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Reviews, Awards, and Interviews: CASE STUDY, ORDINARY WONDER TALES, CONFESSIONS WITH KEITH, and more!

IN THE NEWS!

CASE STUDY

Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet (November 1, 2022) has been reviewed by Christian Lorentzen in the New York Times! The review was published online on November 1, 2022. Read the full NYT review here.

Lorentzen writes,

Case Study has a lot in common with the novels of Vladimir Nabokov and Roberto Bolaño, in which invented characters pass through tumultuous episodes of literary history that never quite happened, though it seems as if they should have. … Case Study is a diverting novel, overflowing with clever plays on and inversions of tropes of English intellectual and social life during the postwar decades.”

Case Study has been featured on Lit Hub as one of “18 new books to kick your November reading into gear.” The list was posted on November 1, 2022 and can be read here.

Case Study was reviewed by Jessica Brockmole for The Historical Novel Society. The review was published online on November 1, 2022. Read the full review here.

Brockmole writes,

Case Study is a dizzying dive into British counterculture of the 1960s and the radical anti-psychiatry movement … wildly inventive and slickly written. The notebooks feel so casually and authentically from the period, with ‘Rebecca’s’ word choices and the details she includes saying as much about 1960s British society as they do about her place in it. ‘Rebecca’ is deliciously unreliable as a narrator.”

Graeme Macrae Burnet has been interviewed by Lily Meyer for Crime Reads. The interview was posted online on November 3, 2022 an can be read here.

Meyer writes,

“Burnet propels readers through the novel with his fierce, hilarious intelligence.”

Case Study has also been excerpted in Lit Hub and featured by Vol 1. Brooklyn as part of their “November 2022 Book Preview.” The excerpt, and preview were published online on November 3, 2022. Read the Lit Hub here, and Vol 1. Brooklyn here.

Grab your copy of Case Study here!

ORDINARY WONDER TALES

Emily Urquhart, author of Ordinary Wonder Tales (November 1, 2022), was interviewed by Lisa Godfrey on CBC Ideas! The episode on hauntings aired on October 25, 2022. Emily’s segment begins at 25:00 mins. Listen to the full episode here.

Ordinary Wonder Tales has been reviewed by Kathleen Rooney in LIBER: A Feminist Review. The review will be published in print in their Winter 2022 issue. Read the full review here.

Kathleen writes,

“In Ordinary Wonder Tales, Urquhart stylishly combines her personal experiences with her academic expertise, leading to a reading experience that feels entertaining and casual yet also edifying … It’s a testament to Urquhart’s own formidable storytelling skill that each of her essays inspires a quiet awe.”

Ordinary Wonder Tales was been listed in CBC Books and Toronto Life!

The CBC Books list, “20 Canadian books we can’t wait to read in November” was published on November 2, 2022. You can check it out here.

The Toronto Life list, “Sixteen things to see, do, read and hear in Toronto this November” was published on October 28, 2022. You can read the full list here.

Order your copy of Ordinary Wonder Tales here!

THE AFFIRMATIONS

Luke Hathaway‘s poem “As the part hanteth after the water brooks” from The Affirmations (April 5, 2022), won the Confederation Poets Prize by Arc Poetry. The prize winner was announced on October 27, 2022. You can read the full announcement here.

This year’s judge, Brecken Hancock, had this to say about the winning poem:

“In 12 incredibly short lines, Luke Hathaway has captured how we survive and thrive by chance, by lucky accident. These spare lines take the reader on a profound journey with the speaker who has gone “uphill to the well / where I went, as I thought // for my water” only to find an utterly new form of thirst and its remedy waiting there instead. A previously unrecognized, but life-threatening, form of dehydration is alleviated (in what feels like the nick of time) by the startling discovery of a source to quench it. Rather than dwell on what had previously been missing, a sorrowful lack, the poem ends in affirmation—communicating a resonant relief, and, beyond that, the joy and ecstasy that can finally be embodied and expressed when our deepest needs are recognized and met.”

Get your copy of The Affirmations here!

CONFESSIONS WITH KEITH

Confessions with Keith by Pauline Holdstock (October 25, 2022), has been reviewed at Focus on Victoria on October 31, 2022. Read the whole review here.

