Staff Pick: Occasional Dispatch #2

Occasional Dispatch #2

Comics/newspaper, Occasional Dispatch Press, 8 pgs,, Free

Your average newspaper tucks comics in the back pages, cramming row upon row of illustrations, making them as small as possible without losing legibility. But inside Occasional Dispatch #2, comics take over the page, allowing every detail to be seen in its full glory.

I picked up the newspaper after eating at Toronto’s D-Beastro one Tuesday night. As I headed for the door, I noticed a stack with a “free” sign above and crammed a copy in my bag.

After reading the newspaper’s eight pages, my only complaint is that Occasional Dispatch is just that: occasional.

Read more: Staff Pick: Occasional Dispatch #2

Poetry Review: Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Phoebe Wang, 105 pages, McClelland & Stewart,, $16.95

At first glance, the title Admission Requirements feels like a reflection on the limits of belonging. “Admission” as inclusive, welcomed and “requirements,” exploring the threshold between what is allowed, and what has been breached in spaces of acceptance.

“Do not limit yourself / to the space provided,” Wang writes in the poem, “Application Form,” as if the given parameters are not just physical. Our memories, desires, and longings of elsewhere are intensely compelled by the imagination.

Read more: Poetry Review: Admission Requirements

BP Indie Writers Deathmatch Short Story Contest Continues into the Semi-Finals

The Semi-Finals are here.

Only 4 stories remain.


This past week, each remaining story was pitted against story. Votes inched forward minute by minute, hour by hour. Numbers were tight. Writers struggled to maintain first place. But in the end, only four could be victorious.

Christina Brown’s Arrangements, R. Daniel Lester’s Free Your Mind, Sophie-Anne Belisle’s Smile, and Sean Wheaton’s Cracked Red Landscape are left in the ring to battle it out.

Who will survive the next week? Only you can decide.

And want more voting clout? Like your favourite comments for extra voting karma. 50 up-votes will earn commentators Bronze status, and their votes will count for 2. 200 up-votes will earn commentators Silver status, and their votes will count for 3. 400 up-votes will earn commentators Gold status, and their votes will count for 5.

So what are you waiting for? Keep hyping, keep commenting, and keep those votes coming. This is going to be a close race, and Deathmatch semi-finalists need your support now more than ever.


Artzine Review: The Birth of Linda

The Birth of Linda

Artzine, Tess Eneli Reid,

The most intriguing quality of zines, that key aspect of the medium that zinesters like myself love, is the immense breadth in terms of how simple or elaborate a successful zine can look. Tess Eneli Reid’s The Birth of Linda excels at complexity, resulting in a stunning work of art that can fit in the palm of your hand.

On first glance, this zine looks like quite unassuming: two thick pieces of card sandwich some folded pages and are covered in lovely gold lettering and design. On the back cover, Reid introduces the work as “a small part of the 19,000 verse poem” telling the tale of Linda, mother of Kalevipoeg, “the titular hero of Estonia’s national epic.” The cover is beautiful and humble, but the most magical moment comes when you open it up and unfold an epic tale that is depicted in a visually striking, colourful, lyrical set of illustrations that speak louder than words.

Read more: Artzine Review: The Birth of Linda

Zine Review — Another Round Please: Confessions of a Busboy

Another Round Please: Confessions of a Busboy

Comic, Issue 2, Brett Martin, 24 pgs,

In this part two of Brett Martin’s Confessions of a Busboy, the talented young illustrator and comic artist channels the whirling chaos of working in a restaurant (especially at brunch!) mixed with clever observations and indictments of Toronto public culture.

Each page is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever worked in the service industry, or even spent time on a summer patio in the metropolis. But the detailed and spiracular page design and illustration style take the wits, quips, and gripes to an exciting new place, with careful hatching across clouds of imagery that follow no ground or dimension in particular. The resulting feeling is truly that of being in Martin’s head, and what a place to be.

Read more: Zine Review — Another Round Please: Confessions of a Busboy

Book Review: Oh Honey

Oh Honey

Emily R. Austin, 141 pgs, Holland House,, $14.80

“Hi, my name is Pat. I’m calling on behalf of Broken Pencil to rev—”

You hang up.

Thank God I don’t have to call anyone to review this book. Jane, the heroine of Emily R. Austin’s debut novella is not so lucky. She works at a market-research call centre: “Please let me assure you that I am not selling anything.” For reasons that eventually (almost) become clear, she calls a certain man over and over again, tormenting him. Don’t worry. He deserves it.

Read more: Book Review: Oh Honey