160 pages/trade paper
Available in the US
World Rights Available
nipê wânîn: my way back is a poetic journey of one woman discovering her Cree heritage and how it has shaped her. The poems are written in both Cree and English, on facing pages. Her pathway for the poems was paved by her grandmother’s life and teachings.
I am my grandmother’s thought. I was in her tears. I have shared dreams with her. I am a sprig of present produced by the past, cultivating the future.
(from “I am”)
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72 pages/trade paper
Helpless Angels weaves several themes together: music’s impact on a life, expressed through memory; poems that are like songs; music found in or described through nature; poems that directly consider music’s power; and, as a counterpoint to how music carries us through life, how art — and each of us — deals with significant loss: the death of a loved one. Helpless Angels looks at a long-term development — the ubiquitousness of widespread personal access to music performed by others that began in the 1950s and has continued to expand ever since. The collection explores via the medium closest to music, poetry, and a number of the delightful or at least positive dimensions to this enormous change in the fabric of people’s everyday lives.
180 pages/trade paper
Throughout the years, Campbell’s work has remained consistently engaging, her tone steady and trustworthy and her control of imagery precise. There are subtle changes in her presentation of the natural world and slight shifts in her metaphysical approach to space, time, and possibility. But in this retrospective there is no doubt that her strength lies in her ability to capture the transcendence that occurs when nature informs the mind and the commonplace rises to philosophical insight. Though universal in scope, the poems only give up all their richness upon slow and careful readings.
The Poetry Show, CKUW Winnipeg
64 pages / paper
Laurie Lynn Muirhead
The poems in Bone Sense resonate with the simplicity of rural life but evolve from the great traditions of the nature narrative. The poems reflect how the land, the climate, cattle, coyotes and weather unfold with circadian rhythm. Muirhead’s language is straightforward and yet she creates fresh and useful metaphors to embody those mystical connections that are entrenched between her and the rural world she inhabits.
64 pages / paper
Exile on a Grid Road is a celebration and exploration of the human experience, from youth to adulthood and illness to joy. Sadness, healing, humour, forgiveness, and joyfulness mingle as Shelley Banks creates detailed narratives of office life, failing health, and complex relationships and confronts the rootlessness and disconnection common to a contemporary experience marked by globalization and increasing mobility. In many of her poems, Banks presents the conundrum of belonging, identity, and culture. She displays an intimate knowledge of the many environments in which she has lived but also possesses an underlying disconnect due to the temporary nature of her stay in each place.
Banks’ quiet wit keeps her serious subject matter from overwhelming by presenting mundane details of working life with fresh observational humour, including describing tea that “is cold and tastes like chewing gum” and expressing envy towards an irresponsible coworker who “wears Black Cashmere,/come-fuck-me shoes.” She uses rich imagery to evoke nostalgia and to remind readers of the details we often miss during the process of daily life. By combining sharp observation, humour, and accessible verse, Exile on a Grid Road reveals the wonders to be found among the seemingly mundane details of the day to day.
“Whether at home in, or exiled from, the workplace or the grid road, the harsh light of diagnosis or the muted tones of loss, Banks’ poems touch the shadows and expanses of our lives with tender precision.”— Gerald Hill
“A solid first collection written with poise and a certain human wisdom.” — gillian harding russell
Questions for Wolf, Shannon Quinn’s debut poetry collection, explores desire and memory, examining the damaged lives of characters whose street smarts are their only defense against self-destruction and loss of hope. Quinn’s poems delve into a world of “inner city mortifications” as she contemplates lost innocence and how the longing to be great rather than merely good can drive people to pursue a life along society’s margins. From adolescent girls getting a taste of adulthood around a bonfire in “Bonfire” to the sex workers who hold their own on the dark streets of Quinn’s hazy, almost mythical universe, readers are transported through the “peculiar urban sprawl of being a girl” and presented with a celebratory defiance of the expectations projected onto women.
Questions for Wolfis a collection of dark yet delicate poems, celebrating the myth and magic associated with female sexuality and agency. Themes of lost innocence, damaged lives, addiction, and destitution intermingle with a celebration of life outside the margins, as Quinn weaves beautiful narratives out of the ugly bits of life. Images of childlike purity combine with tragedy as the collection follows a motley gang that includes “the morphined, the moon-shined,/the induced amnesiacs and the bicycle thieves” as they stage a revolution against polite society and “pulverize the idea of being good instead of great.”
Stark natural imagery combines with Quinn’s magic-infused metaphors as she describes liquid skies filled with stars and the simultaneously soothing and oppressive force of water as it alternates between the serene waves of a fresh hit and the sound-muffling burden placed on revolutionaries “chained to the ocean floor”. Bears, dogs, elephants, and other strange beasts including carnivorous sheep take shadowy shape throughout the collection as Quinn delves into our animal urges and confronts society’s tendency to enforce order but offer no guidance. “Where were our birders when we needed them?” she asks in “Animal Secrets”, but this probing discontent reveals fewer answers than questions.
Despite being a collection exploring wounds and sorrows, Questions for Wolfis also fundamentally about redemption as Quinn explores the strength it takes to reclaim a shattered life. Quinn dares herself to transform grief into something beautiful, and the result is an eloquent statement about hope against all odds.
"Rife with metaphors, the subject matter in Questions for Wolf can be bleak and uncomfortable, but somewhere beneath the despair and confusion, there’s hope, coupled with tender and delicate prose." — Room Magazine
Love is Not Anonymous is an exploration of the expectations and heartaches often projected onto women’s lives and their spiritual journeys. The complexities of coming of age as a woman are presented with humour and parody as Jan Wood leads us on a journey through the many realms of love from first love and infatuation to marriage, motherhood, and even extramarital temptation. Spiritual love and the challenges of faith are also examined as Wood juxtaposes the competing themes of belief and female sexuality, examining the pain and injustice to which women are subjected in the realms of both love and faith and searching for order and meaning in the two most complicated territories of human experience.
Spirituality is at the forefront as Wood reflects on her religious background and converses directly with God in the interspersed “godtalk.com” poems. She illustrates a relationship to God that is physical and intellectual as well as transcendent, often drawing out the romantic elements of spirituality as in “/is/there/a/prayer/to/mend/this?” when she bargains with God, promising to pay [him] back/on her knees.” Elsewhere she wrestles with the challenges of faith when she confesses, “I liked you more when I thought/there was an alternate plan/with side benefits for being good.” Despite these uncertainties, however, “she cannot leave/the idea of him/alone.” Wood also explores women’s issues and the experiences of women as they battle the expectations of both innocence and inherent sinfulness projected onto them in the realms of love and faith. The biblical Eve is a recurring character as Wood reflects on the sexual repression enforced by church and society, and the dark side of a woman’s experience is explored in poems about domestic abuse (“Duplex”), prostitution (“Sometimes She’s Afraid to be Loved”), and the lethal conclusion of being female (“Invasion”).
Feminist undertones show through in Wood’s narratives, but she refuses to be hemmed in by definitions, writing in “Mary, a Woman” that “she does not desire equality but freedom to celebrate/her differences,” vocalizing the exhaustion many women experience at “being the culprit and the icon.” She also celebrates the complexity of love and sexuality with honest portraits of teenagers sneaking out on a winter evening (“She Pretends”) and experienced lovers revealing secrets by firelight (“Salvage”). These poems are small confirmations that love signs its name on everyone who seeks it, and they reveal the difficulties women face on the journey to well-being and wholeness.
112 pages/trade paper
At times emotionally quiet and reflective and at other times overtly challenging, Shepherd’s poems rely on the reader’s familiarity and interest in how sleep, city, and nature hold magic.
The poems in Kelly Shepherd’s Insomnia Bird are a cartography and a geography of Edmonton. The poems, which shift between short, individual lyric pieces and found text, emulate a black-billed magpie’s nest with the subject-matter and also physically, with the words and lines. The poems generate the theme of home (the bird’s nest, the city), and not feeling at home; sleeping, and the inability to sleep. The magpie (the insomnia bird) is the protagonist and the muse, the thread that connects everything to everything else in this work.
