Author Archives: editor

Youth Creative Writing Workshop: September 27

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Join Guyleigh Johnson, author/poet of Expect the Unexpected & Afraid of the Dark for a

YOUTH WRITING WORKSHOP

Ages10-16
Thursday, September 27
4-6 pm

Dartmouth North Community Centre
105 Highfield Park Dr.
(Pinecrest Room)

FREE EVENT with light snacks provided

~Learn about writing poetry & publishing a book~

Please register: guyleighjohnson902@gmail.com OR editor@understoreymagazine.ca

Understorey Magazine at CCWWP

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Join Understorey Magazine editor Katherine Barrett and Cargo Literary editor Mo Duffy Cobb at the 2017 Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Frederiction, New Brunswick, June 9-11.

We will be discussing:

  • how and why we founded online literary magazines,
  • the role of literary magazines in nurturing new writers, and
  • challenges of the current publishing environment in Canada.

We hope for a lively discussion.

See the full conference schedule on the CCWWP website.

A New Partnership: Understorey Magazine and the Alexa McDonough Institute

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Big news for Understorey Magazine!

We are now in partnership with the Alexa McDonough Institute (AMI) for Women, Gender and Social Justice at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

AMI, chaired by Susan Brigham, is a hub of feminist energy, action and research. Understorey and AMI share a mandate of empowerment through self-expression and sharing of ideas, experiences and stories.

We look forward to this exciting chapter of the magazine. Stay tuned for details of our new editorial board and creative direction!

A huge thank you Second Story Women’s Centre for their support in launching Understorey and publishing seven fabulous issues since 2013.

Mother’s Day Reading at Lexicon Books

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We had a fabulous crowd for the Mother’s Day reading at Lexicon Books in Lunenburg!

 

Poet and co-owner of Lexicon Books Alice Burdick welcomed the audience and introduced the readers.

 

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Natalie Meisner read from her memoir Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family.

 

 

 

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Lorri Neilsen Glenn read from her many poetry collections.

 

 

 

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Sylvia D. Hamilton read from And I Alone Escaped to Tell You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Allan Neilsen for the capturing the day in photos, Lorri Neilsen Glenn for organizing the speakers, Lexicon Books for creating a beautiful venue and bookstore, and all who came to celebrate a literary Mother’s Day!

Three Quick Reviews: The Women of the East Coast Literary Awards

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Last week, the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia announced the winners of their annual East Coast Literary Awards for published works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

As always, a batch of fine contenders were shortlisted. As almost always in the publishing world, most of the shortlisted books and all of the winning titles were written by men.

Now, I’m sure the WFNS judged on merit alone. I’m not questioning their process or the literary skills of the winning authors. I would like to draw attention to still-prevalent trends in publishing, however: men publish more, are reviewed more, and win more awards.

Among the suggested reasons for this state of literary affairs:

  • Fewer women are published in literary magazines, which function as gateways to publishing contracts.
  • Women are less aggressive than men in resubmitting rejected work.
  • More women than men juggle careers, caregiving and housekeeping; writing remains a hobby, not a profession.
  • The publishing world is still male-dominated and inherently sexist.

While there is no pat explanation or quick antidote, we can—and must!—continue to read, encourage, mentor, support and celebrate women writers. More publishing deals and accolades for women will follow. This is part of our mission at Understorey Magazine.

And so, without further griping or ado, we celebrate the three fabulous women-authored books that were shortlisted for a 2014 East Coast Literary Award.

shapeFiction: The Family Took Shape by Shashi Bhat (Cormorant Books). Six-year-old Mira Acharya lives in Richmond Hill, Toronto, with her mother, older brother, Ravi, and a loose-knit community of “aunties” and “uncles.” We know Mira’s father is dead, that Ravi is in special ed, and that her mother is quietly unraveling. Throughout her childhood, and into her teens and early adulthood, Mira must reconcile chance and will, parts of life she can control and those she has been dealt. In doing so, Mira grapples with death, ethnic and immigrant identity, mental illness, sex, self image, and the bonds of family.

hookingPoetry: Hooking by Mary Dalton (Véhicule Press/Signal Editions). Hooking is a book of centos, a poetic form in which lines from other poems are woven—or hooked—into new literary works. In Hooking, her fifth collection, award-winning poet Mary Dalton honours both the traditional craft of rug hooking and the many writers whose poems form the strands of her own. Themes of handiwork and creativity run through the book: “Cloth,” “Brush-Stroke,” “Braid,” “Cross-Stitch.” And like a rug hooked from scraps of saved cloth, there is overall pattern and texture in Hooking—as well as sprigs of unexpected colour and curiosity.

SueGoyetteOcean[1]Poetry: Ocean by Sue Goyette (Gaspereau Press). Sue Goyette has won many literary prizes, including an East Coast Literary Award for poetry in 2012. Her latest collection, Ocean, is beautiful inside and out. The cover feels like handmade paper and a simple wave-like pattern carries readers into the book, and into the ocean. This is no ode to the sea but described instead as a biography. The fifty-six poems rock us back before ancestors salted the waters with tears, then thrust us forward to 3D ocean films and scratch-and-sniff coastal cards. As readers, as maritimers, we abide the ocean, alternately observing, acquiescing, sinking in.

Understorey Magazine at Word on the Street!

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wots_halifax_logo_colourJoin Understorey Magazine on Saturday, September 21, 11-5, on the Halifax Waterfront for Word on the Street. We’ll have a table with copies of the magazine and exclusive (you won’t find them anywhere else) Understorey bookmarks and coasters to give away.

We are also hosting a panel of fantastic authors who will read from their new mother-centric books:

  • Elaine Lui, Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What’s a Daughter to Do? A Memoir (Sort Of).
  • Natalie Meisner, Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family.
  • Vicky Murphy: MotherFumbler.
  • Natalie Corbett Sampson, Game Plan.

Hope to see you there!

New from Demeter Press: birth of the uncool

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Demeter Press, based in Toronto, has published books on motherhood since 2006. Their catalogue includes fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and many ground-breaking scholarly works. Due to recent loss of grant funding, however, Demeter is at risk of closing. They need support — through books sales — to continue their engaging and important work.

birth of the uncool, published by Demeter in 2014, is a stunning collection of poetry by Canadian writer Madeline Walker. Based on Walker’s lifelong quest to be “elegant, distant, hip, and stylish,” the book explores her embrace of uncool in her fiftieth year. The following is from her chapter on motherhood (reprinted with permission).

Genealogy

birthuncoolI know the gene bequeathed
is not my fault.
I ask forgiveness anyway.

Scientists announced
they’d almost isolated the little fucker in their
slick white labs. If only I could
have swiped out that gene,
surreptitiously, from the soup
that made you, spliced in
something else — and extra love gene
perhaps.

But then, what loss? What might
we have missed? Your smoky
intensity, blue depths, brooding
passions? Your courage to climb out of the
tar pit? The wisdom that comes of suffering?

Demeter’s books are 50% off until July 15. See their catalogue or Facebook page for more information.