• 2022 Short Story Competition

    In Fair Verona

    I find myself in the same interrogation room I had been before. Hands cuffed, in an orange jumpsuit, waiting for my one and only visitor. I recite to myself what has now become a comfort poem by Bob Kaufman, Someone whom I am is no one. / Something I have done is nothing. / Someplace I have been is nowhere. / I am not me. Enter Carlos Williams. He’s become older since the last time I saw him. He takes the seat across of me, taking his time, making me wait. He motions for the guard to go, a gesture I have seen him perform a dozen times before and…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Serendipity

    when the world has gone crazy and the waltz playing in your head  is too fast  take my hand and lets  dance sway with  me like the roses  in the garden touch my shoulder and smile like i am the warmth and comfort the umbrella that will shield you  from the storm i feel your face because something tells me that everything will be alright if i just kiss you ___ This poem by A. February is posted in submission for the ESA’s 2022 Short Story Competition.

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    Exotic Fish

    It is a starved town. Bone-white houses pave the beach like conches and oysters, although these oysters are bereft of pearls. Towards the edge of the town most distant from the beach, a thin train track etches its way through the sand to a run-down station and a dosing ticket-taker. The metal rails of the track are faded and frail, like the ribs of cattle skeletons that warn of a desert’s heat. Trains pass by the town infrequently, billowing out waves of smoke and silt which mix with the sand and vanish in minutes. Boats lie, grounded, anywhere between the beach and the station, some boarded up and full of…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition,  Blog

    i am pretty and i do not long for your approval

    in front of the fruits there stands a girl of sixteen, maybe less. she’s in a pretty blue dress and shiny black boots and she feels like the loveliest thing in the world. powder and ruffles curled, soft sky, buttons shy on pale skin, hair of velvet cream and a pin brooch from grandmother’s glass jewelry bin. sleeves of dream’s crêpe, high collar above champagne silver locket, hung with frail chain. she wonders, standing in the supermarket city, if mother will let her borrow rose blossom blush again. she thinks perhaps she likes this feeling of looking pretty. – but she does not like how they stare, eyes of oil…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition

    A Balcony in Paris

    The postcard was half a decade old and smelled of pomegranates. – A breathing scene, with every tilt and turn, pulsed in tandem with the curtains. – You could tip your head back to the ceiling of the sky. You could spell forgiveness in a dozen make-believe languages. – The mirror is adorned with thumbprints and they hold the paper edges for you, like a solemn kind of promise. – You said, “The neighbours are made of linen and charcoal,” and they laughed as if life was just a miniature in the absurd. – In the streets, the neighbours sing, “Salut,” while they are looking through the looking glass, looking…

  • Announcements

    Town Hall

    Do you have a question about being a student in the Department of English Language & Literatures? Whether you’re an honours, major, minor, or prospective student, come to the virtual Undergraduate Town Hall on January 28th at 4 pm, co-hosted by the ESA and the Department of EL&L. Faculty members and UBC staff from Student Wellness and Arts Academic Advising will be present to answer your questions. This event aims to help students navigate the new school term in times of uncertainty. Please consider filling out the survey below by January 21st. It should take no longer than 5-7 minutes and there is a chance to win a gift card to…

  • Announcements

    Applications for the ESA Annual Colloquium 2022

    EDIT: Both deadlines have been pushed back to January 30 2022 at 11:59 PM! The English Students’ Association is now calling for submissions to our seventh annual conference, the Colloquium! The conference features presentations from English undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members, and will be held on March 11, 2022, with more details to be announced closer to the date. Our paper submission deadline is currently Sunday, January 23rd, 2022 at 11:59 pm. If you don’t have a paper to submit but still want to get involved, you can also apply to be an editor! The deadline for editor applications is Thursday, January 20th, 2022 at 11:59 pm. Please note…

  • Blog

    “There can never come much happiness to me from loving … I wish I could make myself a world outside it, as men do”: Sympathy and Femininity in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss

    “You have known Maggie a long while, and need to be told, not her characteristics, but her history … For the tragedy of our lives is not created entirely from within.” (Eliot 409) George Eliot, one of the biggest names in Victorian literature, was known for her realistic storytelling and her continuous goal to write literature with psychological insight and empathetic understanding. The Mill on the Floss, one of Eliot’s classic works, is the chronicling of the complete life of Maggie Tulliver as she progresses through a rebellious childhood, a painful middle period, and into the culmination of her adulthood through a difficult choice she must make between family and…

  • 2022 Short Story Competition,  Announcements

    Short Story Competition

    UPDATE: Submissions are now closed! Thank you to all participants. Calling all writers! Do you want to share your creative writing with UBC’s English community? Now is your chance! The ESA is hosting a short story competition where all UBC students can submit their creative work to be posted on the blog. The ESA’s members will then vote on their favourite submission to select a winner and two runner-ups. Prizes will be rewarded to all top three participants, with first-place featuring an opportunity to have their work included in the English department’s alumni newsletter. The prizes will be revealed in mid-January. This is an excellent opportunity to get your name…

  • Blog

    “The old way of love seemed a dreadful bondage”: Homoromanticism and Identity in D.H Lawrence’s Women in Love

    “‘You can’t have two kinds of love. Why should you!’ ‘It seems as if I can’t,’ he said. ‘Yet I wanted it.’” (Lawrence 481) D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love tells the story of love and tragedy between two women struggling with their own circumstantial love affairs. However, separate from the changing values of modernist heterosexual romance, Lawrence’s classic novel, lauded for its portrayal of modernist attitudes as one of the best works of literature in the 20th century, explores a complicated homosexual love affair between Birkin and Gerald. The two male leads are contrasted against one another and in intimate duality with each other, breaching an ascension beyond the…

  • Blog

    Gender Formation and Queer Love in Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 20”

    The young man, the subject of Shakespeare’s first 126 sonnets, is an ambiguous presence. Despite being written about extensively, he is never described in full. His gender, interestingly, is neither easily identifiable nor stable. In sonnet 20, the young man’s gender is confusingly put into focus and blurred. Either as a means of correcting Nature’s queer feelings or as a mistake, the young man ends up with a penis. By hypercorrecting—I adopt this linguistics term to mean mistakenly correcting something to avoid the nonstandard—her queer love, Nature ultimately perpetuates it and reveals the insignificance of gender as it relates to love.          The young man is immediately a gender-bending force.…

  • Blog

    Fire – A Current Review of a 16th Century Painting

    Image: Fire – Giuseppe Arcimboldo The Milanese painter, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, was famous for his collections of outlandish portraits, often assembled not with human parts but with objects from the world of still-life, such as fruit and household items. Fire is one of a series of four separate oil-on-wood portraits that are made to represent the Four Elements. The painting embodies Arcimboldo’s unique taste for “grotesquerie” in which the head and upper-chest areas of human subjects, sometimes even royalty, were constructed with inanimate objects of varied value, metals and organic materials that formed bizarrely-diverse representations of a single thematic element. Four years before the completion of Fire, Arcimboldo was commissioned as…

  • Blog

    On Kristen Renzy’s 2015 article “Dough Girls and Biscuit Boys The Queer Potential of the Countercommunal Grotesque Body within Modernist Literature”; and How I Envision Much Post-Pandemic Literature on the Human Body.

    Let’s start by admitting that, in recent times, we consciously veer away from other bodies in public, that we are in fear of a lot, if not everything, that comes out of mouths, and that when we touch things with our hands, it is as if we have rubbed the lining of our bowels and then smeared it all over the doorknob. Oddly enough, this deep disgust for the “grossness” of the human body is, in fact, a source of great comedy, crude and impertinent comedy, which pervades various works of modernist literature. To become acquainted with some of the central themes of grotesquerie in literature, I recommend this Kristen…

  • Blog

    Birdsong in the Air, Lilies on the Stream: On Keeping Time and Learning from the Past in Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market

    In Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, the goblins call out to young maidens “morning and evening”, offering tantalizing descriptions of fruit “sweet to tongue and sound to eye” (Rossetti 1, 30). They promise berries, peaches, pomegranates, figs; a variety of fruit, “all ripe together/In summer weather” (Rossetti 15-16). But what they refrain from telling their victims is that the sweetness of their goods comes with a bitter aftertaste. The eternal summer—the promise of satiation—is nothing but “sugar-baited words” (Rossetti 234). The price that must be paid for this temporary feeling of satisfaction is a destructive and perpetual hunger that deadens the senses to everything but the desire for more fruit. Morns…

  • Announcements,  Blog

    Come Write for the ESA’s Blog!

