Finding the Form with John Steffler

My most recent book is a collection of essays and poems called Forty-One Pages. I wanted to work in a loose essay form, in this case, because I wanted to expand my focus and include what lies outside the edges of individual poems – the issues, the planning and daydreaming that precedes and follows them.  […]

What is Karen Enns Reading?

I finished reading Flights, Olga Tokarczuk’s brilliant, complicated novel, a few weeks ago, but it’s still very much on my mind. I’m so intrigued by the structure of the book; the narrative is constructed entirely of fragments that work, it seems to me, the way metaphors do in a complex poem, layering themselves, sometimes obviously […]

What is gillian harding-russell Reading?

“That ice island has melted away, a reminder that our world is changing under our feet, and in ways that began with us supposedly in control.” Since my father worked in British Intelligence during World War II, I have been intrigued by the underground workings of that war. In that area, I have read Michael […]

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A Good Cross-draft: The Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest

Originally published in full in Issue 148 of The New Quarterly. TNQ has long been a haven for the well-wrought personal essay. Even so, it is a contest that comes with a distinctive set of challenges. To wit: we ask for essays in which personal experience is framed by thoughtful, bracing, or lively engagement with […]

What is John Steffler Reading?

My home is shaped partly by the books it houses.  There are bookshelves in most rooms and books piled beside reading chairs and the bed.  A chunk of my past life is contained in the books I’ve accumulated, and so, in a sense, is my future – possible futures, things yet to explore.  And books […]

Dora Dueck’s Writing Space

Writing space. Oh. My mind wobbles a little, because I see first a long lovely narrative of “rooms of my own” in the past—beginning with a typewriter parked in odd spots, at the side of everything else going on in the household and often alternating with a sewing machine, to the ecstatic happiness of a […]

Chris Masterman’s Writing Space

I write in different spots around the house, but the most frequent places are my study on the second floor and the kitchen table. It depends on the quantity of light, tea, flowers, and cat companionship I’m after on that particular day. Both these spots face west, and, come to think of it, my favourite […]

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What is Sarah Klassen Reading?

The quilt that covers a small couch in my work space depicts a library. Some of the spines carry the titles of my published books. The rest, left blank by my quilter niece, can represent the books I haven’t read but want to. I grew up with a hunger for stories in a house with […]

Melinda Burns’ Writing Space

When I’m deep in the world of a story or the unfolding of a poem, it doesn’t matter where I write—café, home, writing retreat. The hard part, of course, is getting to that point. That’s where a good writing space and desk come in, a designated spot that holds my place and beckons me to […]

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What is Bren Simmers Reading?

Stepping into my local Bookmark to pick up a copy of Michael Christie’s Greenwood, I got to chatting with the staff about reading piles. We all have them: on kitchen and coffee tables, on pianos, dressers, and desks. Each pile is unique. Essays in the kitchen; fiction in the bedroom. Poetry beside the old La-Z-Boy […]