23 Dec ÖMËGÄ: Best of 2015!
￼We gave our blog a real name this year—ÖMËGÄ. The blog was initially a way for us to feature art from people around us, mostly writers but also visual artists, musicians and anyone else who caught our eye. Though ÖMËGÄ functioned on a solicitation basis at first, we soon began receiving submissions from writers we didn’t know who expressed interest in what we were doing and the type of work we were publishing. The blog became a great way for us to work with talented writers on something smaller than a book or a booklet, to discover new voices and to share our findings with our readers. That’s exactly what happened with Fawn Parker. Though she lived in Montreal, we didn’t know her work prior to publishing it on ÖMËGÄ, and we liked her stories enough to approach her about doing a little book with us, which later became the wonderful Looking Good And Having a Good Time.
We had a whopping 28,000 people visit our blog this year that viewed over 55,000 pieces! The end of the year is usually a good time to reflect and look back (and ÖMËGÄ actually points to the end of something, being the last letter of the Greek alphabet), so we thought we would highlight some of our personal favourite pieces that we’ve published this year on the blog.
Here are our selections, the Best of ÖMËGÄ for 2015!
James — Metatron’s Assistant Editor
& Nationally Certified Tennis Instructor
We published Luis twice this year, but I’m singling this poem out. He maintains a feeling of spontaneity throughout, like the poem is pouring out the top of his head. It’s hyperbolic, contradictory, and kind of desperate, but its sincerity only makes me more invested in its rushed series of statements. Nothing has been resolved, nothing is figured out, but I feel a little better: “I feel this way / I feel this”.
This poem is incantatory. Technically it’s an instruction manual for how to make a sauna, or at least that’s the conceit, but by the second line you realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. The double litany of “fury” in the imperative, as a verb, and “it will become important later” in the automated tone of an instruction manual creates a fiery tension. She also manages to maintain chromatic consistency: everything in this poem is gold, and I believe it.
This long poem has two speakers: LB the poet, and the Tao Te Ching, a classical Chinese text that teaches “the Way” – the essential, ineffable process of the universe. When LB read this poem aloud I happened to have a copy of the Tao Te Ching in my backpack, which seemed auspicious. I listened to her closely, for answers, for better questions. One way to read this poem is to see LB’s writing clumsily interrupting the Tao, as per the title. Another would be to see her careful interruptions as ways of staying close the Way. It’s witty, and profound, and polyphonic; “It is like an eternal void: / Filled with infinite possibilities.”
I had to add a fourth writer to my list because of this short story. It starts with one of the best hook lines I’ve encountered anywhere in short fiction: “This is what I know about my father.” The story follows the narrator as he tries to learn more about his father, a short, abusive, alcoholic baker who disappears during the narrator’s teenage years. Buchanan’s style is understated. He allows his characters to direct the plot, and the clarity of his prose resonates from start to finish. I can’t wait to read more.
Ashley — Managing Editor of Metatron,
Vape Artist & Living Waterfall
I was delighted when Sari Lightman sent us ‘29 Palms’ and asked if we’d be interested in publishing it on ÖMËGÄ. Sari is a friend of mine and also a musician I’ve been smitten with for years. Sari is somewhat of a ‘closet writer’, so I always feel very lucky when I get to read things she’s written. Each of the pieces I’ve read of hers feels like some sort of semi-precious jewel, manifested as a poem.
‘Here I have everything’ is such a beautiful line, such a rare feeling to arrive at. And then the contrast of the line ‘Lying languid, half dead, like a stem in water’ with that. It feels so human to feel those two things, and humbling to be reminded that ecstasy and suffering are so easily interchangeable. Being a human being is crazy. Like one day we are having the revelation that we have everything and then one day we are having the revelation that we have nothing. I love how this poem expresses that, and all the places it takes us in between. Vibrant stuff. Resonating.
Anyone who makes me think about how time shifts or about the movement inside of light has my heart AND attention. What strikes me about this poem is its ability to carry you so that you feel like you are soaring through it like a curious ray of light. The way Rachelle twists language into such juicy lines is so impressive. I love the subtle personification in this piece, and it’s ability to simultaneously express something small and large but somehow equally intimate. The line ‘and the sky looks like it belongs inside a marble’ is pure gold. I can’t wait to read more from Rachelle.
I’m aware that this is my second ‘desert-themed’ choice. Shout out to the desert. I love when something makes me go ‘hm?’ Because it gets my brain working in new ways. I love when writers make me turn a line over in my head, trying to find where the light is shining and where the shadow is cast. This poem feels like part medicine, part guided meditation and I’m so down. Please tell me to pull 27,000 rays of light into my body every day. Please remind me that the body is filled with bliss and that pain is not the source of the problem and that it’s a miracle we can talk and that lungs flower in the nose. Please make me feel like I’ve drunk ayahuasca when I read your poetry. The last stanza of this poem is my new mantra. I want it posted all over the city. Thank you, Brad.
Guillaume — Metatron’s Co-Editor
& Anxiety Lint Roller
Though Metatron now works with writers from pretty much all over the world, it’s still important to us to invest in Montreal talent and give back to the literary community here. For that reason, I always try to keep an eye out for new Montreal writers. I’ll go to literary readings and feel like I am a pro football scout or something, assessing new talent, preparing little reports, thinking things in my head like “That writer has a good metaphor game, but how fast can they run a 40 yard dash?”
I saw Tessa read at Kafein in October, and maybe a week later, we were publishing 2 pieces by her on the blog. Her poems have a kind of quiet, powerful elegance to them. They seem less concerned with playing language games, and more interested in capturing certain moods, ideas, contradictions or situations with precision and clarity, which I really like. I am excited to see more from her.
Not sure how to describe Ruby, maybe “Emotionally vulnerable bulldozer”? Is that good? Ruby lives in New York, where she curates a reading series, writes for Mask Magazine & does many other things. We added one another on Twitter at one point, then she gave me a copy of her chapbook & I asked her if we could publish my favorite poem from it, Spilling, on ÖMËGÄ.
Ruby’s work feels, to me, performative in nature, like even if you encounter her poems alone in your room while casually scrolling through Tumblr, it seems like the words are just imploring you to read them out loud. Hoping Ruby goes on to publish a full-length poetry collection, and in the meantime, I recommend following her on Twitter.
I can’t help but loving these poems by Greg Zorko. They’re meant to be funny and sweet, but I also really like how they’re not just funny, how they’re not afraid to tap into a kind of greater emotional dimension beyond humor. We first came into contact with Greg’s work through the Metatron Prize, and though we decided to award the prize to someone else, we liked Greg’s manuscript enough to shortlist it. Looking at these poems, I really like the direction in which Greg’s work is heading, and in the future, I feel like I’d love to see what he could do with short stories or a novel or something.