Oct 082015


Georgia Bellas is a literary cheerleader. A well-published poet and editor herself, she Tweets and talks about stories, poems, and essays under the guise of Mr. Bear, an anthropomorphic stuffed animal. One of her projects is a weekly radio program on Boston Free Radio, and her most recent edition, “Strange Situations,” featured two of my stories, “Chemistry (published right here at NC) and “Hood Ornament” (from Cheap Pop). It was a thrill to hear my words through another’s voice, and I appreciate Georgia’s generosity.

You can find a podcast of the broadcast here:

— Benjamin Woodard

Oct 072015

September’s Uimhir a Cúig, The Poets’ House, Portmuck, featured the poetry of the late James (Jimmy) Simmons  – a senior Irish poet, literary critic and songwriter – and his wife Janice Fitzpatrick-Simmmons.  To date no video has been available of this great Irish writer and singer/songwriter until early this week when 15 minutes of video, James Simmons – The Lost Footage, turned up unexpectedly on YouTube! It is an extraordinary find and a wonderful memory. The video ends fittingly and memorably with Jimmy and Janice singing together. Have a look below and enjoy. Beneath that you’ll find a recording of Jimmy singing The Ballad of Claudy, a beautiful and tragic lyric account of the bombing of the small town of Claudy in County Derry on the 31st of July 1972 resulting in the deaths of nine people including an 8 year old girl.


YouTube Preview Image


—Gerard Beirne

Oct 042015

Kevin Barry

A quick follow-up to my last post on recent comings-and-goings of Uimhir a Cúig featured writers – well the ink was barely dry on the news that Kevin Barry has a new novel, Beatlebone, forthcoming when  the folks over at the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize included his yet to-be released novel on their six-title shortlist! My hearthiest congratulations to one of Ireland’s finest writers.

The prize was created to honour “fiction that breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form”. Fellow Irish writer Eimear McBride, whose daring debut novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing won the inaugural prize in 2013, was one of this year’s judges & had this to say: “Beatlebone by Kevin Barry is a storm of a novel – unsettling and mesmerising. It’s formally interesting also, with the novelist choosing to step on and off the page.”


“It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour.”

It almost sounds like a description of the writer himself, “a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy”. Well I, for one, eagerly look forward to the ride.

—Gerard Beirne

Oct 042015

The secretive negotiations in regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now becoming a point of controversy as the Canadian election campaign heats up, could affect you (writers and readers and Internet users) in surprising ways. The new deal is not just about trading goods (and selling out Canadian dairy farmers), but includes new laws involving intellectual property rights.

Best to do some research into this.

Right now an international agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. The changes to copyright required by the TPP would reduce our access to information and restrict our ability to innovate, both on and offline.

Changing our copyright laws in ways that restrict the open Internet and economic opportunity are unfair to citizens, businesses, creators, and civil society organizations. Not only could such changes raise prices for users of copyright works, but they could also stifle our knowledge economy and chill innovation.

Read the rest at Our Fair Deal.

Both the Gutenberg Project and the Internet Archive are concerned. Here’s a note from Internet Archive:

The Internet Archive joined Our Fair Deal along with EFF and Public Knowledge to stop the US from using the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty from changing our copyright laws.   The coalition sent two open letters to TPP negotiators today on critical issues that you can learn about here. Let’s foster open debate and proper process before further changes to copyright laws restrict public access even more.

Please consider joining this coalition.

Oct 032015

Elizabeth May

There’s an election going on in Canada. Last night the leaders held their final debate. There have been something like 543 public debates, of which the public has mostly lost count. There are five major political parties in Canada: the Liberals, the New Democratic Party, the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois (dedicated to dissolving the country), and the Green Party. The Green Party’s leader happens to be a woman, a very smart, eloquent, quick-witted woman named Elizabeth May.

Now here’s the annoying thing. Elizabeth May was only allowed to participate in one of these debates, the first one, which happened to be hosted by Maclean’s Magazine. May was a standout performer, stole the show.

YouTube Preview Image

After that, the leadership debates became nothing but a white guys’ club.

debateWhite guys in suits. This is a photo from last night’s debate. The guy in the middle, I think, is the moderator. A cringe-worthy photo if I ever saw one. Image via the Montreal Gazette.

And as debate after debate droned on, the fact that May was missing became more and more apparent, frustrating, and infuriating. WTF! May tried gamely to stay in the game by shadow-tweeting through the debates, but the media has paid less and less attention to her.

