Posted By Sandra Alland

Oh me oh my I have so many films and books and magazines to tell you about. I'll have to go through them a wee bit at a time, so as not to tire either of us out... First off, a few Canadian gems you should get your hands on if you can:

1. By a wonderful twist of coincidence, my dear friend B bought me a new art magazine at my favourtie Toronto bookshop, This Ain't the Rosedale Library, from my old friend and co-worker, James Gunn, without realising that James is an Editorial Director of the magazine! It was so great to read One Hour Empire... one of those moments when you realise your friend has been hiding his immense talents from you. OHE is a wondeful mixture of visual art, poetry, fiction, political, philosophical & personal essays, and interviews. It's actually hard to pick favourites out of this issue, it's so jam-packed with fascinating gems. I was particularly blissed to see the article by Amanda Delaney on Dr. Steven Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble ("Challenging the Culture of Fear"), as it discusses the frightening loss of civil liberties in the current "terror" climate through detailing the horrific story of Kurtz's arrest and the confiscation of his work because of its political content. Perhaps most importantly, the article shows us Kurtz's refusal to capitulate, and gives hope for artists who are working in situations of censorship and oppression. Other contributors include bill bissett, Lisa Jarnot, Maria Legault (who has some very fascinating and funny things to say about how the French are situated in Canada), Vid Ingelevics, and Lydia Perovic (who writes eloquently about the fluidity of identity, a piece that spoke to me as a Canadian living elsewhere and for the first time being confronted with my "Canadianness," among other things...) www.onehourempire.com

2. I know poetry gets ignored a lot, and queer activist poetry more so, but it's still surprising that we haven't seen much press about the stunning new book by Toronto's (oops, Guelph's) Tara-Michelle Ziniuk. Her poems and prose-poems are divine; she melds political commentary with personal experience in a striking manner. Somewhere To Run From is Ziniuk's break-up book ... but what makes it extraordinary is that it not only grieves the dissolution and pain of personal relationships, but also her divorce from certain aspects of Toronto's activist community (and from Toronto altogether). She examines difficult subjects with precision and wit, but without coming to any easy answers about blame. Particularly haunting are Ziniuk's assessments of her Jewish heritage through the lens of the horrors of Palestine, and also of her isolation from the very people she used to fight alongside, like Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. Here in these meaty poems you'll find a complex analysis of war, class and love, and a poetic and personal bravery we don't often see.

xoxox


 
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