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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.


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O, Canada. It’s that time again. When your southern neighbors toy with the quadrennial urge toward your seemingly gentler shores—your healthcare, your bilingual road signs, your blessed absence of Newts and Santorums. Do you hate all of our false promises, our threats? Do we even know who you are?

As the U.S. presidential elections and their attendant conservative bluster loom ever closer, I went back to the “Canadian Strange” issue of DB (Issue #8, 2006)to indulge my migration fantasies. And that issue was strange. And fantastic. It’s worth a second look.

My favorite part of the whole issue, I have to say, are the short stories of Sheila Heti. They’re like mean little fairy tales, exquisite and glittering in their oddness. Heti captures the sadism of children with particular acuity, and the ways they externalize their interior worlds, the way they frame their captors.

One of the stories here is about a very inventive girl, and one who’s quite lazy—and both move swiftly as beads tapped along on a prayer string. At the end, you find not a cross, but an explosion, that’ll leave you reverent for days. If this is Canada, I’m sold.


Cris Beam is the author of two books as well as a memoir called Mother, Stranger which was published in January and is available here http://atavist.net/mother-stranger/


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Published Feb 28, 2012 - Comments Off on Looking Back, Looking North — by Cris Beam

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