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October 2014
Thursday October 23, 2014
Garry Thomas Morse at Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Conference, Saskatoon
Posted: Friday April 9, 2010
Garry Thomas Morse

Garry Thomas Morse’s poetry books with LINEBooks include sonic riffs on Rainer Maria Rilke’s sonnets in Transversals for Orpheus and a tribute to David McFadden’s poetic prose in Streams. His poetry books with Talonbooks include a homage to San Francisco Renaissance poet Jack Spicer in After Jack, and an exploration of his mother’s Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations ancestry in Discovery Passages, finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Discovery Passages was also voted One of the Top Ten Poetry Collections of 2011 by the Globe and Mail and One of the Best Ten Aboriginal Books from the past decade by CBC’s 8th Fire.

Morse’s books of fiction include his collection Death in Vancouver, and the three books in The Chaos! Quincunx series, including Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (2013 ReLit Award finalist), Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour, and Minor Expectations, all published by Talonbooks.

Morse is a casual commentator for Jacket2 and his work continues to appear in a variety of publications and is studied at various Canadian universities, including UBC. He currently resides in Regina, Saskatchewan.

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LATEST Garry Thomas Morse NEWS

August 2014 : Expectations Met: Minor Is Here!

July 2014 : Our Fall 2014 Lineup!

May 2014 : After Completion Has Arrived!

May 2014 : Garry Thomas Morse Expo-sed to Fans in Regina

April 2014 : Coming in May! After Completion: The Later Letters of Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff

March 2014 : Poetry and Garry Thomas Morse, Together Again

November 2013 : Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus Shortlisted for 2013 ReLit Award

November 2013 : TONIGHT: Talonbooks Fall Launch in Toronto! Wigrum, Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour, and Singed Wings

November 2013 : Throughout November: The GTM Special!

October 2013 : Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour Has Arrived!

August 2013 : First Nation Communities Read 2013–2014

August 2013 : 8th Fire’s Essential Reads List

June 2013 : That’s a Wrap on the 2013 Whitehorse Poetry Festival

January 2013 : The Gary & Garry Act

October 2012 : Stranger Than Fiction?

September 2012 : Fall into Surreal Instanter!

September 2012 : Poems for an Oil-Free Coast

September 2012 : Aguirre, Fischman, and Morse are at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival

March 2012 : Zsuzsi Gartner on Studio 4 with Fanny Kiefer

March 2012 : Shortlists for 2012 B.C. Book Prizes Announced!

December 2011 : Support Your Indie Bookshop This Sunday!

December 2011 : Talonbooks Presents Karl and Christy Siegler's Farewell Bash

October 2011 : B.C. and the GGs in 2011

September 2011 : 100 Thousand Poets for Change: Vancouver, BC

September 2011 : Word on the Street Vancouver, 2011

August 2011 : Poetry is Dead: Chain Letters to the City of Vancouver

AUTHOR AWARDS

Governor General’s Poetry Award finalist (2011), Discovery Passages

BC Book Prize finalist (2012): Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Discovery Passages

BOOK AWARDS

Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus

Shortlisted for the 2013 ReLit Awards

BOOK AWARDS

Discovery Passages

Finalist for the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

Finalist for the 2012 BC Book Prize: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

One of the Top Ten Poetry Collections of 2011 (Globe and Mail)

One of the Best Ten Aboriginal Books from the past decade (2012, CBC – 8th Fire).

QUOTES OF NOTE

Minor Expectations

“[Morse’s] Minor Expectations is a feat of literary mischief, a ‘romanticone’ in which a playful Pan syncs his flute among various ‘novel’ genres: historical fiction, science fiction, lyric poetry, and theatre. A narrator eloquently flouts to the jocular, celebrating wit and frolic, revelling in the pervasive details of literature’s epic moments within literary epochs. The multitude of identifications, both literally and figuratively, are layered, clever and complex – cross threads pinned over a star map. There is so much about this book that made me smile and laugh! From a brazen and perverse parody to variations on time collapse, the peregrinations of fledgling heroine Diminuenda Minor take the reader on a quest that evinces not only sophisticated sensibilities of a-muse-ment and arousal but also of existence itself.”
– Sonia Di Placido, author of Exaltation in Cadmium Red

“In this entertaining, clever, genre-busting romp, Morse steers his courageous protagonist along a treacherous journey through time, weaving within the fast-moving plot references to classical literature, famous philosophers and ancient myths.”
– Melanie Schnell, author of While The Sun Is Above Us

QUOTES OF NOTE

Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour

“Surreal, complex, and hilarious … Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour is best savored slowly … Reading it is like reading poetry, a synaesthetic experience where technology and terrorism are as intimate and tangible as the smell of food or the texture of mud. Infused with Morse’s irrepressible humor, the books [in The Chaos! Quincunx] satisfy all the senses.”
Rain Taxi