Whoever organized these events (several different organizations) let the Bloc Québécois (dedicated to dissolving the country — have I made that clear?) into the club but NOT THE WOMAN. Apparently, Elizabeth May is more of a threat than a party officially dedicated to dismantling the country.

Does this make any sense?

As a side note, I’d like to point out that Lynne Quarmby, who made multiple appearances on the pages of Numéro Cinq in years past as an artist, writer, and curator (you can look her up via the search bubble at the top right of the page), is running for the Green Party in the British Columbia riding of Burnaby North-Seymour.

I write this on impulse, I’ll probably regret it.

dg (annoyed and irritated)

Oct 012015


At the Top of the Page each month we bring back a selection of some of the most exciting pieces we’ve published in Numéro Cinq. This is part of our campaign to keep the spotlight on our writers and artists, to make sure their work is not forgotten (at too many sites, once you’re off the main page, once you drift into the archives, only Google can find you).

This month we’re featuring a handful (there are more!) of contributions from Numéro Cinq‘s special Irish feature Uimhir a Cúig, curated and edited by the inimitable and indefatigable Gerard Beirne. In the slider at the top of the page we have poetry, essays, memoirs, video, and fiction by Victoria Kennefick, Patrick Deeley, Thomas McCarthy, Belinda McKeon, Sarah Clancy, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, John MacKenna, Louise Manifold, and Kevin Barry. These are some of the liveliest writers and artists in Ireland today; three of them just appeared in Poetry‘s Young Irish Poets issue, proof that month after month we’re bringing the best of the best to NC’s readers.

There are many more, and more to come. Please take a moment to visit the Uimhir a Cúig page and leaf through them all.

Sep 302015

Logo large

Sentient, gifted writers needed at NC to help fill the vast void of things we don’t do or do enough of.

Also required: Facility with editing, uploading, and formatting on WordPress (this is a necessity, not an option — also don’t say you can learn it quickly).

It also helps if you have wide contacts and an eclectic taste in the field you curate.

NC is a growing magazine. We publish monthly issues. Our Alexa.com world rank is 540,000, down a bit from the spring when we briefly went under 400,000. This compares quite favourably with magazines that actually have, er, money and ads. (You can go to Alexa yourself and plug in the URL of your favourite magazine.)

Areas of expertise needed:

  • art
  • music
  • Mexican literature and art and music (all or one)
  • Quebec/French Canadian literature (we used to publish work in French but lost our curator)
  • translation

We are just fishing to see who might turn up. There is no pay, only the glory. NC can safely claim to be one of the best online literary magazine anywhere.

Duties: Coming up with story ideas, curating posts, doing interviews, perhaps more. Once you gain our confidence, once you’re on the inside, you have a lot of free rein. (As long as you can punctuate.)

If interested, write to editor@numerocinqmagazine.com and let us know what you think you might be able to do.

Sep 282015
photo 2

Jaki McCarrick

Apparently, there’s no stopping our Uimhir a Cúig featured writers. A new play, Bohemians, by Jaki McCarrick was performed on September 19 as part of the Artemisia Fall Festival, Chicago: “A noted female poet/punk rocker, a la Patti Smith, struggles with a stalled career after personal tragedy hits; she and those in her world find that getting old in a youth-obsessed New York ain’t for sissies.” Interviewed in The Irish Independent Jaki says: ‘I am delighted to work with Artemisia on my new play, Bohemians. I mean, what’s not to like? This is the team that pretty much knocked Chicago’s socks off with their production of Belfast Girls. So I am ecstatic that they have agreed, once again, to commit actors to staging my words and include my new piece in the company’s Fifth Fall Festival of Plays!”  Meanwhile her previous plays (A Border Trilogy: 3 new plays published by Samuel French, 2 set on the Irish border, 1 with a borderlands antagonist) are now available to purchase.

Lucinda Sly by John MacKenna

Lucinda Sly by John MacKenna

John MacKenna’s new play, Lucinda Sly (a tale of love, lust, land and murder) is on a nationwide tour of Ireland. You can listen to John here on The Mooney Show, RTE Radio 1 talking about the tour.

Nuala Ni Chonchuir, writing as Nuala O’Connor, is receiving rave reviews for her latest novel, Miss Emily, published by Penguin USA and Canada: “Miss Emily reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.”

miss emily

“…Irish writer Nuala O’Connor breathes new life into reclusive poet Emily Dickinson in her mesmerizing U.S. debut. Like one of Dickinson’s poems, the deceptively simple narrative packs a powerful punch…” Margaret Flanagan in Booklist. Read the Irish Times review here.

You can also read interviews with Nuala at Libran Writer and at Writing.ie where she discusses researching the novel.