Reviewer Amy Reiswig writes,

Confessions with Keith reminds us that life is a raw, radiant, and ridiculous story unfolding moment by moment for everyone in their separate subjectivities. It deserves laughter. It deserves tears. It is made more bearable by books like this, the literary equivalent of uncensored midnight conversation over cups of tea or glasses—plural—of wine. What Vita observes of festival street performers could well be said of reading Holdstock’s newest creation: ‘It was a shared experience of human life, a little bit of eternity together.'”

Confessions With Keith has also been reviewed at the BC Review. Read the whole review here.

Reviewer Candace Fertile writes,

“Things going wrong on many levels is the focus of the novel, but Vita’s ability to plough through the problems and often see the humour even when exhausted is refreshing … Confessions with Keith deals with real life issues in a frenetic and funny manner.”

Get your copy of Confessions with Keith here!

THIS TIME, THAT PLACE

This Time, That Place: Selected Stories by Clark Blaise (October 18, 2022) has been excerpted at Open Book. The excerpt is from the story “Translation” and was published Nov 1, 2022. You can read it here.

This Time, That Place also received a starred review at Quill & Quire. The review was published on November 2, 2022. Check out the whole review here.

Reviewer Steven W. Beattie writes,

“Blaise is … almost preternaturally adept at noticing things … sublime technique and linguistic finesse [are] showcased in these inestimable short works.”

Pick up your copy of This Time, That Place here!

TRY NOT TO BE STRANGE

Michael Hingston, author of Try Not to Be Strange: The Curious History of the Kingdom of Redonda (September 13, 2022), has been reviewed by MA Orthofer in The Complete Review. The article was published on October 30, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Orthofer writes,

Try Not to be Strange is an enjoyable account of a bizarre not-quite-real place, with a rich cast of characters—not least Hingston himself, who amusingly tracks his own obsessiveness.”

Michael Hingston has also been interviewed on Across the Pond podcast and New & Used podcast! Both episodes were published on November 1, 2022. You can listen to Across the Pond here, and New & Used here.

Get your copy of Try Not to Be Strange here!

Spotlight On: SHORT TAKES ON THE APOCALYPSE by PATRICIA YOUNG

With a change in seasons comes a new featured title in the Biblioasis Spotlight Series! For October, our pick is Patricia Young‘s observant and beautifully responsive poetry collection, Short Takes on the Apocalypse (October 18, 2016). Read on for a short note from the author, and keep an eye out for an excerpt from the collection in our newsletter later this month.

SHORT TAKES ON THE APOCALYPSE

“With her sure hand wielding the knife of understanding, Young cuts not just to the bone, but well beyond into realms that transcend the here, the now and the merely personal.”—Monday Magazine

This twelfth collection from Governor General’s Award nominee Patricia Young features poems built entirely upon the words of others. Originating as a response to Elmore Leonard’s “Ten Rules of Writing,” and expanding to include poetic responses to quotations about writing from other sources—from Leonardo da Vinci to Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood to Jimmy Kimmel—the resulting pieces traverse a myriad of themes. Playfully exploring subjects as wide-ranging as veganism, gun violence, sex, parenting, feminism, death, and Coachella, Young bounces off the selected epigraphs with a vital energy and crackling wit.

Patricia Young is the author of twelve books of poetry, four chapbooks and one book of short fiction, Airstream (Biblioasis, 2006). A two-time Governor General’s Award nominee, she has also won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the CBC Literary Competition, the British Columbia Book Prize for Poetry and the League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Competition. Her most recent collection of poems is Amateurs at Love (Goose Lane Editions, 2018). She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Pick up your copy of Short Takes on the Apocalypse here!

Check out Patricia Young’s other works here!

