Jane Eaton Hamilton

"I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” – Lillian Hellman

Tag: Jane Eaton Hamilton

Best American Essays Notable!

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that one of the essays Roxane Gay chose as “Best of 2019” from Gay Magazine has now garnered a Notable in Best American Essays 2020! I believe it’s my fourth Notable for Best American Essays, and I had one for Best American Short Stories, too, once. Congrats to the other Notables, with whom I’m honoured to be mentioned and to the essayists. Thanks to the series editor, Robert Atwan! #canlit

Here’s my new fiction chapbook!

Photo by: Jane Eaton Hamilton with their paintings in the background

Put out by above/ground press in Ottawa, ‘Would You Like a Little Gramma on Those?’ was first published by Joy Magazine and is reprinted here in different form as part of above/ground’s new prose imprint. Kinda thrilled to see this, and with one of my photos on the cover, too. Thanks, above/ground press! Check them out here to see their lineup or to subscribe to their series:

above/ground press

‘Would You Like a Little Gramma on Those?” hanging out with my birds and my art. Photo: Jane Eaton Hamilton Book cover photo: Jane Eaton Hamilton

Survivor Lit: as important as coffee

Kirsten Ott Paladino, best-selling author of

Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding

is editor-in-chief and founder of the attractive site “Survivor Lit,” which launched today:

Survivor Lit

I have an essay among many other survivors’ poems and essays. My essay is “Blue Earring.”

 

Blue Earring

Would You Like a Little Gramma On Those?

photo: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2020

above/ground press in Ottawa has begun a series of prose chapbooks and I’m happy to say that publisher/editor Rob Mclennan chose one of my stories, ‘Would You Like a Little Gramma On Those,” to join several other wonderful stories by the following authors in his initial run. Despite all my books, this is only my second chapbook ever (the first being ‘Going Santa Fe’ from League of Cdn Poets)! I’m very excited!

Here is the press release and following that a link to above/ground’s blog:

Leaning up to the press’ twenty-eighth year of production, Ottawa’s above/ground press launches a prose imprint, “prose/naut,” and announces its first four chapbook titles, which will each become available over the next few weeks: 

Amanda Earl, Sessions from the DreamHouse Aria (September 2020) 

Jane Eaton Hamilton, Would You Like a Little Gramma On Those? (September 2020) 

rob mclennan, Twenty-one stories, (September 2020) 

Keith Waldrop, from THE LOSS FOR WORDS (October 2020) 

Why a prose imprint? With more than one thousand poetry-specific publications produced over the past nearly thirty years, why branch out into prose? I suppose the straightforward answer is that there appear to be fewer possibilities for publication for lyric prose than even there were five ago, despite the wealth of materials being produced. There is some incredible work being done, and my own frustrations as a reader has brought us, one might say, to this.

The series hopes to include single-author chapbooks of prose, from fiction to other forms, all of which will be included as part of the regular above/ground press annual subscription package. Review/media copies will also be available upon request (while supplies last).

If you wish to pre-order all four titles, I would be open to that: $20 for all four (add $3 postage for American orders; add $10 for international). 

If you would rather, you could simply subscribe to above/ground press RIGHT NOW and all four would be included: 2021 annual subscriptions (and resubscriptions) to above/ground press are available: $75 (CAN; American subscribers, $75 US; $100 international) for everything above/ground press makes from the moment you subscribe through to the end of 2021, including chapbooks, broadsheets, The Peter F. Yacht Club and G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] and quarterly poetry journal Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal].

Just what else might happen? Currently and forthcoming items also include new poetry chapbooks by Julia Drescher (two this year!), Billy Mavreas, ryan fitzpatrick, Sarah Burgoyne and Susan Burgoyne, Paul Perry, Jérôme Melançon, Ava Hofmann, Alexander Joseph, David Miller, Sa’eed Tavana’ee Marvi (trans. Khashayar Mohammadi), katie o’brien, Nathanael O’Reilly, Amelia Does, Andrew Brenza, Genevieve Kaplan, Geoffrey Olsen, Franco Cortese (four over the next few months), Zane Koss, Dennis Cooley, Barry McKinnon and Cecilia Tamburri Stuart as well as a whole slew of publications that haven’t even been decided on yet.

Why wait? You can either send a cheque (payable to rob mclennan) to 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 7M9, or send money via PayPal or e-transfer to rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com (or through the PayPal button at robmclennan.blogspot.com). 

For further information, email publisher/editor rob mclennan at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com, or follow the myriad of links at http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.com/  

Stay safe! Stay home! Wear a mask! Wash your damned hands! 

