe in the knowledge that we’re all lost.


Some notes have been omitted from this preview.



n. the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.

Latin chrysalis, the pupa of a butterfly. Pronounced “kris-uh-liz-uhm.”



n. the longing to wander off your career track in pursuit of a simple life—tending a small farm in a forest clearing, keeping a lighthouse on a secluded atoll, or becoming a shepherd in the mountains—which is just the kind of hypnotic diversion that allows your thoughts to make a break for it and wander back to their cubicles in the city.

German Stadtzentrum, “city center” + Pennsylvania German Rumspringa, “hopping around.” Rumspringa is a putative tradition in which Amish teens dip their toes in modernity for a while before choosing whether to commit to the traditional way of life. Pronounced “truhm-spring-guh.”



n. the moment you look around and realize that you’re currently happy—consciously trying to savor the feeling— which prompts your intellect to identify it, pick it apart, and put it in context, where it will slowly dissolve until it’s little more than an aftertaste.

Ancient Greek […] (kairos), a sublime or opportune moment + […], hardening. Pronounced […]



adj. proud of a certain scar on your body, which is like an autograph signed to you by a world grateful for your continued willingness to play with her, even if it hurts.

From scab + fabulous



n. the awareness of how fundamentally limited your senses are—noticing how little of your field of vision is ever in focus, how few colors you’re able to sec, how few sounds you’re able to hear, and how intrusively your brain fills in the blanks with its own cartoonish extrapolations—which makes you wish you could experience the whole of reality instead of only ever catching a tiny glimpse of it, to just once step back from the keyhole and finally open the door.

Italian occhiolino (“little eye”), the original name that Galileo gave to the microscope in 1609. Pronounced […]




the fear that originality is no longer possible


You are unique. And you are surrounded by billions of other people, just as unique as you. Each of us is different, with some new angle on the world. So what does it mean if the lives we’re busy shaping by hand all end up looking the same?

We all spread out, looking around for scraps of frontier— trying to capture something special, something personal. But when you gather all our scattered snapshots side by side, the results arc often uncanny. There’s the same close-up of an eye, the same raindrops on a window, the same selfie in the side-view mirror. The airplane wingtip, the pair of bare legs stretched out on a beach chair, the loopy rosette of milk in a latte. The same meals are photographed again and again. The same monuments pinched between fingers. The same waterfalls. Sunset after sunset.

It should be a comfort that we’re not so different, that our perspectives so neatly align. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that we live in the same world. Still, it makes you wonder. How many of your snapshots could easily be replaced by a thousand identical others? Is there any value left in taking yet another photo of the moon, or the Taj Mahal, or the Eiffel Tower? Is a photograph just a kind of souvenir to prove you’ve been someplace, like a prefabricated piece of furniture that you happened to have assembled yourself?

It’s alright if we tell the same jokes we’ve all heard before. It’s alright if we keep remaking the same movies. It’s alright we keep saying the same phrases to each other as if they had never been said before. Even when you look back to the earliest known work of art in existence, you’ll find a handprint stenciled on the wall of a cave—not just one, but hundreds overlapping, each indistinguishable from the other.

To be sure, you and I and billions of others will leave our mark on this world we’ve inherited, just like the billions who came before us. But if, in the end, we find ourselves with nothing left to say, nothing new to add, idly tracing outlines left by others long ago—it’ll be as if we were never here at all.

This too is not an original thought. As the poet once said […] “The powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” What else is there to say? When you get your cue, you say your line.

Swedish vemod, tender sadness, pensive melancholy + Vemdalen, the name of a Swedish town, which is the kind of thing that IKEA usually borrows […] give names to their products. Pronounced “vey-moh-dah-len.”



adj. feeling a sense of loss upon finishing a good book […] sensing the weight of the back cover locking away the […] of characters you’ve gotten to know so well.

From looseleaf, a removable sheet of paper + left, departed.


n. a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head—a crisp analysis, a devastating comeback, a cathartic heart-to-heart—which serves as a kind of psychological batting cage that feels far more satisfying than the small-ball strategies of everyday life.

French jusqu’à, until. In baseball, “small ball” is a cautious offensive strategy devoted to getting on base via walks, bunts, and steals, forgoing the big home run moments that fans tend to enjoy. Pronounced “zhoos-ka.”


plata rasa

n. the lulling sound of a running dishwasher, whose steady maternal shushing somehow puts you completely at peace with not having circumnavigated anything solo.

Latin plata, plate + rasa, blank or scraped clean. Pronounced […]



adj. longing to disappear completely; to melt into a crowd and become invisible, so you can take in the world without having to take part in it—free to wander through conversations without ever leaving footprints, free to dive deep into things without worrying about making a splash.

From slip, to move or fly away in secret + fast, fortified against attack.



A picture of direction signs attached to a tree in a snowy forest. The sign show the names of various cities and countries from around the world, and many of them show the distance to these places in kilometre. The image caption reads: Fig. 3. Onism | Collage by Adam Lalonde. |




the awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience


You can hear it in the Islamic call to prayer at dawn, in the afternoon school bell, in a train whistle howling in the distance at night. It’s encoded in the flicker of fluorescent lights, in the lyrics of lullabies, in lottery numbers, and in the word archipelago. You can smell it in sunscreen and diesel fumes and old books that fall apart in your hands; taste it in lukewarm champagne and hot blood trickling from a wound on your forehead. It’s packed aboard the Voyager spacecraft, currently fleeing our solar system like a flare fired from the deck of a sinking ship. Sometimes you feel it vibrating in your pocket, even when it’s not there.

It’s a delirious madness built into all living things. Right from the beginning, each of us has to confront a certain fundamental paradox: in order to be anywhere, you have to be somewhere. You have to confine yourself to just one body, inhabiting only one place at a time. This is the only perspective you’ll ever have, the only stretch of history you’ll ever get to see for yourself. Even though you may be lucky enough to serve as a witness to the universe, you’re cursed by the knowledge that you can only scratch the surface of it. You feel like those first explorers, thousands of years ago who drew their maps right to the edge of the known […] and had to make their peace with vast stretches of […] space.

It’s strange how little of the world you actually get to see. No matter where on Earth you happen to be standing, the horizon you see in the distance is only ever about […] miles away from you, a bit less than five kilometers. Which means that at any given time, you’re barely more than […] hour’s walk from a completely different world. Alas, even […] you lace up your boots and take off for the hills, the circle […] your horizon will follow you around like a prison searchlight […] The gravel under your feet will always look gritty and […] the mountains in the distance will always seem bluish […] otherworldly. Which means your surroundings will always be infused with a certain ambivalence. Maybe this is […] you belong—or maybe there’s something far better just […] the next ridge. Without calibrating your perspective to […] breadth of all possible options, you have no way of knowing […] You’ll always have to wonder.

Still, most of the time you manage to keep your focus […] bright circle of your immediate experience, while […] brain gets to work building a mental picture of everything […] you might be missing, doodling away in the blank spaces […] the map. It starts by extrapolating outward from the […] you know—if you’ve seen one little town, you’ve seen them all—and fills out the remainder with a collage of secondhand accounts and postcard snapshots. You may never make it to Egypt, but you’ve already built the pyramids inside your head. You might’ve only seen a few samurai movies and anime shows, but still assume you have a half-decent understanding of Japanese culture. In this way you build yourself a mental model of what lies beyond your horizon. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to fill in the blanks. Sometimes all you need is a single word on a map—Tuanaki, Saxenburgh, Antillia—and your mind fills up with visions of what might be out there.

But sometimes late at night you look out at the lights flickering in the distance, just on the edge of the horizon, and find yourself struggling to imagine the alternate universe that each of them represents. You think of all the places you’ll never have time to explore, some of which might feel like the home you never had, or like a living hell, or like walking around on another planet. You might one day be able to visit one or two or ten of these places, but you’ll never be able to shake the feeling that with every step you take, a thousand more lights will appear, and a thousand more, and a thousand more. It’s as if you’re standing in front of the departures screen in an airport, flickering over with so many exotic place names, each representing one more path you could explore or one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die—and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

It’s strange to think that some of those lights in the distance might be looking right back at you, just barely able […] make out the lamp shining over your back door from […] miles away. There might even be a few people peering […] from a plane passing overhead, wondering to themselves what it’s like to be standing right where you’re standing, […] they might even be feeling a sense of loss, knowing they […] never have time to explore your corner of the world. But […] they’ll banish the thought; they can already picture it […] in their heads.

We all know that there’s no such thing as a tropical paradise, or hell on Earth. That faraway people are neither angelic monks nor snarling grotesques, that their lives are just as messy and troubled and mundane as our own. But […] the first explorers, we can’t help ourselves from sketching […] monsters in the blank spaces on the map. Perhaps we […] their presence comforting. They guard the edges of the […] and force us to look away, so we can live comfortably in […] known world, at least for a little while.

But if someone were to ask you on your deathbed […] was like to live here on Earth, perhaps the only honest […] would be: “I don’t know. I passed through it once, but […] never really been there.”

In philosophy, monism is the belief that a wide variety of things can be explained in terms of a single reality, substance, or source. Onism is a kind of monism—your life is indeed limited to a single reality by virtue of being restricted to a single body—but something is clearly missing. Pronounced “oh-niz-uhm.”




The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin

in an infinite series where we approach each oth’r
Jejune, forked in some road that might have
cropped up anyhow to cross us barely ready

or were we unaware that we had cracked I
to save us, split us three ways
as the centuries that made us possible left us

with all possible comprises, we have this one
existence, this so many elsewheres, in others,
I, and in every elsewhere, us both

and so you have arrived, Jejune, and so I
in a million pictures of our face, and still
I was not myself, i am not myself, myself

resembles something having nothing to do
with me and the idea that I would like
a holiday, a whole lifetime from this bend

where i have found my good sense
by its reach into my acceptance
or omuamua o moo ah moo ah

tout long kod ni bout how this must end
how dare the undead nerve in my ear
that does not behave as its length, it exists

to think about the echo one loses as a spaceship
elides spaceship, we’re responsible for the decom-
posting as the things I calls strange, things called mad

we give to no-one the shape of the shape
of the shape of a thing that light curves over time
length to width to depth and all of us its information



The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire, translation by Anthony Mortimer


an imprint of



The Flowers of Evil first published in French in 1857.

