Kateryna Kobylianska is a Ukrainian abstract artist based in Montreal. With a portfolio featuring over 20 exhibitions worldwide, she has been pushing her artistic limits since 2018. She is getting inspired by nature, cultural theories, and the whole wild ride of human thoughts and behavior. The artwork: “A big bird flying away from the small cage”

FEATURED VALLUM CHAPBOOK:

RECURRING AWAKENING by FRANZ WRIGHT “Franz wrote fearlessly about mental illness, addiction, and loneliness, as well as about faith and the unending beauty of his world, no matter how broken; he never wrote a line that wasn’t fiercely important to him, musical, as witty as it was deadly serious. Franz lived for poetry—at times it seemed […]

INTERVIEW WITH ROSIE LONG DECTER AND VALLUM CHAPBOOK-WINNER MAYA CLUBINE

From the Immediate to the Timeless: A Conversation with Maya Clubine

Life Cycle of a Mayfly chronicles more than the life of a river bug. Maya Clubine’s collection, winner of the 2023 Vallum Chapbook Award, takes mayflies as a departure point for thinking about ecosystems, interdependence, and the lessons that we pass down through generations. Clubine considers the growth of a fly from nymph to imago alongside changing seasons, bird migrations, a father’s passing, a daughter’s return. Along the way, cycles tangle like a fishing line. In this interview, critic Rosie Long Decter talks with Clubine about structure, repetition, and the relationship between the cosmic and the minute.   

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Vallum Chapbook Award 2024 | Submissions are open

Submissions for our Vallum Chapbook Award 2024 are now open!

WINNING CHAPBOOK: PUBLICATION + $300

ENTRY FEE:
$25 for Canadian entrants, $30 for U.S. and international entrants. Submissions and payments are processed through Vallum’s Submittable account.

Check out Vallum’s new Chapbooks 2023

Exciting News: Two New Vallum Chapbooks Now Available! 📚We are thrilled to announce the release of two captivating chapbooks that have been carefully crafted by talented poets. These gems are now available for you

2023 Poetry Award | SHORTLIST

We are thrilled to announce our short list for the 2023 Vallum Poetry Award. It was a pleasure to read everyone’s work and we are awash in gratitude and admiration for these poets gracing us with their work. Congratulations to the shortlisted poets!       Murray Mann, “How I Kept My Pace With The […]

Willow Loveday Little | GALATEA FEELS FEAR FIRST

A pull so she pivots on her heel. There’s a little girl clutching a book.
Galatea smiles consciously, imagines the process of petrification.
The girl’s eyes are a dark name scratched in an oak tree.
I read about you in art class. You’re my favourite. Medusa is too.

Madelaine Caritas Longman | BREATHING, NOT COUNTING

after the deluge, there’s the quiet. one colour
blue, an eyeless blank sky where i once felt your mind
close over my own like water in water.
death was a circle i broke when i surfaced,
emptiness splintering down on my shoulders — light
falls all over me, not passing though.

Rachael Cain | ERASURE

I’ve started carefully extracting you from family photos. Slice/slash. Thankfully scissors. Thankfully fire for a last labour of lost love, I blacken your aching silhouette ‘til that one shot becomes a queen sized bed, my small frame curled against a shapeless ghost. Do you know the one? Call it foreshadowing: I’m asleep, feeling safe. Your […]

Ken Victor | INVITATION

Everything starts today. If renewal were easy,
we’d all begin again. We’d drop our endless searching
for four-leaf clovers that declare us topped up
with good luck. Our efforts at self-improvement

Callista Markotich | YOU ARE NOT

Pygmalion, one arm draped across the cool white shoulder of Galatea,
the other hand dangling a martini glass, or maybe, in sensual fingers,
a cigarette in a holder. He rivets attention forever, her enduring form
endorsing his obsession. O, he compels, he scintillates.

Drew Lavigne | AUTUMN REGRET

Water when separate seeks again a place to pool. Tonight under the full autumn moon I feel the pull to return to water. The dewy heat from my heart moves away like the yellow leaves blowing from the tulip tree. Since you left, my body longs to return to a place of its kind. It […]

Amanda Wong | FRAGILE BEAUTY

it hits me at the strangest times
snow falling down on my hands
standing outside the psychiatric hospital
sometimes the snow is so silent
i think i’m the only one in the world
and i’m alive, i’m alive.

