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.
Not in Toronto or Montréal? Order your copy of Eight Track online today!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Living has arrived in-house from the printer.
The Living is a powerful and unsettling documentary play by Colleen Wagner, author of the Governor General’s Literary Award–winning play The Monument. It is inspired by the actual stories of women and girls who survived trauma in post-conflict zones like Rwanda and Uganda. The Living examines the lives of victims and perpetrators, post-genocide, who live side-by-side in government-issued housing, as well as the role of NGO-funded campaigns. By means of theatrical fiction, documentary work, and re-enactment, The Living provides a creative path toward reconciliation, in hopes that the impossible act of forgiveness can end the cycle of revenge. The book features a foreword by Ines Buchli and an afterword by Juliane Okot Bitek.
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 7:30 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. Mercedes Eng, author of the BC Book Prize–winning Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, will be hosting.
Wednesday, April 3
Doors at 7:30 p.m., readings at 8 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?