Back Issues & Issue 21 Launch

Good morning! The countdown is on– only 57 hours until we gather with you lovely people at Shelf Life Books! Can you believe it’s so close? And you haven’t even picked up our last issue yet (or you got that one but not the one before it) and you were really meaning to get a copy before Issue 21 came out. Don’t worry about it–we’ve all been there, and that’s why we have a handy-dandy online shop! You don’t need to stress about tracking us down in our office at the UofC campus (especially if you’re from out of town)–you can purchase a back issue right from this blog post!

Here’s the link to our online shop:

If you want a back issue this is the place to get it because we won’t be carrying copies with us to the launch of Thursday. The link is also available anytime through our “shop” link on this website (right next to our “mandate” and “submission” buttons).

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Artwork by Lissa McFarland

Good evening everyone! Only a few days until the launch of Issue 21, and to get you as excited about it as we are, we’re giving you a teaser a day! Tomorrow is poetry, Wednesday is prose, so that means today it’s some visuals!

Today’s work is by Lissa McFarland, an ACAD student who works in multiple mediums (ink, watercolour, print media, and digital media). Her work engages with narrative to encourage the viewer to interact with the piece and fill in the story. Other pieces by her will be featured in Issue 21 and as the cover (which appears on our blog home page right now!)



“Selections From Detour” by Sacha Archer

Hello! How’s your Saturday night going? In need of a pick-me-up? Or Inspiration? Are you three drinks in and considering becoming a philosopher? Good- a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any/all of these questions means it’s time for you to read our latest Issue 21 teaser!

This is a conceptual piece by Canadian writer Sacha Archer. Sacha has received the P.K. Page Irwin Prize for his poetry and visual art in 2008, and in 2010 he participated in the Elise Partridge Mentor Program. You can check out other work by him in our past issues, as well as in filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, and Experiment-O. He has also published two chapbooks- Dishwashing Event, Part One: Tianjin, China (no press, 2016) and Dishwashing Event, Part Two: Ontario (Puddles of Sky Press, 2016). And you should be on the lookout for his forthcoming chapbooks- Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders) and Detour [D-1] (Spacecraft Press).

Detour is a conceptual translation of the Dao De Jing. ‘Dao,’ in the context of the Dao De Jing, is traditionally translated as the ‘Way’. This can be understood as a path. With Detour, I sent the text of the Dao De Jing on a detour, passing it through a number of automatic internet translators. Each section, passed back and forth and through the translators, was translated (altered, progressively lost and/or found) 81 times (81 being an auspicious number, and also the number of sections in the text). While the resultant text is a very different animal than the original, I can’t help but feel there is a fidelity of intent embedded in it.


In this world, but I hope that you will have to be certificate. The world should not be a guide, use this tool will not be able to guess what it is not possible. *

* If you have found any weight * , are willing to neglect to a period of similar to change his pants, convened the density in determining products, all suppliers must withdraw. *

* In the Middle East, mentally handicapped and fear, and social trends. * Fixed flights and other currencies, or from his trousers and Peace Committee, must be paid before his disciples.


Parker died, does not recognize the government officials forklift. Protection of the king of sports. The aircraft did not know in the world, she, her husband, in this case, the knowledge of the Committee, for example, the banks of the river signal.

“Little Desert Flower” by Michael Lee Johnson

Good evening! Here’s your regularly scheduled Thursday post: a teaser for next week’s launch! Just a reminder that we launch Issue 21 next week at Shelf Life–we’re looking forward to seeing you there at 7pm! Here’s a short poem by Michael Lee Johnson to get you in the mood for our upcoming readings!

Little Desert Flower 

Out of this poem

grows a little desert flower.

it is blue sorrow

it waits for your return.

You escape so you must from me

refuge, folded, wrapped in cool spring rain leaves-

avoiding July, August heat.

South wind hellfire burns memories within you,

branded I tattoo you, leave my mark,

in rose barren fields fueled with burned and desert stubble.

Yet I wait here, a loyal believer throat raw in thirst.

I wrest thunder gods gathering ritual-prayer rain.

It is lonely here grit, tears rub my eyes without relief.

Yet I catch myself loafing away in the wind waiting fate

to whisper those tiny messages

writer of this storm welded wings,

I go unnoticed but the burned eyes of red-tailed hawk

pinch of hope, sheltered by the doves.

I tip a toast to quench your thirst,

one shot of Tequila my little, purple, desert flower.

“Prep” & “Poem Left in the Car” by Thomas Pescatore

Good morning! We’re taking today as part of the long weekend and we hope you are too. But if you are working or schooling or doing other responsible adulting today then you should take a break (or start your day) with our latest Issue 21 teaser! And if you are extending your break, then you have all the time of the day to read these poems!

These two poems are by Thomas Pescatore, who you can sometimes see wandering along the Walt Whitman bridge or down the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row (unless you’re in Calgary and nowhere near these places that we assume are in the USA, then you can’t find him at all!). Although, if you are in his area, he might have left a poem or two behind to mark his trail. He maintains a poetry blog at:


metal hooks on set tracks
cross hatched beige dividers

wipe your body clean
and air dry

these socks prevent blood clots

they’re white
and the room is cold

it’s time to go

my ass is out and the gown in gray

purple marker masks my knee

the IV is in
blood has dripped

it’ll be an hour that becomes six months

once I sit down
I am no longer mine
I am the white walls
the anesthetic
the knife

induced sleep.