Cassy Welburn | THE GOLDEN GATE TO THE MIND

Trees parked on the Boulevard of City Lights wait for the signal to change
from restless rapture to loving outrage at the taking down of his words,
jelly beans of rhyme spilt out in a golden stream.
Trees with arms outstretched like St. Francis drawing the birds in white chalk
across a charcoal sky, statues of the world reaching out for poetry.

Maya Clubine | River Bug on the Black Sea

from Life Cycle of a Mayfly, the winner of the 2023 Vallum Chapbook Award The sun sinks down toward the thin horizon. The weary peacock falls asleep inside its crowned flask. The Philosopher sits on a rock and jots a few brief observations about a river bug above the Black Sea. The river bug flies, […]

Karen Solie | DUST

Returning home from evening mass
in the big car,

they were like canal boats then
sliding through the loose gravel, in the back seat

she pushed my cuticles up
with a silver file not unpainfully

House Within a House by Nicholas Dawson | Review by Katia Grubisic

“Intellectual curiosity about one’s own illness is certainly born of a desire for mastery,”: so writes the American poet, novelist, and essayist Siri Hustvedt. So quotes the Chilean-born Québécois poet, novelist, and essayist Nicholas Dawson as he investigates his own illness, pushing through the multiple layered skins of depression, turning it over to examine it in this light and that, as a prism that might allow some strand of light into the complex, ailing self.

Gravitas / Poèmes deep: An Interview with Amy Berkowitz

Interview by Lauren Turner A contemporary study of the institution, Gravitas boldly explores academia’s tendency to tolerate gendered abuse. Amy Berkowitz lifts the veil on the ordinary violence that female students are subjected to — violence that goes so far as to interrupt their writing practices and distort their relationships to words and literature. Illuminated […]

Maya Clubine | 2023 Vallum Chapbook Award Winner

Vallum is so pleased to congratulate Maya Clubine as the winner of this year’s award for her chapbook Life Cycle of a Mayfly, which will be published in the fall alongside a new chapbook by Karen Solie! About Life Cycle of a Mayfly Maya Clubine’s careful poetry avoids the easy delineation of beginning, middle, end. Rather, cycles of […]

Luce Hua | Of Dreams and Nightmares

This collection pulls and weaves the wool of the ideal and ‘real’ over (and under) critical aspects of identity; it is a small representation, a particular angle and nuance, on broader themes of culture, race, ethnicity, colour, ability, and queerness. It is my taste flight of fancy in the growth and inspiration that has come from ‘winging it’ as a queer artist of colour: each collage piece is a different flavour of ‘the dreamy and not so dreamy’.

Vanessa McCuaig | EVERY NIGHT, IN OUR DREAMS

Every night, in our dreams, we make a space
for us, somewhere no one else can find.
This evening, we arrange a rendez-vous in Gizeh,
where time is an eternity—a sparkle that blinds,
slicing lips in prismatic laughter, we can forget
future anxieties far too many to mention.

Cara Nelissen | MORNING

I dreamed I dug my own grave and looked
at the clouds as they lowered my coffin.
You weren’t there. I know this, because
even when I was dead I wondered.

Unlike me, time moves on quickly.

Justin Timbol | 22:22

You rooted your life
in magic numbers and rabbit’s feet
instead of something concrete
like your mother’s religion
now your perception is fading
so you set the clocks to military time,
try for one more hour of catching angels:
charge your stones, the moon is full
but veiled in vapour
pull the stars closer to your lips

Julie Paul | MAYBE IT WAS THE GRASS-FED BUTTER

that gave me nightmares
or maybe it was the giant hole
in the logic of importing butter
from New Zealand
or the giant hole in the ozone—
wait, isn’t that healing? Didn’t we do
one thing right? I don’t miss hairspray.
Or maybe it was the giant gap
between me and the suffering
and yet I am still suffering,
still count myself among them,
paper cuts versus daggers

Richard C. Owens | ANIMA

My reflection fades and distorts in the fogged damp
of double-panes, hanging against a fading, ice-blue
afternoon. Beyond the window frost coats trees
and stones not yet snow-smothered. It’s a ghostly world,

dead as the moon.

Colleen Russett | PHANTASM

Experiment
as you like: on your back
circled by vultures, your hands muffled
by your pillow. Still,
every night, senseless ocean worries over
the little deaths that
fold themselves
inside the big one.