As if that wasn’t enough, Nuala is included in the recently published The Long Gaze Back – An Anthology of Irish Women Writers (New Island Press) edited by Sinead Gleeson.  The anthology also includes Belinda McKeon (featured in Uimhir last November). Coincidentally, Belinda recently edited another anthology, A Kind of Compass: Stories on Distance (Tramp Press) which featured our very first Uimhir writer, Kevin Barry (who naturally enough has a new novel forthcoming, Beatlebone – a surreal work narrating John Lennon’s escape from New York City to an island off the west coast of Ireland). Belinda also published her latest novel, Tender, to great acclaim “Immersive, unflinching yet humane…richly nuanced and utterly absorbing” The Guardian “There is simply not a false note anywhere in Tender…a work rich with wisdom, truth and beauty.” The Irish Times

And there’s more. I was thrilled to see that Poetry‘s recent Young Irish Poets issue included both Victoria Kennefick & Doireann Ni Ghriofa  alongside Thomas McCarthy’s fine essay, Poetry and the Memory of Fame – On accidental anonymity.

And then some – Patrick Deeley’s memoir, A Callow’s Childhood,  has since has been accepted by Doubleday Ireland for publication next April with their parent company, Transworld, interested in buying the world rights. As Patrick said, “The extract published in Numero Cinq helped put the memoir in the shop window,” and for that I could not be happier.

—Gerard Beirne

Sep 262015

The Wounded Angel | Hugo Simberg 1903 via Wikipedia

Gorgeous issue, bumper crop of fiction, beautiful essays, important reviews, everything suffused with a significant melancholy and a glimmer of hope in the transformative nature of art. We are all wounded angels being taken in for repair.

The painting above, by Finnish artist Hugo Simberg, is one of the illustrations from Paul Pines’ essay “Trolling with the Fisher King: The Archaeology of Dreams,” wherein the author, a poet and psychotherapist, engages his obsession with the mythic figure of the Fisher King, the wounded king of the Grail legends, an ancient, deeply mysterious image of sickness, transformation, and regeneration.

For several years after returning from Vietnam to the bewildering streets of New York’s lower East Side, I spent hours every morning at Nick’s Diner on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 4th Street recording dreams. The images that I brought back nightly from sleep, embedded in dramas that pointed to meanings I could almost but not quite understand, were irresistible and relentless. The old Greek proprietor in his lightly stained white apron and half smoked cigarette, the pale blue eyes peeking out of thick, black rimmed glasses was a guardian at the gate. At Nick’s I could sink into my dream-world and feel safe. —Paul Pines

Noy Holland

Noy Holland

Ben Woodard has, in the October issue, a major interview with Noy Holland, and we have a piece of her new novel Bird to go with the interview. Holland is often mentioned in the same breath as Gordon Lish, as one who came under his influence, and this, of course, extends NC’s ongoing exploration of all things Lishian. We also in this issue two stories from Greg Mulcahy (interviewed in the August issue), who also worked with Lish (Greg and I were being edited simultaneously by Lish in 1993 at Alfred A.Knopf).

She thinks of a boy in Kansas hung up on a swing, cripple boy, a boy they saw once, a little rope swing, a log on a rope, among the shadows. Among the signs. She and Mickey drove a Drive Away out, setting out from Brooklyn, dark, when the stars lined up how they sometimes do and anything you look at, everything’s a sign. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP, the sign says. It says, Move while you still can. —Noy Holland, from Bird


Michel Houellebecq

Frank Richardson has written for us what amounts to the best review/introduction to the work of  French novelist Michel Houellebecq I have ever read, the first review that put the emphasis on Houellebecq as writer and not simply as controversialist.

Submission is a chimera. It is a quest story, political fiction, philosophical investigation, and dark comedy. Houellebecq is a master of the somber joke, for example: “While I was waiting to die, I still had the Journal of Nineteenth-Century Studies” (39); “It’s hard to understand other people, to know what’s hidden in their hearts, and without the assistance of alcohol it might never be done at all.” —Frank Richardson


Greg Mulcahy

And, yes, two stories by Greg Mulcahy, brilliant in the short form, brilliant with irony inscribed in the grammar and le mot juste. As I say, we interviewed him in August. Wonderful to have some fiction to add to the interview.

Singer had a chromed .25, cheap, from his youth, more an idea or sentiment than credible weapon, but Singer was glad to have it. Singer pulled it aggressively and yelled some obscenity-laced threats Singer had probably heard in a movie. —Greg Mulcahy


Claire Hennessy

Also from Ireland, Gerard Beirne’s monthly toast to the green, we have a story from Claire Hennessy, who, along with Laura Jane Cassidy and Eimear Ryan, recently launched the hot new online lit mag Banshee.

