P.W. Bridgman (a pen name) is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has earned undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology and a degree in law as well. While the short story is the literary form with which he is most experienced, P.W. has just finished a book of poetry entitled A Lamb and, when pressed, he will also quietly admit to having begun work on a novel (so far untitled).
P.W.’s writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in (among others) The Moth Magazine, The Honest Ulsterman, The Glasgow Review of Books, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Litro UK, Litro NY, The High Window, Pif Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Grain Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Ars Medica, Ascent Aspirations, Patchwork Paper, The New Orphic Review, London Grip, A New Ulster, Easy Street, Section 8 Magazine, Pottersfield Portfolio, The Mulberry Fork Review and Aerodrome. His works have won prizes or been finalists in several competitions, both in Canada and abroad. Some of his short stories, flash fiction pieces and poems have been included in anthologies published in Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada.
P.W.’s first book of short fiction, entitled Standing at an Angle to My Age, was published in 2013 by the independent Canadian commercial publisher, Libros Libertad Publishing Ltd. (Would you like to see the launch poster, designed by the talented digital graphic designer, and P.W.’s daughter, Nicola Woods? Click here.) Standing at an Angle to My Age can be purchased at better bookstores across Canada and directly from the publisher. Alternatively the book of short fiction can be bought online from Chapters/Indigo, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones. Per i lettori in Italia, questo libro di racconti è disponibile on-line da Amazon Italia, ma … purtroppo … solo in inglese.
Happy news has recently come in from England. P.W.’s poem, “Still Life with Traces of Movement: St. John’s Wood, 1931,” has been accepted by The High Window for publication in the Spring or Summer. Watch this space for a link to it online in due course.
The High Window Press is the publisher not only of its eponymous literary review but also of many collections and selections of work by some of Britain’s most respected modern poets, including editors David Cooke and Anthony Costello themselves. Mr. Cooke’s heartfelt, and unsentimental, tribute to Seamus Heaney (written in 2013 following Heaney’s death) is one of the best yet seen. You can read and savour the tribute yourself by clicking here.
Now comes a “recent development” that truly stands out. It may even call for celebration. Later this year Ekstasis Editions–one of Canada’s most well-established and respected publishers of poetry and literary fiction–will publish P.W.’s first book of poems, entitled A Lamb. (That’s the attractive Ekstasis Editions colophon you see below.)
Ekstasis has been a prominent feature of Canada’s literary landscape for decades. Commencing in 1982 it has brought out more than 350 titles, beginning with editor-in-chief Richard Olafson’s Blood of the Moon, now a Canadian classic. Included among the many fine authors whose poetry has been published by Ekstasis Editions are bill bissett, Michael Bullock, Leslie Choyce, Gwladys Downes, Jan Drabek, Margaret Dyment, Len Gasparini, Stephen Guppy, Gillian Harding-Russell, Cornelia Hornosty, Eileen Kernaghan, Susan McCaslin, Nellie McClung, Michael McClure, Florence McNeil, Sue Nevill, P.K. Page, Andrew Parkin, Linda Rogers, Steven Scobie, Bruce Serafin, Robin Skelton, K.V. Skene, Glen Sorestad, Richard Stevenson, Pete Trower, David Watmough and Carolyn Zonailo.
As the timeline for the release of A Lamb comes more fully into focus, more details (including details about launches, readings, &c.) will be posted on this website.
P.W.’s poem, “We Strive to Dismiss Their Prejudices with Good Humour (A Lamentation in 7/4 Time)”, was recently shortlisted in the Federation of British Columbia Writers 2018 Literary Writes Poetry Competition. The competition was judged by distinguished Victoria-based poet, Patricia Young, and first prize was awarded to Barbara Black, a very accomplished poet and musician. Congratulations, Barbara.
This new literary review originates (nor surprisingly) from Bangor, not far from Belfast, and the inaugural issue (which, fittingly, has a “firsts” theme) appeared online on February 28th. That issue and its contents can be accessed by clicking on this link. P.W.’s two poems are found at pages 17-19.
The last time P.W. had a story appear in The Antigonish Review was in (can it be?) … 1992. Its title was “So and Not Otherwise” and the story was also included in his book of short fiction, Standing at an Angle to My Age, released in 2013.
The Antigonish Review (which is administered through the English Department at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia) will soon publish P.W.’s somewhat surreal story/prose poem “Sinking and Surfacing.” Watch for it in either the spring or summer 2018 issue.
