Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Treat someone you love (or yourself ) to Vallum! Print & digital magazine subscriptions! Chapbooks! Back issues!

Billie Holiday knows, there's no better way to stay warm!

To see our fabulous holiday savings, visit our website at

Sunday, 30 November 2014

FEATURED POET: Paul-Georges Leroux

Paul-Georges Leroux is an exceptional Montreal/Quebec poet. His poetry resonates with incomparable depth; and his writing is amongst the best French-language poetry being written today. /ez

(c) Paul-Georges Leroux, 2014.

1. Kinderszenen

Le contour des premières choses, les premières géographies
La peur de ne plus rien voir
L'espoir qui se révolte, l'amour qui se perd
Mouvantes circonférences d'un blanc soleil
La crête des vagues et les cimes de neige

Le vent, le courant, le temps emportent nos confins
inlassables cartographes d'une réalité
dont les frontières fugaces laissent passer nos rêves

Oubli, Insu
mots étranges, syllabes furtives
d'une hermétique mathématique d'ombres
d'un regard aveugle à lui-même

Seuils d'un continent englouti
au fond des pages d'un cahier d'écolier


3. Mélanome

S'endormir inerte sous un solstice d'hiver

Se réveiller en pleine nuit
Poser les yeux sur une constellation
un peu plus brillante que les autres


Se réveiller de nouveau de ressentir
quelque chose
quelque part
se déplacer pour l'éternité

Se rendormir une fois plus

Rêver d'un aigle ravisseur
se posant sur une branche enneigée

sans que la branche ni la neige ne bougent

Published in, Vallum 11:1, Thresholds, 2014.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Vallum Award for Poetry 2014 WINNERS!


1st PRIZE: $750

“The Long Study”

2nd PRIZE: $250 

“Last evening I stumbled”


“Apple to Apple”

“pass this note”

Thank you to everyone who entered this year's contest.
Winning poems will appear in issue 12:1 "Surrender."

To view poems of previous winners, please visit our website HERE


Eleni Zisimatos reviews Mark Morgenstern's film, "Before I Go" (EWOLA Cinema).

“BEFORE I GO,” Mark Morgenstern, Ewola Cinema, 2014.
Reviewed by Eleni Zisimatos, Vallum Magazine, 2014.

Mark Morgenstern’s film, “Before I Go,” in competition at the Festival du nouveau cinema, and which premiered at Cinema du Parc in Montreal October 12th, is about the movements of a house. It is not a ‘home,’ there are no puppies or kittens or soft fluffy images. The cinematography is bleak. There is focus on parts of the house requiring repair. But it would seem that the most central part of this strange, haunting, is the house’s need for attention. Although it is dismembered and dismantled, there are figures who appear as fragments, figures who would seem to belong there, but who have no identity, as they are portrayed in the film. There is a disconnect between the physicality of the house and the physicality of the human forms. It is almost as if the two are caught in some kind of disparagement of time—and they cannot communicate. The ‘house’ is often considered to be symbolically associated with the psyche. Bachelard has written on the importance of the home and how it is central to one’s conception of identity. Morgenstern shows us the house and he shows us some human forms, but there is no relationship between the two. The house is not a home, in Bachelard’s interpretation of home. So, what is this house we observe, so closely, so fearfully?

Morgenstern’s technical brilliance and associative cinematography are so impressive that one is left breathless. The house is trying to speak—is it a haunted house? It very well could be. The most chilling part of this film is towards the end, with a woman sitting on a bed, with her back towards us. She could easily be construed to be some kind of ghost or figure of madness. We seem to drift with this woman’s presence, and this is a key point in the film where I felt a truly dangerous ‘presence.’ The house needs attention. The psyche would seem to be unraveling.

The magnificence of this short film is that it creates the aura of exteriority. We are not inside it, even though we view inside the physical house. And this is what many family houses are like in today’s soulless and mindless societies. Morgenstern’s, “Before I Go,” is a cutting-edge portrayal of the breakdown of the family unit, of the suffering of individuals who try to create community and communion within their houses, but fail. And the true horror is that families today--no longer within a caring and nurturing environment or a home—are transformed into objects in an essentially mad series of unconnected pieces and parts. This is the stunning force behind this film.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Poem by L. Wayne Russell

(C) L.W. Russell 2014

The world’s soul has gone incognito
as the devil incarnate.

