Arc 86 Summer 2018  Celebrating the 2018 Poem of the Year and Arc's 40th Anniversary

The summer issue of Arc celebrates the 2018 Poem of the Year Contest and Arc’s 40th Anniversary.

In This Issue

Congratulations to Leah Horlick, winner of the 2018 Poem of the Year with her poem “You Are My Hiding Place,” and to Shaun Robinson for his honourable mention poem “How Soon, How Likely, How Severe.” Here are some of the thoughts that convinced the editorial team that these two poems deserve recognition:

Leah Horlick’s “You Are My Hiding Place” reads like an anti-psalm. The poem contains superb imagery—such as the hole’s “chatter[ing]” teeth—and allows us to think about how trauma comes through generations in mysterious ways. Even though the need to hide ends, the ramifications of this need go unresolved—with historical echoes that are unpredictable, non-linear, and sometimes surreal. The poem’s hanging “if” clauses create a sense of horror and reveal much craft, as this technique is used often by poets but rarely this deftly. With a sense of vulnerability and desperation, the poem yields a visceral and contemplative reading experience.

Shaun Robinson’s well-titled and economical poem, “How Soon, How Likely, How Severe,” is extremely realistic, veering away from the romantic while managing to “approac[h] an interface with the unspoken.” The language draws readers in immediately, with sensory details that capture a particular moment in time. The poem speaks to incipient trauma, and the image of “wak[ing] up pawing the hotel carpet / for hot spots” burns into one’s memory. This poem becomes richer with every read.

The people spoke up and selected Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang’s “Women’s work” as the recipient of the Readers’ Choice award. Congratulations again to all of the winners and to everyone on the shortlist, all of which is contained in Arc 86.


The summer issue also contains a feature celebrating Arc’s 40th anniversary. We asked three important editors from Arc’s past—Christopher Levenson, John Barton, and Anita Lahey—to write about their experiences during their time with Arc. We have also compiled a list of Arc’s past editors and editorial boards, all of whom have contributed their time and talent to keeping Arc relevant and reflective of the evolving Canadian poetry scene through the years. Part I—editors from the first 25 years and first 50 issues of the magazine—is now online, with Part II to follow shortly.


Another part of our celebration of Arc’s 40 years of publication is a reflection on our past four decades from four contemporary poets in Canada’s literary scene. Vera Wabegijig, Carolyn Marie Souaid, Jeff Latosik, and Faith Arkorful each received one decade of Arc’s publications and selected one poem to reprint in Arc’s Summer 2018 issue alongside their own response poem. With one eye looking back, Arc is also looking forward at the horizon of Canadian poetry, eager to see and read what’s coming next.


Don’t forget to check out the rest of the issue, including:

  • Three essays that will take you around the world from your favourite reading chair;
  • A tease of new poems from A. F. Moritz, Billeh Nickerson, and Mallory Tater;
  • JM Francheteau’s review of Suzannah Showler’s Thing Is (McClelland & Stewart, 2017); and
  • Experimental landscape paintings from Wakefield, QC artist Gavin Lynch.
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