Gytha Press is a Calgary-based small press specializing in comics, zines and art. Keep an eye on this space or follow us on social media to hear about our upcoming projects!
Jillian Fleck, "It Is The 21st Day of My Epic Desert Adventure And." Preview of Toad Hex Issue 2 (read here)
Nicole Brunel, Excerpt from Toad Hex Issue 1 (read here)
Christopher Savage, from Toad Hex Issue 3 (read here)
from Kyle Flemmer, "Intro to Toad Hex Issue 3" (read here)
Experimentalism and conceptualism in art can sometimes register as cold, emotionless, or inhuman, given their stated emphasis on ideas over embodiment. Sadly, I think this impression turns people off of experimental literature, people who might otherwise enjoy the amazing variety of brain-tickling writing produced in this vein. I would like to argue that the nature of experimentalism is deeply human, as human as language itself.
In turns fanciful, bizarre, rigorous, surprising, insightful, and impenetrable, “experimental” is actually quite a large literary category. So what ties it together, what makes something an experiment, as far as writing is concerned? Well, every experiment has a question, a hypothesis, the experimenter wants to test. Just like in a research laboratory, the experimental writer identifies the variables they will control and manipulate to test their question, then performs as many trials as necessary to produce their results. Sometimes it works as expected first try, sometimes things never go as planned.
from Victoria Bailey, "Women's Bands." Excerpt from Toad Hex Issue 1 (read here)
The idea that historically women- who have endured and continue to endure persecution, doubt, suspicion, dismissal, ridicule, disparagement, beatings and burnings -can find safety, space and expression in music and art, is, if true, a Goddess-send. Women are still typically given less artistic credibility, opportunity, promotion, payment, reward, and recognition than men within traditional music and art realms. This the current situation, as it has been throughout time. While women have been depicted as witches, angels, whores, mothers, and – abracadabra – any and all stereotypes ad infinitum, which ultimately serve to maintain the dark art of patriarchy – a spell was also cast to confine women under the enchanting guise of muse by male artists.
That they might call on their power to invoke their own creativity is magical. To use the arts to explore and express their experience, to grab their brooms and refuse to be swept away, to weave their toil and troubles into something more valuable than gold; this is what women have always done. As Pencerdd Gwffyn also observed:
"To music the witch flew at last, there to find a sanctuary, a home, an occupation. What more natural, for is there not an affinity between the two crafts? The musician is certainly something of a necromancer, one dealing in form without substance, building fabrics out of nothing, calling from the empty air powers which speak to the innermost heart of man."