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Everything is Something Else: In Conversation with Billy-Ray Belcourt

Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation and is a PhD student in the Department of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His work has been widely published in magazines across Canada, and he has been named by Tracey Lindberg as one of six Indigenous writers to watch. In Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut poetry collection with Frontenac House, This Wound is a World, love answers heartbreak, “history lays itself bare” (42) and a world glimmering with decolonial love and queer, Indigenous possibilities is split open. This is poetry at its brightest. It is electric, profound, necessary work. Belcourt bends genre, challenging the cage of colonialism through a poetics of intimacy. It is a collection unafraid to ask questions, exploring grief, desire, queer sexuality and Indigeneity with tender honesty. Belcourt asks us to consider the ways Indigenous bodies can be simultaneously unbound and “rendered again,” (40) how worlds can be made and unmade. These are poems to be returned to again and again with reverence. PRISM editors, Jessica Johns and Selina Boan were thrilled to be able to sit down with Billy-Ray during his Vancouver book launch and chat about Indian Time, queer Indigenous futures, and the armpit as heaven’s wormhole.

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Get to Know: Jan Zwicky

Interview by Claudia Wilde

Our next Get to Know (with a few bonus added questions!) features Jan Zwicky, a poet, philosopher, essayist, and musician who will be appearing at this year’s Writers Fest in Vancouver. In 1981, Zwicky earned her PhD at the University of Toronto specializing in Philosophy of Logic and Science. Jan Zwicky has published over a dozen books of poetry, and was the recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Prize and the Governor General’s Award for poetry. After teaching for a number of years, she has finally settled on Quadra Island. Last year she came out with a collection of poetry called The Long Walk.

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The Deep Cove

“To Love the Coming End:” An Interview with Leanne Dunic

Interview by Mikaela Asfour.

Leanne Dunic is a writer, multidisciplinary artist, singer/guitarist of The Deep Cove, and winner of the Alice Munro Short Story Prize in 2015.

Her poetic travelogue, To Love the Coming End, was published in 2017, and takes place in Singapore, Japan, and Canada. The narrator, thrown off balance by a personal loss, deftly juxtaposes the impact of grief on the human body and psyche with the patterns and rhythms of historical and natural disasters— all the while haunted by the “curse of 11.”

Leanne is featured in two upcoming events at the Vancouver Writer’s Festival. She will be reading and performing with her band, The Deep Cove, at Dance to the Coming End on Thursday October 19th at 8:30 PM at Performance Works, where the Open Book Art Collective will be showcasing their artworks inspired by To Love the Coming End.

Leanne will also appear on the True Confessions and Tall Tales panel with Hera Lindsay Bird, Dina Del Bucchia, and Zoey Leigh Peterson on Friday October 20th at 8:30 PM at the Revue Stage, where they will discuss the line between fiction and nonfiction.

The Deep Cove’s release show for their first upcoming album, To Love the Coming End of the World—a companion to Leanne’s book— will take place on Saturday November 4th at the Fox Cabaret, with a solo guest performance by José Miguel Contreras (By Divine Right).

Three tracks from The Deep Cove’s upcoming album can be downloaded for free at bookthug.ca/thedeepcove.

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Liminal Poetry Teaser: Deep-sea Radio by Ned Baeck

As we wait for our first themed issue in four years, “Liminal,” to return from the printer, our poetry editor, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, shares a sneak peek from its pages. “Deep-sea Radio” by Ned Baeck is forthcoming in the Fall issue (56.1) of PRISM. Shazia first heard Baeck read his work at the Twisted Poets Literary Salon open mic at the Cottage Bistro in Vancouver and reached out to him for some poems soon after. Read Baeck’s poem, “Deep-sea Radio,” below.

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