LEMON HOUND

More Bite Than Bark Since 2005
Essays & Fragments
Jane Malcolm: On Theory, A Sunday

Jane Malcolm: On Theory, A Sunday

Belladonna’s new translation of Theory, A Sunday comes to us just in time to respond to a resurgence of pop feminism—on This is What a Feminist Looks Like t-shirts, at the MTV VMAs, from the mouths of Beyoncé and Lena Dunham, on a “Feminist But Feminine!” sign at the end of a Chanel runway—and to...

Clara Lipfert: On Theory, A Sunday

I think of the ways that I move my body across New York City. I think of the itchiness in my veins that drives me out of the apartment for a walk, amongst light on stone and eyes on me. Find a bench to sit on, read in the sunlight, or watch other bodies move...

ON THE CAREER: Mentoring by Example

On the matter of career — Sina Queyras this post originally appeared on the Poetry Foundation website, March 16, 2010 at 12:15pm Poetry as career is always a contentious subject. My rather lighthearted attempts to open up the discussion this week make it seem as though I have a lighthearted approach, which couldn’t be farther...
Nicole Brossard: The Frame Work of Desire

Nicole Brossard: The Frame Work of Desire

Motivation Motivation is defined as “the action of (conscious and unconscious) forces that determine behavior.” We ought therefore to ask ourselves what is the source of our motivation, so as to identify the reasons and motives [les motifs et les mobiles] that generate and nourish feminist consciousness, and at the same time to understand how these two factors affect and...
The Newark Women’s Poetry Club: On Theory, A Sunday

The Newark Women’s Poetry Club: On Theory, A Sunday

For the life of her she can’t imagine how their lives are so different, yet they meet every Sunday in this town called Newark for the poetry club they decided to create. It’s funny how people’s lives have nothing in common, but then you find out you have one thing that ties the two of...
Gail Scott: Feminist at the Carnival

Gail Scott: Feminist at the Carnival

“The verse must be taken to the limit of expressiveness.” (Mayakovsky, How to Make Verses) It is then that the code opens to the rhyming body to formulate, against the present meaning, another meaning, for years to come, impossible. Julia Kristeva [1] Qu’est ce qui est incontournable (unskirtable!) dans le féminisme quand on écrit? What of one’s feminist consciousness...
Jamie Ross: On Theory, A Sunday

Jamie Ross: On Theory, A Sunday

1 The airlock on the huge lilac mead jug glugs away when it’s just me in the sunny third floor kitchen in Montréal’s North End. Way up from the water. The yarrow is flowering and the sumach berries are almost red enough for lemonade. July. I text him back, telling him to meet in the...
Louky Bersianik: Aristotle's Lantern

Louky Bersianik: Aristotle’s Lantern

The Fourth Estate Criticism inhabits the same space as the symbol: both are subject to interpretation, and are thus subjective. There is no more a science of the literary than there is a science of the symbol, even if various theories manage to tease out laws or detect constants. Critical reading, therefore, is nowhere near an exact science; in...
Stephen Collis: Report from the Climate March

Stephen Collis: Report from the Climate March

Poetry and the People’s Climate March: A Brief Report Stephen Collis How do we account for the lived quality of life itself, writ large—the vast web of species that are collectively, relationally, alive at any given moment we care to tune into our planetary presence? How do we think this biospheric being alive, and how...
Daphne Marlatt: On Theory, A Sunday

Daphne Marlatt: On Theory, A Sunday

Reading Theory, A Sunday, the recently released Belladonna English edition, of that 1988 Quebecoise feminist classic, La Theorie, un dimanche, was for me a curiously double experience.  Energizing, heartening, both pertinent and at the same time nostalgia-inducing for what seems a simpler time, now that we teeter on the brink of looming global climate crisis...
Louise Dupré: Four Sketches for a Morphology