Guy Elston | THE DREAM HISTORIAN’S DREAM

At an average of five a night
that’s over 300 million daily in Late Antiquity
alone, or the Mediterranean Pagan-Christian
Intermediary Period, as my department

Was last rebranded. Funding cut.
Break the seal, play on double fast-forward,
salient images only pause on, note
and if typical stamp TYPICAL

Rose Cullis | A NIGHTMARE IS A WEASEL

that gets in and kills every last one, that fastens

on what it finds there and leaves a gory mess, yes

a nightmare is being trapped with its slippery

muscular intention and the means to do it

to smell the rancid Mustelid before it

weasels triumphant through a small wire hole

Tanis MacDonald | BESIDE

A stutter-self, a shadow without edge,
a last echo, mitochondrial must,
every question I don’t want knowledge
of or an answer to. What lives in dust

Catherine Graham | LAST SHADOW

Flying only happens in dreams.
No one sees the moon-chord

direct the dead through the underground
or bones grip roots.

We lengthen as herons mid-air.
Our past melts yellow for the day’s heat cradle.

Jan Jorgensen | INCUBUS

i feel its twisted desire
it hisses an incantation

calls down the shadows of
betelgeuse bellatrix saiph rigel
to pin my shoulders my hips
against the bed

Neil Garvie | ESCAPE FROM AMBIGUITY

Have you ever found yourself in a dream
following a path that seems familiar
a rutted winding way surrounded by uncertainty?

You pass through shadows of the forest
You cannot see ahead, but continue
trusting what you must

Hana Woodbridge | OUR THIN PLACE

somewhere in New York, a woman collects
our dreams—

ear-tags our fleshy sleeping psyches and lines
them in neat taxonomies on her shelf

in mine, the bees have gone extinct and the fish
have sunk to mud and the backbones of

our ecosystems have collapsed under human weight

Misha Solomon | OPEN YOUR MIND

How do you know you haven’t been infected
by the fungus that turns ants into zombies
and then erupts from your head, its fruiting
bodies releasing spores, which in turn infect

Léa Taranto | LOST

we promised each other we wouldn’t

But you’d told me long ago you never planned to live past 30
But you didn’t even get to be 30
But while you’d always wanted children, I didn’t, that hurt you
But as a child in elementary school, they labelled you “delinquent”
But as a teen, being a dropout made you “badass”

Shane Molyneaux | COMA

I was seven levels deep inside myself
on
floating a
lake
of ganglia

each level had a door that led to another door opened
with a sound I translated as

Alden Wallace | COUSIN MAC

Winter pushes unto the land & a cold flame rises. A palmprint fades from the glass & the child wonders where it leaves to. A letter has just come in from the old country & everyone gathers around. Cousin Mac tells of a dream he’s been having lately in which he finds himself in a cave running

Samantha Martin-Bird | MISHIPESHU

the summer I spent on the lake
I dropped some semaa as we jumped in the canoe

kwe told me stories of mishipeshu
of violence and death and vengeance

the wind picked up and blew against us
the entire way back

Kevin Irie | PERCHANCE TO DREAM

I do not think one should read poetry at night
just before sleeping,
for how can someone lay down to rest
when poems lift up your mind
as in “Bullet Points,” or Love is the love of
who we are, it is a form of knowing…

Natalie Podaima | FURNITURE

three hours of tremble
on a thin blue mat i trace
escape routes on google maps
fantasize quiet in my palms
i am fevered and adept i bode
vibration bid low on eBay

The Most Charming Creatures by Gary Barwin | Review by Bill Neumire

Thus, with the poem “Everything,” begins Gary Barwin’s latest poetry collection, The Most Charming Creatures. Barwin, who has written 26 books, is also a composer (he earned his PhD in music composition) and multidisciplinary artist. Progressing in four sections, The Most Charming Creatures—follow-up to Barwin’s recent 2019 Selected Poems: For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe—takes its title from a science monograph. Explaining the title in an interview with Open Books, Barwin said:

Trailer Park Shakes By Justene Dion-Glowa | Review by Tara McGowan-Ross

Trailer Park Shakes is a lot of things, and in being a lot of things contains a lot of things to like. It’s working-class writing, in the classical, economic-theory sense: this is not the writing of a suburban expatriate who just learned the word “kyriarchy” in their MFA. This is not even the explicitly Marxist poetry of writers like Joe Wallace, Avery Lake, or Brendan Joyce—it expresses, in fact, the violent ways capitalism robs the most economically vulnerable of the material requirements for organizing (From “The Slow Creeping Feeling that Everything Will Not be Okay”: “rebellion quelled by the almighty dollar / I’m too busy / I gotta go to work / I got a family to feed”).

