Blood + Aphorisms
(Literary Journal; Toronto, Canada; quarterly)

You're probably a little nervous about the name: Blood + Aphorisms sounds suspiciously like a Goth lifestyle mag doesn't it? Thankfully, with no disrespect to Ann Rice fans everywhere, its nothing of the sort. Instead, it's a (I wanna say hep but won't) quarterly journal of literary fiction. Now, now. Don't let that scare you either.

Launched 5 years ago by Toronto residents Tim Paleczny and Sam Hiyate (he has since gone on to start Gutter, the small literary press that rescued The Quarterly), Blood + Aphorisms and its demographically desirable staff have dedicated themselves to discovering new writers, breaking new ground in the staid world of literary journals, and finding new audiences for both.

Each issue features gobs of stories by new young (and mostly previously unpublished) writers, along with author interviews, book reviews, and essays. As with any publication that deals with unknown writers, B+A's offerings are a little uneven, with the scales mercifully tipped towards the pleasant surprise.

Their most recent issue (No. 23) featured the winners of their annual fiction contest—this year judged by Susan Swann (The Wives of Bath, 1993)—as well as still more original fiction and an interview with badgirl Canadian author Barbara Gowdy (We So Seldom Look on Love.)

Along with placing faith in up and coming writers, the magazine's format itself is part of the new ground they're trying to break. Rather than publishing an expensive perfect bound book, the kind favored by most literary journals, B+A went for the more plebeian 8 1/2-by-11 glossy format. Egad! The design and layout is equally free of stodge: it's a controlled Carson-esque affair (read-still readable) and STIM's own artgurl said, "their logo rocks!"

And I hear they throw great launch parties.

Blood + Aphorisms is available on newsstands or by subscription. One year ( 4 issues) will set you back $18. U.S. and overseas subscribers are asked to remit in U.S. dollars to cover the extra postage. P.O. Box 702, Station P, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2Y4

-Margie Borschke

Up Talk!