Something Else

Something Else was a short-lived Ottawa-based literary magazine. It survived for a single issue published in March 1963. I turned up a listing for it in the process of searching for previously uncollected William Hawkins poems.

Table of Contents

Hawkins edited the mag along with Denis Faulkner. Harry Howith and F.A. Harvey are listed as “Associates” on the masthead. Howith collaborated with Hawkins on their 1965 book Two Longer Poems: The Seasons of Miss Nicky by Harry Howith and Louis Riel by William Hawkins (Toronto: Patrician Press). Something Else also lists R.V. Rosewarne as responsible for “Design.” Rosewarne was another regular Hawkins collaborator, designing and printing some of the iconic 60s poster-poems as well as running Nil Press (who published Hawkins in 1966).

The mag earned a mention in Canadian Author and Bookman 38:4 (Summer 1963):

As yet far from luxurious in presentation, but also commendable in content, is SOMETHING ELSE, a spirited newcomer to the periodical scene. The first issue, dated March 1963, is notable for “Looking for Dylan”, a rhapsodic-reminiscent piece by Charles Fisher which catches, obliquely but exactly, the beery yet somehow magnificent aura of the poet’s genius and the spirit of his time . . .

            SOMETHING ELSE is published in Ottawa, and is edited by William Hawkins and Denis Faulkner. It deserves a more attractive format (ie. a bigger budget), Like many another magazine in  Canada, it appears to be functioning not according to the laws of economics, but on faith, hope, and precious little charity. We can only with it luck and send in our three dollars (for six issues, interval not specified). Address: 248 Bank Street, Ottawa 4, Ontario.

248 Bank Street was home to one iteration of the legendary Le Hibou coffee house, host to an astonishing range of poetry readings and musicians during it tenure.

The publishing of the magazine overlaps with other publishing ventures in Ottawa of the early 1960s. Aesthetically, it bears striking resemblance to the Hawkins/Roy MacSkimming book Shoot Low Sheriff, They’re Riding Shetland Ponies!, self-published by Hawkins and MacSkimming in 1964:

Shoot Low Cover
Title Page

It can also be matched to Harry Howith’s Burglar Tools, published by Howith’s own short-lived small press Bytown Books in 1963. Bytown was announced in the same issue of Canadian Author and Bookman:

Bytown Books, a new Ottawa venture, is looking for short (150 pages maximum, for the present), modern manuscripts. This is not a “vanity press”, not is it, yet, a commercial publishing house. “I suppose we’re something like a co-operative”, says editor Harry Howith. “For the time being, at least, we expect to ask most authors to contribute something towards production costs. If the book sells well enough, this will be refunded. If it keeps right on selling, we’ll pay royalties. But we will not publish anything unless we believe in it.”

            Bytown Books will be published cheaply, but attractively, Mr. Howith Says. “We are most interested in contemporary poetry, but we would be glad to see prose fiction and even non-fiction. We are particularly interested in humour, satire, and polemics. No juvenile material.”

            Address: Harry Howith, Editor, Bytown Books, 191 Fourth Avenue, Ottawa 1, Ontario.

Burglar Tools Cover
Title Page

Bytown Books announced a second book, That Monocycle, The Moon by Seymour Mayne, in an issue of Louis Dudek’s Delta in 1963, but the book was never published.

Delta 23 Rear Cover

Hawkins recalls that Something Else was discontinued because it was “probably too much work.”

Between Nil Press, Bytown Books, and Something Else, 1962-1965 were amazingly fertile years for poetry (and art generally) in Ottawa. Howith would go on to be published by DC Books as well as have the distinction of writing the final book published by Contact Press (Total War, 1967). Denis Faulkner was increasingly busy with Le Hibou. Rosewarne continued his own work as an artist, as well as designed titles by Al Purdy and Alden Nowlan for Emblem Books out of Toronto [look for a future post about these two unbelievably beautiful books]. Hawkins would achieve the height of his publishing success in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The four overlapped in various forms during these years. Something Else is a remarkable document of their interactions.

Something Else Rear Cover
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