Meet Montreal’s new independent literary publisher

The team behind Hybrid Heaven talks Mark Zuckerberg, urban decay and the publishing game.

MLA Chernoff

Hybrid Heaven’s publishing project launches this week with the release of JC Bouchard’s Let This Be the End of Me and MLA Chernoff’s Delet This at events in Montreal and Toronto. Both are debut poetry collections that have a visual component.

Founded by author Guillaume Morissette and the editors of literary mag Bad Nudes, Fawn Parker and Thomas Molander, Hybrid Heaven takes its name from an N64 RPG game from 1999 about aliens and clones.

I asked the publishers what motivated them to start Hybrid Heaven. As a magazine editor reading through submissions for Bad Nudes, Parker saw it as a natural progression. “Each time the magazine published work we were both really excited about, we’d also subconsciously consider the idea of publishing something longer by that person.”

“At the same time, we know that selling books is a cruel business because profit margins are slim and it’s sometimes easy to feel like ‘no one cares,’” Morissette offers.

“The best thing we can do is find work we’re excited about and present it and promote it as best we can while trying not to go bankrupt. Also to have fun and be nice,” says Molander.

When asked about the vision for Hybrid Heaven, Morissette jokingly answered that one of their goals was to pass a law that forced “Mark Zuckerberg to wear a dog cone” around his neck at all times.

While on the topic, I asked Delet This author and meta-textual memologist MLA Chernoff whether or not they would delete their Facebook account.

“No… never. I don’t want to upset daddy (Zucc). Our data is already so prolific that attempting to expunge it from the Temple of the Zucc wouldn’t do much to save us, or ‘democracy,’ from exploitative, profit-driven miners.”

JC Bouchard

They continue: “A mass FB delet would feel a lot like ‘conscious consumerism,’ e.g. Neil Young yelling about Starbucks in a song I wouldn’t play to my worst enemy, or people talking smack about McDonald’s (affordable yum!) when they are really just looking for a ‘progressive’ way to say they hate poor people. If we haven’t already deleted our profiles because of the website’s EXTREMELY transphobic and racist policies, there’s definitely a double standard to starting right now.”

On a more romantic bent, Toronto writer JC Bouchard offers poems accompanied by photographs that capture a city through moments of micro-decay. “Toronto is falling apart. It changes as new things take over, and the decay changes, too,” muses Bouchard. “Most of time I feel left behind, like I am leaving myself, and the city helps me realize that. I like getting lost in it. Its discarded parts are fascinating just aesthetically, visually and emotionally, like there are a million little self-sustaining art installations scattered everywhere.”

With a wide range of artworks to be presented at the Montreal launch, I asked what to expect at the reading. Molander noted: “Café Chez l’Éditeur is a very nice venue, very clean, probably the cleanest venue we’ve ever hosted an event in.” He also promised, to which this writer can attest, that the evening’s readers are all entertaining. ■

Hybrid Heaven Spring 2018 Launch with MLA Chernoff, JC Bouchard, Jordan Moffatt, Kara Crabb and Quinn Mason is happening at Café Chez l’Éditeur (7240 St-Hubert) on Friday, April 13, 7 p.m., free