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Dolly Dennis on Loddy-Dah, writing, and the struggles and rewards of moving across country

loddy dahIn an interview with Edmonton Examiner’s Dale Boyd earlier this year, Dolly Dennis spoke about her career as a writer, her writing process, and how moving to Edmonton helped her succeed in writing her first novel, Loddy-Dah, which was published by Guernica Editions in 2014.
The novel follows the protagonist, Loddy, and the troupe from The Garage Theatre as their lives unfold against the backdrop of political events in Montreal, starting with EXPO 67 and ending in 1970 with the October Crisis.
Boyd explains that though Dolly Dennis “has written many published works for newspapers and literary journals in the past, and even penned a few theatre pieces” Loddy-Dah is her first published novel.
“It’s a surreal feeling”, she commented on the excitement of publishing her “labor of love”, which took her eight years to write, edit and get published.
Though the novel is set in 1960’s Montreal, and sets light on the many critical events of the decade, Dennis asserted that “she never could have achieved any of her success without the supportive community of Edmonton artists and authors.”
Moreover, when asked about her literary background, Dennis explained that she does not feel disadvantaged due to her lack of formal education in literature or creative writing.
“I don’t have any kind of degree for creative writing. I don’t have any degree. I dropped out, and I’m kind of glad I did as a writer because I don’t write like an academic.”
To purchase Loddy-Dah, visit Guernica Editions:

Posted in Fiction, Interviews.

Lost & Found Coming to the Rialto Theatre

Opening night is fast approaching for Lost & Found, the musical by David Sherman and Nancy Lee. David Sherman, who has been hard at work on both the musical and his upcoming novel with Guernica Editions, describes the one-of-a-kind piece as “a love story, told part in song. This is an expanded, somewhat scripted piece of what we call docu-theatre that is unlike what you might have seen before.”

2015LostFoundPoster (2)

Tickets are $20 and $17.50 for seniors, which can be purchased at or at 514-987-1774 ext. 104.

Opening night is Feb 12, 8:00 p.m. and all are welcome.

Posted in Events, Fiction, News.

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Poetry of The Canadian Moderns Gwendolyn MacEwen Workshop with Sonia Di Placido

This March, Sonia Di Placido will be offering a workshop on the poetry of one of the Canadian Moderns, and, more specifically, on the poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen.

In the workshop, participants will be reading from and looking at The Selected Gwendolyn MacEwen edited by Meghan Strimas, Exile Editions 2007. Introduction by Rosemary Sullivan & The Trojan Women, intro by Claudia Dey, Exile Editions, 2009.

The bulk of the time will be spent on The Selected with some review of  MacEwen’s biography The Shadow Maker by Rosemary Sullivan. For 2-3 weeks in a row there will be reading & discussion of GM’s translation of The Trojan Women.

The Shadow Maker, The Selected Gwendolyn MacEwen & The Trojan Women can be found on or through various online book outlets used; they can also be ordered directly from Exile Editions should you want a new copy.  The books required are: The Selected GM and The Trojan Women. The Shadow Maker is not a requirement for the Workshop.

The Workshop can also be done virtually (week to week), at a distance and/or join in via Google Groups (live) as well as in attendance.  A weekly course outline, discussion, readings, review and exercises will be sent out to all participants to follow and keep for their own ongoing practice.

Dates: March 7 - May 30th  Saturday mornings (weekly) 

Time:  10:30 am – 1 pm 

Location: St. Michael’s And All Angels Church 611 St. Clair Ave. West (Located on the south east corner of Wychwood Ave. & St. Clair Ave. West) The in-person group workshop takes place in the upstairs recreation room.

The course fee is $180.00 for the entire 13 weeks.

This workshop aims to be a community endeavour that provides an insightful look at Gwendolyn MacEwen’s style, technique and voice as well as an adventure into one woman’s interpretive journey into imaginative and esoteric writings of the mid 20th century.

There’s much to learn from her work. She was a prolific truly creative female writer & poet & playwright carrying a ‘gravitas’ that is rare to her time/place of the Canadian moderns/post-modern. A magical realism often overlooked with the now language-conceptual. As we move into Critical Realism (see Oxford philosophical movement after post-m) her work informs the conceptual in it’s lyric and esoteric. She opened pathways to what we now find in Alice Notley and Ann Carson such as MacEwen’s re-adaptation of Trojan Women before Carson’s attempts at same. One just has to look carefully enough through her looking glass. MacEwen took immense risks in life and in words–she invented her own ‘ism’ and schisms.