From the Archive | Tasha Hefford

i’m really sorry for spreading erroneous nutritional information   I don’t know if I believe the world is enough to hold the door to a drowning lullaby, to be_right_back.zip but before you find a way to RollbackTM the space in-between, it all happens very quickly you fall asleep waiting for your friends to join your […]

Luce Hua wins the 2023 Vallum Art Prize

We are thrilled to announce the the winner of the 2023 Vallum Art Prize is Luce Hua for their series of collages “Of daydreams and nightmares.” Hua’s work is immediately compelling and evocative, revealing and reveling in the layers of each collage. Bolstered by an artist statement that is beautiful, playful (as you will see […]

Stephen Kent Roney | A Review of War Canticles

War Canticles George Elliott Clarke Vallum Chapbook Series, 2022 35 pp         I was married to a ghost on a mountain in northwest Seoul back in 1994. A trivial enough anecdote; I mention it to suggest that I might know a shaman when I see one. George Elliott Clarke is a shaman. […]

Happy Holidays from Vallum!

Poetry for Our Future! In 2021-22 VSEAL continued offering workshops through our Poetry for Our Future! outreach program. Our partner organizations were QPIRG, Spectrum Productions, Lasalle Elementary, the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, Unravelling in Rhymes, AGIR, Yellow Door, the Dawson Boys and Girls Club, Say Ça, Bridges Adult Learning Centre, For Francis Public Library, Sioux […]

Scott Cecchin Reads an Excerpt of HOUSE

    AND HERE THEY DREAM (ii) Then the hallways multiplied. Your aunt was there, wandering, a book held in her hands. She’d sewn patterns into the pages, but many were still blank. She approached you, urgently: “I need help with this one,” she said, pointing to the book—at which point you left the dream. […]

Issue 19:2 OPEN THEME Is Here!

This issue features new poems by Lambda Literary fellow Nora Hikari, Terry Watada, Evan J, and more. Plus, an excerpt from George Elliott Clarke’s War Canticles, as well as

Leah Oates | Transitory Space

Leah Oates has B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a Fulbright Fellow for study at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Oates has had solo shows in Toronto at Black Cat Artspace and in the NYC area at Susan Eley Fine Art, The Central Park Arsenal Gallery, The Center for Book Arts, Real Art Ways, The Brooklyn Public Library and at the MTA Arts and Design Lightbox Project.

Mark Neely | ANOTHER IDIOT

My email bleeps. The sky goes grey. Cars ease by the mute bell

tower. Time’s cosmic joke—it speeds up when
you need it most. I thought I had wrapped my mind

around it like a bow

Zak Jones | NO PHOTOS OF RALPH

Before me mounds of food on Formica,
crooked mouths of porcelain at parties.
Before me staged smiles in tempered tonalities:
and we’re going back in time.
The cheap bleed of a red-tinged photograph—
and another, and another.

Jan Jorgensen | DESDEMONA REBUKES OTHELLO

after “The Ballad of Othello Clemence” by George Elliott Clarke A ghost, I no longer know how to weep yet grieve the madness of false words believed. I recollect how I adored recitations of your exploits, how I traced the outline of your calloused hands, …your biceps, your lips; marking them ……with my scent, curling […]

Caitlyn Alario | STRAY

we had to draw the old temples on a map from memory. they were destroyed centuries ago, rebuilt to different gods & destroyed again. now they’re grassy platforms, marked & open, as if the air stays holy when not even rubble remains.

Kit Roffey | VESSEL

Sometimes it takes two hands wrapped around to pour
if the vessel is full, if the liquid is at the lip.

Sometimes a curve forms from my wrist to forearm to rest
against thick glass or the raised ridges of spotted ceramic pulling
tendons to match the melting morphing slopes of my organs.

Evan J | ON A HILL NEAR STAIG

In the car lot,
I used a fob to lock
the only car’s door
as an old man
walked down from the hills
with an old dog
slowly trotting behind
stopping to smell every post
of the old wood fence
that kept the sheep
near the old ring fort…

A Conversation With Frankie Barnet | Interview by Rosie Long Decter

Frankie Barnet is a Montreal-based writer. Her debut graphic novel, Kim: A Novel Idea, is an auto-fictional blend of real-world pain and celebrity fantasy that tells the story of a grad student trying to make sense of an online world and her own stubborn sadness. Protagonist Frankie spends her days scrolling Kardashian Instagrams, reading about sexual violence on social media, trying to help her boyfriend process the loss of his father, and talking to her vicious but infinitely wise cat Catman.

