Craniosemic Investigations Towards a Cytographic Phrenology of the Alphabet

O”’ is a series of visual responses to an initial image — that resembling an M embedded in an X-rayed head + neck, created by Barwin + appearing in the first panel of the first image. The process was simple. First one artist would create a variation + then the other would respond to it. Eventually, when a satisfying series had been created, after some consultation, Orr arranged the images into larger images, the visual language owing something to the graphic novel. This is the language of duet. Of dialogue. Of investigation + analysis through creative discussion + productive looking. Of considering how one response might respond to another, how all of the different ways of looking might be in dialogue with each other. How looking changes, evolves, develops, varies.

Gary Barwin
Michael Orr


Purple Sun

Purple Sun results from years of intimate knowledge of one another’s personalities + an artistic friendship started at the age of 12. Ever since, Mohammadi + Karami have shared a language + been involved in each other’s endeavours. Karami draws on Mohammadi’s poetry + personal ideologies. Mohammadi offers poetic translations of Karami’s paintings + lived experience. Their philosophies are as entwined as this project.

Mehraz Karami
Khashayar Mohammadi


Friday Poems

Friday Poems represents a year of collaboration between friends, two emerging writers working together online + in person ⁠— with all the criticism, laughter, + support that entails. Collaboration included alternating Friday prompts, without fail, for one year. Prompt content was up to the individual responsible for that week, with writing cues ranging from mixed media to visual art + philosophy ⁠— in addition to the work of contemporary authors, poets, + musicians.

Bill Arnott
Mala Rai


Butler + Nolan are obsessed with trees. When a tree, newly dead from Toronto Island’s 2019 flood, demanded that a poem be written in its voice, Nolan could get only halfway there. Butler pushed the poem along to its conclusion + expressed for the tree the unusual visual joy of its alive-in-death roots. Pleased with this, Butler + Nolan thought it was time to speak back, celebrating the beauty of a flowering pear tree.

Patrick Butler
E Martin Nolan


Gary Barwin + Michael Orr are intermedia visual poets, rogue lyric scientists of Dark Matter Phrenology — the former of Hamilton, Ontario, the latter of Atlanta, Georgia. They are he/him.

Mehraz Karami is an Iranian painter and visual artist pursuing his passion for painting in China.

Khashayar Mohammadi is an Iranian born, Toronto-based poet, writer, and translator. He is the author of poetry chapbooks Moe’s Skin (ZED press, 2018) and Dear Kestrel (knife | fork | book, 2019). His debut poetry collection, Me, You, Then Snow, is forthcoming with Gordon Hill Press.

Bill Arnott is the bestselling nonfiction author of 2019 WIBA Finalist Gone Viking: A Travel Saga and of Dromomania. His indie folk album is Studio 6. Bill’s been a featured performer at hundreds of literary festivals and mixed-media events. His work is published in Canada, the US, UK, Europe, and Asia. Bill’s received awards for his prose, poetry, and songwriting. When not trekking the globe with a small pack, weatherproof journal, and outdated camera phone or showing off cooking skills as a culinary school dropout, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, making friends and misbehaving.

Mala Rai’s most recent poems have appeared in the literary magazines Eclectica, High Shelf Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Cirque. She is an avid supporter of “anti-social” distancing, especially while trail running the north shore of Vancouver, while stand-up paddling away from humanity, while working on her psychology degree, and while 70s prog rock drumming in the safety of her forest hideaway. Bill spotted her across a crowded poetry classroom in 2017, and she ignored him until she found out he may have money.

Patrick Butler is an illustrator and teacher. He mostly draws the natural spaces, urban parks, trails, and trees of the Don River watershed. He studied illustration at Sheridan College and art history at the University of Toronto.

E Martin Nolan is a poet, essayist, editor and teacher. His non-fiction is on literature, sports, and music. His first book of poems, Still Point, was published with Invisible Publishing in fall of 2017. He teaches in the Engineering Communication Program at the University of Toronto and is a PhD Candidate in Applied Linguistics at York University.

2×4^1 was edited by Andy Verboom and published by Collusion Books, an imprint of long con magazine, which operates in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kmak’i, the traditional, unceded, and unsold territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty People.

2×4^1 is copyright © 2020 by Collusion Books. All rights reserved by the named contributors.