Posted: Wednesday January 22, 2020

Laiwan: WANDER: Toward a Lightness of Being, in Vancouver

Talon author Laiwan, whose poetry book TENDER is forthcoming this Spring, has just unveiled a new art project in New Westminster, B.C.

WANDER: Toward a Lightness of Being (2019) is a public art project created in collaboration with UBC’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) and commissioned by TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, and the City of New Westminster. The art project is located at the 22nd Street Skytrain Station Bus Exchange, 649 22nd St, New Westminster, B.C.

WANDER encourages playful discovery of and advocacy for the lives of phytoplankton, making visible the water critters inhabiting the Fraser River, collected for this project from nearby the 22nd Street Bus Exchange site. The artwork aims to encourage curiosity among commuters and the general public about the natural and built environment surrounding this site.

The project simulates a ‘hidden object activity’ where commuters and audiences have opportunity to locate the twenty-two icons and a number of haikus on site. Some designs may not be immediately obvious, but all can be found in a variety of forms, surfaces or possibilities

For more information please visit: https://www.laiwanette.net/#/wander/.


Posted: Monday December 23, 2019

Our Spiritual Lives: A Christmas-y tale from M.A.C. Farrant

We’re happy to be sharing another Christmas-y tale from M.A.C. Farrant this almost-Christmas! Talon’s offices will be closed from the afternoon of December 24th, reopening the morning of January 2nd. Happy holidays, everyone!


We’ve seen stains on tea towels that look like Jesus Christ’s face so we know he exists. And we know that dried seaweed can save the Douglas fir from extinction so we hang dried seaweed from the tree’s branches.

And the story about the woman estranged from the banking industry is true. She lost all her money to fiscal fraud and now her days are long and cold. So we pray to the banking industry not to do the same thing to us.

But some people don’t pray at all, believing the practice to be old-fashioned. My friend Warren is like that. He says he’d rather trust the presence of hamburgers in his life to render it benign. He told me this at a party.

Most people, though, believe that the greatest prayer we will ever say for ourselves and our children is that none of us falls from the sky or falls into a grave too soon.

Children, of course, pray to shells brought back from the beach for unexpected joy to visit. A woman I know named Andrea Sumner does this, too. She arranges shells along with rocks, feathers, and pieces of dried kelp in a circle on her living-room rug and claims good results.

Then there are people believing there are giants everywhere. And there are. You and I are just not one of them.

And in case you’re wondering about all those composite pictures tacked onto telephone poles in recent weeks? It’s Jesus Christ again. The pictures are meant to show what he’d look like if he were alive today and sixty-nine years old and lost. Like practically everyone we know.

From The World Afloat, 2014


Posted: Monday December 16, 2019

Michel Tremblay's Desrosiers Diaspora series

Covers of Crossing the Continent, Crossing the City, A Crossing of Hearts, Rite of Passage

“Wanderers. All of them. All the Desrosiers, never satisfied, always searching elsewhere for something better …”

Renowned Québec author Michel Tremblay’s 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.

In the first volume, Crossing the Continent, we find Nana living with her two younger sisters, Béa and Alice, on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Sainte-Maria-de-Saskatchewan, a francophone Catholic enclave of two hundred souls. At the age of ten, amid swaying fields of wheat under the idyllic prairie sky, Nana is suddenly called by her mother, Maria, whom she hasn’t seen in five years and who now lives in Montréal, to come “home” and help take care of her new baby brother. So it is that Nana embarks alone on an epic train journey through Regina, Winnipeg, and Ottawa, on which she encounters a dizzying array of strangers and distant relatives, including Ti-­Lou, the “She-Wolf of Ottawa.” 

The story continues in Crossing the City, where we meet Maria as she leaves the city of Providence, Rhode Island, pregnant and alone; we also meet Nana in Montréal, two years later. Having crossed the continent from her grandparents’ farm in Saskatchewan, Nana now traverses the city, alone, in an attempt to buy train tickets to reunite her family. Crossing the City includes vivid descriptions of Montréal’s early-­twentieth-­century neighbourhoods, which Nana traverses as she makes her journey.