This translation first published by Alma Classics in 2016.





The Flowers of Evil


Poems Added by the Third Edition

Three Early Poems

Note on the Text


Extra Material

Baudelaire’s Life

Les Fleurs du Mal

Select Bibliography

Index of Titles (English)

Index of Titles (French)



A double page spread. On the left side the poem is printed in French.

Au Lecteur



On the right side the poem is printed in English.

To the Reader

Folly and error, avarice and vice

Busy our minds and sap our bodies’ force;

We feed our pleasant feelings of remorse

Like itchy beggars nourishing their lice.


Stubborn in sin and cowards in repentance,

We make confession for a lavish pay,

Then go back gaily to the muddy way.

As if cheap tears could wash out all our stains.


On evil’s pillow Satan Trismegist

Lulls with long murmurs the enchanted soul,

A knowing chemist who dissolves our will

And turns its precious metal into mist.


The Devil holds the strings that make us move!

Now loathsome objects seem to please us well;

Each day we take one further step to Hell,

Without repugnance, down through stinking caves.


As some poor lecher with his raddled whore

Kisses and nibbles at her withered breast,

We steal clandestine pleasures, like the taste

Of an old orange squeezed for one drop more.


Like seething millions of intestinal worms,

A race of Demons riots in our brains.

And with the air we breathe Death flows unseen

Into our lungs, a dull lamenting stream.


If rape and arson, poison or the knife

Have not yet graced the canvas where we please

To paint banal and petty destinies,

It is because we arc not bold enough.


But amid jackals, panthers, the whole crew

Of mongrels, monkeys, scorpions, vultures, snakes,

Monsters that howl and scream and crawl and croak.

The chief among the vices in our zoo


Is one more foul, more vicious than the rest,

Who does not shout or make some great commotion,

Yet with a yawn would swallow all creation

And happily reduce the earth to dust;


This is Ennui! With a reluctant tear,

He dreams of scaffolds as he smokes his hookah.

You know him, reader, this fastidious monster

– Hypocrite reader – kindred spirit – brother!





A double page spread. On the left side the poem is printed in French.




On the right side the poem is printed in English.



When, by decree of the great powers on high,

The Poet comes to this dull world, his mother

Dismayed, aghast, breaks out in blasphemy

And shakes her fist at God, who pities her:


— “Ah, why did I not spawn a nest of vipers

Rather than nurse this mockery of a thing!

Cursed be the night of my ephemeral pleasures

When I conceived this penance for my sin!


Since you have chosen me among all women

To make my husband loathe me as his shame,

And since I cannot throw this stunted monster,

Like some old love-letter, into the flames,


I shall pass on the burden of your hatred

To the cursed instrument of all your spite

And twist this wretched tree, so it can never

Put forth new buds and bear infected fruit.”


And thus, not grasping the eternal plan,

She chokes and swallows down her hatred’s foam;

She herself stokes the penal fires designed

Deep in Gehenna for maternal crime.


Yet, with an Angel as his unseen guide,

The disinherited Child enraptured tastes

The sunshine, and in all he eats and drinks

Finds nectar and ambrosia for his feast.


He plays upon the wind, confers with clouds

And sings the way of the cross in such a mood

Of bliss that his Attendant Spirit weeps

To see him happy like a forest bird.


All those he seeks to love look on with fear,

Or else, because his calm has made them brave,

See which of them can force him to cry out,

Testing what their ferocity can achieve.


Ashes and gobs of spit they mix into

The bread and wine intended for his mouth;

As hypocrites they throw out all he touches

And blame themselves for treading in his path.


His wife announces in the marketplace:

“Since he adores my beauty, I’ll make bold

To choose the trade those ancient idols practised,

And like them have myself covered in gold.


And I shall drug myself with nard and incense,

With myrrh and genuflections, meats and wine,

And laugh if in his loving heart I can

Usurp the homage owed to what’s Divine.


And when I tire of this impious farce,

I’ll bring my slender and strong hand to bear

Upon his flesh; my nails, like harpies’ claws,

Will cut the bleeding path that leads to where,


As if it were a trembling young bird,

I’ll dig the bright red heart out of his breast;

And then, as meat to glut my favourite hound,

I’ll toss it down with scorn into the dust!”


To Heaven, where he sees a shining throne,

The Poet lifts his pious arms; the light

And the vast flashes of his lucid mind

Cancel the raging nations from his sight:


“Be blessed, O God, who offers suffering

As heavenly cure for our impurities,

And as the finest and the purest essence

To train the strong for holy ectasies.


I know that for the Poet you have kept

A place among the legions of the blessed,

Amid the Thrones and Virtues and Dominions,

Bidden to share in the eternal feast.


Sorrow alone is the nobility

That earth and hell, I know, shall not cast down,

And endless ages, this whole universe,

Must all be taxed to weave my mystic crown.


But the sea pearls and metals still unknown,

The vanished glory of Palmyra’s gems,

Though mounted by your hand, would not suffice

To make this clear and dazzling diadem,


Made, as it will be, only of pure light,

Drawn from the first rays of the sacred fire,

Of which our mortal eyes, however bright,

Are only darkened melancholy mirrors.”



A double page spread. On the left side two poems are printed in French.







On the right side the poems are printed in English.

The Albatross

Often, to pass the time of day, the crew

Catch those immense seabirds, the albatross,

Idle and gliding fellow-travellers who

Follow the ship across the bitter deep.


No sooner have they placed these airy kings

Upon the deck than, awkward and ashamed,

The albatross let down their great white wings

To drag beside them like unwieldy oars.


Winged voyager, how clumsy and how weak!

Once splendid, now how comic and how ugly!

One sailor sticks a clay pipe in his beak,

Another limps to mock his hampered flight.


The Poet is like this prince of the clouds

Who seeks the storm and scorns the archer’s bow;

Exiled on earth, amid the jeering crowd,

With giant wings that will not let him walk.



Above the mountains and above the clouds,

Above the valleys, woods and lakes and ocean,

Beyond the sun, beyond ethereal spaces

And starry spheres, beyond their utmost bounds,


Swift spirit, now you make your supple way,

And, like a swimmer ravished by the waves,

You gaily cleave the great unfathomed deeps

With an ineffable and virile joy.





The Impossible Resurrection of Grief by Octavia Cade


The Sea Witch lived in an abandoned saltwater pool. I knew her when she was called Marjorie and had the office next to mine at the university, but when the Grief came on her she stopped coming into work and set herself up at the derelict public pool with a stack of useless journal articles and a lifetime supply of plastic. The only reason she let me in the door anymore was when I brought her more.

“I don’t want this,” she said, shoving plastic bowls back at me, plastic bottles, even a plastic hairbrush. She hesitated over cling-wrap. “I only want the bags,” she said, but the cling-wrap disappeared into her pockets anyway.

The bags were getting harder to find. Not like the old days, when everything was packed into them at supermarkets. But plastic endures. It always had, and asking around netted me the odd stash shoved in the back of cupboards and forgotten.

“Marj,” I started, but she hissed and flinched, hunched in on herself. “I’m sorry. Sea Witch, is there nothing else I can get you? Nothing else that you want?” We were friends, once. Still would be, if I had my way, but friendship is a mutual choice and the Sea Witch had forgotten mutuality. I’d brought her so many different objects but she rejected them all, discarded everything from a former life she didn’t want to keep. I tried blankets, because it was cold at the pool with the roof fallen in and rubble scattered over the space below, but the Sea Witch shook her head and huddled into corners, out of the way of the worst of debris and indifferent to the cold night air and the rain that fell through the remnants of roof. I tried books, because there’d been a time when the Sea Witch had loved to read, and the journal articles she kept in small neat piles even now spoke of a fingertip hold left to literacy, but she never so much as glanced inside their covers. Even the collection of fairy tales she’d had since childhood, the Andersen which had once been her favourite, failed to move her. I left it anyway, balanced on the pool edge over the old intake pipe that had once filled the pool with ocean water. I’d tried food — which she didn’t eat — and medicine — which she didn’t take — and I’d dragged other people there, doctors and psychologists, every sort of therapist I could think of. They all shrugged and turned away, weariness etched into the small sloping shelves of shoulders. “She’s a great deal better off than most of them,” said one. “Even the plastic … I suppose it’s a sort of therapy. And I’m sorry, but we just don’t have the beds.”

I even brought her, once, the charred remnants of a ship’s wheel, picked out of the fire she’d set that night on the beach. I thought it might remind her. She’d stared at it for a long time, looked through it as if into a past ocean, and turned away.

“Sea Witch,” I said again. “Is there nothing I can do for you?”

She looked at me then, with empty eyes. “Can you bring it back?” she said.

It’s the one question they all ask, and the answer is always the same.

We met on an overseas trip, Marjorie and I. Both of us were travelers, and we both preferred to travel alone and make friends as we went. Truthfully, I wasn’t looking for a friend at the time — for the duration of the trip, I’d decided to consider them a distraction. I’d wanted to visit Palau for so long, to swim with the jellyfish for so long, that when I was finally able to go I wanted nothing to interfere with my focus. It was to be a concentrated experience, and one that might never come again.

Jellyfish Lake was a small saltwater lake clouded with migrating cnidarians. The golden jellyfish, isolated from the outside world, posed no danger to humans. Although they possessed the stinging organs of other jellies, theirs were so weak that people could swim through the soft, billowing clouds of them without fear. The jellyfish migrated through the lake during the day, and snorkelers could swim with them, with thousands of jellies, with millions of them, and see in their lovely, delicate forms the histories of another life. They pulsed around me like little golden hearts, shimmering in the surface layer of waters, and it was as close as I’ve ever come to religious communion. Insulated from the world above by water, it was as if the jellyfish and I were the only creatures alive that mattered, and their bells beat in time with my heart.

We weren’t allowed to do anything more than snorkeling. The lake was layered, and below the oxygenation of the upper waters, the thin surface of visibility, was hydrogen sulphide, which was toxic when absorbed through the skin. Moreover, the bubbles from scuba diving might have damaged the jellyfish, which was a reason more important to me than perhaps it was to the other tourists — with the exception of Marjorie.

“Though it’s funny,” she said afterwards, making conversation as our hair dried in ropes around us. “That danger beneath, and the way we refuse to go there. To see for ourselves. It would be stupid, I know, but how good are we at ignoring something that’s only a few metres away? Something close enough, almost, to reach out and touch?”