A WORD FROM PATRICIA YOUNG

Conversations Across Poems

I remember coming across Elmore Leonard’s ten rules for good writing and thinking how sensible and funny they were. One of his rules is never to begin with the weather. Another is never to use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. Around the same time, I read a Billy Collins poem in which he uses the word “suddenly” many times, playing off the idea that the word is forbidden, writing against the rule, doing the opposite. His poem is riddled with “suddenlys”. This led to reading interviews of writers in which they often listed their own rules for writing or talked about writing generally. All of this interested me, so I wrote a few poems that spun off Elmore Leonard’s rules and then kept going, more often searching for an appropriate quote after the fact. In this sense, the poems weren’t exercises; they were simply poems I’d written and the attached quotation fit in some loose way. Sometimes the connection between the epigraph and the poem is clear and sometimes it’s oblique. For example, when I was bitten by a beautiful (but frightened) dog I wrote a palindrome. The epigraph for this poem is by Dorothy Hinshaw Paten: “Even the tiniest Poodle or Chihuahua is a wolf at heart.” The poem and the quotation aren’t directly related but they do speak to each other. At least to my mind they do. Another example: Pat Conroy says, “One of the greatest gifts you can get as a writer is to be born into an unhappy family”. I liked this quote, the truth of it, so paired it with a poem I’d written in three parts: “Drinkers”, “Suicides” and “Insomniacs”. I enjoyed the process of seeking out epigraphs for the poems in this book. I felt I was connecting with and responding to other writers, both dead and contemporary.

A Farewell to Richard Sanger

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Richard Sanger, Biblioasis poet, friend and bon vivant. We knew that this moment was approaching: Richard had been working the last few months with his editor, Vanessa Stauffer, to prepare the manuscript of his final collection of poems, Way to Go, delivering it only last week. He remained himself to the very end: playful, enthusiastic, devilish. At one point, after making yet another death joke, he stopped and asked us if he was making us uncomfortable: he couldn’t help it, he told us, he found his own impending demise somewhat ridiculous. He kept laughing, and making others laugh, right to the end. We will miss that spirit, and his kindness, generosity and sharp-edged intelligence. And we will miss celebrating the launch of Way to Go in his person, raising a glass or three, though we take some solace in knowing that this book exists and he was able to get it where he wanted it to be, and that we will one day soon be able to share it with all of you who loved him, and hopefully a few more besides.

—Dan Wells

 

To honour Richard, we thought we’d share one of our favourite poems from his forthcoming collection, about the joy of movement and embellishment and friendship:

November Run

for Harold Hoefle

I read your letter, Harold,
as one nurse describes her new dessert
—rice krispie squares, peanut butter, chocolate—
to another who hooks me up to my IV drip
and I want nothing more than to go
for a run with you as wild
and muddy and unpredictable
as your letter, a long November run
to commemorate the races we never ran
against each other, the OFSAAs we never placed;
I want to head off hanging on your shoulder
—light-footed, loose-limbed, easy-breathing—
as you lead the way along the gravel shoulder
of the highway out of town, past the 7-Eleven,
the gas station, the monster homes,
then cut off down a path into the woods
and up whatever kind of hills you have
in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, or pastures
overgrown with sumac, I suppose,
or maybe we’d go for a run in the Gatineau,
why not, hell, up and down those ski trails,
over branches and rocks and puddles and streams
when there are still a few leaves
left on the hardwoods and also perhaps
a few precocious snowflakes in the air
appearing like over-keen students
to try their luck and melt on contact
as our cheeks and thighs redden,
and now you hang on my shoulder
as I lead the way, taking you on, pressing the pace
until we fall into a rhythm, brisk, mechanical,
each of our bodies telling the other’s
I can do this all I want, I can cream you,
our bones and sinews making themselves known
shedding all superfluous weight and thought,
as we run those Gatineau trails and this steep slope
and I attack, putting my forehead into it,
pumping my arms, thinking now I can do it,
administer the coup de grâce,
and leave you in the dust . . . No such luck.
At the crest, you’re still with me, surprise,
and so we head back, lungs panting, thighs aching,
letting our legs freewheel as fast as they can,
you ahead of me, or me ahead of you
breathing down my neck, laughing,
ready to pick me off and whoosh past
to the chalet where there’ll be showers and beer,
some women who’ll understand our jokes,
who’ll ooh and ahh over our mud-spattered calves,
and tell us we’re full of shit, if necessary,
and a roaring fire to get roaring drunk beside
as we proceed to purify the dialect of the tribe
and forge in the exuberance of our talk
the only lightly embellished story of our race.