The third novel in the series, A Crossing of Hearts, opens during a stifling heat wave in Montréal in August 1915, as war rages in Europe. The three Desrosiers sisters – Tititte, Teena, and Maria – have been planning a vacation in the mountains, to do nothing but gossip, laugh, drink, and overeat while basking in the sun. Maria’s children beg to come along. Reluctantly, Maria takes her children on the week-­long trip to the Laurentians. As the reader views the journey through young Nana’s eyes, we come to understand the impoverished circumstances they leave behind in Montréal, only to find poverty evermore present in the country. Yet it feels good to get out of town, and encounters with rural relatives crystallize young Nana’s true feelings for her mother, as confidences and family secrets fuse day into night.

Rite of Passage, just published, finds Nana at the crossroads of the end of childhood, facing the passing of her adolescence and the arrival of new responsibilities as her grandmother Joséphine approaches her last hours. To calm the storm, Nana reads the enthralling tales of Josaphat-the-Violin – a returning character in Tremblay’s Plateau Mont-Royal Chronicles. Three of Josaphat’s fantastical stories contain revelations whose full influence in her own existence Nana cannot yet measure. In parallel, Nina’s rebellious mother, Maria, languishes back in Montréal. She is torn between her desire to gather her young family around her and her deep uncertainty about being able to care for them properly.

Next in the series will be The Grand Melee, translated by Sheila Fischman, to be published in Fall 2020.

For even more information about this series and Tremblay’s other linked works, check out this piece about the development of the character of Nana!


Posted: Tuesday December 10, 2019

Rite of Passage journeys to Talon

Cover of Rite of Passage.

Rite of Passage, the awaited fourth instalment in Michel Tremblay’s enthralling and intensely moving Desrosiers Diaspora series of novels, translated from French by the critically acclaimed and long-time Tremblay specialist Linda Gaboriau, has just arrived in house!

At the crossroads at the end of childhood, Nana faces the hectic passing of her adolescence and the arrival of new responsibilities as her grandmother Joséphine approaches her last hours. To calm the storm, Nana reads the enthralling tales of Josaphat-le-Violon – a returning character in Tremblay’s Plateau-Mont-Royal Chronicles. Three of Josaphat’s fantastical stories contain revelations whose full influence in her own existence Nana cannot yet measure. In parallel, Nina’s rebellious mother Maria languishes back in Montréal. She is torn between her desire to gather her young family around her and her deep uncertainty about being able to care for them properly. Always in search of what’s “best” and what’s “elsewhere,” will Maria seize the opportunity “which only hits the door of life once”?

Novels Crossing the Continent (2008 Prix du grand public Salon du livre de Montréal / La Presse), Crossing the City (2009 Prix du grand public Salon du livre de Montréal / La Presse), and A Crossing of Hearts, instalments one, two, and three in Tremblay’s saga, were all published by Talonbooks.

Pick up your copy of Rite of Passage today!


Posted: Tuesday December 10, 2019

I Saw Three Ships: A Best BC Book of 2019!

Cover image: I Saw Three Ships.

Bill Richardson’s I Saw Three Ships is on Grant Lawrence’s Best B.C. Books of 2019 list for Vancouver Courier News!

If you haven’t yet, pick up your copy of I Saw Three Ships today!


Posted: Monday December 9, 2019

Kamloopa Is Here!

Cover of Kamloopa.

Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story, by Kim Senklip Harvey with The Fire Company, has arrived in-house at Talon!

Come along for the ride to Kamloopa, the largest Powwow on the West Coast. This high-energy Indigenous matriarchal story follows two urban Indigenous sisters and a lawless Trickster who face our world head-on as they come to terms with what it means to honour who they are and where they come from. But how to go about discovering yourself when Christopher Columbus allegedly already did that? Bear witness to the courage of these women as they turn to their Ancestors for help in reclaiming their power in this ultimate transformation story.

