Founders and Team
Co-editors-in-chief / Founders: Joshua Auerbach, Eleni Zisimatos
Managing Editor: Leigh Kotsilidis
Art Editor: Thanh Pham
Office Assistant: Fawn Parker
Tell us a bit about your press. How did you start? Who are your influences, in Canada and beyond? What is your mission?
Well, Vallum is not really a press, per se, but a charitable organization that publishes magazines and chapbooks, and fulfills workshops in the community and offers artist support. We started in 2000 informally and then became incorporated in 2003. It was the project of two poets, Josh Auerbach and Eleni (Helen) Zisimatos, who later became editors.
What about small press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
It’s difficult to say because of the Covid-19 situation. Small publishers are experiencing a lot of stress and other difficulties. It was encouraging to see so many readers supporting small bookstores (and so publishers) by purchasing online and opting for home or curbside delivery. I think we’re headed towards good things once everything becomes more manageable and organized. There is a plethora of new books still coming out despite the times, with strong recognition and support for writers of colour, Indigenous writers, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized persons. This is exciting!
How does your press work to engage with your immediate literary community, and community at large?
Vallum is hopefully partaking in exciting projects in Montreal… applications for funding for these events have been sent out. Of course we’re members of the English Language Arts Network (ELAN), The Quebec Writers Federation (QWF), The League of Canadian Poets, all of which are important for the development of art/writing culture. I think artists, writers and poets have to get connected across Canada and locally to improve on what has been derogatorily termed “CanLit”.
Tell us about three of your publications. What makes them special, needed, and/or unique?
We’ve had a lot of published material throughout our twenty years. We just published a great issue of the magazine, Vallum 17:1, themed “Home.” We think this issue is great and the photography is stunning. We like it so much, in fact, that we have made the digital issue free and accessible to everyone on our website. The idea of “Home” is very important and the different interpretations of it throughout make this a unique
issue. We’re also excited about the line-up of 4 chapbooks coming up by Paul Muldoon, Nicole Brossard, Matthew James Weigel, and Joe Neubert. All are special in their own right, with great poetic power. Hopefully there will be a launch!!
How have the current multiple global crises impacted your work with the press?
Well, there have been challenges. We’ve had to cut back on staff, delayed production of the magazine, cancelled workshops… so it’s been hard. Everything seems to be going at a slower pace, but I think now that it’s Fall, things are picking up and there is a sense that there can be community and togetherness even if it is not physically possible right now. Hopefully we will not be flattened by a Second Wave of the pandemic here is Canada. Hopefully this thing will disappear. But I think poets and writers and publishers are moving up!
A Tilt in the Wondering
Art of Surgery
A. F. Moritz