Angels lay stagnant at the bottom
of my shot glass.

In between inaudible words are
spoken, air bubbles surface; frantic.

The cries of angels begin to fade.
One by one a begging ghost can be
seen cutting through the lukewarm
surface of my straight bourbon.

And now I know, what was pure in
my life has become no more.

The angels lie in the bottom of their
liquid coffin, wings motionless,
voices silent.

Father forgive me, for I have sinned...

again and again and again....

I cannot seem to stop this madness!

help me...

the angels have but all disappeared from
my life...

One by one by one they go, sinking into
the depths of a past that they can never
come back from.

* for all those I have lost to alcohol, may you rest in eternal peace*

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Vallum Award for Poetry 2014: Shortlist Announced!


“Life Cycle in C Major”

“Apple to Apple”

“The Unseen Desert” 

“Dream Upon, Jimmy Alexis, Stillborn” 

“Last evening I stumbled”

“pass this note” 

“My Mother’s Magazines” 

“The Long Study”

“Lessons From A Younger Brother” 

Thank you to everyone who entered this year's contest.
The winners and honorable mentions will be announced mid-October
Winning poems will appear in issue 12:1 "Surrender."

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Vallum's next issue's theme is SURRENDER:

What does it mean to bend, to yield? Surrender manifests in different ways: joy, despair, a willingness to give up one’s “totality” for someone or something other than him or her self. We surrender to vices, to glory, to the divine, or to the void. How do you “surrender?” Send us your best poems!

DEADLINE:  November 1, 2014

For more information and guidelines, please visit us online:

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

JUST RELEASED: "A REMARKABLE GREY HORSE" poems by Thurston Moore + John Kinsella !

NOW AVAILABLE!!!  A Remarkable Grey Horse -- a collaborative poetry chapbook by THURSTON MOORE (musician and founder of experimental rock group SONIC YOUTH) and JOHN KINSELLA (author of over 30 books of poetry, fiction, and criticism)!

"Celebrating in the unnatural, reveling in the rebellious, A Remarkable Grey Horse is a collision of skateboards, Doris Day, punk rock, lighthouses, spume, skuzz, and Rimbaud. Here, bleak cityscapes, squalid apartments, and polluted waters urge the reader to 'explore disgust' and seek freedom."


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Announcing the winner of Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

A huge thanks to everyone who tuned in to Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure, 
and an extra special thanks to those of you who hazarded a guess! 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

WEEK 12: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

This is WEEK 12 (and the LAST WEEK) of Vallum’s Cryptographic Adventure!

Originally we were offering a free entry into our annual poetry contest, the Vallum Award for Poetry, to the first person who solved the cryptogram correctly. CONGRATULATIONS to Jacqueline Hanna who solved the puzzle within the first couple of weeks!

Now, for anyone else who has solved or will solve the cryptogram correctly, Vallum is offering other FANTASTIC PRIZES! So keep deciphering!

This week’s poetic cipher:

And our hint of the week:
"The beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of every end,
And the end of every place."


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

WEEK 11: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

For all you spies and double agents, here’s the cipher and hint for Week 11 of Vallum’s Cryptographic Adventure! This is the second-last week to guess the mystery poet correctly to win a snazzy Vallum prize! Good luck!

This week’s poetic cipher: PUTHK BK MEG LHGXM SEGGW UA MEG KTC

And our hint of the week:

"I never was, am always to be,
No one ever saw me, nor ever will
And yet I am the confidence of all
To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball."

To view previous clues, please visit our website at:

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

WEEK 10: Vallum’s Cryptographic Adventure!

This week’s poetic cipher:

And our hint of the week:

At night they come without being fetched,
And by day they are lost without being stolen.


To view previous clues, please visit our website at

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

WEEK 9: Vallum’s Cryptographic Adventure!


And our hint of the week:

This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats mountain down.