In 2018, Kamloopa had a three-city world premiere and was nominated for eight Jessie Richardson awards and four SATAwards. The production won the 2019 Jessie Richardson award for Significant Artistic Achievement for Decolonizing Theatre Practices and Spaces and was the first Indigenous play in the awards history to win Best Production. Kamloopa was the 2019 recipient of the Sydney J Risk prize for most outstanding emerging playwright and won the SATAward for outstanding Projection Design.

Kamloopa’s wonderful cover art was created by artist and illustrator Karlene Harvey.

We are so pleased to welcome Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story! Pick up your copy of the book today!


Posted: Thursday November 21, 2019

I Saw Three Ships #1 in Paperback Fiction at McNally Robinson

McNally Robinson bestseller list

Bill Richardson’s wonderful book, I Saw Three Ships, is #1 in paperback fiction on the November 10 to 20 bestseller list for McNally Robinson Winnipeg.

Congratulations to Bill!!

If this news excites you as much as it does us – and if you’re in Vancouver – we have just the thing for you. You can be part of the audience for a live recording as Bill joins CBC Radio host Sheryl MacKay for a conversation about I Saw Three Ships on December 7 at 11 a.m. at the Central Library branch’s Montalbano Family Theatre, Level 8.

More info here.

Saturday, December 7, 2019
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 6B1


Posted: Tuesday November 19, 2019

Congratulations to Stephen Collis, the 2019 recipient of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize

We at Talon would like to extend a huge congratulations to Stephen Collis, the 2019 recipient of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize. This prize is given to a mid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work, and in anticipation of future contributions to Canadian poetry.

The Jury Citation, from Hoa Nguyen and Margo Wheaton, reads, “In Collis, we find a poet ferociously hitting his stride. We’re looking forward with eagerness to what comes next.”

Us, too!

Congrats, Steve!!


Posted: Thursday October 24, 2019

Governor General's Literary Award Nominees now 30% Off!

Banner including the covers of 1 Hour Photo, Synapses, and Thanks for Giving.

Talonbooks is pleased to have three Governor General’s Literary Award Nominations this year – two in drama and one in translation.

From now until October 28 October 31, these three nominated books will be 30 percent off when you purchase them through our website.

So, if you haven’t yet, now is a great time to pick up your copy of Tetsuro Shigematsu’s 1 Hour Photo, Kevin Loring’s Thanks for Giving, and Simon Brousseau’s (translated by Pablo Strauss) Synapses!


Posted: Tuesday October 15, 2019

Eight Track Is in the Building!

Covers of Eight Track and Limbinal

We are so pleased to share that Oana Avasilichioaei’s Eight Track has arrived in-house!

Eight Track is a transliterary exploration of traces. Sound recordings, surveillance cameras, desert geoglyphs, drone operators, refugee interviews, animal imprints, and audio signals manifest moments of inspired wonder, systems of power, slippages, debris. In “the great era of seeing” when the boundary between tracking agent and monitored subject is worn thin by politics and commerce, Eight Track assembles a set of discordant melodies, polyphonic voices, transcriptions, theatres, and images in a struggle to hold on to agency and awe. Stirring from languages of oppression to languages of resistance, Eight Track echolocates the nameless, the noisy, the scattered, and the voiceless. This is ultimately a book of relations—of each of us to each other, to other life forms, to environments, to cultures, to the obsolete and the absolute, to the animal vitality we share.

Oana will be reading from Eight Track with Danielle LaFrance (JUST LIKE I LIKE IT) and Nikki Reimer (My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan) in Toronto on October 23 and in Montréal on November 16.

Not in Toronto or Montréal? Order your copy of Eight Track online today!


Posted: Tuesday October 8, 2019

People Live Here Lives Here Now!

Cover of George F. Walker's People Live Here.