She used to imagine going to the Debs with him. Not just that, but other nights, other events. Maybe weddings, even, one day. Maybe. She used to imagine the romance, the magic. Rose petals on a hotel bed and his blue eyes fixed on hers as he slotted inside her, all so stupidly movie-like now she wants to slap her past self. She used to imagine he’d tell her she was beautiful, and that she’d know it was right. —Claire Hennessy

Victoria Best small photo

Victoria Best

Oscar Wilde wrote an essay in favour of lying, and Victoria Best’s contribution to this issue extends the conceit, only she had something to lie about — suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she too long kept a secret that seriously redisposed her life. Weaving literary reference and her personal recollections, she composes here a brilliant text on being wounded and the necessity of fiction.

The thing about lies – or we can call them stories if you prefer – is that they are just too essential to our survival to be given up. They hold cherished parts of ourselves that have been driven out of sight; they allow us to express the truth of experiences that no facts can convey; they are often the repositories for realities that no one really wants to face. We want the lie to be a unit of genre fiction, a nice, clear readable chunk of badness, when really it is a highly complex literary construct. A thing of layers and implications and irresolvable paradox. And in the desire to master our lives, to be the people we want to be, and to explain ourselves as best we can, we all get really good at them. —Victoria Best

Julie Trimingham is obsessed with nothing. A small topic, a mere nothing, you might think. But she knew a physicist who shared her passion for, well, nothing. Lawrence Krauss and Julie Trimingham here combine interview with essay to make something out of nothing (ah, the trick of art, isn’t it?).

The simplest kind of nothing is–which is in fact, I would claim, the nothing of the Bible–is emptiness, is an empty void, space containing nothing, infinite dark. No particles, no radiation, just empty space. But then there’s the kind of nothing which is more deep, which is no space itself and no time itself. —Lawrence Krauss

Darrel J. McLeod

We have in this issue, honoured to have it, the first published story by Cree author Darrel J. McLeod (who began life in a trapper’s cabin in northern Alberta), a moving account, based on Darrel’s family experience, of native children being transported to a residential school and, miraculously, escaping. This is a little story of triumph amid a long history of defeat, a sign of hope.

Early that morning, ­just before breakfast, were caught again – talking Cree. Bertha had found herself alone, one on one, with Margaret and so she whispered to her fervently for a few stolen moments. They huddled to one side of a statue of the Virgin Mary, which sat on a large pedestal at the end of the main hallway. “Ninohte Nigawi, ninohte Nigawi” Bertha mumbled over and over, squinting to hold back tears. Margaret cooed as she ran her fingers through Bertha’s hair, then gently wiped away a single tear.  —Darrel J. McLeod

Lumia Selfie alkalmazással készítve

Also a double introduction: an exciting, compulsively readable short story of pre- and post-Iron Curtain Romania by a tremendous ethnic Hungarian writer, Zsolt Láng, and the first piece in NC by Romanian translator Erika Mihálycsa, who already has two more texts scheduled to appear in the magazine. (This all started when Erika submitted a What It’s Like Living Here piece, how we discovered her — wonderful discovery.)

In Ildikó’s head the pain is growing unbearable. It occurs to her she should turn around, go back up to her apartment, call Ervin to tell him straightaway that there is something more she needs to tell him about Pista Tavi that bears no delay, but which she will only tell if… Then something bursts in her head. With eyes wide open she acknowledges how the pain disappears at once. So suddenly as if it were a sign. A sign urging her not to go back, to leave Ervin alone, to forget everything, start a new life, step onstage again, play all the roles she had never played, to play as she alone can play. —Zsolt Láng

pre and beach 7 11 092

For poetry in this issue, we have the third and final installment of David Spitzer’s  “Genealogy of the First Person”, a poem that is both epic, an engagement with three characters from the book of Genesis, and phenomenological, an exploration of the construction of the self. Mystical, brilliant poetry, sublime intellect.

I begin in another name, a name
clung to wings of flame, to
a body of fire. —D. M. Spitzer

author pic Shane Jones

Also new original fiction from Shane Jones, whose work we have twice reviewed on these pages.

At my father’s house I noticed the large wooden sculpture he had added onto for years. Nick and I jokingly referred to this as the, “burial ladders,” because there was something intrinsically morbid about them, purchased from a local gardening warehouse shortly after the death of our mother at fifty percent off. —Shane Jones


And an omnibus review by Jeff Bursey of two major works on the late great (neglected) William Gaddis.