 

above/ground press

Torso

Covid-19 has stolen my voice. I went silent in March and am still mostly silent. I live alone so not seeing people makes this more severe. I’m struggling to write. Maybe I don’t believe there’s a reason any longer, though one could certainly argue that there’s never been a more vital time to lift your voice. I am trying every day to lift mine.

I find solace in making art. I’ve been doing a month-long art journal for the first time since I was in art school, when I would sometimes keep one for a particular class. It’s been instructive. This torso reminds me that creating torsos was an original love of mine and probably what I would have worked on if I had expanded into sculpture.

 

Weekend. It’s still the perfect summer to read it.

Amazon

Best Canadian Poetry

Happy to say that a poem of mine, “Game Show,” which was published at The Puritan has been chosen for Best Canadian Poetry 2020, edited by Marilyn Dumont and published by Biblioasis. Thank you and congrats to everyone!

Here are some reviews for the series:

“The wide range of writers, forms and themes represented here make it a great jumping-off point for readers who might be interested in Canadian poetry but are unsure about where to start.”—Globe and Mail  

“Buy it, or borrow it, but do read it.”—Arc Poetry Magazine

“A magnet, I think, for the many people who would like to know contemporary poetry.”—A.F. Moritz, Griffin Poetry Prize winner

“The Best Canadian Poetry series offers an annual sampling of voices and experiences—a little slice of Canadiana that may be appreciated beyond borders as well.”—Examiner.com

“An eclectic and diverse collection of Canadian poetry . . . a wonderful addition to anyone’s bookshelf.”—Toronto Quarterly

“Bits of eternity, arranged alphabetically.”—Merilyn Simonds

“Canada’s most eloquent, profound, humorous and meditative writers, ranging from the seasoned and well known to the new and upcoming.”—Broken Pencil

 

I won the Event non-fiction contest!

Event is a great litmag here in Canada. I am so happy that I won their non-fiction contest today with an essay about guns in Canada and the time I went to a shooting range to combat my fear of them, “The Dead Green Man.” Thank you to the judges, the final judge, and congrats to the other winners! At the start of the year, Gay Mag cited my essay “The Pleasure Scale” as one of their 2019 faves; an EU periodical Queen’s Mob Review of the Decade picked an essay “The Nothing Between My Legs” as one of their best of the decade; recently I was long-listed in the Mogford Food and Drink contest and a few weeks ago, I won 2nd place in the Writer’s Digest short story contest with “The Pride,” a story about a lion researcher who lost her husband in a terrorist attack. It’s all been a relieving start to the year.

In other news, we are in a global pandemic of COVID-19; on this continent we are in the “keep your distance” stage of trying to flatten the curve and slow the growth. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of our Canadian Prime Minister, has tested positive, and Justin Trudeau is isolating. I wish them well. I wish everyone well as, together, we go through this. Thinking of you all.

“Game Show” at The Puritan

Many thanks to the eds! A poem of mine is up at The Puritan!

Queen’s Mob journal names the best essays of the decade

 

So fortunate to have had an essay included in Queen’s Mob Review of the Decade. It was The Nothing Between Your Legs, which appeared in Autostraddle and Medium and was later a Notable in Best American Essays (2019). I look forward to reading the ones on this list I’ve missed!

 

 

Gay Magazine’s Best of 2019

I’m delighted to announce that Roxane Gay has chosen my essay “The Pleasure Scale” as one of Gay Magazine’s favourite essays of 2019. Congrats to everyone!

Gay’s Best of 2019

Remembering long readings

Have you, like me, been frustrated by short, short readings, authors who read 2-5 minutes from their work? They may answer some questions afterwards, or give over the mic to a new reader, but the new reader, too, will read for just a minute or two.

The DAISSI Queer Reading Series on Salt Spring Island takes aim at short readings, giving a single author an hour or longer to read what they really want to read. The time can be formatted however the author pleases. They can read one story, or read from multiple books, or have an interview format Q+A with me (or someone else), or an audience Q+A. Really, they can do whatever they want.

Lydia Kwa came from Vancouver to give us the most thoughtful, engaged reading in June, and Anne Fleming came from Victoria just last Saturday night, thrilling audience members and sending us all scurrying to the book table. Each author was able to use the hour to display the range of their work, and we, the lucky listeners, basked.

Readings used to be like this when I started out. It was not strange to have 1.5 hour single-author readings, with a 40-minute essay or story, a break, and then another 40-minute session. Though it can be agony if you’re not keen on someone’s work, it’s a dream come true when you are.

 

Lydia Kwa

Anne Fleming

Upcoming authors scheduled so far:

November: Arleen Paré

January: Amber Dawn

March: Maureen Hynes

April: Danny Ramadan

 

Stay turned for more info! Thanks to co-producer Salt Spring Public Library!

 

 

Just a fun pic from my garden

Frog in Daylily; Jane Eaton Hamilton 2019

About Us: Essays from the NY Times Disability Series

 

I’m happy to say I have an essay coming out in this fall collection on disability. You can pre-order now. Here is the link to the book at Amazon.ca. Here is the link for Amazon.com. Here is the Publisher’s Weekly review:

“In this exquisite collection drawn from the Times essays series started in 2016, disability is, refreshingly, seen as a part of daily life, even as the contributors discuss facing a “world that does not expect us and is often not made for us.” Ona Gritz, who has right hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, recalls asking a literary agent who suggested she write a memoir, “Would I have to be disabled on every page?” Coeditor Garland-Thomson, having learning her asymmetrical hands and forearms are caused by complex syndactyly, an exceptionally rare genetic condition, no longer feels like an “orphan” but part of a “world of disability pride and advocacy.” Similarly, the late Oliver Sacks finds value in his disability, an increasing loss of hearing, enjoying how “in the realm of mishearing… a biography of cancer can become a biography of Cantor (one of my favorite mathematicians)… and mere mention of Christmas Eve a command to ‘Kiss my feet!’ ” The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act comes up often throughout, making fully clear the turning point it represented. Demonstrating, above all, the value of persistence, Catapano and Garland-Thomson’s anthology merits a spot on everyone’s reading list for its brilliant assemblage of voices and stories. (Sept.)” Publisher’s Weekly

Kirkus Review calls it “A rich, moving collection.”

New essays up at Medium!

image by Jessica Poundstone for Gay Magazine

I’m moving some of my essays onto Medium for your reading pleasure! Here’s what’s there so far:

The Pleasure Scale, Gay Magazine, about how, as a near shut-in, I find pleasure

The Preludes to Assault, about a short encounter with Jian Ghomeshi, and sexual violence

The Nothing Between Your Legs, about my non-binary life as a girl in the 1950s; first published in Autostraddle

A Night of Art and Anti-Art, about a walk on beach one evening with Liz

The Pleasure Scale, Gay Magazine

illustration: Jessica Poundstone

“The Pleasure Scale,” my contemplation on disability, pleasure and pain, is up today at Gay Magazine. Be forewarned that it is sexually explicit.

I realize there’s so much more to be said about pleasure, mine, and, of course, that found by others.

“I want to feel my body opening in the way it can open, like it is split, and is yawning in two pieces like a knifed watermelon, when it can take not only a fist but a globe, it can take every war, every famine, every mining disaster, every broken child behind bars, every river of tainted water into itself and it can turn water clear and take the broken children onto its lap and cause weapons to be laid down and corpses to rise and people to laugh again.”

More spring flowers

all photos: Jane Eaton Hamilton; do not copy or reproduce

Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Reifel2

Reifelphotographs: Jane Eaton Hamilton

republication: first published here in 2014

I was at Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta with my friend M-E in October as it rounded towards November. Delicious place to spot wild birds, from Bohemian waxwings to Harlequin ducks. I had decanted seed into baggies, some kind of major success to even have remembered to bring it.  The leaves were changing in spectacular, eastern ways because of our dry sunshiny October. We had yellows, we had oranges, we had reds. Since photosynthesis had shut down, the anthocyanins in each leaf stirred to protect the trees from sunshine.

M-E and I stood watching 3 Lesser Sandhill Cranes do very little, their orange eyes reptilian and attentive, on the lookout for bugs. One would move forward on Pick-Up Stick legs and knobby dinosaur-skinned knees to peck in the dirt. Its tutu tail feathers would shake. Its knees, I noticed, were knobby; the skin thick and scaly, dinosaur-ish.

How to tear myself away even when M-E was showing signs of boredom?

I thought of how long Sandhill Cranes had been on Earth—according to fossil evidence, at least 10 million years. They had red topknots and white cheeks, but who knows why. They only weighed about ten pounds, but were still among the biggest, and most beautiful, of uncommon birds.

Uncommon, I mean, relative to Chickadees and Bushtits, ducks and coots.  Uncommon relative to starlings or crows.

Crane

I considered the woodpecker’s long tongue which curved around its entire head, wrapping even its brain; I thought of how birds had hollow bones, and many air pockets for flight. I had held two dead Yellow Finches in my hands just months earlier, victims of my cat, their bodies still warm, their heads lolling; I knew how deceptively light a bird was. (How big a cat bell really needed to be.) How my cat really needed to say indoors.

M-E and I moved along to watch catfish circle through slurry water, fins brown and slick. It was them or the ducks for the birdseed we threw.