    Have you ever wanted to talk about a book, but your friends have never heard of it? Or maybe, you watched a critically underrated film that boggled your mind so much that you pulled an all-nighter to write an essay. Whatever your reason may be, chances are that as an English student, you do a lot of writing. So, why not share it with the world? First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Atticus- yes, like the lawyer from To Kill a Mockingbird. I originally started off at UBC with plans to be a physics major, but after falling in love with English literature through the masterpiece of…

  • Blog

    The Flower That Blooms in Adversity: On the Value of Gentleness and Loving-kindness in Jane Austen’s Persuasion

    At first glance, the quiet and reserved protagonist of Jane Austen’s Persuasion seems to fade into the background of her own story. Even the narrator, “taking her cue from the dysfunctional family”, begins Persuasion by shining the spotlight on the “self-centered Elliots”, rather than on her main character (Judge 42). However, as her protagonist prefers to linger behind the curtains in places where the Lizzie Bennets and Emma Woodhouses of the world would command the stage, Austen’s trajectory from such an introduction must then be to “bring Anne out of the shadows” in her own way (Judge 42). Anne Elliot’s personality, circumstances, and abilities do not make direct confrontations or…

  • Announcements

    2021/2022 Elections!

    Looking for a fun opportunity to get involved with the English undergraduate community while developing leadership skills? We are officially seeking executives for next year’s ESA team. This is a great way to develop new skills, meet new people, and have an influence on campus. The executive team collaborates to plan everything from ice cream cake socials to The Colloquium, supports initiatives like The Garden Statuary, and connects with students, other clubs, and the department. New ideas are more than welcome, and this is a platform that can help you realize them. What positions are available? We currently elect the following: Any UBC English student can run for any position. Self–nominations for multiple positions are accepted.…

  • Blog

    Why I Respect Fanfiction

    Image: “A Rainbow of Books” by Dawn Endico on Creative Commons. License CC BY-SA 2.0 The criticism against fanfiction is most often centered on the rhetoric of it being poorly written, unoriginal, and too sexual in nature. However, this take fails to consider that fanfiction allows a writer to share their creative works without having to navigate through the publishing industry, a place filled with countless barriers against aspiring authors, especially minorities. As for the quality of fanfiction, I argue that there is value in having a genre that constantly puts out work by a variety of authors at different points of their writing journey. A more diverse group of…

  • Announcements

    The 2021 Colloquium: Meet our Presenters!

    The English Students’ Association is hosting our seventh annual academic conference, The Colloquium! This conference features presentations from English undergraduate students and faculty members. The Colloquium offers the opportunity to share your work and discuss ideas with other students and faculty members in the English Department. Please see below to read the abstracts and to learn about our Presenters! Event Information Time: 4:00pm – 6:00 PM PSTDate: Thursday, March 11thLocation: ZoomZoom Link: English Students Association is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: The 7th Annual ESA Colloquium Time: Mar 11, 2021 03:30 PM Vancouver Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84036172179?pwd=dmxmcWVEUUpqeDVuTFFIOFFCeG5xdz09 Meeting ID: 840 3617 2179 Passcode: ESA One tap mobile +13462487799,,84036172179#,,,,*506433# US (Houston) +16699006833,,84036172179#,,,,*506433#…

  • Blog

    His Place in the Sky: Family and Loss in David Chariandy’s Brother

    “Toronto” by VV Nincic on Creative Commons What does it mean to grieve? That is the central question which David Chariandy’s 2018 novel, Brother, addresses. Living in post-pandemic 2021 can be so chaotic and fast-paced that the slow, careful nuances of everyday life are simply forgotten. Regardless, there is a certain something that sings between the lines of this careful, masterfully plotted book; something, that, during the free-spinning, reckless course of 2020-2021, has brought me back to the tale of Michael and Francis once more. “… [H]e, my brother, understood the old music, that heritage of love, because he felt it himself. He loved his family, and also his friends. He loved a young…