Sunday, August 19, 2018

Headlight anthology 20 + 21

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You take the clothes that are left:
two pairs of jeans, four t-shirts,
a jumper, underwear, socks.
You fold each item, then press them
into a bag.
You go to the bathroom,
take a fresh towel and a bar of soap.
The towel is white, the soap amber.
It smells medicinal.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor.

It is eleven pm.
You pick up the car keys. (Lars Horn)

I’ve finally managed to secure copies of the two most recent editions of headlight anthology, an “annual, student-run graduate journal” produced by Montreal’s Concordia University, through their English Department. If you follow my reviews at all, you most likely already know that headlight is one of a small handful of annuals I follow [see my prior headlight review here], all of which emerge from schools with engaged creative writing departments, including SUNY-Buffalo’s P-QUEUE (see my review of the latest here), or Ryerson University’s White Wall Review. Given that Concordia has long had a strong Creative Writing Department, one would think that the anthology would be given more promotional heft from the institution (or even the community, really), as an advertisement for what they are attempting to accomplish.

The twentieth annual edition of headlight includes an array of poetry, fiction and artwork (including a stunning visual, “Under Moonlight,” by Katrina Piacek) by a plethora of emerging writers, including Madeleine McDonald, Melanie Power, Nicola Sibthorpe, Eileen Holowka, Matteo Clambella, Madelaine Caritas Longman and Jessica Bebenek (the only name within that I’m already familiar with), among others. There are some really interesting pieces in this issue, such as Eileen Holowka’s powerful and evocative “Excerpts from the narrative game circuits,” that includes:

everyone always says water tastes like nothing, but the taste of nothing changes between cities. in winnipeg, the water tasted like snow, in montreal, like rain. in new york, like the steam rising out of the sewers. i take all of these flavours in, try to discern what home tastes like.
            i have become a connoisseur of nothing.

The latest volume, subtitled “Interruptions,” is the twenty-first, and the foreword by Editor-in-Chief Emily Crompton and Managing Editor Penelope Kerr is fascinating for its response to a growing series of stories over at Concordia University of multiple examples of sexual misconduct and a general toxic environment throughout the department. Citing allegations and stories told by Mike Spry, Emma Healey, Heather O’Neill and Stephen Henighan, they write from what might seem, to some, the centre of a storm: “To the people who have experienced these awful and quiet tragedies: we see you, and your experiences are valid.”

Headlight has celebrated, supported, and brought artists together for more than twenty years, but we feel it is especially important to acknowledge community now, in the face of crisis. We would like to reaffirm our commitment to change, especially for those of our readers and contributors who are Concordia students. It is through these disturbances that we are reminded to do better and be better for each other.

“Interruptions” includes contributions from Hugh Deasy, Michael D’Itri, Miles Forrester, Ann Kruzelecky, Chloe Levman-Dolgin, Marlene Oeffinger, Marianne Paquette, Fawn Parker, Alexei Perry Cox, Sabina Reeves and Olivia Wood. Highlights to this volume include the exhaltations of Michael D’Itri’s “STOP,” and the rush of Fawn Parker’s “CRISIS STATE” (you did pick up her 2015 title from Metatron, yes?), that includes:

The closing of the skin draping over the thick boiled white the liquid retained in the membrane the shine of the wetness on the thick white plush the prevention of the sour yellow leak with the redraping of the skin the liquid information the information parts the sorting and ordering of the shifting shapes the difference between the sour yellow hitting the conglomerate  !  and the projected throatpit wolliness in the tented cavern recreate it in this one specific way

If previous editionso of headlight are any indication, there are names in these issues you will most likely see again, so I would recommend you pay attention.

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