ROMANTIC shortlisted for the DEREK WALCOTT POETRY PRIZE

We’re pleased to share that Romantic by Mark Callanan (October 12, 2021) has been shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry!

The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry is presented by Arrowsmith Press, in partnership with The Derek Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and is awarded to a full-length book of poems by a non-US citizen published in the previous calendar year. This year’s judge is Carolyn Forché.

The prize includes a $1,000 cash award, along with a reading at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in Boston. Winners will be announced on October 13, 2022.

Get your copy of Romantic here!

ABOUT ROMANTIC

A CBC Best Canadian Poetry Book of 2021

Drawing on Arthurian myth, the Romantic poets, the ill-fated “Great War” efforts of the Newfoundland Regiment, modern parenthood, 16-bit video games, and Major League Baseball, these poems examine the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, both as individuals and as communities, in order to explain how and why we are the way we are. At its heart, Romantic interrogates our western society’s idealized, self-deluding personal and cultural perspectives.

ABOUT MARK CALLANAN

Mark Callanan is the author of two previous poetry collections, Gift Horse (Véhicule Press, 2011) and Scarecrow (Killick Press, 2003), as well as two poetry chapbooks, Skylarking (Anstruther Press, 2020) and Sea Legend (Frog Hollow Press, 2010). He was a founding editor of the St. John’s-based literary journal Riddle Fence, and co-edited The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry (Breakwater Books, 2013). He lives in St. John’s with his wife, poet and critic Andreae Callanan, and their four children.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Biblioasis!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! We have some great gift ideas for your mom or any mother figures in your life.

For the mom who keeps up with the bestsellers: A Ghost in the Throat

“A powerful, bewitching blend of memoir and literary investigation … Ní Ghríofa is deeply attuned to the gaps, silences and mysteries in women’s lives, and the book reveals, perhaps above all else, how we absorb what we love—a child, a lover, a poem—and how it changes us from the inside out.”—Nina Maclaughlin, New York Times

For the mom who wants a challenge: Ducks, Newburyport

“Lucy Ellmann has written a genre-defying novel, a torrent on modern life, as well as a hymn to loss and grief. Her creativity and sheer obduracy make demands on the reader. But Ellmann’s daring is exhilarating—as are the wit, humanity and survival of her unforgettable narrator.”—2019 Booker Prize Jury Citation

For the mom who attends open mic night: Hail, the Invisible Watchman

“Alexandra Oliver, Canada’s sublime formal poet, grabs centuries-old traditions by the throat and gives them a huge contemporary shaking in Hail, the Invisible Watchman. Terrifyingly clever, dazzlingly skilled, and chillingly accurate in her social observations, she plunges from lyric to narrative and back again in this, her third volume, where a housewife has ‘a waist like a keyhole’ and a ‘good mood’ has a ‘scent’ … With Hail, the Invisible Watchman Oliver again alters the landscape of Canadian poetry.” —Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst

For the mom who loves historical fiction: The Barrøy Chronicles

“A profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm.”The Guardian

For the mom who is everyone’s best friend: The Last Goldfish

“Lahey is a writer of extraordinary gifts, evoking the world of two raucous schoolgirls growing up in the 1980s in astonishing, at times laugh-out-loud funny, detail … Lou couldn’t have asked for a more stalwart, loyal friend than Anita Lahey; we couldn’t ask for a more acutely observant and empathetic writer.”—Moira Farr, author of After Daniel: A Suicide Survivor’s Tale

For the mom who wants to be surprised: Biblioasis Mystery Box

Each box is unique and carefully curated. Tell us some of your favourite books or genres in the notes box, so we can pick books specially for you, or leave it blank for a complete surprise!

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Biblioasis!

Spotlight On: LET THE EMPIRE DOWN by ALEXANDRA OLIVER

Spring is here and so is another title for our Biblioasis Spotlight series! To celebrate Poetry Month, we’ve decided to feature a quietly eerie collection of poetry from Alexandra Oliver, taking a trip across the ocean and slipping into homes, movies, and memories in Let the Empire Down (April 12, 2016).

And don’t miss a special note from Alexandra below, on her new collection Hail, the Invisible Watchman, which releases April 5!

