You may or may not be familiar with the Instagram trend #mcm (Man Crush Monday). You may have stumbled across this phenomenon when your Instagram feed was all hunky, half-naked men from Channing Tatum to Adam Levine to Idris Elba. After being inundated with more shirtless men than you know what to do with (a problem you never knew existed), you might also learn that there’s a #wcw (Woman Crush Wednesday). The whole thing is, admittedly, a bit ridiculous. Until now.
PRISM international has their own #mcm and it’s The Capilano Review, affectionately known as TCR. That’s right. We’re magazine crushing on TCR. The Capilano Review has a long history of publishing new and established Canadian writers and artists who are experimenting with or expanding the boundaries of conventional forms and contexts. International writers and artists appear in their pages too. Founded in North Vancouver in 1972 by Pierre Coupey, the magazine continues its original mandate to publish the literary and visual arts side by side. Which they do and it’s stunning.
So what is it about this magazine that has us jumping up and down when it comes in the mail? Full disclosure, it rests on PRISM’s bedside table. Is it the sexy, hunky cover that does it for us?
That’s definitely part of it. TCR always delivers aesthetically pleasing cover art. Rarely, if ever, do they fall into the lit mag cover death trap that ensnares the best of us. (Don’t you dare make a joke about #pizzapug. You love it!) Their design ticks all the boxes for me: engaging cover, seamless layout, a beautiful typeface, and quality paper. I don’t know that this is discussed enough, but I love the size of TCR. It straddles the line between book and magazine and I loves it. It may seem silly to be praising a magazine for its size, but when it stays open by itself without me having to hold it down, I’m happy. I know, I know: #readerproblems.
What also makes TCR number one for #mcm is the content. If you’re reading it in TCR, chances are you can’t read it anywhere else and haven’t read anything like it. And can’t, because the poems and stories are risky. They’re true CanLit in the sense that they publish diverse writers, demand readers’ attentions, they’re unapologetic, and they elicit discussion. You might find trees occasionally, but I doubt they’re in the typical CanLit context. More than anything, the work that you’ll find in TCR’s 142 pages is exciting. You’ll want to keep reading. It’ll be on your bedside table on top of your Fifty Shades of Grey because TCR is way more stimulating.
My favourite piece in the latest issue of TCR is by Liz Howard. The poem, which is described as a “recombinative poem”, was constructed using the texts from Howard’s journals, Emile Benveniste’s essay “Hospitality”, Mat Laporte’s chapbook Bad Infinity, Henry Meschonic’s “Rhythm Party: A Manifesto”, and pieces from the Minutes of the Treaty of Easton, Pennsylvania 1758, “in which the Lenape (Delaware First Nation) are said to have ceded the land currently known as New Jersey.” (74). The intertextuality creates a complexity that draws me in right away as does the disconnect in the language that forces me to find the associative leaps.
after the potlatch take me by my small hand
out into the long grass, a parallel university
as a cumulonimbus marks its head above us
a blackened gas of bad cotton batten gone
to mold back there in some poorly insulated
home I have raised my voice you desire me
to hollow loud, and give notice
let me therefore come down upon the ground
into an open mouth and make that my own
by a deed, and I shall have a home forever
a string one thousand grains of wampum
If those aren’t enough reasons to crush hard on TCR, their commitment to West Coast culture is. Fred Wah backs us by saying, “TCR is a crucial voice to the continuing surge of west coast and Canadian culture.” How are they doing this? So many ways! You can find Managing Editor Todd Nickel supporting local lit mag events for starters. TCR also publishes a plethora of West Coasters like Jorden Abel, Monroe Lawrence, Taryn Hubbard, Michael Turner, and George Bowering. And if that’s still not enough, their next issue is all about Pacific Poetries. The issue is launching June 20 and for more info, click here.
So there you have it: The Capilano Review. If you haven’t picked up a copy, you should check them out. Or, if you want to get published with them, they’re always open for submissions and they just opened up submissions for the 4th Annual Robin Blaser Poetry Award, judged by Daphne Marlatt. Submit for a chance to win 1000$ in prizes and publication!