This is part three of our special guide to Ottawa’s online literary world blogosphere style. (See here for part 1 and part 2). In this series expect champions of poetry, stories of small press, writers seeking writers, book clubs to notice, online journals, recaps, reviews and more.
There are some definite trailblazers in the Ottawa world of writing, and one of them is Amanda Earl. In addition to showcasing the work of other writers, she is also involved in literary blogging, poetry and beyond. In her own words, she “sends out blog entries like a beacon in the night in the hopes of making connections with people who share my values about life and about the creation of art.”
Amanda adds: “I love that it is no longer necessary to be published by big media in order to have a voice. Like my small press activity, blogging is a way of doing things independently. I can make grammatical errors; I can take ludicrous leaps in logic; I can share personal details about myself; I can post photos of my breasts, etc. Blogs are a way of pushing your nose in when you aren’t invited to the party.”
The Literary Blog of Amanda Earl
By Amanda Earl
Going beyond an author page (though she has that too), this is Amanda’s beacon into the night. As a literary blog, you will find news on projects, reading lists, event picks and more. Amanda’s story is a complex one – from posts on taking a stand to visual interpretations of the Bible, there is much to read and learn through her creative works and frank conversation.
“Some writers believe that the only kind of attention that is of value is publication and reviews in the Globe and Mail or some other national newspaper or mainstream journal. I don’t give a rat’s ass about being published in mainstream, predominantly right-wing, media. They have their own agendas: they have to bean-count, make sure they have the right number of binaries, sell more soap or whatever. I don’t want to be part of that machine.” ~Amanda on why she blogs
Bywords: Poetry and Ottawa Literary Events
Created and edited by Amanda Earl, Charles Earl and local volunteers.
“Bywords.ca has been going strong since my husband, Charles and I, along with a dedicated group of fellow volunteers from the local literary community, began it in 2003. I think that’s what started my appetite for online publishing. The site helps to strengthen the local literary community, publicizing poetry, news and a comprehensive and up-to-date calendar of literary events. I’ve since taking to using our Social Media accounts to send out daily updates on events via @Bywordsdotca on Twitter and our Facebook page. I see Bywords.ca as a grassroots entity run by volunteers, a community builder.”
Micropress by Amanda Earl
While this is a roundup of literary blogs in Ottawa, you should consider dropping into AngelHousePress. Tucked in neatly with the press news and call for submissions are a series of essays by authors you’ll recognize from this blogosphere tour and more. The AngelHousePress Essay Series goes beyond the standard blog post to bring you in-depth analysis and deconstruction of ideas. Go, read, and consider.
Devil House Press
imprint of AngelHousePress
This is one of those sites that gets a person really excited. It’s just so grabbing. With the tagline ‘your transgressive playground’ not only is Devil House Press an opportunity to expand your reading pallet, it’s just damn fun. P laying with the idea of the hell, categories are labelled as prophecy, revelations, debauchery, hellions, bargain and creed. The headings alone are striking. Now move on to the interviews collected via this site, and meet a group of transgressive writers to notice. Yeah. Go and read this too, then check out further Temptations offered by this site.
by Amanda Earl
This blog of visual poetry from Amanda is simply put, very cool. From the sharp but fragile lines of her visual poems such as Shadowplay and She’s lost control, to the overlaying and wrapping of text from the Bible and more . . . it feels like this is a playground of words and shapes – a space for both experimentation and results.
There’s something very much flowing in a tumblr blog – ideas literally tumbling out one after another onto the screen. No need for detailed construction, yet much space for creative bursts. Amanda’s site takes ‘literary’ and twists it sideways with self-described rants that paint graphic stories, and reflections that are presented so that the structure is as grabbing as the language.
When asked, Amanda described her inspiration as “Defiance, a fuck you attitude to convention, instant gratification. . .” and nowhere does this seem to shine more than her tumblr.
“It’s become a habit. Also I know that I don’t have to do it. Nothing makes me stop something faster than being told I must do it. I’ve been on the Internet for over 20 years. It’s become a practice for me to do a lot of things on line: hooking up with men, ranting on Facebook, indulging in my narcissist attempts at getting people to pay attention to me . . . .
“I feel it’s important to offer an alternative voice to the bandwagonism that goes on out there. Not all women are sex-hating, man bashers. Not all whites are racist. Not all straight people are vanilla. Not all poets are flakey . . . uh . . . wait.”
Publications and Book Reviews