All we do is UPDATES

Here we are in the throes of February, setting records like “Winter 2015 could be Ottawa’s coldest in 35 years,” and “This weekend Ottawa is the coldest capital city in the world,” and “Today it was colder in Ottawa than it was on Mars“. And let’s face it, there are always those winter days when you go outside and the wind is furiously stabbing the frigid daggers of icy death into every pore of your body–and it’s days like those that have you questioning why the hell you or any person would ever willingly choose to settle in this industrial-sized walk-in freezer of city. I mean, what case can you really make for living in a place that, at times, is three degrees colder than the south pole? ALSO MARS.

And Jehiel Collins' was all like, "This looks like a STELLAR place to set up shop." 

And Jehiel Collins was all like, “Well this looks like a STELLAR place to set up shop.”

But for poetry lovers, there is plenty in this city that makes the cold well worth it–worth it enough to trek out into the glacial deathgrip of winter dozens of times every month. We have no shortage of fantastic poetry events here, and that’s something to be thankful for when you live in a place that CBC lovingly calls “the city that fun forgot.” In/Words is lucky to be part of such a rich, thriving community of writers, publishers, and poetry enthusiasts–without them we just would be sitting in our closet-turned-office, publishing chapbooks into a vacuum, and probably crying.

And so it’s because of that community that we’re able to get up to such exciting things this season. One of the biggest of those things is our involvement in VERSeFest 2015, where we’ll be co-hosting an event with our pals over at Blue Mondays. We are THRILLED to be presenting our poet picks this year: Kind-Of-A-Huge-Deal/Canadian poetry rockstar bill bissett, and our very own dalton derkson, of Hurtin’ Crüe fame. March 25 is going to be a fantastic show, and there is absolutely no reason you should not come. Same night and time as our regular reading series, less basementy venue. Check it out and buy your tickets while you still can.

Also performing (on opening night!) is Ikenna Onyegbula aka OpenSecret, of In/Words fame (but also there was that time last year when he won the World Slam Championship). His recent book, Army Arrangement, is up for sale on our Etsy store.

The whole festival is going to be mind-blowing. Check out the line up for yourself. Carleton Students get in free when they show their student card at the door. Everyone else should buy a festival pass, or volunteer with the festival to get a free one.

Reading Series, February Edition: Sandra Ridley and JM Francheteau

Our next show, happening Wednesday February 25 at 9pm at the Clocktower Brewpub in the basement, will feature two of our favourite local poets, the incomparable Sandra Ridley, and JM Francheteau, Reviews Editor of Arc Poetry Magazine. It’s going to be a helluva show. It’s going to be GREAT. And it’s totally free!

JM will also be launching his new HCPR chapbook, KIDS. Buy it from him on the night, buy it from the HCPR Etsy store, or better yet, do yourself a favour and buy a subscription for you and everyone you know–at $15 a pop, you can afford it.

New Addition to the In/Words Family

We’re very excited to be in the process of a major upgrade this year in terms of equipment. Just got a fancy new printer, Hildegard Pintar, who is quite possibly now the most competent member of our team. She is actually out-competencing all of us. However, we’re sad to see Harvey Pintar go, considering that he’s been in the family for about 7 years. Thus, we will be hosting a Harvey Pintar Retirement Party within the next couple of weeks. Check our Facebook group later for all the deets.

we <3 u bae

we  still <3 u bae

Submissions for 14.3

They are closing Saturday, February 21 at midnight. Check out our submission guidelines. Submit your poetry, prose, visual art. TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS.

That’s all for now, friends.

Further updates imminent re: our next issue launch, upcoming chapbooks, the Spring 2015 Small Press Book Fair, all that good stuff. Thanks for reading, and see you at the Clocktower next week!

– Av & the In/Words Gang

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


What an incredible year it’s been so far–and it’s only getting better. Here are some of the MANY EXCITING THINGS In/Words is getting up to these days.