For more direct information contact:

M: 647-467-0028

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Coming Up: January Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery

Poetry Salon JanuaryOn Saturday, January 31st, poet and painter Brenda Clews will be hosting the January Poetry Salon at Toronto’s Urban Gallery. The event will feature wonderful poets Karen Shenfeld, Bänoo Zan, and Saskia van Tetering, and talented musician Michael Oesch.

There will be an open mic, with 6 spots of 5 minutes each.

“It will be a warm, convivial afternoon of poetry and music so do come out to warm your January souls. After, we will go to a nearby restaurant to drink and eat and thereby further chase away the Winter blues.”

Take a look at the Poetry Salon’s Facebook Event page:

Urban Gallery: Saturday, January 31st 3-5 pm (400 Queen St E, Toronto, M5A 1T3)

BRENDA CLEWS is an African-Canadian writer and artist living in Toronto,
Canada. She has had solo art shows at York University (2000), Q Space (2013)
and Urban Gallery (2014), and been in a number of group art shows. Her
has appeared in ‘Addiction to Perfection’, as two journal covers, and
in a poster for
‘ARM Magazine.’ Her poetry has been published in print journals,
‘Tessera,’ ‘ARM Journal’ and ‘Labour of Love,’ and on-line at ‘SaucyVox,’
‘Qarrtsiluni,’ ‘Mothers Movement Online,’ and ‘The Browsing Corner.’
LyricalMyrical Press published her chapbook, ‘the luminist poems’ in 2013. She
has a full-length collection of poetry, ‘Tidal Fury,’ forthcoming with Guernica

Toronto’s KAREN SHENFELD has three books of poetry to her credit,
published by Guernica Editions: The Law of Return, (1999), The Fertile
Crescent (2005) and My Father’s Hands Spoke in Yiddish (2010). Her
poetry has been published in numerous poetry journals in the USA, UK,
South Africa, Bangladesh and Canada. She won the 2001 Canadian Jewish
Book Award for Poetry and was long-listed for the Relit Award in 2005.
Along with being a poet, Karen is a widely published magazine
journalist, editor (both print and screen) and filmmaker. Her indie
documentary, Il Giardino, The Gardens of Little Italy, screened at
several film festivals, including Planet in Focus. Karen is currently
working on her fourth book of poetry, two documentary films, and a
screenplay for a feature, which has been optioned by Canadian director
Bruce McDonald.

Writer, translator, teacher, and poetry organizer, BÄNOO ZAN, landed
in Canada in 2010. She has over 80 publications. As managing editor,
she doubled the number of submissions and made Voices 2012 anthology
financially solvent. She hosts Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), the most
diverse poetry series in Toronto bringing together people from
different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof),
sexual orientations, ages and poetic voices, visions and styles. She
believes her politics is her poetry.

MOesch is a most unique dynamic artist. You never know what will come
from him next. He has a back ground in blues and folk. And is one of a
few musical artist who have toured across Canada on foot. In 2002 and
2005 MOesch walked over 11,000 km traveling through every province and
even venturing into Labrador. “14 month on the road felt like 50
years, I’m ready to settle down.” Even Though MOesch has settled back
in Toronto he has not settled, his musical output has expanded into
trance, electronic and he has started a Celtic band and plays in a
rhythm and blues band, but more than anything MOesch loves to just sit
back and play his lap steel guitar.

SASKIA VAN TETERING is a lifelong lover of words, especially poetry.
In 2008, Saskia fulfilled a lifelong dream by self-publishing her
first book, life unmasked, comprising poems and short stories.
Swimming to the surface, her second collection of poetry was published
in 2009 by In Our Words, Inc., and in January 2012, bojit press in
Toronto, Ontario, published After Philosophy. Saskia is currently
working on her fourth book of poetry and short stories, River of
Ghosts. She describes herself as a Renaissance woman, balancing her
own business, the anticipated completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree
after a 30-year hiatus, with finding time to write, volunteer, and to
travel with her soul mate and husband, Michael. Saskia is a member of
the Canadian Federation of Poets, of The Ontario Poetry Society, and
of the Peel Chapter, CFP. She resides near the Beaches in Toronto,
Ontario, with Michael and their fluffle of bunnies.