I paid small attention. Truthfully, I’d forgotten the toxic layer as soon as I saw the jellyfish around me, that enormous silent swarm. They were so beautiful, and so present, that anything that wasn’t them had been wiped clean out of me. I couldn’t think of anything else, and I didn’t want to. All I wanted was to bask in the experience, and to remember how […]




The North End Revisited by John Paskievich

© John Paskievich 2017

Invisible City: John Paskievich and the North End of Winnipeg

What the Eye Sees, the Heart Feels: John Paskievich’s North End Revisited

An Interview with John Paskievich



Left black-and-white photograph: A child sits on top two street signs. The two street signs read: Salter, Manitoba. Caption reads: 77. Salter Str[…] Manitoba Avenue.
Right black-and-white photograph: A woman with sunglasses carrying shopping bags and a handbag stands on the side of a street and looks into the camera. Caption reads: 78. Lorne Avenue.
Left black-and-white photograph: A man stands in front of a building on a sidewalk. He is casually dressed in a light-coloured shirt, pants and sneakers. His head is not visible. He holds a large horizontal framed photograph under his right arm. The photograph shows urban architecture with low-rise buildings, cars and the onion-shaped roof of a church. Caption reads: Main Street and Flora Avenue (St. Ivan S[…]y Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral)
Right black-and-white photograph: A woman wearing a head cover crouches down on the side of the road. A large car is parked next to her. Houses and white picket fences can be seen in the background. Caption reads: 5. Burrows Avenue (St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral).



The Philosopher’s Toolkit by Peter S. Fosl & Julian Baggini

Alphabetical Table of Contents
Internet Resources for Philosophers
1 Basic Tools for Argument
1.1 Arguments, premises, and conclusions 1.2 Deduction 1.3 Induction 1.4 Validity and soundness 1.5 Invalidity 1.6 Consistency 1.7 Fallacies 1.8 Refutation 1.9 Axioms 1.10 Definitions 1.11 Certainty and probability 1.12 Tautologies, self-contradictions, and the law of non-contradiction
2 More Advanced Tools
2.1 Abduction 2.2 Hypothetico-deductive method 2.3 Dialectic 2.4 Analogies 2.5 Anomalies and exceptions that prove the rule 2.6 Intuition pumps 2.7 Logical constructions 2.8 Performativity and speech acts 2.9 Reduction 2.10 Representation 2.11 Thought experiments 2.12 Useful fictions
3 Tools for Assessment
3.1 Affirming, denying, and conditionals 3.2 Alternative explanations 3.3 Ambiguity and vagueness 3.4 Bivalence and the excluded middle 3.5 Category mistakes 3.6 Ceteris paribus 3.7 Circularity 3.8 Composition and division 3.9 Conceptual incoherence 3.10 Contradiction/contrariety 3.11 Conversion, contraposition, obversion 3.12 Counterexamples 3.13 Criteria 3.14 Doxa/para-doxa 3.15 Error theory 3.16 False dichotomy 3.17 False cause 3.18 Genetic fallacy 3.19 Horned dilemmas 3.20 Is/ought gap 3.21 Masked man fallacy 3.22 Partners in guilt 3.23 Principle of charity 3.24 Question-begging 3.25 Reductios 3.26 Redundancy 3.27 Regresses 3.28 Saving the phen[…] 3.29 Self-defeating […] 3.30 Sufficient […] […]ents 3.31 Testabilit[…]
4 Tools for Conceptual Distinctions
4.1 A priori/a posteriori 4.2 Absolute/relative 4.3 Analytic/synthetic 4.4 Belief/knowledge 4.5 Categorical/modal 4.6 Cause/reason 4.7 Conditional/biconditional 4.8 De re/de dicto 4.9 Defeasible/indefeasible 4.10 Entailment/implication 4.11 Endurantism/perdurantism 4.12 Essence/accident 4.13 Internalism/externalism 4.14 Knowledge by acquaintance/description 4.15 Mind/body 4.16 Necessary/contingent 4.17 Necessary/sufficient 4.18 Nothingness/being 4.19 Objective/subjective 4.20 Realist/non-realist 4.21 Sense/reference 4.22 Substratum/bundle 4.23 Syntax/semantics 4.24 Universal/particular 4.25 Thick/thin concepts 4.26 Types/tokens
5 Tools of Historical Schools and Philosophers
5.1 Aphorism, fragment, remark 5.2 Categories and specific differences 5.3 Elenchus and aporia 5.4 Hegel’s master/slave dialectic 5.5 Hume’s fork 5.6 Indirect discourse 5.7 Leibniz’s law of identity 5.8 Ockham’s razor 5.9 Phenomenological method(s) 5.10 Signs and signifiers 5.11 Transcendental argument
6 Tools for Radical Critique
6.1 Class critique 6.2 Différance, deconstruction, and the critique of presence 6.3 Empiricist critique of metaphysics 6.4 Feminist and gender critiques 6.5 Foucaultian critique of power 6.6 Heideggerian critique of metaphysics 6.7 Lacanian critique 6.8 Critiques of naturalism 6.9 Nietzschean critique of Christian- Platonic culture 6.10 Pragmatist critique 6.11 Sartrean critique of ‘bad faith’
7 Tools at the Limit
7.1 Basic beliefs 7.2 Gödel and incompleteness 7.3 Hermeneutic circle 7.4 Philosophy and/as art 7.5 Mystical experience and revelation 7.6 Paradoxes 7.7 Possibility and impossibility 7 A Primitives 7.9 Self-evident truths 7.10 Scepticism 7.11 Underdetermination and incommensurability


We are indebted to Nicholas Fearn, who helped to conceive and plan this book, and whose fingerprints can still be found here and there. We are deeply grateful to Jeff Dean at Wiley-Blackwell for nurturing the book from a good idea in theory to, we hope, a good book in practice. Thanks to Rick O’Neil, Jack Furlong, Ellen Cox, Mark Moorman, Randall Auxier, Bradley Monton, Avery Kolers, Tom Flynn, and Saul Kutnicki for their help with various entries as well as to the anonymous reviewers for their thorough scrutiny of the text. We are also thankful for the work of Peters secretary, Ann Cranfill, as well as of many of his colleagues for proofreading. Robert E. Rosenberg, Peters colleague in chemistry, exhibited extraordinary generosity in reviewing the scientific content of the text. We would also like to express our appreciation to Manish Luthra, Marissa Koors, Liz Wingett, Daniel Finch, Rachel Greenberg, Aneetta Antony, and Caroline McPherson at Wiley for their careful and supportive editorial work. Thanks also to Peter’s students for their feedback, as well as for corrections and suggestions for improvement sent to us from several readers. Our enduring gratitude goes to Peter’s spouse and children – Catherine Fosl, Isaac Fosl-van Wyke, and Elijah Fosl – as well as to Julians partner, Antonia, for their patient support.


Internet Resources for Philosophers

• History of Philosophy without any Gaps ( • New Books in Philosophy (iTunes) • Philosophy Bites ( • Philosophy: The Classics ( • Philosophy Now ( • Philosophy Talk ( • The Partially Examined Life (


Basic Tools for Argument

1.1 Arguments, premises, and conclusions 1.2 Deduction 1.3 Induction 1.4 Validity and soundness 1.5 Invalidity 1.6 Consistency 1.7 Fallacies 1.8 Refutation 1.9 Axioms 1.10 Definitions 1.11 Certainty and probability 1.12 Tautologies, self-contradictions, and the law of non-contradiction


1.1 Arguments, premises, and conclusions


Philosophy is for nit-pickers. That’s not to say it is a trivial pursuit. Far from it. Philosophy addresses some of the most important questions human beings ask themselves. The reason philosophers are nit-pickers is that they are commonly concerned with the ways in which the claims and beliefs people hold about the world either are or are not rationally supported, usually by rational argument. Because their concern is serious, it is important for philosophers to demand attention to detail. People reason in a variety of ways using a number of techniques, some legitimate and some not. Often one can discern the difference between good and bad reasoning only if one scrutinises the content and structure of arguments with supreme and uncompromising diligence. Argument and inference What, then, is an ‘argument’ proper? For many people, an argument is a contest or conflict between two or more people who disagree about something. An argument in this sense might involve shouting, name-calling and even a bit of shoving. It might also – but need not – include reasoning. Philosophers, in contrast, use the term ‘argument’ in a very precise and narrow sense. For them, an argument is the most basic complete unit of reasoning – an atom of reasoning. An ‘argument’ understood this way is an inference from one or more starting points (truth claims called a ‘premise’ or ‘premises’) to an end point (a truth claim called a ‘conclusion’). All arguments require an inferential movement of this sort. For this reason, arguments are called discursive. Argument vs explanation ‘Arguments’ are to be […] from ‘explanations’. A general rule to keep in mind is that […] attempt to demonstrate that something is true, while explanati[…] attempt to show how something is true. For example, consider enco[…] an apparently dead woman. An explanation of the woman’s death […] undertake to show how it happened. (‘The existence of water […] explains the death of this woman.’) An argument would under[…] demonstrate that the person is in fact dead (‘Since her heart has […] beating and there are no other vital signs, we can conclude that […] in fact dead.’) or that one explanation is better than another (The […] of bleeding from the laceration on her head combined with water[…] lungs indicates that this woman died from drowning and not from […]ding.’) The place of reason in philosophy Its not universally realised that reasoning comprises a great deal of what philosophy is about. Many people have the idea that philosophy is essentially about ideas or theories about the nature of the world and our place in it that amount just to opinions. Philosophers do indeed advance such ideas and theories, but in most cases their power, their scope, and the characteristics that distinguish them from mere opinion stem from their having been derived through rational argument from acceptable premises. Of course, many other regions of human life also commonly involve reasoning, and it may sometimes be impossible to draw clean lines demarcating philosophy from them. (In fact, whether or not it is possible to demarcate philosophy from non-philosophy is itself a matter of heated philosophical debate!) The natural and social sciences are. for example, fields of rational inquiry that often bump up against the borders of philosophy (especially in inquiries into the mind and brain, theoretical physics, and anthropology). But theories composing these sciences are generally determined through certain formal procedures of experimentation and reflection to which philosophy has little to add. Religious thinking sometimes also enlists rationality and shares an often-disputed border with philosophy. But while religious thought is intrinsically related to the divine, sacred, or transcendent – perhaps through some kind of revelation, article of faith, or ritualistic practice – philosophy, by contrast, in general is not. Of course, the work of certain prominent figures in the Western philosophical tradition presents decidedly non-rational and even anti-rational dimensions (for example, that of Heraclitus, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida). We […] examine the non-argumentative philosophical methods of these […] in what follows of this book. Furthermore, many include the […] (Confucian, Taoist, Shinto), African, Aboriginal, and Native American thinkers under the rubric of philosophy, even though they seem to […] little use of argument and have generally not identified their work […] […]sophical. But, perhaps despite the intentions of its […], even the work of non- standard thinkers involves rationally justified […] and subtle forms of argumentation too often missed. And in many […] reasoning remains on the scene at least as a force with which thinkers […]. Philosophy, then, is not the only field of though[…] […] rationality is important. And not all that goes by the nam[…] […] philosophy is