People Live Here is a collection of three exciting new plays by George F. Walker, Canada’s king of black comedy and a winner of two Governor General’s Literary Awards for Drama. The Chance is a funny, quirky, and suspenseful play portraying three aspiring but economically deprived women living in a working-class neighbourhood of Toronto. The serendipitous discovery of a $300,000 cheque left behind by one of Jo’s one-night stands sends Jo’s mother Marcie, optimistic but exhausted, and stripper Amie, Jo’s friend and colleague, into a furious conjectures on how to use the money (if at all).

Her Inside Life is a heartwarming story introducing Violet, an unbalanced widow under house arrest for committing a serious crime and looking to regain the respect of her daughter and her social worker, who visit regularly. The reappearance of Leo – a man Violet thought she had killed – offers an odd opportunity for the main character to show she doesn’t belong in the madhouse.

Kill the Poor, this collection’s last chapter, is an intense comedy portraying a couple struggling for money and recuperating from a serious car accident. But what if the expected settlement changes the couple’s life for the better? A hired detective and the building’s custodian provide help, but the mysterious driver of the other car makes a comeback … for the worse. Altogether, George F. Walker’s People Live Here complete the Parkdale Palace trilogy of plays dealing with issues of social justice and allying heart, humour, and a contemporary reflection on human inequalities.

Pick up your copy of People Live Here today!


Posted: Wednesday October 2, 2019

Governor General's Literary Award Nominations!

Banner including the covers of 1 Hour Photo, Synapses, and Thanks for Giving.

We are so pleased to announce that Tetsuro Shigematsu’s 1 Hour Photo, Kevin Loring’s Thanks for Giving, and Simon Brousseau’s (translated by Pablo Strauss) Synapses have been nominated for Governor General’s Literary Awards. 1 Hour Photo and Thanks for Giving have been nominated in Drama, and Synapses has been nominated in Translation!

Huge congratulations to Tetsuro, Kevin, Simon, and Pablo, as well as everyone in house who worked on these wonderful books!

For more information about the seventy books nominated for this year’s awards, visit ggbooks.ca.


Posted: Tuesday October 1, 2019

Spot Pots at a Bookstore Near You!

Cover of Pots and Other Living Beings

Happy pub day to Pots and Other Living Beings!!

Pots and Other Living Beings is a literally and visually compelling first poetry collection by Indigenous artist annie ross. The text combines socially conscious poems with geographically grounded photographs, each describing an aspect of living in the postmodern, neoliberal age. All compositions emphasize in evocative ways our times’ disillusions and disenchantments, promised and failed utopias, material and cultural ruins, alienations and dispossessions. The work stems from the poet’s gathering of thousands of photographs and field notes during a research trip to the Southwestern United States, exploring the founding, making, dreaming, and proliferation of nuclear weapons since the 1940s. The poems in Pots and Other Living Beings hint at and reflect upon the food, arts, schools, hospitals, family farms, and alternate existences peoples could have enjoyed if our resources, imagination, time, and energy had been directed towards l i f e, in all of its forms.

Order your copy of Pots and Other Living Beings today!


Posted: Monday September 30, 2019

No White Picket Fence Arrives In-House

Cover of No White Picket Fence

Happy publication day to No White Picket Fence, by Robin Whittaker and Sue McKenzie-Mohr!

A powerful verbatim play about young women’s resilience through foster care, drawn from in-depth interviews. No White Picket Fence stems from a research project conducted by social work professor Sue McKenzie-Mohr with ten individuals who, as girls, grew up in the foster-care system and now identify in their own ways as living well. The play’s dialogue is entirely verbatim, lending the play its hyperreal feel, and giving voice to typically marginalized perspectives from those at the heart of the youth-in-care system. No White Picket Fence follows the women’s unique stories in their own words, from their experiences before being taken into care through their time in the system and on into their current lives navigating the world as young adults. Their stories are raw, characterized by times of turmoil and suffering in their original family homes and later during impermanent arrangements in foster care and group homes. And yet these women’s stories also highlight their persistent efforts to move toward living well on their own terms.