As happened last year, the fine people at the Glasgow Review of Books have asked their contributors of original fiction and poetry to pen personal, year-end reviews of the titles that, for them, truly stood out in 2017. By clicking on this link you can read an appreciation of two new works of fiction plus a collection of poetry from an earlier time that P.W. chose to discuss in his GRB “Reads of the Year, 2017″ contribution. The featured authors are Vancouver short story writer and novelist Cynthia Flood (What Can You Do), Glasgow-based short story writer and novelist Bernard MacLaverty (Midwinter Break) and deceased Italian poet and novelist Umberto Saba (The Selected Poems of Umberto Saba).
But don’t stop there! Other GRB contributors’ “Reads of the Year” pieces make for lively reading in and of themselves; they also provide some very helpful suggestions about what might be snapped up during the January sales to ensure that reading for pleasure in 2018 starts off agreeably.
Every Friday, literary jack-of-all-trades (and master of many) David Fraser publishes online–under the Ascent Aspirations Magazine imprint–a handful of “Friday Poems” by contributors from all over the world. The writing is always accompanied by interesting and evocative original artwork. P.W.’s poem, “Meat, Bread and Open Mic: Soho 2013″–which offers a quirky little New York vignette–was the Friday Poem published on Friday (of course), February 2, 2018. You can read “Meat, Bread and Open Mic…” by clicking here and scrolling slowly down to the “Friday Poem” posted on February 2nd. (But be sure to read all the other great “Friday Poems” on the way!)
If you would like to have fresh new poetry and visual art delivered like a cappuccino and hot croissant to your computer screen every Friday, it is dead easy to subscribe to Friday Poems. Just scroll down to the “Subscribe” feature at bottom of the page to which this link will take you.
Cheery news has just come in from poet and retired computational mathematician, Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, the genial poetry editor of London Grip. He writes to say that he has chosen P.W.’s poem about mean boys, entitled “Lych Gate and Yews: A Tableau Vivant”, for inclusion in London Grip’s March 2018 issue. The March issue will, somewhat unusually, feature longer poems. Once that issue is up online, a link will be provided in this space.
Seattle-based Pif Magazine published P.W.’s flash fiction piece entitled “Visitations” in its October 2017 issue. You can read “Visitations” by clicking here. But wait. There’s more. Pif has also published P.W.’s poem, “Jim Begins to Consider Himself (A Performance in Ten Degrees)”, in its November 2017 issue. You can see that poem here.
There can be few more storied Irish literary periodicals than The Honest Ulsterman. Its first issue was released in 1968. James Simmons was the editor.
Simmons — a splendid poet and sometime professor of English — was succeeded by Frank Ormsby and a host of Northern Ireland’s brightest lights. Alas, The Honest Ulsterman is no longer published in print but it still has a stimulating and lively presence online at www.humag.co where it is edited masterfully by Greg McCartney. The following description of the periodical’s history comes from the announcement, in 2014, of its online revival, under Dr. McCartney’s steady editorial hand, in collaboration with the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry:
From its beginnings HU has presented Northern Irish writers alongside poets, prose-writers and critics from around the world. Early issues included work by Stevie Smith and Tony Harrison, as well as by Gavin Ewart, who continued to contribute until his death. It went on to include work from all parts of Ireland and Britain, the USA and Canada, Australia and many other places. Its beginning coincided with the emergence of a remarkable generation of poets, including Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley and Derek Mahon, but it also provided an early, often the first, platform for subsequent waves of writers such as Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, and numerous others.
The June, 2017, issue of The Honest Ulsterman includes P.W.’s poem, “Out of the Bar and Into the Black Belfast Night.” You can have a look, here. While you’re at it, take some time to read some of the other great fiction and poetry in the June issue. And don’t miss Greg McCartney’s thoughtful interview with Jacob Polley. Jacob’s brilliant fourth book, Jackself, was awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2016 — most deserving recognition. That interview can be accessed by clicking on this link.
Easy Street, the outstanding American online “magazine of words and culture,” has published a gratifyingly insightful review of P.W.’s short story collection, Standing at an Angle to My Age.
It is plain that the reviewer, Angela Kubinec, has thought deeply about the stories. In a lyrically written review, she has integrated her responses to them with certain aspects of her own life experience that the stories have evoked. You can read the review here.
Vol. 12, no. 1 (2017) of Ars Medica is now available online. Ars Medica is subtitled A Journal of Medicine, the Arts and Humanities and it publishes literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry that confront the intersection of those diverse, but nevertheless related, callings.
P.W.’s poem, entitled “Consent to Orchidectomy,” appears at pp. 46-49. You can read it (and, indeed, all of the contents of that issue of Ars Medica) by clicking here. We know that like all fallible humans, physicians sometimes stumble and “Consent to Orchidectomy” considers an example of that. It is greatly to the credit of the editors of Ars Medica that they were willing to publish a poem that deals with the occasional failings of members of the medical profession. It is through open discussion of uncomfortable topics that we learn.
