It’s Thursday evening and the basement of Kafein is buzzing. Assembled for the launch of Concordia’s 15th issue of Soliloquies Anthology, students, teachers and fans of literature eagerly waited for the night’s readings to begin. It was a fairly large turnout, and everyone cheerfully crowded in to buy and hear readings from the latest issue.
Soliloquies was started in 1997 as Concordia’s undergrad literary journal, but now accepts submissions from across Canada and as of this issue, from the United States as well. The anthology publishes poetry, short fiction, drama, art and creative non-fiction. Editors are now hoping to start publishing twice a year.
The newest edition comes wire-bound and cut into three differently sized sections. Editor-in-chief Lizy Mostowski introduced the anthology by saying it was the thinnest volume they’ve ever published. “We wanted to focus on curation and quality,” she said, projecting as loudly as she could into the crowd as there was no microphone on hand.
In an interview later, she clarified that this meant they focused on how the pieces interacted with each other. “We were not focused on creating a 100 page anthology with “’filler’ poems, but rather we focused on the work itself editorially and did not care for quantity,” she said.
The anthology is definitely smaller in size and content than previous issues. The font type is miniscule and the title pages are printed horizontally in a vertical book, so you have to crane your neck or turn the book to read them. The book has been organized into three separate sections: poetry, fiction and art.
The poetry section features poems from Jesse Chase, Guillaume Morrisette, Jeff Blackman, Candice Maddy, Veronique Reagan-Marchand, Matthew Macaskill, Rebecca Leah Papucaru, John Wall Barger and Brandon Haller. The assembled poems are a good mix of tones and subject matter and ring with an easily accessible beauty in words. Jesse Chase’s poems, ”Anatomical Score” and “Void,” however, stuck out as being more picture than poem. The poems are each on a piece of paper with words spread chaotically about. The words are difficult to read or to make sense of and one wonders whether this wouldn’t have been more suitable in the art section.
The fiction section features stories by Frankie Barnet, Forest Orser, Madeleine Lee, Jeremy Hanson-Finger, Alex Manley and Russell Helms. The selection is all good. Mostowski was right; this is a publication of quality. However, the standout piece was most definitely “Black Clouds” by Jeremy Hanson-Finger. His expertly crafted and well written story is a twisted version of the bible story “Garden of Eden,” the shrewdness of which is unparalleled anywhere else.
The Soliloquies editorial board is currently working on volume 16.1 and hopes to have it out in January or February.
At the time of publication, information on where Soliloquies would be available had not yet been decided by the editors.