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Book Review: As If

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As If
Alban Goulden, 140 pgs, Anvil Press, anvilpress.com, 18.00$

Alban Goulden provides a series of short stories set in Vancouver and the prairies. The stories centre on the subtle, crucial ways that these settings interact with the people who populate them. There’s a strong focus on technology and how it affects users that Goulden approaches in most of the stories.

April’s Song of the Month: Del Bel’s “Go On”

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After our first Song of the Month release was a big hit, we’re continuing to partner with Wavelength Music Series to treat our Broken Pencil Members to new tunes from the indie music scene.

If you’re not a Broken Pencil subscriber already, you can become one by getting a membership at the Broken Pencil store!

Or if you are, login and enter your email to receive your free download of Del Bel’s “Go On”!

Sidney’s Pick: The lo-fi nostalgia of 90sFlav

I don’t really know where 90sFlav is from or what their deal is, but I do know that they make some amazing lo-fi hip hop mixtapes that make me swoon.  As far as I know, they love ballet as much as they love music and photography — and they combine these things into their mixtapes and other videos. You can check out their stuff on YouTube here, though the videos generally consist of a stero playing their tapes. It might just be me but seeing the level needle move on the stereo is relaxing. It reminds me of lying in the living room and switching out tapes on my dad’s stereo. The nostalgia is nice, and the spacey music makes it even better, the lo-fi aesthetic charged with memories.

I’d recommend checking out their latest mixtape, Boom Bap x LofiBeats if you’re looking for the best way to keep your head clear. Seriously. There is nothing better then setting up in your space to work on something (art, essays, poetry, really anything at all) and putting on one of these mixtapes. Something about them is utterly enchanting and gives you the chillest vibes you can get.
As far as I can tell 90sFlav uses the same pseudonym for most sites and you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, soundcloud and YouTube delivering sick content. Go check em out, pick a mixtape and just enjoy the dreamy tunes to get you through the end of tail-end of the cold weather. You won’t regret it.

Sidney Drmay is an editorial assistant at Broken Pencil. 

BP Book Club reads Pauls for our first meeting on April 19!

We are excited to announce that the winning BookThug title is none other than Pauls by Jess Taylor!

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The first Broken Pencil Book Club meeting will be
on April 19th from 7pm-9pm!

Thank you for everybody who voted in our first ever BP Book Club poll! We’re so excited to be reading Pauls by Jess Taylor, and discussing it on April 19th.  Here’s how it works:

Jonathan’s Pick: Danez Smith

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I was lucky enough to pick up Danez Smith’s book [insert] boy by accident at McNally Jackson in New York a few weeks ago — one look at the fantastic cover art by Jonathan Chase, I knew I’d have to open it. I found songs undermining and unpacking notions of race, family, trauma, and sexuality.  They are writhing, steamy, violent and transcendent verses.  Two poems in, I closed the book and headed to the checkout counter.

After that, Smith kept coming up everywhere I went. Little did I know, [insert] boy had won a zillion prizes including the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Originally from St Paul Minnesota, his poems now scream and whisper of and in black urban centres around America.

His newest book, Don’t Call Us Dead, will be released this year from Graywolf Press. Recently, one of the best journals/presses out there, BOAAT, published an intense, raunchy, rhythmic and humorous poem by Smith called “All the Good Dick Live in Brooklyn Park” — that should give you the taste you need.

Jonathan Valelly is the Assistant Editor of Broken Pencil. 

The Hustle: how indie creators are making it work right now

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By Suzanne Alyssa Andrew

I always wanted to be an author when I grew up. As a teen I moved 4,000 kilometres away from my hometown on Vancouver Island with two suitcases and a box. I worked like crazy to pay my way through two university degrees, then competed like a champ for writing work in Toronto. I weathered layoffs and start-up bankruptcies in a volatile economy and hustled as a freelancer. I sacrificed social time and sleep to write. Along the way I picked up a bass, started jamming in bands and played local shows, which was awesome. When my novel Circle of Stones was published in 2015 to positive reviews, I felt all the effort I spent pursuing that dream was worth it.