Talonbooks’ Fall Poetry Launch was held at Pyatt Hall in Vancouver, on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ Lands, this past Thursday. Our gratitude goes out to Irvin Waskewitch, who opened the evening with a Cree prayer, and to the over 130 launch attendees, for whom the cold fall rain was no match!
Talonbooks’ Fall Poetry Launch will feature readings by Fred Wah and Rita Wong (from beholden), Wanda John-Kehewin (from Seven Sacred Truths), Ted Byrne (from Duets), Tiziana La Melia (from The Eyelash and the Monochrome), and Christine Stewart (from Treaty 6 Deixis).
Tuesday, November 13
Doors at 7:30 p.m., readings at 8 p.m.
843 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4
Anyone who read our November newsletter very closely may have noticed that we erroneously included Stephen Collis in our Fall Poetry Launch line-up. He won’t be reading then, but no fear – he has his very own launch for Almost Islands coming up this Friday, November 9, at Massy Books in Vancouver.
Almost Islands is a powerfully introspective memoir of the author’s friendship with legendary Canadian poet Phyllis Webb – now in her nineties and long enveloped in silence – and his regular trips to see her. It is an extended meditation on literary ambition and failure, poetry and politics, choice and chance, location, colonization, and climate change – the struggle that is writing, and the end of writing.
Join Stephen for the launch of Almost Islands:
Friday, November 9, 2018
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
229 E. Georgia Street
beholden: a poem as long as the river, by Fred Wah & Rita Wong, is comprised of two lines of poetic text flowing along a 114-foot-long map of the Columbia River. This powerful image-poem presents language yearning to understand the consequences of our hydroelectric manipulation of one of North America’s largest river systems.
beholden “reads” the geographic, historical, political, and social dimensions of the Columbia River, literally and figuratively, proposing two contrasting kinds of attention. As both a stand-alone poem and an accompanying piece to the visual installation exhibited at various galleries, beholden represents a vital contribution to a larger dialogue around the river through visual art, writing, and public engagement.
Curious about the mysterious The Mystery Play but not located close to Halifax or Dartmouth? Order your copy online today.
From the award-winning Canadian playwright, performer, and radio broadcaster Tetsuro Shigematsu comes 1 Hour Photo. 1 Hour Photo tells the story of Mas Yamamoto, a man whose life was swept up by the major currents of the twentieth century. From growing up in a fishing village on the banks of the Fraser River in British Columbia, to being confined at a Japanese Canadian internment camp during the Second World War, to helping build the Distant Early Warning Line in the Canadian Arctic during the height of the Cold War, 1 Hour Photo’s Mas Yamamoto is a grand theatrical persona, his life saturated with the most vivid colours of our times.
Thanks for Giving, from Governor General’s Literary Award winner Kevin Loring, the first ever Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada, is set around the family dinner table at Nan’s home at Thanksgiving. Old wounds and new realities collide, and sibling rivalry is stoked, but the enduring spirit that guides this family charges on, ever fierce. This intimate and restorative new play is about legacy – the legacy of our personal and collective histories, and a family’s legacy as it moves into an age where the assumptions of the old ways surrender to new possibilities.
We are pleased to announce that an excerpt from Michel Tremblay’s The Heart Laid Bare, translated by Sheila Fischman, will soon become a Bookmark on the CanLit Trail.
We are so incredibly pleased to announce that Cecily Nicholson’s complex, sensitive book Wayside Sang has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-Language Poetry! Huge congratulations to Cecily!
Of Wayside Sang, the judges said “In this hypnotic suite of long poems, Cecily Nicholson makes room, offering glimpses and echoes of the Canadian landscape as she explores ideas of borders, identity, industry and travel. She offers a catalogue of impressions, a collage of the ephemeral, held together by image and the pulsing phrase that stays with you long after the journey’s over.”
Congratulations as well to the other English poetry nominees: Billy-Ray Belcourt, Dionne Brand, Joshua Mensch, and Jason Stefanik! Thank you to the judges, Garry Gottfriedson, Sachiko Murakami, and Patrick Warner, the book’s editor, Stephen Collis, and the poetry community at large.
Talonbooks is committed to equity, diversity, fairness, and inclusion, and we support Indigenous writers and voices. We have been made aware of an unfortunate incident that occurred recently at a Vancouver Writer’s Festival event involving a local publisher we regularly work with; we will be investigating further and taking appropriate actions as necessary.
