Issue 4: Fall 2014

Time to Grow Up, Mommy Lit

The “second oldest profession,” Erma Bombeck wrote of motherhood in her 1983 book on caring for “children, a husband, and oneself.” Motherhood is indeed an ancient profession—or job, or calling, or stage of life—yet Bombeck's book was among the first to discuss it candidly. We have printed and distributed books since the 1400s. Women have… Continue Reading Time to Grow Up, Mommy Lit


Walls is a CinePoetry collaboration between Ardath Whynacht and director Walter Forsyth. Since its premiere in April 2013, Walls has shown at many film and poetry festivals, including the Atlantic Film Festival (Halifax), Zebra (Berlin) and Visible Verse (Vancouver). Walls was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative. Understorey Magazine… Continue Reading Walls

A Life in Eight Bras

My house is filled with hot spots. Not the warm, cozy kind, but the little storms of matter and memories that amass when one woman, one man and three little boys live together under one roof. Take my bra drawer for example. It’s the middle drawer of my night table; not a typical place for… Continue Reading A Life in Eight Bras

momento mori

Still now and every day after I’d fight for Her. And every day in between that slips by with sleep then waking to the silence that screams from Her empty crib. Where full breasts weep in warm showers draining the last sign of Her from my body. Now people can pretend She was never there… Continue Reading momento mori

The Alder Bed

Annette Martin's novel-in-progress is set in outport Newfoundland and spans five decades. As a headstrong teenager, Lexie Fisher marries wayward Dan and quickly has three daughters, Iris, Rose, and Daisy. Newfoundland winters, poverty, and Dan's drinking slowly fray Lexie's mind. Her young daughters must assume adult roles---of one sort or another. Understorey Magazine is pleased… Continue Reading The Alder Bed


1. When my mother flew across the Atlantic, in autumn 1979, the flight attendant served her a croissant like two conch shells placed open-end-together on the breakfast tray. When my mother, pointing, asked, what is it? the word, croissant--- which she could not have spelled--- curled unfamiliar in her lexicon. She left the bread uneaten.… Continue Reading Recalibrating

Two Poems

General Instructions I am sending my son to assist you next week. Do you have any children? Treat him as your own. Be patient with messy rooms, odd solar powered gadgets running about. Does your cook make veggieburgers, brew Ginger Beer? I will email you the recipes. Oatmeal cookies are his favorite. I mailed some… Continue Reading Two Poems

Counting Underwear

Julie, my youngest daughter, runs in laughing and forgetting to close the front door. “Nanny says you got lots of panties in the wash.” She skips around the table. My husband has been unemployed. Money is tight. We don’t have a washer or dryer so my mother, who lives next door, has offered to help.… Continue Reading Counting Underwear

To the Teenagers in My Writing Circle, Psychiatric Ward

To the delicate girl who kept getting thinner--- thin as smoke from a cigarette, a fault line in her green eyes. To the young man whose father slipped into his bed, his fury trapped, a coiled cobra. It was hot, sun pounded windows that couldn’t open. But something opened when one girl said to another.… Continue Reading To the Teenagers in My Writing Circle, Psychiatric Ward

My Daughter’s Mothers

Natalie Corbett Sampson's debut YA novel, Game Plan, portrays teen pregnancy and open adoption. "My stories start from the truth of personal experience and—by asking 'What if?—grow into fiction," Natalie says. In her essay, "My Daughter's Mothers," she describes the personal truth that inspired her book. Once upon a time... that’s how fairy tales start. But the… Continue Reading My Daughter’s Mothers


Linda Little's latest novel, Grist, examines motherhood, gender roles, and hard work through the character of Penelope, a women left alone to run a mill in nineteenth-century rural Nova Scotia. Grist has received fabulous reviews. Understorey Magazine spoke with Linda about her novel and her work. Understorey Magazine: There are autobiographical elements in Grist. You… Continue Reading Grist

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