Room Magazine

Room is a space where women can speak, connect, and showcase their creativity. Each quarter we publish
original, thought-provoking works that reflect women's strength, sensuality, vulnerability, and wit.
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Room spotted on @jasonvpurcell’s shelf! Thanks for reading. Show us your shelfies! Photo credit: @jasonvpurcell. #shelfies #canlit

Ed. by Shirley A. Serviss and Janice Williamson
University of Alberta Faculty of Extension, 204 pages, $20.00
For the past twenty years, the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension has offered summer writing workshops for women. This anthology is an astonishingly apt representation of work produced through those workshops; it captures the spirit of a workshop environment: the pieces (poetry, non-fiction, fiction) are brief and the content is varied in tone, subject matter, and quality. The editors of this collection were deft and thorough.
The work of over seventy-five women is represented here; providing a fair review of a work featuring so many diverse voices is difficult. There are pieces that made me immediately note the author’s name so I could search for more of her work. There was one piece I described in great, excited detail over the phone to my mother during a conversation about birth and loss: the words in this anthology are about sparking conversation, continuing a dialogue—telling a story. Telling many stories. And, inevitably, there was work that made my eyes glaze over—I am not keen on writing about writing and there are several pieces in here about writing. 

(via blackwomenworldhistory)

Join Room at The Toronto Indie Arts Market for their Small Press & Literary Festival! 70 vendors of small press, zines, comics, magazines, books, chapbooks, paper goods and more take over the main floor of the Gladstone Hotel for a one-day celebration of indie literature.


Location: The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West, MJ6 1J6) 

Admission: $5, partial proceeds to local literacy charities.

Time:  Sunday May 25th at 10:30 am - 4:30pm 

Room doesn’t have a central office, so when we meet for our regular board/catch-all meetings, there is a rabid free-for-all once the person who has collected the mail pulls out the magazines that recently arrived. One of the perks of working for a Canadian literary magazine is the subscription exchange: a polite way of playing doctor with colleagues/competitors; we show you ours, you show us yours. PRISM international has been publishing blog posts highlighting other magazines’ literary excellence, and I’m jumping on the bandwagon, especially after receiving this from a writer after I sent her an email of admiration:
“I sometimes think of literary journals as a vacuum that my work goes into and then no one ever reads it–I don’t know why–so it’s nice to hear people are actually encountering it.”
Here are some of my recent favourites [by recent I mean within a year or so. I am neither a particularly current nor linear reader and tend to pick at collections and anthologies rather than devour them cover-to-cover] from Canadian literary magazines:
fantastic cover art by Kotori Kawashima
creative non-fiction by Carolyn White, “Narrative Supplemental”; an annotated police report of the author’s sister’s suicide, capturing the emotional disconnect/fury and bleak humour endemic to suicides 
Tamara Faith Berger
Coach House Books, 218 pages, $19.95
Little Cat

Following the success of Maidenhead, which won The Believer Book Award in 2012, was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award in 2013, and was the most reviewed book of 2012 according to the Canadian Women in the Literary Arts Count, Coach House Books has released revised versions of Berger’s two earlier novels, Lie With Me (1999) andThe Way of the Whore (2001), in a single volume titled Little Cat.

Lie With Me opens with a young woman’s unapologetic acknowledgment of desire and how her needs don’t fit the narrative assigned to her. When men experience sexual pleasure, she feels it’s localized, but for women, she finds it easier to become disconnected from the sensation; she says that a woman “can get lost trying to know herself” (p.8). Then later on the same page she continues with this same line of thought: “[b]eing a slut kind of implies getting lost, going astray.” In this rambling confession, she desperately seeks affirmation or at least acknowledgement that her desire, her want, is as valid as a man’s, yet remains afraid of the label, slut, and what it might imply. 

Quaint Magazine is a new online literary magazine based out of New Orleans, that, like Room, only publishes work by female-identified authors. Founding editor / poetry editor Kia Groom and creative non-fiction editor Soleil Ho were kind enough to answer a few questions about Quaint, and how women-only publications can help combat sexism in the literary world.

ROOM: What inspired you to found Quaint Magazine?

KIA: Sometime in 2013 I read an article by author/publicist/international poet of mystery Monica Lita Storss about the gender divide in publishing, specifically with a view to hiring and publication in the world of poetry. The article is an explanation and defense of what is known as “Broetry” (Storss describes it as “a gorgeous male tribalism that reaches deep through shared history and experience, to a place beyond the snap of a hot August cross-breeze and tilted beers”). Her eventual conclusion is that men have the upper hand in the literary world because they “tribe” in a way that women do not, and that if only we tried a little harder we’d clearly all be as happy and professionally successful as she is. She also implied that few women were really trying. This pissed me off for a number of reasons (the author makes numerous assumptions about women and women in publishing/literature that I find to be either blatantly untrue or downright offensive), but ironically, it also motivated me to do exactly what she suggested. I started my own goddamn magazine, as a sort of reactionary middle-finger response both to this woman’s article, and to the VIDA stats that bear out what most women already knew/felt in their bones: that there’s nowhere near an equal representation of women in the publishing world. It wasn’t really a revolutionary act - many, many people are working hard to represent literary women. But I figured one more magazine couldn’t hurt (plus I like to think Quaint is developing a kind of unique aesthetic)!

SOLEIL: tl;dr: fuck broets

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Room Magazine will feature Montreal-based poet, editor, and translator Erín Moure as our commissioned writer for issue 38.1, In Translation, edited by Rachel Thompson and due out March 2015.

About Moure 

Erin Moure

A prolific writer of 17 poetry collections, Moure has been nominated for five Governor General’s Awards, and won the GG in 1988 for Furious. Her most recent collection, The Unmemntioable (House of Anansi, 2012) was short-listed for the Kobzar Literary Award and the Re-Lit Award.

Originally from Alberta but currently living in Montreal, Moure has translated 12 books of poetry, including (with Robert Masjzels)Notebooks of Roses and Civilization by Quebecois poet Nicole Brossard.  She has also translated poetry originally written in Galician, Spanish and Portuguese.

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I am honored to exist in a time when these two black women writers exist, creating art and stories and prose and sharing their brilliance with us.

On a sisterhood note: I appreciated that Chimimanda expressed her love for Zadie’s work and aesthetic, praising Zadie as a “brilliant woman who is also this hot babe.” 

(via thefeministpress)