Louise Dupré: Four Sketches for a Morphology

A-Morphs Madonna on television. “Like a Virgin,” she sings in her tiny, mechanical-doll voice. The teen idol of the moment, with exposed belly button and cross hanging from the ear. Bringing together the pornographic with the religious, simultaneously channeling two images that have demonstrated their staying power in Western imagination: the mother (Madonna, Mary, virgin mother of God)...
Erin Wunker: A reflection on reading La Théorie, un dimanche

Erin Wunker: A reflection on reading La Théorie, un dimanche

I first read La Théorie, un dimanche in Montréal twelve years ago. I was in graduate school. I had just moved back to Canada after living in the United States for a decade and a half. I was twenty-two. I did not think I needed feminism. I had never heard of Louise Cotnoir, of Gail...
Louise Cotnoir: Dreams for Human Brains

Louise Cotnoir: Dreams for Human Brains

The Subjecte of Interest [1] To want a woman-subject is to place oneself in a constant state of provocation and aggression: it is to speak of the future because the present literally kills. For those who manage to escape the massacre, the alternative within the patriarchal order is an absolute choice of either prison or exile. Banishment has “force of...
Krystal Languell: A Response to Theory, A Sunday

Krystal Languell: A Response to Theory, A Sunday

Editing and publishing poetry for a small press and a literary magazine has provided me with mentorship relationships and a kind of intimacy with texts I would not have been likely to encounter otherwise. I joined Belladonna* Collaborative in 2010 and one of the first projects I agreed to was working with Rachel Levitsky to see Theory, A Sunday through to...
Lisa Robertson: Theory, A City

Lisa Robertson: Theory, A City

Theory, A City: Introduction Lisa Robertson The feminist writers of Montréal have altered their city irrevocably. When women write about and from the cities they live in, they are transforming the material city into a web of possibility and risk. The description of the city bends back on itself — it not only represents, it opens up a site...
France Théoret: Elegy for the Memory of Women

France Théoret: Elegy for the Memory of Women

Each day I tell myself the story of my life. I know that this sentence is made up of heaviness, desire and truth, ambiguity in regard to writing. Feminism is a thing of yesterday, and so it is also a thing of today. Feminism speaks to the reality-ego.[1] Such a phrase fits only if I abandon it...
QVC 2

QVC 2

Earlier this winter Ben Fama invited several authors to contribute to the folio that follows, titled QVC. Participants were asked to write ~150 words about something they’d recently bought, bought into, invested themselves in, or otherwise consumed, a brief and thoughtful look into their relationship to an item or subject they wished to discuss. The inaugural...
Mira Mattar: Perhaps a finch, a finch perhaps

Mira Mattar: Perhaps a finch, a finch perhaps

Its head is ordinary. Its head is inquisitive. Its head is ordinary and inquisitive. Its head is ordinary but inquisitive. It is a head that is ordinary and inquisitive. It is a head that is ordinary but inquisitive. Can what is ordinary not also be inquisitive? Ordinariness does not preclude inquisitiveness. It is ordinary because...
Martha Baillie: The Search for Heinrich Schlögel - A Novel Sent in Fragments

Martha Baillie: The Search for Heinrich Schlögel – A Novel Sent in Fragments

Bitten by doubt, I pick at my prose. I stop writing. Though the novel is nearly done, a crucial element is missing. To prevent myself from destroying the manuscript, why not turn it into something other? Could it “coexist” in a second form? In the novel the year is 1974 and a teenaged German, named...
Erin Lyndal Martin: Notes Toward an Essay on the Construction of the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família

Erin Lyndal Martin: Notes Toward an Essay on the Construction of the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família

“The Sagrada Familia is the most hideous building in the world.”–George Orwell 2026. Projected date of completion. When is a church complete? This is not a literal question referring to resteeplings and maintenance that must be done over the years; this is a question of what a church is. But let us look at the...
Jonathan Ball: Misreading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Jonathan Ball: Misreading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

Whenever I teach “The Raven,” a number of students assume a particular misreading: that the narrator has murdered Lenore, and that the raven of the poem symbolizes his guilty conscience. I’m always shocked by how naturally this misreading comes. Students seem to realize it’s not sustainable as a “reasonable” interpretation, but prefer it to more...
Jacqueline Valencia: The Need for Lonely Women Film

