ANNOUNCING: The Vallum Award for Poetry 2016 !





1st PRIZE: $750
2nd PRIZE: $250

We are now accepting original and unpublished poetry submissions.

This year’s contest judge is award-winning poet:

Jeramy Dodds !


Jeramy Dodds grew up in Orono, Ontario Canada. He received his BA from Trent University in English Literature and Anthropology and his MA from the University of Iceland in Medieval Icelandic Studies. His poems have been translated into Latvian, Hungarian, Finnish, French, Swedish, Icelandic, and German. He is the winner of the 2006 Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and the 2007 CBC Literary Award for poetry. His first collection of poems, Crabwise to the Hounds (Coach House Books, 2008), was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Gerald Lampert Award, and won the Trillium Book Award for poetry. His most recent publication is a translation of the Poetic Edda (Coach House Books, 2014) from Old Icelandic into English. He is a poetry editor at Coach House Books. He currently lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, including entry details, visit:

Featured Interview: Metatron


Metatron Interview (Part 1)
by Henry Kronk



Metatron is an independent press based in Montreal, Canada. They specialize in contemporary literature and titles by new or rising authors. Their books and booklets have been featured by outlets such as Paper Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Weird Canada, Normale Magazine and many more.

This interview is part 1 of 3, to listen to the whole interview please download the FREE APP and get the latest issue of Vallum on your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum magazine is available as a digital feature with additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!


The Uncertainty Principle, by rob mclennan


rob mclennan’s book, The Uncertainty Principle, is a notable collection of short meditations on various themes. My favourite literary form—shorts, not quite poetry and not quite long enough to be full-fledged prose—his words resonate with a tone that is reflective and not cynical. I call them meditations because they contain philosophy. They affect you. And they are definitely reflective of ‘uncertainty’ in the sense of it being the world’s basic, unstable building-block. This book comes from deep engagement with the living and not just surface gloss.

“I prefer the theory that time is a single point, as
opposed to a linear trajectory. Every moment
ever happened or will sharing this, from the
War of 1812 to the moon landing to the chaos
in Egypt to the birth of my grandfather to the
creation of Stonehenge to my fingers brushing
up against your face for the first time.”

This is the first time I read mclennan’s prose, and I must say it is very different from his poetry, and definitely worth reading. The gaps and breaths of thought and solid word-choice make this book a literary achievement.

“If you don’t eat your cookie, your fortune can’t happen.”

Chaudiere Books


Vallum Poem of the Week: “Montreal Chic” by Joshua Levy





looks like two chapped lips
slightly parted
on a map.

Take that, Toronto!
Take that, New York!

But Italy
–you chic leather
boot from
40, 000 feet up —

Goddamn you, Italy.
You always have to look the best.

Joshua Levy’s work has appeared in Oxford University PressMaisonneuve, Feathertale Review, Event, Vehicle Press and other places. Joshua is a contributor to CBC Radio’s DNTO and has appeared on CBC’s Wiretap, Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids, and Cinq a Six. He tells live stories at The Raconteurs.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Featured Review: “A Jar of Fireflies” by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews. A Review by Laurence Hutchman


A Jar of Fireflies by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews
(Oakville, ON: MOSAIC PRESS, 2015, $15. 95, 108 pages)
Review by Laurence Hutchman

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrew’s fifth collection of poems, A Jar of Fireflies, is about quests. In particular, it is about the quest in space and time to find a balance, whether recollecting peaceful family life in Italy where Di Sciascio-Andrews grew up, or in her present-day life in Canada. The author’s journey concerns the discovery of certain moments of the past to complete her mission in poetry. The first part of her book is dedicated to her life in Italy. Often, immigrant writers are caught between the idealized past of their old country and the reality of their new country as they attempt to adapt to their present life. Di Sciascio-Andrews has a powerful attachment to the land of her ancestors and her roots. In her poem “Sicily” she writes: “You will carry her in your heart / Like a genetic memory / Of blood, of family, of race.” She pays tribute to its long history. “Homer’s odyssey of Magna Graecia / Rome’s coveted pearl” and “Precious child of Carthage and Troy.” To evoke the Sicilian life, the poet makes an energetic use of sound, onomatopoeia and words to give a mimesis of dance and music, reminiscent of W.C. Williams’ “The Dance.”