P.W. is happy to have his poem, entitled “Time’s Forward Gear,” published in the spring 2017 issue of the Austrian print journal, Poetry Salzburg Review.
The PSR is an English language publication edited by Dr. Wolfgang Gortschacher with a wide, international readership and a diverse stable of established and emerging contributors. Among those appearing with P.W. in the current issue are 2016 Forward Prize-winning Trinidadian born poet Vahni Capildeo and M. Stasiak, an ex-pat Canadian now living in London.
P.W. extends his thanks to the great writers, poets and spectators who showed him such a warm welcome at the “To the End of the Verse” reading series in Melbourne, Australia. As happens monthly, a number of poets and spoken word artists gathered on March 21st to read from their recent writing at The Open Studio, 204 High Street, Northcote. The quality of the work was remarkably high. Perhaps most memorable of the evening’s lineup were Monster Mike (whose offerings included an extraordinary rendition of “Waltzing Matilda” in the style of Tom Waits), and Yuri (whose lively, energetic and articulate reading was positively hypnotic). Australia (Melbourne particularly) is blessed with a very vibrant and creative literary culture.
Watch for a couple of poems by P.W. that have just appeared in Easy Street (“Low Horse on a High Road: Variation on a Theme by Gershwin” and “At the Corner of Triumph and Pandora”). These complete P.W.’s Julian Capstick trilogy, the first of which–entitled “Single Helix”–appeared in Easy Street in April, 2016.
The editors of the Glasgow Review of Books kindly invited P.W., along with other contributors of poetry and fiction to the GRB‘s pages over the past year, to offer up their “good reads” for 2016. P.W. chose to celebrate poetry recently published by Karen Solie, short stories recently published by Colin Barrett and an old chestnut of a book of poems by George MacBeth released in the late 1960s. If you’re minded to see what lifted P.W.’s literary spirits in an otherwise rather dispiriting year, click here.
P.W.’s poem, “Somebody Shot President Kinney,” was chosen as a Friday Poem by David Fraser for publication on his Ascent Aspirations literary website for Friday, November 18, 2016. To read that remembrance of the Kennedy assassination, as refracted through perplexed younger and older eyes, scroll down within the archived Friday Poems for 2016 on the Ascent Aspirations website (by clicking here) until you reach the entry for November 18th.
On October 12, 2016, P.W.’s short story entitled “No Writers Were Harmed in the Making of this Whiskey” was published by the Glasgow Review of Books. You can see it by clicking here.
Set in a small village in Northern Ireland, “No Writers …” is a dark meditation on human fallibility and its sometimes tragic consequences. The appearance of the story in the Glasgow Review of Books‘ pages is accompanied by an extraordinary image by world-renowned photographer and Emily Carr University of Art and Design professor, Art Perry.
On October 6, 2016 (National Poetry Day no less!), the online American literary journal, Praxis Magazine, published P.W.’s poem, “I’ve Asked the Iscariots Over for Potluck and a Game of Bridge.” The poem vaults biblical characters forward in time to the 1960s and recasts them, with a frisson of mildly irreverent humour, as ordinary, plainspoken folk in small town Canada. You can read “I’ve Asked the Iscariots Over …” by clicking here.
P.W. is honoured to have had his story, “But No, Nothing,” chosen as the feature podcast for International Podcast Day (September 30th) on Wisconsin-based Bob’s Short Story Hour. Robert (or Bob) Daun is the creative force behind the podcast site (accessible by clicking here). Bob has an abiding love for the short story form and for storytelling. He has a particular love for the oral tradition and he recognises that the experience of hearing a story told well is qualitatively different from that of reading one. Thus, about a year ago he created Bob’s Short Story Hour. Since then he has put up podcasts of many short stories by many writers on his site, accompanied sometimes by incidental music by Bob and others. (Bob is also a very skilled guitarist.) Bob’s Short Story Hour opens a different kind of window onto short fiction–some from the classics but much more written by contemporary writers hailing from many places. If you are looking for a restful evening’s literary entertainment, or perhaps for something diverting to play via Bluetooth through the audio system in the car on a long drive, dial in Bob’s Short Story Hour and give it a listen. New short stories appear regularly and there is an archive of everything posted since the site’s inception that you can tap into.
Section 8 Magazine, a print and electronic journal based in Seattle, has published in its online version a short story by P.W. entitled “Smothered Mate”. Section 8 Magazine has previously published a flash fiction piece of P.W.’s entitled “Indirection”. You can find both by clicking here.