Jacqueline Valencia: The Need for Lonely Women Film

‘The lonely man’ film is a term that I learned from writer/director Paul Schrader when he introduced Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver at the Royal Theatre in Toronto in 2013. Schrader penned the film during a deep and paranoid depressive state. As a woman, I identify with Travis Bickle’s awkwardness with social constructs, his isolation, and...
Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy on Indigenous Literatures: The Politics of the Invitation

Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy on Indigenous Literatures: The Politics of the Invitation

It may be argued that the field of literature, as an art, is marginalized in Canada in terms of disciplinary focus and financial support in comparison to say economics, politics, or science. The same may be said for literature as a cultural process, artifact, and product—the funding of literature and priority in funding literature is...

Raymond de Borja on Sincerity

My interest in thinking about sincerity is prompted by the sentence “I am writing the truth” and the possibilities that abound given I, am, writing, and truth. But also irony, the ease with which we have become ironic – how after our awareness of the spectacle our response has been mostly through some form of...
Geneviève Robichaud on Lucy Ives: Orange Roses

Geneviève Robichaud on Lucy Ives: Orange Roses

In Orange Roses (Ahsahta Press, 2013) there are surfaces and there are hidden stories, but the question seems to be: how can one excavate the surface and disclose something “natural” about the moment when language can only surmise an approximation of that moment? The epigraph by George Oppen corroborates this idea quite well: “approached the...
Elisa Gabbert on Mary Karr, Julia Cohen, and Tori Amos: Against Against Decoration

Elisa Gabbert on Mary Karr, Julia Cohen, and Tori Amos: Against Against Decoration

In an essay called “Against Decoration,” Mary Karr makes a case for using “decoration” in poetry – figurative language, sonic beauty – only in service of a greater purpose, what she takes to be the “primary purpose” of poetry: “to stir emotion.” “Delight in dense idiom or syntax,” she writes, is a secondary purpose (50)....
Zachariah Wells: Nailing Down the Hard Parts

Zachariah Wells: Nailing Down the Hard Parts

Pino Coluccio First Comes Love Suzanne Buffam Past Imperfect CANADIAN POETRY LOVES A GOOD debutante ball. Since the 1930s, we have heralded the arrival of new generations of poets in anthologies which are the textual equivalent of coming out parties: momentous to the participants and their families, but of very little long-term interest to serious...
QVC 1

QVC 1

Earlier this winter I invited several authors to contribute to the folio that follows, titled QVC. Participants were asked to write ~150 words about something they’d recently bought, bought into, invested themselves in, or otherwise consumed, a brief and thoughtful look into their relationship to an item or subject they wish to discuss. QVC, as...
Emily Dickinson & Jen Bervin: Gorgeous Somethings

Emily Dickinson & Jen Bervin: Gorgeous Somethings

Far, far outside of MFA circles there is a poet whose poetic practice has breached the confines of the blank page to be etched on every available surface. The Far Outside poet famously left her poems–largely unread by hungry eyes of the 19th Century, other than a lucky editor of a literary magazine–tied in little...
Eliot D'Silva on Geoffrey G. O'Brien's People on Sunday

Eliot D’Silva on Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s People on Sunday

People on Sunday, Geoffrey G. O’Brien. Wave Books, 2013. By Eliot D’Silva This is the problem staged in “Hesiod”, a poem towards the middle of Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s People on Sunday, the latest of his four collections. The book is written out of that negative space – also a span of time – across which...
Alan Reed on Michèle Bernstein & Everyone Agrees: La Nuit + After the Night

Alan Reed on Michèle Bernstein & Everyone Agrees: La Nuit + After the Night

All the King’s Horses, Michèle Bernstein. Trans. John Kelsey. Semiotext(e), 2008. The Night, Michèle Bernstein. Trans. Clodagh Kinsella, Ed. by Everyone Agrees. Book Works, 2013. After the Night, Everyone Agrees. Book Works, 2013. By Alan Reed   1. All the King’s Horses and The Night Michèle Bernstein is one of the founding members of the Situationist...
Elisa Gabbert on Karen Green’s Bough Down

