Feature: Perfect Bound Hilarity! Canada’s funniest literary journals


Perfect Bound Hilarity!

Canada’s funniest literary journals

By Broken Pencil

Canada is known as a global contributor to laugh culture. But our literature doesn’t get half the credit Martin Short does. Canadian periodicals of poetry and literature are the annals of funny, slaving in obscurity, directly responsible for the Kids in the Hall, Jim Carrey, and Little Mosque on the Prairie becoming the successes they are today. This is your exclusive guide to the CanLit journals that take all the risks, push the envelope on funny, and are all too often overlooked.

The Malahat Review

Coming to us since 1967, Malahat has long been a radical journal of dangerous ideas and deadly laugh lines. The new issue with the funny drawing of the chair and table on the cover will have you in stitches before you even open it! And when you do, Canada’s poet laureate of laughs and grammar gags, Mr. Hysterical Steven Heighton himself, will take those stitches, rip them open, and smear in some itching powder. That’s how funny. The highlight of his comic genius comes to us in the form of a poem entitled “Reading The Saxon Chronicles in a Field Hospital, Kandahar.” With searing wit Heighton compares ancient history to what’s happening now. Why didn’t we think of that?


Their new theme issue “Excavations” is flying off the shelves. Why not? It’s hilarious!

Particularly riotous is funnyman Alberto Manguel’s knee-slapper “Borges and the Longed-for Jew.” From the enclave of his luxurious Italian villa library, Manguel goes gonzo, describing a recent road trip he took with the blind Argentinean. Lolling in the back seat of a leather bound Lamborghini, Manguel depicts Ray-Ban wearing Borges putting pedal to the metal and trapped in a labyrinth of lust for a Semitic whore named Selma.


Saskatoon’s premium laugh riot read. The magazine plays on both the rich agricultural pride of its people and the poetic sensibility of its people. No wonder it’s recently been included in Stephen Harper’s top 500 magazines he gets in the mail.

The Fiddlehead

Oh oh! Look out for those flying pies! If you missed the annual summer poetry issue of Fiddlehead, you missed getting smacked in the face with some of Canada’s funniest line breaks. When she’s not juggling and doing European-style mime on the streets of Montreal, Erín Moure is just simply the funniest bilingual experimental poet and translator in Canada. Her contribution, Three Poems from Elisa Sampedrín’s O Resplandor, takes us into the interior life of a Quebecois maiden whose lumberjack maple-syrup-swigging husband devalues her need for emotional sustenance and the comedic stylings of Sammy Davis. If you haven’t busted a gut reading this masterwork of subtle, yet tragic, comedy, turn your attention to another trio of torrid giggles, Ken Babstock’s Three Poems. There are three of them, get it?

Prairie Fire

In the new issue of Prairie Fire, Margaret At-wood can’t stop joking around. She cracks us up, suggesting that there are people out there who don’t actually care about poetry. Stop it Maggie! You’re killing us!


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