Jane Eaton Hamilton

"You can either live as if nothing is a miracle, or everything is." Albert Einstein

bill reads mama

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bill bissett reads jane eaton hamilton

at glad day books, toronto nov 2014

photo: JEH

New York days

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Portrait of Karl Sakovsek 1910 by Egon Shiele

Today the remarkable Neue Gallery show of 125 drawings by Egon Shiele on 5th Avenue at 86th Street.  As I wheeled myself around, the art project I plan to undertake in the new year came into focus.  I want to draw/paint a Shiele a day for a period of time and write about what it is like for a lesbian feminist to artistically engage with this gifted artist/pedophile.


New sketch

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 12.16.00 PMJane Eaton Hamilton 2014

(based on uncredited photo: if someone knows it, please let me know the tog)

Few more without models


JEH-TORONTO Glad Day poster

Reading with Judith Krause in Saskatoon

Saskatoon reading!  I hope you’ll tell your queer friends and come on out.


Hamilton Krause NO 28 2014 MRB Saskatoon.pdf


Congrats, and I’m off…

JEHBlue1by Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

Congrats to all the GG winners, especially to Thomas King, who once came to Saltspring Island with Leon Rooke to take my photograph, and to Arleen Paré, with whom I wrote in April for NoPo Mo.  (I also am interviewing Arleen for Brick Books about a poem in Lake of Two Mountains.)  Big big congrats to you all, and I’ll see you at the awards!

Off to Toronto for a reading at Glad Day, New York for the Shiele exhibit, Ottawa for the GGs, and Saskatoon for two readings.

Glad Day Bookshop

JEH-TORONTO Glad Day poster

Come on out!  Would love to see you.  My gay son, bill, has an exhibit of paintings up now, too!

PDF City

JEHAfter Shiele by Jane Eaton Hamilton November 2014

Hey, folks.  I just updated my “Pdfs of my work” page, so there’s a few more pieces to whet your appetites.  Let me know what you think if you read something!

New painting

JEHpaintingNov142014Well, this was fun.  This is acrylic on paper 9×12 using fine liner applicator and finger painting.   I am a little messy.

Rejections suck, but here’s what they’re saying

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You know those form letters you get from periodicals you submit to? Ever wondered if they have different tiers of them (they do), or whether to feel encouraged when you get one that says “Please try us again?”

Here’s a site where you can search for a specific periodical and find out what their slips say, and whether you’ve moved up a notch.

Rejection Wiki

As an example, here is the Alaska Quarterly Review:

Prose rejections

We thank you for the opportunity to read your manuscript. Unfortunately, your work does not meet our needs at this time. Because we know how much effort went into this submission, we regret the use of this form. But the volume of manuscripts we receive makes a personal reply impossible. The Editors [with a hand-written “Many Thanks”]

Higher Tier

Same text as standard, with a handwritten “Many thanks. Hope you’ll send more.”

Not sure if this is personal or form:

Thank you for the opportunity to consider your work. Although in the end we have decided that “The [Exploding] Arm” does not meet our needs at this time, please know your work was seriously considered. We sincerely hope you will continue to send more our way. Many Thanks, The Editors

Poetry rejections

We thank you for the opportunity to read your manuscript. Unfortunately, your work does not meet our needs at this time. Because we know how much effort went into this submission, we regret the use of this form. But the volume of manuscripts we receive makes a personal reply impossible. [Hand-written “Many Thanks”] The Editors

Higher Tier

none recorded



painting by Jane Eaton Hamilton 2013

The first few paragraphs of my short story “Acrobat.”



Giving me away for your mama was how it had to go, Jet, I couldn’t rock that cradle. (You said, Mama?) All of you a drum over blood, hot in a rocky shell, so protected you burned against asbestos, keeping your fires tight and banked.

That night coming into you from behind I wanted to hurt you. You thought it was later but it was that night, me inside you too hard and gritting my teeth, grinding myself up into you till you came from it like a tic, squeezing around me. In the place I was touching you were highly polished, a susceptible pink. I wanted to hurt you–I was in love with you.

Your mama would tell me leaving was clinical, a simple wound, a parting of skin, a small surgery. But your mama never stood with you under a piñata. You said, Mama? You told me to dream in colour, running the loops of my brain in blues and yellows.

