Jane Eaton Hamilton

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle…" Einstein

Fictive Lit Poppery at Matrix


sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

So glad to be in fine company on the short list for 2015’s Lit Pop in Montreal, sponsored by Matrix magazine. Thanks, George Saunders.


POP Montreal and Matrix Magazine are pleased to announce the 2015 shortlists:


André Babyn of Toronto, ON

Jill Talbot of Gabriola Island, BC

Marina Mularz of Crystal Lake, IL

Jane Eaton Hamilton of Vancouver, BC

Felipe Torres Medina  of New York, NY


Kasandra Larsen of New Orleans, LA

Jennifer Lovegrove of Toronto, ON

Rebecca Salazar of Fredericton, NB

Aimee Herman of New York, NY

Michael Prior  of Ithica, NY

The winners will be announced on Monday, August 3rd, 2015

About our judges:

George Saunders’s most recent book, Tenth of December (stories), was published in 2014, was a National Book Award finalist, and was named one of the best books of the year by People, The New York Times Magazine, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, New York, The Telegraph, BuzzFeed, Kirkus Reviews, BookPage, and Shelf Awareness. He is also the author of Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, both New York Times Notable Books, and The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, a New York Times children’s bestseller. In 2000, The New Yorker named him one of the “Best Writers Under 40.” He writes regularly for The New Yorker and Harper’s, as well as Esquire, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine. He won a National Magazine Award for Fiction in 2004 and his work is included in Best American Short Stories 2005. He teaches at Syracuse University.

Originally from the Detroit area, Damian Rogers now lives in Toronto where she works as the poetry editor of both House of Anansi Press and The Walrus, and as the creative director of Poetry in Voice, a national recitation contest for Canadian high-school students. Her first book of poems, Paper Radio, was nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award.

Contemporary Verse II: The Poetics of Queer


CVII had never brought out an all-LGBTQIA2 issue, but now they have! Featuring the work of these Canadian writers:

John Barton, Tamiko Beyer, Nicole Brossard, Randy Lee Cutler, Amber Dawn, Andrew Eastman, CE Gatchalian, Patrick Grace, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Maureen Hynes, Kyle Kushnir, Alex Leslie, Chandra Mayor, JJ Kegan McFadden, Doug Melnyk, Robin Metcalfe, Erin Mouré, Jim Nason, Billeh Nickerson, James B Nicola, Tomy “Teebs” Pico, Marika Prokosh, Rachel Rose, Andrea Routley, Marina Roy, jes sachse, Trish Salah, Kevin Shaw, Colin Smith, Bowen Smyth, Matthew Walsh, Betsy Warland, Daniel Zomparelli

My poem is Wish You Were Here

Margaret Atwood on climate change


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A good essay about the trouble we’re in.

Margaret Atwood

Lorrie Moore in the Paris Review

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It’s not a new interview, but worth having another look for all Moore fans.

Lorrie Moore

Proust Questionnaire: Open Book Toronto





To celebrate ‘Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes,’ Open Book Toronto had me back to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

Saguaro, a poem about parenting teens

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My little thorn

you have grown on a thicker stalk

than I expected.


than I ever guessed you might.


You hurt me.

Nothing is as simple as that.

I hurt you too?


There are lotteries.

Your unlucky numbers tumble through

a bin of teenage years.

I never meant

to speak and so offend you,

to be a mother

to cringe from

and yet you say I am.


I remember before breasts and boys.

We were happy.

We lay together

in a moon crater,

swaddled and safe and bouncing.

Tall branched thistle

you were my baby,

my sweet girl,

the coup of all my days.


I am no longer

Precisely human in your eyes,

hardly divine,

only old and big.

You come to me with scorn

that rubs like sandpaper.


The trick is

to bear this jagged war

like labour.

The trick is to wear

protective gloves.

Depressing Graphs for Writers by Rebecca Makkai

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graph by Rebecca Makkai

Filed under Ways We Amuse Ourselves

Ploughshares … ya gotta love them.

Nicola Griffith published this.