As such, Shepherd’s poems move across the surface at speed, like Edmonton’s NAIT train, and dive like magpies after the occasional tasty image or crumb of detail. The city, as it spreads out across the Prairies, can do nothing to prevent urban sprawl, and grows taller with each new high-rise building and office tower and sinks deeper into the ground, which is memory!
The city with purple fingers and black feathers
is bending branches outside the window.
In the photosensitivity of morning,
The city is an open window that can’t hear itself think.
While Shepherd’s poems are at times critical of Edmonton’s automobile culture and urban sprawl, his tone remains ironic rather than moralizing and he is consistent in his use of dark humour to avoid being didactic. With such guidance the poems effectively disclose what is not seen, what is repressed, what lies behind the scenes in the city he shares with magpies.
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80 pages / paper
Traditional poetry continues to hold its place in contemporary literature, in part because of the emergence of women whose writing is informed by tradition but whose subject matter crystalizes in the personal search for meaning. This work represents a search through life, querying events and ideas. Thoughts are offered and ideas considered, but no real conclusion is reached as life’s constant flux shifts the perspective and importance of every event. Everyday moments and seemingly inconsequential acts are allowed their due while peace and strength show through the loss and effort.
In the backdrop to the poems, the boreal forest comes alive, poems begin there:
I spent the entire day walking poplar brush and spruce groves
stretched out for a bit in waist-high grass in the meadow beyond the birches
worked my slow way beneath the willows where beaver wore a path
through stones that rim the slough next to Little Winter Lake
And poems end there:
young throats yip
coyote pups on the ridge
beckon the moon as feet slap boards
stretched to the drowning sun
leap into rippled silver
In these poems, the forest, the woman, and the poem share the work for meaning, and this is what creates their beauty as much as the carefully chosen words that convey it.
These poems in this collection are steeped in loss and lament as they concern the death of the poet’s family members, particularly her father, and the premature death of two brothers two years apart. The collection’s tone is often elegiac, but rarely maudlin, and the clipped narrative is frequently imbued with lyrical strains. The poems are emotional counterpoints to life’s implacable realities and in the resulting response the poet learns that self-recrimination, denial, or anger cannot change the course of events. She teaches us that grief is a singular and deeply emotional experience and the poems convey this intimacy and offer a clear and empathetic path to a very specific emotional wellness.
Excerpt from “House by the Sea”
If the brain is a house by the sea
dementia a storm rising
water rushing in, lifting tables, chairs
Mute, deaf and blind, the brain
employs the body as translator:
muteness into spoken word
deafness into birdsong
blindness into a vision of heaven.
295 pages / trade paper
Teacher Resource Guide
Glen Sorestad, Editor
In the Clear showcases contemporary Canadian poetry that is accessible and wide-ranging in content and perspective. These poems reflect the geographical, ecological and social concerns of contemporary life and times in Canada, and many have a literary permanence because of their unique voice and exceptional craft. Readers who want a collection of poetry that is expansive in its human and social concerns will find this anthology indispensible.
"In the Clear is a testimony to the work and accomplishment of the people behind Thistledown Press."
— Canadian Book Review Annual
*Teacher Resource Guide Available
96 pages / paper
Kelly Shepherd’s poetry is filled with awe and celebration, sadness, and ironic humour as he explores themes of human relationships with the natural world, including connection, alienation, and the negative impacts of human activity on nature; interspecies kinship — ecological as well as animistic and shamanic; and, intersections of ecology and industry.
Shepherd uses numerous voices and perspectives, and such arrangements bring about a variety of moods. Whether his subjects are starlings or tamaracks, woodchucks or grizzly bears, the ever-present magic of nature guides not only the mode but directs each poem’s tone toward some unique perspective:
Some spiders know the correct use of magic
knots to tie a cluster of Oregon grape
into one single dusty purple berry. If a
black bear swallows it under the right moon
he or she will become a powerful shaman,
able to speak the languages of spiders.
But while there is a dominance of the natural world found in the poems, they also reflect the numerous meanings of the title: a shift of perspective or point of view, physically moving or shifting position, transforming or changing form or physical appearance, shifting gears while driving a vehicle, working the night shift. Living and working on the land and bodily experiences of specific places also have their place in Shepherd’s poems. These portraits ensure a kind of visceral connection or memory to the poems as they invite reader comparisons to their own work experiences.
"Shift is exhilarating, and I count it among the best books of poetry I’ve read in the last two or three years.
Shepherd writes with an unusual blend of understated verve and imaginative bravado, and has emerged as a poet more than ready to feel his way beyond what Northrop Frye once called 'the conquest of nature by an intelligence that does not love it.'” — Mark Dickinson, The Fiddlehead
"Accessible, quiet, reflective with the small particulars in place, SHIFT is a book to restore sanity." — Hannah Main - van der Kamp, Pacific Rim Review of Books
80 pages/trade paper
Readers familiar with the kind of literary experimentation Samuel Beckett used in his play, Endgame, where people become suddenly aware of being both spectators and players in their own lives, will connect with Stubbs’ poetry immediately. Others will discover this phenomenon from his “characters” who reach out from their experiences to try to find meaning for how what has passed in their lives now locks them into their present and must somehow bring purpose to their future. Such is the opening suite of poems, Heloise/Abelard, based on the true 12th century story of Pierre Abelard and Heloise — the epitome of star-crossed lovers. Another template for Stubbs’ collection is a slate of poems that explore Daniel Paul Schreber, the 19th century German judge who recorded his mental illness in the book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, one of the most influential books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Other poems explore our contemporary world — which through its media interprets reality while it displaces it. Underpinning Stubbs’ work are the relentless questions of his family — his emotional archives, and the intersections with other peoples’ lives that complicate relationships.
80 pages / trade paper
Saskatchewan writer Bernadette Wagner’s first book is examination (and cross-examination) of place, heart, politics, the socio-placement of women in the land and their quest for spiritual grace and worth. The poems tell of personal encounters with death, sexual assault, children, family, hard work, and a woman’s transformation from a bad-luck existence into a meaningful new life. The book’s trajectory is from young girl to wise crone and the poems are divided into these sections accordingly — Maiden, Mother, Crone. Detailed images of mundane family homes, farms, and yards act as backdrop to the human discourse and at times counterpoint the emotional politics and heaviness of a life weighed down with routine and questionable value. The insightful and powerful forces turned loose by the narrator stir all the emotional cul de sacs she experiences.
John Livingstone Clark
In Man Reading “Woman Reading in Bath”, John Livingstone Clark creates a series of poetic meditations as responses to the work of Anne Szumigalski: specifically the poem entitled “Woman Reading in Bath”, in the book that shares the same name. Clark’s inspiration for this project was a question posed by the elder poet several times in her last few years: “Why do so many of my book titles have water in them?” For Clark, the poem “Woman Reading in Bath” reflects a number of major themes in her work, and by writing individual poems in relation to single lines (occasionally a couplet), the ‘mythopoesis’ of her work could be opened up in a book of poetry. Within this textual framework, Clark’s poems are dominated by the metaphor of a swimmer enveloped in a series of states and environments.
It would be understatement to say that these poems deal with loneliness, aloneness, and that final liminal state one experiences between life and death. The swimmer is a lonely man, but he accepts it as part of the rite of passage we must all make: moving from solid ground and social activity, to the beach with its visionary views, and finally the stage when one actually enters the water and moves out into a seemingly infinite ocean, beneath a tangibly infinite sky.
One of the main reasons Clark chose this poem of Szumigalski’s is its radical, though humorous, deconstruction of all patriarchal theologies. As suggested by the poem’s title, there really is a woman having a nice soak in the tub, but wouldn’t you know it — a Yahweh-like figure pops out of the water and starts throwing his weight around. It is in his responses to these poems that Clark moves into a very specific duel with the hegemony of Patriarchal Christianity.