The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Cover art by Jillian Tamaki

The Secret Garden

After the death of her parents in India, sullen and self-absorbed Mary Lennox is sent to live on her uncle’s estate on the Yorkshire moors. Exploring the grounds, Mary discovers a walled garden, locked up, abandoned, and in ruins; and in a distant room in the house she finds a cousin she never knew existed—Colin, an invalid, ignored by his father and expecting to die. Mary and Dickon, the housemaid’s spirited brother, befriend Colin and set about restoring the garden, which opens up a world of magic, reconciling the children to the world of life. Originally published in 1911, The Secret Garden, an extraordinary novel that has influenced writers such as Eliot and Lawrence, highlights the transforming powers of love, joy, and nature, and of mystical faith and positive thinking.


With paper and pen or needle and thread, storytelling has many traditions. Penguin’s award-winning art director Paul Buckley presents Penguin Threads, a series of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions inspired by the aesthetic of handmade crafts. The series debuts with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Emma by Jane Austen, and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and features specially commissioned embroidery by Jillian Tamaki. Sketched out in a traditional illustrative manner, then hand stitched with needle and thread, the final covers are sculpt embossed for a stunning and tactile cover treatment. With story, style, and texture, the premiere of Penguin Threads is an exciting new chapter in Penguin’s long history of excellence in book design, for true lovers of the book, design, and handcrafted beauty.




Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester, England, in 1849. In 1865, after her father’s death, her mother moved the family to rural Tennessee, where they struggled to earn a living. At seventeen, Burnett sold her first story to a magazine, and by the time she was twenty-two she had earned enough to return to England. From 1887 until her death, she maintained homes in England and America. Both her marriages—to Dr. Swan Burnett, with whom she had two sons, from 1874 to 1898, and to actor Stephen Townsend from 1900 to 1902—ended in divorce. Burnett wrote a number of popular novels for adults, among them That Lass o’ Lawrie’s (1877), Through One Administration (1883), and The Shuttle (1907), as well as several plays and a memoir of her childhood, The One I Knew Best of All (1893). But she is mainly remembered for her children’s novels: Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905; an expanded version of the 1888 novella Sara Crewe and the stage play The Little Princess), and The Secret Garden (1911). Burnett died in 1924 at her home in Long Island.

Alison Lurie is a novelist and critic. Her novels include Foreign Affairs (Pulitzer Prize, 1985), The War Between the Tates, The Truth About Lorin Jones, and The Last Resort, as well as Don’t Tell the Grownups: The Subversive Power of Children’s Literature and Boys and Girls Forever: Children’s Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter (Penguin). She teaches at Cornell University.

Jillian Tamaki is an illustrator and comic artist and teaches at the School of Visual Arts. She is the author of Gilded Lilies and Indoor Voice and the graphic novel Skim, a New York Times Best Book of the Year. Her drawings have appeared in The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; The New Yorker; and Esquire.

Penguin Books

Published by the Penguin Group


First published in the United States of America by Grosset & Dunlap 1911

Published with an introduction and notes by Alison Laurie in Penguin Books 1999

This edition with notes by Alison Laurie published in 2011




A Note on the Text


I There is No One Left

II Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

III Across the Moor

IV Martha

V The Cry in the Corridor

VI “There Was Some One Crying—There Was!”

VIIThe Key of the Garden

VIII The Robin Who Showed the Way

IX The Strangest House Any One Ever Lived In

X Dickon

XI The Nest of the Missel Thrush

XII “Might I have a Bit of Earth?”

XIII “I Am Colin”

XIV A Young Rajah

XV Nest Building

XVI “I Won’t!” Said Mary

XVII A Trantrum

XVIII “Tha’ Munnot Waste No Time”

XIX “It Has Come!”

XX “I Shall Live Forever—and Ever—and Ever!”

XXI Ben Weatherstaff

XXII When the Sun Went Down


XXIV “Let Them Laugh”

XXV The Curtain

XXVI “Its Mother!”

XXVII In the Garden

Explanatory Notes

A Note on the Text

This volume is based on the text of the first edition of The Secret Garden, published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1911.



There Is No One Left

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor1 to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government2 and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah,3 who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib4 she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.

One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine years old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she became crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood by her bedside was not her Ayah.

“Why did you come?” she said to the strange woman. “I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to me.”

The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered that the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herself into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only more frightened and repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.

There was something mysterious in the air that morning. Nothing was done in its regular order and several of the native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces. But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come. She was actually left alone as the morning went on, and at last she wandered out into the garden and began to play by herself under a tree near the veranda. She pretended that she was making a flower-bed, and she stuck […] hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, all the […] more and more angry and muttering to herself […] things she would say and the names she would call […] when she returned.

“Pig! […] of Pigs!” she said, because to call a native a pig is […] insult of all.

She […] grinding her teeth and saying this over and over […] she heard her mother come out on the veranda […] one. She was with a fair young man and they stood […] together in low strange voices. Mary knew the fair […] man who looked like a boy. She had heard that he was a […] young officer who had just come from England. The child […] at him, but she stared most at her mother. She always did this when she had a chance to see her, because the Mem Sahib— Mary used to call her that oftener than anything else— was such a tall, slim, pretty person and wore such lovely clothes. Her hair was like curly silk and she had a delicate little nose which seemed to be disdaining things, and she had large laughing eyes. All her clothes were thin and floating, and Mary said they were “full of lace.” They looked fuller of lace than ever this morning, but her eyes were not laughing at all. They were large and scared and lifted imploringly to the fair boy officer’s face.

“Is it so very bad? Oh, is it?” Mary heard her say.

“Awfully,” the young man answered in a trembling voice. “Awfully, Mrs. Lennox. You ought to have gone to the hills two weeks ago.”

The Mem Sahib wrung her hands.

“Oh, I know I ought!” she cried. “I only stayed to go to that silly dinner party. What a fool I was!”

At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing broke out from the servants’ quarters that she clutched the young man’s arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew wilder and wilder.

“What is it? What is it?” Mrs. Lennox gasped.

“Some one has died,” answered the boy officer. “You did not say it had broken out among your servants.”

“I did not know!” the Mem Sahib cried. “Come with me! Come with me!” and she turned and ran into the house.

After that appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to Mary. The cholera5 had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies. The Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had wailed in the huts. Before the next day three other servants were dead and others had run away in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in all the bungalows.

During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange things happened of which she knew nothing. Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours. She only knew that people were ill and that she heard mysterious and frightening sounds. Once she crept into the dining-room and found it empty […] though a partly finished meal was on the table and chair and plates looked as if they had been hastily pushed back when the diners rose suddenly for some reason. The child ate some […] and biscuits, and being thirsty she drank a glass of wine which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was. Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying sounds of feet. The wine made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay down on her bed and knew nothing more for a long time.

Many things happened during the hours in which she slept so heavily, but she was not disturbed by the wails and the sound of things being carried in and out of the bungalow.

When she awakened she lay and stared at the wall. The house was perfectly still. She had never known it to be so silent before. She heard neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if everybody had got well of the cholera and all the trouble was over. She wondered also who would take care of her now […] Ayah was dead. There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she would know some new stories. Mary had been rather tired of the old ones. She did not cry because her nurse had died. She was not an affectionate child and had never cared much for […] one. The noise and hurrying about and wailing over […] cholera had frightened her, and she had been angry because no one seemed to remember that she was alive. Every […] was too panic-stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of. When people had the cholera it seemed that they remembered nothing but themselves. But if every one had got well again, surely some one would remember and come to look for her.

But no one came, and as she lay waiting the house seemed to grow more and more silent. She heard something rustling on the matting and when she looked down she saw a little snake gliding along and watching her with eyes like jewels. She was not frightened, because he was a harmless little thing who would not hurt her and he seemed in a hurry to get out of the room. He slipped under the door as she watched him.

“How queer and quiet it is,” she said. “It sounds as if there was no one in the bungalow but me and the snake.”

Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in the compound, and then on the veranda. They were men’s footsteps, and the men entered the bungalow and talked in low voices. No one went to meet or speak to them and they seemed to open doors and look into rooms.

“What desolation!” she heard one voice say. “That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child, too. I heard there was a child, though no one ever saw her.”

Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery when they opened the door a few minutes later. She looked an ugly, cross little thing and was frowning because she was beginning to be hungry and feel disgracefully neglected. The first man who came in was a large officer she had once seen talking to her father. He looked tired and troubled, but when he saw her he was so startled that he almost jumped back.

“Barney!” he cried out. “There is a child here! A child alone! In a place like this! Mercy on us, who is she!”

“I am Mary Lennox,” the little girl said, drawing herself up stiffly. She thought the man was very rude to call her father’s bungalow “A place like this!” “I fell asleep when every one had the cholera and I have only just wakened up. Why does nobody come?”

“It is the child no one ever saw!” exclaimed the man, turning to his companions.“She has actually been forgotten!”

“Why was I forgotten?” Mary said, stamping her foot. “Why does nobody come?”

The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away.

“Poor little kid!” he said. “There is nobody left to come.”

It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary found out that she had neither father nor mother left; that they had died and been carried away in the night, and that the few native servants who had not died also had left the house as quickly as they could get out of it, none of them even remembering that there was a Missie Sahib. That was why the place was so quiet. It was true that there was no one in the bungalow but herself and the little rustling snake.



Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

Mary had liked to look at her mother from a distance and she had thought her very pretty, but as she knew very little of her she could scarcely have been expected to love her or to miss her very much when she was gone. She did not miss her at all, in fact, and as she was a self-absorbed child she gave her entire thought to herself, as she had always done. If she had been older she would no doubt have been very anxious at being left alone in the world, but she was very young, and as she had always been taken care of, she supposed she always would be. What she thought was that she would like to know if she was going to nice people, who would be polite to her and give her her own way as her Ayah and the other native servants had done.

She knew that she was not going to stay at the English clergyman’s house where she was taken at first. She did not want to stay. The English clergyman was poor and he had five children nearly all the same age and they wore shabby clothes and were always quarreling and snatching toys from each other. Mary hated their untidy bungalow and was so disagreeable to them that after the first day or two nobody would play with her. By the second day they had given her a nickname which made her furious.

It was Basil who thought of it first. Basil was a little boy with impudent blue eyes and a turned-up nose and Mary hated him. She was playing by herself under a tree, just as she had been playing the day the cholera broke out. She was making heaps of earth and paths for a garden and Basil came and stood near to […]




The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

[…] about the part of the inheritance that has been withheld; she explained the reasons, causes, and the conditions under which she would be prepared to release it, and more than we were asking.—In short, I don’t want to write about it now; tell my mother that everything will turn out all right. And, dear friend, in this little transaction I have again discovered that misunderstandings and lethargy cause perhaps more confusion in the world than cunning and malice. At least, the last two are certainly more rare. Otherwise I am quite happy here, the solitude in this paradisiacal region is a precious balm to my heart, and the youthful season in all its fullness warms my often shivering heart. Every tree, every hedge, is a bouquet of blossom, and one would like to be a mayfly drifting about in the sea of heady aromas, able to find in it all one’s nourishment. The town itself is unpleasant, but round about it an inexpressible natural beauty. This moved the late Count von M… to lay out his garden on one of the hills that intersect with the most appealing variety and form the loveliest valleys. The garden is simple, and you feel the moment you enter that its plan was not drawn up by some calculating gardener but by a feeling heart that sought its own enjoyment here. I have […] wept many a tear for the deceased in the smal[…] […]dated summerhouse that was his favorite spot and […] mine. Soon I will be master of the garden: the gardener has taken a liking to me even in these few days, and […] won’t be worse off for it. May 1 […] cheerfulness has taken possession of my soul […] sweet spring mornings I delight in with all my heart. I am alone and enjoying my life in this region, which is made for souls like mine. I am so happy, dear friend, so immersed in the feeling of quiet, calm existence, that my art suffers from it. I couldn’t draw now, not a line, but I have never been a greater painter than in these moments. When the dear valley mists around me and the high sun rests on the tops of the impenetrable darkness of my woods and only isolated rays steal into the inner sanctum as I lie in the high grass by the falling brook, and closer to the earth a thousand different blades of grass become astonishing to me; when I feel closer to my heart the teeming of the small world among the stems, the innumerable, unfathomable forms of the little worms, the tiny gnats, and feel the hovering presence of the Almighty who created us in His image, the breeze of the All-Loving One who hoveringly bears and preserves us in eternal bliss; my friend, when the world around me grows dim to my eyes, and world and sky rest entirely in my soul like the form of a beloved, then I often yearn and think: Oh, could you express this, could you breathe onto paper what lives in you so fully and warmly that it would become the mirror of your soul, as your soul is the mirror of infinite God!—My friend!—But it is destroying me, I am succumbing to the power of the gloriousness of these apparitions. May 12 I don’t know whether deceiving spirits hover over this region or if it is the warm heavenly fantasy in my heart that makes everything around seem like paradise to me. Right outside the village is a well, a well to which I am spell- bound like Melusine with her sisters.—You walk down a […]



This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound is a World is an invitation to “cut a hole in the sky to […] inside.” Billy-Ray Belcourt […] a call to turn to love and […] understand how Indigenou[…] peoples shoulder sadness […] pain like theirs without […] up on the future. His […] upset genre and […] form, scavenging for a […] kind of heaven […] is at least a little […].



This Wound is a World: Poems

Billy-Ray Belcourt

Frontenac House Poetry



Copyright © 2017 by Billy-Ray Belcourt


Book design: Neil Petunia, Epic Design

Cover image: Untitled (Pine Ridge), 2012, by Demian DinéYazhi’

Author photo: Gabriella Gut





The Cree Word For a Body Like Mine is Weesageechak

Love and Heartbreak arc Fuck Buddies

Gay Incantations

Notes From a Public Washroom

There is a Dirt Road in Me

Wihtikowak Means “Men Who Can’t Survive Love”

The Rez Sisters II

Six Theses on Why Native People Die


A History of the Present

We Were Never Meant to Break Like This

I am Hoping to Help This City Heal From its Trauma

Heartbreak is a White Kid

If I Have a Body, Let it be a Book of Sad Poems

Grief After Grief After Grief After Grief

The Creator is Trans

The Back Alley of the World

Native Too

Colonialism: A Love Story

God’s River

Love and Other Experiments

Towards a Theory of Decolonization


An Elegy for Flesh

Everyone is Lonely

There is no Beautiful Left

Boyfriend Poems

God Must be an Indian

Sexual History

Time Contra Time

Something Like Love

Ode to Northern Alberta

The Oxford Journal

If Our Bodies Could Rust, We Would be Falling Apart

The Rubble of Heartbreak


Love is a Moontime Teaching









“When I go extemporaneously, I lose myself”

– José Esteban Munoz.




love and heartbreak are fuck buddies who sometimes text each other at 10 in the morning. today, love asks: is this what the living do? as he tries to shit but can’t because he doesn’t eat enough fibre or exercise regularly. it’s the little things that’ll kill me, he adds. heartbreak responds, ignoring the first message: you emptied your body into the floorboards of me. they creak when i am lonely. if i am a haunted house, then let’s make up a theory of negativity that notices the utopian pulse of sad stories like ours. well fuck, love types out. he deletes it. he sends a selfie with the caption: how’s this for a theory of negativity? heartbreak laughs, true, he quips. love doesn’t respond right away. he thinks there is something queer about leaving loose ends untied. love is a native boy from northern alberta who decided almost everything he does is an attempt to repair the brokenness-of-being that is indigeneity. last month, love fucked a security guard in the basement of a parkade at midnight. locking the door behind love, the security guard joked, don’t worry, i’m not going to kill you or anything. love wonders if it is the possibility of being killed that partly animates his desires. that’s fucked up, heartbreak tells love when love tells him this story. love hypothesizes that the parkade basement might be a metonym for the world. heartbreak thinks out loud: how do you know when the world is not that basement anymore? love answers: my kookum and mooshum don’t use pronouns or proper nouns to address one another. they made their own language. that is how.




i fall into the opening between subject and object

and call it a condition of possibility.

when i speak only the ceiling listens.

sometimes it moans.

if i have a name,

let it be the sound his lips make.

there is no word in my language for this.

sometimes my kookum begins to cry

and a world falls out.

grieve is the name i give to myself.

i carve it into the bed frame.

i am make-believe.

this is an archive.

it hurts to be a story.

i am the boundary between reality and fiction.

it is a ghost town.

you dreamt me out of existence.

you are at once a map to nowhere and everywhere.

yesterday was an optical illusion.

i kiss a stranger and give him a middle name.

i call this love.

it lasts for exactly twenty minutes.

i chase after that feeling.

which is to say:

i want to almost not exist.

almost is the closest i can get to the sky.

heaven is a wormhole.

i first found it in another man’s armpit.

last night i gave birth to a woman and named her becoming.

she is four cree girls between the ages of 10 and 14 from northern


we are a home movie

i threw out by accident.

all that is left is the signified.

people die that way.




Poems featured here have appeared in one form or another in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, Decolonization, Red Rising Magazine, mâmawi-äcinowak, SAD Mag, Yellow Medicine Review, The Malahat Review, PRISM International, and The New Quarterly.

“ELEGY FOR FLESH” uses wording from Alok Vaid-Menon’s poem “When Brown Looks in The Mirror and Comes Out White.”

“NOTES FROM A PUBLIC WASHROOM” draws inspiration from language in J. Jennifer Espinoza’s There Should Be Flowers.

“WIHTIKOWAK MEANS ‘MEN WHO CAN’T SURVIVE LOVE’” draws language from Ocean Vuong’s “Immigrant Haibun.”

“GOD MUST BE AN INDIAN” draws inspiration from Vuong’s “Notebook Fragments.”

Thank you to my kookum, Theresa, for flowering a world in my name.

Thank you to my mom, Roberta, some of the best parts of me are some of the best parts of you.

Thank you to my sister, Courtney, for your ability to be in two places at once.

Thank you […] Maylor for, firstly, believing in what I had to say and […] for allowing my artistic vision to take precedence.

Thank you […] and Maura for standing firmly in the wildfire of me.

And, […] to Tracey Lindberg for roping me into the world of the […]. Without your steady encouragement, I might not have […] the courage to call myself a poet.




Photo of Billy-Ray Belcourt.


This Wound is a World is a decolonial wild fire from which the acclaimed writer Billy-Ray Belcourt builds a new world and it’s the brilliant, radiant, fucked up Indigenous world I want to live in. His poetics create space out of nothing, unapologetically inhabit that space and then gift it to us with uninhibited love. Belcourt is sovereign genius and This Wound is a World redefines poetics as a refusal of colonial erasure, a radical celebration of Indigenous life and our beautiful, intimate rebellion. This is a breathtaking masterpiece.

– Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost

Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut poetry collection, This Wound is a World, is a prayer against breaking. By way of an expansive poetic grace, Belcourt merges a soft beauty with the hardness of colonization to shape a love song which dances Indigenous bodies back into being. This book is what we’ve been waiting for.

