Recent News and Announcements

news | Tuesday May 10, 2022

Hot Off The Press

New at Talonbooks is Unfuckable Lardass, the sixth and latest title from Catriona Strang. This poetry collection is lively, wonderfully recalcitrant, and leveled against patriarchy.

Musical and feminist, Unfuckable Lardass shapeshifts. Whether it’s using brevity like a boxing glove, borrowing floral language from gardening books, defining types of tears, or weaving incantatory spells against oppressive and imposed limitations, the voice in this collection sings. From “Lake Lac”:

“I grew it
I tended
it I harvested
dried and
stored it
I knocked
it over and
smashed
it”

Rebellious and attentive, Unfuckable Lardass is a call to personal power and agency, even when exhausted, doubtful, pain-ridden, and marginalized. From “The Amalgam”, part 12 of the titular poem “Unfuckable Lardass”:

“I am contending factions. Even in times of great
dispute and intense social trauma, an amalgam
of functions does not represent…

I become over-mapped. It’s my tradition to pick
it till it bleeds.”

Unfuckable Lardass is an homage to the overlooked labours and ways of being that patriarchy doesn’t glorify. Catriona Strang refuses the objectifying gaze and ushers us towards embodying our whole selves, anger and all. To this end, Unfuckable Lardass culminates in a collective poem, each line stated like fact, the contributing authors’ voices cast together in protest.

We can’t wait for you to revel in this wry and unshakable collection. Grab your copy here.

news | Tuesday May 10, 2022

New at Talonbooks

Hot off the presses comes Un, the inaugural poetry collection of longtime activist, writer, and community organizer Ivan Drury. Un is a cry against imperialist violence past and present. From Afghanistan to Iraq, Cuba to Congo, suburban neighbourhoods to blacksites, Un challenges conventional Western narratives of global events, shining light on injustice and the individuals disappeared in empires’ pursuits of their own political interests.

Ivan Drury explores global power dynamics, powerfully juxtaposing scenes from sites of stability to sites of conflict. From “Enter the Municipality of Blacksite (A Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone)”:

“the mayoral candidates
all wear “Homes Now!” buttons
all engage earnestly
on the side of the debate
to ban plastic shopping bags…

where I grew up
families fell normally apart.”

Deeply sensory, Drury employs the auditory to underscore the unsettling sensation of violence becoming quotidian. From “Noise and the Stacking”:

“vehicle noise
refrigerator noise
machine noise
the noise of streetlights…

overhead

an F16

and on the baby monitor:
he’s crying something’s woken him”

The theme of having been undone, unmade, and rewritten is sown throughout the pages of this collection. Drury pulls from sources such as the U.S. Armed Forces Survival Manual, The New York Times, and Al Jazeera to contextualize and recontextualize impersonal and dehumanizing narratives.

Un is a big-voiced collection that asks us how we might forge a more humane and just future. Pick up your copy here.

news | Friday May 6, 2022

New Title Arrival

New from Jónína Kirton comes Standing In a River of Time. Part poetry collection part memoir, Standing In a River of Time chronicles the effects of colonization on a Métis family, the violence of patriarchy on the narrator and the women of her family, and the inextricable link between the two.

From “Erasure”:

“my great-great-great grandfather’s
census records go from
Native, Catholic, 1 married man”
to ‘Catholic, 1 married man’
his Métis wife unnamed”

Kirton intercuts sections of prose and lyric poetry to create the effect of watching, then reflecting on, a moment from the speaker’s past. From “Beside a Well: Walking with Women”:

“I had watched my mother wait on my father, ironing his clothes, warming the car up for him, making sure dinner was on the table at the time he designated. I did not see these things as acts of love, but rather as subservience, and I was allergic to subservience.”

A resolute exploration of intersectionality, Standing In a River of Time examines what can and cannot be effaced; which forces of history linger. Spirited, vulnerable, and achingly tender, Kirton journeys through memory to illuminate the many ways one can scrap, barrier by barrier, towards the ever-moving goalpost of healing.

