Casey Flynn is a stay-at-home writer-dad and may or may not someday have a PhD in religion. These days he enjoys his 1.5-year-old daughter’s dramatic recitations interspersed with singing and dancing.
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
Vallum 2023 Poetry Award-winners!
Honourable Mention: Murray Mann, for poem: “How I Kept My Pace with the Mountains”
Vallum 2023 Poetry Award-winners!
Finalist: Diana Hope Tegenkamp, for poem: “so I can bring you with me”
Vallum 2023 Poetry Award-winners!
First Place: Bridget Huh, for poem: “Touching the Verb”.
We are pleased to announce our winners for the 2023 Vallum Poetry Award!
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 […]
The task at hand,
the questioner mumbled,
is to ascertain the moment par
of when untruth becomes
of when truth becomes
coming up over the hill
then down a chill
into slivered light, a shiver
walking across green, grassy wholeness—
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.
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.
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 […]
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
The closest thing I have to a heritage
is a photograph of my grandmother
being fake-arrested in a fake saloon
in Arizona. Two cowboy actors aim
in the first photo
the apple is whole
In the mid-teens
You gave me a tuner
In Mayuhe, which I’ve
the joy of seedlings and
hopeful tiny plants,
what about those static seeds?
yes it is both river and sea
is a simple pleasure, 2×4 uprights
of old deck railing nailed
together for a compost box
using straightened nails. Each
board the same length, so
no sawing. Each dimension
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.
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 […]
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.
my sister is dying at times she states it
her life parsed
phrases/phases terms/terminal …
A cure for root rot
How to burn this tree down
How to separate
the bones we bury
and the ones we carry
Mid-journey, turn and look back
at the tracks you’ve made, the line
you’ve furrowed into mud, into snow,
a weaving cursive through the slop.
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.
i’ve seen it before with potted plants
whose roots expand to bloom in places too small
while others wait to be given soil beyond measure
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, […]
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
“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.
“The problem is that I’m a stranger to myself,” Délani Valin writes halfway through her début collection Shapeshifters, in “What are the Ethics of Picking a Stinging Plant?” The third paragraph of this clever, subtle prose poem continues…
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 […]
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 […]
We are thrilled to present six exciting and beautiful chapbooks as finalists. Click through below to read excerpts and come back soon to find out the winner!
from Show and Tell, a collaborative chapbook by André Babyn, Sasha Manoli, and Misha Solomon, a collective finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
from Tinderbox by Zak Jones, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
from The Solve by Medrie Purdham, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
from Life Cycle of a Mayfly by Maya Clubine, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
from a short history of longing by Karan Kapoor, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
from Basement Bedroom by Alicia Byrne Keane, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
It’s the summer solstice
The day the darkening begins
If I keep walking west I can precede this time again
In a year. Not much stamina
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’.
half is more than none, sense is the line you draw.
you can’t see the horizon, even so i found a place. our promises are heat waves
but our bones vowed to step forward.
I dream a basement
in a boarding house
and I must go
down into its splintered
silver light searching
for cargo and machinery
crouched in corners
When I was younger
There were fewer machines
Later I sat in an office
Surrounded by wires and lights
They didn’t keep me alive
But somehow connected
I dreamt we were a family
of Dilberts with Ziggy noses.
Mom was snapping
the sordid candid portrait—
heat into my hands,
befuddled old dog
pushing against my arm
with its beseeching nose
and eyes, till I succumb,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
inside the big one.
Throat songs at midnight light
swing wavering sharp, land
soft as shrouds
rise again and again
eternal as rock echoes
eternal as ghost kisses
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
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
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
I don’t dream anymore.
Since I moved into this house,
My sleep is deep as the sea.
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.
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
The blackberries aren’t ripe,
haven’t quite reached the cliff’s edge
from which there is no return without thorns
scratching like vinyl
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
somewhere in New York, a woman collects
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
in a dream of tomorrow.
I wander through sleep
into these red squares,
and the light is of a kind
I have never before known.
What you need: a sheet, a pen, a
use my right to write.
If your dreams are ending
badly, put them into words,
those images follow us
into nights’ labyrinths crevices mud and monotone scumble
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
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”
Vast and lifeless
Imagine: it holds nothing, ever,
But its own damaged mass.
It travels alone
Bound to us
Like some old beaten dog
It had been forty years since
I’d seen her face to face. No
surprise, I couldn’t remember
how Julie made that planchette spider
from forks and a glass.