Upcoming book launches at The Reading Series Presents: Rachel Gray and Matt Jones 

In/Words is thrilled to announce the launch of White Flowers and Landmines by celebrated war poet Matt Jones, winner of Arc Poetry Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award, and former co-editor of In/Words, as well as the much-anticipated poetry & prose anthology, Mythical Beasts. 

white flowers cover

White Flowers and Landmines by Matt Jones, In/Words Press November, 2014

We’ll be launching both books at our upcoming Reading Series on Wednesday Nov 26 at the Clock Tower Brew Pub (575 Bank st., in the basement). The event will feature readings by Matt Jones, as well as local poet Rachel Gray, and will be followed by an open mic. See our Facebook Event for more details!

Issue 14.2 & Chapbook Launch at the December Reading Series Extravaganza

Submissions for  In/Words Magazine 14.2 will be closing November 30, so get your submissions in now! The issue will be launched on December 31st at what is sure to be a mind-blowing event: a Reading Series-Issue and Chapbook Launch-New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, where we’ll also be launching chapbooks by Ikenna Onyegbula (aka OpenSecret), 2014 World Slam Champion, and Mia “Big-Cahuna” Morgan, President of uOttawa’s Undergraduate English Students’ Association. Excitingly, both these poets will be featuring at this Very Special Reading Series, and to share our excitement at this exciting event, we’ll be excited to offer FREE CHAMPAGNE FOR EVERYONE, generously donated by the Clock Tower. SO EXCITING!

Check out Ikenna, doing his thing, winning international poetry competitions in Paris, France–all in a day’s work, right? NBD.

14.1 Launch Review

14.1 Contributor Christine Lyons. Photo by Clarissa Fortin, via The Charlatan.

14.1 Contributor Christine Lyons reads at the Launch of 14.1. Photo by Clarissa Fortin, via The Charlatan.

What a huge success! We were so pleased to have a bigger turnout than chairs! The walls of our venue, Black Squirrel Books (1073 Bank St), were decked out with the incredible art of Rich Silva and Rodrigo Medrano’s recent exhibit Horses and Unicorns. We heard readings from Liam Burke, Chris Love and some of our 14.1 contributors including Rob Thomas, winner of the 2013 John Newlove Chapbook Award, and Catina Noble, recent feature at Sawdust Reading Series. The Charlatan’s Meredith Pal was kind enough to cover the launch, and wrote a very lovely review!

We were also lucky to have the help of Carleton J-School students Aishu Ravishankar, Clarissa Fortin and Amanda Gregorio in promoting the event and issue in a CJTV News spot:

Missed this awesome event? Read on to find out where you can pick up copies of issue 14.1 and chapbooks from the launch, including Liam Burke’s Dry Right Up, Marilyn Irwin’s Tiny, and Chris Love’s Jesus Poems.


In our last post, we said In/Words issues and chapbooks would be more available than ever before–and we’re pleased to have followed through on that promise. You can now find In/Words Magazine and Chapbooks for sale at Black Squirrel Books (Bank and Sunnyside), online at our Etsy Store, and of course, we will as always be selling our publications at all of our events, including our upcoming Reading Series.

We know. It’s a lot to take in. That’s all for now, but keep an eye open for more updates soon–and see you at the Reading Series!

– Av & the In/Words gang

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Introducing In/Words 2014-2015

Well, it’s fall again, and let me tell you, people in Ottawa LOVE fall–the mild temperatures, the beautiful scenery, the warm clothes that have gathered dust in the backs of our closets all summer (our layout designer is particularly excited to bust out his impressive collection of sweaters). Geoff will soon be donning his winter parka. Avonlea will soon be back in her favourite footwear–winter boots. Michelle will be setting fall fashion trends (again).

Drew will probably still be wearing a kilt to the Reading Series.

Chris, Matt and Maria, our fabulous outgoing editors, will be relaxing in their book-lined studies, smoking expensive cigars and drinking fine port while reading books by the likes of Tolstoy and Proust–this time for fun (that’s what happens when you graduate from a Masters program, right? Right…?)