Elisa Gabbert on Karen Green’s Bough Down

Bough Down, Karen Green. Siglio, 2013. by Elisa Gabbert In comedy, a “callback” is a joke that makes reference to an earlier joke, to “build audience rapport.” In Bough Down, a hybrid collection you might call prose poetry, lyric essay, or memoir in verse, writer/artist Karen Green employs a constant calling back not for comic effect,...

Benjamin Landry on Marianne Boruch’s The Book of Hours

The Book of Hours, Marianne Boruch. Copper Canyon, 2011 by Benjamin Landry The Book of Hours is a deeply metaphysical arrangement, the primary concern of which is the interrogation of the act of creation. In it, Boruch is god-stung and bitter, in the most productive ways, with alternating lyrical control and wildness, a lineage that...

Shane Neilson on Heighton & Sanger: Stalin’s Canival + Fireship: Early Poems 1964-1991

Stalin’s Carnival, Steven Heighton. Palimpsest Press, 2013. Fireship: Early Poems 1964 – 1991. Peter Sanger. Gaspereau Press, 2013. by  Shane Neilson The re-issue of a debut book of poetry is an uncommon event. Economics and the relative low interest in republished poetry are a factor, but perhaps the biggest factor is the relative weakness of debuts...

Chris Gilmore on Alice Munro’s Prue

“Prue.” The Moons of Jupiter,  Alice Munro. Penguin, 2006. Essay By Chris Gilmore Prue: “Somebody Who Doesn’t Take Herself Too Seriously”  In “Prue,” the title character is described as “somebody who doesn’t take herself too seriously” (Munro 130). In moderation, humility is an admirable trait; however, Prue’s humility is so pervasive that it becomes a generalized sense of...

Aimee Wall on Vickie Gendreau’s Testament

Testament, Vickie Gendreau. Le Quartanier, 2012. Essay by Aimee Wall JEAN SHORT PARTY.DOC We are enfants terribles. We are fils absents. We are du même nom de famille plate. We are histoire plate. We are même pas dignes de mention. We are quand même dans ta playlist. We are pas loin de plein d’autres noms...
Toby Altman: Paragraphs on Lyric Poetry

Toby Altman: Paragraphs on Lyric Poetry

I will refer to the kind of writing in which I am involved as lyric poetry. In lyric poetry the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an author uses a lyric form of writing, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution...

Stephen Collis: Towards a Dialectical Poetry

Towards a Dialectical Poetry[1] 1. The Problem of Names In trying to make some distinctions within radical poetries, I want to begin with the problem of names—what we mean when we call poetry “innovative,” “avant-garde,” or “experimental.” INNOVATIVE. Perhaps currently the most common word to designate the poetry lying outside the supposed “mainstream,” “innovative” as...
On Reading & Reviewing: Anita Lahey

On Reading & Reviewing: Anita Lahey

When I was editing poetry reviews for Arc Poetry Magazine, I had my radar tuned for pieces that were mean-spirited, careless or just plain blind. These sins, however, were rare, and when caught (usually) easily addressed. What troubled me more was reticence, reserve—any smokescreen cloaking the reviewer’s true feelings. I believe a review should offer...
Misreadings: Jonathan Ball on Yann Martel

Misreadings: Jonathan Ball on Yann Martel

Life of Pi, Yann Martel. Vintage Canada, 2002.  by Jonathan Ball Misreadings imagines alternative (or détourned) versions of literary and film works, and subjects these nonexistent imaginings to analysis. Let’s imagine that Yann Martel’s much-admired and much-maligned novel Life of Pi is, in secret fact, a horror novel. The most obvious horror-story aspect of Martel’s novel...
Geneviève Robichaud: Self-Translation in Two Movements

Geneviève Robichaud: Self-Translation in Two Movements

Click on the image below to view the slideshow. [Self-Translation in Two Movements Excerpt] I am not a theoretician of the bilingual text. Not yet anyway. I have merely, like other writers who find themselves in the bind of a “dual linguistic identity,” sought, on one hand, to channel the otherness of the self in...

