Amber Dawn, Vivek Shraya, and Leah Horlick are joining forces for the "Where the Mountains End" tour on the US west coast during the month of April. Amber Dawn will be reading from her new poetry book, Where the words end and my body begins, Vivek Shraya will read from his recent novel, She of the Mountains, and Leah Horlick reads from her new poetry book, For Your Own Good. Find tour dates here.
Andrea Routley (managing editor of Plenitude Magazine, Canada’s queer literary magazine, and the author of Jane and the Whales) gives us a preview of what to expect from the tour with the following interview about where their works come from, queerness and politics, and what they're looking forward to about working together.
Andrea Routley: You all draw on a cultural legacy in exploring your subjects—from Jewish mysticism (Leah) and Hindu mythology (Vivek) to the work of lesbian poets such as Gertrude Stein and Adrienne Rich (Amber Dawn). How does the exploration of these legacies inform the way you write about contemporary experiences?
Amber Dawn: My poetry collection is very much about how and where to locate myself within past, present, and future queer and survivor communities. The poets who I cite in my book, like Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, Anne-Marie …
The word "visceral" originated in the 1500s, and it was defined vaguely as "affecting inward feelings," with these feelings said to stem from our "gut." In modern times, the interpretation of visceral has extended beyond our bellies to encompass other parts of our bodies: the hair at the back of our necks, a shiver running down our spines, deep physical reactions to feeling unsettled, enlivened, repulsed, electrified, aroused.
Some books, more than others, affect readers via the extraordinarily powerful images they bring forth and the way they speak to every sense. These are books we feel in our bodies as much as our brains, and they can span a wide range of focuses, from hard-hitting stories of war and other miseries; erotic passages; razor-sharp, evocative poetry; shocking challenges to the status quo; sensual descriptions of food, land, bodies, etc.; and of course, stories of love and loss. Not surprisingly, these are some of the books we remember most.
Here are a few favourites including excerpts from jacket copy and reviews, with thanks also to Vicki Ziegler, Dee Hopkins, and Steph VanderMeulen for their ideas. But there are more: wait for Part II later this week.
Vs., by Kerry Ryan: Ryan has a fairly rare distinction (we think?) of being a writer who's a …
In Quick Hits, a new 49th Shelf series, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.
19 Knives, by Mark Jarman
Genre: Short stories
Publisher: House of Anansi
What It's About
Quill & Quire described it like this—"Jarman’s work is .... fade-resistant. Each of 19 Knives’ 14 stories (all first-person narratives) integrates sparkling linguistic kinetics and honey-like narrative stickiness. Rejecting postmodern cynicism, Jarman celebrates life’s ecstatic mysteries. Religious in their own way – finding meaning in music and everyday life, not empty theology – these stories shake like Muddy Waters riding a riff into the dark recesses of the night."
What People Say
"It is very irritating to discover a wonderful book published too long ago to be an official 'book of the year.' Jarman's collection is ... brilliant. The writing is extraordinary, the stories are gripping, it is something new." —A.S. Byatt
"The best of many highlights in Jarman's new collection, 19 Knives, is 'Burn Man on a Texas Porch.' I …