Editorial

Diane Terrana

May 10, 2017:

 
Day three...
 
Sharon Black is our last finalist, with her exquisite and mysterious poem "Painting."

There is much to love about this poem, illustrated by our guest judges who were drawn to very different things.

Magdalena Wolak called it a "beautiful piece" and focused on the content: "The reader is introduced to a being of creation," as the poem deconstructs "both love and the subject of making something become."

Allyson Latta emphasized the style, noting that the prosy poem contains a "rich tangle of natural imagery." She also loved the arc: "a lyrical sweep toward an unexpected, haunting volta.”

That volta, by the way, gave me chills.

(For comments on both Iris Dunkle’s and Angela Stubbs’ poetry, click on Editorial in the menu bar.)

With LOVE,
Diane Terrana
 

May 9, 2017:

 
Day two of our poetry rollout...

Angela Stubbs (a poet we were thrilled to recently publish!) is our second finalist, with "I'm an Expert at Confessions."

Our judges were full of love for this kickass (almost literally) poem about longing and loss.

Magdalena Wolak called it "refreshing" with its "youthful imagery and powerful blend of writing." She was also moved by the nostalgic take on young love.

Allyson Latta pointed to the "conversational voice" and found the poem "touching, with provocative juxtapositions spilling into observed detail and a disarming close."

We adored all of the above and think you will, too.

(For comments on Iris Dunkle’s poem, click on Editorial in the menu bar.)

With LOVE,
Diane Terrana

 

May 8, 2017:

 

Today we are publishing the first of our three finalists!

We were excited to get Iris Dunkle's poetry submission, "Charmian London Meets Harry Houdini,” and so were our guest judges. They both loved the historical context (the illicit lovers), the powerful feelings and the use of anaphora.

Allyson Latta, furthermore, found the poem "intriguing in its turn from specific to universal” and noted the richness of the emotion-laden imagery.

Magdalena Wolak liked the handling of that emotion: "the poem is steeped in it, but it doesn’t weigh the reader down.” She also referenced the heartbeat-like rhythm of the repetitions.

I will leave off here—on the heartbeat, and once you read the poem, you will understand why.

With LOVE
Diane Terrana

 

favicon April 10, 2017:

 

We are thrilled to offer you a preview of Leslie Shimotakara’s eagerly awaited novel, After the Bloom.

Meet Lily. She is in a Japanese internment camp in the California desert—dreaming of the Miss Cherry Blossom pageant and practicing her walk, when she discovers someone watching her.

A generation later, still haunted by the tragedy that started that long-ago day, Lily disappears from her Toronto home. Her daughter, Rita, must find her, retrace her steps and face the family’s past.

This thoughtful novel in lyrical prose is an exploration of what happens when xenophobia goes unchecked, when evil becomes banal. And it simply couldn’t be more timely.

We also snagged Leslie for a LOVE interview with Sam Hiyate.

(Check out Angela Stubbs, our newest poet.)

Don’t Talk to Me About Love also wants to congratulate Laurie Myers-Bishop and Jenny Prior: our Journey Prize nominees.

With LOVE
Diane Terrana

favicon March 8, 2017:

 

It's March and the weather is confusing the spiders who were all over the place until the cold snapped again.

But we have a very good reason to stay inside and keep warm: we have poems to read. Many, many poems. A big thank you to all the poets, the world over, who submitted to our second contest: poetry about LOVE in any of its myriad expressions.

Love is on my mind and I've been pondering its link to diversity, a subject that has consumed me since the recent resurgence of that old sickness xenophobia. A sickness that seems, to me, to be the absence of love.

"Love," according to Toni Morrison (whom I will quote and quote until I'm dead) "is divine only and difficult always."
It is the greatest gift we can give to the world we inhabit.

It is an outward gesture: an embrace of something different, someone else.

So love is really the celebration of diversity. (Something to toast to.)

With LOVE
Diane Terrana

favicon January 9, 2017:

 

It's a new year and I'm thinking about hope.

I write this from Toronto: the first city since ancient Carthage to have more than half its citizens hailing from somewhere else.

