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Issue 4, Volume 17 | April 2020

Issue 210, spring 2020

Upcoming Issue

Featuring Open Season Award winners Joshua Whitehead (creative nonfiction, "Who Names the Rez Dog Rez?"), Ajith Thangavelautham (fiction, "Moonbird"), and Patrick Grace (poetry, "A Violence"), as well as poetry by Manahil Bandukwala, Tania De Rozario, Ayaz Pirani, Christine Wu, Hollie Adams, Bradley Peters, Kevin Shaw, Rob Taylor, Judy LeBlanc, Melissa Spohr Weiss, Joseph Dandurand, Zhu Jian (translated by Yi Zhe), Zuo You (translated by Yi Zhe), Edward Carson, and Matthew Gwathmey; fiction by Emi Kodama, Emma Wunsch, and Rachel Jansen; creative nonfiction by Glen Downie and  Stephanie Harrington; and more!         

Far Horizons Award for Poetry Book Prize    

Far Horizons Award for Poetry Book Prize

In addition to the $1,000 CAD prize, we're giving away a book prize to one lucky entrant! All you have to do is submit your work to the contest, and you'll be automatically entered to win. After the deadline, we'll pull one name from the list of submitters.

Ledi by Kim Trainor
Book*hug Press, 2018

Braille Rainbow by Mike Barnes
Biblioasis, 2019

Hope Matters by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb, Tania Carter
Book*hug Press, 2019

PERFACT by Nicole Raziya Fong
Talonbooks, 2019

Read the full guidelines.

Winter Issue Book Review

This Wicked Tongue by Elise Levine

This incredibly varied collection, Elise Levine’s second, is a series of departures, reinventions, and reckonings. Some of the most challenging stories, narratively, contain the most memorable voices and images, while what seem to be more straightforward narratives from the outset often turn out to be anything but. [...] The jacket copy describes Levine’s characters as confronting “the abject aspects of their inner geographies, mining them for gems,” and the final story seemed to me among the purest instances of that. It begins, “After, we exited the mountain. Fog grizzled the road. The tins on our backs clapped.” Later: “That night we lit a fire and toasted Pretty’s tattered right foot.” Then: “A Great Lake later, we roasted M’s heart.” I came out the other side baffled and bewitched.

Read the full review by Kate Kennedy. 

CanLit for Your Reading List

New and Noteworthy

Review space may be limited in our quarterly magazine, but we’re delighted to share this list of new Canadian books.  

Read the full list of new and noteworthy Canadian titles.

Four Weeks Left to Submit!

Far Horizons Award for Poetry 2020

Calling all emerging poets! Submit your best for a chance to win $1000 (CAD). Entry fee is reduced to a special price. The Far Horizons Award for Poetry is specifically for emerging poets—eligible writers have yet to publish their poetry in book form.

Entry fee (comes with a one-year print subscription):
$25 CAD for Canadian entries
$30 USD for entries from the USA
$35 USD for entries from elsewhere

Additional entries cost $15 CAD from anywhere, no limit!

This year's judge is Yusuf Saadi. (Click his name to read an interview with him!)

Full contest guidelines available on TMR's website.


Interviews with 2020's Open Season Award Winners

Joshua Whitehead (cnf) 

Joshua WhiteheadMalahat Review volunteer and past work-study student Safiya Hopfe talks with the 2020 Open Season Award winner about ethical storytelling, writing as exorcism, and the truth he’s trying to interrogate in his cnf work. Read “Who Names the Rez Dog Rez?” in our upcoming spring issue #210.


SH: This piece seems to explore stories as body-memory and earth-memory. You declare that “muscles remember” early in the piece, later referencing the “roots of me, an ecosystem of pain.” What role do you think writing plays in understanding, releasing, and healing the stories held in flesh?