…………The wild unshackling of Turkish tambourines
…………The unexpected thump,
…………Guttural human hum.
…………Determined heel step. Knuckle drum.

In poems depicting her family, Di Sciascio-Andrews expresses a strong love for her father. In “Red Accordion” she recalls his old musical instrument and how he had planned to replace it when the mortgage was paid:

…………The sound was good regardless.
…………How like my father to make good
…………Of the words and the mediocre.
…………His fingers harmonizing joy
…………For us, in allegro, andante.
…………Improvising the frenzied flights
…………Of old world soundscapes.
…………Waltzes and tangos. Mazurkas.

Although the reader might be easily captivated by the poet’s genuine expression of emotion,some of the poems can seem too sentimental.
If Di Sciascio-Andrews would be more open to fully exercise her thought and emotion of a scene or situation, as Keats suggested in his poetic statement in “Negative Capability,” then some of her poems could be stronger. In the second part of the collection, Di Sciascio-Andrews moves from the sunnier landscapes of Italy to the more temperate climate of Canada. In these poems she can be personal and see life through a more realistic lens, as in the poem “Landscape:”

…………Why do I feel most at home
…………On a day like this
…………When after a night of heavy rain
…………Light smudges morning
…………Onto the hard edges of things.

Here as she writes she is drawn to “Mystical philosophies / Of inner and outer worlds”:

…………On this foggy morning
…………The chrome-yellow centre line
…………Painted on the wet asphalt
…………Unfurls networks of neuronal highways
…………Intersecting through old, familiar
…………Yet forever changing channels of memories.

This is analogical thinking, and her ability to develop not number of isolated metaphors, but a series of related ones is a natural and inevitable way exploring the mind/nature relationship. The external world is internalized and the world of memories is externalized, breaking down borders, as in the work of one of Di Sciascio-Andrews’s favourite poets, Pablo Neruda.

One of Di Sciascio-Andrews strengths lies in the naturally exuberant quality of her voice, expressing itself in an epigrammatic affirmation as in “Poetic Alchemy”: “I extrapolate wonder from the commonplace” and “My eyes create reality.” I like these series of interconnected states of wonder, this expression of affirmation and celebration in her work.

The final poem “Emerald City” is a humorous adaptation of The Wizard of Oz:

…………Surely, her wide-eyed awe, her peasant braids,
…………Her blue gingham pinafore may be been construed
…………For bumpkin gullibility. “And should I, at your harmless innocence
…………Melt as I do?” Said the witch. Arm in arm with an inconstant
…………Courage, an underrated brain and a gutbucket heart
…………Dorothy tore back the sash on a sham wizard.
…………“Click! Click!” Went the shoes. “Home!” Cried the heart.

The poem is a witty and personable presentation of the story’s heroine.
It epitomizes the theme of this collection, the ability to encounter and overcome darkness. Di Sciascio-Andrews recasts Dorothy, juxtaposing a formal language with the quotation from Milton’s Paradise Lost with the colloquial language of the “inconstant / Courage, an underrated brain, and a gutbucket heart.” The poet displays these qualities in her protagonist to illustrate how she surpasses obstacles in order to return home.


Laurence Hutchman grew up in Toronto, receiving his BA from Western University in London, Ontario, an MA from Concordia in Montreal and a PhD from the Université de Montreal. He has taught at a number of universities including Concordia University, Western University and the Université de Moncton. Hutchman has published nine books of poetry, edited Coastlines: the Poetry of Atlantic Canada and In the Writers’ Words.
His poetry has received numerous grants and awards, including the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence.  His poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Bulgarian, Polish and Chinese. He lives and works in Oakville, Ontario with his wife Eva.

