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The Russian Sickness

The Russian Sickness

The story of the eighteenth and nineteenth century Russian intelligentsia, of the nobleman returning to his motherland after years of European education, only to discover a feudal country to which Western ideas cannot be applied is too familiar to readers of Russian literature. This odd paradox—an educated aristocrat who one hand studies French enlightenment texts but on the other hand owns serfs and lives a medieval feudal life—is perhaps the central motif for what gradually becomes the agonizing preoccupation and national obsession of arguably every writer of this country: when can Russia create a new idea, a movement so thoroughly Russian and original at heart that would even influence Western art and literature? When will Russia look inward for ideas instead of trying to implement Western ideas in its culture?

Darling

Darling

I must admit to you Darling; I am everafraid;
That my age passes and that my Being has little’been made.
In the brightness and goldenshimmer of summer,
I thought I’d find my heart mimicking; finding; peaceful slumber.

On The Aesthetics of Suffering

On The Aesthetics of Suffering

It was a rainy August morning, and a light mist had descended on a large crowd gathering around Dorchester Gaol. The usual levity and callousness of the public by the gallows was replaced by another form of pleasure—not unlike the kind the Elizabethan groundlings experienced while watching Juliet, Ophelia, or Desdemona die on stage. The woman who provoked such sentiments was Elizabeth Martha Browne, a shopkeeper who murdered her husband with an axe a little less than a month before. Dressed in black, and looking much younger than her age, she resembled a portrait of a martyr. She was extraordinarily calm, and her composure in meeting her death invoked even more pity and compassion.

The Vinyl Resurgence: Finding Connection, Ritual, and Meaning Through Music

The Vinyl Resurgence: Finding Connection, Ritual, and Meaning Through Music

If you’re over the age of 24, you probably had a Walkman as a kid. And if you’re a bit older than that, you may also have had a VCR or tape player. Or maybe you had records, or you remember your parents having a record player on display or, more likely, tucked into the back of the basement closet. But no matter what media you consumed, we all have the common ground of knowing physical relics that no longer exist — or, that are no longer in regular societal use.

After February

After February

February is the shortest month, but this past February had too many days that felt like lifetimes, as crisis after crisis pounded across our screens. The occupation of Ottawa dragged on for weeks before finally being brought to an end by the first use of the Emergencies Act in Canadian history. Then, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, so far killing thousands, displacing millions, and unleashing devastation and horror against Ukrainian cities. The world seems to be coming apart at the seams, and in March, we can feel each stitch breaking one by one.

LGBTQ+ History Without Liveliness is Like a Bernice Bing Painting Without Emotion

LGBTQ+ History Without Liveliness is Like a Bernice Bing Painting Without Emotion

LGBTQ+ History Month was started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a Missouri teacher who wished to celebrate and spread awareness of LGBTQ+ history and accomplishments. It is distinct from June’s Pride Month, which celebrates LGBTQIA2S+ people past and present, as well as LGBTQIA2S+ activism. LGBTQ+ History month typically engages with LGBTQ+ history and teaching through its annual list of 31 LGBTQ+ leaders, or “Icons,” from various points in history. Reading the biographies of these “icons” made me think about the ways in which LGBTQIA2S+ history is simultaneously comprised of communal and personal histories.

Sweet Things

Sweet Things

Marlene kept a watchful eye on her grandchildren, Sibby and Amy, prancing ahead on the worn path. Brush lined the trail. The occasional weed flaunted flowers, but most of the colours were dull as if the sun had failed to provide enough warmth to stimulate their hues.

A (Surgical) Cut Above the Rest: A Retrospective on the Castrato

A (Surgical) Cut Above the Rest: A Retrospective on the Castrato

For any cool, modern champion of informed consent and bodily autonomy, there is perhaps no obsolete Western musical practice quite so untenable as the making of a castrato. The castrati (castrato in singular form) were singers surgically castrated prior to puberty and commonly associated with opera. The castration served to maintain the high vocal register present prior to some sexual maturation processes contingent on increased testosterone levels. One instinctive response to the past existence of castrati is revulsion. After all, many of us are understandably very sensitive about our genitals. But, despite the testicular anxieties the castrato figure evokes, castrati remain a fascinating case study for the cultural and sonic nuances of their era of European music.

THE EGOTISTIC LUNATIC IN THREE ACTS

THE EGOTISTIC LUNATIC IN THREE ACTS

With his sorrow scattered;
and his jigsaw broken;
The Egotistic Lunatic collects pieces off the ground…

His back breaks under expense
Which cannot be outweighed by peace,
by pace,
Or (tragically) repentance…