We are so excited for you to wade into Jónína Kirton’s Standing In a River of Time. Pick up your copy here.

news | Friday May 6, 2022

Hot Off The Press

Fresh off the press comes its th sailors life / still in treetment from legendary poet bill bissett. In this latest collection, bissett deepens his tradition of experimenting with form and sound. In addition to playing with the spatial and the sonic, its th sailors life / still in treetment features over forty illustrations from the author, opening a complementary extralinguistic channel of communication with readers.

bissett’s poems are both timeless and timely. Happy to compromise the conventions of grammar but never compromising on feeling, bissett explores grief, love, and loss in his inimitable style, reshaping language anew.

its th sailors life / still in treetment is abundant with bissett’s trademark brand of charming, blunt observation and humor. From “did i evr tell yu abt th time i swam with a vampire”:

“say what
yu want i realize
life is xcellent not
peopuls behavyurs
uv kours not alwayze
but life itself is xcellent”

We can’t wait for you to dive in to this weird, whimsical world of bissett. Pick up your copy here.

news | Tuesday March 15, 2022

Cover Art Creates a Hummingbird Highway

We recently put up the cover artwork for annie ross’s Pots and Other Living Beings in our editorial office.

Almost immediately, its brilliant red blanket began to attract hummingbirds. We soon put up a little feeder, and since then Talonbooks has enjoyed a near-constant stream of hummingbirds. We’re on the hummingbird highway!

via GIPHY

Keep your eye out for annie ross’s forthcoming book of poetry, Some People Fall in the Lodge and Then Eat Berries All Winter. Who knows what animal visits it will prompt?

news | Tuesday March 8, 2022

International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day from Talonbooks! Over the years we have cultivated countless titles by incredible women writers. Check out this list of our women authors who we’ve published in the last few years.

Searching for Sam by Sophie Bienvenu and translated by Rhonda Mullins.

Wanting Everything: The Collected Works by Gladys Hindmarch and edited by both Deanna Fong and Karis Shearer.

my yt mama by Mercedes Eng.

charger by Margaret Christakos.

Earle Street by Arleen Paré.

TENDER by Laiwan.

Iron Peggy by Marie Clements.

Mégantic: A Deadly Mix of Oil, Race, and Avarice by Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny and translated by W. Donald Wilson.

Desire Path by Taryn Hubbard.

eat salt | gaze at the ocean by Junie Désil.

Asking For It and What I Call Her by Ellie Moon.

One Good Thing: A Living Memoir by M.A.C. Farrant.

Painting Time by Maylis de Kerangal and translated by Jessica Moore.

One and Half of You by Leanne Dunic.

Then Now by Daphne Marlatt.

Fado: The Saddest Music in the World by Elaine Ávila.

Anywhere but Here by Carmen Aguirre.

The City That Is Leaving Forever by Rahat Kurd and Sumayya Syed.

OЯACULE by Nicole Raziya Fong.

A Future Perfect by Razielle Aigen.

Standing in a River of Time by Jónína Kirton.

Unfuckable Lardass by Catriona Strang.

Still • Falling and The Code: Two Plays for Teens by Rachel Aberle.

The Piano Teacher: A Healing Key by Dorothy Dittrich.

These are only a few of our talented female writers. We’re so proud of you all!

news | Monday March 7, 2022

In Memoriam Brian Fawcett

In memoriam Brian Fawcett
May 13, 1944 – February 27, 2022

Brian Fawcett was a prize-winning poet, critical thinker, and cultural analyst whose writing and publishing activities were as broad as his intellectual inquiries. He published over twenty books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, four of them with Talonbooks: My Career with the Leafs & Other Stories (1982), Capital Tales (1984), The Secret Journal of Alexander Mackenzie (1985), and Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow (1986). Cambodia received widespread recognition and remains an influential title. He leaves behind his partner, Fran Piccaluga, and children Jesse, Hartlea, and Max. Talonbooks extends our condolences to them and to all his family and friends. We picture Brian sitting with a good book and an even better glass of wine thinking about his last at bat.

news | Sunday March 6, 2022

The Scales Project: Conversation 67 – Plastic Parts to Help with Life by M.A.C. Farrant

The Scales Project is a conversation amongst artists about the ecological collapse of our world and our place within it. Talon writer M.A.C. Farrant joins the dialogue with her “Plastic Parts to Help with Life.”

news | Thursday February 24, 2022

Recently Arrived in Office

Look what arrived at our office! Twists of Fate: If by Chance & Destination Paradise by Michel Tremblay and translated by Linda Gaboriau. This is the combined sixth and seventh novels of the critically acclaimed Desrosiers Diaspora series.