To read more reviews please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITIONfor your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Spit” by Jill Jorgenson





The coffee bean bit that must have clung
to the mug’s rim, now aswish
in the coffee with which
my mouth’s awash (– like a beached fish

…………flung, returned to the surging ocean’s rising tide –
…………or perhaps like Pinocchio or Geppetto spat
…………from a Moby Dick’s rancid gastric insides –),

the bean bit being a bit of a tactile surprise
to the papillary surface of my unsuspecting tongue (as to

…………the calm piscine milieu of aquamarine – serene,
…………pristine – would be the sudden whale spit spewed
…………unexpected through slick baleen – here cue
…………the flash of yellow and blue
…………as a Dory darts, alarmed,
…………off into depths unseen and
…………disappears in shimmering green, saline
…………as the earlier scene
…………where sad Geppetto’s
…………tear-soaked rag’s wrung) –

since, I admit, I insist on a grind quite fine,

may not in fact be bean at all. I sit
out here in the dark muggy
very buggy outside – (mind

adrift, so as to what mote’s afloat
in my mug I’m blind.)


Looking East Over My Shoulder is Jill Jorgenson‘s book, now she’s older. She delivers the mail (please don’t call it snail); in Toronto it’s hard when it’s colder.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “The Wisdom of Confusions” by Tom Howell


The Wisdom of Confusions


One mustn’t confuse a scintilla
with the Antilles
A scintilla is small
The Antilles, also. But on a larger scale.
A scintilla is closer to an iota,
not to be confused with Antarctica.
An iota is dotless.
Antarctica is dotted with penguins.
This is how you tell them apart.


Iota is a letter i.
Lambda is a letter l.
Alpha is an upside-down ox-head
not to be confused with Oxford,
a shallow place where oxen cross.


One mustn’t confuse a giraffe.
They are unwieldy at the best of times
unhinged from gravity or direction
they are more deadly than a rhinoceros,
not to be confused with rhinitis,
which is not deadly,
merely irritating, and besides,
is nearly extinct.


Let us not worry about the dead.
Let us not confuse the lettuce with the leaf,
they are not synonymous,
but homophonosynonymous.
Lief us not fear the rusting of our mortal coil

the sproinging and that final ping
of coils to the left of us,
coils to the right of us.
Lief us not be afeared.
Not to be confused with infrared,
so subtle it must be inferred,
and doomed to outlive our kind.

Tom Howell is the author of The Rude Story of English (McClelland & Stewart), a pseudo-history of the English language. He also co-hosts an ongoing documentary series on CBC Radio One called “Ideas from the Trenches.” It’s about PhD students.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “A Short Deliberation” by Janet Baker

Janet Baker img


a short deliberation on being a creative person
……………………and the relative unimportance of things

glossary: important, as in needs attention, could wait
………………Important, as in needs attention now
………………unimportant, as in never has and never will need attention

there are twenty-four hours in a day, at least a few of which are normally spent sleeping therefore spent in a non-productive state and some of which are spent in a non-productive state due to eating, both of which could be classified as Important so therefore productive, and the problem is the fact that time is limited, we will never have enough of it and if you only have time to do the Important things, according to your own personal classification system, notwithstanding exterior pressures that cannot be ignored or there will undoubtedly be dire consequences, the problem is, if you only do the Important things and leave all the important “needs attention but could wait things” they will pile up and drive you crazy and it’s not as if anyone else will do them because they don’t really care about your personal classification system or what you perceive as important because they don’t understand, as in stop wasting your time and get on with what’s Important, and if the truth be known what you perceive as important may not be at all important, but if it’s on your list and doesn’t get done and things pile up you will become stressed and miserable and overwhelmed and ineffective and it’s not that easy to let something go if it’s on your to-do list because you’re the one who put it there which means it’s important according to your scale of importance, and it means you’re going to spend time on it and it may be that it’s not important or Important and it may even be unimportant and most people can agree somewhat on what’s Important but the reality is the Important things seem to take longer and longer to deal with as you get older and there’s less and less time for the important things that are piling up and you will be on overload if you can’t limit them and that’s when you have to have a good talk with yourself which usually isn’t too effective because old habits die hard and we all have our quirks and we need to be tolerant of other people’s quirks and if they appear to be wasting time they might be, but can’t help themselves and if you are a writer you can write about your quirks and you can write about the distinct possibility that some of the things you spend time on may be unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and it’s impossible to explain what you do anyway because any concept of time spent to achieve results is completely irrelevant in any creative endeavour, and therefore could be seen in some quarters as unimportant, so your only hope is to eat your veggies and try to get enough sleep to keep yourself from becoming a zombie and try to do everything, and write about it in such a moving and effective manner as to make it Important

