We are so pleased to announce that Rita Wong and Fred Wah’s beholden: a poem as long as the river has been shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. beholden joins several wonderful books on this year’s list of BC Book Prize finalists, including Our Familiar Hunger by Laisha Rosnau, Port of Being by Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quarrels by Eve Joseph, and _The Small Way_by Onjana Yawnghwe in the poetry category.
beholden: a poem as long as the river stems from the interdisciplinary artistic research project “River Relations: A Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River,” undertaken as a response to the damming and development of the Columbia River in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, as well as to the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Authors Fred Wah and Rita Wong spent time exploring various stretches of the river, all the way to its mouth near Astoria, Oregon. They then spent several months creating long poems along the Columbia, each searching for a language that evoked the complexities of our colonial appropriation of it. beholden was then assembled as a page-turning book that reproduces the two long poems as they respond to the meanderings of the river flowing two thousand kilometres through Canada, the United States, and the territories and reserves of Indigenous Peoples. Visual artist Nick Conbere then transferred this winding footprint into a monumental, 114-foot horizontal banner.
Visit the BC Book Prize website for more information about the finalists.
Join us on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. at Pyatt Hall in Vancouver, where Talon authors bill bissett (breth), Dina Del Bucchia (It’s a Big Deal!), M.A.C. Farrant (The Great Happiness), Nicole Raziya Fong (PEЯFACT), and Nikki Reimer (My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan) will read from their hot-off-the-presses books. Admission is free (bring money for books!), and the venue is fully accessible.
Wednesday, April 3
Doors at 7 p.m., readings at 7:30 p.m.
843 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4
My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan is a darkly humorous book about grief and isolation, social media, death and loss, horse statues, and “overdrawn affluenza.” Today, we are pleased to share a poem from the book’s first section, “A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose Manhattan” – a poem that showcases both Nikki Reimer’s sharp eye and cutting sense of humour.
what this town needs is horse statues. more horse statues. another horse statue. a
bigger horse statue. we gotta get more monster homes. move out the renters. this
baby’s priced. this baby’s priced to move.
what this town needs:
horsewomen stay-at-homes. more horsewomen stay-at-homes.
another horsewoman stay-at-home. a
bigger horsewoman stay-at-home. we
gotta get more monument homesteads.
move out the renters. this backbencher’s priced. this
backbencher’s priced to move.
A delightful collection of seventy miniature fictions and comics riffing on the theme of happiness, The Great Happiness offers a series of lively antidotes to the current climate of doom. Some of the book’s miniatures are narratives with a twist, others are imaginative flights, such as the recently dead experimental novelist “sitting in” on the obituary-writing session convened by her husband, or the woman who rescues an Atlantic lobster from her local Save-On-Foods and ships it to Prince Edward Island to be released back into the ocean. The miniatures of The Great Happiness are “fictions that think,” each one a combination of narrative, prose poem, and jest.
The Great Happiness is the third part in M.A.C. Farrant’s trilogy of miniature fiction published by Talonbooks, preceded by The World Afloat, winner of the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, and The Days, nominated for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and the ReLit Award.
My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan is a darkly humorous book about grief and isolation. Cutting yet tender, sorrowful yet angry, these poems touch on death and loss, architecture, alcohol, horse statues, and catalogues of life. Addicted to social media and simultaneously well-versed in feminist theory, My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan “subvert[s] the literary industrial complex,” but it also crashes in like the Kool-Aid meme with all-caps non sequiturs and “overdrawn affluenza.” Pull up a chair, get a drink – a rose manhattan, a quartz gimlet, or a gourmet ginger ale, if you prefer. A rose is a rose is a Rose Manhattan.
So many things seem like a BIG DEAL: fashionable clothes, food trends for healthfulness and coolness, personal turmoils, what someone else just said, the ever-charged political landscape, Instagram posts, extinct megafauna, avocado toast … the list could – and does – go on and on. Quirky, wry, sensitive, bitchy, and honest, It’s a Big Deal! interrogates the ways we interpret and process the big deals of our twenty-first-century lives. Del Bucchia’s poetic voice is unique, delivering sharp humour and candid sincerity.
Newly arrived in-house is poet Nicole Raziya Fong’s debut collection, PEЯFACT.
“Part treatise on phenomenology, part theatrical score on ontology, part billet-doux to poetry itself” (Divya Victor), PEЯFACT is a three-part series of poems interrogating the nature of experience, language, trauma, and identity. This moving, philosophical debut, whose influences range from Antonin Artaud and Simone Weil to Gertrude Stein and George Oppen, meditates on materiality and consciousness, empathy and awareness, absence and mutuality – the physical presence of language.