I pull aside a dreamer
who doesn’t believe
in the dream
Its not the duration I say
But the rhythm of hell
and my thoughts
are kick drums
there are five things here:
my lover gave to me a wolf’s pelt.
My first response was contentment.
Sleep-buoyed, I knew this as important.
What if you had been born? And with you, the sky—
in the night-ness of all things between
my dormant grief and his. And with you,
I was seven levels deep inside myself
each level had a door that led to another door opened
with a sound I translated as
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
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
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…
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
I come to
in the black
and it’s pouring
and I’m not
house I’m in
not that I have
If you like, you can begin with a choice: inside or outside?
Ask, what are you doing there? I think you’re in our bed… I guess
our bed is still warm. Are you? Other things follow, you.
this morning, a hole appears in your stomach. you rinse dishes that
roll inward. sprinkle flowers which disappear. your heartbeat ragged
like stems rotting in still water. it is no small devastation. sprung
without antecedent or count in. just a slow sink.
To say they distanced
to say it wasn’t about spit
What began as a statement of rot
after reading a book about rot
Jake Byrne interviewed David about his new book, Dream of Me as Water, in late 2022. They spoke for an hour. This is an excerpt of their conversation.
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:
When I heard Harbour Publishing were releasing a posthumous book by Patrick Lane, I knew it would be a must-read collection. Lane became one of the finest writers of his generation or any other by writing poetry at once easily accessible and breathtakingly lyrical.
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”).
A Review of Time out of Time by Arlene Paré
In winter I’ll know
by the harsh call of raven
and in spring, by blossom.
In summer, a warm wind
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
George Elliott Clarke reads an excerpt of his chapbook War Canticles.
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. […]
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 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.
Write me to sleep,
Beneath the beams, listless
As I am.
Blue bells, blue bonnets, blue
pool above it all; finished rain
settles dense vapour in violet
hyacinth combs, dousing air
Even here, along
an avenue as dementedly luxe as Fifth,
the sheer aplomb
of late-November ruthlessness
A pair of zebra doves
pay a visit, pecking about the grass.
I’m in the close shade
of an old twisty pink trumpet tree.
(largesse of autumn)
how shadowy the trees
to replace the taciturn
with another quietude
Once I could have loved.
But love was cleaved damp
from my body. Carved soft
and wet from the rest
of my hard existence,
cast aside, with everything
that could be renamed
The little body, washed;
from broken hand
to broken hand
Recounting things overheard
in the unfamiliar places of childhood,
I never heard mentioned the radiation
I am looking at pain,
my world turning brittle-edged and bright,
my body becoming a meditation on shards—
thoughts, incandescent and ecstatic.
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
And has a vision of a mountain lake,
feather oil mixing with rain
The water at the shoreline a quivering mother
berating the rock
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.
scent of warmth, that lick
of gold, as much or more
than what it touched—
Not even the body of a lover—remembered,
of course, as all there is, in the end, is
memory—can ease you back to any place
you’d ever want to say you know
like the back of that lover’s neck after love.
Snarling, snapping, eyes wide
As he lunges at my wheelchair.
Each frostbite bark rises,
defensiveness a frozen mist.
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 […]
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.
yeah, okay, the world is on fire,
but I have two AC units
in my fourth floor apartment.
they’re not the window shakers,
but what Kelsy affectionately refers to
in my old town the white boys from College Street
hide guns, weed, & bicycle parts in a wooded area
off Conotton Creek Trail. C said even the cops
smoke back there, shoot up, & leave the needles
stuck in the trees.
My grandfather’s boyhood friend
would visit on a long June afternoon,
and when it came time for him to leave,
I would walk the old men to the corner bus
that ran south toward the city.
Have we come so far
and emerged nowhere
—A.I. tracking faces,
movies on demand—
Open fourth—relaxed but defiant
chin up, shoulders back
fingers intertwined behind her back
the clothesline stret-ch-es
across the length
of the backyard
proof of father’s handiwork
a when is [human] only when still/“alive” to the naked eye. Our
menace’s specter-rose rise-rises poetic, enveloped by sweet-
tooth/teethed fiends of possibility, non-noxious toxicity.
You said you asked how much
the ox-eyes cost and that I answered
aroused by crispening air—
takes off, a sudden blossoming
of white wings, long feathers.
The egret flies slow.
the yellow grass-tips.
