Glad and Sorry Seasons

The Search for Solace Within: Glad & Sorry Seasons gets a rave review from Prism

“Catherine Chandler’s Glad and Sorry Seasons is a successful illustration of the ways in which we as humans search for meaning in the face of passing time, the way in which we take pleasure and comfort in ordinary details and are simultaneously baffled and pained by them. The juxtaposition of artificiality, the poet’s expert use of constrained poetic forms—especially her characteristic sonnets—and a piercing sincerity makes this collection aching and beautiful.”

A Painful Homecoming: Quill & Quire on Robyn Sarah’s My Shoes Are Killing Me + Tour Dates

Montreal poet Robyn Sarah’s  latest, My Shoes Are Killing Me, is featured in the new 80th anniversary April issue of Quill & Quire, where reviewer Jason Wiens calls it a collection of “poems recollecting emotion in the (in)tranquility of boomer twilight.”  Here’s more:

The title of Robyn Sarah’s My Shoes Are Killing Me speaks to the nostalgia that her poems explore: if nostalgia literally means “painful homecoming,” then the “shoes” – read as metonymy for the past of her life’s journey – cause at times painful reflection on the rest of the voyage…the frame widens to include the broader public spaces of Sarah’s Montreal, then extends this frame further to the global scale….the nostalgia encompasses memories of the Jewish diaspora alongside the motto of the poet’s province: “a past continuous, a past as presence. Je me souviens. A motto you can make your own.”

Robyn Sarah will reading this spring along the 401 in Ontario as well as the East coast and Montreal. For a listing of upcoming dates, see below.

April 20th – Montreal, @ The Word, w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 21st – Kingston @ Novel Idea w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 22nd – Toronto @ Dora Keogh w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 23rd – Hamilton @ Bryan Prince Bookseller w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 24th – Windsor @ Biblioasis  w/ Robert Melançon and TBA
May 19th – Halifax @ Halifax Public Library w/  Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane
May 20th – Lunenburg @ Lexicon Books w/  Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane
May 21st – Moncton @ Attic Owl Reading Series w/ Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane

Among the Quick: Sum by Zachariah Wells reviewed in Quill & Quire + Tour Dates

Zachariah Wells’s third poetry collection Sum was on deck in the 80th anniversary April issue of Quill & Quire, and reviewer Jason Wiens calls Wells “a poet who delights in sound patterns—internal and end rhyme in particular.” Here’s more:

Highlights include “Squalid,” which recalls “the dollars / squandered down urinal drains in bars / of dubious repute,” and “The Parkinsonian Reflexologist,” which mixes cliches to sometimes hilarious effect: “if you get caught fucking the dog / deny the devil his Scooby-Doo.” “Magic Man,” in its celebration of the retired Blue Jays player John McDonald, is a paen to the underdog, one “Consigned to ride pine for lack of thunder / in his bat.” Appropriating Hopkins’s “The Windhover,” Wells traces the inscape of this infielder, “sensei of the second sack.”

Wells will be presenting from Sum as part of IFOA’s 7th Annual Battle of the Bards on Wednesday, March 25th @ 7:30PM. He will also be embarking on an Ontario and Montreal tour with Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon in late April, as well as an East Coast tour with Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane in May. For full listings, see the dates below.

April 20th – Montreal, @ The Word, w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 21st – Kingston @ Novel Idea w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 22nd – Toronto @ Dora Keogh w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 23rd – Hamilton @ Bryan Prince Bookseller w/ Robyn Sarah and Robert Melançon
April 24th – Windsor @ Biblioasis  w/ Robert Melançon and TBA
May 9th – PEI @ Confederation Center Public Library w/ M. Travis Lane
May 19th – Halifax @ Halifax Public Library w/  Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane
May 20th – Lunenburg @ Lexicon Books w/  Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane
May 21st – Moncton @ Attic Owl Reading Series w/ Robyn Sarah and M. Travis Lane