Above all, these are stories about resistance, resilience, and the enduring strength of the human spirit. No White Picket Fence sheds light on the urgent need for greater and sustained efforts to improve a care system that struggles to meet the basic needs of the youth it is mandated to protect and nurture. The voices in No White Picket Fence tell stories that need to be heard, stories we all need to hear.

Pick up your copy of No White Picket Fence today!


Posted: Friday September 20, 2019

Just Like We Like It

Cover of Just Like I Like It; purple, half-tone, a type of tornado/vortex

Danielle LaFrance’s powerful new book of poetry and autotheory, JUST LIKE I LIKE IT, is now available!!

In JUST LIKE I LIKE IT, LaFrance combines poetry and autotheory as a means of targeting ideological infatuation, spilling into an obsession with ideological abolishment. JUST LIKE I LIKE IT searches for ways to kill and abolish “it,” seeking means to get it done right, even when attempted slowly and stupidly, even if the only way out is death. LaFrance draws on stupidity, sadomasochism, pretend power, parasitism, and violent revolutionary desubjectification to shape a felt experience, not so much asking as inhabiting a series of questions, including: “What are the implications of abolishing the self as it is racialized, gendered, and classed?” and “Can a theoretical framework hold every contradiction in tandem when every contradiction is substantial and felt?” Each page of JUST LIKE I LIKE IT pokes “it” awake all over again, culminating in a number of accomplished failures, including “It Makes Me Iliad,” a reworking of Homer’s Iliad. Poetry, it seems, is the best weapon for wiping it out with fewer casualties – which is why it is never enough.

Order your copy of JUST LIKE I LIKE IT today!


Posted: Tuesday September 17, 2019

Caught Red-Handed with Our Favourite Crime

Deni Ellis Béchard's My Favourite Crime on city pavement.

Deni Ellis Béchard’s new book of essays and journalism, My Favourite Crime, has arrived in-house! Not in the big house, just to be clear.

My Favourite Crime ranges across the world and over a wide array of contemporary issues. Divided into five sections, all united by a recurring consideration of how writing helps transform our understanding of our family, of ourselves, and of the world, the book addresses such disparate topics as: Deni Ellis Béchard’s tumultuous relationship with his father, exploring his struggle to make sense of his father’s criminality as well as his own, and the temptation to lapse back into crime when one has been raised with it; the illuminated gospels on Patmos, the Greek island where Saint John composed the Book of Revelation and where refugees are locked up without food or water; an American soldier transitioning between genders while serving in Afghanistan; children accused of sorcery and exorcised in Kinshasa’s revival churches; and Indian women’s responses to their country’s rampant rape culture. Including articles about Cuba, Colombia, Iraq, Rwanda, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Québec, and the United States, My Favourite Crime is current, engaged, compelling writing not to be missed.

Pick up your copy of My Favourite Crime today!


Posted: Tuesday September 10, 2019

I Saw Three Ships Sets Sail

I Saw Three Ships being held in front of the Fraser River.

Happy pub day to Bill Richardson’s fabulous new book I Saw Three Ships!

In I Saw Three Ships, eight linked stories, all set around Christmastime in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood, explore the seasonal tug-of-war between expectation and disappointment. These tales give shelter to characters from various walks of life whose experience of transcendence leaves them more alienated than consoled.

I Saw Three Ships captures a West End community vanishing under pressure from development and skyrocketing real-estate prices. As arch as they are elegiac, as funny as they are melancholy, these stories honour a cherished period in the history of the West End. Sometimes twisted, sometimes tender, I Saw Three Ships will speak to all who have ever been stuck spinning their wheels at the corner of Heathen and Holy.

In Vancouver? Bill will launch I Saw Three Ships this Friday, September 13 at 2 p.m. at the Joe Fortes Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. More info here.

