Lost “in grave ink”

By Mary Chan

A new Calgary poetry publication may not be written in stone, but it’s written in grave ink.

“It’s sort of like a cross between a zine and a journal,” said Editor Lindsay Tipping, a University of Calgary English student. “It’s a very small press publication.”

Tipping, who put the small volume together at her house with a printer and photocopier, was aware of the lack of poetry publications in Calgary for a while.

“I was sitting around, complaining there wasn’t enough poetry magazines and poetry action in town and Fred Wah, who’s my creative writing professor, said, ‘Lindsay, why don’t you just do it yourself?’” she said. “I’d been talking about it for a long time and I guess he got sick of my talking and told me to kick into action.”

For Tipping, in grave ink is a venue for fresh writing.

“It is a place to have experimental and new writing, things that are not being published in very many places,” she said.

The title plays on various meanings of the word “grave”.

“In grave ink is like engraving, like graven images,” said Tipping. “If you look up the word grave, it’s got so much to do with writing.”

U of C English professor and literary columnist Dr. Harry Vandervlist welcomes the new publication.

“It’s going to give another focus,” he said. “There are already different venues for people to read, places for people to submit, but that needs to be constantly renewed.

That’s the way it works in literature. It’s a continuous turning of soil.”

Tipping has already received submissions for the second issue.

“For the first [issue] I just went around to people I know and asked them for stuff,” she said. “And for the second one, I had a call for submissions over the internet and got stuff from the United Kingdom and Uruguay, Ontario and Calgary.”

Vandervlist sees the new publication as a reinforcement of the Calgary poetry movement.

“It’s a good sign,” he said. “There’s a constant level of that do-it-yourself, work-at-the-kitchen-table mentality. It means there are some roots.”

Vandervlist added having local publications encourages others to do the same.

“It’s really important someone sees something like that and think, well, I could do that,” he said. “Instead of seeing Margaret Atwood reading on some arts show on CBC and thinking “Oh, I can’t do that. She’s really old, and famous and published by Oxford University Press.’”

Tipping hopes to put out the next issue of in grave ink in three weeks. Questions can be directed to Tipping.

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