– Gwen Benaway, author of […] and Ceremonies for […]




Three Plays by Maureen Hunter

The play takes place in a country home in France in March 1760, July 1766, and November 1771. The windows of this home are outstanding: they soar upwards, dominating the rooms within and opening them to the sun and moon and stars. The period of the play should be suggested as simply as possible. I like Milan Kundera’s words at the outset of his play, Jacques and his Master.
The action takes place in the eighteenth century, but in the eighteenth century as we dream of it today. Just as the language of the play does not aim to reproduce the language of the time, so the setting and costumes must not stress the period. The historicity of the characters… though never in question, should be slightly muted.
The following furniture will be required: The study: a desk, a few chairs, a telescope; The sitting room: a settee, a few chairs and small tables; The observatory: a telescope, a freestanding terrestrial globe, a chair and footstool, a table. In the original production the set was designed so that the action could flow freely through[…] study and sitting room, up a set of curved stairs to the observatory […] space in the observatory was limited and more distant from the […], opportunities were taken at appropriate moments in both Act […] scene four, and Act Two, scene three, to move the action down […] into the study or sitting room.

Characters (ages apply to the year 1760)

LE GENTIL, 35, astronomer
DEMARAIS, 18, his assistant
MARGOT, 36, his housekeeper and his mother’s lady-companion
CELESTE, 15, his fiancée
MME. SYLVIE, 65, his mother

Act One

March 1760
Scene One
The study. 5:00 a. m. Heavy rain. There’s a commotion offstage, then LE GENTIL strides on. His outer clothes — coat, hat, gloves, boots — are mud-spattered and drenched from the rain. He carries a lantern and a leather saddle bag. He moves to the desk, sets down the lantern, tosses the saddlebag across a chair, peels off his gloves, throws them down and shouts.
LE GENTIL: Demarais! (Pulling off his overcoat.) Demarais! Get up and get in here. Now. He tosses his overcoat across a chair, lights a candle, opens a drawer, and takes out a carafe and glasses.
DEMARAIS runs on.
LE GENTIL: I’ve ridden all night straight into a driving […] and all you can say is “Well”?
DEMARAIS: We’ve got a ship.
LE GENTIL: That’s more like it.
DEMARAIS: We’ve got a ship!
LE GENTIL: We’ve got a ship, Demarais.
DEAMRAIS lets out a whoop. She’s called Le Berryer and she sails on the twen[…] sixth.



When More Is Not Better by Roger Martin

[…] frustration: “I grew up understanding the American Dream as: you get your education and do what you love, and you can make a living out of it. I just don’t think it’s realistic.” My colleagues and I met Sarah and Amy in the fall of 2015, a third of the way through the Martin Prosperity Institute’s six-year project on the future of democratic capitalism in America. As part of the institute’s overall work, we conducted in-depth interviews with Americans like them around the country, across a wide variety of occupations, to better understand what they thought about their country and its political economy. We excluded people in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, because we were interested in how Americans outside that top bracket — the vast majority of the population — were experiencing America’s system of democratic capitalism. The annual household incomes of the people we interviewed ranged from $25,000 to $110,000, with a median of $75,000 — regular Americans. Other interviewees included Matt, a thirty-three-year-old Haitian-born Miami fireman, who worked enthusiastically on the side as a bail bondsman; Kira, an effervescent twenty-seven-year- old croupier in Saint Louis, Missouri; Ryan, a forty-year-old training manager and proud father of three in Salt Lake City, Utah; Linda, a thirty-year-old registered nurse in Hoboken, New Jersey: and Dan, a fifty-year-old truck driver based in Morristown, Illinois. Our goal for this research was to go deeper with fewer Americans, rather than seek quantitative significance using a formulaic set of questions. We interviewed, […] listened to each subject for hours, to learn how people were […]encing economic life across America, across many regular […]erican occupations. Our agenda was to listen to our subject[…] […]oughts and gauge their emotions. We called it the Persona […], and we came away from it with two clear findings. The first, as ex[…] by Sarah and Amy, was that people didn’t feel that […] economy worked for them. Sarah struggled to make ends meet for her and her five-year-old son on $55,000 a year, and Amy had largely given up. Nurse Linda was similarly dispirited: “Right now, my student-loan bill every month is one- sixth of my salary … I was promised an amazing job with an amazing salary. Then when I actually get out of school, I’m working in a job that pays way less.” Not everybody was entirely negative, but the emotions ranged from discouraged to ambivalent. The second finding was that people were decisively disengaged from politics. As Ryan put it: “I have to admit that I’m not a fan of politics. I’m not a fan of contention. With government and politics, I tend to check out, because when I look at it, the debates seem to go on between individuals and nothing gets done.” Kira volunteered: “My interest in politics is very limited, more because I feel like there’s so much to the game that I’m just not aware of.” Linda opined: “I hate saying this, but I am not that interested in politics.” On the whole, our subjects were both perplexed and sheepish. They couldn’t figure out why following what they thought of as the American economic success formula wasn’t resulting in the kinds of favorable outcomes it was supposed to. And they were somewhat ashamed to have opted almost entirely out of the political process. They knew they should stay involved, but they felt minimal confidence that making the effort would indeed make a positive difference. Concern for the Future of Democratic Capitalism Their responses got me increasingly worried for the future of America’s much lauded combination of democracy and capitalism. Simply put, the democratic part of the combination means that a majority of voting citizens determines who populates the […]



When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O’Neill

CAN $32.99

“Every decent friendship comes with a drop of hatred. But that hatred is like honey in the tea. It makes it addictive.”

Charismatic Marie Antoine is the daughter of the richest man in nineteenth-century Montreal. She has everything she wants, except for a best friend—until clever, scheming Sadie Arnett moves to the neighborhood. Immediately united by their passion and intensity, Marie and Sadie attract and repel each other in ways that thrill them both. Their games soon become tinged with risk, even violence. Forced to separate by the adults around them, the two spend years engaged in acts of alternating innocence and excess. And when a singular event brings them back together, the dizzying effects will upend the city.

Traveling from a repressive finishing school to a vibrant brothel, taking readers firsthand into the brutality of factory life and the opulent lives of Montreal’s wealthy, When We Lost Our Heads dazzlingly explores gender, sex, desire, class, and the terrifying power of the human heart when it can’t let someone go.



When We Lost Our Heads

Heather O’Neill





The Duel

In a labyrinth constructed our of a rosebush in the Golden Mile neighborhood of Montreal, two little girls were standing back-to-back with pistols pointed up toward their chins. They began to count out loud together, taking fifteen paces each.

Marie Antoine and Sadie Arnett had met in the park on Mont Royal behind their homes when they were little girls of twelve years old. It was 1873. The two of them seemed to have been born with the same amount of thick hair on their heads. Except that Sadie had dark-brown hair and Marie’s was blond. Sadie had large dark eyes that were almost black, cheekbones that were already high, and lips so dark red they looked as though they had makeup on them. Marie had blue eyes and a complexion that looked porcelain and a mouth that was the lightest pink. It was almost as though they were two dolls that were being marketed to girls, one fair, one dark.

That day, Marie had on a white tailored jacket with blue embroidery down the sides. It fell just below her knees, revealing her white stockings and pretty blue leather shoes. Sadie had on a burgundy hat with […] black ruffle. It was about the size of a cupcake. It was propped on […] head uselessly. But at least it didn’t take away from the impression her black velvet coat with burgundy buttons made. She had small black shoes with black bows on the toes.

The pistols had roses engraved on the handles.

A maid looked down from the second-story window. She was buttoning up her chemise and whistling. From her perspective, she could see into the labyrinth and its clearing in the middle. At first, she doubted what she was actually seeing. It did not seem possible at all. There is always something surreal about children embarking on something dangerous. They arc oblivious to the danger. They act as though they are about to defy all the laws of physics.

For a moment the adult is suspended in the realm of childhood disbelief. The maid broke the spell. She ran down the stairs with only her drawers on and her chemise half-undone. Her red hair flew behind her, as though she were carrying a torch.

She ran out through the labyrinth screaming. Finally, she arrived there. She stood in the middle and opened her mouth to tell to the girls to stop at the precise moment they both spun around and fired their guns at each other. As the two bullets hit the maid and she fell to the ground, […] words alerting the girls to their idiocy were forever silenced.




Introducing the Lovely Marie Antoine

The amount of wealth in Montreal in the late nineteenth century was increasing exponentially, although the number of rich people was not. The personal wealth of the English-speaking elite was growing out of all proportion. The mansions being built and expanded to house this muchness were glorious. They were grand artworks. They were truly majestic. They were placed on the side of the hill as though on a pedestal. The dome of the Anglican cathedral looked like a scoop of mint ice cream in the middle of them. The streets of the Golden Mile, as it was known, snaked up the hill. You had to go up the winding roads patiently in your carriage. But it was well worth taking the ride slowly because there was so much to see. The gardens were as beautiful as the homes.

All the parks were modeled by British gardeners. They were to have a disciplined feel. They weren’t supposed to exhibit the brash, tangled almost jungle-like quality of North American nature. Some of the trees didn’t behave—they ripped up the streets and stretched the sidewalks in precarious ways. And the trees that didn’t follow the rules found themselves covered in children who perched on all their branches wearing bloomers and tiny black boots and bows in their hair. The children whispered to one another, pretending they were on pirate ships and that there were vicious sharks below. And they clung to the branches ot the trees as if for safety, as though the trees were their mothers. And the trees could not help but be domesticated, and found themselves longing for children in their arms.

The most glorious house of all in the Golden Mile was inhabited the widower Mr. Antoine and his only child, Marie.

As family legend had it, Marie’s first steps were ballet moves across the floor. Whereas most children take a few awkward and stumbling steps, she did a petit pas de chat. She walked around with her tiny ballet slippers, looking very much like a duck, with the ribbons trailing behind her like marks in the water. She performed for people. As she grew, she spent more time on the name of the dance than the choreoraphy itself.

“And now I present to you a deer who has been separated from its family.” She put both hands with her fingers spread out to resemble antlers. And she walked around on tiptoe, looking about herself desperately for her other deer family.

Her nursery was constantly being repainted with new murals. Her father told the painters to consult with Marie, as it was her room and she was the one who had to be pleased with it. There was a life-size image of a goat sitting on a chair, sipping a glass of milk. In general, guests were never taken up to the nursery. But Louis felt inclined once in a while to bring people up to see it. Everyone was so delighted by the whimsy displayed.

It was a very new idea to regard childhood as a period of life that was to be revered and worthy of consideration on its own. People used to consider children to be inefficient adults. But now they were regarded as being in an Edenic state where they had access to an imaginative faculty superior to reason. Everything they said contained a wisdom that had been lost to adults. Childhood needed to be encouraged. People had to spend all their time focused on making this the most magical of all periods in life.

