canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

Stocking Stuffers Made Of Canadian Magazines Smelling Like Oranges

Diamonds may be forever, but where is the subscription offer, or witty editorial? Whereís that new magazine smell? Nothing says I love you like a Canadian Magazine.

(December 2007)

By Nathaniel G. Moore

Since TDR is an online literary journal, itís hard for us to recommend a periodical for the holidays. I mean, no offense, but who wants a link for Christmas? Same goes for Bookninja and Open Book Toronto and Quill Blog. Not the best way to say "I saw this and thought of you immediately now click here." So before you going to your sock drawer and fill them up with apples and oranges and start hammering these gaudy garments to your wall with peopleís names written on them in serial killer crayon font, just slow down, put the hammer down, and think about what youíre doing.

You see, thatís why I turned to physical reality for this report and not some idealized cook book reference or how to buy your mother chocolate infomercial.

Why not go to a bookstore and support some Canadian Magazines? First of all they roll up, some of them. Except the new issue of Matrix because it comes with a DVD. Itís been a year since the magazine lost Robert Allen, a great inspiration, poet, editor and friend to Montreal and all of Canadian Literature. Matrix Magazine is one of the best designed magazines in the country, and they are evolving the magazine into a more accessible part of the greater good. For instance their next issue is dedicated entirely to new writers. But you can read more about that in the new issue. Issue 78 has a special section on film edited by Taien Ng-Chan. The DVD features claymation by Conundrum author Elisabeth Belliveau, a video performance by Carolien Boileau, a filmic treatise by author / artist Victoria Stanton, a hand-drawn animation by Farzin Farzeneh, based on a story by Jon Paul Fiorentino, and something called "more". The issue also has new fiction by Leanna Mclennan plus an interview with Lisa Robertson.

Broken Pencilís latest issue was launched around Halloween, thatís why it has a white male zombie on the cover. If youíve noticed the strong zombie movement in Torontoís art scene, a trend perhaps only threatened in popularity by the robots movement, youíll like this issue. There are cool tips on making realistic horror films, which is important, because no one likes crap anymore. There is a great article by Hannah D. Forman on zine philosophy and gender and its role in the development of horror films. Declares Forman, "horror is not a boys club anymore" which is for me a sort of personal mantra Iíve believed in strongly since the late 1990s. The magazine is offering a special holiday gift combo, check the site for details. Also, if you find yourself surfing the net on boxing day, trying to sell your fiction, wondering what contests to win before the year is up, the magazine has a Death Match going on (donít we all.)

The latest issue of Maisonneuve hits newsstands in December, and the always fun boys and girls of Team M are throwing a launch party. Doesnít that cover make you want to join the space program? With the theme of the issue being food, you can expect more than a Tic-Tac and a stiff handshake I'm sure. Artwork from "The Food Issue" will be on display and up for bids. The official launch for the magazine, if you happen to be in the Montreal area, will be on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 7pm at ShaÔka Cafť 5526 Sherbrooke West. Bring dental floss.

Recently at a packed and cold night at the I.V. lounge, I was telling some OCAD creative writing students to go buy Quill & Quire because it would be in their best interest. Then I pointed to Sean Dixon and said, "that man right there is on the cover." Then the students began to talk to Sean and I resumed my conversation with myself. This month, the magazine does their best GQ impersonation, with a lovely cover for their best of 2007 issue. Nope, no shawls on this cover, or windy authors sitting on rocks. Itís not just a classy cover, but a classy issue, as the magazine also has a cool little pull out booklet summarizing the best of 2007, plus seven designers pick their favourite covers of the year, a celebrity panel asks what Atwoodís classic "thematic guide to Canadian literature" has to say, 35 years later, and Iím sure somewhere youíll find a page with a partridge in a pear tree.

If you have lived in Toronto for more than thirty minutes you may have heard of Taddle Creek Magazine, who just celebrated 10 long years of publishing two magazines a year. The best part of this launch was Conan and Hal on stage together, I thought I was watching Saturday Night Live. Or Fraggle Rock. Hal was really insistent that we buy the magazine, even calling us scumbags, which apparently is back in fashion at literary events. Considering how nice the magazine looks, and the continuous quality of the writing plus the editors obvious mob ties, you canít help but want to buy it. Thereís fiction by David Whitton and Emily Schultz, a great profile on Hal Niedzviecki and Camilla Gibb has a piece of short fiction as well, which is, of course quite nice. 

There is even an entire page dedicated to some loser who has been rejected by the magazine 300 times (me!). Said the contributorís mother of the piece when she read it, "It's so sad to have you write about yourself in such a negative way. Is that the only way to get published by that Literary magazine? I just want you to know that I don't believe a word of it." The Photopunk photo essay by Jason Anderson and photographer Jack Martin does in fact capture " the vitality and the spontaneity of Toronto's club scene." (Thereís a real hot photo of David Johansen, lead singer of New York Dolls taken at the El Mo.) 

The magazine has become a staple of the ever-expanding Toronto Literati and is a refreshingly humble and slick ensemble and way less than six bucks, even after youíve enter the Miss GST pageant. (This is the pageant that is an ongoing project of the federal government and not necessarily affiliated with Danforth Review or its editors.)

For more information on official magazines here in Canada, visit their website.






TDR is produced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

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All views expressed are those of the writer only. 

TDR is archived with the Library and Archives Canada

ISSN 1494-6114. 

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions de son soutien le Conseil des Arts du Canada.