Edmonton poet, essayist, photographer, and novelist Shawna Lemay has launched a wonderful new online poetry magazine called Canadian Poetries (can you hear the “trees,” see the “tries”?). The site includes poetry, poets writing about art, poets telling secrets about their work, and poets in conversation with one another about poetry.

I was pleased to be […]

National Magazine Awards 2012

I woke up this morning to find an email from Kim Jernigan, the editor of The New Quarterly, with news from last night’s National Magazine Awards gala. My essay, “A Container of Light,” published in TNQ issue 120, has been awarded the silver medal in Personal Journalism at the 2012 National Magazine Awards! I am […]

On Structure and Purpose

Last semester, I taught a creative non-fiction writing workshop. All semester, I repeated this phrase like a mantra to my students: structure and purpose, structure and purpose.

I meant their essays. But I’m coming to see this as a mantra for life, especially a writing life. If I want something to fit in my life, […]

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day—a day to celebrate women, but also to call attention to the fact that women are still “poorer and less powerful than men in every country in the world” (UN report, “Progress of the World’s Women 2011: In Pursuit of Justice”). So it’s a good day to think about this, and […]

Call for submissions

The deadline for The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest is tomorrow, February 28! Poets, consider entering something if you haven’t already. TNQ is an excellent literary journal with truly wonderful, humane editors to work with. They are great supporters of their writers. You get a subscription just by entering the contest. The journal […]

Ode to particularity

Have you read Zadie Smith’s essay, “Fail Better”? I find it deeply heartening. The essay borrows its title from Samuel Beckett’s lines (famous among writers): “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Some highlights:

“For writers have only one duty, as I see it: the duty to express accurately their way of being in the world” […]