 

LET THE EMPIRE DOWN

In her second book, Alexandra Oliver takes us on a journey of escape from the suburbs of Canada to Glasgow, Scotland. Training her eye on the locals—on the streets, by rivers, in museums, on playgrounds, in their own homes, in the ill-starred town of Lockerbie—Oliver travels back into her past while reflecting on issues of exile, memory and identity.

Excerpt from Let the Empire Down:

THE MEGABUS GOES BY SHERBERT LAKE

There’s the water tank that bears its name.
There’s its purple edge: the shore, the ship
that crossed the lake, beneath a heap of lime.
I went away. I gave the place the slip.

There’s the mall where I would watch and wander;
there’s the bench where I would go and cry;
there’s the Polish deli that went under;
I left it all. It won’t remember me.

There’s the strip of mansions on the lee;
there’s the strap that ravaged my behind.
There’s the corner which they saved for me;
I made it out, and nobody will mind.

There’s the pier where people disappeared;
there’s the field of seven hundred crows.
The wind blows now. Convenient, ill-starred,
there it goes, forever. There it goes.

Alexandra Oliver was born in Vancouver, BC. She is the author of Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway (Biblioasis 2013), winner of the 2014 Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Let the Empire Down (Biblioasis 2016), and the chapbook On the Oven Sits a Maiden (Frog Hollow Press 2018). She is the co-editor (with Annie Finch) of Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters (Penguin Random House/Everyman’s Library 2015). A PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, she lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband and son.

Pick up your copy of Let the Empire Down here!

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

On Her Latest Collection

Hail, the Invisible Watchman is my third book; I suppose, loosely speaking, you could say it forms a triptych with Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway and Let the Empire Down, in that it deals with the grimmer underside of the suburbs, those elements which puncture the myth of cultivated, middle-class perfection. The fictional town of Sherbet Lake keeps coming up in all three collections, so perhaps you could call the whole lump The Sherbet Lake Trilogy. Just a fanciful thought.

What informed me in writing this particular book (and I suppose what makes it different from its predecessors) was that I found myself thinking specifically about what it is to be haunted—in this case, by loneliness and fear and isolation and what that does to one’s state of mind. The pandemic upped the ante. When it hit, people were driven indoors. There was this initial pot-banging “We’re going to beat this!” performance of enthusiastic resistance that took hold at the beginning, but then it wore off. People become afraid of going out or else went into complete denial. The political divide became a gaping chasm, and public discourse turned vicious, illogical. When I speak of the “Invisible Watchman”, I initially thought of that which watches us—consumerism, social media, the alt-right, the spectre of totalitarianism—but now I think it really means that hidden side of the self that threatens to cannibalize you at every turn if you’re shut away and living with uncertainty. I think being judgmental is one of those toxic threads—that particular theme weaves through the whole book but particularly through the last two sections.

Having mentioned all of this heavy stuff, I wanted the poems in the book to have a cinematic/tableau-like quality to them and an element of humour. I sort of imagine my reader holding up a View Master (remember those?) to the light and clicking through the reel thinking Okay, well that’s weird, I wonder if it’s going to get any … no, I guess not.

Order Hail, the Invisible Watchman here!

Take a look at Alexandra’s other work here!

THE MUSIC GAME, SAY THIS, CHEMICAL VALLEY, POGUEMAHONE, A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE, ON DECLINE: March Media Medley!

IN THE NEWS!

THE MUSIC GAME

An excerpt of The Music Game (February 8, 2022) by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe, has been published in Literary Hub! The excerpt was published online on February 28, 2022.

Read the full excerpt here.

The Music Game was also featured on the blog, Buried In Print. Read the full article here.

In the post, they write:

“Readers get a clear sense of that fog of youthfulness (where inherently ideas contain dichotomies like ‘clarity’ and ‘confusion’) but also a sense of lived-in and vibrant Montreal (and Ottawa) … It’s not the kind of story that makes you feel like you need to know what happens—because, actually, very little “happens”—but it’s the kind of storytelling that makes me care about the characters’ daily lives and lifelong dreams.”