Louis often thought of himself as the originator of this kind of thinking. He thought Marie was the baby who had started the Victorian craze for babies. Ever since her mother had died, when Marie was in infancy, it had always been just the two of them. He was the owner of the largest sugar factory in the country. So there was no expense too great to develop Marie’s childhood. When she was six, he had Marie’s silhouette printed on every bag of sugar.

Because they were the most influential family in Montreal, nothing they did could really be interpreted as gauche. The minute they engaged in an activity, it went from being considered uncouth to being some thing others did not have the money to pull off.

It was not considered polite to bring a child to any gathering of adults. But Louis made it clear that he and his daughter were inseparable. And thus like a child who comes to the throne early, Marie found herself surrounded by adults. Given Louis’s wealth, everyone was quick to comply with his eccentric demands. Everyone knew there was very little way to capture Louis’s heart; he was immune to their sycophancy, in a manner only someone who once mastered the art themselves could be. Everyone knew the only way to please Louis was to do it through his daughter.

Guests found themselves frequently asking Marie what she was going to do when she grew up. Of course, none of them actually believed she was going to do anything when she grew up other than get married. That gave an even more comic ring to Marie’s charming prophecies.

“I would very much like to travel in a circus and be a lion tamer,” she told the mayor and his wife. “I would be very gentle with the lion. I would brush his mane. And I would give him caramels. He would let me put my head in his mouth. And he would never dream of clamping down his jaws. We would walk down the street. And I wouldn’t need to put a leash on him.”

“I think I shall be an opera singer,” she announced to a group of society women. “But I don’t really like singing loudly. So I shall sing into a speaking trumpet. What I mostly like about the idea of being an opera singer is that I will get to eat whatever I want and become fat. I think it would be nice to be so fat!”

“I would like to become an arctic explorer,” she told a group of dour investors. “I like wearing many coats. And I should like to murder my own walrus one day. I love all animals, but I don’t like walruses. They are too frightening.”

She would blink charmingly. And adopt a look of naïveté, knowing that what she was saying was at once precocious and endearingly idiotic. Marie had a natural gift for being charming. She could be coy and naive and silly. But she did it in such a creative way, anyone might say she had a genius for it.

She enjoyed uttering the most nonsensical things she could ponder: “I worry that when it rains, the rocks in the yard will turn into frogs and hop away.” Nonsense literature was in vogue, so her idiotic remarks were interpreted as ingenious.

Adults understood the subtext to her sense of humor. They understood when she was being absurd and coy and fanciful. Other children did not. She was frankly more amused by her own conversation than that of people around her. She was quite aware that she had a mastery over social interaction, that she, despite her young age, was more amusing and sophisticated than the people around her. She rarely paid much attention to what others said, using it merely as a springboard for her witticisms.

Whether or not she was actually intelligent was something debated by her tutors. She fell asleep whenever anyone began reading to her. As soon as one or two sentences were read, her head would nod with alacrity. She decided anything she could learn was too difficult to learn. She was satisfied by having access to whatever came to her intuitively and without effort. But the truth was that she knew very little, so nothing could undermine her arrogance and confidence. If she pressed herself to learn, she would be aware of her own limitations and that frustrated her.

She put up quite a fit when it came to her piano lessons.

“If only those tunes weren’t so long,” she complained. “I can only learn a ten-second song, or else my brain and hands begin to ache.”

“Well, then let’s work on a ten-second song.”

“I simply can’t today. I’m exhausted. Perhaps tomorrow.”

They sent for a doctor to see why it was that Marie became so tired in her lessons. Her tutor said she had never seen anything like it. In fact, she thought it might be dangerous. Marie fell asleep so abruptly and deeply when she was reading aloud from Le Morte D’Arthur, the tutor was afraid for a moment she had killed the child.

The doctor suggested Marie eat fewer sweets. The amount of cakes and treats she ate over the course of a day might be what was causing her to sink into mini comas. Marie’s sweet tooth was a phenomenal thing.

What were the sweets she had eaten that day? A rum ball that had been set on fire in front of her, so when she ate it, it was warm, as though she were biting into the heart of a beast. A chocolate mousse that melted in her mouth and filled her whole body with sweetness. There were chocolates filled with brandy that she had sucked the alcohol out of. She felt how a bird would feel after drinking nectar and then flying about high in the sky. And there was a princess cake. It was a round dome covered in a hard pink shell you had to strike with your spoon. When the hard icing cracked, it was like witnessing an earthquake. It made her shiver with delight. There was a tiny rose on the cake. Sometimes the rose was made out of icing and sometimes it was a real flower. She couldn’t help but bite into it to find out.

Marie had a way of consuming culture too. She was fascinated by any sort of theatrical performance. No matter where she was sitting in an audience, she always acted as though the play was being put on just for her. When they came home from a puppet show, she’d explain to the maids the tragic entanglements the puppets had gotten themselves into. She explained it as though the puppets were very dear friends of hers and their happiness was her own. One of the maids instinctively threw her arms around Marie, in sympathy for the hardship she had suffered on account of the puppets.

Marie began screaming during a play when a villain plunged a knife through the heart of a heroine. Her father had to take her out into the foyer. She was inconsolable. Afterward, her father brought her backstage to sec how the actors were all alive and well.

She was upset by a doll that had a dour expression. She tried over and over to make the doll happy, but nothing seemed to work. She had so many different dolls, and yet she became focused on that one. Her father brought it to the doll hospital to have it repaired. The doll maker painted a different smile on the dolls face. This pleased Marie to no end. How it made the doll feel, on the other hand, was harder to say.

But once the doll was repaired, Marie immediately transferred her affection to a sad bear with a blue velvet coat. It had black fur in tufts on its head that made it look as though it had fallen in the water. It had a look on its face that made it seem as though it had gotten into trouble all on its own and couldn’t blame anyone but itself.

“I love you so much,” Marie said to the bear at her play tea party. “But of course I love you so much. How could I not? You are so lovable. Any girl would fall in love with you. I want to be the only one who knows how to love you. I want you to think that if you didn’t have me to love, then you will be all alone in the world. I want you to be as afraid of losing me as I am of losing you. Is that cruel? I’m so mean, I know. Can I make it up to you in kisses? I could never get tired of kissing you. Do you fancy some cookies?”

She took a spoon and scooped out some buttons and dropped them on the plate.

“Oh, it’s always important to eat. Or you will become too skinny. And do you know what happens to bears when they get too skinny? Well, their eyes fall out of their heads, of course. You’ll be on your hands and knees looking all over the floor for them. But you’ll never find them, since you’ll be blind.”

Marie stared at the bear, who refused to respond. Every time she spoke to her dolls, it was as though she were speaking to the same person. All the dolls were the same. They were all disastrously bored. They took their chagrin out on her. The bear was much the same.

“Do you think about other bears? Ones in the zoo? Do you imagine you would be happier with them than you are with me? You wouldn’t be. But I don’t tell you that you are very different than they are. You aren’t wild. You belong in the house here with me. You wouldn’t be happy at the zoo. They don’t have teatime. They don’t have a warm, cozy bed for you. Oh, I’ve had it. I’m so tired of begging you to love me all day long.”

She stood up and stormed off but then found herself turning and heading right back hurriedly.

“You have to forgive me. You can’t believe a word I said.”

Marie seemed not at all concerned by the amount of love she had to give. Her reach was enormous. She had the ability to make large groups of people feel loved by her. Her affection was like sunlight, and it could fill an entire room.

The governess told Louis that Marie needed to play with other children. The governess came to this conclusion when she encountered Marie in the midst of a heated argument with a pig. She was pushing around a toy perambulator. It was a lovely pink contraption with gold trimmings. It was indeed fancier than any the governess had witnessed any child riding in. She imagined Marie was pushing around one of the dolls she was so fond of. But the blanket began to stir. For a moment she was terribly apprehensive, wondering who had given Marie a baby to play with.

But then a head emerged from the blankets. She thought she was looking at an unruly pig. But then she thought she must be wrong. So she looked closer, only to realize she had been right. There was a pig in the carriage. Marie had a look of exasperation on her face. An expression ordinarily reserved for new mothers of very young children.

“You are being very difficult. What do you want? If I give you a cupcake, you are going to want another one. You have gone mad since I gave you that cupcake. Don’t you wish you had never even tasted it? You wouldn’t know what you are missing out on all the time. I worry I’ve driven you mad. Please don’t tell the other pigs about how good it tasted. They will never leave us in peace. They will sneak into the house in the middle of the night. They will eat all the food. But they won’t stop there. They will eat all the pillows and the blankets. They will eat the couch cushions. They will eat the carpets. They will eat the heads of all my dolls.”

The mansion was overrun by animals. Whereas most homes had a menagerie of taxidermized creatures on display, the Antoines had ones that were insistently alive.

Marie had begged and begged for a piglet for her birthday. She fed it with a bottle of milk. She had her tailor make small collars and bonnets perfectly shaped and suited for his head. It wasn’t an uncommon sight to witness Marie walking down the boulevard with a pig wearing a bow tie. Or she might be lying in her yard reading a book with her head propped on a sow for a pillow.

Louis thought animals were attracted to Marie’s maternal sweetness. But it was more likely they were attracted to her wildness. The animals believed she was one of them.

As she got a little older, Marie befriended the girls in the neighborhood, who were much easier to impress than her stuffed animals and pets were. Her adorable personality and her wealth made her very attractive to other little girls. She was good at getting girls to fall in love with her. She couldn’t really love them back though. Like her dolls, they were all interchangeable. And loving everyone is the same thing as loving nobody at all.

She accepted that she was the leader. She would present to them her latest mechanical trinket, such as a silver bird that sat on her finger and chirped. She loved technology and having a young audience to impress with her scientific acquisitions and knowledge. Gradually the adulation of others began to replace and satisfy her need for other feelings. She became addicted to praise. She became especially addicted to being looked at, because she had no other emotional sustenance. It was as though she were eating cupcakes expecting to be filled up. And they made her hungrier for more food instead of making her feel full.

Marie was becoming a more darling and extravagant version of herself. She was never alone. She never had time for introspection. She never had time for loneliness and self-loathing.

One chilly afternoon, Marie saw a small procession of children walking across her lawn and headed into the woods of the mountain behind it. She had been about to hurry inside when the snow had started rushing at her face, but she paused to look at the group. Their assuredness struck her as peculiar. They all seemed very sad. They were wearing their black Easter Sunday coats. A little girl and boy at the front of the line were helping each other carry a rectangular box. They were both weeping. The other children also looked so sad it made them appear anxious. It was as if they’d snuck out of a nightmare and they were trying to find their way back to it.

Except for a little girl with a thick mane of black hair that appeared to have been mussed up by the wind. This strange girl looked absolutely calm. Her back was straight. When the children began to falter, she moved to the front of the procession. She was different.




Introducing the Devilish Sadie Arnett


The Arnetts had come to the Golden Mile when Sadie’s father inherited the mansion from his great-uncle. It was a beautiful house made of polished, square gray stones that seemed indifferent to harsh winters. Mr. and Mrs. Arnett moved in on their third wedding anniversary. Their son, Philip, was a baby, and their daughter, Sadie, had not yet been born.

The house in the Golden Mile was their ticket to security and prosperity. Mr. and Mrs. Arnett were both determined to use their address to climb to the top of the social ladder. Mr. Arnett was a politician known for his zealous advocacy of moral decency. He repeatedly requested that prostitutes and houses of ill repute be closed down. The minute he criticized a play, it extended its run, knowing full well the publicity would bring people out in droves.

His address loaned him an air of respectability. The illusion of wealth was what had kept his career afloat. The Arnetts often thought of selling […]



Photo of Heather O’Neill.

Heather O’Neill is an award-winning novelist short-story writer, screenwriter, and essayist. Her previous work, which includes Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Daydreams of Angels, and The Lonely Hearts Hotel, has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She has won CBC’s Canada Reads, the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and the Danuta Gleed Award. Born and raised n Montreal, O’Neill lives there today with her daughter, Arizona.

Twitter logo. @lethal_heroine

Jacket design: Grace Han

Jacket image: Whiteway / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

Photograph of the author: © Julie Artacho






Write Moves by Nancy Pagh
Why Write?

I have written for many reasons: to feed my family and myself, to get ahead, to exercise power, to call attention to myself, to be published, to understand, to entertain, to make something that is my own, to find out what I have to say, and, above all, from need…. I can’t explain it, but I must do it. —Donald Murray When I was thirteen years old, I would wake up in the middle of the night with voices in my head. Already you’re thinking: the author of this book is crazy! But wait a minute -. I would wake up in my twin bed, in the soupy darkness that results what your parents cover your window with red curtains made from upholstery fabric, and I would hear words in a foreign language. I don’t remember now what those words were, only that they seemed complicated, multisyllabic, and beautiful – the way that words can sound delicate, muscular, or crisp before we hare any idea what they mean. For a while, I would lie there under the heavy cotton quilt, rolling its little knots and tassels of yarn between my fingers, trying to memorize the strange words. In the fall, I could hear the foghorn sounding its voice several miles off, down on the Guemes Channel, competing for my attention. Or maybe a slit of streetlight came in where the heavy curtains met – enough light to make out the face of the Six Million Dollar Man or the tartan-decked forms of the Bay City Rollers, pulled from Tiger Beat fan magazine and arranged so carefully (I’m a Virgo) on my bedroom wall. Pretty soon I was thinking about band class, about Mr. Strickland throwing erasers at the boys in the trumpet section and he meant it, too, and the next thing you know it’s morning and time for the big decision about trying to wear blue eye shadow or not. Where did those words go? I started to keep a notebook under my bed. Then when I woke up and heard the words, I could roll over, scrawl them down phonetically in the darkness, and […] them until the light of day. It surprised me to discover that those beautiful foreign words were in my own tongue – English. I looked them up in the Big Dictionary at school. Eulogistic. Unutterable. Infinitesimal. Tintinnabulation, Cinna[…] Assuage. Enigma. What those words meant, I had never thought about b[…]
But I wanted to. I felt as if my life might move beyond the boy band on the wall, beyond the eye shadow, the foghorn, the very tired band teacher, beyond thick red curtains — if I had the words to imagine it. Now that I look back, I see it wasn’t crazy at all. Language That Is Our Own Creative writers are sometimes stereotyped as sad and solitary figures, but writing is an expression of hope and connection. We need to communicate — to announce we’re here, we exist, we matter. We wouldn’t try to express ourselves if we felt hopeless about the possibility of connection. Even writing in private, just for ourselves, we hope to mean and understand something. No matter what subjects you choose to explore as you push your cursor across the field of the page, understand: as a new writer, you’re not signing up to suffer or to isolate yourself. You’re joining a community of people who write because we hope our words can add up to something that will surprise us, change us, move us and our readers. The urge to write is a close relative to the urge a sculptor has to dig her hands in clay, the urge of a painter to stretch a canvas and move paint around, the urge of a composer to arrange silences between notes. We experience the urge to write for all sorts of different reasons and at different stages in life. Some of us are storytellers from the moment we can talk — we want to invent narratives before we can grip a yellow pencil. Some begin to write the first time we fall in love. New Mexico poet Jimmy Santiago Baca discovered writing poetry as an adult, in a maximum-security prison, as an alternative to violence. Emily Carr wrote in her journals to understand what she was trying to paint in the forests of British Columbia. Neurologist Oliver Sacks began writing at age fourteen: “My journals are not written for others, nor do I usually look at them myself, but they are a special, indispensable form of talking to myself.” My friend Paul started writing poems in his sixties, after his wife Susan died of cancer. Paul was a professor of philosophy, […] of many scholarly essays about medical ethics. But he felt he needed to […] discover something in his grief; although he’d never written a poem before […] was the shape his impressions had to make. In Raymond Carver’s story “[…], Good Thing,” a character named Ann experiences shock and grief […] young son. In a hospital, she shakes her head and tries to speak meaning[…] with her husband and their doctor: “No, no,” she said. “I ca[…] him here, no.” She heard herself say that and thought how unfair it was that […] words that came out were the sort of words used on TV shows where […] stunned by violent or sudden deaths. She wanted her words to be her own. How rare it is, […] how necessary it sometimes feels, to have the ability to use authentic language that is our own. Words surround and interrupt us almost constantly, usually written with the intent to sell, manipulate, or distract us. We learn to tune them out — and when we do listen, it’s with a healthy dose of skepticism. What we say, write, and even think tends to adopt the qualities of this bombarding, synthetic language. But when something really matters to us, we want to get outside the superficiality and sameness of that language, using words to dig someplace deep, explicit, and true. Although it is not “therapy,” creative writing is (in Richard Hugo’s words) “a slow, accumulative way of accepting one’s life as valid.” Chaos and Control Creative writing, also called “imaginative writing,” differs in purpose from other written communication. It exists to construct experiences for the reader —experiences we taste, touch, see, hear, and smell with our imagination. Other texts are designed to impart information clearly — and we are informed, but not emotionally moved. When we finish reading informative texts, their ideas may linger (we “get the gist” of them), but the experience and expression dissolves. We’re used to seeing language function simply to convey information, and, as a result, we read by skimming. This relationship with language changes for the creative writer: we learn to read with great attention to the experience of language, and we learn to write with this same level of attention. This difference between skimming and reading is part of the reason that, as readers, we can savor a favorite story over and over again and our enjoyment and understanding increase. All texts — office memos, résumés, bank statements, tweets, and the like — can be read repeatedly and analyzed for meanings beyond the surface. But creative writing is unique because it’s composed with this purpose and experience in mind — not just for the reader, but also for the writer. The practice of imaginative writing is not about having an idea or point and effectively communicating it to your reader. Instead, creative writing begins with a scene, an image, a memory, a moment, a character, or even a sound or rhythm — and, as the words come, they trigger us to move and play, to discover what we didn’t know we could mean. Rarely — so rarely! — do we know exactly what our story will reveal and then simply write it down. I’ve written scores of poems and for sure, for sure, the worst ones said what I meant when I first sat down to write them. The best grabbed me by the throat and shook me hard. They made me laugh out loud or nod my head […] cry. They took me someplace I did not anticipate. We feel this sense of strange[…] and transportation as we make creative writing, so that our readers will feel it […]. People who keep writing do it because we’re open to this sensation of exploration, even though exploration carries risk and can make us uncomfortable. The pr[…] of imaginative writing is a kind of courtship between the disorder of possibili[…] the order of language. As with any interesting courtship, there’s some tension[…] effort to express precisely and beautifully what might be said is, for a few […], a kind of agony: the sentiment “I hate writing, but I love having written” […]



Youth Without God by Ödön Von Horváth

NEXT MORNING AS I WENT INTO THE HIGH school, on going upstairs to the masters’ common room I heard quite an uproar coming from above me. I raced up end saw five of my youngsters — E, G, R. H, and T — laying into one opponent, F. “What’s going on here?” I shouted. “If you really want to brawl like board-school boys, then have it out one with another and not five against one — that’s a rotten thing to do.” They all looked up dumbly at me – even F, the victim of the attack. His collar was torn. “What’s he done to you?” I inquired; my heroes weren’t very ready with an explanation. Nor was the bullied one. At last, I […] that F had done nothing to the other five. Quite […] – they had taken his bread roll — not to eat it themselves, but just to see him without one. They’d throw […] through the window into the yard. […]ed down. There it lay, bright on the dark asphalt in […]alling rain. Perhaps the other five had no rolls, I thought, and they […] mad when they saw F’s. But no, they all had them. G […] two. Once more I asked: “Why did you do it?” They didn’t know themselves. There they stood, in front of me, grinning awkwardly. Man must be evil: so we read in the Bible. When the rain ceased, and the waters of the flood began to recede, God said: “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Has God kept His promise? I cannot tell. But I did not ask them again why they threw the bread out into the yard. I only asked them if they had never heard of that unwritten law, which for measureless thousands of years has grown stronger and stronger, to become a beautiful human precept: “If you must fight, then fight one against one. Be just.” I turned to the five again. “Aren’t you rather ashamed of yourselves?” I asked. They weren’t. I seemed to be talking another language to them. They stared at me, and even the victim, F, smiled. There was derision in his smile. “Shut the window,” I said. “Or the rain will come in.” They obeyed me. What sort of a generation will theirs be? Hard? Or only brutal? I said no more, and went on to the common-ro[…] the stairs I stopped. Had they begun again? No, […] quiet. Perhaps they were pondering my words.