Jet, I called it love and read all your bumps and valleys. I was willing. I took you in the bathtub, I took you up against the purple hallway wall. I said I was never tired. You were the one thing I had a story for. You weren’t pretty but I called you beautiful, Jet, you with the name that made me think of a vapour trails, that name you wore like jewellry, like the one earring in your ear of a lizard or a spider.

Can you afford to be a writer in Canada?

JEHmagnoliahyacinth, Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

Everyone knows how hard it is to get by as an author.  Income sources are cut back all the time.  It’s been shocking for me to re-enter the field when readings are barely compensated and copyright is not protected by our government or educational institutions.  Do you know the percentage of each sale that comes to the writer (many months later)?  Deborah Dundas at the Toronto Star opines…

Can you afford to be a writer? 

Queerly Canadian: The Books


sketch by Jane Eaton Hamilton 2013

49th Shelf has a list of queer Canadian books up.  I can think of a whole heck of a lot of books that are queer and not on it (including 6 of mine), but it’s still a great resource for anyone looking for some sweet bedtime reading.

49th Shelf



“If you don’t feel you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, or losing control of the whole thing, then what you’re writing probably isn’t very vital. If you don’t feel that you are writing over your head, why do it? If you don’t have some doubt of your authority to tell the story, then you’re not trying to tell enough.” John Irving

Yup, that would be me. Now. Every day. That feeling in my gut, my stomach, my esophagus, my chin. I am in so far over my head. Now, I am going to put this Irving quote up where I can see it and remind myself that this is how it is supposed to be.

Also, I will look at this photograph of a doorway which I took in the glow of Matisse’s water lilies at L’Orangerie, to still myself.

Glad Day Books, Toronto: Come to my book launch!

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Nov 20 8pm with the fabulous Nancy Jo Cullen, Elizabeth Ruth, Maureen Hynes and Tanis MacDonald!  How we’d love to have you join us.  Hope to see you there.

Glad Day Books

You’re so vain

Rebecca Markaii published this essay in Ploughshares about how common it is to recognize yourself in a writer’s work–and be mistaken.


Bloodline: for Diane Corkum 1955-1989

Excerpted from my collection, Body Rain.  In 1989, a few blocks from where I now sit, on Laurel Street in Vancouver, my friend Diane was shot through her sliding glass doors near Hallowe’en night, when everyone mistook the noise of the gunshot for fireworks.  Eventually (many years later) her brother’s husband was convicted of the crime.  This is a solemn poem for Hallowe’en, and also a cautionary poem during this week in which we consider male violence.



What we left unsaid is jabbering—

I haven’t enough ears.

The man who killed you,

who was he

with his bullets, Diane?


You loved me.

Perhaps it is the promise

of love I feel,

the redemption of arousal,

a giddy comprehension.

I was stupified, then,

you know I was,

pregnant, foggy as milk.


It is late, now, to understand.

Will you forgive me

my exile?

Saturday I stood on the shore

with daisies cascading from my fingers.

Diane, the ocean would not swallow them—

yellow was caught in her throat

like sorrow


Who knows this season

better than you?

Hunters rustle the undergrowth

in October.

In my yard the sumac

drops lit candles.


I would show you how to flee, Diane.




consider the pumpkin on the stooop,

the quick torture of its hide under my knife.


I have costumes in my closet

and we’ll go out like breath

this night, like perfect witch women

in our black hats. On broomsticks

our voices wake like bats.

Flow, flow,

darkest of hearts.



You wait outside the gate,

an apparition.

I take your shattered chest

against my own.

I heat you and melt you

with the force of the living,

with the love of the living

for living things.


I support you, women of Canada, women who are surviving him


a painting of mine from Feb 2014, Paris

There are no cherry blossoms

Leaves flee from trees: handkerchiefs of blood

submerging in puddles



Yesterday, three pieces of mine appeared.  One of them was in Siècle 21, a publication out of Paris, in which a French reprint of my story “Bird Nights” called Nuits d’oiseaux, chosen by Marilyn Hacker and translated by Cécile Oumhani, appeared.  I have not gotten my French to the state where I can read this yet, but I remain hopeful.  Meantime, perhaps some of you can.  And, if not, there is always the English version from Numéro Cinq, which is linked under the French one.

Many thanks to Marilyn and Cécile for their work in preparing this fall and winter issue, and to their colleagues.

Siècle 21

Jane Eaton Hami…s d’oiseaux

Numéro Cinq


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