The poem left in the car

like a neon scarecrow
hanging on a road closed sign,

opposite a pond,
a flock of geese descend,

the road’s cracked rocks and gristle,

the pond stagnant and low,

in number the geese land silent splash in the sun

scarecrow hangs his head and groans.


“In Summer Bathtubs: acrylic corner bathtub in 1970’s-constructed Brentwood home, Calgary” by Emily Calder

Hello! We hope your long weekend is going well– we’re only half way through! This teaser is from Emily Calder, a U of C student whose work appeared in our Issue 20 and is also upcoming in Issue 21! This piece accompanies her prose piece that will be unveiled in our next issue, so you should come to our launch party on April 27 at Shelf Life books if you want to read more!

In Summer Bathtubs: acrylic corner bathtub in 1970’s-constructed Brentwood home, Calgary

Clyde the house spider, always an aficionado of human language, listened curiously to Lil’s phone conversation. He sat on the rim of the corner tub, in the ensuite off the master bedroom. He could see Lil, in her bathrobe and socks, pacing the bedroom floor.

His English spotty, Clyde worked out that Lil had gone out on a date the previous evening, and it had not gone well. The spider knew from previous reconnaissance that the woman was a widow.

“I suffer from crippling self-awareness,” came the only line that Clyde could comprehend completely, from beginning to end. If Clyde could write he would have written it down. A lovely, self-contained thought. His first full sentence in a second language.

Clyde often wished that spiders had history. If he could write books, he would have something to pass on to his offspring. But of course, who knew which of those passersby in the garden or the boiler room really were his offspring? An aspect of arachnid existence that gave all spiders a great sense of community, an understanding of working for something greater than themselves.

Lil’s eyes landed on Clyde and she started, stopping his reverie. Clyde braced himself. He scuttled away, but in an unfortunate direction. Lil’s disgusted face, and then nothing but the immensity of a bunched up wad of toilet paper, were the last things Clyde saw before he died.

“Gesticulation” by Faith Barrett

Hello and happy Easter! (You should be done your day for today, so we can start Easter now instead of tomorrow morning).

As an official kick-off to your long weekend (because you’re snowed in and can’t get to that party you planned on) have a poem by Faith Barrett. Faith is one of the University of Calgary’s own grad students, but she was originally from Toronto and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Waterloo.


Gesticulation is not for those

Who see their own flailing limbs

For those who tuck back in keep

their hands to their sides

Who spent years knitting themselves

Into their own shirts


You wagged a leg

And waved your hands

I knew it was good for you

But damn does it count as proprioception if by unerring

accident you find

My eyes

every time

“Flower in the Junkyard” Frank Rubino

Hello, and happy Monday! It’s the last week of the semester so we won’t bother you with a long intro to this teaser (except to say that you should check it out!).

Frank Rubino is a performing poet from New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and four children. He’s been active since 1982, with readings at numerous locations around New York. His work has appeared in Vending Machine, DMQ Review, The Cape Rock, Caliban Online, Caveat Lector, The World, Little Light, and New Directions.



Colored badges on the oatmeal lapels

of life’s apparatchiks,


soft power-gum in hotel-world’s puke carpets.


My eyes


hunt sparkle. Hints

of food or sex,

when my eyes

bring eventful color

to my brain.


Animals come to my eyes, they please me

in the Meadowlands, they make reflections

in the water.


The autocrat snows.

Whitened at the end,

when it’s the big shootout.


Sight flips the upside-down,

reverses the backwards,


catches the line

with the fish.


Like the time

Giuliani wore a ball gown and pulled Trump’s

nose into his bosom.

“Should’ve Been a Cowboy” Neshan Tung

Good Evening! (Good Morning?) This teaser goes out to everyone who’s drowning their sorrows about finals (essays and exams) in too many vices and have yet to go to sleep, those of you who are ignoring said essays and finals, and to everyone else out there (awake or asleep). You do you, and we’ll keep doing this!

This teaser is a visual by Neshan Tung, who has two other pieces that will be featured in Issue 21!


“A Mata Hari Ripe for a Poem” Katherine Holm

Hello, sorry about being a little late with this teaser. You know those days when your homework is glaring at you and you really should just get it done, but instead you decide to go for a hike in the mountains (far, far away from your computer), and when you get back home you decide to have a bottle of wine to further avoid your homework? Well, that may or may not have happened, and that may or may not be why yesterday’s post didn’t happen until now. But it’s not all bad– now you get a post today, and another one tomorrow!

Today’s teaser is by Katherine Holm, a poet and emerging theater artist in Calgary. She is a drama graduate student at the university of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, with a specialization in Theater Studies. For her interdisciplinary MFA thesis, Katherine is studying artistic responses to landscape.

A Mata Hari Ripe For A Poem

A Mata Hari ripe for a poem—

she is the essence

glory bound and unyielding,

forthcoming with her body,

a connecting element

dissevered from the greater picture.

The mutinous harmony

of her delicate veins,

the fleshy enemy

swollen and paranoid

from imbibing the impossible rules

that govern her beauty.

Decreed by the feeble-minded

she disobeys her figure and she breaks her form,

her constitution extending as far as it will go.

Primal fear is fused,

her blood coagulating,

following the perfect symmetry

of reckless dancing.

Her lungs are expanding

dropping wet pearls over soft skin,

she is open to the call

and to the impossible tenderness of straying limbs.

A Mata Hari ripe for a reverie—

an enigma, a fury, a contradiction

bundled tightly into a spiralling coil of energy.

She melts like hot wax

dramatically declared dead, red

with spiral spun palms facing up,

raised to a tapestry sky

tangled with the threads of an exquisite dream.