Order your copy of I Saw Three Ships today!


Posted: Wednesday September 4, 2019

Flow's Softcover Edition Has Arrived!

The softcover edition of Roy Miki's Flow on a wooden table in soft light.

Flow collects all of Governor General’s Award winner Roy Miki’s books of poetry – saving face, random access file, Surrender, There, and Mannequin Rising – with a substantial new, previously unpublished work, Cloudy and Clear, and numerous full-colour photographs and photocollages. This definitive edition of Miki’s poetic work includes a foreword by poet and critic Louis Cabri, an interview by the collection’s editor, Michael Barnholden, and an extensive bibliography.

Flow has been available in a beautiful $49.95 hardcover edition – with coloured endsheets and silver foil – since last year. We are now very pleased to make its softcover sibling available – all of Miki’s wonderful poetry and photocollages, with a special softcover dust jacket, for $29.95.

Flow is the newest book added to our Collected Series, which collects important works by west coast poets. Roy Miki is one of Canada’s most innovative poets; he is also an influential critic, founder of the literary journals Line and West Coast Line, and as a noted activist, became a prominent figure in the movement for Japanese Canadian redress. We are so pleased to share Flow with you.

Pick up your softcover copy of Flow today!


Posted: Sunday August 18, 2019

Rita Wong's Public Sentencing Statement

We at Talon stand with poet and activist Rita Wong, who was sentenced this past Friday to serve twenty-eight days in prison for participating in a protest last August against the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Please read Rita’s public statement on her sentencing, reproduced in full below.

Rita Wong’s Public Sentencing Statement

I’m grateful to be here alive today with all of you on sacred, unceded Coast Salish territories, the homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh peoples.

On 24 August 2018, while British Columbia was in a state of emergency because of wildfires caused by climate change – breaking records for the second year in a row; putting lives at risk, health at risk, and displacing thousands of people – I sang, prayed, and sat in ceremony for about half an hour in front of the Trans Mountain pipeline project’s Westridge Marine Terminal.

I did this because we’re in a climate emergency, and since the Federal government has abdicated its responsibility to protect us despite full knowledge of the emergency, it became necessary to act. We are in imminent peril if we consider the rate of change we are currently experiencing from a geological perspective – we are losing species at an alarming rate and facing mass extinction due to the climate crisis that humans have caused. This is the irreparable harm I sought to prevent, which the court, the Crown, and corporations also have a responsibility to prevent.

Everyone has the responsibility to respond to this crisis. We are on the global equivalent of the Titanic, and this industrialized ship needs to change direction. We also need to build life boats, healthy places that can support resilience in the future, such as the sacred Salish Sea.

I acted with respect for the rule of law which includes the rule of natural law and the rule of Indigenous law and the rule of international law. Under the rule of law:

  • I have a responsibility to my ancestors and the ancestors of this land to protect the lands and waters that give us life with each breath, each bite of food, each sip of water.
  • I have a responsibility to reciprocate to the salmon who have given their life to feed mine, to reciprocate to the trees that produce and gift us the fresh air from their leaves through the perpetual song of photosynthesis.
  • I have a responsibility to give back to the great Pacific Ocean, the Coast Salish Sea, Stalew (the Fraser River), and the many water bodies on which human life – and other lives – depend.
  • I have a responsibility to hold our politicians accountable when they persistently breach their international legal obligations to protect us. They should be reducing greenhouse gas emissions, not increasing them in ways that put the very existence of life at risk.

By breaching the injunction, I had no intention of reducing respect for our courts. I do intend to ask the court to respect Coast Salish laws that uphold our responsibilities to care for the land and waters that make life, liberty and peace possible for everyone. I sincerely ask the court to take our reciprocal relationship with the land and water into consideration because we are on Coast Salish lands, where everyone is a Coast Salish citizen.