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.
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…
The house flowers
in light. Be-
a glacier. And deepest:
We spurn bandages, medicines.
Lee rallies, bids us see Virginia as precious,
ourselves as audacious,
oblivious to high, Deep South percentages
of the deep-sixed…
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.
It would be hard not to be amazed by Ottawa poet, editor, critic and publisher Amanda Earl’s incredibly expansive, inclusive and long-awaited anthology Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry (Malmö, Sweden: Timglaset Editions, 2021), a book funded, in part, through an impressive crowdfunding campaign earlier this spring.
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”…
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…
We are pleased to announce our winner and finalist for the 2022 Vallum Poetry Award! Please congratulate our Finalist
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 […]
An essay by Dennis Cooley on “J’Accuse.”
Join us on Saturday August 13th from 12 – 4 pm for a poetry pop-up. Featured poets will be in the store, ready and equipped with a typewriter to write poems upon request. Say hi, browse their chapbooks, books and check out the store!
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!
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 […]
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.
We are thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s Chapbook Award!
Scott Cecchin (pronounced “ch-keen”) is a queer poet living on Traditional Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Territory, in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, ON.
Elena Bentley (she/her) is a disabled, bi, and Métis/settler emerging poet, editor, and book reviewer from Saskatchewan.
Karen Mandell has taught literature and writing at various community centers and schools in Massachusetts.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
on the iron rail
against the sea
I know what it means to feel sorry
I’ve been sorry
The relief of rainstorm. They were both happy
to see again. The court choir broke open
It is a serious
I don’t know who
or I pretend not to know
From Hanlons to Centre I walk.
My parents were married on these islands, in the town
Where is the bridge between my body and yours?
This wobbling I in watercolour,
The bridge over Mayo River
Cracks hard in the winter air
Outside, a thunderstorm darkens. Violence lurks.
At a border. An office. An airport. A market.
I don’t know if I believe the world is enough
to hold the door to a drowning lullaby, to be_right_back.zip
tree leaves fly stylishly,
another successful shedding of maples.
On some days, my body
feels like a stranger. I sit
Famously abrasive, O, old rumpled legend, this
retired poet, contained and stationed past the Seigneury of Rigaud,
in Valois, a village within the village
I’ve been in this house too long.
I’m forgetting where I come from, forgetting
The letter said I was in.
Ma in the small dark room.
A cup of tea. She sipped slowly, seriously.
Let go, said every full moon you woke
under. All your tarot cards, recurring
I love looking downriver—under
the last two bridges before the harbour
An old woman stows her sewing in a wicker basket,
hikes up her black dress
Traffic slows around
the corner onto the Monroe
Cold wet sand
shadows in eclipse
the moon forgets
you’ll forget the colour of the carpet
on the spaceship’s bridge. (The action always
feet touching ground is occurring everywhere I walk
I kill something is occurring surrendering to melancholy
I celebrate the Brooklyn span of grandeur,
the lean red muscle of the stately Golden Gate,
It’s /brij/ or, in Old English, ‘brycg’
A way, a noun and/or verb (as in movement: to bridge a gap or chasm)
and floating adrift among the spheres
I harmonize while washing dishes
onlooker with stars behind my eyes
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
You are a bridge.
You reached out your hand
And found me.
Trees, grown tall at a vale crevasse, crowd its edge.
They long to fulfill their purpose.
my city the city, or wherever I’m flung into the arms of back-alleys and streetcorner loot: the art
of lower class feeling: to start at the shoe. Asphalt: faulted at the foundation and sinking.
it was lunchtime & you sliced pale not scarlet bananas onto bread
our lungs were the scent of fruiting as we sank our baby teeth into sweet
our lungs were young & sprinkled sugar was our first illicit
the scent of mother, brother, & I wound deep into my limbic system
THREADS OF A NETWORK: A CONVERSATION WITH MATTHEW JAMES WEIGEL INTERVIEW BY ROSIE LONG DECTER This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Matthew James Weigel is an artist of many disciplines. His work includes poetry, visual art, and scholarly research, projects that he weaves together through explorations of colonial violence and acts of […]
Dream of No One but Myself David Bradford Brick Books, 2021 David Bradford’s Dream of No One but Myself sifts through fragments of memory, imagination, and documentary debris, trying—and necessarily failing—to answer the subject’s driving questions: “Who am I (to you)?” and “What do you want (from me)?” At its core, the book is a […]
Nicole Rayiza Fong’s second poetry book, OЯACULE, immediately announces itself as a different kind of reading experience–with a dramatis personae, staging, and theatrical dialogue, the collection embraces a hybridity of theater and verse.
