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REVIEW: Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme

Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
Ivan Coyote and Zena Sharman, eds.
Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011

Reviewed by Sigal Samuel

“Are you attracted to women more feminine than you? Then you’re butch. Are you attracted to women more masculine than you? Then you’re femme. Simple, except when it’s not.” These words, from Nairne Holtz’s essay in Persistence, get at the heart of the anthology’s mandate: to explore the two most popular lesbian identities – the “masculine” butch and the “feminine” femme – while resisting easy dichotomies and reductive stereotypes.

Continue reading REVIEW: Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme

REVIEW: Pretty, by Greg Kearney

By Greg Kearney
Exile, 2011

Reviewed by Veronique West

Awkward, overweight, washed-up, sexually-frustrated, disenchanted: the incredibly average misfits who people Greg Kearney’s set of short stories are anything but pretty – and therein lies their appeal. Kearney’s narratives are delivered in bite-sized slice-of-life narratives. His voice, clever, irreverent and unabashed, captures the reader’s attention. His ability to ridicule and make theatrical the very unglamorous nature of modern domestic life, sometimes to the point of parody, truly engages. It is this ability which fuels Pretty, making it an undeniably entertaining read – though the witty criticism it presents of contemporary living and the sympathy it stirs for those unsuited to its expectations falls somewhat short of thought-provoking insight and profundity.

Continue reading REVIEW: Pretty, by Greg Kearney


kris bertin flexes his creative muscle
By Will Johnson
Illustration by Indiana Joel

The first time PRISM fiction editor Cara Woodruff picked up the short story “Is Alive and Can Move” by kris bertin, she knew she had found something special.

“It drew me in right away with this raw, insane energy and this really unique voice,” she said. “I’m always looking for something that’s different, really distinct.”

bertin is a fledgling writer from Halifax who published his first short story in The Malahat Review last year. He entered “Is Alive and Can Move” in PRISM international’s annual fiction contest this summer and Woodruff, who is currently the fiction editor, was screening through over 250 entries when she came across it.

“We get a lot of these stories that are solid, the writing is good, everything is polished, but they’re kind of boring,” she said. “They’re just safe.”

“Is Alive and Can Move” is the story of an alcoholic janitor who works at a university. As he struggles to maintain his sobriety, he is horrified by what he sees. Or at least, by what he thinks he sees. Continue reading WILL JOHNSON TALKS TO PRISM AUTHOR KRIS BERTIN


B.C. writer publishes debut collection

By Will Johnson

When D.W. Wilson first decided he wanted to be a writer, he didn’t plan to write about his hometown. He started out with science fiction and fantasy inspired by J.R.R Tolkien. But partway through university, he decided to take the old adage “write what you know” seriously.

“I remember joking with my professor that I was going to write about the Kootenays because nobody else had, that it was unexplored territory,” says Wilson, who was born and raised in small towns throughout the Interior. “Incidentally, that line has served me well on grant applications.”

Wilson recently released his first collection of short stories, Once You Break a Knuckle. All of the action takes place in Invermere, a town largely untouched by Canadian literature. According to Wilson, his target audience is the people he grew up with. Continue reading INTERVIEW: WILL JOHNSON TALKS TO PRISM WRITER D.W. WILSON


Kevin Spenst: You’ve explored a variety of artistic practices – film, rhythmic gymnastics and poetry – and you hold a degree in science from the University of British Columbia. What holds all that creative and ratiocinative energy together?

Senka Kovacevic: If I valued creativity alone, I would only be a dreamer. If logic and process were all I saw, I’d live in fear of becoming automated. Creativity and reason cannot really be separated. Concepts, emotions, moods, and messages are problems that are solved by expression. Reason connects intangible creativity to something tangible and complete. Though different things brought me to each practice and study, in my case they are tied together by discipline. I dislike unfinished business and unfulfilled potential. Continue reading INTERVIEW: KEVIN SPENST TALKS TO SENKA KOVACEVIC