The young Ottawa couple of Jeff Blackman and Kate Maxfield were lying in bed one morning and wondering: Female genitalia is commonly referred to in feline-esque terms, so why is there no animal euphemism for the male organ? Feeling inventive, Maxfield suggested the moose. “It’s silly and dopey at times,” Blackman points out, “and furious at other times.”
Therein lies the genesis for The Moose & Pussy, a new literary magazine launched this month that publishes short stories and poetry about sex.
It's run by an editorial collective of four, including Blackman, Maxfield, Jeremy Hanson and Rachael Simpson. The quartet met through working at In/Words, an independent magazine published by students at Carleton University.
A magazine about sex seemed like a good way to get the work of young artists and writers in Ottawa to the public, Blackman says. “Sex sells.”
In its 20-page premiere issue, The Moose & Pussy doesn’t shy away from erotica, but the material tends to cover more emotional ground than your average letter to Penthouse.
“There’s sex everywhere,” Blackman says. “But the sex you see everywhere, people are shaved. It’s so clean. There’s none of the bumps and bruises of sex, the awkwardness of it. We wanted to see good artists present sex in a real way."
The magazine’s spare look was inspired by titles such as The Walrus and The New Yorker, Blackman says. “With the raunchy, dirty stories in there, it’s sort of fun to play with that more clean style.”
Funding for the debut issue came from advertising (local sex shops, mostly) and out of the editors' pockets. Copies are being sold locally in Ottawa for $4 and Blackman says the team is hoping to publish quarterly, with the next issue scheduled for December.