A risky and profoundly unsettling work of “auto-cartography,” Mercenary English is a long poem that documents the author’s lived experience of the survival sex trade in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in the 1990s, using her time in the trade as a subversionary critical lens for exploring the physical, structural, and discursive violence of colonialism against Indigenous women and women of colour in its various instantiations.
Bobby Rabbit, Sir John A’s irked, Anishinaabe main character, in a fit of anger and revenge, convinces his friend Hugh to accompany him on a “sojourn of justice”: to dig up Sir John A. Macdonald’s bones and hold them for ransom.
Deni Ellis Béchard’s White is a riveting novel that explores whiteness, modern humanitarianism, and the lies of American exceptionalism and white supremacy.
Join us for tea and baked goods as we launch Finding Mr. Wong by Susan Crean tomorrow with special guest Betsy Warland!
Susan Crean’s memoir Finding Mr. Wong chronicles her effort to piece together the life of the man she knew as Mr. Wong, cook and housekeeper to her Irish Canadian family for two generations. Join us for the Vancouver launch of her book.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall Street
Christine Stewart’s Treaty 6 Deixis is hot off the presses!
How might poetic practices undermine racist ideologies and colonialism, engendering ecological attentiveness, and anomalous and compassionate communities? Christine Stewart’s Treaty 6 Deixis takes up these timely and pressing questions as it investigates what it means to be a non-Indigenous inhabitant of Canada’s Treaty 6 territory, “in this city, on this land, in this country, on this planet, in a way that acknowledges and honours all my obligations and all my relations, the complex web of connective tissues that keep me here.” (Deixis is a word or phrase – like “this,” “that,” “ now,” “then” – that points to the time, place, or situation in which a speaker is speaking or a writer is writing.)
Pick up your copy of Treaty 6 Deixis today!
Talonbooks’ Fall Poetry Launch will feature readings by Fred Wah and Rita Wong (from beholden), Wanda John-Kehewin (from Seven Sacred Truths), Ted Byrne (from Duets), Tiziana La Melia (from The Eyelash and the Monochrome), Stephen Collis (from Almost Islands), and Christine Stewart (from Treaty 6 Deixis).
Tuesday, November 13
Doors at 7:30 p.m., readings at 8 p.m.
843 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4
Drew Hayden Taylor’s Dead White Writer on the Floor and John MacLachlan Gray and Eric Peterson’s Billy Bishop Goes to War are hot off the presses, just in time for the school year. Dead White Writer on the Floor is now in its fourth printing, and Billy Bishop in its second edition, second printing.
The crisp air of fall is upon us here in Vancouver – and we’re very excited to announce that the first of our Fall books have arrived in house!
Almost Islands is a powerful memoir of Stephen Collis’s friendship with legendary Canadian poet, broadcaster, and painter Phyllis Webb – now in her nineties and long enveloped in silence. In a series of extended poetic, political, and philosophical digressions, the book meditates on literary ambition and failure, poetry and politics, choice and chance, location, colonization, and climate change – the struggle that is writing, and the end of writing.
Around Her, written by Sophie Bienvenu and translated by Rhonda Mullins, filters twenty years in the lives of Florence Gaudreault and her estranged son, Adrien, through the prism of twenty characters who have crossed their paths. Replete with emotional twists and turns, the book probes the failures and hopes of whole segements of society – the young, the old, families, couples, lonely souls – and reveals the proximity of past traumas, showing the bonds that unite us. Michel Tremblay calls it “absolutely wonderful.”
The Great Happiness, the third book in M.A.C. Farrant’s trilogy of miniatures is coming out next Spring with Talon. The second book in the trilogy, The Days, was a finalist for the 2017 ReLit Award for Poetry and the 2017 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize; the first, The World Afloat, won the 2014 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. Farrant’s miniatures have been called “confidently left-field” and “as wild as colourful birthday helium balloons released into a hurricane.” The Great Happiness is a book you’re not going to want to miss.
Whet your appetite for The Great Happiness by moseying over to Geist’s website to read three miniatures from the collection – “Positive Impact,” “The Weather Channel,” and “Waiting Room.”
The Eyelash and the Monochrome by Tiziana La Melia arrived in-house today!
Combining visuals and text, this collection of poems travels through territories as varied as daily and domestic activities; social relationships; literature, cinema, and art; as well as dreams, as it moves between the page and the exhibition.