From the personal to the universal, this collection is an ode to the harmonics of mind, body, and spirit. Why always about water? Characters and Selves within all of us beg to know, the swimmer reciprocates: the body is sixty-five percent H2O; the water breaks at birth; and in the unconscious process of Individuation, we are “drowning to life”.
In Catherine Mamo’s debut poetry collection, is a woman quietly buried, like dormant grass under months of snow, in a routine agenda: make meals, water the cactus, turn the baby, pay the mortgage, and pick up son at 2:00 pm from swimming. However, this poetry hosts an extraordinary, worldly voice that lives beyond the banality of chores, and understands the immensity of origin and coexistence. Whether Mamo is observing the evolution of a hoverfly or is contrasting her picket fence life with a scene of the Ganges “where wild dogs gnaw on charred corpses” she installs a remarkable balance between the concrete and imaginable. Where the mundane blurs and confuses the self, a mother escapes through her poet exoskeleton. Or is she a poet with a mother’s exoskeleton? A woman who wakes in the night holding scribbled notes feels the earth pulsate around her, finds meditation in laundry and snow; in the Ma — the space between.
Paperwhite is sound-rich with hums and chants, where butterflies are harmonic and “coyotes howl like ambulances”, and where a woman stands at the intersection of her life: remembering passed lovers and escaped dangers, searching for mid-life enlightenment, and projecting the loneliness of aging.
Rita Bouvier’s third collection of poetry is a response to the highs and lows of life and represents an attempt at restoring order through embracing others, reconciling the traumas caused by the deep scars of history, and soaring beyond life’s awkward and painful moments in order to live joyfully. Inspired by the metaphor of a voyageur sustained by song on his journeys up and down the rivers of Northwest Saskatchewan, these “wordsongs for the seasons” draw heavily on images from nature as well as the joys, heartaches and transgressions Bouvier has witnessed and experienced as a Métis woman. Using imagery strongly connected to the natural environment, Bouvier evokes earth’s regeneration through the seasons as inspiration for moving forward.
96 pages/trade paper
This powerful and evocative poem sequence reconstructs memory through pinpoint ancestral connections and personal history. The poetry is as fundamental as the southern prairie landscape in its stark realities, and progressively elemental in its distinctive risks with structure and imagery. It is roots poetry, humorous, anecdotal and wise, but also original, unexpected and profound. Cooley’s writing fiddles with forms, swerves among the vernacular, the comical, the meditative, the linguistic, and the personal. His work exudes a strong commitment to local and contemporary understandings of writing and a continued experimentation with his postmodernist leanings. correction line affirms Cooley’s desire to break from the inexorable narrative and offer poetry its place in the everyday world, while allowing its aesthetic to claim the space and time of the Canadian Prairies for its form, cadence and meanings. As the title suggests there are lines that correct what must change, as there are lines to correct what is already known. It is through this convergence of memory and history that Cooley’s poems shape understanding.
“ . . . Cooley being humble Cooley, you can almost never find most of [his] titles listed on his other books; never one to announce himself, but lets the poems do all the talking.” — rob mclennan, Vallum Magazine
64 pages/trade paper
Taylor Leedahl integrates the dynamic traditions of Western Canadian poetry with her evolving pop sensibility, and emerges with a bright and resonant new voice on the literary landscape. Here is a chronology of a girl, then a young woman, coming to age in a contemporary society that allows more psychological, educational, and sexual freedoms than ever before, and her poetic response as she exercises these liberties wherever and whenever she can.
“Taut with energy, these poems compel us to look up and outward — as the ‘blue sun tumbles’ and prairie ‘moon limbo[s]’ under the wide-eyed horizon. Leedahl’s crystalline observations are a 'white rip of truth' in a landscape where flora and fauna, humans and insects are busy ‘making business' of life.” — Mari-Lou Rowley
Ian LeTourneau imagines history and memory as a glacial landscape that is both advancing and inert. The result is a collection where metaphor unfurls on a conveyor belt of precise language constructed to assemble the past we pretend not to remember, the future we try not to imagine, and the present we cannot escape. Terminal Moraine announces the arrival of an urgent new voice in Canadian poetry, one that embraces our myriad jagged landscapes, both personal and public, thawing and freezing.
This collection is the poet’s quest for exit signs, both mutual and solitary. Or is it an entrance she looks for through the forests of family and love, the changing landscapes of people, the shifting seasons? When nature is at work revealing and recovering, when who you were becomes who you are, there is clarity. These moments are captured as rituals that reveal the disharmony of existence; and the need for encounters with ghosts, both real and ethereal.
“There is sex, death and everything in between, which sums up the Uber Gruber’s poetry. How can she be both cheeky and wise at once? So sweet and sad and good?” — Susan Musgrave
“In poems that are fresh, quirky, poignant, amusing, and always unflinchingly honest, Adrienne Gruber confronts the ambiguities of intimacy and love. Her terrain is the ‘tender navigation’ of feelings for the living and the dead, for lovers, for family, even a beloved dog — in other words, what we find and what we lose as we journey through life.” — Judith Krause
To act in a thoughtful way,
To act in a respectful way,
To act in a joyful way,
To act in a balanced way
Through the healing medicine of language, Rita Bouvier leads the reader into the world of the Métis and Cree to experience first hand the wisdom and generosity that she inherited in her birthright. Some of these poems are steeped in the tradition of the dramatic monologue; others are used as dialogue anchors to the rich oral traditions of First Nations people. Throughout all, though, is the subtle but confident voice of Rita Bouvier who, like a spirit guide, leads the reader into a cultural place where wisdom comes from children, and laughter from elders. In papîyâhtak poetry is used to “forge a vision that many can embrace”.
When the World is Not Our Home includes nearly fifty poems by one of Canada’s most distinctive literary voices. Selected from titles published between 1985 and 2000, these poems issued in small print runs became quickly out of print and are often now only available through rare book collectors. Part diviner, part sorceress, but always direct, confident and humorous, Susan Musgrave reaffirms readers of her distinctive place in Canadian letters.
“Musgrave approaches her subject in the manner of Salvador Dali — she distorts reality until it approximates her bizarre vision of the world.” — The Globe and Mail
“Tapping into fears and subconscious yearnings has been Susan Musgrave’s trademark from her earliest work, Songs of the Sea Witch, where she found inspiration and direction in classical and aboriginal mythology. Now she is able to locate the mythic element anywhere, in a death, a ferry ride, a failed photographic expedition, even in reading someone’s else’s collected poems!” — BC Bookworld
“She casts a spell and haunts us...she is a mythmaker...within her beats a heart that welcomes flooding darkness in which to brew special magic.” — Montreal Gazette
Paulette Dubé’s fifth book of poetry takes an intimate look at the movements made by animals and humans during a cycle of four seasons. The poems are rich in their simplicity, and convey the depth and mystery of the animal-human connection. Reverse anthropomorphism occurs and the humans come away having (un)learned something about the citizens of the forest while deepening an understanding of themselves. The poems stress that as a species we are lost and lonely without our connection to the land, but that this connection reverberates with consequences.
“Dubé writes that she ‘…loves this place without being romantic, witty or urbane about it…’ and this promise is delivered through every poem. There is an unaffected, refreshing candor in these poems that is simply stunning, if not, at times, devastating.” — Thomas Trofimuk, author of Waiting For Columbus
"Her poems most strongly suggest a real humility when faced with the natural world, how it gets on with life, both survives and lets go, and a gratitude for how it can heal human trauma." — Jan Horne, Prairie Fire Magazine
Available In the US
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These narrative poems are coloured with both curiosity and nostalgia and framed in a personal montage. Sorestad’s free verse captures the flora and fauna, the natural rhythms and colour of Saskatchewan. Occasionally they are descriptions of urban and rural landscapes, other times they are evoked memories of people and places who have left marked imprints upon him. Celebrating the ordinary and seeing the mystery in all moments of life remains part of his poetic priority. The neighbourhood parks he walks in, the way the seasons change, how family life evolves, how parents think, and a wide array of how past events claim permanence in our lives — all are set to inviting narrative tones.
