Monday, January 29, 2007

TorkStar - an online fiction and art magazine

Hello. I'm Derek Gour. I'd like to announce the launch of the first issue of TorkStar (, a monthly online journal of short fiction and art. Though it's on the internet, the magazine is based in Calgary, and I'd like to see more Calgarian (and just plain old Canadian) content in its virtual pages. Submission guidelines are at A rarity amongst literary journals, TorkStar not only publishes the text version of stories, but one of a plethora of talented voice-over artists narrates each story, so you can listen to them on your iPod while you're sitting on the bus. The site also boasts a writing workshop where writers can critique and be critiqued in order to improve their writing. Workshop registration is free and easy.

Four short stories grace the first issue. Karl Koweski's "The Great Ice Cream Robbery" shows us how the Little Rascals might have looked if they were Polish and lived in Chicago. Ben Tanzer explores some seriously anti-social behaviour with "In My Room". Gavin Lambert brings us more personal issues, this time in the bedroom, with "Settling Down". And Deborah Wang rounds out the stories with her strange tale of being left behind, "Shard".

The art department is equally impressive, with Irene Donnelly's "Hybrid Plant Creatures", one of which is the cover image for February. I can't stop thinking of Little Shop of Horrors. Mandy Maxwell continues to spook us out with her haunting images of birds - mostly dead birds. Enjoy!

This is a great first issue. Read it, listen to it, look at it. Send your love to the contributors.

P.S. Sorry, there's no fancy launch party. Still working on that. ;-)

- Derek

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Eleventh Transmission Fiction Contest: 1 Week to Enter!!

Hello georgous Calgarians,

The Eleventh Transmission Fiction contest closes in 1 week time! (Jan 31)
Get your story in a.s.a.p.!

3000 words or less! Previously unpublished! $10 to enter!

Full contest details available at

Come on local writers. *Trust me*, your odds are very good of winning one of the excellent prizes. Let's keep the winnings in Calgary!


Friday, January 19, 2007

February flywheel - Calgary Ink Invasion!

filling Station magazine presents:

February flywheel – Calgary Ink Invasion!

Performances by:

Christopher Blais
Alyson Fortowsky
Rebekah Jarvis
Paul Kennett
Crystal Mimura

... hosted by Chris Ewart and Mark Hopkins!

Thursday, February 1 – 7:30 pm
McNally Robinson – 120 8th Ave SW

What happens when flywheel teams up with Calgary Ink? An evening of prose prowess! Five fiction writers unite to share their freshest creations. Join us downtown on this First Thursday to catch the next generation of Canadian superstar authors!

PLUS: Don’t forget the flywheel prize draw! Not only will attendees get to hear top-notch literature, but they’ll also have the chance to win swag from filling Station magazine and McNally Robinson Booksellers.

EXTRA BONUS: Sandy Lam’s limited edition flywheel poster, up for grabs in July 2007, continues to accumulate writers’ signatures in special silver ink!

Every month since November 2003, filling Station magazine's flywheel reading series has brought poetry, prose, music, lectures and performance to the heart of downtown Calgary. It’s a place for first-time readers to share the stage with professional authors, for Calgary audiences to see their favourite writers alongside the next generation of literary superstars.

Next flywheel: March 1, 2007
McNally Robinson – 120 8th Ave SW

CONTACT: Mark Hopkins
403.710.0093 –

Call for CISWF Volunteers

Calgary International Spoken Word Festival

Call for Volunteers!

The 4th annual Calgary International Spoken Word Festival is almost upon us, running April 5-22, 2007. You can check out the high-octane assortment of events and artists at

We need YOUR help to make this the biggest and best festival yet!

Available volunteer roles include:

- Billets: invite an artist into your home!
- Publicity: distribute programs and posters throughout the city!
- Transport: help our out-of-town artists navigate Calgaria!
- Ushers/Booksellers: be on the scene at brilliant poetry events!

Volunteers will receive thank-you gifts, invitations to special after-parties, the chance to meet festival artists and more!

There are volunteer opportunities from March 15 to April 23, so you have plenty of time to lend a hand! If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact:

Mark Hopkins

Information we will need:

Languages spoken:
Access to a vehicle?
Availability (dates; daytime, evenings, weekends):

Thanks; we look forward to working with you!
For more information about the festival, please contact:

Sheri-D Wilson – Artistic Director
Calgary International Spoken Word Festival
403.686.4292 –

Monday, January 15, 2007

Calgary Poetry Slam - January 25, 2007

The Calgary International Spoken Word Festival presents:

Calgary Poetry Slam!

Thursday, January 25, 2007 – 8:00 pm
Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club – 811 1st St SW
Hosts: Sheri-D Wilson & Mark Hopkins

Last month, Zack Davis walked away from the Calgary Poetry Slam with prize money and a shot at joining the 2007/08 Calgary Slam Team, to represent Calgary in national international Slam competitions. This month, it could be you!

