Recent News and Announcements

news | Thursday January 7, 2021

In remembrance of Taran Kootenhayoo

Talonbooks is deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of Taran Kootenhayoo. This gifted young actor, playwright, and poet performed in several plays we’ve published, and more than once kindly gave us permission to include his image in our books. Taran was integral to Vancouver film and theatre and will truly be missed. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to his communities.

Link to CBC Article
Link to fundraiser for Taran’s Family

news | Tuesday December 22, 2020

January 28 Zoom Launch!

We are very excited to be launching four wonderful new books, on Thursday, January 28, at 5:30 p.m. PT, via Zoom! Cecily Nicholson will introduce the following wonderful Talon authors:

Fred Wah reading from Music at the Heart of Thinking
Colin Browne reading from Here
Junie Desil reading from eat salt | gaze at the ocean
Taryn Hubbard reading from Desire Path

Thursday, January 28
5:30 p.m. PT
Register in advance for this meeting.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

news | Monday December 21, 2020

Pause and Repeat: A Christmassy story from M.A.C. Farrant's The World Afloat

We’re happy to be sharing another Christmassy tale from M.A.C. Farrant this almost-Christmas! Talon’s offices will be closed from December 24th, reopening the morning of January 4th. Happy holidays, everyone!


We look forward to the comatose reverence that comes with Christmas.

The season begins in early November when time starts giving off a creaking sound. It’s going through its annual process of hardening. Our shoulders roll inward then and our heads collapse onto our chests as if in avoidance or prayer. Some of us make slow, grimacing smiles, stretching our mouths as wide as we can, repeating this motion several times, and then pausing.

During the lead-up to Christmas we no longer suffer from lost English reserve and everyone tries to be quiet. Once achieved, we bring our lips together and forward as though kissing a baby and flutter our eyelashes as fast as we can. This signals the arrival of the cart filled with tinsel. It’s drawn by Lula the Malamute wearing a hat of reindeer horns.

Her arrival completes the seasonal outline, the one that is meant to endure. And Jimmy in the red suit on the roof blowing his nose. 

From The World Afloat, 2014

news | Thursday December 17, 2020

Talonbooks Fall 2020 Launch!

We are having a zoom reading event on December 17th at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Mercedes Eng will read from my yt mama.

Margaret Christakos will read from charger.

Arleen Paré will read from Earle Street.

Laiwan will read from TENDER.

Gladys Maria Hindmarch will read from Wanting Everything.

Introductions by Cecily Nicholson. Hosted by Sean Cranbury.

Talonbooks Fall 2020 Launch
Thursday, December 17
at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/93994779836
Email kevin@talonbooks.com for the event password.

news | Monday December 7, 2020

We honour the passing of Talon founder David Robinson, January 5, 1947 to November 24, 2020

Covers of early Talonbooks books

David Robinson founded Talon alongside a few other fellow poets in 1963 while he was a high school student at University Hill Secondary School in Vancouver. At that time, it was a magazine run out of David’s parent’s garage. David published Talon’s first book, fireweed by Ken Belford, in 1967, while he was attending the University of British Columbia. David grew the Talonbooks press until 1984, when he left to join his wife Zonda Nellis at Zonda Nellis Design Inc.

While David published poetry, fiction, and drama at Talon, many will also remember him as a pioneer of Vancouver cookbook publishing, with his bestselling Susan Mendelson and Umberto Menghi titles.

Many of the books David published at Talon are still in print on the Talonbooks list. We remember him often, handling the books he published and admiring the design and savoir faire of an old catalogue.

Fifty-seven years after David initially founded Talon, we are very proud to continue the work he started, and hope this icon of Canadian publishing, Talonbooks, serves as memorial to David Robinson for many decades to come.

Read David’s obituary at dignitymemorial.com.

news | Tuesday November 17, 2020

Fa la la la la la la literature!

Holiday banner featuring Cottagers & Indians, I Saw Three Ships, Kamloopa, and Orwell in Cuba

Talonbooks is having a Holiday Sale!

We’re offering 25% off all titles from November 17 to December 16.

So deck the halls with books & holly, give us some fiction pudding, and pick up some prezzies for your friends and loved ones!

Books make great gifts.

news | Tuesday November 10, 2020

Marking Remembrance Day with Iron Peggy

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, we mark Remembrance Day.

This year, we at Talon would like to recognize the particular contribution of Indigenous soldiers to World War I by recommending Iron Peggy, written by award-winning, international Métis performer and playwright Marie Clements.

Iron Peggy was commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and premiered at Vancouver’s Waterfront Theatre in 2019.

The story centres on Peg, who is struggling for survival at her boarding school. Three über-cool “it” girls take aim at Peg and make her life utterly miserable. Then, when her beloved Grandmother dies, she just wants to disappear.

But an unexpected gift arrives; inside it, Peg finds three cast-iron soldiers. In despair, she throws them against the floor. How can they help her? They are so small, and the girls’ shadow is so big. But, miraculously, the toys come to life as Indigenous snipers from World War I, just in time to wage an epic battle against the girls.

A powerful play that will appeal to audiences both young and old, Iron Peggy uses a creative and ever-surprising blend of voices and sceneries to tell this moving story. With 2018 marking the 100th-year anniversary of WWI, Iron Peggy is an excellent introduction to its history and a touching testimony that not only celebrates the First Nation participation in the war effort but also a young girl’s personal victory.

news | Monday November 9, 2020

Kuroko has arrived!

Cover of Kuroko.

From Governor General’s Award Finalist Tetsuro Shigematsu, author of the award-winning plays Empire of the Son and 1 Hour Photo, comes Kuroko, a story about a family worlds apart, separated by pain, alone and unsure of the way back home.

