Thursday, March 10, 2005

Queen Street Quarterly: final

With the brand-new issue, Volume 7, Number 4, now on the stands, Toronto’s Queen Street Quarterly journal celebrates the end of seven years of publishing. Easily the best little magazine in Canada, where else were you going to find the work of Stephen Cain, John Barlow, Christian Bök, Lise Downe, Steve McCaffery, a. rawlings, jwcurry, Matthew Remski, Nancy Dembowski, Victor Coleman, John Riddell, Gregory Betts and so many others that don’t often publish in the little magazines, with their work alongside that of more magazine-familiar names such as Stephen Brockwell, Jon Paul Fiorentino, derek beaulieu, Michelle Berry, Margaret Christakos, Michael Holmes and Ken Babstock. As the avants at the Kootenay School of Writing and Talonbooks on the west coast have access to The Capilano Review, Queen Street Quarterly filled a void in Toronto for the non-traditional poetic, publishing not just the standard lyric, but visual/concrete work, surrealist writing and writing within the Oulipo. As well, Queen Street Quarterly, although named after a well known Toronto strip, published not just the work of locals, but reached out nationally and internationally, bringing in writers and writing from various other communities (work by Aaron Williamson, Bill Griffiths, Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, Coral Hull and Spencer Selby also appeared in the magazine) to produce a diverse and impressive journal of poetry and fiction that didn’t hold specifically to any one aesthetic. Since the magazine began, others have started moving in that direction, publishing more non-traditional works, such as Calgary magazines filling station and the new dANDelion, and Concordia University’s Matrix magazine.

As editor Suzanne Zelazo writes in her editor’s note:

"I began Queen Street Quarterly because I believe in creative action. I wanted to create a place that would unite the many different voices that were and are Canadian literature. At the time most magazines were singular–exclusively traditional and lyric, or exclusively avant-garde and characteristically ephemeral. Having always believed in the capacity for reciprocity between the most seemingly disparate things, I thought it was important to put the street in the museum and the museum in the street–wherein sound scores, concrete poems, and surrealist games in all of their ephemeral brilliance could be preserved, proper bound and anchored in heavy, zephyr laid paper, and where the narrative and the lyric could be un-mired–refreshed by a proximity to newer forms. At the time, nothing existed which fostered such relationships so I, perhaps naively and perhaps arrogantly, took it upon myself to create such a space."

The editors, Suzanne and Phil Zelazo, David Moos, Stephen Cain, Natalee Caple, Neil Hennesy, Karen Mac Cormack, with production by Judith Parker, Jay MillAr and Rick/Simon, have produced a fine run.

Zelazo ends her note with:

"Saying goodbye to the QSQ, however, is not easy. I have thought hard about leaving behind some explicitly stated and concise description of what the QSQ means, yet, for the past seven years I have never been one to overly specify our mandate–wishing instead that the magazine spoke for itself. I hope here, in hinting at my personal aesthetics, and through the contributions in this final issue, to do the same." Very few magazines, I think, have spoken so well.

The final issue includes work by Paul Hegedus, Ray Ellenwood, a. rawlings, Anne F. Walker, Paul Vermeersch, Alisa Kay, derek beaulieu, Frank Davey, Blaise Moritz, Douglas Barbour and Sheila E. Murphy, Gregory Betts, Alessandro Porco, Emily Schultz and Bruce Whiteman, as well as cover artwork by Coach House’s own Rick/Simon.

Back issues: $5.00 (including postage), 2 for $7.00 (including postage). Send cheques payable to Queen Street Quarterly, box 311, Stn. P, 704 Spadina Avenue, Toronto ON Canada, M5S 2S8. For all other enquiries please email

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