“A vision of life with the liminal and the interstitial excised; our lives if we lived inside the current media representation of our lives … hilarious and bizarre … In Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour, Garry Thomas Morse has created something new, and we should celebrate it.”
– subTerrain

“Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour provides two books in one, beginning with a satiric parody, romping across Native American territory to skewer a breadth of contemporary idiocracies as they emerge from celebrity narcissism, bizarre cult fervor, fundamentalist zealotry, and rampant paranoia over terrorism. Fun for the whole family! Meet you in the alleyway, George Orwell! There is no escape clause as we pursue the Ignoble Prize during a dystopian eco-meltdown, replete with alien life-forms, brazen mineral exploitation, extreme bio-harvesting, and luxuriously decadent contamination junkies, hustling us through a disintegration dance, during the Age of Aquarium. Unrepentant and unremitting pandemonium! An outrageous tour de farce! Read it! Be moved by Morse!”
– Karl Jirgens, Editor, Rampike magazine

“Carbon Harbour is an outrageous romp – wickedly inventive, clever as well as wise, deliciously satirical and steamier than sex and vegetables. Crackling with neologisms, sly elisions and provocative infelicities, it’s a meteoric fable of a future in which unhinged gardeners and gourmands should be particularly pleasured.”
– Des Kennedy, author of Climbing Patrick‘s Mountain

“Of contemporary surrealist writers, Garry Thomas Morse is the most uncompromising. He courageously severs the umbilical cord with so-called reality and ventures into an invented world paradoxically more real than our own. Brandishing a garish, jolting, jittery, hyper-technicolour style whose energy never flags, his alternate universes embody a satire on current trends that is more biting and relevant than that of seemingly realistic fiction. Enjoy the rollercoaster ride.”
– Barry Webster, author of The Lava in My Bones

QUOTES OF NOTE

Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus

Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus is a wonder. Garry Thomas Morse most certainly has Salvador Dalí, Miguel de Cervantes, André Breton, and that rude rocker Gargantua, courtesy of Rabelais, in his corner. His novel, with its themes of sex, money, and intrigue, and with its over-current of hilarity running amok, explodes from the page. To say this novel is on steroids is to downplay things. A careening, giddy ride is ahead, a mad word-dash to realities you’ve never even dreamed of. Transportation guaranteed!”
– M.A.C. Farrant, author, creator of My Turquoise Years

“Like a beguiling house of mirrors, Minor Episodes bends, twists, fractures and deforms reality through phantasmagoric visions, orgiastic inventions and a mischievous use of language. Don’t be deceived by its title: there is nothing minor about this major accomplishment.”
– Martine Desjardins, author of Maleficium

“Here are Bébé Cadum with his enormous smiling visage and Corsair Sanglot in their returning personages Bébé Lala and Signor Minor cavorting over the baroquely surrealist pages of these major Minor Episodes … our beloved Robert Desnos would have chortled in delight: so do we.”
– Mary Ann Caws, author of The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter

“The real reaction would be screaming catatonia, and too many authors would go too far into the alternative and just effuse us to death Pynchonian; but here the characters are true denizens of their milieu, something rarer in fiction than it might initially appear, and give us the reactions of, like, really arch action heroes. Oh! It’s camp! And Minor is an antivillain for our times who puts the Baudribbles and drabbles in DeLillo’s Cosmopolis to shame.”
– Martin McCarvill (LibraryThing)

QUOTES OF NOTE

Discovery Passages

“Discovery Passages..a finalist for the Governor-General’s Award in 2011, and rightly so: It is a striking, radical work, one that presages Idle No More, for these poems explore the contest between settler-state culture and language and the attempts of First Nations to preserve their own traditions..[t]hese poems are smart, masterful, necessary.”
The Chronicle Herald

“Like Wayde Compton’s 49th Parallel Psalm (1999) and Rita Wong’s forage (2007), Discovery Passages both extends and revises a literary history of the West Coast. Morse challenges the official historical record while indicating with poetic form his connection to a regional tradition of avant-garde poetics represented by Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Robin Blaser, especially, but also by Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, Meredith Quartermain, Lisa Robertson, and others.”
The Goose

“This is a rich and varied book, combining poetic lyric with elements of visual, sound, concrete and documentary poetry..Morse enacts a very real forensic case in this book, deftly gathering and presenting the evidence of crimes against the Kwakwaka’wakw people and their language and culture.” 
— The Globe and Mail

“In an effort to assimilate the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples, the government of Canada passed a law in 1885 banning the potlatch custom, and much of Morse’s volume is dedicated to articulating the impact of this offence on the identity of his ancestors..[t]o Morse, I give an award for reclaiming a lost history, and for completing the journey from loss to articulation to poetry.”
— The Montreal Gazette