Then Ploughshares’ blog published this. Yay, Ploughshares. Yay, Nicola Griffith and Rebecca Makkai.

Spun Sugar

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Being with her was like dipping my brain in spun sugar. She was anything delicious along the red bumpy taste buds of my tongue, melting savory, melting sweet, explosions of colour along the neural pathways of my waxy brain. Think of penny candies from childhood: Wagon Wheels, BB Bats, Jelly Babies, Lick ‘Em Aid, Jujubes, Red Hots, Jawbreakers. She was my candy shop, and I stood before her with dirty fingernails, sweating palms, scabbed knees, clenched pennies, short, the top of my scruffy head barely even with the counter, vibrating with excitement.

Chemical soup, hormonal stew, a body that was hungry for her beautiful world.

I couldn’t just eat my fill, feel sated and then not go back for more because I didn’t have a bad tummy ache, I didn’t regret it, I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t have sugar shock or brain freeze.

The melting, sticky, goo-gawing emotion that causes dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to jig-jag into your body, warm, wet and frothing, is supposed to be temporary, and then the relationship devolves or evolves into more reasonable, adult, companionable territory. But they weren’t temporary.

All those years, her arms were open. I ran into them like a dancer from across a wide stage, launching myself spread-hearted into the air, believing she would catch me.


The Litter I See Project

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I’m delighted to be included in Carin Makuz’s ‘The Litter I See’ Project to support literacy and Frontier College. Carin sent me my little bit of litter to spin from. My piece ‘The Problem of the Fry’ is up today. It’s a flash fiction about Vancouver’s work to reclaim city streams for spawning salmon.

About the project



Wordpeace … it’s new

 IMG_2475painting: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2015


It is Canada Day, also known as Turtle Island Day. There is a Truth and Reconciliation Report, and we are glad, but no inquiry, still, on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

There’s a new litmag in town called Wordpeace from writer and editor Lori Derosiers. May we soon find peace in all corners of the world.

Lori included a poem of mine written during NaPoWri Mo in 2014. Turtle Island Day seems a good time to run it.

Tar Sands Hotel and Spa

LWBITS review

Love will Burst

Always a celebratory day for me when one of my books gets a great review. Here’s Julie R. Enszer writing for Lambda Literary, reviewing ‘Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes’ and Judith Barrington’s ‘The Conversation.’

Lambda Literary

Thanks, Lambda Literary and Julie R Enszer.

Blog post up at Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s site


photo: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2006

Gail Anderson-Dargatz and I have known each other since she published her first book, ‘The Cure for Death by Lightning.’ She invited me to write a blog post on our favourite topic, the ins and outs of being writers. When you’re having a peak, notice she’s got blog posts up from many, many writers on all sorts of writerly topics.

“Losing the flow, for me, is a calamitous writer’s block.” Jane Eaton Hamilton

The Adequate Writer: On Writing Intensives


Cede Poetry: The Script

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There’s a new kid in town, the poetry lit mag Cede. I have a poem in the first issue along with Patrick Lane, Heather Spears, Alice Major and many other Canadian poets. Have a look.

Cede Poetry

The Adequate Writer: Rejection Slips We Have Known and Hated

JEHhand3sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2006

The de-code:

Thank you for sending your work.  It was not suitable for our publication.

Are you fucking kidding us?  You spent $3 at Submittable to send us this?  Giggles all around.

We were pleased to read your work for issue X.  However, we’re sorry to say it was not what we are looking for at this time.

Or any other fucking time since the Big Bang.

(Really.  Long walk, your work in your hand.  Short pier.)

We at X would be pleased to publish your work, however this piece is just too avant garde for us. 

Lesbian.  (Also, what do you guys actually do in bed?)

We published a story very similar to this one just last issue. 

We have a queer-quota and you have surpassed it.  We are so glad we used it up before this landed on our desks.

The editors thank you for submitting this work, but are sorry it is not for us. We know you will understand that the volume of work submitted precludes a more personal reply. 

No, it really doesn’t.  But wtf, we hate your piece and we have to say that somehow.