In celebration of International Women’s Day, CBC Books put together a list of ’22 women writers in Canada you should read in 2022.’ Included on the list is The Music Game by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe. You can view the full list here.

The Music Game was listed by both Literary Hub and 49th Shelf as recommended reads for March! You can read the full list from Literary Hub here, and the full list from 49th Shelf here.

In her recommendation for Literary Hub, bookseller Kay Wosewick writes:

The Music Game is a delicious sneak peek into Millennial life, one that acknowledges few boundaries, alternates between excess and emptiness, repeatedly taste-tests and spits out adulthood, and ebbs and flows within the surrounding cacophony. Simultaneously exciting and unsettling.

The Music Game was reviewed in the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books! The review is printed in their Spring 2022 issue and was posted online on March 2, 2022. You can check out the full review here.

In her review, Roxane Hudon writes:

“Clermont is relentless in her writing, and pain seems to await these characters at every corner, but by concluding this way, with everyone together and alive sharing music and stories, she’s showing us that, even for a generation often teetering on the edge, there is beauty, and friendship, and hope.”

The Music Game was reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press! The review was posted online on March 12, 2022. Read the full review here.

In her review, Sara Harms writes:

“Montreal author Stéfanie Clermont’s award-winning debut is a stunning, incisive immersion into a community of young radical activists finding love, experiencing violence, rejecting hegemony, and struggling to survive financially in a world of dead-end jobs.”

The Music Game was also reviewed in The Charlatan, posted online on March 10, 2022. Read the full review from The Charlatan here.

In her review, Melissa White writes:

“Canadian author Stéfanie Clermont delivers in her debut novel, The Music Game, pushing the boundaries of narrative structure through intimate portrayals of young adulthood … Similar to the extremely successful Irish-millennial author Sally Rooney, she portrays the complex feelings and emotions of her characters in simple terms, thus making them feel universal.”

Pick up your copy of The Music Game here!

SAY THIS

Elise Levine, author of Say This (March 1, 2022), was interviewed in The Baltimore Fishbowl. It was published on March 2, 2022. Read the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

BFB: […] Has form always been a central consideration in your writing?

EL: I’ve always understood form and style as elements in service of character. But with Say This I felt greater freedom to formally experiment. Here I was writing a novella— when I’d previously written short stories and novels—and then a second one, so why not take things further? Especially in light of the characters’ experiences with the unsayable, the unanswerable, which called out for me to push hard on the use of fragments and white space as a kind counter-text.

Say This was reviewed in Toronto Star. It was published online on March 11, 2022, and can be read here.

An excerpt from the review:

“Levine repeats the phrase “everything has already happened” in both novellas and the line is key to the book as a whole. It is both the truth and wishful thinking: the crime is done, it’s already happened, this much is true. But for these characters, the crime is never in the past. It is always happening, a constancy of pain and loss that will forever shape their lives.

Say This is a breathtaking, daring exploration of that constancy, of the lingering power of trauma, and the roots and branches of violence and despair.”

Author Elise Levine was also interviewed by PEN America on March 3, 2022. You can find the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

I used fragments as a way of working against the truisms and conventional handlings of narratives surrounding violent crime. By their very nature, fragments embody what is missing; they convey a sense of absence, what remains unvoiced, including hard-to-name desires and the power imbalances that fuel abuse and thrive on the silences surrounding them. The fragments in the book highlight these silences and absences, reflecting how partial, how broken the characters’ understanding might be, and how difficult if not impossible it is for them to access an all-encompassing, consoling truth.

Say This was also named an Editors’ pick for March 2022 by 49th Shelf. You can see the full list here.

Get your copy of Say This here!

POGUEMAHONE

Poguemahone by Patrick McCabe (May 3, 2022) has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly. The review was published online on March 8, 2022, which you can read here. Poguemahone has also been selected as an Indie Next pick for May!

Publishers Weekly writes:

“McCabe draws the reader into a rambling web replete with Gaelic folklore, IRA agitation, and a soundtrack of glam and progressive rock. Lively and ambitious in form, this admirably extends the range of McCabe’s career-long examination of familial and childhood trauma.”

Preorder Poguemahone from Biblioasis here!