In a series of poems that move between narrative and lyric, the personas of Austrian artist Egon Schiele and his mistress/model Valerie Neuzil are revealed in exquisite detail. Dividing the work into three sections, equal energy is given to the artist, his model, and the alluring energy of Viennese eroticism. Creating intimacy through the use of first person and exposing drama through the use of the third, Hamon’s poems resonate with Egon’s and Valerie’s story: how they met, their intense desires, and the union and bond that would keep them together for years. Red Curls chronicles lives but in the retelling, captures the enterprise and intensity of Schiele as he pushed the culture of desire to new heights.
But not all of Hamon’s poems simply celebrate Schiele’s genius nor do they romantically colour the hard love that he shared with Valerie. Many poems are left to the reader to ponder as Hamon gathers the fragments and forces at work in her subjects. Other poems remind us of the mundane moments of Egon’s and Valerie’s financial struggles, their needling uncertainties, and the mitigating circumstances of family relationships. But never far from any revelation is the arching theme that, in Schiele’s world, the pervasive drive is to find inspiration in the erotic and an audience to support it. Sometimes Hamon conjures that Viennese world that would reject his bohemian lifestyle only to celebrate his artistic vision, other times she intensively explores the truth of her subjects through their portraits and Schiele’s paintings that themselves became the revolutionary and liberating edge of a generation of artists.
The various poetic forms featured in the book let the reader visualize the art and lives of Schiele and Neuzil. Throughout, three voices appear as dramatic monologues that allow Schiele, Neuzil, and a voice from the present to speak. Central to the voices is the emotion of desire and how the desire to paint, love, or write inspires us to a different greatness.
“These are poems that revel in non-conformity and glisten with the joy of how the world might be seen.”— Michael Trussler
Drawing from her Métis and Trinidadian background, Cara-Lyn Morgan offers new and ancient mappings of healing for body and land in the poignant Cartograph.
From accidental injury to the deeply imbued wounds of colonization, these are poems of a woman’s healing journey. Cara-Lyn Morgan metaphorically maps out the process of recovery within her own body and the landscapes around her, reclaiming the art of cartography from its colonial imposition of borders and railway lines on traditional lands. Her words create new maps and revisit the ancient ones: Vancouver Island, Georgian Bay, and the prairies all become “a merle of blackbirds,” “wayward unsettling of red lilies after the thunderstorm,” and “soil and sweat, sunlight and crop.” She finds the medicine in each of her different voices: Métis, Trinidadian, and stretchy-pant-wearing yoga lover. In Cartograph she braids together these voices like sweetgrass. Within their woven map, we meet Cara-Lyn Morgan.
Availability Message: Available October 1, 2017
Insightful and often humourous, Culverts Beneath the Narrow Road takes us on a journey of connecting people and nature through the unassuming culvert.
A culvert anchors a key scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The 39 Steps and a scene in Two for the Road starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. Culverts appear in books by Tony Burgess, Dennis Cooley, Alice Munro, Annie Proulx, and Virginia Woolf. Culverts called to Brenda Schmidt’s imagination as well. As a child she played in and around their steel dark openings and took risks. In the daring poetry and prose of Culverts Beneath the Narrow Road the risk-taking continues. In her journeys, she asked people from all walks of life — construction workers, farmers, biologists, writers, musicians — about their culvert stories. Their recollections of experiences with or near culverts, both dark and light, gave voice to her own experiences, providing another sense of the connections we share and the way stories emerge and flow. Schmidt does this by using the stories as a jumping off point when they call up her own memories. She expands on interview quotes, stretching and bending them to create new stories and poems.
Heidi Garnett’s Phosphorous is a poignant assertion of the ubiquitous nature of personal history.
Summoning the spirits and voices of those who suffered and endured the torments of Nazi Germany in World War II, Garnett relocates their moments of despair and suffering into poems of lament and reprieve. While family history simmers in the fragments of what is known and what isn’t, the unshakable knowledge of “skulls knitted together at the margins” informs the present. In all the rituals of immigration to Canada, and the journey west, and in the celebrations of acceptance, hard work and safety, the memories of the past are never far away. Through these biographical poems Garnett reminds us that though we “try to keep our distance” from the loss, pain and suffering of our histories, we cannot escape “the hooked branch that grafts the past/to now”.
Glen Sorestad has been publishing poetry for thirty years and throughout his distinguished career he has relied upon the central themes of family, history, nature and friendship to guide his readers through his ever-expanding desire to name, and remember. Blood & Bone, Ice & Stone continues Sorestad’s poetic journey. Whether seeking his family roots in Norway, capturing the small epiphanies in nature as he travels, or shaping the memories of those whom he has met and befriended, his poems deliver a supple wisdom and unfettered honesty.
“Sorestad honours the ordinary in his poetry . . . helps us see meaning in everyday rituals.”
— JM.Bridgman, Prairie Fire
Readers familiar with John Lent’s work will be drawn into Cantilevered Songs by his impressive ability to make poetry useful, not in the sense that it will solve problems, or create codes or alibis for how live. No. Useful in the sense that we all live somewhere, come from somewhere, hear things, see other things, and remember. When we share this with others as writers do, we transform the ordinary. We make it magical; make it important. This is Lent’s gift – to remind us all that we have lives worth thinking about; to remind us that our own backyards, roads home, work, play and love are uncommon wonders. This is what he means when he says: “Play that song. Play it again. Now, improvise,”
Lent’s poetry gains its energy from his own recognition of its usefulness as much as it gains its art from his own experiences with music, art, family friends and the his work as a teacher, musician and writer in the Okanagan. And while it is important to recognize his structured play with visual architecture, to make the poems resemble what they observe, to capture the cadence of those crazy personal mysteries, to hear the backbeat moments of when you catch a big and strange idea sideways and then it disappears, in the end it is the small, but beautiful, epiphany of feeling triumphant for no reason other than you have lived.
"I can think of no Canadian writer who so thoroughly positions us in front of the mirror that might offer us at once both reality and the imagined. It is to Lent that I turn when I need to be reminded, when I need to discover again, how the writer works in the daily world of place while aspiring to what endures.
He is there, the writer writing out of and in the present." — Robert Kroetsch
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First Mountain is a interconnected suite of poems about a particular place — Jasper, Alberta. Paulette Dubé has lived there for more than a decade and her keen sense of the area and the healing powers of the natural world — seeking solitude, washing away stress, and celebrating the intimacy that is experienced by living in a pristine environment — shapes the emotional backbone of First Mountain. Dubé is at peak performance in her craft.
120 pages / paper
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These intimate, funny, engaging poems make forays into the philosophical, sneak into the personal, and are playfully profound. Stephen Bett has produced a double album of minimalist meditations on 78 musicians that expands its field of meaning on repeated listenings. Each side brings its own heroes and villains, accidents and colours. Every track is a delight. This is a book of poems celebrating music, but essentially the poems are for readers — no jazz expertise required.
“Bett’s poetry are offerings: they expose themselves like nude paintings, providing only the essentials and inviting the reader to extrapolate interpretation based on the subjective reading. This is authentic minimalist poetry. The words are so modestly beautiful in their arrangement upon the white page while showing an emotional intelligence within the micro-text.
At times, [Bett] demonstrates the understated gentleness of the English language with a human voice that makes the poetry so accessible to the layperson (while it beckons multiple readings from the widely read). To satisfy both types of readers is an incredible accomplishment.” — REM magazine in New Zealand.
176 pages / trade paper
Saskatoon's Glen Sorestad has published thirteen books of poetry in his career, and has been widely anthologized in Canada and the United States, as well as having many of his poems broadcast on CBC Radio.
