We are looking for work that addresses one of the many relationships humans share with non-humans — exploitation, companionship, abuse, partnership and labor, and sometimes a contradictory combination of these relationships. Contributions might address any of the following:
What makes humans seek companionship with non-human creatures? What is the nature of the bond that forms between humans and non-humans, and how much of that bond can be articulated through language? What role does language play in bond formation? How do companion animals speak to us? How do we speak to them with our bodies? What do we give them and what do they give us in return? What is the currency of exchange and are our relationships based entirely on exchange?
Our Economic Relationship to Non-Human Creatures:
How do we make profit and business on the backs of animals, some of whom are our companions? What does Charlotte’s Web imprint on us? After the Vancouver Olympics a pack of sled dogs was massacred in Whistler when business declined. How do we force animals to conform to the arcs of our commercial needs? What is the supply and demand of animals? How do we justify animal exploitation in medical research that aids humans? Is it OK to experiment on mice but not monkeys? Neither? Both? What is the math of special cross-over?
Animals as Pests, Animals as Pets:
Which animals are sanctified as companions; which animals are condoned as food? Would you eat your twin? What do you do when your home is infested with fleas or cockroaches or bedbugs? How do we position ourselves in relation to the clean?
Animals as Emblems and Fashion:
Humans wear non-humans as leather jackets, feather earrings, snakeskin, ivory, and fur coats, but they also wear emblems of animals on their clothing. Animals are visible everyday icons in advertising and art. Put a bird on it. Don’t put a bird on it. Telus ads. How do we incorporate and romanticize the bodies of animals as fashion and object and fad?
The power exchange relationship between humans and animals:
Is it idealism or is it humility to hold a non-human creature as an emotional equal? Can a human and an animal create a relationship based on equality? Do both become hybrids?
Idioms and metaphors:
You’ve got a dog in the fight. That dog won’t hunt. Kicking the dog. Fucking the dog. (Insert adjective) like a dog. Dog-tired. Dog’s breakfast. Shaggy dog story. Hair of the dog that bit me. It’s a dog’s life. Let sleeping dogs lie. Love me, love my dog. Tail wagging the dog. A dog is a man’s best friend.
-Nikki and Alex
ABOUT THE GUEST EDITORS:
Alex Leslie has published a book of short stories, People Who Disappear (Freehand, 2012), and a chapbook of microfictions, 20 Objects For The New World (Nomados, 2011). Her fiction has received a CBC Literary Award and an Honourable Mention at the National Magazine Awards. She is currently guest editing the Queer issue of Poetry Is Dead. Her companion animal knowledge includes extensive experience with rescue dogs who have histories of abuse. Website: alexleslie.wordpress.com
Nikki Reimer is author of the poetry book [sic] (Frontenac House 2010), nominated for the 2011 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and several chapbooks, including that stays news (Nomados, 2011). Her “East Van Cats” photographic tryptich appeared at the Just Act Natural Group Exhibition in Kingston, ON in June 2010, and she has edited Van City Kitty on VancouverisAwesome.com since November 2010. Nikki has lived with oodles of cats throughout her life, including two that she rescued off East Georgia Street, and Bella, whom she’s been cat-sitting since 2003. Website: http://reimerwrites.com/