Vallum Chapbook Series

All titles are available for sale in Vallum's online store.

   

String Practice

by Jan Zwicky

Jan Zwicky’s String Practice is an astounding collection of poems ranging in theme from desire, to music, to loneliness, and to other lovely meditations on the nature of love, death and reflection; “Is dying/that hard? Its horizon/is the same shape as your life,” she asks. The complexity of emotion and thought conjured by the poems in Zwicky’s book leaves the reader breathless, with lines such as “a tenderness we cannot teach perhaps/until we die – that leaving from which/there is no return,” or “the road/unreadable now.” One cannot help but absorb the beauty of these poems, with the musical references throughout adding more depth and resonance, so that the collection exudes an almost ethereal quality.

“Our century is breath
on a winter night, or late thin
cloud, the moon. This music
is the earth’s inaudible revolve
through space: horizon
draws back like a curtain.”     – Jan Zwicky

Jan Zwicky lives on Quadra Island, off the coast of British Columbia. A new edition of Lyric Philosophy, her discussion of the nature and importance of lyric thinking, is now available from Brush Education. McGill-Queens released Alkibiades’ Love, a collection of essays, in 2015.

To read an excerpt click HERE.

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL. Order yours now HERE

"Zwicky plays words like they’re an instrument." - Broken Pencil

Sonnets On a Night Without Love

by Yusuf Saadi

Sonnets On a Night Without Love, by Yusuf Saadi, is a meditative collection of poems on love, loss and longing. Divided in two sections, the emotional cadence of the poems move to an interior space where the poet questions meaning and personal connection in an otherwise emotionless world. "On autumn nights the city judges me," he writes. "...A minute is tortured./Lifetimes breed under each fingernail and wait to explode."  But the strength of this chapbook is its tenderness and focus on meaningful union with the other. 

"...I wish I could touch you--
not like two electrons repulsing nor within
the semiotics of language but hold you
how I hold a hand when I'm afraid--
and close my eyes when you're naked."

    – Yusuf Saadi

Yusuf Saadi’s writing has appeared in magazines including The Malahat Review, Grain, Prairie Fire, PRISM, and Vallum. He also won The Malahat Review’s 2016Far Horizons Poetry Award. He recently completed his MA at the University of Victoria.

To read an excerpt click HERE.

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL. Order yours now HERE!

"...rich in rhythm and sensual language and ideas." - Word Music Blog

"The intimate mood...demands a hushed and reverent reading — like the text is being whispered in confidence." - Broken Pencil

"Sonnets on a Night Without Love is the best kind of chapbook: to the reader who lacks ambition or fears commitment, it offers poetry in an unintimidating and digestible quantity, one that somehow feels at once lighter and more concentrated than a conventionally sized volume." - The Montreal Review of Books


   

Veinte

by Vincent Pagé

Veinte, by Vincent Pagé, is an inspired re-visioning of Pablo Neruda’s 1969  book, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair—a re-organization of content to form new, incisive poems. Pagé writes with a strong energy boosted by Neruda’s backdrop, and creates a nostalgic collection of poems reflecting love’s passages. A powerful voice, addictive in its sincerity.

“my talk sealed your bright mouth,
a sound does not reach me.

i hear you in stillness—things emerge
from things; a butterfly, a dream.” 

    – Vincent Pagé

Vincent Pagéis a writer living in Toronto. He has work published in Event, The Malahat Review, Prism, Geist, The Feathertale Review, Plenitude, and the Mackinac, among other journals. He is currently at work on his first collection of poems.

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL. Order yours now HERE

"Pagé’s writing takes love to the abstract. Less explicit, more emotion." - wildness blog

Larix

by Don McKay

Larix is masterful portrayal of the stirrings of the natural world. Away from bustling cityscapes, the beauty of nature is captured with precise and immediate sensitivity, which transposes the reader into the wood landscapes that are envisioned. Don McKay asks in “Lurch:” “Who can sing the mystery of what actually occurs?” Without question, he can, bringing us to a deeper communion with what it means to breathe with the living. 

“We live between eroding raindrops
and accelerating clocks. The piano
lifts its lid to show its wire-and-hammer
heart." 