In short, things are changing for everyone, and In/Words Magazine and Press is no exception. The new editing team is working hard to introduce some exciting new features–and bring back some old ones. Here are some of those changes, in varying levels of detail.


We’re pleased to announce that In/Words is moving online–in a big way. We’ll be opening our Etsy store in the very near future, where back-issues, current issues, chapbooks, subscriptions and pre-orders will be available for purchase. It’s happening. Equally exciting, we’ll also be selling our publications at the new home of our Writer’s Circle (Black Squirrel Books, at Bank and Sunnyside) following the launch of issue 14.1. That’s right: In/Words will now be (at least slightly) more available than ever before.

The In/Words Reading Series Presents: Openers (Again)

For a long time there was a tradition at the Reading Series of having an up-and-coming poet do a short set to open for the regular feature. There was also a long-standing tradition of taking a break immediately after the feature. We are going to honour at least one of those traditions this year. Our first Reading Series Opener will be introduced this October 29 at the Clocktower Brewpub (at Bank and Isabella) at (around) 9pm. Isn’t this great? Isn’t this exciting?! Check out our Facebook Group in the next couple of weeks for the event page to find out who our Feature and Opener will be. (Hint: At least one of them is sleazy.)

We will also take a break after the feature. Don’t worry.


Our goal this year is to publish 2-3 chapbooks along with each of the projected four magazine issues between now and May 2015. Some of the chapbooks will be chapbook-sized. Other chapbooks will be tiny-sized. Other chapbooks won’t look like chapbooks at all. But we promise you’ll love each one–we’re very lucky this year to be working with a fantastic roster of poets to put out some equally fantastic books. (There is at least one hidden teaser in this paragraph.)


Speaking of traditions… more details coming your way soon.

So, we encourage everyone to check in with us periodically, either here, or at our aforementioned Facebook group. Indulge in the fine hospitality of Black Squirrel Books at our Writer’s Circle every Wednesday, and come visit us at our Reading Series on October 29.

Thanks for reading, and happy fall!

– Av

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

In/Words Magazine Issue 13.2 & Chapbook Launch

Well, it’s fairly clear that winter is behind us, so it’s about time for us to release upon this new green world a batch of new publications from In/Words Magazine & Press. On May 8th three new publications will be released at Pressed (750 Gladstone Ave) including the newest issue of In/Words Magazine as well as two exceptional chapbooks: Portraits by JC Bouchard, and Love, Our Master by Brandon Wint. The launch will include readings by JC Bouchard and some poets featured in In/Words Magazine 13.2, as well as a musical performance by the local duo Vedal Pearl. It will surely be a beautiful evening of poetry and music, so come on out to Pressed on May 8th, have a beer with us, and pick up some new poetry by young and talented Canadian writers.

In/Words 13.2 CoverPerformers’ Bios:

JC Bouchard was born and raised in a northern Ontario mining town. Before moving to Toronto, he travelled extensively across Canada and The United States on a bus, and lived in Ottawa for two years. Sometimes he rides the subway back and forth all day long. He’s trying to find the moon in a puddle.

Nina Jane works with coffee, books and social media in Ottawa. She is a vegetarian, loves her bicycle, chooses purple as her favourite colour & loves sci-fi television marathons. She has a BA in English Literature & Creative Writing, & an MA in Theatre Studies. 

Vedal Pearl is a Canadian-based duo that plays sweet, subdued little love songs. The band is comprised of Elizabeth McGee (lead vocals, songwriting) and Daniel Cicala (instrumentation). “Between Fisherman”, their 7-song debut is now available on bandcamp. The soul of Vedal Pearl is an awkward and slightly dyslexic, precocious child that sometimes doesn’t want to go play with the other kids.

Jennifer Pederson is an Ottawa poet, session musician, and music teacher. A graduate of the Humber School of Writing, she is the co-director of the Dusty Owl Reading Series and is currently working on her first poetry collection.

