Saturday, March 28, 2009

filling Station nos. 42 + 43

For years now, one of my favourite Canadian literary journals has been Calgary’s filling Station, founded in the mid-1990s, and somehow continued, by a long range of volunteers that have managed to keep such a beast as a literary journal afloat. There have been rumours of flux in the fS house over the past little bit, with the two most recent issues only now appearing in my mailbox, but hopefully they’ve gone through it and come out the other end, to get back into a publishing schedule (I won’t even mention the typesetting errors rife through #43; or is it, as “The Disgust Issue,” somehow part of the point?). In issue #42, some of the highlights include poems by Amanda Earl, Jesse Ferguson (who apparently has a first trade collection out this spring), Priscila Uppal and Shane Rhodes, as well as some interesting non-fiction pieces, something that’s been growing in the magazine lately.

Paste Unglued

Best of Film, Paste Magazine, December, 2007

Dragged through the blood? Seduced into talking?
Slacker malaise chemistry code-cracking jittery romance isn’t your thing?

Booze, fueled by the maverick, hardly stark forever, needs to fly dark:
a little bit almost steals the suburbs.

Sure, it lacks zombies’ infuriating hope.
Slo-mos and damaged chaos unfolds.

A pair of skin-tight Levis, a particularly glorious way to go,
questing for tongue and tone.

A rat-greatness purity and dubious stumble,
illuminating lacquer white limbs.

Huge blue collar shrugs, denying mundane
acoustic red-hooded bad-ass flannel poetry.

Liquorice is fleeting. (Amanda Earl, filling Station #42)

The second of the two issues is called “The Disgust Issue,” and I’m not sure what exactly the difference is between this and what they publish otherwise, but there is some damned fine work here, including an excerpt from Montreal writer Jon Paul Fiorentino’s first novel, out any minute now from ECW Press, and far stronger and more entertaining than I had expected. There is very little fiction I’ve notice that I actually anticipate, but if this excerpt is any indication, this is a novel I know I will want to devour, completely and quickly, and soon. Other highlights included an essay/review by ryan fitzpatrick (“Toward an abject horror”), visual art by Montreal genius Milly Mavreas and some short poems by Calgary writer and filmmaker Jonathan Ball. Here’s another writer that has been quietly working for years, and getting far more interesting over the past little bit; apparently he has a trade book or two forthcoming with BookThug.

They Come Back

The actors take to the stage and, in front of the audience, slit
their own throats.

The audience is horrified. They flee. But they come back the
next night. They come back. (Jonathan Ball, filling Station #43)

Managing editor Laurie Fuhr mentioned recently that they have also produced a chapbook, but I still haven’t seen it. Will it ever arrive? Otherwise, I still don’t understand why they went to a policy of only responding to accepted submissions, and ignoring those they decide not to publish; in the end, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and can only lead to fewer unsolicited submissions.


laurie fuhr said...

Hi rob, the policy has changed about submissions (I thought it sucked and changed it), and we now have rejection slips and everything. Plus those who submit and don't get accepted can get subscriptions for cheap if they aren't too flummoxed. The chapbook was for those who replied to the questionnaire, as incentive. Haven't gotten a response from you, but I could count this blog :)

Jonathan Ball said...

hey rob, just saw this now, thanks for the kind words!

yes, two trade books forthcoming with bookthug, an experimental long poem is first (ex machina) in december 2009 and then second is a co-written book of poetry/biblical exegesis (of a mad sort) which i did with kevin mcpherson eckhoff, who has his own first book coming out with coach house early 2010. not sure when the second book is out, we're going to do another full draft at stephen cain's suggestion, sometime in 2010 is what jay seems to indicate though i guess it depends on us.