Caitlin Scarano: With the Head of a Bear

“As if anger could be a kind of vocation for some women. It is a chilling thought.”  –Anne Carson  “When what we understand about what we are changes, whole parts of us fall mute.” –Frank Bidart I think that I’ve learned: everything deserves gentleness. These days, I tell more people about what happened. When I...

John C. Goodman: Beyond Narrative

by John C. Goodman “I declare,” she sobbed, “I never was so cut up since your mama and my papa not Doyce and Clennam for this once but give the precious little thing a cup of tea and make her put it to her lips at least pray Arthur do, not even Mr F.’s last...
Kathryn Mockler: On Printing Out the Internet

Kathryn Mockler: On Printing Out the Internet

by Kathryn Mockler  “…capitalism has a knack for devouring and absorbing everything in its path—including any critique of capitalism.” (from Notes on Conceptualisms) When I taught an experimental writing course to undergraduates this past winter my students and I were most surprised to discover, through some of the class exercises, the extent to which we...

Brushing the Silence: The Politics of Urban Articulation in Nicole Brossard’s Notebook of Roses and Civilization

By Hannah Weber The space of the city: a moving, speaking mass, dense and ever-proliferating, systematically or organically without end. Ostensibly, by virtue of its concentration of diverse peoples, the urban space allows all; digital and physical worlds casually interlock, creating an opening for speech where it didn’t before exist. In Notebook of Roses and...
Tourism and the Lyric Self in Stephanie Bolster’s “Beyond Saint Petersburg”

Tourism and the Lyric Self in Stephanie Bolster’s “Beyond Saint Petersburg”

 “When In A Slur I Understand”:  Tourism and the Lyric Self in Stephanie Bolster’s “Beyond Saint Petersburg”  by Adam Sol This essay is part of a larger project about the self in contemporary poetry.  In particular I’m interested in how the generation of poets born from the early 1960s through the early 1970s, deal with “confession”...
Misreadings: Jonathan Ball on Shirley Jackson

Misreadings: Jonathan Ball on Shirley Jackson

Misreadings: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House by Jonathan Ball Misreadings imagines alternative (or détourned) versions of literary and film works, and subjects these nonexistent imaginings to analysis. Let’s imagine that Shirley Jackson’s horror classic The Haunting of Hill House is a metafiction, that it tips its hand in its first paragraph, and that...
Colin Fulton: Empty & Hungry

Colin Fulton: Empty & Hungry

Twin Conscience On June 11, 1981, Issei Sagawa, a 32-year-old student studying Comparative Literature at the Sorbonne Academy in Paris, invited a fellow student, Renée Hartevelt, over to dinner at his apartment under the pretense of translating some German Romantic poetry for a class they were taking. Upon her arrival, after convincing her to begin...
Concetta Principe on Red Doc

Concetta Principe on Red Doc

How are we to read Red Doc as a sequel to Autobiography of Red? – Concetta Principe May 9, 2013 In an essay on Autobiography of Red, in Open Letter last fall, I read Carson’s revision of Stesichorus’ story of the beast, Geryon, through a psychoanalytic approach, with an emphasis on Lacan’s symbolic register. The...
Mud Is Mud: Ongoing Notes Toward An Essay On The Art Of Fiction

Mud Is Mud: Ongoing Notes Toward An Essay On The Art Of Fiction

Clarity is not accessibility. Accessibility is not simplistic. Brevity isn’t minimalism. Oblique is often too much distance. Less is not always more. Excess is not experimental. One room needs to be in relation to the next. Quantity is not quality. Distillation takes time. Ideas in abundance are not enough. Murky is not mysterious. Language isn’t...