Posted in Events, Poetry, Readings.

Guernica’s Book of the Month

Dear friends of Guernica,

We have recently decided to embark upon a new project: Guernica’s Book of the Month. The cold winter months are here, and the days of reading and dreaming in our comfy arm chairs have tagged along, as have evenings spent socializing with book characters instead of real friends (who we can see without leaving the comfort of central heating and fluffy pyjamas!).

Each month we will feature a book which we think is relevant that month, and tell you why it should be on your reading list. We have chosen books from our front list, our backlist, and our upcoming titles, and we can assure you that we have great taste! What’s more, our purpose for this project is a great one: to assure that the friends you are spending time with this winter (and beyond) are well worth your time.


Sometimes it Snows in AmericaWith the New Year, which to many marks a time of hope and new beginnings, we invite you to step into the life of Fatma, whose new beginning in America proves far from hopeful. Caught in situations which progress from despondent to tragic, an arranged marriage at the age of 12 seems only marginally responsible for the sorrow in Fatma’s life. But her story is far from pitiful; rather, it is forceful. It resonates. Fatma proves not a victim, but an active player in her fate, as she makes wrong choices, learns to cope with them, and, eventually, carves out her own path to redemption.

Marisa Labozzetta’s Sometimes it Snows in America is a beautiful depiction of personal struggles, and of taking control of one’s own fate. Moreover, the novel stands for more than the single witnessing of Fatma’s difficult adjustment into a new life. It maps out a more general rendition —one that joins all of us internationally — of the difficulties of coping with displacement and culture, and of coming to terms with ourselves in new environments.

This January marks the 53rd anniversary of the elimination of racial discrimination through the introduction of a new immigration act in Canada. The new act stated that “any unsponsored immigrant that had the required education skill or other quality was able to enter Canada if suitable, irrespective of colour, race, or national origin.”

Along with new beginnings, relentless hope, and the belief that it is never too late to take responsibility for one’s own fate, this January, let’s celebrate diversity.

Sometimes It Snows in America is available for purchase on the Guernica Editions website:

Posted in Fiction.

Sonia Di Placido Dazzles Listeners on CIUT’s Classical Underground

On December 24, 2014, Sonia Di Placido joined Philip J. Conlon for a very special edition of CIUT’s Classical Underground.

Classical Underground’s Christmas Eve Special included an eclectic (and underground) mix of music, poetry, short stories and counter culture views on Christmas. The live show, which aired from 6-9pm, included music by Benny Goodman, Bach, as well as Canada’s oldest Christmas song.

Sonia Di Placido also made for a delightful guest and read several pieces. In addition to reading Langston Hughes’ classic short story “One Christmas Eve,” she also read some of her own poetry (some of which was published by Guernica Editions in her first collection, Exaltation in Cadmium Red.)

We have the full program for you (but it had to be cut into 8 parts for uploading reasons):

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Part 4:


Part 5:


Part 6:


Part 7:


Part 8:


Sonia Reading

Sonia Di Placido is a writer, performer, and artist currently completing the Creative Writing, Optional Residency MFA Program, with the University of British Columbia. She is also a graduate of the Ryerson University Theatre School and holds an honours degree in Humanities from York University. She has worked as a Supernumerary with the Canadian Opera Company and is a member of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers. Sonia has published profile pieces, creative non-fiction, and poems in literary journals and anthologies.

Exaltation in Cadmium Red is available on the Guernica website at:

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Draft Reading Series Making their 2015 Debut with Readings by Irene Marques and Many More

Draft is kicking off  again at The Paint Box Bistro January 25, 2015. The series will be starting their 2015 line-up with readings by Julia Campbell-Such, Leesa Deane, Cherie Dimaline, Nora Gold, and Guernica’s own Irene Marques.

Irene MarquesIrene Marques has taught African and Caribbean literatures, comparative and world literature, literary theory, and writing and rhetoric at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and the University of Toronto for over 10 years. She has also worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for 14 years. Aside from academic publications, she is the author of two other English-language poetry collections –Wearing Glasses of Water and The Perfect Unravelling of the Spirit – and the Portuguese short story collection, Habitando na Metáfora do Tempo: Crónicas Desejadas (Dwelling in the Metaphor of Time: Desired Chronicles).