Maya is a hikikomori, an extreme recluse who hasn’t left her bedroom in five years, spending all her time in virtual reality. Her father hires an actor from a “family rental agency” to befriend her online and entice her back into reality. How? By venturing to the scariest place on earth: Aokigahara, a.k.a. Suicide Forest.

Asking what might happen if we stop running from the phantoms that haunt us and return their gaze, Kuroko is a story about finding something real in the places we least expect it, of building bridges where healing seems impossible, and saving others as a way of saving ourselves.

Pick up your copy of Kuroko today!

news | Thursday November 5, 2020

Excerpt from Orwell in Cuba up at the Walrus

The Walrus has excerpted Orwell in Cuba: How 1984 Came to Be Published in Castro’s Twilight, by Frédérick Lavoie and translated by Donald Winkler.

In the French, Orwell in Cuba won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction.

Read the excerpt from this award-winning book today.

news | Friday October 23, 2020

PoemTalk discusses Daphne’s poem “Arriving”

Daphne Marlatt, Fred Wah, and Meredith Quartermain join Al Filreis at Lucy Oh and Dick Cook’s residence in Vancouver, BC to discuss Daphne’s poem “Arriving,” which is published in Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1968–2008.

From jacket2.org : “Arriving” was [originally] published in 1981 in the book titled Here & There. It seems to have been written during – and in any case is about – a summertime gathering of artist friends and others in the Kootenays in July 1980. Here & There is dedicated to “my fellow swimmers.” And “Arriving,” the first poem in the group, bears a dedication reading “for Fred & Pauline,” and they would be Fred Wah and Pauline Butling, her hosts those summers – both present at Lucy and Richard’s home. The poem records Daphne’s nine-and-half-hour journey from the city of Vancouver to that remote haven in a steep mountain valley, and in its lines we sense a body in motion, the rushing occurrence of the environment, an “ambushing” of the natural, and a sense of being seemingly always on the way, or a towardness.

news | Saturday October 17, 2020

Oana Avasilichioaei’s Eight Track is a finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry!

We are so pleased to announce that Oana Avasilichioaei’s Eight Track is a finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry.

Of Eight Track, the jury writes: “Conceptually provocative, this work works across the possibilities of genre… Often declarative and collective, it does not set out to narrate events but to disrupt or reinterpret narrative so as to represent the dislocation of a central self. It evokes and interrogates in fragments, as echo, so that the disarray is the array – an aural tracing, provocative in thought and sensation using gesture of interrogation, declaration, visual arrangement.”

Congratulations, Oana!

Pick up your copy of Eight Track today!

news | Thursday October 15, 2020

Carmen Aguirre shortlisted for the Siminovitch Prize

Siminovitch Prize awards.

Talon author Carmen Aguirre has been shortlisted for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize.

Carmen’s most recent book with Talon is Chile Con Carne and Other Early Works, which gathers together, as the title suggests, early-career, groundbreaking plays: Chile Con Carne, ?QUE PASA with LA RAZA, eh?, and In a Land Called I Don’t Remember.

Forthcoming in Spring 2021 is Anywhere But Here, which the the Georgia Straight called “a time-defying meditation on essential journeys of the heart.”

Congratulations, Carmen!

news | Monday September 28, 2020

The paperback of Taking Measures is now available!

We are pleased to announce that Taking Measures is now available in paperback!

The first-ever collection of the major serial poems by Canada’s inaugural Parliamentory Poet Laureate, George Bowering, Taking Measures includes work from each of the last six decades, beginning with Bowering’s engagement with process-based long poems in the 1960s and 1970s and moving through his continued exploration of the form in recent decades. Containing well-known Bowering texts, including Allophanes, Autobiology, Delayed Mercy, Genève, and Kerrisdale Elegies, as well as Baseball, At War with the U.S., Irritable Reaching, Smoking Mirror, Do Sink, His Life, and Los Pájanos de Tenacatita, Taking Measures offers a new and revealing look at this acclaimed and prolific author’s poetic development and contribution to Canadian writing.

The serial poem is a hybrid genre, stitching short lyrics together into sequential, long (typically book-length) poems; Bowering’s innovative use of the form, always rooted in an engagement with place, with language, and with the intertwining of the two, shows him at his experimental and irreverent best, his trademark playful seriousness extended and expanded, producing poetry that remains compelling, complex, and exciting decades after its composition. Edited by the award-winning poet Stephen Collis, Taking Measures offers a career-spanning and revelatory sample of one of Canada’s best-known and most versatile writers.

Pick up your copy of Taking Measures today!

news | Friday September 25, 2020

eat salt | gaze at the ocean has arrived!

We are so pleased to welcome eat salt | gaze at the ocean by Junie Désil!

eat salt | gaze at the ocean explores the themes of Black sovereignty, Haitian sovereignty, and Black lives, using the original Haitian zombie as a metaphor for the condition and treatment of Black bodies. Interspersed with textual representations of zombies, Haitian society, and historical policies is the author’s personal narrative of growing up Black and Haitian of immigrant parents on stolen Indigenous Lands. Désil’s aesthetics uses a variety of documents – fictions, newspaper articles, dictionaries, judicial papers – to tease out, exploit, and dismantle the semantics of the zombie. The expression that lends its words and rhythm to the book’s title refers to the reputed “cure” for reversing the process of zombification.

Junie Désil is of Haitian ancestry. Born of immigrant parents on the Traditional Territories of the Kanien’kehá꞉ka on the island known as Tiohtià꞉ke (Montréal), raised in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg). This is her début book.

Pick up your copy of eat salt | gaze at the ocean today!

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.

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