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News, Events, and Announcements

news | Wednesday September 23, 2020

The Diary of Dukesang Wong has arrived!

We are so pleased to welcome The Diary of Dukesang Wong, by Dukesang Wong, translated by Wanda Joy Hoe, and edited and with commentary by David McIlwraith!

The Diary of Dukesang Wong restores a lost central voice to a foundational episode in Canadian history – one that changes our understanding of the history it recounts. Dukesang Wong’s remarkable diary tells of the appalling conditions, the punishing work, the camaraderie, the sickness and starvation, the encounters with Indigenous Peoples, and the shameful history of racism and exploitation he and his fellow Chinese workers endured while constructing the treacherous British Columbia section of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The Diary of Dukesang Wong also places this segment of Canadian history into context, as one part of Wong’s gradual, painful establishment of a new life in a new land. His diary traces the unfolding of that remarkable life, from his early years in an unstable China, to his decision to emigrate to “the Land of the Gold Mountains,” to becoming a tailor in New Westminster, and finally to the joys of family life. As Judy Fong Bates writes in her introduction, “His diaries give him back his humanity and his individuality … It is a heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful, voice that reaches out beyond the century.”

Pick up your copy of The Diary of Dukesang Wong today!

news | Wednesday September 23, 2020

Desire Path has arrived!

Cover of Desire Path.

We are so pleased to welcome Taryn Hubbard’s Desire Path!

Desire Path, Hubbard’s debut poetry collection, grows from the impulse to explore home in the suburb – in the intersections, overlaps, and gaps between urban and rural. In growing suburbs across the country, there is a push to urbanize, to rethink this sprawling space; urban renewal is foreshadowed all over contemporary suburbs, where vacant, single-family lots herald anticipation of redevelopment into something more, something better, something healthier. But before that happens, what do we make of the space as it sits, just as it is? What monuments anchor the suburb now?

Order your copy of Desire Path today!

news | Tuesday September 22, 2020

Oana Avasilichioaei, Sophie Bienvenu, Mercedes Eng, Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny at the Winnipeg Thin Air Festival

Winnipeg #ThinAir2020 logo and date, Sept 20 to Oct 12 2020.

Talon authors Oana Avasilichioaei, Sophie Bienvenu, Mercedes Eng, and Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny read and speak about their work for the Winnipeg Thin Air Festival, which is fully online this year.

The festival’s main website is thinairfestival.ca.

September 20 to October 12, 2020

View Oana Avasilichioaei reading from Eight Track at https://youtu.be/XgwtPM-9KIc.

View Sophie Bienvenu reading from Searching for Sam at https://youtu.be/FmvbJxnnG9w.

View Mercedes Eng reading from my yt mama at https://youtu.be/Cg2jGCjOhuU.

View Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny reading from Mégantic at https://youtu.be/BtncWDxwNu8.

news | Monday September 21, 2020

Music at the Heart of Thinking has arrived!

Cover of Music at the Heart of Thinking

We are so pleased to welcome Fred Wah’s Music at the Heart of Thinking!

The music of thinking. The thinking of music. Music at the Heart of Thinking is a poetry that works through language as the true practice of thought and improvisation as the tool that listens to and notates thinking. The poetics that generates these texts arises out of a lifelong poem project that has its roots in the long poem genre of the ’80s and its interest in the resistance to closure and the containment of meaning characteristic of the lyric. This book continues the work of two previous out-of-print publications, Music at the Heart of Thinking (1987) and Alley, Alley Home Free (1990).

Order your copy of Music at the Heart of Thinking today!

news | Wednesday September 16, 2020

Mégantic has arrived!

Cover image of Mégantic.

We are so pleased to welcome Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny’s Mégantic, translated by W. Donald Wilson!

Mégantic is an exhaustively researched work of investigative journalism, in which Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny examines the causes and after-effects of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, which resulted in the deaths of forty-seven people and the complete destruction of the town’s downtown. Saint-Cerny reveals how the tragedy was not an accident, but rather was knowingly caused by powerful people and institutions far removed from the town itself. The fruit of five years of work and interviews with nearly a hundred people from various backgrounds, including victims and their relatives, Mégantic tells the story of the disaster in three acts – before, during, and after – in a scathing critique whose ultimate goal is to prevent the preventable.

Order your copy of Mégantic today!

news | Friday August 21, 2020

Celebrating Dorothy Parker Day with M.A.C. Farrant

Today, we’re sharing an excerpt from M.A.C. Farrant’s The Days, published in 2016, and short-listed in 2017 for the City of Victoria Book Prize.

Farrant’s new non-fiction book, called One Good Thing, will be forthcoming with Talon in Spring 2021.

_____

On August 22 we honour Dorothy Parker for her corrosive wit. Born in Long Beach, New Jersey, on this day in 1893, she came to prominence as a writer, reviewer, and satirist while working for the New Yorker magazine during the twenties and thirties of the last century. “Those were the terrible days of the wisecrack,” she wrote. “There didn’t have to be any truth.”

There still doesn’t have to be any truth, which is why August 22 has been designated as the one day of the year we can say corrosive things and be free from public censure. Dorothy Parker was reputed to have said corrosive things every day of her life, including the fact that she loved dachshunds better than men.

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

“I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.”

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

“Tell him I was too fucking busy – or vice versa.”

On Dorothy Parker Day we wear wool suits and little hats, smoke with cigarette holders, and have a liver-coloured dachshund on a lead. We wander about being bored and sullen and sad and nasty.