But this diversity isn't what sets us apart. According to Stephen Marche it's our "near-unanimous celebration" of it.

We would love this LitSite to reflect this diversity, and, indeed, we hope we're headed in that direction.

Writers and artists can, and should, build better worlds. (Bridges not walls.)

Our New Years resolution is to build our community, grow our diversity, and celebrate the idea of Somewhere Else.

With Love

Diane Terrana

 

favicon December 17, 2016:

 

 Poetry: The Window to Everything

Today I'm giving all the words to some real wordsmiths the world over.

Canadian Anne Carson on why she writes poetry: "A gap between myself and things."

Jamaican Kei Miller on language: "...a sound we christen."

Scottish Don Paterson on understanding poetry: "... you're supposed to see yourself in the thing..."

American Lin Manuel Miranda on rap: "Making words rhyme for a living is one of the great joys of my life..."

Korean-American Cathy Park Hong on a bi-cultural background: "To exist between tenuous borders gives you liberty..."

Emily Dickinson on the word: "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day."

And once again Emily gets the last word.

Poets. What more is there to say?

Happy Holidays!
With LOVE
Diane Terrana

 

favicon November 11, 2016:

 

Welcome to our two-week poetry blitz, with poems that made us think, talk, and, most of all, feel. And also fall a little bit in love with the poets.

With our 2nd poetry contest underway, we're hoping you will be inspired.

Or have you always thought poetry was a little too elitist? Erudite? Inaccessible? Well...I only have this to say: Bob Dylan!

In an interview, we asked last year's winner, Magdalena Wolak, what advice she had for aspiring poets. She gave us one word—inspiration. (Tip: the first place she looks is literature.)

Magdalena's interview was the first in a series we are calling COFFEE HOUSE CHATS, available on our Facebook page. We have several interviews lined up covering a array of topics, from self-publishing to political satire.

When you aren’t reading, enjoy the autumn! If you're in our part of the world, the changing colours are their own kind of poem.

With LOVE

 

favicon September 17, 2016:

 

It's been just over a year since Sam told Alexandra and I that we should start a LitSite about LOVE (in all of its incarnations). We pondered the surprising idea. Could we combine our disparate talents to create a quality digital journal? Should we?

Sam is the fly by the-seat-of-his-pants maverick publisher turned literary agent who loves literature (and isn't used to having partners). I am a former actress, belly dancer and (yes, bossy) high school teacher turned editor. Alex is a former marketing director turned writer (her memoir, Unearthed, was a national best-seller this summer) and, happily for me and Sam, she is a born diplomat.

The idea was, like the title of our serialized novel, irresistible. First, we needed a name. It was Sam's idea to go tongue-in-cheek with "Don't Talk to Me About Love." Then we found Dante Nocero who, with a shoestring budget, created our fabulous logo and got our website up and running. We had no content, but we had brilliant and generous friends!

We phoned writers Margot Berwin, David Gilmour, Linda Rui Feng and Kera Yonker, and artist Heidi Berton and had the gall to ask for new material donations. In a remarkably short time, we had a stunning first issue and an honorarium for all our authors. Shortly afterwards, our debut contest covered three genres and garnered hundreds of entries from all over the globe.

We meet weekly, to read, argue, post, or plan. Not a week goes by that we aren't surprised by our continued existence (in spite of our many mistakes!) and deeply gratified by the quality of our writers/ artists/ interviewees.

In many ways this entire enterprise has been a surprise, so I'm going to end with our most pleasant surprises. For Sam it's our reader reach, geographical and numerical, and interviewing Giller Prize Winner, Vincent Lam. For Alex it's the freshness of the writing on an age-old topic. For me, it's the affection I've developed for our talented contributors, all of whom I'd like to name here. But I can't. So we have prepared a special page to celebrate and thank them.

And finally, we humbly thank our wonderful readers, who keep us going.

With LOVE,
Diane Terrana
 

favicon August 30, 2016:

 

It is bittersweet to be publishing the last of our contest finalists: Mandy Stango and Laurie Myers-Bishop for fiction, Heather McNaugher for poetry and Minna Dubin for nonfiction.