The poems in The Circular Incantation are  multifaceted and complex: the intimate personal, the familial and the local appear effortlessly intertwined with the collective socio-political, the mystical, the mythical, the religious, the ecological, the tribal and the cosmic. The often obvious references to specific countries like Portugal, Canada or South Africa transit into countless other locales, memories and contexts, real or fictionalized, conscious or unconscious, read about and reworked, felt, thought, imagined, re-imagined, pondered upon … One incantation leads to another and another and you become engulfed, expanded, larger than you thought you were.

When: 2:30 p.m. January 25, 2015
Where: The Paint Box Bistro, 555 Dundas St. E.

For more information about the reading series, you can visit their website at:

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Word Up with Edward Nixon and John Oughton

Tomorrow evening, Edward Nixon and John Oughton will be reading from their latest collections at the January installment of Word Up. The double feature, which includes two Guernica authors, will be kicking off at 7pm at Unity Market (25 Toronto Street, Barrie).

The reading will be free to attend, although donations to the Canadian Mental Health Association are welcome.

Edward NixonEdward Nixon was born and grew up in British Columbia. Since 1984 he has lived in Toronto and is the proud father of a 19-year-old son. Having stumbled inconclusively in the thorny woods of academe, Edward currently toils in the private sector as the founder and Managing Partner of EN Consulting Group, a boutique public outreach consultancy located at the Centre for Social Innovation in downtown Toronto. He has hosted and curated the monthly Toronto reading series Livewords since 2008. He is the author four poetry chapbooks – Nights in the City of the Dead, Arguments for Breath, Free Translation, and Instructions for Pen and InkThe Fissures of Our Throats is his first full collection.


John OughtonJohn Oughton is currently Professor of Learning and Teaching at Centennial College in Toronto. He is the author of four previous poetry collections and close to 400 articles, reviews and interviews. John’s studies include an MA in English Literature, where his teachers included Irving Layton, Frank Davey, Eli Mandel and Miriam Waddington, and no-credit courses at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where he worked with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, William Burroughs and Robert Duncan. John is the facilitator of the Long Dash Poetry Group and runs a micro-press called Sixth Floor. In 2010, Guernica published Oughton’s poetry collection Time Slip.

More information about the reading is available on the Facebook event page at:

Posted in Events, News, Poetry, Readings.

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Jim Christy Makes the ReLit Shortlist/ Longlist

Cockeyed WorldOn Wednesday, December 24th, the ReLit Awards announced their shortlist/longlist for 2014 and Guernica author Jim Christy made the cut with his latest poetry collection: This Cockeyed World.

The list also includes Love’s Not the Way to by Stan Rogal whose collection, after words, was part of our Fall 2014 line-up.

Jim Christy, a poet and visual artist, has spent his adult life exploring the ways and doings of men, women and other creatures. He has read his poetry and exhibited his art work throughout the world.

In an interview with The Toronto Quarterly, Jim Christy states that “The message [in This Cockeyed World] is that it’s a sad and beautiful world, funny and tragic, too. I’d say that This Cockeyed World celebrates life; it’s a song of life although perhaps in a different key than the usual tune. That’s what I want someone to take away.”

For the complete longlist, you can visit:

Copies of This Cockeyed World are available on the Guernica website at:

Posted in Awards, News, Poetry.

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Writing Through Grief with Jacob Scheier

Peer-facilitator with Bereaved Families of Ontario and Governor-General-Award-winning poet Jacob Scheier will be offering a workshop on writing poetry that explores grief and loss. The workshop, which will run for 8 weeks starting on January 22 and ending on March 12, will help participants channel their feelings in “an evocative and poetic way.”

“Jacob creates a class atmosphere that is safe, supportive, and truly creative, and this has given all of us the freedom to write very moving and powerful pieces around the subjects of grief and loss.” – Dianne Moore, Learner, former student.

Participants are encouraged to write about grief in whatever manner they have experienced it, and the workshop is not limited to the death of a loved one. Breakups, injury, and other events can also be explored throughout the duration of the course.

Jacob Scheier has been widely published in literary magazines in both Canada and the United States. His two poetry collections, More to Keep us Warm, and Letter from Brooklyn have both been published by ECW Press.

For more information about Jacob Scheier or the workshop, you can visit his website at:

When: Thursdays 6:-9 pm, January 22-March 12, 2015.

Where: 373 Front Street West (Just east of Spadina).

Cost: $250.00.

To register: contact Jacob at

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