A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE

A Factotum in the Book Trade by Marius Kociejowski (April 26, 2022) was featured in Hamilton Review of Books as part of “What We’re Reading: Editors’ Picks, Spring 2022.” The article was published online on March 9, 2022. You can read the full list here.

Preorder A Factotum in the Book Trade today here!

CHEMICAL VALLEY

Chemical Valley cover

Chemical Valley by David Huebert (October 19, 2021) was named a semi-finalist for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature! The announcement was made on March 7, 2022. Congratulations, David!

Chemical Valley also received an excellent review from Kirkus! The review was posted online on February 25, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Kirkus wrote:

“Huebert has a razor-sharp wit and an exacting eye for human foibles … [he] manages to offer intimate portraits of human lives without ever letting readers forget the climate bubbling just outside their windows … A masterful assemblage of environmentally minded tales.”

Order your copy of Chemical Valley here!

 

ON DECLINE

On Decline cover

Andrew Potter, author of On Decline (October 19, 2021) was a guest on the podcast Lean Out with Tara Henley. Host Tara Henley is a former CBC reporter, journalist, and bestselling author. The episode was published online yesterday, March 16, 2022. You can listen to the full episode here.

Pick up your copy of On Decline here!

Spotlight On: WHEREVER WE MEAN TO BE by ROBYN SARAH

Ring in the new year with another fantastic title from Biblioasis’ Spotlight series! For January, we’re featuring a collection of poetry from Robyn Sarah, the arresting and beautifully sensory Wherever We Mean to Be: Selected Poems 1975–2015 (November 14, 2017).

This month we’re also including a special reading of several poems from this collection by Robyn herself! Listen in below.

 

WHEREVER WE MEAN TO BE

A four-decade retrospective from the winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry.

Spanning forty years and ten previously published collections, Wherever We Mean to Be is the first substantial selection of Robyn Sarah’s poems since 1992. Chosen by the author, the 97 poems in this new volume highlight the versatility of a poet who moves easily between free verse, traditional forms, and prose poems. Familiar favourites are here, along with lesser-known poems that collectively round out a retrospective of the themes and concerns that have characterized this poet’s work from the start.

Warm, direct, and intimate, accessible even at their most enigmatic, seemingly effortless in their musicality, the poems are a meditation on the passage of time, transience, and mortality. Natural and seasonal cycles are a backdrop to human hopes and longings, to the mystery and grace to be found in ordinary moments, and the pleasures, sorrows, and puzzlements of being human in the world.

Robyn Sarah is the author of eleven collections of poems, two collections of short stories, a book of essays on poetry, and a memoir, Music, Late and Soon. Her tenth poetry collection, My Shoes Are Killing Me, won the Governor General’s Award in 2015. From 2011 until 2020 she served as poetry editor for Cormorant Books. She has lived for most of her life in Montréal.

 

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

Special Reading of Seven Poems

Wherever We Mean to Be is the first selection of my poems since The Touchstone in 1992. A forty-year retrospective of my work as a poet, it is again my own selection, a new winnowing of my first five collections and of four published since. I chose the title because, in revisiting where I’ve been, it struck me that this phrase—the last line of a poem called “Station”—seems to embody something that runs through all of my poetry.

In “Station”, a couple—”two travellers, refugees/ of our own pasts”—contemplate a space ship on the lawn of the science museum. They have not come to visit the museum; they are just passing, here for the day on business. They don’t know why they feel compelled to stop; something inarticulate attends this moment as, hand in hand, they gaze blankly at the “mute ship poised for flight/ it will not take.” The poem ends:

… The thought
that beats, propeller-like
above our heads
is that we’re here—
wherever we were before,
wherever we mean to be.

We’re here.

“Here” is where we are now—a moment in time, a position on the globe. But the present moment is nearly always infused with some awareness of past and future: memory and imagination are part of it. I think this is how humans live: with one foot in the past and one directed towards a future or an elsewhere made of promise and intention. Unlike animals, we live in a present that embodies consciousness of where we’ve been, and hopes/fears/schemes/dreams of where we one day may be.