“If you can get through the twilight you can live through the night,” she said.
Come evening we toast her with whiskey sours, her favourite drink – bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar over ice. She was drunk most nights. When a reporter asked her if she was going to join Alcoholics Anonymous, she said, “Certainly not. They want me to stop now.”

She died of a heart attack on June 4, 1967, her preferred words for an epitaph being, Excuse My Dust. Her ashes remained unclaimed in a lawyer’s office for seventeen years.

news | Thursday August 13, 2020

Arleen Paré reads from Earle Street

Arleen Paré reads from her new book, Earle Street, at the (virtual!) Victoria Festival of Authors.

A lyrical collection focussing on a specific street and on a particular tree growing there, Earle Street takes the concept of street and urban living, the houses on the street, the neighbours, the boulevard trees and wildlife, and the street’s history as a poetic focal point. The book is divided into four sections, each of which differently considers the poet’s home street – as a river, as an arboretum, as a window, and finally as a whole world – resulting in an extended meditation on place, community, and lesbian domesticity that is at once poetic and philosophical. “Start from the inside,” Paré writes, “as though organic, as though building from inside a seed.” Here is the macrocosm reflected, examined, and refracted through the microcosm of a single, quiet neighbourhood street.

news | Wednesday August 5, 2020

$40 for the Desrosiers Diaspora series!

To celebrate the publication of the first four of nine volumes of renowned Québec author Michel Tremblay’s Desrosiers Diaspora series, we are having a sale!

You can pick up all four volumes for $40.00, or, if you only need to buy one to update your set, receive 30% off a single volume.

To order all four copies, click on one of the following four title links and scroll down: on the bottom left-hand side of the page, you’ll see the option to click “Add to cart” to buy all four volumes in the series. To receive 30% off one title, click on the correct book below, and add it to your cart.

The Desrosiers Diaspora series spans the North American continent in the early years of the twentieth century. In nine linked books, this 1,400-­page family saga provides the backstory for some of Tremblay’s best-­loved characters, particularly Rhéauna, known as Nana, who later becomes the eponymous character in Tremblay’s award-­winning first novel, The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant, and who is based on Tremblay’s own mother. The Desrosiers Diaspora follows Nana and the other remarkable Desrosiers women, including Nana’s grandmother, Joséphine, and her mother and aunts, Maria, Teena, and Tittite, as they leave and return to the tiny village of Sainte-Maria-de-Saskatchewan, dispersing to Rhode Island, Montréal, Ottawa, and Duhamel in the Laurentians. In Tremblay’s vivid, headlong prose, with its meticulously observed moments both large and small, the Desrosiers’ tumultuous and entwined lives are revealed as occasionally happy, often cruel and impulsive.

The first four volumes of the Desrosiers Diaspora series have been translated into English by Sheila Fischman and Linda Gaboriau and published by Talonbooks. English translations of novels five through nine are forthcoming. In French, they were published by Leméac Éditeur.

news | Monday July 27, 2020

George Elroy Boyd has passed at age 68

We are sad to share that Talon author and former CBC broadcaster George Elroy Boyd has died.

Born in 1952, Boyd was a highly acclaimed Nova Scotian playwright and journalist. His plays have been produced by the Neptune Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, and the CBC. The founder of the Canadian Black Theatre Society, Boyd was nominated for a Governor General’s Award for his play Consecrated Ground (2000). Another play, Gideon’s Blues, was been adapted into film, which was released in the winter of 2004.

Our condolences to his loved ones.

news | Thursday July 23, 2020

Oana Avasilichioaei on the cover of the Montreal Review of Books

Oana Avasilichioaei is on the front cover of the current issue of the Montreal Review of Books, available online today! The cover story explores Avasilichioaei’s multi-genre poetic practice, including her wonderful book Eight Track.

Writes Klara du Plessis, “One of the many strengths of Avasilichioaei’s practice is that a reader can pick up the material object that is the book and flip through its pages, then transform into a listener attending the public, sensory expansion of the book’s words into sound, while simultaneously morphing into a viewer of art, a critical thinker, and even a participant implicitly invited to adapt one of the poems as a script for further improvisation and production. “

Read the full cover story, and pick up your copy of Eight Track today!

Featured Books

Cissy
By Dave Deveau

176 pages | Drama

$19.95

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Desire Path
By Taryn Hubbard

96 pages | Poetry

$16.95

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Earle Street
By Arleen Paré

96 pages | Poetry

$16.95

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Here
By Colin Browne

208 pages | Poetry

$19.95

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Impurity
By Larry Tremblay
Translated by Sheila Fischman

160 pages | Fiction

$19.95

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Iron Peggy
By Marie Clements

112 pages | Drama

$16.95

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Kuroko
By Tetsuro Shigematsu

160 pages | Poetry

$18.95

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my yt mama
By Mercedes Eng

88 pages | Poetry

$16.95

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Searching for Sam
By Sophie Bienvenu
Translated by Rhonda Mullins

144 pages | Fiction

$16.95

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TENDER
By Laiwan

144 pages | Poetry

$18.95

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The Grand Melee
By Michel Tremblay
Translated by Sheila Fischman

208 pages | Fiction

$16.95

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Un/inhabited
By Jordan Abel
Contributions by Kathleen Ritter & Tracy Stefanucci

240 pages | Poetry

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