JW: I think writing can be an exorcism of sorts, one that rather than removing a revenant from the structure of one’s home, or body, it asks, least of all for me, to think of pain or joy or wounds or scars as kin I house and am accountable for; it asks me to rethink my mental health as ancestral knowledge in lieu of thinking of it as a virus to a host. Like, what does anxiety protect me from? How does insomnia craft worlds in dreamscapes? How does an eating disorder account for intergenerational wounding? In order to do this, I find myself having to invoke nêhiyâw laws: wâhkohtowin, miyopimâtisowin, pimâtisiwin—that is, I live my life through the enactment of accountable interconnectivity to all relations: human, non-human, the genomic, the affective and all of this, folded together, allows me to enact “the good life.” Such that, when I think of the word body, it cracks open into a web of signs: my body, the river body, the mountain body, the prairie body, the rez dog and the multiplicity of wounds that all ache to storytell from clogged pores and ingrown hairs. Does writing release? Perhaps, but I prefer to think that writing sutures so as to make space for one to live wholly in a body whose zipper is missing teeth.

Read the rest of Joshua's interview on TMR's website.


Patrick Grace (poetry)

Patrick GraceMalahat Review volunteer Paige Lindsay talks with the 2020 Open Season Award winner about where malice originates, poetry in its most raw form, and the final moments of a relationship that are at the centre of his winning poem. Read "A Violence" in our upcoming
spring issue #210.


PL: When I first read “A Violence,” I was immediately drawn in by the rhythm, line breaks, and repetitions. As Open Season Award poetry judge A. Light Zachary writes in their blurb about your poem, it is “[a] master class in line breaks—each one a sharp little tooth—and epistrophe.” Would you share with us your thoughts on your use of these structural techniques in your work in general and this poem in particular?

PG: I appreciated A. Light Zachary’s comments on my poem—each line as sharp, especially. This poem was originally part of a longer sequence where I challenged myself to be rid of punctuation and long lines. Break the ends unknowingly, hang the lines as micro statements, mini questions, my own ruminations standalone. The repetition was intentional. Violence is repetitive. I chose the same words repeated over many lines in different scenarios to mimic violence and the many faces it wears. “Courage” as a stand-in for the artifacts we use to fight back. “Violence” as a stand-in for my abuser’s real name. “Believe,” because in the after, it’s still not over. I can’t speak for other victims of assault or abuse, physical or emotional or otherwise, but trying to convince a male police officer of my story was the last thing I wanted to do. And so I appreciated A. Light Zachary’s other comment, further lifting the line: “it’s always a man.” A man I escaped from, another man I ran to. It’s maddening, this endless circle of men, and I tried to imbue the poem with this same sense of circularity, returning to familiar images or questions with no clear answers.

Read the rest of Patrick's interview on TMR's website.


Ajith Thangavelautham (fiction)

Ajith ThangavelauthamMalahat Review  Marketing and Promotions work-study student Michelle Ha talks with the 2020 Open Season Award winner about how he built his story, the strengths and shortcomings of family, and how his piece was written with his siblings in mind. Read "Moonbird" in our upcoming spring issue #210.


MH: Your short fiction touches on the theme of family, as well as the duality of first- and second-generation immigrants. In writing “Moonbird,” was there a message or collective understanding on these themes you wished to convey in your story?

AT: I had been thinking about the concept of family for a while, its strengths and shortcomings, particularly in the South Asian diaspora. What obligations (if any) do we have to family and the culture, history, and legacy it entails? How do we cope with values that don’t resonate, but are branded on our skin regardless; how do these scars manifest themselves? Why does this intergenerational trauma exist, has it always existed, and how do we end the cycle? This “we” very clearly represents the younger generation. Since they probably won’t read this interview I don’t mind saying that “Moonbird” was written with my siblings in mind, and I aimed to provide some measure of guidance and direction for them when pondering these questions. My hope is that, even with the biases inherent in this writing, readers of all ages and experiences can derive some level of compassion for misunderstood loved ones, including themselves.

Read the rest of Ajith's interview on TMR's website.

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