    – Don McKay

Don McKay has published numerous books of poetry and several books of essays. The poetry has been recognized with a number of awards, including two Governor General's Awards and the Griffin Poetry Prize. His most recent book of essays, The Shell of the Tortoise, received the BMO Winterset Award for Excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador Writing for 2011. Paradoxides, his most recent book of poems, includes meditations on geology and deep time, while pursuing ongoing obsessions with birds and tools. His collected poems, Angular Unconformity, appeared in 2014. He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL. Order yours now HERE!

"...there’s an obvious and long­developed elegance to these poems that no doubt mirrors the elegance he sees in the wild." - Broken Pencil

The Montreal Book of the Dead

by Mary di Michele

"Envisioning the passage of time under the “full and unwaning” moon of Mont Royal’s beacon cross, di Michele recalls her Italian immigrant parents in Toronto and her current life in Montreal. This sequence, a sort of decameron, written with her customary brightness and gracefulness of diction, concludes at a deserted customs office where no one wants to see her passport: the truly borderless place of poetry itself. "
– Sharon Thesen

Poet, novelist, and member of the collaborative writing group, Yoko's Dogs, Mary di Michele is author of eleven books including a selected poems, Stranger in You, Oxford University Press 1995, and the novel, Tenor of Love, Viking Canada, Simon & Schuster USA 2005. She lives in Montreal where she teaches at Concordia University. Her most recent books are The Flower of Youth, Pier Paolo Pasolini Poems, ECW Press, 2011, and with Yoko's Dogs, Whisk, Pedlar Press 2013. Awards include first prize, CBC literary competition, the Air Canada Writing Award, and The Malahat Review long poem.

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL. Order yours now HERE!

A Remarkable Grey Horse

by John Kinsella & Thurston Moore

"A Remarkable Grey Horse is collaborative writing at its best. What could be more exciting for poetry than the collision of skateboards, Doris Day, punk rock, lighthouses, spume, skuzz, and Rimbaud?!" 

"These poems start in Dolphy's key + end with a quarryman's dream. In between secrets are stored. See how many you can find."
– Clark Coolidge

Thurston Moore, born 1958, is a writer/musician currently residing in London. Founder of experimental rock group Sonic Youth and publisher/editor of imprints Flowers & Cream and Ecstatic Peace Library. Teaches summer writing workshops at Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado, USA. Solo recordings under his own name include Psychic Hearts, Trees Outside the Academy, Demolished Thoughts, Chelsea Light Moving and The Best Day.

John Kinsella's many books of poetry include Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems, Armour, and Jam Tree Gully. He has written numerous books of fiction and criticism, edited others, and taught poetry and literature in the USA, UK, Australia and France. He has also written for the theatre and has frequently worked in collaboration with other writers, musicians and visual artists over the last thirty years.

To read excerpts clicke HERE.

Available in DIGITAL only. Order yours now HERE!

A Tilt in the Wondering

by Nicole Brossard

Blending meaning and language, thought and ideas, English and French, A Tilt In The Wondering intimately confuses understanding and the basis by which we judge our own reality. Writing as if the words themselves could vanish, Brossard fires question after question as if to explore the very nature of existence beyond time and presence. Divided into several poems, which appear to function as sections of the larger work, the language and imagery of each blends into the next and further confounds the already fragile distinctions between the pieces. This leaves the reader with the sense that there is “no real physical space in between/ but a sense of words falling.”

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL.

Globe Hotel and Inner City Poems

by John Kinsella

In Globe Hotel and Inner City Poems, John Kinsella explores both the physical dimensions and power dynamics of the city. From the "patterns of exclusion" to the "horseshoe bridge" where "gargoyle swans smile like city mascots," Kinsella simultaneously maps the landscape of the city and the unnamed speaker's psyche.

John Kinsella is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and prose, including another chapbook previously published by Vallum. His most recent volume of poetry is Jam Tree Gully (WW Norton, 2011). He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, as well as a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia.

Available in PRINT only. Order yours now HERE!