Pick up your copy of PEЯFACT today!
Two years ago, Christian Guay Poliquin’s Le poids de la neige won the Governor General’s Literary Award for French-language fiction; now, Talon is extremely pleased to be welcoming David Homel’s excellent English translation of the novel, The Weight of Snow.
After surviving a major accident – during a nationwide power failure, in a village buried in snow – the protagonist of The Weight of Snow is entrusted to Matthias, a taciturn old man who agrees to heal his wounds in exchange for supplies and a chance of escape. The two men become prisoners of the elements and of their own rough confrontation as the centimetres of snow accumulate relentlessly. Surrounded by a nature both hostile and sublime, their relationship oscillates between commiseration, mistrust, and mutual aid. Will they manage to hold out against external threats and intimate pitfalls?
Hot off the presses is Carmen Aguirre’s Chile Con Carne and Other Early Works, which includes three plays from early in her career, as well as a preface to the plays written by the author.
With perceptive, unflinching wit, these three plays document the hardships, horrors, and heartache of exile, revealing the far-reaching effects of dictatorial violence and terror. Highlighting the fresh perspective refugees bring to North American society, Chile Con Carne and Other Early Works also provides essential context for Aguirre’s more recent plays, Refugee Hotel, Blue Box, and The Trigger. Aguirre’s funny, poignant, and biting explorations of refuge and recovery are as pertinent now as when they were first written.
Pick up your copy of Chile Con Carne and Other Early Works today!
Synapses, by Simon Brousseau and translated by Pablo Strauss, has arrived at Talon! Synapses depicts a vast society of differing psyches, all unique, idiosyncratic, and interconnected. Simon Brousseau’s beautifully crafted literary snapshots, each written in a single, stylistically accomplished sentence and featuring a different character, will linger with readers.
Synapses will integrate into your own neural pathways, inviting you to join the network of humanity the book creates.
Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians is the first of our Spring 2019 books to arrive in-office!
In Cottagers and Indians, an Anishnawbe man, Arthur Copper, decides to repopulate the lakes of his home Territory with manoomin, or wild rice – much to the disapproval of the local non-Indigenous cottagers, in particular the formidable Maureen Poole. Based on real-life events in Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes region, Cottagers and Indians infuses contemporary conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous sensibilities with Drew Hayden Taylor’s characteristic warmth and humour.
“When I was growing up, the English language had an awesome power over my parents’ lives and my own life, and the internment process … was made possible through the power of discourse, and the power to name people out of existence.”
‘Tis the season! We have a tradition here at Talon to release a seasonally appropriate M.A.C. Farrant short story every year around this time. This story, “Happy New Year,” will appear in M.A.C.‘s forthcoming book, The Great Happiness, which will be available in Spring 2019.
Roy Miki’s Flow: Poems Collected and New, edited by Michael Barnholden, is now flowing toward a bookstore near you. We were very excited to launch the book, the newest addition to our Collected Poetry Series, earlier this month; the launch brought together many of Vancouver’s poets and poetry lovers, and featured readings by Michael Barnholden, Jacqueline Turner, Fred Wah, Hiromi Goto, Daphne Marlatt, George Bowering, Tiziana La Melia, Mark Nakada, Larissa Lai, Scott McFarlane, and Louis Cabri.
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.
We are wishing a warm welcome to Rebecca Wigod’s He Speaks Volumes: A Biography of George Bowering.
George Bowering has read, written about, and corresponded with them all, from influential mid-century writers such as Sheila Watson, Earle Birney, and Al Purdy, through a veritable Who’s Who of the Canadian literary avant-garde, including bpNichol, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah, to literary superstars such as Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. This biography of the two-time Governor General’s Award winner and inaugural Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada illuminates the intimate, intellectual, and artistic life of one of Canada’s greatest literary ambassadors. Based on exhaustive research, including access to decades of Bowering’s diaries, He Speaks Volumes is an indispensable guide to the life, work, and community of this multi-faceted writer.
Author Rebecca Wigod’s career in journalism spanned three decades. She wrote arts features, did medical reporting, and even composed editorials, but her favourite gig was being the editor of the Vancouver Sun’s books pages from 2000 to 2010.
Note: The credit line on page xv should read: “Margaret Atwood’s foreword was originally commissioned by The Capilano Review for the “Bowering’s Books” issue, TCR 3.24. Reproduced with permission from Curtis Brown Group, Ltd, London, on behalf of Margaret Atwood. Copyright ©️ O.W. Toad 2014. Thanks to The Capilano Review for their kind assistance.”
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.