He is Canada's first provincial poet laureate, appointed for a two-year term by the Government of Saskatchewan during which he will travel throughout the province, giving readings and talking with other writers, neophyte and professional, about his craft.
Leaving Holds Me Here includes 137 poems by Canada's first poet laureate. Edited and selected by John Newlove, this timely selection of the best of Glen Sorestad's poetry illustrates the stages of his writing, his concerns, and his development as a well-known Canadian poet.
Throughout Carole Chambers’ She Draws the Rain there is a controlled patience that is used to evoke the mystical and real powers of the natural world. There is no ritualized adornment, no rhetorical rhapsody. In these poems the blood slows as breath turns to mist. You are there; you witness the beaded efficiency of the orb weaver webs and fathom the owl’s great hunger. Living as part of the circadian rhythms that wash over Hornby Island, her home off Canada’s west coast, she knows what goes on in the hummingbird’s beds, in the black thickets, and swollen waves. She knows how the raven gathers intelligence, and understands the wisdom of the apple, pear, and plum. There are moments of anxiety, of loss, and clearly fashioned visions of mortality, but her elemental communion and wise desire to connect the self with the stones, sea, forest, and sky is a reminder that if we are quiet and patient the land will speak to us.
“Chambers is a prophet of incredible power and vision . . .” — Theresa Wolfwood, Reviews The Barnard-Boecker Centre
“Her poetry is powerful, free and unlabored, she is utterly at home with her poetic self. She writes with grace and ease — and the risk taking — that comes with maturity.” — Will Stone, author of The Cave and the Mountain.
Shelley A. Leedahl
From one of Canada's most talented authors comes a long-awaited second collection of poetry with something in it for everyone. Shelley A. Leedahl brings her deft craft with language, ear for the nuances of tone and careful observations of the everyday to a superb new collection of highly accessible poems.
Talking Down the Northern Lights delves into the intricacies of childhood and the complexities of family, marriage and contemporary life. Whether Leedahl is writing about the squeak of runners on the gymnasium floor or the thin noise of ice, strawberry daiquiris or wet tents drying, pregnancy tests or the new sheets from Zellers, readers are guaranteed a lyrical and entertaining ride.
96 pages / paper
“Poetry is the closest thing to silence, which alone on earth is as close as we can get to heaven.” — from “The Ditch Was Lit Like This”
In order to place themselves in their art, poets must return to their roots. This is Sean Johnston’s return to the roots – ancestral and poetic — that have shaped his language and his consciousness. Structured in five sections, the work interplays the convergence of memory and personal history. Although such a pattern is familiar ground in the world of poetry, Johnston’s movements to establish roots through his use of the anecdotal, unexpected, and profound are both wise and revealing. We are all invited to that universal moment where “there is always a man with a guitar/ somewhere/ and the response is either love returned or love withheld – that is, of course, if something has been risked.”
As with his prose, Johnston’s poetry strives for a kind of minimalism in which the written word leads the reader to discovery, rather than by pushing a didactic discovery of something he deems to be important. The images, lines, and to some extent, the subject matter establish trigger points for involvement. The line structures and breaks are as much about the poetic rhythm as they are about this kind of triggering where the reader is signalled that the meaning may be changed or altered in the coming line. There are significant patterns of line development within the work – some relying on prosaic conventions, others using a more traditional compact pace and meaning and forms such as gazhal or those familiar free verse patterns with short stanzas.
Schmidt’s poetry is the Canadian wilderness. From the tundra to the prairies, it reads like a naturalist’s tour of the Canadian north. In language both deft and pure, Schmidt creates the relationships between external and internal landscapes, examining the impacts left by the travellers who seek the wealth of the north’s resources. More Than Three Feet Of Ice measures the non-renewable against the renewable, and the past against the present, in one of the last frontiers on earth. Praised by such contemporaries as Lorna Crozier, Brenda Schmidt has emerged as a distinctive voice, necessary and appropriate for the conscience of our time.
“Every once in a while a poet comes along whom you suddenly know you’ve been waiting for. Clear-eyed, original, imaginative. Brenda Schmidt is such a poet. She makes a familiar landscape unfamiliar in a most disarming way.” — Lorna Crozier
304 pages/trade paper
In 1978 Press Porcepic published a slim volume by an emerging poet. The collection Haywire Rainbow was described as a collection in which “extravagant and exuberant language, brought together philosophy, emotion and lyricism.” For decades Charles Noble through his writing has wandered beyond the imagination’s limit, sallied from the safe language harbours, revelled in connotative abundance, immersed himself in philosophical phenomena, and earned his place in Canadian poetry.
Strikingly original, explorer, subterranean, and farmer-philosopher are other words that critics have been used to describe Charles Noble and his oeuvre published over the past forty years. An album of his inimitable work from 1972-2007, Sally O is the first retrospective of Noble’s literary expeditions. Enlightened with extensive author notes and commentary, this selected showcases Noble’s ability to be anything but conventional and establishes his presence in the post-modern arguments.
“Hearth Wild is brilliantly a poem, a document, an autobiography, a bejesus joy.” — Robert Kroetsch
“Such poems, full of intimate knowledge filtered through an intellectual screen, set Noble’s poems apart from the usual prairie anecdotal lyric.” — Douglas Barbour, Wild Words: Essays on Alberta Literature
“Built like a fullback, Noble exudes energy in his poems, which I might argue are like those of no one else writing in Canada today.” — John Ditsky, Western American Literature
“Some people have extraordinary peripheral vision. Supposedly it was such wide-angle viewing skills that helped Wayne Gretzky skate and score so well, for example. Banff author Charles Noble brings a similar wide-angle awareness to bear on language and meaning.” — Harry Vandervlist, Fast Forward
“[Noble]… travels much within his own Concord… [and even] “Planck lengths” — The scope is difficult to suggest in a short review... an innovative and profound examination of the relationship between language and its contexts...the role poetry can play in these unsettled times.” — Marc Thackray, Journal of Canadian Poetry
Of Let’s Hear It For Them:
“... smashed language ‘reflects’, one could well feel, smashed political hopes... At the same time, torqued language opens onto such fun, such wit... My claim would be that the Pound antenna, or the Cocteau / Spicer radio, was tuned into our ‘90’s, so far as these matters [free trade, GATT, high finance, farm subsidies etc] are concerned, by CN about a decade earlier...I don’t think the Canadian Long Poem comes any better than this.”
— John O. Thompson, Canadian Studies conference, University of Leeds.
64 pages / trade paper
"Leedahl's book may be the first I've read over the past year which I would confidently recommend for even the most avid poetry hater: the language and structure of these poems make them very easy to read...A Few Words for January could act as a handbook for what it's like to be from Saskatchewan." - Edmonton Journal.
"Shelley Leedahl is the quintessential writer for the '90s." - Saskatoon Star Phoenix
This poetry collection will guarantee an enthusiastic student response — highly readable and relevant to all issues involving individuality and the study of Family issues.
96 pages / trade paper
A Geography of Souls is one of the most ambitious yet accessible poetry collections of the last ten years. Kathleen McCracken has a light touch and a dancing lyrical intellect, as she ranges through the generations, at war and in peacetime, uniting Native and European dreams with personal conduct and discovery. All through the book, like a ghost between the lines, roams the last wolf hunted down in the north of Ireland, where she currently lives and works.
These elegant lyrical poems are inspired by the fictional character of Flin Flon in J.E. Preston Muddock's 1905 novel The Sunless City, and the beautiful environs of the town bearing his name.
Language becomes a canvas upon which nature and a nameless human longing are entwined in a haunting wordscape of memory, love and desire.
Rita Bouvier's Blueberry Clouds is a poignant exploration of the wellsprings of memory, language, and family that have shaped the contemporary experience of Aboriginal people in Canada. The violence and sustaining traditions of the past are brought into a single vision that revels in the power of the Cree and Mechif languages, eliciting a hope and beauty that is rooted in the rich history of Saskatchewan. Conversations with relatives, introspection, a love of the land, and a respect for values passed on through an extended family define this clear, humane voice.
