This issue contains two winners of the 1991 Long Poem Prize; Crispin Elsted’s “Kenfield Variations” and Jennifer Mitton’s “With a Mother in Such Pain.” Both are poems not to miss, and that you will definitely want to re-read for maximum enjoyment. Those readers who appreciate beautiful books might want to take note that Elsted, along with his wife Jan, is owner and operator of Barbarian Press, located in Mission, B.C., dedicated to the production of high- quality letterpress books. In his poem, Elsted demonstrates that his skill on the page is not at all limited solely to printing.
The first piece in the issue is Greg Hollingshead’s excellent short story “Walking on the Moon,” that also appeared as the concluding piece in his story collection The Roaring Girl,which won the 1995 Governor General’s Award for English language fiction. “Walking on the Moon” is a witty and lighthearted story that deals with longing and loneliness in both mid-life and rural communities as it follows the protagonist’s attempt to patch his leaky roof. Another notable short story in this issue is William Bedford’s exciting and whimsical “Afternoons”—possibly the most page-turning piece you’ll find here. Bedford is a highly awarded English poet, novelist, dramatist, and author of children’s books. “Afternoons” clearly demonstrates his versatility in the way it blends the imaginative quality of children’s stories with the elements of serious and mature fiction.
Noteworthy in this issue, as well, are two excellent poems by Robert Nash, in particular the gorgeous “Partings.” This poem should give readers pause due to its highly charged emotion and excellent command of form. There are also two very good poems by American writer Hillel Schwartz that ostensibly deal with the subject of romantic relationships.
As a final point of interest, this issue contains three great book reviews (of Don Dickinson, Gil Adamson, and Mark Strand) by Jay Ruzesky, a former intern at The Malahat Review in the 1980s, who sat on the editorial board for this issue, and who still serves on the poetry board.