On Tuesday, December 8, Soliloquies Anthology celebrated its twentieth edition with cupcakes, dance music, and, most importantly, the launch of Issue 20.1. Eight of the journal’s exceptional contributors from Montreal and abroad took the stage at La Vitrola to read their poetry, prose, and creative non-fiction to an enthusiastic—and very full—audience.
“I was tired of always writing about people in their 20s,” said Graeme Shorten-Adams about the story he read from, an unfinished work set after the apocalypse. “I tried to write about people in their midlife, which was tough. I can’t give a 50-something-year-old the same speech patterns as a 20-something year old.” Michael Juretic read from his short story, “Portage,” and addressed the difficulties he’s faced in writing fiction in the short story and novel form. On the difference in creative process in writing a novel, he said, “it’s like navigating a territory without a map or drawing the map as you go.” Our final prose writer of the evening, Barbara Janusz, travelled all the way from Alberta to read her work of creative non-fiction, “Peering at the Horizon.”
Poet Melanie Power entertained the audience with a witty parody of hipsterdom and looking for “The One.” Power commented the poem’s paradox: “I’m mocking hipster culture and the search for the one, but I’m also partaking in it.” Lucia Pasquale, whose evocative imagery in “Litany of Lost Things” absorbed the audience, addressed the difficulties she faces in writing her poems: “I need to shut myself away from technology so I can clear my head and be able to write.” Jenny Smart, who was recently interviewed for Soliloquies Writes, read her poem “Iron Garden,” and discussed her experiences with NaPoWriMo, a month-long project in which participants write a poem a day. While the writers all exercise different creative processes, Smart found the project was “worth doing, just to have all that poetry you can take from and edit later.”
After the reading, poets Olivia Raco and Kara Bowers told Soliloquies Anthology about their sources of inspiration. “I reflect on what’s been going on in my life or what’s been going on in other peoples’ lives and draw from that,” Raco said. “In ‘To Susan,’ I was thinking about bus rides and the STM, and how we have a weird relationship with the people we might see every day.” Bowers likewise noted that relationships play a strong role in her work.
After three lucky raffle winners received prize packs of previous issues, writers, editors, and all in attendance spent the evening enjoying the work, skill, and dedication that produced yet another wonderful issue of the publication. Happy birthday, Soliloquies Anthology.
Photography by Andy Fidel