Reading the Commedia

An appreciation of Dante's "Commedia." more »

Mar 5, 2014 Columns

Magical Thinking

The canoe as a fetish object, a misreading of Canadian history and a symbol of colonial oppression. more »

Feb 11, 2014 Columns

Homage to Nicaragua

Despite hardships and dangerous slums, Nicaragua maintains a sense of hope that draws back to the democratic days of the Sandinistas. more »

Feb 11, 2014 Columns

The author, age fifteen, Patagonia

Face in the Mirror

What does it mean to "be" yourself? The face reflected in the mirror is unrecognizable. more »

Dec 18, 2013 Columns (2 Comments)

The Market and the Mall

In the farmer’s market, a quintessentially Canadian setting, much of Canada is not visible. more »

Nov 12, 2013 Columns (2 Comments)

Irony-Free Reality TV

There may be more to reality TV than meets the eye. more »

Nov 8, 2013 Columns

Neighbourhood of Letters

There are imaginary cities for scientists, vampires, lechers and even bad students—but what about writers? more »

Aug 14, 2013 Columns

Not Reading

What we do when we absorb words from a screen— and we haven’t yet evolved a verb for it—is not reading. more »

Aug 7, 2013 Columns (4 Comments)

Identity in a Cup

Is it the icons of Canadian pop culture—hockey fights, Tim Hortons coffee, Don Cherry’s haberdashery, Rick Mercer’s rants—that reveal the deepest truths about us? more »

Aug 7, 2013 Columns

Come to the Cabaret

The Penthouse, the notorious Vancouver night club, shares a history with several of the city's missing women cases. more »

Jun 26, 2013 Columns

Language and Nation Now

Do shared languages form the natural boundaries of any nation in the world? more »

May 28, 2013 Columns (1 Comments)

Paul Joseph

A Brief History of Tags

A reflection on the complex and often inexplicable process of bibliographic categorizations. more »

May 22, 2013 Columns

Ethical Juices

Parables, cautionary tales, morality plays, allegories—the notion that we can study literary works as texts of ethics is as old as literature. more »

Mar 28, 2013 Columns


bob august at

Next Door Café: A Poet's Musings

Reflections on how a bar in Parc Extension, QC, influenced an eponymous poem about "unprogress, inertia, the failure to learn from mistakes." more »

Mar 27, 2013 Columns

Chariots of China

A bibliophile's worst nightmare: being stuck on a plane with a terrible book. A book mistaken for a work of serious history. more »

Feb 28, 2013 Columns (1 Comments)

Yehuda Elberg: In Memoriam

A writer whose work is among the most important contributions to the literature of the Holocaust is forgotten by almost all. more »

Feb 5, 2013 Columns (1 Comments)

Huan Tran

It's a Free Country, Isn't It?

During the 1950s the RCMP used a machine to identify federal employees who were homosexuals. The name of this bogus device? The "fruit machine," of course. more »

Jan 31, 2013 Columns

Tigers' Anatomy

As Canadian leaders look to emulate Asian nations, our government fails to see that the tigers' fatal flaw is the absence of democracy. Or, maybe they do see. more »

Dec 18, 2012 Columns

Warrior Nation

The Great White North gets rebranded and gains some military muscle: goodbye peacenik, hello soldier. more »

Nov 29, 2012 Columns (4 Comments)

How to Talk About Books We Haven’t Read, Part Two

I’ve now read Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus? and I’m happy to say that I was right. more »

Nov 2, 2012 Columns

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