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Oct 262016

captureClick on the image to go to the Canada Council site.

Congratulations and felicitations to Steven Heighton for winning this year’s Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Steven has been a friend of the magazine since very early in its history. I have always admired and supported his work. He’s the real thing. And now he has the endorsement of official public acclaim. Truly well deserved.

You can check out Steven’s work (poetry, translation, aphorism, and fiction) on the magazine here:

The Devil’s Dictionary for Writers

Herself, Revised

Four Approximations of Horace

from Every Lost Country

A Right like Yours


And here is the NC interview with Steven:

Bushwacked by Inspiration: An Interview with Steven Heighton — Richard Farrell





Vol. II, No. 12, December 2011

Vol. II, No. 11, November 2011

Vol. II, No. 10, October 2011

Vol. II, No. 9. September 2011

Vol. II, No. 8, August 2011

Vol. II, No. 7, July 2011

Vol. II, No. 6, June 2011

Vol. II, No. 5, May 2011

Vol. II, No. 4, April 2011

Vol. II, No. 3, March 2011

Vol. II, No. 2, February 2011

Vol. II, No. 1, January 2011

Jul 092014

Robert GalRóbert Gál photo by Karel Cudlín

Herewith a selection of aphorisms from the Slovak writer Róbert Gál. Provocative, terse and paradoxical. They are thought crystallized in balanced contrasts, one of our favourite forms on Numéro Cinq (see earlier examples from Steven Heighton and Yahia Lababidi). Naked thought.  Gál writes: “The obvious blinds.” and “To give life meaning means to make something of it deliberately — and thereby go against it.” Think about them; they unfold and refold like intricate origami birds.



Awareness held back by experience baulks at discovery. ‘Expect nothing’ is the watchword of the condition in which to endure means to weather the onslaught of evolution. What else — unless we are contemplating suicide — can ‘die young’ mean?


The obvious blinds.


To give life meaning means to make something of it deliberately — and thereby go against it.




Bear life like offspring.


Memory — not the attribute, but the disposition — is the basic difference between one who thinks and one who is ‘having fun’.


Affinity confines.


Tragic facts do not exist.


The ideal is what is ideal about something that is not itself ideal.


The creativity of the Devil, or God’s loyalty to what He has created?


Aptitude for an action depends on the aptness of the act.


We neither enter the past nor exit the future.


Love with experimental elements is not love. An experiment with amorous elements is not an experiment.


Having no content, they seek form, and that makes them insatiable.


Borne down by the weight of wings.


When can we assert that this or that boomerang will still come back, and when do boomerangs merely come back?


Playing with fire is dangerous for the fire.


Going round in circles induces the sense of a circle even where there isn’t one.


Which comes first? The fall or the abyss?


Róbert Gál , Translated from the Slovak by David Short


Róbert Gál was born in 1968 in Bratislava, Slovakia. He now lives in Prague, after having resided in numerous cities around the world, including New York and Jerusalem. He is the author of several books of aphorisms and philosophical fragments, one of which, Signs & Symptoms, is available in English translation.


Jul 232012

The aphorism is an ancient form, much ignored in the world of creative writing courses and commercial publishing but incredibly valuable in a writer’s repertoire of tools for its air of wisdom or arrogance. There is nothing like an aphorism in a piece of prose to nail a theme or a revery, to add wit and vigor. Numéro Cinq is trying to patch up the cultural hole. We have published original aphorisms (from The Devil’s Dictionary for Writers) by Steven Heighton and a collection of Russian aphorisms translated by Alex Cigale. And who can forget our aphorism contests (from the long gone days when we had energy to run contests — perhaps they will resurrect themselves)? Yahia Lababidi is an Egyptian-born aphorist, poet and essayist, a self-styled sayer of wise truths and provocative barbs. It’s a huge pleasure to present here a small selection of his oeuvre. See also below a link to an interview/conversation with Alex Stein on writing aphorisms.




A poem arrives like a hand in the dark.


The air is dense with stray spirits, swarming for soul.


Heart like a minefield, one misstep and…


Our life is like a long day; it’s easier to fall sleep if we have remained awake.


Every day we’re offered this world or the next; but one cannot be myopic and farsighted at once.


Sometimes presence of mind is to take a leave of absence.


Just be yourself, they say.  Which one, I think?


Part of the definition of an aphorist is one who spots aphorisms, and loosens them from the prose — the way Michelangelo described his sculpting process as freeing the angel from the marble.


Artists are parasites. Their independence is a myth tolerated by countless hosts.


What often strikes us in quotations is ourselves. How these great, dead writers could articulate our innermost longing before us.


Certain cherished books are like old loves. We didn’t part on bad terms; but it’s complicated, and would require too much effort to resume relations.


There is such a thing as spiritual clutter and hoarding, too.


Metaphysics: a fury for allegory.


Best not flirt with disaster lest she decide to commit.

— Yahia Lababidi

Egyptian-born, Yahia Lababidi is the author of three collections:  Signposts to Elsewhere (aphorisms), Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Bellydancing (essays) and Fever Dreams (poetry). Lababidi’s work has been widely published in US and international journals as well as being translated into several languages, including: Hebrew, Slovak, Spanish, German, and Italian. A juror for the 2012 Neustadt Prize for International Literature, his latest book project is a series of ecstatic, literary dialogues with Alex Stein, titled:  The Artist as Mystic: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi.

Here is a link to a conversation from The Artist as Mystic, where the author discusses how he began writing aphorisms (among other things).

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