To view previous clues, please visit our website at

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

WEEK 8: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

This week's poetic cipher: MEGHG XHG CU QXBWK BC MEG IBMP UA MEG ZGXZ

And our hint of the week:

First think of the person who lives in disguise,
Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies,
Next tell me what's always the last thing to mend,
The middle of middle and end of the end?
And finally give me the sound often heard,
During the search for a hard-to-find word.
Now string them together, and answer me this,
Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?  


To view previous clues, please visit our website at

Who is poetry for?

Article that asks whether or not poets should be accountable, whether or not poetry should be more mainstream...comments??

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Bits & pieces

Time passes, we reflect. We have hopes and visions for the future. Past scars are still visible. We move on, leave chaos behind... have a good weekend,      /ez

(c) Eleni Zisimatos, 2014

I feel you near, in a heartbeat
time passes, we get older
light pours on me

strange how fate has outlined
the path
we tread so careful

I believe you speak, I believe
you are present
now, then

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Week 7: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

This week's poetic cipher: SEGC B SXK X WXDSBCL IHUSCGZ SBME LUWZ

And our hint of the week: What we caught, we threw away; what we didn’t catch, we kept. What did we keep? WBIG

To view all the clues so far, you can visit our website here:

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Congratulations to Patrick Lane for winning a SILVER medal in this year's National Magazine Awards!!
His poems "Arroyo" and "Soft and Moist, Hard and Dry" were published in Vallum last year! 

If you'd like to find out who other magazine award-winners are, check out the pdfs on the link below:

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Week 6: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!


And our hint of the week: I have heard of a something-or-other, growing in its nook, swelling and rising, pushing up its covering. Upon that boneless thing a cocky-minded young woman took a grip with her hands; with her apron a lord’s daughter covered the tumescent thing. ZUTLE

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Week 3: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!


And our hint of the week: Happy Days are FGGH again!

Be sure to cross reference your clues with Week 1 and 2 in order to break the cipher!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Week 2: Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure

Here we are, all you spies and double agents. Can you be the first person to crack the code and solve who the mystery poet is? The first person to correctly guess our mystery poet will win a free entry to the Vallum Award for Poetry 2014:

This week's cipher: ZGKDBMG MEG AXWWBCL KCUS

And our hint of the week: A box without hinges, key or lid and yet golden treasure inside is hid. GLL

Be sure to cross reference your clues with Week 1 in order to break the cipher!

Happy Hunting Detectives!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Congratulations Patrick Lane for your National Magazine Awards nominations!

Congratualtions to Patrick Lane for his two nominations for the 
National Magazine Awards 2013 in the category of poetry!

Vallum: Contemporary Poetry is proud to have published Lane's 
"Arroyo" and "Soft and Moist, Hard and Dry" in our issue Reflections

NMA winners will be announced at the gala June 6, 2014. 
To see a complete list of the nominees, you can visit the National Magazine Awards webiste here.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Mood, and Robert Creeley's, "Some"

The manic weather this year has taken its toll on people. More than one is whispering "apocalypse." Hopefully our cryptographs will provide you with some respite, and distract you from a world of turmoil. Thanks to Vallum intern, Devon Gallant, for his brilliance with brain challenges.

Here is a poem by Robert Creeley that filled the void I was in today, the only thing that settled. And even though the poem ends with separation, its words form an alliance between poet and reader that is based on mutual self-understanding. And that is what makes one feel better. That is what poetry does for those who can hear it.      /ez 

(c) Robert Creeley

You have not simply
insisted on yourself
nor argued
the irrelevance

of any one else. You
have always wanted 
to be friends, to be
one of many.

life even
in its largeness
might be brought

to care, you
tried to make it
care, humble, illiterate,
awkward gestured.

So you thought,
as inevitable age approached,
some loved you, 

You waited for
some wind
to lift, some 
thing to happen,

proving it finally,
making sense more
than the literal,
still separate.

Published in 2006 by University of California Press. The Collected Works of Robert Creeley 1975-2005. 

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

WEEK 1 of Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

This week's line is : "KSGXH FP UXMEK EG KSUHG"

Ah, what poetry!

And our clue of the week: What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening? QXC

Vallum's Cryptographic Adventure!

Announcing Vallum's crypographic adventure! In conjunction with our annual poetry contest the Vallum Award for Poetry 2014, we are offering a chance to enter the contest for free! The catch is you have to be the first person to guess correctly who our mystery poet is.

