On the Poetic Abominations of an Un-Angsty Youth, or, News for April at PQL

I am not, nor have I ever been, a poet. I know this because I recently found incontrovertible proof of my poetic failings.

The evidence took the form of a number of laboriously hand-written lyrical abominations straight out of my somewhat dramatic youth.

thre people in press shop looking at papers

The looks on these faces sums up all my feelings about my early poetic attempts–haughty disdain, earnest confusion, vague embarrassment.

I found this pile of lyrical lemons languishing in a stack of old papers that have been cluttering up my home office since my admittedly not-too-recent move. The papers that I excavated must have been at least fifteen years old, dating back to my teenage years (rather un-angsty, it must be said, which maybe accounts for the uninspired doggerel I managed to produce).

I cringe just thinking about the sheer amount of cliché—enough to sink a ship, as I would have said, probably—and allusions galore, to boot. I must have been trying to beat my putative audience into submission with my literary horizons, which were only about as boundless as a Grade 10 English student’s could be. And let’s not forget

the random spacing,
   which every true poet knows

to produce


Of course, I know a little better now, in theory. Enough, in fact, to know that I’ll leave the versifying to the professionals. Luckily we have lots of those around here at The Porcupine’s Quill, especially during the month of April, which happens to be National Poetry Month. Stick with us over the course of the month and you’ll be treated to four weeks’ worth of poetry-focused content—and maybe even a giveaway or two!


What’s happening this month…


This month, we’re hoping to finish printing on the next issue of the Devil’s Artisan, our “Journal of the Printing Arts”. DA 84 will feature an examination of the fascinating (and huge!) visual art of Ojibwe artist Carl Beam. We hope to have copies ready in time for the Grimsby Wayzgoose at the end of April. Hope to see you there!

In Toronto.

Dysphoria author Shane Neilson will be taking part in a literary evening at Ben McNally Books in Toronto. He’ll be reading alongside fellow authors Monica Kidd and Amanda Leduc on April 3.

Shane will also participate in a panel discussion entitled “Why Are You So Scared?”, speaking about poetry, medicine and mortality. The event will take place on April 16 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Shane will be joined by authors Molly Peacock and Ronna Bloom in a conversation moderated by Dr. Allen Peterkin of the University of Toronto.

In Winnipeg.

Lori Cayer, whose book Mrs Romanov was recently longlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Raymond Souster Award, will be participating in a reading and discussion of narrative poetry at Canadian Menonnite University’s MHC Gallery. She will read along with fellow Winnipeg poets Dennis Cooley, Sarah Klassen and John Weier

In Grimsby.

The Porcupine’s Quill will once again have a table at the annual Wayzgoose in Grimsby, Ontario. We’ll bring along a lovely selection of books as well as issues of DA, so be sure to pick up a few new favourites.

In the world.

April 3 is Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day. See you there, folks!

April 18 is Newspaper Columnists Day. Take a moment to thank your favourite columnist for the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their work. Or just make an effort do read a good column. Either way, be supportive!

And finally, April 30 is National Honesty Day. It’s a good day to solicit an honest critique of your manuscript, or to help a writer out by giving them a few honest impressions of their work in progress.


From the porcupette’s corner

I feel like I learned a lot last month. Most of it had to do with the proofreading I did for an upcoming book—not one of my usual tasks, and not one in which I have found much confidence as of yet. But with some very useful notes from editor extraordinaire Chandra Wohleber, I made a start, I suppose, towards facing my fears of tactlessness and compound adjectives.

little man using a quill to write in a giant book

To me, at least, proofreading seems like a gargantuan undertaking. It seems bigger than any one person, that’s for sure!

I will say one thing, proofreading can mess with your mind. Time and space cease to exist. Some pages seemed to fly by while others took forever to get through. I’m fairly certain I managed to overthink approximately everything. So much so that I started dreaming in proofreading marks. Even picking up a non-work-related book for pleasure reading was difficult because I was hyperaware of commas and hyphenation and paid more attention to grammar than the actual plot!

Let’s just say I was happy to put that particular task to rest for now. Besides, I have a few more substantive edits on my plate!


PortraitThanks for checking in with us here on the blog to see what we’re up to. We like to keep ourselves busy, that’s for sure. As always, drop us a line with questions, comments, kudos, or random hellos. We love hearing from you!


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2 Responses to On the Poetic Abominations of an Un-Angsty Youth, or, News for April at PQL

  1. george okoh says:

    Gonna tell my boss about the April 3rd lol – can’t believe I’ve never heard of that.

  2. Pingback: The Porcupine’s Quill

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.