25th Issue Launch Party

Hello everyone!

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.

Sincerely,

The NoDitorial

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Kimiko Hahn’s “Brain Fever”: a review

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 

NoD’s Zine Canteen!

Hello everyone!

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.

Sincerely,

The NōDitorial

Samantha Hunt’s “The Seas”: A Book Review

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 

 

 

 

 

Calling for Submissions!!

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 nodmagazine@gmail.com.

Our editors are very excited to receive your work!

Sincerely,

The NōDitorial

 

A Review of Claire Fuller’s Novel Bitter Orange

 

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

Issue 24 Launch Party!

Hi everyone!

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!

The NōDitorial

Emily Ursuliak’s “Throwing the Diamond Hitch”: a review by Ethan Vilu 

In her debut book of poetry Throwing the Diamond Hitch, Emily Ursuliak takes the reader on a lovely, gripping adventure through both her family history and the story of western Canada. Drawing from diaries kept by her grandmother and her grandmother’s best friend, Ursuliak re-constructs the two women’s odyssey (first by roadster, then by horseback) from Victoria to the prairies of Alberta and back again. In so doing, she captures moments of triumph, humour, intrigue, and warmth, and creates a truly engaging poetic tale for the reader to enjoy.

In terms of craft, two aspects stand out in the experience that is Throwing the Diamond Hitch: the author’s attention to detail, and her skilled use of humour. Ursuliak’s superb capacity for evocative description is encapsulated in such lines as “sweet clover sweat / bruised grass breath” in describing the aura of the women’s horses. Throughout the book, the reader is fully immersed in the experiences of the two protagonists, thanks to the author’s skill. As far as humour, Ursuliak’s talent is best demonstrated in the short poem “Getting Directions”, which vividly and hilariously describes a stubborn pack horse, holding up cars on the highway and steadily gazing at a road directions sign. This use of humour makes a singular contribution to the quality of Ursuliak’s work.

In writing Throwing the Diamond Hitch, Emily Ursuliak has produced a thoroughly enjoyable story through verse, and one which illuminates history from a profoundly unique perspective. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in vivid, luminous narrative poetry, and I greatly look forward to this author’s future works.

Lisa Bird-Wilson’s “The Red Files”: a review by Ethan Vilu

In The Red Files, Cree-Métis author Lisa-Bird Wilson has crafted a call for sincere acknowledgement of the violence done to indigenous peoples throughout Canadian history which is both purposeful and haunting in its masterful clarity. With writing that is supremely sharp and unclouded, Bird-Wilson lays bare the atrocities committed within the residential school system, and the continuity between that system and the abuse towards indigenous peoples which is ongoing in this country. In so doing, she has created a work whose sheer power is truly noteworthy, and deserving of wholehearted attention.

Within The Red Files, Bird-Wilson utilizes the narrative poetry format in a complex and effective manner. Rather than writing in an explicit, plot-driven style, the author makes skilled use of vignettes in order to steadfastly explore the totality of residential schools, including both the horrific violence intrinsic to the system as well as the resilience and humanity of those forced to endure it. With the first section being devoted most unequivocally to the experience of those within residential schools, the second and third sections take the reader on a passage through time, with attention being paid to the intergenerational trauma and hardship which has resulted from the brutality inflicted on indigenous peoples. This, too, is accomplished through the simple illumination of humanity: the reader is given stories of love and intimacy, of resentment and dysfunction and loss, and is tasked with making the connection between these experiences and the reality of colonial violence.

Indeed, the duty towards truly authentic reconciliation to which Bird-Wilson calls the reader is made plain in her poem “The Apology”: “you apologize for having done this / thing that is still in the doing”. In creating this powerful testament to the humanity of those who have suffered at the hands of colonialism, the author has made a resolute call for the rectifying of wrongs which continue to this day, to this country’s shame. At a time in which discussions of what reconciliation is and should be are ongoing, Lisa Bird-Wilson’s The Red Files is a powerful, timely call to action, and comes highly recommended.

Write Night 2018

Hello and welcome to NōD!

Our team of editors for this year are eager to get to know all of you creative weirdos out there; come and hang out with us in the Arts Lounge on Thursday, November 8th starting at 6:00pm! If you like cool, open-minded people–join us! If you like to write (or not), join us! If you like tea or other water-based beverages, join us! Kick off the start of your reading week with a creative buzz that will last you through the weekend. Gather your pens and pencils; bring your friends with you and enjoy what the world of fiction has to offer.

We hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

The NōDitorial