Home Arts yolk: bringing Montreal’s literary community together

yolk: bringing Montreal’s literary community together

by Lorenza Mezzapelle November 3, 2020

yolk literary is more than just a publication

“Short. Punchy. Poignant,” says creative director Curtis McRae, when describing the name yolk. “I will say this, though: it didn’t resonate at first.”

A literary journal of non-fiction, poetry, and visual arts, yolk is a Montreal-based digital publication. They have created a multi-faceted, interactive platform where both emerging and established writers can at once be experimental and sophisticated.

“We want to take the beauty of art and translate it into a social arena where individuals can celebrate that beauty together,” says Josh Quirion, Editor-in-Chief.

Their inaugural print issue, released in September, centred around the theme “circles.” However, according to Chelsea Moore, yolk’s managing editor, further issues will not have a theme. Their intent is to release print issues biannually.

According to Alexandre Marceau, fiction editor, the idea behind the magazine originated as Marceau was digitizing Bishop University’s literary journal, The Mitre. He adds that he and his fellow literary-enthusiast friends, McRae and Sean Lee — both masthead members of yolk — were, at the time, having long discussions centered around their place in the literary timeline and what they could do to represent what their generation has to offer.

But with a multitude of digital and print literary magazines constantly surfacing within the market, what sets yolk apart from the rest?

“We’re very much our own,” says Quirion. “I prefer to think of yolk as a literary (cultural) ‘community,’ rather than a literary magazine.”

Very much their own, indeed. Their first event, Egg the Poet, yielded over 70 guests, who gathered at Gham & Dafe, a visual arts centre in Hochelaga. Audience members were invited to throw eggs at the authors and poets as they recited their works.

“Our first event proved that people want more literature — not simply to read words, but to be a part of them — to read, listen, throw eggs, shout, and dance,” says Marceau.

As a result of the great reactions garnered from their first event, their goal is to make Egg the Poet a monthly reading series, once the confinement period is over.

“There’s certainly a desire in Montreal to populate ‘poetic’ spaces, and we want to create one of those spaces,” says Quirion.

In addition to creating a space for the arts and like-minded artists via events, submissions are reviewed anonymously and yolk remains committed to sharing the voices of any individual affected by structural inequality, says Lee, poetry editor and social media manager.

Submitting to journals should be a deliberate and intentional practice, says Quirion, adding that aspiring writers must note that just because a work is good, it doesn’t ultimately mean it is right for a certain publication. He notes that many very good works have been rejected because they didn’t align with yolk’s voice and resonate thematically with the kind of work they aim to curate.

“If you don’t see a space for yourself, your voice, and your art, there’s an opportunity for you to create that space on your own accord,” says Lee.

Submissions for yolk’s second issue will be opening in mid-November. Writers and artists interested in submitting work can find more information on yolk’s website.


Photos courtesy of yolk literary.

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