Writers and painters


sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

In 2013, Janet Malcolm published ‘Forty-One False Starts.’ Here she is thinking about and talking to UK artist David Salle about making art:

“Writers have traditionally come to painters’ ateliers in search os aesthetic succor. To the writer, the painter is a fortunate alter ego, an embodiment of the sensuality and exteriority that he has abjured to pursue his invisible, odorless calling. The writer comes to the places where traces of making art can actually be seen and smelled and touched expecting to be inspired and enabled, possibly even cured. While I was interviewing the artist David Salle, I was coincidentally writing a book that was giving me trouble, and although I cannot pin it down exactly (and would not want to), in his studio something clarifying and bracing did filter down to my enterpirse. He was a good influence. But he was also a dauntingly productive artist, and one day, as I walked into the studio and caught a glimpse of his new work, I blurted out my envious feelings. In the month since we last met,he had produced four large, complex new paintings, which hung on the walls in galling aplomb–while I had written maybe ten pages I wasn’t sure I would keep. To my surprise, instead of uttering a modest disclaimer or reassuring words about the difference between writing and painting, Salle flushed and became defensive. His detractors point to his lauge output as another sign of his lightweightness. “They hold it up as further evidence that the work is glib and superficial,” Salle said.

“If work comes easily, it is suspect.”

“But it doesn’t come easily. I find it extremely difficult. I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall… When I work, I feel that I’m doing everything wrong. I feel that it can’t be this hard for other people. I feel that everyone else has figured out a way to do it that allows him an effortless, charmed ride through life, while I have to stay in this horrible pit of a room, suffering …

“I just realized something,” I said. “Everyone who writes or paints or performs is defensive about everything. I’m defensive about not working fast enough.


Julian Barnes writes about grief


sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

Julian Barnes on grief:

“I do not believe I shall ever see her again.  Never see, hear, touch, embrace, listen to, laugh with; never again wait for her footstep, smile at the sound of an opening door, fit her body into mine, mine into hers.  Nor do I believe we shall meet in some dematerialised form. I believe dead is dead…
I remember, sharply, last things.  The last book she read.  The last play (and film, and concert, and opera, and art exhibition) that we went to together. The last wine she drank, the last clothes she bought.  The last weekend away.  The last bed we slept in that wasn’t ours.  The last this, the last that.  The last piece of my writing that made her laugh. The laat words she wrote herself; the last time she signed her name.  The last piece of music I played her when she came home.  Her last complete sentence.  Her last spoken word.” (from “Levels of Life”)

Eudora Welty reads Why I Live at the P.O.


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One of my favourite Welty stories. You can’t watch this one with its You Tube florid green screen, but you can listen to the master’s delicious voice:

Eudora Welty reads Why I live at the P.O.

Eudora Welty reads A Worn Path

Here she is talking to Gore Vidal:

Eudora Welty interviewed by Gore Vidal

Here is information about her photography career:

Eudora Welty, photographer

Rare Simone de Beauvoir interview, 1975

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“In the 1975 interview above with French journalist Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber—“Why I’m a Feminist”—De Beauvoir picks up the ideas of The Second Sex, which Servan-Schreiber calls as important an “ideological reference” for feminists as Marx’s Capital is for communists.”

de Beauvoir



“Dala seem bound for a loftier place where substance stands equal to style.”
– The Irish Times

Juno nominees and winners of the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year, Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine of Dala write and sing in harmony best described as angelic. These two best friends met in their high school music class in 2002; they have since released five albums and toured extensively across North America. Darlings of the Canadian music scene, Dala are now poised to bring their fresh brand of acoustic pop music to the world.

Drawing upon influences like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Dala write songs that are both catchy and insightful. Amanda’s ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Sheila’s velvety alto, creating the lush harmonies that have become their trademark.

Best Day

Review of Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes

Love will Burst

Esther Griffin, a student in the optional residency MFA at UBC and an English teacher in ON, has generously reviewed the book for Prism where, as she notes, I twice won the fiction prize. Someone was just asking me with what stories:  Sperm King and Goombay Smash.

Prism review



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