Amidst all our #octocup-ing, PRISM has also been keeping up with our literary magazine reading. Here’s Part II of our favourite fall reads from lit mags in Canada and around the world:
Clara Kumagai, Executive Editor, Promotions
The Fiddlehead, Issue No. 259
“When Stars Fell Like Salt Before the Revolution” by Jill Widner is a Short Fiction Honourable Mention from Fiddlehead’s 23rd Annual Literary Contest. Set in Iran with a young female protagonist, Sylvie, this story is a beautiful capturing of not only a place, but a time—specifically, a time in Sylvie’s life. Like drinking tea the Irani way, and letting crystals of sugar melt in your mouth, this almost magical story lingered…
The Puritan, Issue 25
“#Fortune Teller” by Trevor Corkum stood out for me in Issue 25 of The Puritan. As someone who reads a substantial amount online, I’m a regular visitor to The Puritan—there’s always good poetry, prose, reviews and essays to be found there. The voice of the protagonist is so clear and familiar—and at times distasteful—that it pulled me right into this story of murder and Twitter feeds. It’s an unlikely combination, but it sure does work. I always enjoy being dragged along by likeably unlikeable characters, and this story had them in abundance. The piece focuses on Potzi, a shady, “ex-gay”, newly-murdered colleague that the protagonist can’t say he misses. There’s great moments of humor and small details—like “watching the sun bleed over the street and the pigeons whore around the sidewalks like little KGB agents”. I won’t look at pigeons in the same way again. And the best thing is that you can read Trevor’s story right now, on The Puritan website.
And in Issue 26, there is an interview with PRISM contributor and wonderful poet, Elise Partridge: “Let Me Be A Waterfall: An Interview with Elise Partridge” by Evan Jones. Elise’s poetry is featured in PRISM 53:1.
Going Down Swinging, No. 35
“Swimming, and Other Unnatural Things”, Patrick Lenton comes from our pals Down Under, Going Down Swinging. Okay, they’re not Canadian but they are a lit mag, and a good one at that. Laugh-out-loud funny can be rare, sometimes, but that’s what Patrick Lenton’s piece in Going Down Swinging is. You may think that a protagonist who decides to go for a swim won’t have many obstacles to face… Wrong. This particular protagonist makes a comeback to the pool because he says he can be an adult, one of those “fit, goal-oriented people who are so terrified of death they will do anything to stave off the inevitable.” And the next time I go for a swim (in about ten years time) I’ll be using the line, “I’ll have one of your finest pools, please.”
“Library of Congress”, by Bridget Lutherborrow is perfect if you have a taste for the absurd and the bizarre – which I certainly do. This is about a person and a whiskey drinking horse named Eduard, waiting for a storm. It’s only six pages long but creates a strange, still world, watching the sky on a balcony.
And keep an eye out for our monthly article swap with Going Down Swinging!
Nicole Boyce, Prose Editor
Prairie Fire 35.2
“Remember This” by Kathleen Kennedy, the runner-up for Prairie Fire’s Creative Non-fiction Contest, is a moving and vividly detailed essay on photography, family and memory. Writing about her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and subsequent move into a nursing home, Kennedy moves gracefully between scenes and contemplations, creating a powerful portrait of her mother and their changing relationship.
“Pop Goes the Zastava” by Andrew Boden also explores themes of memory and family. The story centres around a father-son hunting trip, integrating present-tense scenes with memories of the father’s experiences during the Croatian War of Independence. A tense, carefully written piece about the lasting effects of war.
subTerrain 67 – Coincidence
“The Coincidence Problem” by Stephen Osbourne is one of several pieces in this issue that examine the idea of coincidence: how we define it, make sense of it, and identify it in our lives. This essay unpacks the phrase “only a coincidence” in a thoughtful rumination on cause, effect, and perception.
“The Canvas” by Laura Hartenberger. A rogue census canvasser takes a few liberties with her paperwork in this funny, thought-provoking story. An engaging voice and well-structured plot make this one a must-read.
Grain 41.4 – Breaking the Surface
“No Violence” by Liz Windhorst Harmer. An intimate look at motherhood that demonstrates how a small moment can make you reevaluate what you believe about yourself and others. I found this story insightful and beautifully written—it’s full of stop-you-in-your-tracks moments that resonated with me long after the first read.
“Holding Hands” by Keith Cadieux. Two teenagers break into a pool in this vividly detailed piece. I won’t say too much else about this story, except that I found it absorbing and surprising.
Plus, check out these pieces from members of the PRISM family:
“Night/light” by Prose Editorial Board member Kim McCullough in Grain 41.4
“One True Beautiful Thing” by PRISM 53:1 contributor Amy Jones in Grain 41.4
“Gail is a Punk” by PRISM 52:4 contributor Trevor Corkum in Grain 41.4
“Green Shoes” by PRISM 52:4 contributor Janice McCachen in Prairie Fire 35.2
“Silence Splashing Everywhere (Five Poems)” by PRISM 53:1 contributor Raoul Fernandes in subTerrain 67
“Please Check Against Delivery” by former PRISM Poetry Editor Jordan Abel in subTerrain 67
“The Man Who Made Space Cool Again: A Review of Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Charles-Adam Foster-Simard in The Puritan 26.
And if you missed Part I of our Favourite Lit Mag writing, then here it is!