With the movement of Gaddis from an outlier to a National Book Award winner for J R—or, alternately, now a writer who, in Moore’s view, is “anchored in America’s literary traditions” that include Hawthorne, Melville, and Twain—his position in the literary world should have been secured, but his second wife decamped a few years later and he was in debt from advances for a novel that had taken many years to write and, despite the award, did not sell well. —Jeff Bursey

And there is more! NC at the Movies, a review of the latest J. M. Coetzee by Jason DeYoung and yet another review, this one of Bill Hayward’s monumental new memoir in photographs, Chasing Dragons.


Sep 252015

via Dark Mountain Project

Feeling dyspeptic and spiritually ulcerated this morning at the downturn in Donald Trump’s polling. Very much in tune with the despairing tone of the Dark Mountain Project (post-ecological disaster thought) Manifesto. The DMP is an estimable community (except for when they dress up in fantasy old-timey clothes). The manifesto is sometimes quite lorn and beautiful, one loves being reminded of Robinson Jeffers’s poems, also Joseph Conrad’s general take on the decline of Western civ.

But then, you know, there is a lot of what I call decline-porn these days.

E.g. This teaser para taken from the manifesto sounds terrifying and truthful up to the point when it begins to sound like a Hollywood movie treatment.

But still…


It is, it seems, our civilization’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality. There is a fall coming. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight — Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.

Read the rest of the Dark Mountain Project Manifesto here.

Sep 232015

Such pleasant news from the NY Times. E-book sales dropping!

Now, there are signs that some e-book adopters are returning to print, or becoming hybrid readers, who juggle devices and paper. E-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers, which collects data from nearly 1,200 publishers. Digital books accounted last year for around 20 percent of the market, roughly the same as they did a few years ago.

E-books’ declining popularity may signal that publishing, while not immune to technological upheaval, will weather the tidal wave of digital technology better than other forms of media, like music and television.

Read the rest @ The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead @ NY Times


Sep 142015

Logo large

Sentient, gifted writers needed at NC to help fill the vast void of things we don’t do or do enough of.

Also required: Facility with editing, uploading, and formatting on WordPress (this is a necessity, not an option — also don’t say you can learn it quickly).

It also helps if you have wide contacts and an eclectic taste in the field you curate.

Areas of expertise needed:

  • art
  • music
  • Mexican literature and art and music (all or one)
  • Quebec/French Canadian literature (we used to publish work in French but lost our curator)
  • translation

We are just fishing to see who might turn up. There is no pay, only the glory.  NC can safely claim to be one of the best online literary magazine anywhere.

Duties: Coming up with story ideas, curating posts, doing interviews, perhaps more. Once you gain our confidence, once you’re on the inside, you have a lot of free rein. (As long as you can punctuate.)

If interested, write to editor@numerocinqmagazine.com and let us know what you think you might be able to do.

Sep 112015


Over at BOMB, Justin Taylor analyzes two of Sam Lipsyte’s stories, “The Climber Room” and “This Appointment Occurs In the Past.”  It’s a sharp discourse on plot and acoustics.  Taylor writes:

One of my favorite books of short fiction from the last few years is Sam Lipsyte’s The Fun Parts (FSG, 2013). I often assign stories from it in my workshops and have been waiting for an opportunity to teach the whole collection. The major obstacle to this was that, for a while, I was doing a lot of my teaching at Columbia, where Lipsyte also teaches and where, for reasons never quite made explicit, but which I’ve always understood to include upholding propriety and guarding against insularity, instructors are discouraged from assigning one another’s books. But now I’ve moved to the other side of the country—to Portland, Oregon—and started teaching in a low-residency MFA program, ironically enough (or perhaps not quite ironically enough) based back in the Northeast, at Western New England University. The Fun Parts was the first book I chose to assign.

I thought I ought to say a few words to my students about why I chose this book, and what I hoped they would take from it, so I wrote them an email extolling its virtues, Lipsyte’s prose chief among them. My program director asked if I might further elucidate what, exactly, I admired about said prose, by choosing a sentence to read closely as a demonstration. I was happy to oblige her, and chose the following passage from “The Climber Room.”

She wanted a baby. That was all. She still believed everything she believed, cultivated privacy and solitude, and, despite her attachment to the Sweet Apple tykes, believed childlessness the noble course (yes, your kid might cure cancer, but probably he’d grow up to play video games or, if the world followed its current path, huddle in a gulch slurping gulchwater and recalling the magnificence of video games). But she wanted a baby.