People Like Us explores love in the context of caste and social disdain. With an ear for dialogue, a feel for place and a gift for old-fashioned story-telling, Mandy Stango propels you into small-town Missouri and the blossoming romance of two people you will love and cheer for.

Laurie Myers-Bishop's story The (Violation of) The Pigeonhole Principle is a saucy look at sexual betrayal through the prism of this mathematical idea. Three pigeons, two holes, lots of erotica and Myers-Bishop's audacious sense of fun add up to a rollicking good read.

The Breakup, a poem by Heather McNaugher, careens around edges, both literal and figurative. With hipster humour, satirical sensibility and breakneck speed, McNaugher shows us the limits of love, bigotry and even technology from life’s rumble strip.

Minna Dubin's personal essay, You & Me: The Prologue, guides us through the long and circuitous path to a meeting of lovers. Through poignant observations, sharp insights and a handful of perfect paragraphs, Dubin reveals that identity and love are as precarious as beginnings are elusive.

Enjoy the last days of summer with these talented authors.

With LOVE,
Diane Terrana
 

favicon August 10, 2016:

 

Today we are publishing four more of our finalists: Josh Zancan for fiction, Sonja Boon for nonfiction, Kathlyn Meyer and Addison Peacock for poetry.

Josh Zancan's Sycamore River is an exquisitely told story of sudden loss and everlasting sorrow, layered so deftly at each step that the growing sense of fatalism is simultaneously poignant and frightening.

Sonja Boon's French Kiss is a nostalgic coming of age story about leaving home and looking for love, seen through the lens of a quintessentially Canadian theme: the spaces between us and the differences that enrich us.

Kathlyn Meyer’s poem, Ragdoll, explores the dialectic between the sordid and the genteel, the privileged and the bereft, and does so with an irresistible say-it-out-loud rhythm and an array of arresting images.

Addison Peacock’s poem, Love Does Not Look Good on Me, plays with verse, imagery and narrative as it riffs on Dionysus for an unconventional look at love gone awry. (And it’s full of sass.)

With LOVE

favicon JULY 16, 2016:

 

We are pleased to publish three of our twelve finalists: Max Schloner for fiction, Ellen Goodlett for nonfiction and Pamela Dillon for poetry.

Max Schloner's I Wish We'd Ruined Each Other gives us a more loving than loved (and ever-so-lovable) protagonist who takes us on a quirky ride through Manhattan as he mourns his just-failed love affair. Sharp and beautifully sparse prose brings both the relationship and the city to life.

Ellen Goodlett's personal essay is about young love, online games and the blurry line between fiction and real life. With superb structuring and an ironic yet wistful voice, Stealing the Story Back suggests we are all the authors of our own stories.

Pamela Dillon's She Went to Dance is a deliciously sensuous poem about love and mirages and the intersection between the two. Erotic imagery is interwoven with desert imagery and both will transport you to a luscious yet stark landscape.

Enjoy all the LOVE!

 

favicon JUNE 30, 2016:

 

Today we are announcing our poetry winner, but we first want to thank all the poets who submitted to our debut contest. We had an embarrassment of riches: so many entries and so much talent.

Our winner is Magdalena Wolak for “kintsugi,” a bold poem about broken lives and repaired legacies; about art, love and forgiveness (and possibly much more). It is a richly layered and ambitious work. We loved reading it aloud, loving it more and more with each reading. Alexandra was struck by the emotional punch created with perfectly placed breaks. Sam loved Magdalena’s explosive word pyrotechnics. I fell hard for her juxtapositions and startling images.

Enjoy and be dazzled!

Magdalena—a graduate of U of T and past poetry editor of the university’s "The Spectatorial"—wins $1,000.00 and an evaluation of a book length manuscript from literary agent and Don't Talk to Me About Love editor, Sam Hiyate.

Our four poetry finalists will be published with commentaries throughout the summer. They are Pamela Dillon for “She Went to Dance,” Heather McNaugher for “The Break-up,” Kathlyn Meyer for “Ragdoll,” and Addison Peacock for “Love Does Not Look Good on Me.”

Congratulations to our winner and finalists!