This first book is invested with a spiritual belief and political awareness that make Rita Bouvier an original and provocative writer.
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In this debut collection the taiga and boreal forests exist as a catalyst for poetry. Here the spruce and fir trees stand as sentries, while the poems, in acts of creative photosynthesis, invade the orderly tableau of ferns, moss, and the impassable snarl of deadfall and debris. The intimacy of living within one of the world’s largest remaining intact forest ecosystems is authentically captured and passionately shared in Carrying The Sun.
“Carla Braidek’s poetry celebrates the yearning, joy, fear, and uncertainty associated with humanness. With precision and originality, she weaves metaphor into the rich tapestry of a life lived in tandem with nature, a cloth both tough and soft to the touch. Skilfully, playfully, and with great vulnerability, Braidek leads the reader to a place of peace ‘where [the words] hide,’ her sense of wonder full of the threads of possibility.”
— Barbara Klar.
Earth After Rain flourishes in sensuous delight and plumbs the depth of topography, memory and family. Benning brings Saskatchewan’s boreal forests, lakes and fauna alive, absorbing detail and meshing it with the sinews of bone, the half-light of moon, and the silent majesty of stone.
S. D. Johnson
This collection of lyric poems explores the human experience in its metaphysical manifestations, drawing on the dynamic interrelationships of body and mind.
Johnson’s language is taut and graceful as she accesses the hidden mysteries of the phenomenal world.
“Johnson can touch you deeply, anger you, make you squirm. She’s a genuine weaver of words and emotions.” — Canadian Book Review Annual
Sherry Johnson is the author of one previous collection of poetry, Pale Grace (Thistledown, 1995), and her work has been widely published in literary magazines and journals across the country. Johnson currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
gillian harding russell
The title of this collection carries the urgent suggestion of withheld knowledge or something that has been suppressed but must be told. The poems reach out from the page with this narrative energy while maintaining an ironic weight of understatement. The collection is divided into five sections, each one offering its own collective theme, while together, like the fingers of a hand, combining for greater purpose.
I forgot to tell you guides the reader through a corridor of secrets where the mysterious and the mystical are whispered, then shouted, to move us to the intimacy that Russell shares with us.
Revelations, unnatural acts and errant reveries drive Mari-Lou Rowley’s third poetry collection. Her title serves notice to the reader that the poetry will be imbued with the retribution of tampering with nature.
These are not safe romantic lyrics or hybrid narratives; rather, they are the shadows of the unknown, the ominous acts of chance and coincidence. Interference with the Hydrangea evolves its own radiant energy — the way “a scream at night mingles with a dog’s bark,” the way a plant silently follows the sun.
96 pages/trade paper
Live Evil: A Homage to Miles Davis is an extended poem sequence based on the life and works of Miles Davis which braids a strong narrative life-line and lyric responses to key recordings. The poetry morphs to match the periods and styles of Davis' jazz, from bebop through hard bop, cool, third stream, modal, funk, fusion and doo bop.
112 pages/trade paper
Looking for Henry is a long poem sequence which, through its search for “missing” Métis painter Henry Letendre, becomes a search for self, for history and for the intricate weave of Métis, Acadian and Micmac destinies and dispossessions.
In this original, compelling book, Doucet delves into his own Cape Breton Acadian roots and through Letendre's paintings and ancestry parallels the sad histories of the Métis and Acadien people.
“The ground was different [at Batoche], the earth much softer, and richer than it was back home. I took my shoes off and ran over the ground barefoot like a child, amazed at the velvet feeling of the deep, prairie soil and the complex sense of this being a pivotal place in the evolution of our nation.”
Make Me is impulsive and eloquent poetic medicine. Addressing relationship breakdown, Coghill creates poems that welcome and reflect upon the doors to creativity that allow for emotional venting and trouble bashing. The result is a poetic manifesto for taking control of one’s life that clearly connects with the reader in a blushing intimacy. The real triumph here is that the poems in Make Me serve as a biting alternative to self pity.
“No gentle poetry this — sexy, raw, intimate, unafraid to take risks. Coghill takes the reader on a journey that leads to a renewal of the spirit, a journey filled with intense passion and resolute courage. These are poems you won’t soon forget.” — Lynda Monahan
John V. Hicks
“Hicks uses language with the precision and grace of an artist who has gained understanding and mastery of his medium....”
– Calgary Herald.
Burke, Anne. Canadian Book Review Annual (1993): 210.
Diehl-Jones, Charlene. “Cafe companions.” Books in Canada (March 1993): 50.
Forbes, Alexander M. “Chiaroscuro.” Books in Review (October 1993): 183-4.
96 pages/trade paper
Terry Watada crafts an artful mix of Buddhist tradition, Japanese-infused language and rich cultural history, where death is but one stop in the cyclical, timeless nature of a life. His is a warm tribute to the thin veil between worlds where sorrow is as transient as happiness. Obon: The Festival of the Dead is a celebration of people who endure through poverty and prejudice while they deftly and memorably evoke the traditions that redeem and define them. Deploying a remarkable balance between line and space, Watada’s span of syntax and diction are striking. Whether writing about drug addiction, forced labour, jazz, or the reveries of Japanese values, Watada measures the impact of each poem as carefully as a well-placed stone in the Ryoan-ji, or an arranged paper lantern in the Urabon. Obon: The Festival of the Dead is honest communion that bids ancestral voices to speak from every page, spreading their illumination long after the poetic moment, long after the season of Obon has ended.
Overheard by Conifers is John V. Hicks' ninth volume of poetry, and he is, quite simply, one of the greatest living Canadian poets.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that each poem is a work of art...Hicks follows in the Great Tradition of the masters.” — Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature.
Robertson, Bill. “Saskatchewan poets have stories to tell.” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix . January 18, 1997. C11.
Smith, Steven Ross. Prairie Fire 18.2 (Summer 1997): 121-2.
Terfloth, Barbara F. E. “Quiet book speaks volumes.” Prince Albert Daily Herald . November 22, 1996. 10.
“Johnson can touch you deeply, anger you, make you squirm. She's a genuine weaver of words and emotions...and her strong voice and poetic talent are undeniable.” — Canadian Book Review Annual.
Robertson, Bill. “Emerging writers get chance to shine.” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix . January 13, 1996. C15.
Shea, Theresa. “Leafing out.” NeWest Review (February/March 1996): 23-4.
St. Jacques, Elizabeth. Canadian Book Reviews Annual (July 1996): 3178.
Poems From A Broken Body leads the reader through poems engraved with heightened intellect and characterized by perceptions of pain. At times underscoring the sensitivity of genius and in counterpoint, the ignorance of the insensitive world, Clark’s work attempts to bring closure to an understanding of the “burden of self”. His poems are epitomized by spiritual energy and surreal imagery and are always carefully measured for line, breath and impact. This, his eighth book of poetry, is his most experimental.
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Saltations suggests how we evolve into the complex spirits and personalities of our adulthood, and “where am I now” becomes a reflective mantra in living. With textual dexterity and verbal intelligence, Still moves through prairie landscapes, flora and fauna, in intricate metaphors shrewdly worked for their resonance and harmony, and balances their weight with earthy, familiar universals of the human condition. These are poems of unmistakable quality and consistency, poems that herald a significant new poet.
Jennifer Still’s lyric poetry investigates the ancestral forces and early family memories needed to form the speciation of self.
“Based on the inheritance of a salt doll figurine from the poet's late great-great grandmother, these poems are leaps of the heart, palpitations of memory that attempt to reconcile the inheritances and the losses that flow through a bloodline of generations of women . . . ” — Steven Ross Smith
Wynne Nicholson, in this debut collection, writes of healing through journaling, and grieving through the privilege of language. While carving her niche in the long poetic tradition of confronting personal loss through art, the poems in Small Gifts swell with acceptance of the dreams, memories, and trusts that a mother’s death leaves behind. The resulting poetic experience is genuinely uplifting and humble.