Here was my analysis: There’s a lot to love in Lipsyte’s long loopy sentence, rich as it is with harsh jokes and wild asides. One thing I love is that it is neither sloppy nor slack. There’s a secret minimalism at work below the surface of his flashy, fast-moving prose, perhaps best embodied in the phrase “huddle in a gulch slurping gulchwater.” The phrase is bound tightly together by the short “u” sound that recurs in five of the six words (even the “a” sounds like an “uh” here) and the repetition of “gulch,” an inherently absurd-ish word that is also rich with music. The short sentences on either side of the long one serve as its frame. Those first two sentences are simple, declarative, seemingly definitive, four and three words respectively—small and getting smaller, a done deal. Then the third sentence explodes: sixty words of half-unhinged hopes and fears, all in the self-hectoring rhythm of human thought, culminating in a horrific vision of a hypothetical child in a post-cataclysmic ditch, which ought to be enough to spook anyone out of procreating—only it’s not. “But she wanted a baby” says the fourth sentence, five words reprising the blunt structure and declarative tone of those first two sentences. Syntax, word choice, and narrative flow are all mutually reinforcing and enhance each other to make the passage’s point: This woman is arguing with herself and losing. She wants something that she does not want to want.

Read the rest here.

—Jason DeYoung

Sep 062015

YouTube Preview Image

Canada is in the midst of a federal election campaign but apparently suffering from Trump envy. Not to be outdone, a Conservative Party (the current ruling party) candidate managed to get himself on film peeing into a client’s coffee cup and pouring it into the kitchen sink.

“I deeply regret my actions on that day,” says the candidate now.

Something NC could not resist.

And there is an absolutely hilarious Twitter thing going on at #peegate.

CBC Television has the video and a story here. But we also have the video above. Click to watch.

Conservative candidate Jerry Bance was caught on CBC-TV’s Marketplace in 2012 urinating in a homeowner’s coffee mug and dumping the contents into the sink.

Bance, the Conservative candidate for the battleground Toronto riding of Scarborough Rouge Park, has been a service technician for the last 25 years. He owns and operates XPress Appliance Service, an appliance repair company in the Greater Toronto Area.

Read and watch the rest @CBC: ‘I deeply regret my actions on that day’

Sep 012015
Tiara Winter-Schorr2

Tiara Winter-Schorr

At the Top of the Page each month we bring back a selection of some of the most exciting pieces we’ve published in Numéro Cinq. This is part of our campaign to keep the spotlight on our writers and artists, to make sure their work is not forgotten (at too many sites, once you’re off the main page, once you drift into the archives, only Google can find you).

This month we’re featuring a handful of memoirs from our Childhood page, essays by Tiara Winter-Schorr, Eric Foley, Hilary Mullins (with photographs by Bill Hayward), Patrick Deeley, Kim Aubrey, and Keith Maillard. These are beautifully written, poignant, and even shocking evocations of the life of children–innocence, betrayal, loss.

We’ve been gathering this memoirs almost from the magazine’s first issue. There are many more, and more to come. Please take a moment to visit the Childhood page and leaf through them all.

with my brothers

Kim Aubrey and her brothers

Aug 262015
Women wearing crinolines set on fire, ca. 1860

Crinolines set on fire, ca. 1860, lithograph

Burning women. It’s not a joke. Remember Miss Havisham burning to death in Great Expectations? This happened a lot in the 19th century due to the presence of open fires, candles, oil lamps, and highly flammable undergarments for women. I know this because I looked it up after reading Julian Hanna’s essay “Death by Fire: The Secret of the Wilde Sisters” in the NC’s September issue. Part memoir, part detective story, “Death by Fire” details Hanna’s investigation into Oscar Wilde’s half-sisters (kept hidden away by the family) who both burned to death at the same party. One sister caught fire, the other tried to save her and was fatally burned as well. Gruesome reading, not only because of the fire deaths, but also because it tells you a lot about the social fate of women. Hanna writes so well, it’s a mystery how something so awful can lift the heart.

But the issue is also chock full of fiery women of a different sort, the metaphorical sort.

Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral

Julie Larios returns with another of her Undersung series, a lovely and personal essay on the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, whose poems are a wonderful surprise to me — every one of Julie’s essays in the series is a surprise and a doorway into delight, but Mistral is something else. If you read anything in this issue, read this essay. And then go out and track down Mistral’s poems.

The series of poems called “locas mujeres” (crazy women), which includes some of my favorites, was published in Lagar (Winepress), Mistral’s last book of poems. By then, she had lost not only her lover but several friends and a well-loved adopted son to suicide. I have an unpublished manuscript of poems for adults titled “The Madwoman”; it’s only natural I would be drawn to those poems of Mistral’s. Looking at a woman’s perspective on the ordinary objects and routines of this world, once she has some kind of emotional and mental dislocation, is intriguing to me, though not quite as personally motivated as it was for Mistral.