“With Discovery Passages Garry Thomas Morse has remained true to what U.S. poet Gary Snyder has called the work of poetry: seriousness, commitment to craft, and no bulls—-, no backing away from any of the challenges that are offered to you.”
The Vancouver Sun

“Morse is a master of tonal balance, a virtuoso composer with an ear for epic contrast, and a poet of complexly binary intertexts for whom an envoi leads to no single destination.”
Canadian Literature

Discovery Passages is far too rich a mélange to be fully appreciated in a single reading. A super kind of bricolage, it’s a cornucopia of gifts from Garry Thomas Morse’s personal potlatch that readers will accept with deep gratitude.”
Eclectic Ruckus

Discovery Passages is a vital cross-cultural work, urgent in both its anger and its celebration. Morse’s supple voice lifts off the page while the stripped-down quotes in the documentary poem are presented in all their damning evidence, no further comment necessary. His longer poem ‘Wak’es’ with its literary echoes, is the most ironically intelligent statement I’ve read on ­cultural theft.”
Daphne Marlatt

“Take Garry Thomas Morse’s Discovery Passages, for example. For the poet, the book represents a kind of breakthrough; but, his work has been on my radar for so long, I cannot imagine our poetry without it; and, sans façon, I believe we are all richer for its existence.”
Judith Fitzgerald

“Adept, stunning, startling, and necessary, Discovery Passages performs an uncanny operation on the archives, reactivating some stories and decommissioning others so that we can breathe more fully today. This poetic excavation of the injustice inflicted on the Kwakwaka’wakw people is insightful, tender, and brutal in its scope. Here, "language is, portaging across/ global debris…" – gleaning the trash of history to make poetry that takes back what was stolen from Morse’s ancestors. This book includes the funniest dressing down of Duncan Campbell Scott I have ever read, snatching dignity away from colonial thieves and restoring it back into the communities where it belongs.”
Rita Wong

“These are passages planked by images of island life. Waves of words spoken by elders flood the poems, which crash into excerpts of Indian Affairs policies and paternalistic state documents. There are 500 years and 500 lines of unspeakable anguish but there is also a knowing, smiling resistance. Morse’s words are rhythmic as wild salmon, departing to explore a wider ocean but always coming back home.”
Russell Wallace

QUOTES OF NOTE

After Jack

"In After Jack, Morse has stepped firmly onto the ground occupied by George Bowering’s Kerrisdale Elegies, where translation crosses boundaries of space, time, culture, and language, laying the common property of the poem bare―and gasping for air. Take a deep breath. Now dive back in."

— Stephen Collis

"After Jack is rich in imaginings—and in realities of Lorca-memories and in shimmerings and reflections of the grail."

— Michael McClure

"Morse’s words are cutting. He ravages language, but thankfully maintains a subtle humour throughout. This book is a love story between Jack Spicer, Garry Thomas Morse, language, and you."

— Geist

"Far too clever for its own good, After Jack is a large rabbit-eared radio, indeed."

— Commonline

QUOTES OF NOTE

Death in Vancouver

“Admirers of James Joyce, Malcolm Lowry, and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice will be intrigued by Garry Thomas Morse’s strong collection of stories entitled Death in Vancouver. Though often exhibiting echoes of the great masters, these stories are certainly new, anchored solidly in the author’s West Coast world. In the title story, especially, the author has built an original tale vibrating with strong reverberations of the Mann novella and making use of locations that found their way into Lowry’s writing. Despite its roots in giant works of the past century it reads as authentically new, thanks in part to that obviously contemporary narrating ‘street voice’ — combined with subtle First Nations references. It is a reminder that we all live in a world that has been created by those who came before us and who are, in some way, still with us.”
— Jack Hodgins

“Garry Thomas Morse is an extraordinarily talented writer, and his Death in Vancouver is nothing less than a stunning accomplishment. It is work of prodigious erudition and imaginative daring, and it brings vividly to life (and death) the entangled narratives and sonantic richness of the global city.”
— David Chariandy

–“Death in Vancouver_, a selection of short prose bits with crazy compelling characters, tight, precise and breathtaking language and imagery and opera! I am enthralled by its originality. His writing reminds me of John Lavery’s work; they both are adept at linguistic "acrobatics" and are skilled in painting memorable and unusual characters.”
— Amanda Earl

“In Death in Vancouver, the story ‘Salt Chip Boy’ is very fine and intriguing, with the severe Baudrillard disconnect between mind and body, the cyber push in the direction of William Gibson and beyond, the cheeky use of ‘K’ which holds a whiff of Kafka, and the language which makes one feel as if they’ve stumbled (with satisfaction) into times far hence.”
— M.A.C. Farrant


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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.


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