Janet Baker is a visual artist living in Mississauga, Ontario. In 2010, her first published poem was included in Walk Myself Home: an anthology to end violence against women. Her personal essay “Story” is included in the anthology How To Expect What You’re Not Expecting (TouchWood Editions, 2013).

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “San Fran Fiasco” by Jeramy Dodds

dodds potw


San Fran Fiasco

The first blast of a bell
is cast to catch our attention.
Everyone looks the same
direction, but they’re looking
the wrong way, that ring’s
a ricochet, as if someone,
a great uncle perhaps, has
mimicked your gait and timbre,
bathed in your Drakkar Noir,
and tortured your dog into talking.
So, in a fit of tit for tat when you
get in late from your fateful date
it chomps your throat out.

Earlier, Angie, your neighbour
who insists she keeps seeing
your dead sister, had joined you
at that joint downshore; her eyes
were the glass of abandoned
aquariums. Eating her out
of house and home in back
of your Fiat, your sister rapped
on the pane, “I’ve been camped
in the belfry all along,” she said,
so as to relieve your suspicions,
“and they’re not glass
they’re Pyrex.”


Jeramy Dodds‘ first collection, Crabwise to the Hounds, won the Trillium Award and was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. His translation of The Poetic Edda appeared in 2014.


To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “1302” by Gordon Massman


Ooh this bed’s hard, this bed’s soft, this porridge’s hot,

this porridge’s cold—well aren’t you a prissy little prima-

donna, presbyterian princess, egomaniac; eat your

porridge and go to sleep you big baby, I’m not your

domestic, gourmet cook, or mattress maker, and I

don’t care how lukewarm your bathwater is; I’ve

got my own demons, like multiple sclerosis, you

and your sensitivities; I should backhand you in the

face; Miss Perfection; besides I know you’re hymen-

less beneath that gingham dress, and shooting crack

at Cinderella’s, so don’t give me that crap about

scratchy blankets or dilapidated chairs; I’m kick-

ing butt for you at The Crackerjack for lousy tips

and you’re Miss Fuantleroy of Barracuda Street;

well, this is chez Sprats, Mother Hubbard, and you’

re, young lady, getting your ass to school, then

college, then I don’t give a rat’s what you do, I’

ll be dead to the nub, and damned if I’ll see my

only girl knocked up, drugged out, panhandling,

& conning idiots six months from now on Vul-

ture Boulevard. Give us this day, yea though I

walk, rock and my redeemer, pray you boob, hum-

ble your head in this Babylonia, this abattoir of

unforgiving deadliness, shame your butterfly ass-

tattoo with vinegar, rise through Baptismal water

new, imprinted with The Fear you postpubescent

carnal caricature, God eats fools like pinenuts.

Sweetie, Cleopatra of the Floridian blaze, leggy

topless beach-nude, Mama demands her strands

strip into you, the creole palms of her Pontche-

train hands, her cream of wheat soothe, her dou-

ble strip of pearls fusing one-by-one, like swal-

lowed light bulbs, Baby please, Mama’s poured

amber maple into you, and molasses, and cane;

I offer you Thessalonians, quartz agate, scarab

mayonnaise, sorrow portraits, Sophie Mae’s

Chiang Mai bamboo fan, boa constrictor slippers,

and Grandpa Pompadou’s molars-into-dice;

Abide by the rat’s tooth of family talismans, child;

stallion of youth’s no match for their sobriety;

clasp and see, oh darling, clasp and see; your al-

ready melting bones fill bowls with golden broth.


Gordon Massman splits his time between Medford, Massachusetts, and Frenchboro, Maine, an island off the coast. Gordon Massman: The Essential Numbers, 1991-2008 was published in 2009 by Tarpaulin Sky Press.


To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.


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