The American literary e-zine, Easy Street, “provides writers a venue to discuss the publishing industry, to showcase their own work, and to share viewpoints on diverse aspects of contemporary life and culture”. It is chock full of high-quality fiction, non-fiction, poetry and commentary. P.W.’s dark and moody poem, “Single Helix,” was published by Easy Street at the end of April, 2016, and can be accessed via this link.
Robert Daun, from Wisconsin, U.S.A., has recently launched a very fine website indeed. It features podcast readings of short fiction. This is a welcome development for those who recognise that short stories are meant not only to be read but also to be heard. Mr. Daun’s website is called Bob’s Short Story Hour and episode 4 on that site contains a podcast of a reading of P.W.’s story, “But No, Nothing”. You can access the podcast online by clicking on this link. ”But No, Nothing”–a consummately Irish story–was selected for recognition for Excellence in Contemporary Narrative and inclusion in the 2014 Gem Street anthology published by Labello Press of Conmel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.
P.W.’s poem, “Safari Not Supported but Your Prayer is Important to Us,” has now been published in Aerodrome, a marvellous a literary journal based in South Africa.
You can see P.W.’s poem in Aerodrome online by clicking here.
P.W. has had work appear before in Litro, an arts and culture magazine headquartered in London that publishes a great deal of fiction and commentary. Litro has recently expanded to North America.
Visit the New York-based LitroNY site to see a gritty little noir flash fiction piece authored by P.W., entitled “Shotgun Wedding: Vancouver, 1960″. Click here and your browser will take you directly to “Shotgun Wedding: Vancouver, 1960″.
The website, London Grip, is (of course) headquartered in the U.K. Note the eye-catching logo.
London Grip accurately self-describes as a “wholly independent online venue, a cultural omnibus providing intelligent reviews of current shows and events, well-argued articles on the widest range of topics, an exhibition space for cross-media arts and an in-house poetry magazine with its own editor”. P.W.’s poem, “The Nobility in That, or Not,” appears in the December 2015 issue of London Grip.
The successful staging, in July 2015, of P.W.’s “The Mars Hotel” by talented contemporary dancers Ziyian Kwan and Noam Gagnon together with jazz trio Handmade Blade (that is, Peggy Lee on cello, JP Carter on trumpet and electronics and Aram Bajakian on electric guitar) was just a beginning. The dancers and musicians are continuing to develop the performance and they took it on tour to Victoria and Nanaimo in early 2017 and also presented it again at the Fire Hall Performing Arts Centre in February. Beyond that, discussions are also underway which, if successful, will result in touring performances of “The Mars Hotel” taking place in other cities across Canada. Very, very exciting.
P.W.’s flash fiction piece, “A Summer Nativity: Vancouver, 1977,” has been published online by the edgy Scottish webzine, Word Bohemia, which is accessible by clicking on this link.
On July 8 and 10, 2015, talented contemporary dancers Ziyian Kwan and Noam Gagnon joined forces with jazz trio Handmade Blade (that is, Peggy Lee on cello, JP Carter on trumpet and electronics and Aram Bajakian on electric guitar) to stage performances in movement and music built around P.W.’s flash fiction piece, “The Mars Hotel”. The July 8th performance sold out and the one on July 10th came very close to selling out as well. ”The Mars Hotel” was choreographed by Ziyian Kwan; Peggy Lee composed the original score. It formed part of the 2015 Dancing on the Edge Festival and was presented at the Fire Hall Performing Arts Centre on East Cordova Street, Vancouver. To see, en francais, a television interview of Ziyian Kwan and Noam Gagnon on CBC Vancouver’s French language channel in which footage of one of the final rehearsals for “The Mars Hotel” was aired, click on this link. An edited, six-minute video clip of highlights of the performance filmed on opening night at the Firehall Performing Arts Centre can be seen here. And to see a pre-performance interview of P.W., Ziyian Kwan and Peggy Lee by Janet Smith in the Georgia Straight, and a post-performance review of the performance by critic Matt Hanson published in Brooklyn-based Dance World, click here and here.
In the May, 2015 issue of A New Ulster–the Belfast-based online and print literary magazine edited by Amos Grieg of Lapwing Publications–you will find P.W.’s new story, “Even Unto My Death You Shall Be Judged”.