We strolled along a pathway in dappled light, birdhouses and feeders nailed to the trees, Red-winged Blackbirds winging down and zipping gone. I admired the light, the leaves, the red fields, the sunshine and shadows on the lumps of the tilled farmers’ rows. Geese with black-tipped wings looked like hundreds of unmelting snowballs as they squabbled in the muck..

When I thought of birds dying, I always thought of the National Geographic article by Jonathan Franzen about the plight of songbirds in Europe and across northern Africa (Franzen article). I thought of the extraordinary video by photographer David Guttenfelder of Warblers caught on sticky lime sticks. Hunters trap Ortolan Buntings, a delicacy in France, and Quail and Turtledoves, and Cranes and Golden Orioles. In Cypress, a dish called Ambelopoulia calls for European Robins and Blackcaps; each songbird nets two bites.

All these birds have long migrations. Exhausted and depleted, perhaps after crossing the Mediterranean, they require rest and food, but hunters lie in wait with trap sticks, nets or guns. Capturing songbirds has a long history, Franzen tells us, and is even referenced in the bible, but today the practice (with the help of population surges and technology) has grown epic and is decimating populations.

Happily, here, in the reserve, we revered songbirds. Instead of eating them, we fed them.

When I thought of birds living, my heart filled. Now a couple passed us sunflower seeds.

chickadee

M-E and I stood with our arms extended, our hands now buckets for black seeds. The birds, small and frenzied, flitted through the shrubbery, chattering to each other, considering the lures. They did well to be suspicious.

A little girl, perhaps four, perhaps five, watched us. I thought she was going to say something about birds, but instead she just elbowed her friend. “I’ve spent all day with you,” she told her, her face drawn and worn.

The friend had curly hair which frizzed around her head with the sun shining through it. She ran her hand up and down the front of her brown jacket. From her cuffs dangled blue mittens she didn’t need. “I don’t know,” she answered, perplexed.

In the bushes, three Chickadees hopped from branch to branch, assessing the sudden windfall.

M-E’s hand shook a little from the effort of keeping it still.

The original girl said, “You have to give me that … I’ve spent all day with you, since morning.”

The friend slowly nodded. “All right,” she said.

The first Chickadee landed on the side of my palm, grabbed a seed and winged away.

“That bird,” said the friend, pointing. “I like that bird.”

I said to her, in wonder, “It felt like a whisper.” I talked gently for a minute about how they wore black caps—did she think they only wore them in the winter, like people might?

The first girl looked up at me, her face knitted into a grown-up expression of irritation.

A Chickadee landed on M-E.  Rotund, it hopped down her arm. She giggled like someone very young, and I photographed it.

The second girl extended her hand to me and into it, I tipped out some of my seed. She held out her arm; I saw that her eyes were wet, a tear trembling just in the center of her bottom left lid.

“Just wait,” a woman said. “Just stay very still, Margo.”

The first girl frowned. Her hair switched like a horse’s tail. Finally she hit the second girl’s arm, scattering the bird seed. She put her diminutive hands on her hips and said, “Margo, listen to me.  I’m trying to say that it’s time I saw other friends.”

The tear fell to Margo’s cheek and slid down her young skin while her mouth shaped an “O.”  For a second, that tear was everything, and I watched it while Chickadees landed in my hand, their claws like the tiniest tap shoes. Margo crouched down, wounded, something caught in a trap, and clamped her hands over her ears.

We all noticed the hush. The dees suddenly made themselves scarce; Margo looked up. Above the farmer’s field, a Cooper’s Hawk circled; from where we stood, it looked speckish and dull and no threat. But a din broke out as the field of migratory geese lifted. The sky turned white above us, as if we’d been caught in a snow globe. All the alarm honks, all the 54-inch black-tipped wingspans flapping at once, was overwhelming, and sounded first like an accident, a multi-vehicle pile-up, and then exactly like a train barreling towards us and about to run us down.

Run! came the primeval urge.  But only small Margo actually did and what she was running from was anyone’s guess.

“It’s just birds!” I yelled, but she couldn’t have heard me.

Over in Europe, maybe right then, robins, orioles, warblers were stuck on sap traps, every movement towards freedom ensnaring them.

The sound of their wings as they struggled.

The snow geese above us.

Fat-bellied Chickadees.  Long-necked Cranes.  Slick-finned catfish.  A little girl’s friendship ending.

A sunshine-doused day in the bird sanctuary.

Happy spring from my garden to yours!

photos: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2019

 

New Painting

Happy to unveil a new painting, so far unnamed, from a series I’ve started of dancers, acylic on canvas:

%d bloggers like this: