In the afterword to Automatic Souls, Andrew Brenza describes the structure of his work as imparting “the delusion of meaning” on the reader. Consisting of enthralling typographic glyphs paired on the page with sparse, impactful text, the experience of reading/viewing this work is defined precisely by that nebulous thing we call “meaning”. To what extent are the images and text related to one another? Should one allow the text to create any kind of linear, narrative effect on the experience? This work is highly interpretable, and it is in that fact that one can find its efficacy.
Automatic Souls begins with a kind of formality and elegance: defined, circumscribed images with text placed neatly below. Some of the book’s greatest moments (in my view) come from these situations – sparse, emotionally resonant textual lines (“the fact of body / not enough light”) are paired (?) with images which both defy and illuminate meaning. As the work progresses, the clear relationship between image and text is revealed to be, if not artificial, then at the very least highly malleable – by the end of the final section, images of typographic humanoids fly chaotically across the pages, with the text fitting in wherever it can find some room. As such, the meaning breaks down, finds its limit, and is exposed (as Brenza says) as “delusion”.
Creating work which plays with the ambiguous nature of knowledge and meaning can certainly be a difficult needle to thread. Too often one descends into pointless nihilism, or obscurity for its own sake. This is not the case with Brenza’s Automatic Souls – not only is there an earnest vitality to this work’s exploration of meaning, but there is a visceral beauty as well. It is a highly noteworthy book, and for all of those who enjoy true experimentation, it comes highly recommended.
– Ethan Vilu
Andrew Brenza’s “Automatic Souls” is available in an edition of 99 from Timglaset Editions.
That’s right! We’ve hit some bumps in the road, but things are officially rolling again here at NōD. Our launch party for Issue 25 has been officially scheduled for Saturday, November 9th from 2-4pm. We extend our infinite thanks and gratitude to our contributors for their patience with us, and we hope to see you there!
Additionally, we are now accepting submissions for Issue 26. Please refer to our submission guidelines, and send us your wonderful prose, poetry and visual art! Submissions will close on December 1st, 2019. Importantly, we are also accepting submissions of creative non-fiction (book reviews, essays and the like) for our blog – again, please refer to our guidelines. We are looking forward to reading your excellent work, and are excited for the future!
NōD Magazine is seeking undergraduate students to volunteer with our publication. Volunteering would include reading submissions, organizing launches, promoting calls for submissions and events, completing magazine layout, and helping with general magazine management. If you are interested or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NōD Magazine has been around for 14 years publishing poetry, prose, and artwork from U of C students and from writers around the world. We publish two issues per year and are entirely volunteer run.
What’s in it for you?
- Volunteering with NōD will give you valuable experience. If you’re interested in the fields of publishing and design, NōD looks amazing on a CV. Many of our editors and volunteers have received scholarships in these fields or have gone on to work in these fields.
- If you are a writer and you are interested in publishing your own work in literary journals and magazines, volunteering with one gives you insight into the process and some ideas about what magazines are looking for. This will give you the best odds at acceptance letters rolling into your inbox!
- If you’ve been looking for a community of like-minded, quirky, writerly people, look no further. NōD meetings often have timbits and great conversation, plus you get to celebrate the end of the semester with a launch party to release the latest issue into the world.
If you’re interested, please send an email to email@example.com to let us know what you’re interested in and what skills you could bring to the team.We can’t wait to hear from you!
Our launch party for issue #25 has been postponed until further notice. We will keep all you readers & writers posted in the coming weeks! We appreciate your patience and hope to see you all soon.
In her full-length collection Brain Fever, Kimiko Hahn makes use of a luminously diverse array of poetic techniques and approaches in order to speak to Japanese aesthetics, contemporary neuroscience, and the complexities and fragilities of modern life. With a sharp, concise and at times experimental tone, Hahn synthesizes her disparate subject matter in order to produce a body of work that is both visceral and insightful. With the exception of one bizarrely offensive poem which appears towards the end of the collection (more on this later), Brain Fever is excellent and worthy of attentive consideration.
Within the poems that make up Brain Fever, Hahn juxtaposes a variety of images, subjects and techniques in order to create a truly unique poetic effect. Epigraphs taken from neuroscientists and writings on dream theory are contrasted with muted, beautiful scenes of home life (“Then again from next door / I hear a matchbox car / racing up and down the shared-wall.”) as well as darker pictures of infidelity and abuse. The poems in this collection are powerfully and universally concise, with most coming in at under 25 lines, and yet they (almost) universally achieve powerful and lasting effects in the small space which they are given. Quotations on the nature of consciousness and the brain give context to the author’s meditations on the complexity and difficulty of human interaction, and the result is a body of work which speaks to some of our deepest collective anxieties and desires.
All of this being said, there is one poem within Brain Fever which serves (in a manner which is devastatingly unfortunate) to mire the rest of the collection. “The Problem with Dwarfs”, a poem which speaks to the author’s toxic interactions with her mother-in-law, contains lines and sentiment which are profoundly offensive and certainly wholly beneath an author of Hahn’s caliber. While reflecting on her now mother-in-law’s attempts to dissuade her now-husband from marrying her by calling her a “dwarf” (something which is certainly beyond vile), Hahn makes the claim that “…large women resemble bobbly transvestites” – a statement which is completely unacceptable, on multiple levels and regardless of circumstance. While it may be hoped that the author was attempting something satirical or consciousness-raising in some capacity, it must be said that such attempts (if they exist) must be regarded as a failure. The result is a hateful and ineffectual poem which stains an otherwise wonderful collection.
Overall, Kimiko Hahn’s Brain Fever is phenomenal. While there are serious issues which cannot be ignored as far as her poem “The Problem With Dwarfs”, one may hope that this was an error of judgement from an otherwise talented and insightful poet. As long as pages 96 and 97 are looked at in such a critical fashion, this book is an excellent foray into highly complex and important territory and comes (cautiously) recommended.
– Ethan Vilu
We are very excited to announce that our editors will be hosting a zine-making night at the University of Calgary’s Art Lounge (SS main floor) on February 28th from 5:00-7:00pm. We will have some materials available but please feel free to bring some old magazines/books to cut up markers/crayons/pens, and glue or glitter– whatever you have! Bring snacks, bring friends and bring your creative juices! Zine-making is really just an excuse for an “adult” craft night that is slightly more sophisticated, and slightly more provocative than your times in grade school.
We wanna see some weird stuff!!! See you there kiddos.
In her debut novel “The Seas,” Samantha Hunt crafts a seamless and raw narrative about war, mysticism, parental loss and love. The narrative mirrors its setting, ebbing and bending between the narrator’s inner dialogue and the outside world, reflecting the awkwardness the narrator feels at being forced to live on land when she is elementally drawn to the ocean. There is a constant tension between water and land at work in this novel and almost every element, interaction, and characterization is skillfully based off this tension.
The story follows the story of a young girl of nineteen, stuck in a dead-end coastal town, bereaving the loss of her father, navigating her mother who “is regularly torn between being herself and being my mother,” the pain of loving an older man with PTSD, and her own belief that she is a mermaid. She also has a fascination with words, reflected in Hunt’s writing style, how she plays with word arrangement, colour, and setting.
The result is a beguiling piece, leaving the reader on edge and at the same time completely immersed in the moment through sharp imagery, emotion, and unpredictability.
Notable Quote: “Those cuts on my ribs are because I am trying to open gills before the flood comes.”
– Melody Dowdy
Hello to all you weird and crazy writers/artists out there!
NOD is currently accepting submissions for issue #25; the theme for this issue is displacement. Send us all of your best poetry, prose or artwork that incorporate the feelings and experiences of alienation, the Uncanny, a colonized or traumatized human-psyche etc.
ANYONE can submit! We strongly encourage university undergrads and other young people who are passionate about creative writing to submit. Our submissions will close March 11, 2019, at midnight.
Feel free to read some back issues and pieces on our blog to get a glimpse of the kind of work we crave. You can order back issues on our tictail shop!
Check out our official submission guidelines here and send your best work to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our editors are very excited to receive your work!
Claire Fuller’s novel Bitter Orange follows thirty-nine-year-old Frances Jellico as she enters a dilapidated English estate in the year 1969 and is welcomed into the company of young couple, Cara and Peter. All three of them have been sent there to gather information about the mansion’s contents, its gardens and architecture. This is a particularly exciting time for Frances as her only friend and companion thus far in her life has been her dying mother.
Frances is delighted at the prospect of having made friends, but her presence creates tension in Peter and Cara’s relationship as stories of the past are revealed and become muddled and foggy as they are explored once again. Frances is able to gain further insights through a portal in her bathroom floor, which she calls the “Judas hole” as it lies directly overhead the bathroom of Cara and Peter.
Fuller’s simplistic writing style is anything but dull and monotonous; her descriptions are subtle yet cut as smooth and sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel. Lines such as “now my flesh has melted away, but the skin remains and I lie in a puddle of myself” demonstrate Fuller’s ability to craft sentences that are not specific in meaning but paint a picture that each individual can see themselves in. The imagery that is repeated throughout the novel is simple and beautiful while transporting mystery and depth throughout the narrative. The use of multiple unreliable narrators inserts readers amidst the confusion that these three characters are swimming through leaving the ending hazy and subjective. The symbolism is elegant as it oozes delight and the provocative language cannot help but seduce readers to follow at Frances’s side as she looks for answers. This book at 300 and some pages is a quick and delicious read– making you want to savour the last drop of each chapter.
– Julia Cottingham
We are celebrating the launch of our newest issue this Thursday, Januar 10th at 7:00pm! Come join us at Rosso Coffee Roasters in Studio Bell to hear some readings and meet our editors. All of us here at NōD are thrilled to present the creative work from many individuals in one cohesive format– and what better way to enjoy and celebrate this feat than with great coffee and the company of exceptional people?!
Thank you for all of your submissions over the semester and we hope to see you in January!