 

favicon JUNE 27, 2016:

 

Today we are announcing our nonfiction winner, but we first want to thank all the writers who submitted their personal essays/stories to our debut contest. It was extremely painful narrowing the entries down to one winner and four finalists.

Our winner is Melanie Malinowski for "Arena Rock," a smart and wry story about sex, music and nostalgia. Alexandra appreciated the clever juxtaposition of snow, music and time to highlight the ephemeral aspects of love. Sam loved how Melanie transported him back to the music of the eighties. I was awed by the deceptive simplicity of the story's intricate structure and also Melanie's effortless and beautiful prose.

Melanie—who has a PhD in creative writing and literature and teaches creative writing at Texas' Children's Hospital—wins $1,000.00 and an evaluation of a book length manuscript from literary agent and Don't Talk to Me About Love editor, Sam Hiyate.

Enjoy!

Our four nonfiction finalists will be published with commentaries throughout the summer. They are Sonja Boon for "French Kiss,” Minna Dubin for "You and Me: the Prologue,” and Ellen Goodlett for "Stealing the Story Back." 

Congratulations to our winner and finalists! Poetry winner and finalists will be published June 30.

 

 

favicon JUNE 22, 2016:

 

First, we want to again thank the hundreds of writers that submitted to our debut contest in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Winnowing the entries down to finalists was not easy in a pool of such talent.

Second, we are thrilled to announce our fiction contest winner: Stephanie Arditte, whose devastating story about a very sad girl and a fatally sad boy simply broke our hearts. Apart from the compelling emotional journey, we each had something extra that drew us to "Notes From a Very Sad Girl." Sam loved the effortless evocation of profound intimacy; Alexandra was moved by the story's essence: transcendent love; and I was absolutely mad for the free and fearless writing: the voluptuous language, the inventive imagery and the lyrical cadences.

Stephanie, an MFA student at NYU, wins $1,000.00 and an evaluation of a book length manuscript from literary agent and Don't Talk to Me About Love editor, Sam Hiyate.

I hope you enjoy Stephanie's story as much as we did!

Our four finalists will be published with commentaries throughout the summer. They are Laurie Myers-Bishop for "The (Violation of) the Pigeon Hole Principle," Max Schloner for "I Wish We'd Ruined Each Other," Mandy Stango for "People Like Us" and Josh Zancan for "Sycamore River."

Congratulations to our winner and finalists!

favicon MAY 11, 2016:

 

Today, we are delighted to feature Barbara Radecki—Toronto actress, writer, mother—and her two daughters, artists Stefanie and Michele Ayoub.

You can read Chapter One of Barbara's forthcoming novel, The Darkhouse, a profound and exquisitely written thriller about a young girl's search for her mother.

See our art gallery for an excerpt of a fairy tale created for (and about) Barbara by the ever-so-talented Stefanie and Michele.

And finally, Sam Hiyate interviews mother and daughters about LOVE in his Talk to Me section. Their heartfelt discussion is a perfect way to begin Mother’s Day.

My fun fact about Barbara is that I knew what she sounded like long before I ever met her, as she was the voice of the ultra-cool Sailor Neptune in my own daughter's favourite childhood show, Sailor Moon.

Enjoy and celebrate!

 

favicon MAY 7, 2016: 

 

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and I’m ending my week-long ode to literary motherhood with a nod to my all-time favourite fictional mother: Demeter—the Greek goddess of the harvest, the cycle of life and spiritual transformation (Roman name, Ceres).

When Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, is abducted by Hades, the anguished and raging goddess searches the earth, scorches the land, threatens Zeus and the entire pantheon of gods until she gets her stolen daughter back (if only for two thirds of the year). That other third, by the way, is why we have winter. Nothing grows when Demeter is separated from Persephone.

We should all be mothered (and mother) with that much love and force. The world would be a very  different place.

 

favicon MAY 6, 2016: 

 

Today I’m continuing my literary survey of motherhood by focusing on Toni Morrison.

No one writes mothers with her depth, scope or power: from Tar Baby’s Margaret, who hurts her child because she can, to Song of Solomon’s Pilate, who loves so transcendently she flies—without leaving the ground, to Beloved’s Sethe, who kills her baby to save her from slavery. ("This here Sethe talked about love like any other woman...but what she meant could cleave the bone.”)