ENTANGLED “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 lives. One of the most […]
Four-day workshop (March 5, 6, 12 and 13): Coming back to yourself through poetry, play and performance AGIR in collaboration with Vallum Society for Education in Arts and Letters is hosting a four-day workshop series facilitated by Angelic Goldsky. AGIR Montréal (Action LGBTQIA+ avec les ImmigrantEs et RéfugiéEs) is an autonomous non-profit organization, by and […]
To Revision and Beyond!—A Poetry Workshop from Page to Stage Calling all poets! You’ve written and rewritten your poem, maybe even workshopped it and incorporated the feedback of others to make it stronger—more poignant, innovative or musical. Now that you’ve accepted the gift and branded the poem “finished” (or close enough): what now? Lock it […]
18:2 | The Power of Words At long last, Vallum‘s newest issue has arrived! This is our first-ever digital only issue which is being released in conjunction with our new website. To celebrate the occasion, this issue has been made available to read completely for free online. This issue features a translation of Daniel Saldaña Paris by Louis Sanger, new […]
Matthew James Weigel’s 2020 Vallum Chapbook Award-winning work has won Meet the Presses’ 2021 bpNichol Chapbook Award! Here is what judges Jennifer LoveGrove and Jordan Abel had to say about Weigel’s work: “Matthew James Weigel’s It Was Treaty/It Was Me is a uniquely unconventional and innovative poetic exploration of colonial archives, in which Weigel explores his personal connection […]
Dottie Gordon is the featured artist for Vallum 18:2 – The Power of Words. Artist’s Bio Dottie Gordon (JG) // // * 1993, Canada. Dottie is a textile printmaker, illustrator and painter who is self-taught, but grateful to have had the guidance and care of many mentors and a considerable amount of support from their […]
Advice and Rebuke (1) You will lose your way quite a few times. What with the repetition and the salary, you won’t find cause for singing. Even so, you will look for the sacred in giving up, in the sepia tone of things, in the dissolution of enthusiasm. (2) If you have any […]
WORDS Words say everything, he said. So many words to say everything, I say. So many times to be sure everything is said. Then the words have the final word: Let us live here, we who have no place else to go. Author’s Bio Nominated for the National Book Award and twice-nominated for the Pulitzer […]
Mspsieleld by Sgtrane I’ve nveer been mcuh of a splleer my teehcars uesd to tlel me soohcl wasnotmy ftroe Iwas furttuane to psas, asyousee I’m lkucy to hvae ajob taht dsnoe’t need sniplleg osierwhte, I’dbe uemnlpeyoyd onthehood tankhs, dadandmom, forthe flmaiy beiunsss asCEO I slhuod do rlaley good Author’s Bio Neil Garvie resides in Comox […]
Being I & Being Human: a Bilinguacultural Poem 1/ I vs 我: Denotations The first person singular …
1122 VIEW STREET The building’s gone, but its shadow’s not, torn down, white adobe, and, behind the red door, a paved courtyard open at one end where past notice I at one time lived. Worn rugs, walls aslant, scaly acoustic tile and a window I’d not lock, ivy-draped to shroud a burglar’s light-fingered escape the […]
According to the survey If I had one word to describe myself? Irrepressible. One fruit? Strawberry. One meal? Garlic prawns with a peanut butter sandwich. One piece of playground equipment? The merry-go-round. What a delectable monster I’ve become it seems, wading through the middle of life as if it were a strange kind of kiddy […]
Enjoying a Walk Around a Frozen Lake ……….Came a sound: a sparrow-Mozart …..…..…..…..…..playing a tiny rusted piano! …..…..In the gathering light, I stopped. Straining to hear, …..…..…..…..…..I could almost feel …..…..ice expanding into the path of least resistance, starting in the mind, …..…..…..…..…..down the throat …..…..to the heart. The sound scattered—the wind on the lake […]
Inhale Evening burns pale blue edges while yellow-brown smears separate that blue from oranges, reds, and purples extinguish in black cityscapes and trees tops. Above, blue drains to night, spreading to black. And the sun sets to sleep. And we all sleep. Cities pretend to live on, awake, lighting the night with electricity, the sun’s […]