The Eyelash and the Monochrome and Other Poems asks: what happens when material becomes thought and thought becomes object? At once a book of poetry and an artist’s book, it gathers together poems, performance scripts, and parallel texts, illustrating the hybrid nature of these texts and trespassing upon the boundaries of genre. It is a book about enmeshment, about the potentiality of interplay. It is a conversation. It is not linear, but it interrogates and explores the line: lines of text, lines of dialogue, socio-economic lines drawn or crossed, lines that were the trails of snails … Everything is a signifier, meaning is elastic, and references are multifaceted. La Melia’s multivalent and generative practice lives in process; it thinks through materials (paint, objects, non-human forms) with violent sentimentality, excessive desire, naiveté, narrative construction, and an awareness of the body and memory.
The 36th annual Jessie Awards took place last night, and we are excited to announce that four Talonbooks authors have won awards!
Tetsuro Shigematsu, alongside Jamie Nesbitt and Susan Miyagishima, won Outstanding technical design and execution for the purpose of historical storytelling for 1 Hour Photo, which is coming out with Talon this fall.
Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef, alongside several other castmates, won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble – Large Theatre for King Arthur’s Night, which is out now with Talon.
Last but not least, Jovanni Sy received the nod for Outstanding Original Script for Nine Dragons, also out now with Talon.
Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!
Happy Pride Month! Talonbooks’ catalogue has a plethora of great LGBTQ2S+ books to choose from.
Today, we’d like to highlight three of our reader favourite titles: recently published, Joshua Whitehead’s full-metal indigiqueer, and from our backlist, Jane Rule’s landmark novel Desert of the Heart and Michel Marc Bouchard’s (trans. Linda Gaboriau) moving play Tom at the Farm.
Today is the summer solstice, and it’s also the day we celebrate Indigenous Peoples! At Talonbooks, the cultural production of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples – writing by, for, and about Indigenous Peoples – is a central part of what we do every day of the year.
We have many recent and forthcoming titles we’d like to share with you today. Kuei, My Friend: A Conversation on Race and Reconciliation, full-metal indigiqueer, Safety Sand, and Talker’s Town and The Girl Who Swam Forever, out recently, and Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion., Seven Sacred Truths, From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980–2010 (second printing!), and Thanks for Giving, out soon, include Indigenous authors, and beholden and Treaty 6 Deixis, both forthcoming this fall, centre themes of how non-Indigenous people in Canada engage with Indigenous Peoples, our treaties, and the land on which we all live.
Last but not least, Talonbooks will soon be rolling out the 2018 edition of our Indigenous catalogue!
Finding Mr. Wong by Susan Crean is hot off the presses!
Finding Mr. Wong chronicles the author’s effort to piece together the life of the man she knew as Mr. Wong, cook and housekeeper to her Irish Canadian family for two generations. A Chinese Head Tax payer hired by Crean’s grandfather in Toronto in 1928, Wong Dong Wong remained on the job following Gordon Crean’s death in 1947. Crean’s homage weaves the various strands of her memories of and discoveries about Mr. Wong during the last twenty-five years of his life; she travels the streets and histories of Chinatowns in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada, and twice she visits Guangdong, China, where she locates Wong Dong Wong’s home village, finds descendants of his father’s brother, and learns the beginning of his story: orphaned as a newborn, then brought to Canada by his uncle, Wong YeeWoen.
Finding Mr. Wong is an important contribution to a growing body of writings that illuminate the lives of people silenced or otherwise negated by myopic history.
The two one-act plays in Talker’s Town and The Girl Who Swam Forever are set in a small B.C. mill town in the 1960s. They portray identical characters and action from entirely different gender and cultural perspectives. In many ways, the two separate works are inter-related coming-of-age stories, with transformation as a key theme.
The central action in both plays involves an Aboriginal girl, Roberta Bob, who escapes from a residential school and hides out by the river. In Nelson Gray’s Talker’s Town, the story is conveyed by a teenage non-Indigenous boy whose friend has had a relationship with the girl and whose attempts to hush up the affair lead to disastrous consequences. In Marie Clements’s The Girl Who Swam Forever, the action unfolds from the perspective of the girl, who – to claim her past and secure her future – must undergo a shape-shifting transformation and meet her grandmother’s ancestral spirit in the form of a hundred-year-old sturgeon.
Employing a single setting and working with the same set of characters, the playwrights have created two radically different fictional worlds, one Aboriginal and one non-Aboriginal. Published together, the plays form a fascinating diptych that reveals rifts between Indigenous and colonial/settler histories and provides a vehicle for cultural exchange.