Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Charles Simic via The Paris Review

“Poetry in my view is a defense of the individual against all the forces arrayed against him. ” —Charles Simic

Read our 2005 interview with the Serbian-American poet here:

Charles Simic was published in Vallum a few years ago. His words in the above quote point to the meaning of the word "Vallum" as we use it in our explorations. Follow the above link to the Paris Review's interview.                /ez

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


(c) Jan Zwicky

             There is a sound
that is a whole of many parts,
a sorrowless transparency, like luck,
that opens in the centre of a thing.
An eye, a river, fishheads, death,
gold in your pocket, and a half-wit
son: the substance of the world
is light and blindness and the
measure of our wisdom is our love.
Our diligence: ten fingers and
a healthy set of lungs. practice
ceaselessly: there is
one art: wind
in the open spaces
grieving, laughing
with us, saying

(From, Practising Bach. Published in Vallum 6:1, 2008.)

Tuesday, 5 November 2013



With the recent announcement of Canadian short-fiction writer Alice Munro as this year’s Nobel Laureate in literature, many are wondering what this holds for the perception of Canada as a literary nation. 
Certain nations have an incontestable status as literary powerhouses and no matter their country of origin, little evidence is needed to convince most avid readers of the literary importance of countries such as: the U.S, U.K, France, Russia, Ireland, etc. However, many less populous nations are overshadowed by these literary behemoths and Canada is no exception. 
Asking them who their favourite Canadian author is will solicit from many Canadians only blank stares and umms and uhhs, before stumbling upon the names of Atwood or Richler. Even within Canada extensive knowledge of the Canadian literary canon is largely limited to those involved in it and despite the efforts of the Canadian literary community and the government to promote Canadian literature, most Canadians read far fewer domestic works than international ones.
Canadian prose and poetry has long been overshadowed, but change may be in sight. By receiving the Nobel Prize, Munro has been internationally recognized as one of the most important living writers and as interest in her work grows so too may interest in Canadian literature as a whole. Munro’s lifetime achievement has put Canadian literature in the headlines and brought with it the hope that it will be seen there far more often.

- Connor Mellegers
   Vallum: Contemporary Poetry

Saturday, 1 June 2013

FEATURED POET: Kevin Higgins

(c) Kevin Higgins, 2007 (in Vallum 4:2/5:1)

        When the bombers refused to turn
into butterflies, and the Workers
         went down the road chanting,
"They say fight-back!
          We say cut-back!"

she put on her
            stop-doing-that-now face
and counterattacked with evening
            after evening of pure thoughts
and proper posture; accompanied

           her gluten-free muesli
to the verandah and watched the seagulls
           flying towards her;
as she took out and weighed
            all our betrayals.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Photos by Terence Byrnes

For those of you interested in viewing some of Montreal's writers (and the list is by no means complete...), Terence Byrnes, Chair of the Concordia English Department, writer and professor, has taken some striking photos of familiar faces. He is, indeed, a gifted photographer, with many projects on the go. Vehicule Press has a photo gallery of his work at the link below.      /ez