In If by Chance, the great Ti-Lou, the famous She-Wolf of Ottawa, returns to Montréal after a fruitful career in the royal suite at the Château Laurier, where she welcomed diplomats, men of the world, politicians, and ministers of worship. But in 1925 she packs up and sneaks off, her suitcases replete with savings. When she arrives at Windsor station, five possible fates await her, each with their share of risks and opportunities, of good and less good fortune. But in each of these lives, Ti-Lou will have to deal with more than mere chance; waiting for her at the crossroads are the blade of loneliness and, worse still, the fear of allowing herself to be loved.

In Destination Paradise, set in 1930, we enter the Paradise Club, one of the few places that caters to “confirmed bachelors,” where Édouard makes his entry into the “big world.” Precocious despite his young age, he is carried away by his double, La Duchesse de Langeais, whose story he has just read in Balzac’s eponymous novel. Of course we already know that Édouard will become the undisputed queen of the Montréal drag scene, but we knew less about Édouard’s beginning in life, the childhood of his stage character: Destination Paradise tenderly narrates Édouard’s rite of passage.

We’re so excited for you to read this latest title by Michel Tremblay. Pick up your copy here.

news | Monday February 14, 2022

Happy Valentine's Day

Author photo of Junie Désil.

For this year’s love day, Vancouver’s poet laureate, Fiona Tinwei Lam, curated three poems for the Tyee by local Black writers, including our very own Junie Désil. Désil uses a quote by Dr. Cornel West to inspire her poem: “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” Click here to read Désil’s “Love (An Imperfect Sestina)” as well as the two other poems by Tolu Oloruntoba and Chantal Gibson. Happy Valentine’s Day from Talonbooks!

news | Wednesday February 2, 2022

Plenitude Reviews Anahita Jamali Rad's still

Khashayar Mohammadi at Plenitude Magazine reviews still, a poetry collection by Anahita Jamali Rad. still, a follow-up to Rad’s for love and autonomy, poses questions to the reader about poetry as an art form. After a thoughtful review, Mohammadi concludes that still reads “much larger than any poem alone.”

Check out the full review here, and pick up your copy of still here.

news | Tuesday February 1, 2022

Stephen Collis, Scholarly Impact at Simon Fraser University

Professor of poetry and literature at Simon Fraser University, Stephen Collis is a celebrated Canadian poet. He has published eight books with Talon, including his most recent A History of the Theories of Rain, a poetry collection that explores the links between climate’s “tipping points” and the borders constraining the plants, animals, and peoples forcibly displaced by a radically altered world ecology.

Last week, SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences met with Collis to discuss his scholarly impact, whereby he talks about art, activism, and imagining a better world. Read the full interview here.

news | Monday January 24, 2022

Scholarship on Bev Sellars's They Called Me Number One

Faculty of Education Professor and Associate Vice-President Indigenous initiatives Susan Dion (York University) and Jane Griffith (Ryerson University) have won the prestigious 2021 F.E.L. Priestly Prize for their article “Narratives of Place and Relationship: Bev Sellar’s Memoir They Called Me Number One.”

Dr. Dion and Dr. Griffith’s article is notable for how it diverges from traditional academic essays, using Sellars’s memoir as a starting point to develop a broader understanding of place and relationality building upon Indigenous scholarship. In this illuminating and engaging work, Dr. Dion and Dr. Griffith propose using a framework of recuperation (rather than reconciliation or resistance) to read the Secwepemc author’s autobiography. They argue persuasively that “They Called Me Number One offers the potential to learn from Indigenous knowledge acquired through place and story to act on obligations to live in relationship premised on reciprocity, protection, and care.” They go on to demonstrate how these reciprocal relationships are interrupted by institutions including residential schools as well as hospitals and jails, part of a systematic and deliberate “disruption of Indigenous ways of being in relationship with the land.” They conclude by looking at Sellars’s interest in strategies of recuperating land and Indigenous ways of knowing, connecting her memoir to her contemporary organizing: “Outside of her memoir, Sellars is literally taking back land and insisting on relationship.”

In sharing this article, we would like to gratefully recognize and acknowledge the English Studies in Canada journal where the scholarship was first published. Congratulations to Dr. Dion and Dr. Griffith for their significant new reading of They Called Me Number One:Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School by Bev Sellars.

Read the full article by downloading the PDF here.

news | Thursday January 6, 2022

Big Snow, Outside and On the Page

As we have just had a big snow at Talonbooks, we thought you might like “Big Snow” from M.A.C. Farrant‘s One Good Thing: A Living Memoir.