Rules for Sadness

by Jason Camlot

Through a blend of satire, wit and detachment, Jason Camlot’s Rules for Sadness refers to mourning and times of bereavement. Camlot takes the mundane, the innocent and imbues it with new meaning. He uses colloquialisms and surprising imagery to challenge and interpret contemporary notions of death and sadness. Anaphora reigns in this chapbook, and is perhaps even more powerful than Death. For Death personified often remains elusive: death “can’t sing...can’t paint...can’t play drums...can’t skateboard”. Loss is the topic here, and that which is lost is never made explicit. The use of non-referent pronouns says so little and yet so much, as do Camlot’s apostrophic letters to Death himself. And after all, through irony’s immortality, one finds that there is whimsy in death.

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Recurring Awakening

by Franz Wright

Recurring Awakening tilts precariously on the threshold of dream and waking reality, resting neither in physical, sensory experience nor bodiless spatial exploration. In this collection of poems and prose, Franz Wright traverses time and space, visiting the stars, childhood and the unexplored microcosm of the buds of a familiar peach tree. From a place of solitude, he urgently asks large and largely unanswerable questions directed at nobody, everybody and you. He comes to meet his own mortality and mutely inquires the validity of his existence altogether. As he draws back to observe present reality and painful memories, Wright’s words taste bitter and cold. Then, soon enough, he takes to the curious exploration of both the minutely detailed and infinitely expansive. Pages turn over like someone inspecting his own hands, asking, “I am still here. Aren’t I?”

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little pink book

by Claire Huot & Robert Majzels

Though the cover pre-supposes a fun, maybe even cute, little pink book, Claire Huot and Robert Majzels’ collection of translated Chinese poetry is sudden and subtly challenging. Each poem is laid out in a dense series of boxes: rows of 17 and columns of 5, housing individual letters and ignoring spacing and punctuation. Do not expect a soft, gentle introduction, disclaimer or preface. Sit in the winter sunshine on a hardwood floor and let the words play out.

You will be immediately confronted by the work; the words “weight” and “death” two of the first to be quietly mouthed as you re-learn the shapes and sounds of once familiar words. This first poem might be read in a single breath, with little need to skip back. As you continue, though, you cannot avoid the misreading, re-calculating, starting again, starting again. “weal... no, we allk, no, we all know...”. You struggle through simply getting the words, then twenty seconds and 85 individually boxed letters later it’s over, and some form of meaning seeps in. The words feel impersonal, even when “my” and “i” are introduced, with a kind of objective, detached confidence rarely seen in western poetry. Though the weight and intensity of the poems varies, the restriction of time, breath and space for each piece is constant, creating a sort of framework for the experience.

The little pink book is part of the 85 Project by Claire Huot and Robert Majzels, which challenges and questions the ethics of translation through experiments and performances using various forms of media. Learn more the project at 85bawu.com

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The Gospel of X

by George Elliott Clarke

 

An excerpt from an "epic-in-progress" Canticles: Hymns of the African Baptist Association, The Gospel of X is a beautifully written long poem. Taking the point of view of Jesus, three time award winner Clarke employs dialect to tell the story of the crucifixion in an imaginative, contemporary manner. Punctuating elevated language with commonplace diction, The Gospel of X depicts Jesus' innermost thoughts/ponderings, from his suspect paternity and father's moodiness, to years of wandering the desert yearning to be with Mary Magdalene, to questioning his decision to "orate or else deteriorate" prior to his end.

George Elliott Clarke (1960-) was raised in the African United Baptist Church Association of Nova Scotia, founded in 1853. His Whylah Falls (1990) received the Archibald Lampmann Award for Poetry; his Excecution Poems (2000) took the Governor-General's Award for Poetry; and his Blues and Bliss: The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke (2008), edited by Jon Paul Fiorentino, won the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry. His newest book is I & I (2009), a verse novel.

Available in PRINT and DIGITAL. Order yours now HERE!

Points of Departure

by Julian Gobert

 

 

A series of memorable short poems that revolve around modest moments made clever and curious. From the conundrum of falling in love with a reptile with a human heart to urbanized polar bears, Gobert offers insights on every day life through twisting average gestures into something more. While some poems read as exquisite inventories, others edify the reader. Gobert occupies various perspectives and offers sensory scenes set in public spaces(such as the metro, the market, the office and the cemetery). This collection accomplishes what all good writing should; it captures the ordinary and conveys it as extraordinary.