I’m one of over 200 citizens of conscience who were arrested because, unlike our federal and provincial governments, we take the climate crisis seriously. We take the need to protect society seriously. We did what we could to maintain respect for our justice system:

  • We cooperated with Indigenous spiritual guardians, non-governmental organizations and the police.
  • We waited patiently for decades before determining – at a moment in history when time has almost run out to act – that orthodox ways of getting the federal government to act were doomed to fail.
  • The police were informed in advance and they appointed people to liaise and communicate with the NGOs in order to maintain order.

All of this is evidence of the rule of law working.

I respect the court’s concern for the rule of law. I do appreciate that obeying court orders is part of the rule of law. There are more aspects of the rule of law that I would ask you to consider before sentencing me.

Natural law and Indigenous law rely on mutual aid and cooperation, qualities that require maturity and a deep love for one’s community, recognizing that we are all equal. It is a rule of law that works primarily from a place of love and respect, not from fear of authority and punishment.

This is the aspect of rule of law that has moved the hearts and spirits of the thousands of people who’ve shown up to care for the land and waters of this place. Such an understanding of rule of law, as coming from a place of love and courage more than fear, could strengthen our sense of democracy. It could make our commitment to reconciliation a sincere one.

We can all learn from natural law and Coast Salish law that we have a reciprocal relationship with the land; and that we all have a responsibility to care for the land’s health, which is ultimately our health too. This was reinforced most recently for me by Tsleil-Waututh speakers at the Drums Not Drills gathering at the scene of my arrest, the Westridge Marine Terminal, on Aug 5 this year, which I helped to co-organize as part of the Mountain Protectors group.

My ancestors teach me to act responsibly, to honour the water, the land and my relatives. I feel their teachings in my blood & guts, my bones that carry their spirits within them, my heart as it closes & opens again & again with each beat.

The morning of my arrest we hung red dresses to honour the murdered and missing Indigenous women, the sisters who are made more vulnerable and victimized by the man camps that accompany pipeline expansion and massive resource extraction. We sang the women warriors song, over and over again, for each woman who should have been there & wasn’t.

We sang for our grandparents, for people from all four direction of the earth.

Our ceremony that morning was an act of spiritual commitment, of prayer, of artistic expression, of freedom of expression, an act of desperation in the face of climate crisis, an act of allegiance with the earth’s natural laws, and a heartfelt attempt to prevent mass extinction of the human race.

As I see it, one shows respect by speaking honestly, a view shared by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To speak the truth is not to show contempt, but to hold those in power accountable for failing to protect us and for instead knowingly choosing to inflict systemic harm & violence upon us and upon the land and waters that give us life.

I pray that the urgency of the climate crisis and our responsibilities to be good relatives living on Coast Salish lands, under Coast Salish laws, will help to guide this justice system as it encounters land defenders. As land and water defenders, we do what we do for everyone’s sake.

Thank you,
Rita


Posted: Monday June 24, 2019

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day!

Cover of Michel Tremblay's A Crossing of Hearts.

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to all of our Québécois readers, and to French-Canadians across the country. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrates diverse Québécois culture, and Talon is proud to have a long history of translating Québécois classics – as well as new and exciting titles from emerging authors – for anglophone audiences. Today, we’d like to recommend some titles to you.


Posted: Friday June 21, 2019

A poem from Wanda John-Kehewin's Seven Sacred Truths

Today, on Indigenous Peoples Day, we are pleased to share a poem from Wanda John-Kehewin’s Seven Sacred Truths.

tO all the children Of residential schOOls …

(Inspired by Mechelle Pierre)

i hOpe YOur life is filled with lOve
frOM here On earth and frOM abOve.
i hOpe YOu can OvercOMe YOur fears
thrOugh faMilY, friends, and ManY healing tears.


Posted: Thursday June 20, 2019

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

Cover of Talonbooks 2018 Indigenous Catalogue

Talon is honoured to work with many Indigenous authors and to celebrate Indigenous voices. Publishing writing by, for, and about First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples is a central part of what we do every day of the year.