“Wynne Nicholson’s poems find ‘small gifts’, diamond sharded snow, perfumed pine cones, cricket songs, African violets in bloom, amoung the tangled threads of a family disintegrating. Grief songs, reaching for love.” — Di Brandt.
Drawn from the diversity of her prairie roots, east coast experience, and world travel, Luhning measures her poems in details of how place shapes language. Blind fish swim in ancient streams, glaciers ebb and flow faithful to fluidity, hoar frost hugs the power poles — all for a reason. Sway defines Thistledown’s New Leaf Series — fresh language, impacting structural imagery, and a consistent, distinctive voice.
104 pages/trade paper
This beautiful collection of lyrical poems explores the dynamic interaction of Japanese and Canadian cultures, utilizing the powerful and universal elements of weather, art and family.
Watada's poetry moves through music, fine art, religion and memory as he explores the languages and landscapes within which the Japanese-Canadian experience takes place, and through which it is expressed.
Stylistically fluid and graceful, Ten Thousand Views of Rain evokes a world in which tradition and modern life mesh through a compelling imagination.
Distinguished by its lyricism, depth of emotion, its metaphysical bent and the colour and wide range of reference in its imagery, The Fifth Window, opens up new vistas of language and experience. The landscape and climate of Vancouver and the BC coast imbue this collection with a spiritual and physical immediacy and energy. The area's trees, mountains, rivers, creeks and rain inform an ecstatic vision in which the psyche and natural world meet and become one. With this collection Russell Thornton is certainly emerging as one of Canada's premiere poets.
“This is a book showing tremendous awareness of language and an acute interest in character and situation.”
– Canadian Book Review Annual.
Almon, Bert. Canadian Book Review Annual (1993): 205.
English Studies: A Journal of English Language and Literature 75.3 (May 1994): 279.
van Luven, Lynne. “Voices from the past.” Edmonton Journal . July 5, 1992.
While feminist writers may have transformed the thinking on women’s traditional role in domesticity, Tracy Hamon’s poetry arcs into its own territory, forged through a street-smart savvy and a composed grace. This Is Not Eden is imbued with a hunger for natural landscape and an instinctual grasp of reality that allow Hamon’s distinctive voice to belie her first book status.
“Tracy Hamon’s voice is so distinctive, lyrical and seductive, it’s hard to believe this is her first collection. These fluid musical poems are full of lush sounds and memorable images. Who else would compare the noise of a plow clearing snow from a parking lot in the middle of night to that of ardour, as the ‘tongue of a machine/presses it way/down the flat asphalt belly/licking a clear path?’ Whether in the bedroom or in the garden, passion and desire fuel Hamon’s imagination. Her poems explore the domestic and the wild — they are, by turns, playful, serious and provocative. Like the best of gifts, they stun us with their generous, unexpected pleasures.” — Judith Krause
The poems in what is this place we have come to are soft incantations, wisps of song and dull-throated sighs. They are whispers, and mantras, made by the wind, or by the narrator's breath — her inspiration, her delivery of life. In between are the fables and the paean of myth that set a narrative framework behind this ethereal coda.
The Western Canadian landscape informs this accessible and passionate collection of lyric poetry with an adventurous spirit as Peter Christensen engages with the experiences and adventures — physical, emotional and intellectual — that nature and language provide. Stylistically innovative, imbued with extraordinary imagery, and thematically challenging, this new collection from one of Canada's premiere poets demonstrates how vital the poet's craft still is in our time.
176 pages/trade paper
“John Lent's suite of stories and poems is a disarming and pleasing work that resists categorization.” – Malahat Review.
Leblanc, John. “Male Expression.” Canadian Literature (November 1992): 179-181.
Clemence, Verne. “New writers reap rewards for Thistledown.” Saskatoon StarPhoenix. December 15, 1990.
Kelly, Elinor. Canadian Materials (March 1991): 128.
Kenyon, Michael. Malahat Review (April 1991): 108-9.
Moyles, R.G. Canadian Book Review Annual (1990): 196.
St. Jacques, Elizabeth. Freelance (December/January 1991-2): 38.
Gom, Leona. “Thistledown titles worthwhile fiction.” Edmonton Journal . June 16, 1991.
192 pages / trade paper
Thistledown Press, eds.
Batoche and Riel have evoked and provoked a diversity of responses from some of Canada's finest poets over the past century, and this groundbreaking anthology presents them in one volume.
This anthology is a must for all students engaged in the study of the Canadian Identity.
“No Feather, No Ink...gives us a good sampling of the first hundred years in the Canadian consciousness.”
— Poetry Canada Review
Almon, Bert. Poetry Canada Review (Summer 1986): 52-3. – Books in Canada (March 1986): 42.
Davey, Frank. “Real Riel.” Canadian Literature no. 111 (Winter 1986): 176-8
Flanagan, Thomas. “Louis Riel: a review essay.” Journal of Canadian Studies 21.2 (Summer 1986): 157-64.
In Search of Canadian Materials (1987): 39
Journal of Commonwealth Literature 21.2 (1986): 54-5
Klooss, Wolfgang. Malahat Review no. 77 (December 1986): 141-3
Lynch, Gerald. Journal of Canadian Poetry. vol 2 (1987): 55-7
Marken, Ronald. CBC-Regina “Ambience.” November 1985
Nowlan, Michael O. Canadian Book Review Annual (1985): 190
Shay, Timothy. “Poetic justice.” Books in Canada (January/February 1986): 29-30
Sutherland, Fraser. “Poetry: prairie fluff and social Rielism.” Globe and Mail. January 11, 1986.
128 pages / trade paper
An anthology of new poetry celebrating Thistledown's first decade of literary publishing. The work of 37 poets is included, ranging from the intensely lyrical to the narrative and anecdotal— a potpourri of engaging visions and lively language. Authors represented include Lorna Crozier, John V. Hicks, Patrick Lane, Monty Reid, Glen Sorestad, and Eva Tihanyi.
“Dancing Visions is rich with quality selections from an impressive cross-section of Canadian poets.”
– Poetry Canada Review.
In Search of Canadian Materials (1987): 40
Kent, David. Canadian Book Review Annual (1985): 170
Library Materials Guide (1987): 100
Marken, Ronald. CBC-AM Regina. November 1985
Markin, Allan. Poetry Canada Review 8.2,3 (Spring 1987)
Moulton-Barrett, Donalee. Canadian Materials 14.3 (May 1986)
Sutherland, Fraser. “Poetry: prairie fluff and social Rielism.” The Globe and Mail. January 11, 1986
80 pages/trade paper
In this collection Patrick Lane continues his pursuit of poetic integrity through a unique and engaging series of meditations.
John V. Hicks' fourth book of poetry attests to his mastery of language and the wisdom of a life sensitively lived.
156 pages/trade paper
John V. Hicks assembled Sticks and Strings with the same precise and artful style given all his poetry.
Called the greatest Canadian lyrical poet of the last fifty years, Hicks was for most of his life better known and admired on the international writing stage than he was in Canada. A prolific writer with a master’s tome of perfect poems, Sticks and Strings allows those who would write poetry the opportunity to study how the measure and leap of line is bound to both inspiration and intellect, and those who love to read poetry the opportunity to witness the classic, ancient art of literature put to modern practice.
128 pages/trade paper
“I challenge any living poet to write as fluidly as this.” — Irish Independent
“Strikingly original...a poet to be reckoned with.” — British Book News.
McCracken, Kathleen. “Masks and voices: dramatic personas in the poetry of Paul Durcan.” Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 8.1: 107-120.
“Out of rhyme with Ireland.” Guardian . December 31, 1985. 13.