P.W. sends out words of thanks to all who got behind Authors for Indies Day at hundreds of independent bookstores across Canada on May 2, 2015 by turning up, buying books, listening to readings and generally joining in the lively discussions that unfolded in each venue about our literary culture in Canada. That literary culture badly needs a thriving network of independent bookstores to sustain and nurture it and the support shown for booksellers on May 2nd by authors and readers alike was heartwarming indeed. A special thanks goes out to Nancy who organised the readings at the People’s Co-op Bookstore on Vancouver’s edgy and uber cool Commercial Drive, and to Daphne Marlatt and Fiona Lam with whom it was P.W.’s pleasure to join in readings there. What fine, gracious women and magnificently talented poets! Below are a couple of photos taken at and after the readings at the People’s Co-op Bookstore on Authors for Indies Day.
P.W. also wishes to thank session leader Michael Kerins and all of the participants and audience members who were present in Glasgow’s West End on April 17th at the iconic Tchai Ovna Teahouse in Otago Lane where he (P.W.) had the privilege of giving a reading of some of his fiction from Standing at an Angle to My Age. Tchai Ovna is a venue where some of Scotland’s finest storytellers, poets and fiction writers gather to share their work with a discerning audience of listeners. P.W. was shown a very warm, Glasgow welcome and, as well, he appreciated the opportunity to hear some very fine storytelling by the others on the evening’s lineup. Never been to Tchai Ovna? Better hurry! Its future is threatened by a creeping luxury flats development that may, ultimately, result in its demolition. That would, truly, be a great pity. Tchai Ovna is an important and working part of Glasgow’s literary and indie music infrastructure. As some measure of that, consider the fact that the teahouse’s interior is featured in the cover art for Belle and Sebastian’s 2003 album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress.
P.W.’s non-fiction piece, “Virginia Woolf and Pete Seeger, Inter Alios: A Meandering Rant on on Truth, Beauty, Love and Twitter” — which has been published in the U.S.-based Mulberry Fork Review – has received honourable mention in the Royal City Literary Arts Society’s “Write-on!” competition.
Some happy news! The McGill University based literary criticism journal, The Bull Calf (which takes its name from the Irving Layton poem), has published a warm and generous review of P.W.’s book of short fiction, Standing at an Angle to My Age. Have a look at the Critical Reception/Reviews subpage on this website for an excerpt from the review and a link to the full text of it.
The Patchwork Paper–a UK-based magazine that presents contemporary poetry, fiction and photography to its online and print readers–has just published P.W.’s “Villanelle Moderne”. This dark little poem addresses a very modern kind of problem within a highly structured poetic form that some believe originated in Italy or Spain during the Renaissance. A villanelle comprises 19 lines and, using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, its form can be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2. ”Villanelle Moderne” is accompanied by a haunting photograph by Asia Wardzynska and is accessible online via this link.
The Irish publisher, Labello Press, is currently running interviews with its Gem Street anthology contributors on its Labello News website subpage. You can access P.W.’s interview via this link.
A nonfiction piece written by P.W.–entitled “Virginia Woolf and Pete Seeger, Inter Alios: A Meandering Rant on Truth, Beauty, Love and Twitter”–has been published at page 90 of the September 2014 issue of the American literary journal, The Mulberry Fork Review.
The rant is accessible by clicking on this link and scrolling ahead to page 90. (And, while you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to sample the work of the many fine writers whose stories and nonfiction contributions are found in that issue.)
P.W.’s short story, “The Colours of Love and Loss,” appears in an anthology entitled National Voices, published in November 2014 by the Canadian Authors Association. Copies of National Voices can be purchased directly from the CAA, online, via this link.
Tá sé am chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh! P.W.’s short story, “But No, Nothing,” was selected by Labello Press for an Excellence in Contemporary Narrative Award and inclusion in the Irish publisher’s Gem Street anthology for 2014.
Released in August, the latest Gem Street anthology includes the 15 stories that were chosen as finalists in this year’s Leonard Koval International Short Fiction Competition. The authors whose work is represented in the 2014 anthology hail from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Italy, U.S.A., Australia and Canada. To purchase a copy of the Gem Street anthology online, visit the Labello Press website using this link.
P.W.’s story, “Dear Dark Head”–an adapted version of Ceann Dubh Dilis (which appears in Standing at an Angle to My Age)–was published in August 2014 in the Belfast-based print and online literary journal, A New Ulster. As well, a review of Standing at an Angle to My Age appears in the September, 2014 issue of that journal.
P.W.’s ”Win, Win: A Miniature Vancouver Tragicomedy”–a story written in a satirical vein — can be accessed via this link. Despite its Vancouver-centric conceit, “Win, Win …” was published in the U.K. in Litro, an ultra-cool, London-based literary arts magazine with a print circulation of 100,000+ and a large online presence as well.