Category: Debate

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Not Quite the Same Boy He Used to Be

by Joseph Andre Thomas

Daniel Renton writes in his essay opening this series that, in a song, “music and words are always irreducibly intertwined in some way.” This relationship is fascinating for two major reasons. One, that a piece of music, stripped of words, is still a song; a series of words, stripped of music, is generally not considered a song.

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The Canadian Experience

by Jacqueline Valencia

As the fireworks lit up a celebratory sky on July 1, there was a great sense of pride for the place I was born and the place I’m privileged to live. However, Canada 150 left me a little uneasy. Maybe it’s because I’m older now and I am more awake than I have ever been that I find a giant disconnect with it all.

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Sentencing Language: Afrikaans Part II

by Klara du Plessis

It took me a long time to realize that I don’t write in Afrikaans. I write emails, postcards and personal journal entries in Afrikaans, but I don’t actively write Afrikaans poetry. Yet to me, it has never felt like something I don’t do. Latently, at the back of my mind, it has always been something that I could do if I wanted to,

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Afrikaans Part I: Tongue Correspondence

by Klara du Plessis

As I open the book, a letter falls out. Clearly, little is more nostalgic than a handwritten, airmailed letter from a friend, brimming with news and affection. The date is relatively recent, less than a year old, but already the envelope has developed that intoxicating perfume of decaying paper (insert library lover/secondhand book shopper). The letter is from a childhood friend who now lives in Spain,

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Writing the Good English

by Ndinda Kioko


As a black Kenyan woman writing in a language that was not invented by or for me, my stories often demand that I write them in a language that can imagine them. In the same way, writing is a way for me to find a language that can imagine me, a language that sees me.

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Breaking Out of the Role: Time to End the MPDG

by Dana Ewachow

You recognize this girl. She sometimes has unconventional hair, dyeing it from blue to green to pink every week or so. She sings in public, frolics in the rain, and dances like no one’s watching. She has child-like charm and whimsy, but is also open and free about her sexuality. In the movie, or at least on the TV show,

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Ben Lerner and the Failure of Poetry

by Domenica Martinello

There are many ways to love poetry: with passion, with rigour, and in the case of Ben Lerner, even with contempt. But love it he does—which is why The Hatred of Poetry is pleasurable, even given its tendency toward, as one critic put it, “cerebral curio.” The book embodies aspects of creative tension that I find necessary to poetry: failure and contradiction.

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(En)title(d): Facts and Fiction

by Clio Em

Scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, it’s hard to miss that every post your friends have shared is begging for a reaction. Online headlines have become more dramatic and imperative as they prompt gut reactions from readers. This may seem to be somewhat morally questionable (although it has become our effective social media reality). Headlines are inventive and readily available rhetorical devices,

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Try Not to Puke

by Jocelyn Parr

What is strange to us (or what makes us feel strange) can often elicit the sensation of shame. We’ll blush, turn inward. I have elsewhere argued that one useful way of thinking about shame would be as a pharmakon. The term comes from Plato’s Phaedrus, a book often subtitled “A Dialogue on Love.” The pharmakon is there introduced as anything which,

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A Year of Strong Opinions

by E Martin Nolan

E Martin Nolan reflects on the tragedies of 2015, “PC Culture,” and navigating a generation of individual morality. 

The last days of 2015 are dripping away like the runoff from a light snow followed by an unseasonable warm spell. It’s been another hot year, and not just temperature-wise. This was the year marked by Trump and Bernie,