248 pages / trade paper
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Man Facing West presents a collection of fiction and nonfiction, sewn together with traces of autobiography. This collection is part of Don Gayton’s ongoing life journal, recounting moments of his boyhood in the United States and the Peace Corps, and detailing his opinions regarding the draft and the Vietnam War. Guiding these accounts are the forces of science and geology that have shaped Gayton’s career in Canada.
As his stories of scheming university students, prodding 19th century scientists, and geologists time-tunneling into the prehistoric past of the prairies appear, we are always aware of Gayton’s ability to transform science into magic.
Home Movie Nights continues the rich evocation of landscape which Sara Berkely made distinctly her own in Penn, a world without frontiers and barriers that recalls "the kind of poetry written in Eastern Europe and Germany after the Second World War, poems unequalled in their delineation of, and witness to, new levels of human consciousness."
156 pages / trade paper
Sara Berkeley makes her prose debut with The Swimmer in the Deep Blue Dream, an extraordinary and varied collection of short stories with "a great sense of expansion and eloquence".
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Doug Beardsley captures the spirit of place and the essence of its people while on an extensive sailing trip through Caribbean, Mexican and Pacific waters. Travelling through various Pacific Ocean nations, Beardsley's contemplative poems remind us how people's lives in these exotic environments and remarkable cultures connect with our own. Simulating the rhythms and patterns of oral speech Swimming with Turtles; Spirit of Place reads with a colloquial and experiential cadence expressing travel experiences as narratives.
The direct and spontaneous language of the poems make us forget the kind of aesthetic exercises and experiments that we often associate with poetry and place Beardsley's work as more of an integral dialogue that he is sharing with the reader. This relaxed contemporary style leaves no doubt that he is celebrating ordinary people in an easy-to-understand language that captures extraordinary moments.
"Once again, Doug Beardsley is ‘going down into history’. In the tradition of Stevenson and Melville, he sails the waters of the South Pacific and the Caribbean in search of ‘spirit of place'. Beardsley looks beyond the invasion of ‘mahogany tourists' and finds he cannot help ‘thinking of slavery' and ‘sea dragons'. He meditates on those who have come before; from Cortez and Cook to Gauguin and Neruda. In Swimming With Turtles; Spirit of Place history and myth fuse with the present in fine poems like ‘Dark Hummingbird's Dance' and the final ‘Sacrificial Presence'.
— David Day
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Poems imbued with a rueful, self-deprecating humour about how delusions frighten while they enlighten.
These poems are short meditations that explore an emotional counterpoint where hope and doubt collide and where the familiar present is only an echo of some past loss. Moreover, questions arise: How can we be certain of what we really know? Why does the reverie of reality seem so strange in the recklessness of our everyday lives?
Not The First Thing I've Missed captures the debris and encumbrances of such questions with a healthy humour and a wicked sense of ownership. These poems distill the upheaval that comes when delusion and reality merge and comment on the resulting residue of self-examination. MacEoin's insights provide a catalyst for readers who want to know what happens to people in the aftermath of such a struggle, and also offer an immediate empathy for those with similar experiences.
"The more I have read of Fionncara's work, the more I have come to admire her for continuing to make me feel a bit uneasy and alert and humble. She has an edgy, lyrical voice full of disdain, despair, love and light focused on things and people that matter. She is a writer to watch, for sure." — John Lent
"These poems are as much mini short-stories as they are quirky and biting minimalist observations on contemporary living. Offering compassion, unexpected insight and humour, MacEoin transforms sadness and despair into a catalogue of memories of survival. These are stories we didn?t know we wanted, no needed, to hear." — Priscila Uppal
"How do you write about despair? Beside Rockwell’s oatmeal and fishing rods, MacEoin’s version of the world doesn’t have a chance. Life inside and outside the institution is one proliferation of the progressive tense — experience as "floating, barking, shaking, turning, slaving, clutching, glaring, coughing, and disappearing”: that mutated world where present, past, and future are one. “You could call it living," moving from “bed to chair / bed to chair” where time is a "barrier to be broken” because no one wants the depressives. These poems stagger and drool. Sometimes, they brawl. Nothing like Purdy’s fisticuffs in a northern bar, this landscape is inside the head, the one in the mirror, the hospital bed." —Susan Stenson
Miscellaneous Wreckage truly is a miscellany. There are no recurring themes or dominant sections, the subject matter of the poems is all over the map, exploring the poet’s past lives, places he has lived, his elderly parents, his children, ex-wives, and his dogs. If there is a unifying force it is his recognition of his mortality and the great beyond of death. But, no matter how dark the subject matter may appear, Simison confronts it all head on with humour. As he says, “After all, you may as well laugh at death. Raging against death is as futile as raging against the wind in Saskatchewan.”
Miscellaneous Wreckage is a sit back, read, and enjoy collection, and, yes, you will likely get more than a laugh or two as you turn its pages.
“Though several of the poems in Miscellaneous Wreckage were written some years ago, the majority were written since 2009 when I moved from BC to Saskatchewan. Coinciding with the move from BC were the deaths of several lifelong friends and the realization that, perhaps, I wasn’t going to live forever as I had planned. Those events triggered a writing spree that continues today.”— Greg Simison
"Reading Miscellaneous Wreckage was like meeting up with an old friend and hearing all their stories. Greg Simison writes with just the right amount of distrust and disdain to disguise how much he loves this world and all of us in it." — Michael Dennis, Today's Book of Poetry
Celebrating the joys of a simple life and all manner of wild things, Robertson breathes vitality and wonder into a love of chickadees, canoeing, and teaching grandchildren to fish.
William Robertson leads us through the beauty he finds within the simplicity of an honest life. His poems explore how his roles as father and grandfather allow him to share his love of the natural world, and his passions ignite, especially when he writes about his love of birds. He is modest in his knowledge of nature, humble in knowing that there is too much ever to appreciate fully when armed with our curiosity alone. And so, he sees himself as a sort of decoy, a lure for wild birds, knowing if he succeeds we might discover what he has discovered: “In the creek, birds I’ll probably never name explain their desire.” He writes as if quiet devotion just might release their thoughts.
As the dance floor of life tilts beneath our feet, do we keep dancing? In this inspired collection of Susan Alexander’s poems, we sway to the rhythms of passion and death, of family, myth and benediction. In worlds where cow-eyed goddesses steal nymph’s tongues and steering wheels are taken over by octopi, there are no established signposts. The individual moments making up the tune of this poet’s life offer the possibility of finding the beauty within the everyday resonance of our own existence.
“Susan Alexander’s creations are testament to John Berger’s assertion that poems are closer to prayer than they are to prose. Especially in the last section, I felt as if I’d come upon a contemporary book of common prayer, each entry fresh and deeply resonant, rich with the details of daily life and the poet’s desire to touch the sacred. It is in her boldness to do so, in her clear-eyed vision, and in her humble acceptance of human frailties that these poems shine.” — Lorna Crozier
144 pages/trade paper
Matronalia interlaces ancestral disorders and personal tribulations to reveal what often remains unsaid from mother to daughter.
A mother reveals a festering secret to her daughter after years of trying to conceal it. Since her daughter’s birth, she has been suffering from a disease that causes bizarre symptoms: sudden calcification, the growth and disintegration of extra ribs, coral splinters in the heart, unrelenting depression. As the mother examines the pathology of her disease, she offers her daughter fierce and harrowing advice on everything from sex to survival to love.
A mother is a recorder, a journal, an illimitable, constant aperture.
We are seers, voyeurs of the worst order.
Part ode, part prayer, and part manifesto, Matronalia interlaces ancestral legacies and personal tribulations to reveal what often remains unsaid from mother to daughter. The energy, intelligence and grace of the language and imagination is itself antidote to the dilemmas and shame they explore. Matronalia is, in essence, a confession that evolves into a love poem.
Go to art when you are lost, my darling.
Stand before something that breaks you.
Interview with CBC Calgary
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