Fleda Brown

The last time Fleda Brown appeared in the magazine she was writing essays (“Unruffled” and “Books Made of Paper“) and being treated for cancer. Now she returns as a poet, a fiery woman in her own right. writing about, among other things, cancer treatment, a plangent cry of spirit over death.

The molecule that oddly binds to a cell’s
hollow tubes, that holds them in paralysis, that stops
…………..their wild replication.

That requires all the bark from one rare yew
in the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest to save
…………..one person. Also the home

of the rare northern spotted owl.
Now you’re up against the press of need, of cost.
………….The bloody essence, the drug-war


From translators Brendan Riley and Susana Fabrés, we have heart-aching poems by the brilliant Catalan poet Rossend Bonás Miró, who hollows you out with precise moments of pain and then makes them beautiful.

How to describe the tense
and tightly wrapped pain
a dark cocoon
after a definitive separation?

The wind carries away the work of years
and the intimate pleasure of mutual company.

Mark Jay Mirsky

Mark Jay Mirsky

A rare, rare treat, and something of a coup for the magazine — we have a splendid short story by the legendary Mark Jay Mirsky who founded the journal Fiction, in 1972 with Donald Barthelme and Max Frisch (among others). Mirsky has been its editor-in-chief ever since (dg can’t even calculate in his heard how many years that is — a lot). Mirsky has published several works of fiction as well as academic tomes. His latest novel is called Puddingstone He is also something of a Robert Musil expert, having edited the English edition of the Diaries. It’s a privilege for us to have him here.

Her nose twitches. She is still insecure about not attending an Ivy League institution. Good! It’s unfair, cruel, but for a moment you have her. “‘Laughing among themselves,’ Dante tells us, the women exchange secrets in the street. One of their schoolmates is now locked behind the bedroom doors of marriage, but she, Beatrice, obviously confides to these abettors of Love, instructors in the arts of mystical courtship. Dante has advertised his broken heart. Prepared himself with wan expression, suppressed groans as these daughters of the best families approach. Courteously, he pretends to encounter them by accident.

Kathy Page2

Kathy Page

And we have a new story “Open Water” by Kathy Page, about free diving and life.

In training, the body is pushed beyond its limits. It suffers, then reconstitutes itself. Muscles strengthen and develop a tolerance to lactic acid. Lung-capacity increases. The heart grows in size. At the same time, understanding of the stroke accumulates. Young swimmers begin with a general impression, and move into the detail. As each new element is assimilated, the swimmer reaches a plateau, or even loses ground before progressing further. The mind too must remake itself.

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges

Something new for NC, a venture into the discourse of politics, globalization, and revolution. Tom Faure does a spritely,  erudite, and superbly intelligent job of reviewing Chris Hedges new book Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.

Hedges posits that revolutions happen, not when the people are subdued by total abjection, but rather when they have had a glimmer of hope. Raised expectations follow technical innovations and a rise in the standard of living—this is when the failings of the state, and its all-too-frequent efforts to smother dissent, fuel the fire of rebellion. Much of the battle is invisible, residing in the language and metaphors of the people.

Martin Dean

Martin Dean

Urban, urbane, dystopian poems from Londoner Martin Dean —

God that desperate lust to write won’t go until
you give up hope and then at last /can/ write, dispossessed
and outsidered, lost,
your legs take you, and what you hunted
is with you everywhere.

16_BBallengee_w_great turtle

Brendon Ballengée

We also have another terrific artist interview from Darren Higgins. This time New York-based artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée is the subject, his art a nexus of history, biology, ecology, and nostalgia (for what is erased, lost, extinct).

Last spring’s Armory Show in Manhattan brought welcome attention to Brandon’s work, specifically to one of his various ongoing projects, Frameworks of Absence. Since 2006 he’s been researching animals that have gone extinct in the Americas over the past four centuries, selecting prints contemporaneous with the species’ demise and then painstakingly cutting the creature’s image from the page, leaving a hole.

There are holes everywhere.

Larry Fondation

Larry Fondation

Also an essay, a novel excerpt, and two short stories by the American experimental writer Larry Fondation. The essay is a statement of the author’s theoretical concerns, especially for what he nominates the ensemble novel. He writes stories that evidence his interest in poverty and contemporary dystopianism.

We fuck in the dark hotel. Nobody’s paid the electric bill, nor for running water. Darkness is so romantic, candlelight hard to find. Moonlight is scarce. Her thighs are so pale they shine.

