Geist 45

Kris Rothstein reviews Talking Young Feminists, a collection of essays by young feminist women. Read more


This was the first pub I entered when I finally said goodbye to vomiting on local beaches because I could drink legally. And it’s the first pub I’ve come to since I’ve been home. Now it’s Tuesday night, Karaoke Night. Read more

Dispatches 1 Comments

I wasn’t certain whether I was in Winnipeg because of the Weakerthans, or whether I cared about the Weakerthans because I care about Winnipeg. Read more


i sd lovinglee can yu not yell at me n call me Read more


The message on the sign under the elevated railway read, “The John Molson Way,” and seemed to have been designed to resemble a six-pack of Molson Canadian. These were confusing signals and for some moments I couldn’t understand what the sign, with it Read more


You could see nothing through the window until a tapping began at the glass, a grey leafless branch, and you wondered what makes someone sit at a window table when it’s dark outside. You had to ask for another glass of water, yours was filled with hair. While you waited you didn’t know what to do with yourself. The shag carpet was green. You were looking at the dirt under your nails when you heard conversation from the next table over, something about a man’s ears. You took a drink from your new glass and were surprised to find it was orange juice, not water at all. When you called this to the waitress’s attention, she apologized sweetly but said it would be good for you, and you noticed for the first time that her necklace held a gold pendant that said Eat Shit. Read more


Allen Ginsberg is speaking into a tape recorder hanging from the rear-view mirror of my mother’s Volvo, composing a poem with the attitude of one accustomed to the gratitude of posterity. Read more

Dispatches 1 Comments

Who today remembers the man who carried Einstein’s head in a box through the streets of Vancouver? We remember clearly the box (dark wood, varnished, the door on brass hinges: what about the latch?) with Einstein’s head in it, a plaster model (was it plastic, perhaps? modelling clay? plasticine?) Read more


When Judy MacDonald spoke about her writing recently in Vancouver, she fascinated her audience with glimpses into how her mind works and the weird angle from which she observes the world. She describes herself as a magpie, someone who collects her ma Read more


Thanks to an educational record I had as a kid, I’ve always known that salt was once traded for gold. What I didn’t know about salt, though, is a heck of a lot, and it’s all covered in Mark Kurlansky’s 400-plus-page book Salt: A World History (Knopf Read more


The pictures in Nuvisavik: The Place Where We Weave, edited by Maria Von Finckenstein (McGill-Queens) are of tapestries that tell the story of traditional Inuit life. The tapestries were woven by members of a weaving studio in Pangnirtung, Baffin Isl Read more


Wendy Wasserstein’s superb writing makes her latest play, Old Money, more compelling to read than most contemporary novels. Old Money concerns a Manhattan mansion and the families that inhabit it at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centurie Read more


Drugs and disillusionment also figure in Greg Everett’s memoir Screaming at a Wall (Grundle Ink), featuring a main character named Greg and events and dialogue that are too convincing to be made up. The charm of this book is its unflinching portrayal Read more


If you are an Allen Ginsberg fan, you may want to pick up a copy of Family Business (Bloomsbury), selected letters between Ginsberg and his father Louis—“a published poet himself,” as the dust jacket reveals. If you are not a Ginsberg fan, you may ju Read more


The male characters in Mary-Lou Zeitoun’s 13 (Porcupine’s Quill) include a guidance counsellor who takes nude photos of his adolescent pupils and a music teacher who thinks “drums are not for girls.” No wonder Marnie, the thirteen-year-old protagonis Read more


The near future of Jim Munroe’s Everyone in Silico (No Media Kings) reads like Naomi Klein’s (No Logo) idea of hell. Ads pop up everywhere and chase you down the street, and they can only be turned off by the very rich. Read more


The only book of poetry I enjoyed this year is Zoe Whittall’s The Best 10 Minutes of Your Life (McGilligan Books). Here Ally McBeal and Dr. Seuss live alongside Susan Musgrave and Rocket Richard in a mélange of popular culture and literary craving. Read more


The Story of My Face by Kathy Page (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) is about pictures that we don’t want to see or are forbidden to see. The face of Natalie, the main character, was badly scarred in a childhood accident; as an adult she returns to the small t Read more


Clumsy slang and fake angst are what Some Girls Do (do what?) by Teresa McWhirter (Polestar) is all about. While I enjoyed the buoyant conversational style and unconventional characters, I hated McWhirter’s self-conscious portrayal of the subculture Read more



Yes or no: Do writers have to be proficient in spelling
and grammar to be any good?
Bad Speller, London ON 

Read the answer from Geist Editors!




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