Every month, 10 poets storm the stage to share their words and beats with packed-out, cheering crowds. Judges from the audience score their performances in two intense rounds of poetic excellence, until a winner is crowned! With different local performers every time, Slam nights are impossible to predict and not to be missed!

If you want to Slam, bring a $5 registration fee and 3 poems (three-minute MAX, each) and sign up with Mark Hopkins. Sign-up will be first come, first served, so be sure to arrive early!

For Slam procedures and rules, please visit


The CBC Poetry Face-Off!
Thursday, February 22, 2007 – 8:00 pm
Auburn Saloon, #163 115 9th Ave SE

Sheri-D Wilson – 403.686.4292


Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Free Exchanging 2007

Below is the Call for Papers for MY panel.... SUBMIT! Essays on poetics in relation to the artifact are welcome, to this or to the general call, located HERE. Spread the word! And yeah, that’s right… I pretty much just stole these introductory lines right from Jonathan’s post. Whatchya gonna do about it?

Fucking Artifacts: Re-examining the Roles of Expletives in Culture and Academia

Much Wine had past with grave discourse, Of who Fucks who, and who does worse. ~ Lord Rochester, Poems on Several Occasions

How in the fuck should I know? ~ William Burroughs, Naked Lunch

Academic writing often excludes profanities, and often ignores them as the subject of literary scrutiny, even though they are abundant within literature and constitute a significant and legitimate portion of vernacular language. Recently, the Wikipedia entry for “fuck” has provided a surprising history for the contentious cultural artifact. It appears to have started out as any other word might, appearing in 16th and 17th century poetry and drama, early 20th century Louis Armstrong songs, and the WWII military acronyms, “SNAFU” and “FUBAR.” Despite its protracted and prolific history, “fuck” was officially included in the Oxford English Dictionary just over thirty years ago.

Typically, explicit expressions are taken for granted as gratuitous and inarticulate, yet they usually evoke (or provoke) very specific references and strong emotions. As the basis of various expressions, such as “a good fuck,” “fuck off,” and “fuck up,” the term “fuck,” for example, is a site of intersecting and conflicting meanings, including sexual gratification, contempt, and failure. My hope for this panel is to question common characterizations and presumptions of these colloquial artifacts.

A diverse range of approaches to the topic is encouraged: new historicist, feminist, medievalist, film studies, etc. Papers may address, but are not limited to:

* “fuck” as a term of both desire and spite (in relation to history, literature or neither)
* swearing in academia, or simply “swearing in”
* the roles of profanity in culture or in so-called subcultures (such as gaming)
* situating artful/factual uses of, or attitudes towards, foul language (i.e. as fetish?)
* censorship and/or desensitization
* “curse” words in religious/spiritual contexts
* obscenity as “expletive” or “explicit” artifact
* writing the “bawdy”

Deadline for submissions: 2 February 2007

Please submit 250 word proposals (for papers approx. 15 minutes in length) to panel chair kevin mcpherson eckhoff at Attachments should be in Rich Text or Word format only, and please include your name, professional affiliation, and contact information in the body of your email.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Free Exchange 2007

The University of Calgary is hosting the Free Exchange graduate conference yet again, in March. The theme this year is "Spring Cleaning: Rediscovering and Revitalizing the Artifact." Calls for papers are located HERE.

Below is the Call for Papers for MY panel.... SUBMIT!!!! Essays on poetics in relation to the artifact welcome, to this or to the general call, or other panels. Spread the word!

The Creation and Collection of Artifacts

In “Unpacking My Library,” Walter Benjamin discusses the act of collecting, and then states that “[o]f all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.”

There is a sense, then, in which the act of collecting and the act of creation are interconnected. Creators are figured, in the above quote, as collectors who desire nonexistent artifacts, who call these artifacts into existence in order to collect them, and who produce artifacts which are then collected by others. Collectors are also, in some respects, creators—categorizing and structuring raw materials in such a way to achieve a desired aesthetic effect. The creator and the collector also seem connected in their attempts to impose order and arrangement on ephemeral, imaginative chaos. But what is the attraction of specific artifacts—both those collected and those produced for collection—and how does the fact of their being “collected” alter the aura of these artifacts? How and why does the compulsion to collect, or to produce artifacts worthy of collection, attach itself to specific, fetishized objects? In what ways might impurities in the artifact challenge this taxonomic impulse—and why are these “exceptions” (which might be expected to cause anxiety) considered to be “rare” and thus more desirable?

Papers discussing the artifact in terms of its collection and/or its creation will be considered. Presenters are also encouraged to think beyond the borders of literature, and consider the artifact in film, art, history, mythology, folklore, and popular culture.

Deadline for submissions: 2 February 2007

Please submit 250 word proposals (for papers approx. 15 minutes in length) to panel chair Jonathan Ball at (subject heading: “artifacts conference”). Attachments should be in Rich Text or Word format only, and please include your name, professional affiliation, and contact information in the body of your email.