Nothing changes.

Little changes.

Everything changes.

The tent I pitch is not my own.

There is more, much more; Ben Woodard’s review of the latest Mia Couto, a new NC at the Movies, Natalie Helberg on The Story of O, and a new Uimhir a Cúig.

And maybe even more than that! All is flux, as Heraclitus said.


Aug 262015




Richard Farrell

When the American general Curtis Lemay orders the firebombing of Tokyo in spring of 1945, America’s doctrine of warfare changes forever.  Hunger Mountain has just published Numéro Cinq Associate Editor Richard Farrell‘s new story “Total War” in its August Masculinity Issue. “Total War” chronicles the “deadliest night in human history,” when the Japanese capital city was reduced to ashes and more than 100,000 men, women, and children were incinerated. This apocalyptic raid unfolds from the perspectives of a bomber pilot, an opium addicted peg-legged adjutant, and three Chamorro boys on the island of Guam.

Remiker slides his palm along the silver B-29’s smooth, sizzling belly. He counts a dozen flush rivets with his finger before climbing through the forward hatch. A third-generation West Pointer, he carries a creased photo of his wife and two young sons in his flight suit pocket, tucked between his survival knife and crew light.

A year ago, Remiker was an instructor pilot in Oklahoma; now he’s a war-seasoned aviator. He loves the job. He loves his crew like family. He loves flying the complex sixty-ton bombers—the newest planes in the war. He loves the long hours in flight, the procedures and planning. He even loves the risk, the fight, the chance to stare Death in the eye and not flinch. He’s figured out how to use fear to his advantage.

“All the great ones loved fear,” his father once told him. And so he does.

Remiker’s father tasted mustard gas under Blackjack Pershing, and his grandfather took a musket ball in the neck holding Jubal Early’s line at First Manassas. Remiker doesn’t think his brand of valor measures up to his heritage and he’s the first to say so. For an officer with a Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart, this is hardly a logical conclusion, but he never sidesteps his own shortcomings.

Remiker climbs up a narrow ladder through a twelve-foot tube that leads to the cockpit. Inside, the sweltering plane melts like a candle, spicing the air with aromas of hydraulic fluid, engine oil, and canvas seating. There’s also a stronger odor today, an overwhelming blast of kerosene coming from the bomb bay. 

Read the rest at Hunger Mountain.

Aug 232015

Douglas Glover has a brief window open for a small number of selected private writing students.  Authors interested in having a prose ms consult or studying with dg on an ongoing basis, please send particulars (writing background, project description) to editor@numerocinqmagazine.com. Don’t send your ms with your initial communication.




Aug 192015

via Science Daily

Gosh! Who would have thought, given how peacefully humans live together today, that our ancient ancestors practiced massacre, torture, and rape, that there are mass graves dating back thousands of years? We certainly have come a long way!

(This is from my morning reads. Couldn’t resist. Suits my mood.)


Besides various types of (bone) injuries caused by arrows, they also found many cases of massive damage to the head, face and teeth, some inflicted on the victims shortly before or after their death. In addition, the attackers systematically broke their victims’ legs, pointing to torture and deliberate mutilation. Only few female remains were found, which further indicates that women were not actively involved in the fighting and that they were possibly abducted by the attackers.

The authors of the study thus presume that such massacres were not isolated occurrences but represented frequent features of the early Central European Neolithic period.

Read the rest at Science Daily: Massacres, torture and mutilation: Extreme violence in neolithic conflicts

Aug 112015


There is a tide and time in the lives of chickens, as there is in the lives of men and women. Many of you have watched the rise and fall of the hen population on the farm with amusement and sympathy. But things have gone south. In late spring, a Cooper’s Hawk took the third to last hen. Then the second to last fell sick and died (they were all getting old for chickens). And finally Jean broke her hip a few weeks ago (um, she’s 94), putting an end to plans for repopulation. Chickens are social animals and aren’t happy on their own. While Jean was AWOL in the hospital, I got in touch with Amber Homeniuk, poet (see her poems in the current issue) and Jean’s favourite chicken expert, who offered to rescue ours.

Here we have images and video of the last moments. Amber came prepared with a chicken carrier, also sliced grapes and chicken feed. And you can tell from the video what a gentle and reassuring animal wrangler she is.

Below the video is a collection of images Amber put together of the first moments at the other end of the exchange.

More about chickens than you ever wanted to know, right? But I’ll miss them. Surprising, sociable creatures. Nice to have around the place.



welcome, Jean's hen!

Welcome, Jean’s hen! Images by Amber Homeniuk