Welcome to Descant Magazine
Announcement: 2014 Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem
Descant is pleased to announce the 2014 Winston Collins/ Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem valued at $1000!
The winner of the 2014 prize is Andy Verboom for his poem, "Rite"
Rite is a beautifully anarchic, even witchy poem: a detail-heavy tale of euphoric conflagration, a demon-lover’s catalogue of things and ideas sacrificed to fire. Academic knowledge of every conceivable kind is incinerated – “Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion,” David Hume enjoined against all system-building metaphysics. Insects, fruit, writing instruments, and notebooks all meet the same fate. There are arresting phrases throughout: ‘plashing / of plastic bags’, ‘Lascaux-style genitals’, ‘Pencils turn charcoal, their erasers / harder nipples’. Partly a sort of a high-toned version of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out for Summer, partly a perverse but gorgeous lover’s-quarrel-with-the-world anti-poem, this neatly enjambed lyric is, finally, a funny and moving paean to fire. Like so many excellent poems, it communicates its own ars poetica even as it instantiates that position. Destruction, it says with quiet glee, is the linking concept of all language, ritual, human interaction, indeed life itself.
Descant 163: The Brink and the Break Prepares for Launch
Descant will be launching its newest issue, The Brink and the Break. This issue explores endings and the start of things anew, as the pieces skillfully straddle the line between breaks and near-breaks in relationships, workplaces and homes.
The launch will be at Charlie's Gallery, 112 Harbord Street (at the corner of Harbord and Robert), on January 23rd, 2014 at 7 p.m. Contributors will be reading pieces from the issue, featuring poetry by George Elliott Clarke, Rocco de Giacomo, Cathy Petch and John Ryan Scrivener, and fiction by Sharon Overend and Lori Vos. RSVP on Facebook!
Can't wait that long? Check out some of the artwork and excerpts from the issue here.
Coming out soon, Descant 162: Masala, issue and launch!
This issue of Descant traces the journey taken by many from the Indian subcontinent over the past two centuries during British colonial rule and beyond. Multi-layered and largely undocumented, it offers a glimpse of modern world history through fresh eyes.Masala presents stories from across the globe, picking up the scents, sounds and rhythms of the Indian diaspora through both historical and contemporary settings.
We would love for you to attend our launch for this exciting issue! This will be held on the evening of the 16th of October, at No One Writes to the Colonel in Toronto. Follow this link to our Facebook page for more information.
To see more about the issue itself, exclusive excerpts and the table of contents, click here.
Our summer issue, Descant 161: Into the Unknown, is out now!
Patrick Roscoe brings a mute boy who eats dirt and his long-suffering mother in a South American village.
A little clown tries to find its origin in a bleak world by Hugh Graham.
At Lake Huron, Trista Gilbert reminisces of childhood memories and the memories of the local history.
With Al Purdy, Liza Kobrinsky finds comfort in the noisy silence of kettles and radios at home.
Artist portfolios include photographs by Eliane Ling and Hall Jameson, and the photomontages of Mark Rappaport
Also included is this year’s Winston Collins/Descant Poetry Prize for Best Canadian Poem winner John B. Lee for his poem “Bringing the Farmhouse Down” a blunt discourse on beauty and past life.
Poetry and prose come from Richard Greene, Shane Neilson, Beth Goobie and Kildare Dobbs.
Fiction, poetry and memoirs about God, dogs, subway conversation and more from Dave Margoshes, Randall Brown, Eugene R. Baker, Hunter Liguore, Trevor Laurence Jockims and Richard Farrell.
Mark Kingwell discuses the insidious enemy in our neighbourhoods and cities, while Paul S. Fowler stresses on the over-anxiety of Y2K.
Now out! Descant 160: The Hidden City
This issue of Descant explores the hidden parts of a city — both its terrain (underground rivers, back alleyways, horse palaces) and its inhabitants (an aging machine operator, a homeless father and his son, a philosophizing baker and more).
Whether it’s under a bridge, along a back alley, inside a factory, down the sewers, in a town square, at a youth centre, or in catacombs, the writers and artists in this issue of Descant uncover the many layers of a city. Get ready to explore the untold concealed corners of Italy, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Inuvik, Vietnam and more.
If interested in attending the launch event at the Handlebar, check out the event details here.
Winston Collins Prize Announcement, Wednesday February 20th 2013
The Descant Arts & Letters Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of the Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem for 2013.
“Bringing the Farmhouse Down”
By John B. Lee
The Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem is an annual prize awarded in memory of Winston Collins, writer and enthusiastic teacher of literature at the universities of Cincinnati, Princeton and Toronto. This prize, established in 2007, perpetuates his remarkable talent for encouraging self-expression through writing. The winner receives an award of $1000 and is published in an issue of Descant.
The judges for this year’s prize, Mark Kingwell and Leanne Shapton, provided Descant with a statement describing their choice:
"Bringing the Farmhouse Down" deftly and tenderly evokes the past life of a family home with refreshingly unsentimental texture. There is a wealth of concrete detail in the description of the house’s destruction, an act evoked with precise, even blunt, language that nevertheless reveals the aura of beauty that can surround things in our tough material world: "from the peen-bruise of the punched studs / and the dry-lime fragrance / of the splintering slats." The short lines, hyphenated adjectives, incidental rhyme, and alliteration create a jangly Anglo-Saxon rhythm reminiscent of Hopkins, just as the close attention to objects and tools recalls Ted Hughes or Galway Kinnell: "in the long hall / the wicker wheelchair / winced like a toy / while the girls played / broken-legged doll." Thematically, we found the shifts in time particularly effective in executing the major conceit and house-as-memory, and acknowledging the delicate, ever-haunted structures we call consciousness and identity. The poem works like a tiny ghost story: images, voices, and children gliding in and out of its rooms.
For more information about the prize, John B. Lee and the judges click here.
Descant 159: A Winter's Guide to Melancholia Launches January 23,2013!
Descant's winter issue will be out soon! In the meantime, mark your calendars - The launch will be at No One Writes to the Colonel located at 460 College St. in Toronto, from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. on January 23, 2013.The launch will feature Natalie Thompson, Daniel Karasik, Joshua Learn, Mark Lavorato and Bill Howell as readers.
The winter issue features a roster of 32 writers and artists from Canada and the United States, with additional submissions from France, Italy and Ireland. Touching upon sadness and grief through themes such as lust, youth and domesticity, A Winter's Guide to Melancholia is a cathartic experience perfect for the dreary winter months. In this issue, David Norman leads readers through the months just before a couple's divorce, disseminating the role of family, racial divides, and the preservation of innocence. Sandra Jensen tells the tale of grief and revolution in a war-torn land, while Hendrik Slegtenhorst and Karen Green speak of being away in foreign places.
Descant launches issue 158: Renovations
We are very thrilled to announce the launch of Descant 158: Renovations. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 7 to 10 PM at The Rochester (423 College Street).
Come and enjoy a free night of poetry and fiction readings, and free food! Descant 158 features new and exciting fiction, poetry, art and essays on renovations that are not limited to the home, but also extend to the text and self-identity.
Contributors Catherine Graham, Cora Siré, Jessica Parkinson, and others, will read from excerpts of their work. The event will also feature a raffle, where rafflers will have a chance to win magazine subscriptions, amazing book bundles, and much more! Pick up a copy of the Descant 158: Renovations, hot off the presses, for a discounted price (one night only)!
Vera DeWaard, email@example.com
Canaan Chu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Submissions: Berlin Issue
“I still keep a suitcase in Berlin” - Marlene Dietrich
"It's a city that's so easy to 'get lost' in – and to 'find' oneself, too." - David Bowie, on his “Berlin Years”
Has there ever been a more protean city than Berlin? Once home to emperors and palaces, cabaret halls and seductive starlets, Berlin became a city of stones and then a city divided, only to resume its status as capital of the reunified Germany. Berlin is a city of contradictions — or what its current mayor Klaus Wowereit calls, “Poor, but sexy.” It is precisely Berlin’s paradoxical nature that has long held appeal for artists coming to the city in search of creative revitalization. From Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, which inspired a young David Bowie to move to the city, to Christo wrapping The Reichstag,Berlin remains a haven for those seeking the unconventional and unpredictable. In 2014, Berlin will commemorate its 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall and the reunification of the city. Descant aims to take part in this celebration by welcoming submissions of unpublished fiction, poetry, essays and art pieces that speak to the mythology, memory and identity of Berlin — in all its various incarnations.
Call to Submit!
Cartooning Degree Zero: Descant's Graphic Literature Issue
The comic strip, the funnybook, the graphic novel -- whatever we call this melange of words and pictures, it all begins with the art of cartooning. This issue provides an opportunity to explore what cartooning looks like now, and where we find its limits. In writing that approaches the zero degree, Roland Barthes sees an “infinite freedom” shining forth, the creation of an “unexpected object” overflowing with possibilities. Can we say the same for cartooning degree zero? Contributors are encouraged to test out the affinities that exist between cartooning and poetry, comics and prose, drawing and writing. What are the stories that images tell, and what do they keep silent? What can comics recall about the past, or say about the present? What have we seen in the history of cartooning, and what can we expect for the future of the form? Descant welcomes cartooned strips, panels, and stories that address any topic and investigate the possibilities and boundaries of the medium. Traditional essays, poems, memoirs and fiction that deal in some way with comics and cartooning will also be accepted.
Submission deadline for this issue: June 7th, 2013
For more information about our submission guidelines and submitting to other issues of Descant, click here.