Dear Helen,
How are you getting on in the snow? We’ve been having a few
days of “real winter,” haven’t we? I realize it’s laughable to anyone
east of Vancouver for us to be making such a big deal about it,
but it’s a rare event in our otherwise mild climate, and a little
exciting. Were you snowed in? We were – for a day.
When the roads were finally cleared, I made the trip into
Sidney for supplies – food, mainly, and candles. Traffic in Sidney
was frantic. Everyone, it seemed, was sharing the same survivalist
mentality I was.

Download the full PDF of “Big Snow” here.

news | Wednesday January 5, 2022

Snowy Day Reading Recommendation

We would like to recommend The Weight of Snow by Christian Guay-Poliquin and translated by David Homel as a book perfect for all the recent snowy weather.

A badly injured man. A nationwide power failure. A village buried in snow. A desperate struggle for survival. These are the ingredients of The Weight of Snow. After surviving a major accident, the book’s protagonist 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?

Purchase your copy here, and stay warm!

news | Thursday December 23, 2021

Happy Holidays from Talonbooks

The Talonbooks team wishes you and your loved ones health and joy in 2022. Please be advised that our office will be closed December 24 to January 4. We will resume our regular office hours (9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST) on Thursday, January 6, 2022, as we will be doing inventory January 4 and 5. Please email us at info@talonbooks.com if you have any questions. Happy Holidays!

news | Friday December 17, 2021

Holiday Book Recommendation

The Talon team recommends I Saw Three Ships by Bill Richardson as a cozy read for this holiday season.

“By June, Philip’s view of English Bay, what’s left of it, will be utterly gone. It was always going to happen. For years now, it’s been getting harder and harder to see what’s out there. For years now, it’s been getting harder and harder to know what to do.”

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.

Pick up your copy here, just in time for the holidays.

news | Wednesday December 15, 2021

Two Talon Writers Make the CBC Best Canadian Poetry List

We are delighted to announce that A History of the Theories of Rain by Stephen Collis and OЯACULE by Nicole Raziya Fong have made CBC’s Best Canadian Poetry of 2021 list.

A History of the Theories of Rain explores the strange effect our current sense of impending doom has on our relation to time, approaching the unfolding climate catastrophe through its dissolution of the categories of “man-made” and “natural.” How do we go on with our daily lives while a disastrous future impinges upon every moment?

Stephen Collis provides no easy answers and offers no simple hope. Instead, he probes our current state of anxiety with care, humour, and an unflinching gazing into the darkness we have gathered around ourselves. Asking what form a resistance to the tenor of these out-of-joint times might take, A History of the Theories of Rain explores the links between climate’s “tipping points” and the borders constraining the plants, animals, and peoples forcibly displaced by a radically altered world ecology.

Pick up your copy of A History of the Theories of Rain here.

OЯACULE occurs at the intersection of poetry and theatre. The book’s dramatis personae inhabits a classical and cosmological world where psychic phenomena constantly threaten to impinge upon the arc of combat occurring between the women trapped within. Influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, the writings of Plato and Homer, and the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, OЯACULE interweaves lyric expression of dreams, theatrical dialogue, songs, and the voices of both chorus and anti-chorus, interrogating the tenuous relations between absence and time, dream and memory, and conscious and unconscious sensing.

Grab your copy of OЯACULE here.

Check out the CBC’s full list here.

Congratulations, Stephen Collis and Nicole Raziya Fong!

news | Friday December 10, 2021

Talonbooks Office Holiday Closure

Just a friendly reminder that our office will be closed from Friday, December 24 at 12:00 p.m. to January 5 at 9:30 a.m. We would like to thank our readers and writers for all their support in 2021. We wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season. We will see you all in the new year!

news | Friday December 10, 2021

One and Half of You, a CBC Top Pick

We are proud to announce that One and Half of You by Leanne Dunic has been picked by the CBC as one of the best Canadian nonfiction titles of 2021.

From the talented multidisciplinary artist, musician, and writer Leanne Dunic comes the lyric memoir One and Half of You. In sinuous language, with candour, openness, and surprising humour, Dunic explores her biracial upbringing on Vancouver Island, her connection to music, her relationship with her brother, and how she finds connection and community that helps her understand who she is and who she wants to be.

Pick up your copy here, and check out the full list of CBC’s Best Canadian Nonfiction Books of the Year here.

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