The Anna Van Valkenberg Interview

“A town is a tin of children in an ocean,” writes Anna van Valkenburg in her debut poetry collection, a rich, unpredictable, and deeply surreal exploration of identity and the multiple contradictions we each embody. These poems, set in locations real and imaginary, magical and banal, inhabited by figures out of Slavic folklore and a Boschian landscape, strive to unearth truths, especially those that are difficult or uncomfortable, using Bertolt Brecht’s maxim “Do not fear death so much as an inadequate life” as a touchstone.…

What the Living Do by Maggie Dwyer

Until the age of twelve, Georgia Lee Kay-Stern believed she was Jewish—the story of her Cree birth family had been kept secret. Now she’s living on her own and attending first-year university, and with her adoptive parents on sabbatical in Costa Rica, the old questions are back. What does it mean to be Native? How could her life have been different?

Limerence by Jon Tattrie

Jon Tattrie has written a very clever book in Limerence (2015 Pottersfield Press). What do I mean by ‘clever’? It is a clever idea, cleverly conceived and written. It concerns the life of Manitoba resident Sam Stiller who loses his wife and son in a car accident and sets out to reinvent himself on the east coast of Canada as Cain Cohen.

Cain Cohen denies he was ever Sam Stiller, but there are some telling clues: the love of Leonard Cohen’s music (which is referenced liberally throughout the book and hence his ‘new’ last name), and the biblical reference to Cain, who became an outcast after murdering his brother Abel.…