I Wish I Could be Peter Falk by Paul Zits | Review by Bill Neumire

Invoking Willem Dafoe, Neil Armstrong, Ryan Gosling, Shia Labouf, Nicolas Cage, and Peter Falk while also tapping into American Psycho, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Instagram—Paul Zits, author of the previous collections Exhibit, Massacre Street, and Leap-Seconds—creates an ironic speaker who marauds the earth searching only its “Instagrammability”…

Garden Physic by Sylvia Legris | Review by Bill Neumire

Although Sylvia Legris’s sixth book of poetry, Garden Physic, opens with a poem titled “Plants Reduced to the Idea of Plants” which are then further playfully reduced to “woodcuts / (circa 16th century) reduced to Victorian floor tile,” this collection clearly accomplishes just the opposite: it elevates, celebrates, and even apotheosizes plants…

2022 Poetry Award | SHORTLIST

We are thrilled to announce our short list for the 2022 Vallum Poetry Award. It was a pleasure to read everyone’s work and we are awash in gratitude and admiration for these poets gracing us with their work. Congratulations to the shortlisted poets!             Abdulkareem Abdulkareem – “Self-portrait Of The […]

Unravelling in Rhymes Workshop | Registration Open!

Each year Vallum Society for Education in Arts and Letters supports workshops throughout Montreal, Quebec and elsewhere. The next workshop has been made possible through a partnership between Unravelling in Rhymes and the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, along with the Atwater Writers Exhibition. Details below!

19:1 “Bridges” Launch | July 23, 2022

Join us on July 23, 2022 at 3:30 PM ET for an online launch of issue 19:1 “Bridges.” Featuring readings from Robyn Maree Pickens, Meghan Kemp-gee, Matthew James Weigel, Julie Mannell, and Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi! The reading will be approximately 1-hour and Zoom’s closed captioning will be turned on. The event is open to all […]

Poetry Award Deadline Extended

We are so excited to read your work, but we’re giving you an extra two days to get your Poetry Award entry ready! Take the weekend to polish off your submission and get it to us by Sunday July 17th, 11:59 PM EDT.

VALLUM CHAPBOOK AWARD 2022 SHORTLIST

Each year we receive hundreds of entries and we are grateful so many poets trust us with their work. After much consideration, we are so excited to announce three finalists for this year’s Chapbook Award.

2022 Vallum Poetry Award | Submissions Open!

The 2022 Vallum Poetry Award is open for submissions until July 15   The winner of the Vallum Poetry Award receives $750 and one finalist will receive $250, as well as publication in Vallum magazine. The submission fee is $25 for Canadian entrants, $30 for U.S. and international entrants. Payments are processed through our Submittable […]

Issue 19:1 Bridges Is Here!

19:1 | Bridges This issue features an interview with bpNichol Chapbook Award-winning poet Matthew James Weigel and new poems by rob mclennan, Johnson Cheu, Jami Macarty, and more. The issue also includes poems from the 2021 Vallum Poetry Award winners, Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi and Robyn Maree Pickens, as well as reviews by Bill Neumire and Deanna Fong. Artwork is from […]

New Chapbook from George Elliott Clarke | War Canticles

More than a decade after George Elliott Clarke’s first Vallum chapbook, The Gospel of X, we are thrilled to announce the publication of War Canticles in a limited edition of 125 copies. And we’re publishing it in the spring, rather than the fall, because it’s been a long, difficult winter and we deserve some poetry! Visit […]

Nora Kelly | ENTANGLED

Winner of the 2022 Vallum Cover Award “Entangled” is a series of paintings dealing with the emotional and psychic landscapes brought about by the pandemic. In the artist’s own words: When the pandemic hit in 2020, the world quickly transitioned from “normal” to the unfamiliar: new rules, new information and new ways to live our […]

Lawrence Bridges | NEW DAY

It feels, no looks like a pearlescent pond.
It’s quiet, reflecting a faraway sky that moods
neither dawn nor dusk. It looks, no
feels like the lightest pressure on wet leaves