We are where we are, and it isn’t necessarily where we mean to be. It’s this ambivalence, integral to the human moment, that fascinates me as a poet: the tug between immediate particulars and a mind that can project backward or forward in time. Those same particulars can make time stand still if we’re paying close attention to where we are now. Yet stresses that thwart or divert intention can give a moment its aliveness.

A walk along a beach at dusk leads to a scramble up a cliff face to escape the incoming tide. The search for “something perfect” comes up against the demands of domesticity. A man on a scaffold and a woman below give up trying to have a conversation that way. A woman at the top of a staircase contemplates stairs that “end in mid-air, halfway down” after the man at the bottom has cut off a section he wants to reconfigure. In the mirror on a bureau that once belonged to the father she lost in childhood, a woman sees how her own face has come to resemble his mother’s as she remembers it from when she was a child…

“We are where we are”—for now. In the accompanying sampler of poems I’ve recorded as audio, these are a few living moments caught on the fly.

 

Get your copy of Wherever We Mean to Be here!

Order her latest work Music, Late and Soon here!

Have a look at Robyn Sarah’s other fantastic titles here!

 

BEST CANADIAN 2021 SERIES Virtual Launch Video

“The legacy of this series is massive … a literary institution.” —Ottawa Citizen

Last night we celebrated the virtual launch of the 2021 Best Canadian Series! The event kicked off with a discussion and Q&A between publisher Dan Wells and editors Bruce Whiteman, Diane Schoemperlen, and Souvankham Thammavongsa. This was followed by selected readings by contributors from each anthology: Eva-Lynn Jagoe from Essays, David Romanda from Poetry, and Metcalf-Rooke Award-winner Colette Maitland from Stories. The night finished off with a series giveaway.

And even if you missed the live event, you can still watch here!

ABOUT BRUCE WHITEMAN

Bruce Whiteman is a poet, translator, culture historian, and book reviewer. His reviews appear regularly in Canadian Notes & Queries, The Hudson Review, and elsewhere. Recent poetry collections include Intimate Letters (2014), Tablature (2015), and The Sad Mechanic Exercise (2019). His translation of Fanny Daubigny’s study Proust in Black: Los Angeles: A Proustian Fiction was published in 2019.

ABOUT DIANE SCHOEMPERLEN

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Diane Schoemperlen has published several collections of short fiction and three novels, In the Language of Love (1994), Our Lady of the Lost and Found (2001), and At A Loss For Words (2008). Her 1990 collection, The Man of My Dreams, was shortlisted for both the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium. Her collection, Forms of Devotion: Stories and Pictures won the 1998 Governor General’s Award for English Fiction. In 2008, she received the Marian Engel Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. In 2012, she was Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.

ABOUT SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of five books: Small Arguments (2003), winner of the ReLit Prize; Found (2007), now a short film; Light (2013), winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Cluster (2019); and the short story collection How to Pronounce Knife (2020), winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She has been in residence at Yaddo and has presented her work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

 

Order your copy of Best Canadian Poetry here!

Order your copy of Best Canadian Stories here!

Order your copy of Best Canadian Essays here!

Get the Best Canadian 2021 Bundle here!

ROMANTIC Virtual Launch Video

Last night we celebrated the virtual launch of Mark Callanan’s new poetry collection, Romantic (October 12, 2021)! Mark Callanan had a wonderful discussion with fellow poet Luke Hathaway, who showed up dressed in shining armor for the event! The reading was followed by an audience Q&A, and a successful book giveaway!

And if you missed the live launch, you can still check it out below!

 

ABOUT ROMANTIC

Drawing on Arthurian myth, the Romantic poets, the ill-fated “Great War” efforts of the Newfoundland Regiment, modern parenthood, 16-bit video games, and Major League Baseball, these poems examine the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, both as individuals and as communities, in order to explain how and why we are the way we are. At its heart, Romantic interrogates our western society’s idealized, self-deluding personal and cultural perspectives.

ABOUT MARK CALLANAN

Mark Callanan is the author of two previous poetry collections. He was one of the founding editors of the St. John’s, Newfoundland-based literary journal Riddle Fence and co-edited The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry. He lives in St. John’s with his wife, poet and critic Andreae Callanan, and their four children.

 

Get your copy of Romantic from Biblioasis here!