Too often poetry can seem an inaccessible medium for the casual reader. Within the layers of poetry, a person unfamiliar with the style could feel alienated, even belittled by the writer. My Name Is Romero avoids this trap, providing an accessible experience with conversational, fast-paced, and intimate lines reminiscent of spoken word poetry. If not for the ink on the page, a reader could forget they are reading poetry and not listening to a friend speak of their experiences as a Mexican-American. The movement of the poetry tears down barriers between the colloquial and the literary. Speaking in a deeply authentic mode, the poems work best as an immersion into history and family.
My Name Is Romero opens with self-exploration and progresses into a dance between culture and language, the self and history. Poems flank each other: one spitting and unflinching in anger and emotion surrounding systemic racism, the other about burritos. This juxtaposition heightens both poems to incredible intensity. The most memorable poems employ longer lines, allow prolonged metaphor, and weave English and Spanish together for sonic and thematic effect. The largest criticism is not the content, as the over arching story is both vibrant and engaging, but of some stylistic features. Where the poems excel are in their unhurried examination of personal identity through metaphor, especially interweaving imagery of cultural foods while setting the dueling languages of English and Spanish free to play. However, the book leaves these poignant methods to address Donald Trump, racism, and other complex topics head-on, which minimizes the poetic attributes of those specific pieces. Conversely, this potentially contributes to the book’s accessibility for new readers, as these poems are light in poetic device and so are more immediately understood. The experience is well suited to a casual reader, or a person seeking to educate themselves on the complexities of identity in the United States. This holds especially true with the conversational tone held throughout, as this book serves to engage and befriend the reader, while educating on broad historical and personal topics.
There is much to enjoy in My Name Is Romero. The broader story spits vibrant anger as it exposes systemic, historical, and interpersonal racism. Yet, it speaks of love, hardship, all with a spark of humour. The final poems strike an emotional chord, a conclusion to a story between friends. The intimacy and readability of Romero’s book remains a valuable expansion of Latinx art and history.
You can find RSVP information for this Zoom event on Facebook (check out our page!). Those attending the launch will also receive a free PDF copy of the issue. We’re incredibly excited and very much looking forward!
We are thrilled to be able to say that NōD Magazine’s 26th issue will be launched on January 9th, 2021. Given the very much ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the launch event for this issue will be taking place online. More details will be available shortly, and you can follow us on Instagram and Twitter to stay fully up to date. We couldn’t be more excited to share the amazing contents of this issue with you – save the date, and we’re looking forward!
Hey all! We just wanted to give you an update as far as the status of our upcoming 26th issue, within the context of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that this update is incredibly belated at this point, and we apologize sincerely – like everyone else, we have been collectively and individually beset by all manner of chaos during these times, but we still wish that we had been far more prompt in addressing the status of the journal. We want to assure you that NōD 26 is still going ahead, and that we are incredibly excited for you to see all the wonderful things the issue contains. This being said, due to a variety of logistical issues arising from the pandemic (and, notably, the subsequent closure of the University of Calgary campus), the launch of NōD 26 will be delayed until the fall. We will be making a concrete decision closer to that time (fully in line with all health rules and precautions) as to whether a physical launch is feasible, or whether we will need to take alternate measures. We will be sending emails to all contributors advising them of these changes in the very near future. We thank you very sincerely for your patience and understanding, and we hope that you’re as excited as we are to see this wonderful new issue of NōD out in the world. We’re wishing you the best for health and safety!
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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.
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.