Brandon Wint has twice won Canadian slam (team) Championships (2009 and 2010). Last winter (2013) his poetry was published in The Great Black North, which is the first-ever anthology of black Canadian poetry with a national scope/focus.
Poetry in Motion:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

VERSeFest 2014

logoThe biggest annual poetry festival in Ottawa starts tomorrow and we at In/Words are very excited for the line-up this year. VERSeFest 2014 is featuring great local poets including last month’s featured reader at The Reading Series, Brandon Wint, as well as multiple great international poets.

On Wednesday, 26th March, In/Words will be co-hosting an event with blUe mOndays at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St., where our friend Selina Boan will be reading.

Check out the other VERSeFest events and enjoy a week of excellent poetry!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Old News, New Reviews

Squawk Back, online literary journal
Reviewed by JM Francheteau


Squawk Back is a kind of halflitjournalhalfblog from New York City. It describes itself as [click for word-salad]. Shorter version might be to say it looks for work steeped in alienation, be it from actual outsiders or outsider-y insiders. If you wanted to know whether it was worth your time to read Squawk Back, you might read a review. Conveniently, this is a review of Squawk Back.

Squawk Back: A review. Reading a single issue should take around 30 minutes, unless you are the sort of person who takes pride in reading very quickly, in which case it might take between 5 and 15 minutes, or you have been asked to write a review, in which case it will likely take between 31 and 47 minutes depending upon your level of conscientiousness.

Editor Zak Block has expressed the opinion that editors should not perform “the function of cogs in a meritocratic machine”; in other words, let the wild blind submission rumpus begin. This isn’t quite the same thing as downloading the role of evaluating open submissions to the reader, as Squawk Back does have a certain aesthetic cohesion. The editors seem to view their role as simply weeding out the insufficiently weird, allowing the reader suss out her own favourites from what remains. The result is that the average issue is of patchy quality, with the poetry in particular being often dire. You’re as likely in a single issue to stumble upon a piece like Andrew Harrell’s elegant and eerie “The Hole” as Matthew Harris’s homeless-man’s-bpNichol “numero” suite (both 10/20/2013).

If the tone of this review makes it sound like I dislike Squawk Back, that’s not the case. It’s simply that the total effect of its preferred aesthetic leaves me feeling oddly detached from the ingenuity of its better pieces and the verve of its editorial outlook. What I do think Squawk Back does that is interesting is map lines between contributors who are ostensibly “normal” and those whose experiences have been marginalized; there are contusions which are common across societal divisions, and in these stories and poems it’s possible to make out their purpled outlines. Very little of what they publish could be characterized as truly avant-garde, but if Squawk Back is not precisely ahead of the pack they are at least admirably indifferent to being in it.

In conclusion, the sentence of this review sufficient for blurbing is: Reading Squawk Back is better than not reading Squawk Back. Beyond this, your mileage may vary.

JM Francheteau is a rural transplant based in Ottawa, ON. His poetry and critical writing has or will appear in print and online in CV2Arc and ottawater. He’s not being paid for this review, but all of the current In/Words editors have at least bought him books or ice cream in the past.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

In/Words Magazine Issue 13.1 Launch

Hello Internet folk! I hope that the Internet is treating you well. Now, I’m here to tell you some great news: The first issue of In/Words Magazine’s thirteenth year is finally set to be released on 12th February at Pressed. This issue is jam packed of prosaic poetry and poetic prose, with authors from London (UK), Toronto, and a bunch from our wonderfully chilly hometown.

The evening will be book-ended with performances from the extremely talented, Ottawa-based folk singer-songwriter Amanda Cottreau, and a variety of authors featured in the issue will be reading their original work. Included in the line-up are: Lynette Wilson, Victoria Linhares, JC Bouchard, Rob Thomas, Lyndsay Armstrong, Elizabeth McGee, Marilyn Irwin, Geoffrey Bates, and Myles Moscardelli.

InWords13.1FrontSo, check out the Facebook event for more information, and make sure you come on out on Wedesday at 7PM to have a delicious Pressed sandwich, hear from talented local artists, and to pick up a new issue of In/Words Magazine. Hope to see you all there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment