Archives for posts with tag: Canadian authors

Stephen
What-or-Who?
by Carol A. Stephen

A simple knock at the front door
in a tempo of anybody-home?
segues to an urgency of fist
against steel, a tremor of glass,
an I-know-you’re-in-there! pounding.

I stop halfway down the stairs, curiosity
elbowed away by fear of what-I’ll-find
when I turn the handle, release the lock—
I tiptoe over tiles, slide slowly into
the windowed room beside the door,
turn louvered blinds to crack daylight:
what-or-who is hammering outside?

I see only a cast shadow, someone standing
too close to the door to be seen.
A long-dead-grandmother voice whispers
Never open the door to strangers.

 I tremble behind concealing blinds
in a sweat of what-comes-next
remembering the family rules:

Don’t ever trust other women.
Pretend that you’re not home, and—sssshhh!
Never tell your mother grandma’s secrets.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What-or-Who? was inspired by a childhood memory of my grandmother, who always whispered that we pretend we weren’t home, and how such childhood memories might inform our experiences, fears and behaviours as adults.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol A. Stephen’s poetry appears in Poetry Is Dead, June 2017, and numerous print publications, including Wintergreen Studios chapbooks, Sound Me When I’m Done and Teasing the Tongue. Online poems appear at Silver Birch Press, Topology Magazine, The Light Ekphrastic, and With Painted Words.  She won third prize in the CAA National Capital Writing Contest, and was featured in Tree’s Hot Ottawa Voices.  She served on the board for Canadian Authors Association-NCR and co-directed Ottawa’s Tree Reading Series. She has five chapbooks, two released in 2018 — Unhook, catkin press, Carleton Place, and Lost Silence of the Small, Local Gems Press, Long Island, NY.  In 2019, Winning the Lottery, Surviving Clostridium Difficile was published by Crowe Creations.ca.

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I will write past the page that occasions my end
by J.R. McConvey

age happened
speculative, fiction
more than half human

improved in some ways
backwards in look
and then state by state

things are more open
clamping down on anything
overall

just a person
a year and a half ago
nobody would believe

this specific story
keeping clean problems
despite many books

I couldn’t face
their waterfront still
for young people

untenable questions
running, threatened
a deluge of

communications
in the north, in nature
at the end of survival

fluff under the bed
stretches out, a novel
three or four years

I’m not going to talk
about things
I’m not finished

SOURCE: Interview with Margaret Atwood, Toronto Star (September 5, 2014).

PHOTO: Margaret Atwood by Marta Iwanek, Toronto Star, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  For Canadian writers, Margaret Atwood has attained the status of a deity. The process of her physical aging has been inversely proportional to the sense that she has attained a kind of unparalleled techno-literary immortality: she has mastered Twitter, invented a robotic arm to remotely autograph copies of her books, and recently signed on as the first author to have work archived in the Future Library. Much of the media attention given to the release of her new collection of stories, Stone Mattress, has centered on her age. (Atwood will turn 75 in November.) I find it interesting to ponder what mortality means to a writer whose legacy and spirit are certain to endure for at least 100 years, probably more. Does Atwood fear death? Does she experience age as an indignity, as many seem to, or does her acknowledged literary mastery contribute to a sense that she has mastered life itself, and is therefore more prepared to meet its end? Will she concede to death—or will she tell Thanatos himself to go stuff it as he meekly asks her to sign his copy of The Handmaid’s Tale?

JRM

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J.R. McConvey is a writer based in Toronto. His fiction and poetry has appeared in Joyland, The Puritan, The Danforth Review, The Found Poetry Review, The Pulitzer Remix, The Broken City, and Paragon, and his journalism has been published in The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, The National Post, and other outlets. His stories have been shortlisted for the Matrix LitPOP award and the Thomas Morton Prize, and his novella, The Last Ham, was published as an e-book by House of Anansi in 2013. He is also a Genie and Gemini-winning writer and producer of documentaries, including the cross-platform National Parks Project. He is on Twitter @jrmcconvey and online at jrmcconvey.wordpress.com.

margaret_atwood
WRITING GRACE
by Susan Beem

I came upon a story
that bothered me,
so I used gaps,
things suggested
to invent names,
confessions.
People set down
a version of events,
leave out things you
most like to know.
It’s difficult to discover
the beginning
the steamy ―
Tom, a mistress,
Grace.

I went looking for her grave ―
my English point of view
that going to Canada
is the same as death,
that it was scandal
to be murdered.
What you get now
is rumor in place of unknown,
reform for victims, digression
about immigrants.
Always a story behind the story,
partial knowledge, a shape,
a crime.

SOURCE: Margaret Atwood interview by Deborah Rozen (1997) posted on a Random House Blog  <bold type>.

IMAGE: Author Margaret Atwood.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Beem is a retired family physician who lives in Long Beach, California, and has been writing poetry for about 10 years with the help of local workshops. Her poems have been published by Verdad, Ekphrasis, Turtle Quarterly, Song of the San Joaquin, Bank Heavy Press, Medusa’s Laugh, and included in several themed anthologies.