Thursday, July 30, 2020

the ottawa small press book fair : home edition #11 : Canthius,

Canthius is an Ottawa-bases magazine that publishes poetry and prose by women, transgender, nonbinary, Two-Spirit, and genderqueer/gender non-conforming writers. The magazine is published bi-annually on the unceded territory of the Anishinaabeg and the traditional territory of the Ojibway and the Mississaugas of the New Credit.

Chuqiao Yang’s writing has appeared in various magazines. In 2011, she was the recipient of two Western Magazine Awards for a non-fiction piece, “Beijing Notes.” In 2015, she was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Her chapbook, Reunions in the Year of the Sheep, published by Baseline Press, won the 2018 bpNichol Chapbook Award.

Q: Tell me about your journal. How long have you been publishing, and what got you started?

Canthius came to be after a few like-minded friends started chatting one evening in 2015 about the lack of gender equity and diversity in the literary community. At the time, we were aware of fantastic organizations and journals that encouraged focused on creating spaces for marginalized writers (shout-outs loud and clear to the CWILA, Room, Plenitude, and From the Zoot!) and we wanted to be part of that community.

We come from a diversity of backgrounds, and we recognize that we need to regularly self-reflect on the direction our magazine takes, and check our own biases and privileges in the process to do that which is definitely to say the least, a humbling but necessary process. 

There is beautiful, incredible work out there, and we want to celebrate that work respectfully. We strive to provide a safe and welcoming space for underrepresented writers and artists; inclusivity is a priority for our magazine.

Q: How many times have you exhibited at the ottawa small press fair? How do you find the experience?

We’ve been in attendance almost every year and it’s always been a blast. It’s such a welcoming community and a much appreciated opportunity to meet small press publishers around the country.

Q: Would you have made something specific for this spring’s fair? Are you still doing that? How does the lack of spring fair this year effect how or what you might be producing?

We were in the process of putting together Issue 08 and so excited to debut the work of the poets who were the recipients of the inaugural Priscila Uppal Memorial Award for Poetry. Unfortunately, printing is now at a standstill with the hope that we will reconvene productions at some point this summer for a late fall launch. Everyone’s health and safety is our priority right now so pushing back productions, while not ideal, is worth it.

Q: How are you, as a small publisher, approaching the myriad shut-downs? Is everything on hold, or are you pushing against the silences, whether in similar or alternate ways than you might have prior to the pandemic? How are you getting your publications out into the world?

Things are on hold right now but we continue to post articles by writers we love, and hope that we can use our platform to bring awareness to the racism and violence taking place in the world right now.

Q: Have you done anything in terms of online or virtual launches since the pandemic began? Have you attended or participated in others? How are you attempting to connect to the larger literary community?

We try to stay connected through our social media and our community networks. We’ve watched a few virtual launches too, which has been great too.

Q: Has the pandemic forced you to rethink anything in terms of production? Are there supplies or printers you haven’t had access to during these times that have forced a shift in what and how you produce?

Productions for Issue 08 are in the process, stay tuned!

Q: What is your most recent issue? How might folks be able to order copies?

Issue 07 is available online at features the works of Barâa Arar, Margaret Christakos, Allie Duff, M. Brett Gaffney, Jesse Holth, Émilie Kneifel, Kirby, Annick MacAskill, Natalia Orasanin, Terese Mason Pierre, Pearl Pirie, Melanie Power, Karen Schindler, Jani Shi, Sanchari Sur, Kari Teicher, Jade Wallace, and Sanna Wani. Rowan Red Sky is this issue’s featured artist too!

Q: What are you working on now?

We are working towards formalizing a corporate board of directors and launching online material and reviews.

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