Julian Gobert is a writer, composer and filmaker originally from Mosse Jaw, SK and currently living in Toronto. He received a BMus from McGill University and an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College in Oakland, California. His poetry has previously appearing in Prism International, CV2, dANDelion, The Nashwaak Review, and Prairie Fire.

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Songs for the Pocket Anatomist

by Sandy Pool & Blair Prentice

Sandy Pool holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and is a doctoral condidate in English a the University of Calgary. Her writing has been published anthologies across Canada. Her first book of poetry, Exploding into Night, was published by Guernica Editions in 2009 and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Poetry.

Blair Prentice is a Canadian artist living in New York City. Songs for the Pocket Anatomist is part of an ongoing series of collaborations he has completed with poet Sandy Pool. More of his artwork can be found online at blairprentice.blogspot.com

Available in PRINT only.

Poet On A Train

by John Kinsella

Described by the author as “an open formalism,” Poet in a Train follows the speaker’s journey through Australia on a long train ride. Initially grounded in the reality of the trip, Kinsella moves from images of smokers lighting up in the bathrooms of the train to considering the language outside of speech. The “intensely blue-bushed” surroundings cause the speaker to dissect language – “it’s a matter of vowels / and the language outside of speech.” Kinsella perfectly captures the way one’s mind meanders while travelling by train. As the stanzas progress, the “unmapped” topography of the Australian countryside sends the poet on a winding train of thought, where the landscape shapes the course of imagination.

John Kinsella is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and prose.  His most recent volumes of poetry include Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems (W. W. Norton, 2003) and Divine Comedy: Journeys Through A Regional Geography (W.W. Norton, 2008).  He has taught at Kenyon College, is an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, as weel as a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. 

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Art Of Fugue

by Jan Zwicky

 

In Art of Fugue, a focused offering from the Governor General Award winner, Jan Zwicky explores loneliness and death through the repetition of stark, striking images. Painful, but undeniably beautiful, Zwicky evokes powerful emotions through simple language and sparse details. Seemingly mundane images intimately connect readers to the speaker. Using brief sections, this long poem quietly sketches loss and anguish, rendering them at once both universal and terrifyingly personal.

Jan Zwicky - poet, essayist, philosopher, musician.  Her passions for music and philosophy are often the focus of her poetic work, and her theoretical essays call attention to these overlaps.  She won the Governor General's Award for Songs for Relinquishing the Earth (Brick Books).  She currently teaches philosophy at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and works as an editor for Brick Books.

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Hotel Dieu: Letters to Madame Lee

by CJ Pellerin

Canadian talent, CJ Pellerin, freefalls into the psyche with short and urgent staccato verse, in his chapbook HOTEL DIEU: LETTERS TO MADAME LEE. The chapbook is driven by a desire to end illnesses like alcoholism. The sparse language and rhythmic character of the poems serve to immerse readers fully into this world. Peppered with glimpses of Montreal and the speaker’s life outside of the hospital, these poems, built through the use of carefully chosen details, resonate with emotion.

CJ Pellerin holds a B.A. and a B.Ed. from St. Mary’s University. He is a sailor, a carpenter and, due to life perpetuators, a muse-ician.

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Address

by Franz Wright

Franz Wright is the author of some 20 books of poetry and translations, including Walking to Martha's Vineyard, which received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His recent book, published by Knopf in 2006, is called God's Silence. He lives in Massachusetts.

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Ariana's Threads

by Helen Zisimatos

Helen Zisimatos is a co-founding editor of Vallum: contemporary poetry. She has been a finalist for the National Magazine Awards and the Santa Fe Writer's Project. She lives in Montréal.

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Tramp

by Fanny Howe

Fanny Howe has written numerous books of poetry and fiction, including the recent collection of stories, Economics. Her most recent collection of poetry, On The Ground, was short-listed for the Griffin Prize. She is a past recipient of the Lenore Marshall Award for Poetry and of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in New England.

To read excerpts clicke HERE.

Available in DIGITAL only. Order yours now HERE!

 

 

To purchase any of our chapbooks, please visit Vallum's online store HERE!

 

 



 

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