So: happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

We have some recent and forthcoming titles we’d like to share with you today. Kevin Loring’s Thanks for Giving, Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians and Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion, Sean Harris Oliver & Raes Calvert’s Redpatch, and Wanda John-Kehewin’s Seven Sacred Truths were all published in the past year.

Soon, we will be reissuing an updated edition of They Write Their Dream on the Rock Forever, by Annie York, Richard Daly & Chris Arnett; forthcoming this fall is annie ross’s Pots and Other Living Beings as well as Kim Senklip Harvey’s Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story. In Spring 2020, we will publish Marie Clements’s Iron Peggy and Kevin Loring’s Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer.

For even more Indigenous-authored books, download our 2018 Indigenous Catalogue.


Posted: Monday June 10, 2019

Christine Stewart in conversation with Erina Harris for CWILA

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) has posted a great conversation between Christine Stewart, author of Treaty 6 Deixis, and poet Erina Harris. An excerpt:

Erina Harris – You once mentioned that moving to Edmonton inspired or induced a radical reckoning asked of you as a poet and teacher. Could you elaborate?

Christine Stewart – … During the summer of 2007, a tent city had grown up in downtown Edmonton. This was shut down by the city in early September and many of the inhabitants moved across the river into the ravine. In the mornings, on my way to work, as dawn broke, I would bike by people cooking breakfast on open fires or sleeping in shelters along the creek. At that time, the majority of the people living in the ravine were Indigenous, and as I later learned, many were nêhiyaw (Cree), from the Edmonton area – home and homeless. This condition remains very true for many people in Edmonton and across Canada – to be home and yet to be homeless in that very place of home. The enduring societal and governmental violence that is necessary for such a fact to be true is staggering. In the years that have followed, it has become obvious to me that I didn’t know where I was in those days, that I never had known, and that I still don’t, but that I urgently need to know where I am and what is expected of me here. This has lead me to work and write in very different ways and with very different intentions and yet, I think what has remained with me, is that writing is real, that it matters, that language matters, how we use it and why, that there is a truth in language on the page. It might be a truth that we find hard to believe or do not want to believe but it is there. Which is not to say that writing is everything. It isn’t. There are circumstances within which I often find myself now wherein writing needs to stop. Some things should not be written; sometimes writing is not enough.

Read the full conversation over at CWILA.


Posted: Monday May 27, 2019

TISH poets read from their Talon books in North Van

Fred Wah reading from Scree.

On Saturday, April 6, George Bowering, Gladys Maria Hindmarch, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah read from their TISH works and Talon books at a reading associated with the Griffin Art Project’s exhibition the poets have always preceded art and poetry in Vancouver, 1960–present, which was on from January 26 to April 27, 2019. All four poets are part of our Collected Poetry series.

Fred Wah’s Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962–1991 came out with Talon in 2015. Daphne Marlatt’s Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems 1968–2008 came out in 2017. Gladys Maria Hindmarch and George Bowering both have Collected volumes forthcoming with Talon.

Check out these great photos that Kit Marlatt took of the reading, and order Fred’s and Daphne’s books today!

Daphne Marlatt reading

George Bowering reading

Gladys Maria Hindmarch reading


Posted: Thursday March 28, 2019

Redpatch: in house and on the stage!

Picture of Redpatch on a log by the Fraser River in Vancouver.

Private Jonathan Woodrow is a young Indigenous soldier fighting on the Western Front during World War I. Thanks to his experience in hunting and wilderness survival, he quickly becomes one of the 1st Canadian Division’s most feared trench raiders. But as the war and the fighting stretch on with no end in sight, Woodrow begins to realize that he will never go home again. Shedding overdue light on the Indigenous contribution to Canada’s Great War effort, Redpatch was a finalist for the Playwright Guild of Canada’s 2017 Carol Bolt award.

Redpatch is on now until March 31 at the Arts Club in Vancouver. More info here.

Pick up your copy of Redpatch today!.