Every week we will release an encrypted line taken from poems by our mystery poet along with a clue to decoding the cipher.

Can you be the first person to guess who the mystery poet is? Once you think you know who the poet is email us at, BUT be careful, you only get one guess so use it wisely!

Cryptogram: 1. a text written in code, 2. a symbol or figure with secret or occult significance.


Deadline for the Cryptographic Adventure: July 10th
Deadline for the Vallum Award for Poetrty: July 15th

Monday, 14 April 2014

Don't Miss Vallum's Launch, April 23

With the release of Issue11:1 "Thresholds," Vallum is hosting a launch where you will have a chance to buy the issue and see contributors read their work. The event will be hosted in Montreal, Quebec toward the end of April. More information as to the time and location of the event will soon be made available on our website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Don’t miss this opportunity to see some of the most exciting contemporary poets read their work!

More Info.:

Friday, 4 April 2014

Marc Chagall As Poet

I have always been a great fan of the Russian-French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985). His use of colour, dream-scape and imagination is engaging. He was instrumental as a pioneer of modernism--synthesizing Cubism, Symbolism and Fauvism (the latter to give rise to Surrealism).  I am always interested in the overlap of the literary with the artistic. Chagall would seem to have been greatly interested in poetry and literature. His self-identification as a poet in one of his works, The Poet Reclining, suggests an interest in the literary that complemented his visual art. But there is a kind of broken immobility in the figure in the painting which may suggest an internal conflict within Chagall about writing and art. He had strong friendships in Paris with Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars and other poets.     /ez
The Poet Reclining (Le Poète allongé, 1915)

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Ottawa poet/artist Dennis Tourbin  passed away at the age of 51. A chapbook of his poems, entitled, The Stream and Other Poems, was recently published by rob mclennan, in which we find two long poems and one shorter one, truly worth the read. Dennis' poems flow like water, and move through the spaces of reflection like dreams. His death is a sad loss to poetry.    /ez

"Dennis Tourbin painted words in vivid colours and referred to his paintings as visual poetry. He explored the area between painting and literature and moved the word beyond the printed page."

"There was the
constant beat
of water hitting
the street and
the drone of
traffic. The
sound became,
how do I describe
it. The sound
became so
I could see
the sound."

(above/ground press, 2014)   

Friday, 7 March 2014

Vallum's poetry contest is now open!


Deadline to submit: July 15, 2014

online at: or by mail.
This year's judge: George Elliott Clarke

More details:

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Next Vallum Theme: SPEED


Announcing Vallum’s next theme: “Speed.”
We often wonder what the world would be like if it wasn’t in such a rush. Speed is the defining aspect of the contemporary world. Time slips by at an unprecedented rate. How (why) is the world ruled by speed? How much faster can we go? How much speed can humans sustain?

For detailed guidelines

Deadline: April 20, 2014

Monday, 24 February 2014

FEATURED POET: Medbh McGuckian

(c) Medbh McGuckian

When I look back I don't know
If there have been any nights,
Even any difference in light. I don't
Hear the city the way I used to,

When there was something in me
That could catch fire, like long ago
Waiting for a kiss. The moon hides
In the throat of the tone of the yellow

Bell, I am willing that the seasons
Wear me out. Dead-eyed angel,
Lying on her side, white in the daring
Dark, her death is the smallest sadness

She was able to cause. A folding
Of hands, as if every place knows
About all the others: the patience
Of a summer in the rebellion 

Of her skin; a milky rush
In the curves of a riverbank.

 Published in Vallum 7:1, "Futures," 2009.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Featured Poet: X.J. Kennedy

(c) X.J. Kennedy

If I had a ladder that reached to the moon
Up its millions of rungs I'd go.
Up higher than ever the clouds can fly
Till the earth was a ball below.

I'd put on my warm wool winter coat
And my long scarlet scarf in case
While I climbed my ladder right up to the moon
It should start to snow in space.

I'd sidestep a couple of shooting stars
I'd stand on the steepest hill
At the top of my ladder to the moon
If only the moon stood still.

(Published in Vallum 6:2, an issue devoted to children, "Play and the Absurd."