Morrison gives us the worst, the best and the in-between, which is where my favourite moment lies. In The Bluest Eye, Claudia realizes that her mother's rough bed-side manner wasn't really as painful as she first recalls.

“But...in the night, when my coughing was dry and tough, feet padded into the room, hands repinned the flannel, readjusted the quilt, and rested a moment on my forehead. So when I think of autumn, I think of somebody with hands who does not want me to die."

Those death-defying hands have never left my consciousness.

favicon MAY 4, 2016: 

 

As we continue to explore motherhood, I want to share a passage from Ann Hood’s memoir Comfort: the account of her five-year-old daughter’s sudden death and her own illimitable anguish.

"I have read that when someone loses an arm or a leg, for months afterward they still feel pain in their missing limb. A phantom limb it is called as if the outline or shadow of that limb is still there. That is what my arms became. Phantom limbs aching for Grace. At night I would wake up in pain, my arms actually hurting with longing for her. It is hard to imagine that emptiness can cause pain, but my empty arms ached.”

Ann Hood has an astonishing capacity to take you deep into the place where mothers grieve for their children, so don’t read Comfort unless you’re feeling very strong. Maybe even invincible.

favicon MAY 2, 2016: 

 

It's May, the month that celebrates mothers. To do our share, all of our writing and art will explore (at least in part) the dynamic, the complexities, the ambiguities and the power of motherhood.

To get you thinking, we have a meditation from Julia Kristeva's Black Sun, where she describes the most fraught moment of our existence—the separation from our mothers. "For man and for woman the loss of the mother is a biological and psychic necessity, the first step on our way to becoming autonomous. Matricide is our vital necessity."

favicon MARCH, 2016: 

 

Thank you for participating in our debut contest! The response was overwhelming. We have submissions from all over the world: Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, continental Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia, The Philippines, China and India! Thank you for entrusting us with your creations. We, in turn, will read carefully and with love.

We are also thrilled with the enthusiastic response from regular submitters. Keep them coming!

 

favicon FEBRUARY, 2016: 

 

Happy Valentine's Day!

See our art gallery for a "kiss" and read our "dates for a week of romance: good, bad, and ugly.

We were delighted to start our February roll out of LOVE with Vincent Lam. Canadians have had a love affair with this erudite author, Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and—oh yes—E.R. doctor, since he burst on the literary scene with his first published work of fiction, Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures in 2006.

He talks to Sam Hiyate about  falling in love, marriage, children, imagination and even Ford Broncos. He might make you think you've never really thought about love before. He did us.

Vincent is our special Valentine to you!

 

favicon JANUARY, 2016: 

 

What do Charles Dickens, Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and Don't Talk to Me About Love have in common? Serialized novels.

We've chosen the work of New York author, Margot Berwin (whose first novel, Hot House Flower, was translated in twenty languages) for our serialized novel.

We LOVE Margot who, in the tradition of Marguerite Duras and Anais Nin, explores the entangled topics of abuse, sexuality and desire. Damaged but desirable Martine meets an artist—older, recognized and rich—and gives up her body to him. Will she give her soul as well?

Wielding prose like a whip, Berwin lays bare the very nature of destructive love. Irresistible is a fearless novel about losing and then searching for self.

 

faviconNOVEMBER, 2015:

 

Why LOVE?

If it's not what moves planets, fires stars and rotates galaxies; it should be.

Is love a limbic function, madness or the ultimate truth? Life's elixir? Maybe not: "Love is never any better than the lover," says Toni Morrison. Matt Haig thinks love compensates for mortality. Emily Dickinson calls it immortality. As usual, Emily gets the last word.

What do you think? Feel? Send us your stories, personal essays, poems or original artwork and let us know!

fb COFFEE HOUSE CHATS    Writing Poetry and Being Human: Magdelena Wolak    The Serious Side of Satire: Tristan Bradley    Yoga, Divorce and Self-Publishing: Mike MacConnell    fb COFFEE HOUSE CHATS    The Light Dark Side of Stories: Barbara Radecki