A Wordsmith and a Worldsmith: Traymore Rooms reviewed by Akashic

Our friends at Akashic Books in Brooklyn, just posted a wonderful, appreciative review of Norm Sibum’s sprawling 700-pager The Traymore Rooms on their weekly “In Good Company” online review. Intern Alex Whelan’s astute take and fine stylings —”At times, Traymore smacks of an exceptionally erudite episode of Cheers where everybody knows both everybody’s name and the full text of Virgil’s Eclogues.” C’mon!— show that he’s got quite a future ahead of him. He sees in Sibum’s “screwball genre-hopping and erratic plotting” echoes of “Restoration sex comedy” and “the paranoid conspiratorial satire of Thomas Pynchon,” not to mention a “Hemingway-like elegy for younger and better days.” But ultimately, Whelan sees at the core of this ambitious novel a heartfelt peon to friendship:
“None of Traymore’s zeal would land, however, if not for the truth at the center of the novel: Calhoun’s—and Sibum’s—genuine, unashamed love for his friends. In the great tradition of Nick Carraways marveling quietly upon their Gatsbys, Calhoun seems well aware that he’s no match for the company that he keeps…For Traymore’s protagonist, there is no prospect more horrifying than not occupying himself with fellow Traymoreans from sun-up to sundown.”
Thanks Akashic and Alex!

Cynical, Duplicitous, and Vulnerable: ‘Confidence’ by Russell Smith Reviewed in Quill & Quire’s 80th Anniversary Issue

We were all excited to get the 80th Anniversary issue of Quill & Quire in the mail — and thrilled to see that it had reviews of three Biblioasis authors: Russell Smith, Zach Wells, and Robyn Sarah.

All of the reviews were exceptional, but Carla Gillis‘ full page guest review of Russell Smith’s Confidence (May 1st CAN | June 1st US) was especially smart and thoughtful. At the start of the piece, Gillis focused on the trademark cynicism and biting humor that Smith, the Governor General Award-nominated author of How Insensitive, and provocative arts columnist for The Globe and Mail is known for. “In the world of these stories,” she writes, “love is a game, secrets pile up, needs go unmet, compromises and negotiations are constantly being made.” In the last stories in the collection, however, Russell delves into deeper waters:

Just as the cynicism starts to rankle rather than amuse, something shifts. Relationships remain negotiations, but also appear more broken in and nuanced. Love based on something beyond the physical and convenient creeps in. Two stories at the end, featuring the collection’s oldest and most magnanimous characters, soften the book’s unflinching tone and deliver, finally, emotional resonance by hinting at the vulnerable humanity and the truest, simplest desires beyond the exhaustive chase of pleasure.

To launch the book, Russell and Biblioasis are hosting a party at The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West) in Toronto on April 21, starting at 7:00 p.m. Also featured: the world premiere of “Boys Underwear Girls,” a short film by Gunilla Josephson, and dancing to the rhythms of DJs Deadline and Shawn Benjamin. Anyone who knows Russell will understand why this is destined to be the launch party of the spring. You can check out its Facebook event page here.

Also! If you live in Toronto and can’t wait to hear Russell read from his new collection (who wouldn’t?), he’ll be appearing at Toronto Public Library’s venerable “eh List Author Series,” at the Readymede Branch next Tuesday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. Special, early copies of Confidence will be on sale. More info here.

Check back soon for posts about Zach Wells and Robyn Sarah! Both are coming shortly.

K.D Miller Next Chapter Interview Online

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to tune in, K.D. Miller was on The Next Chapter earlier this week talking to Shelagh Rogers about All Saints. Good news is the episode is now online for you to stream at your convenience. And for those of you who prefer the warm analog buzz of the radio, it was also be aired this Saturday, March 14th, at 4PM.

“He who speaks of collage speaks of the irrational” – Max Ernst

Rain Taxi, one of our favourite American journals, has just run a thoughtful review of Diane Schoemperlen’s By The Book in their new Spring 2015 issue. Featuring original reviews of the best in underground poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art and comics, it is definitely a journal to check out and consider subscribing to. Thanks to the talented Benjamin Woodard for the review. Here’s a small taste:

“In By The Book, Schoemperlen has created an admirable, daring collection, one willing to drive its experimental nature to extremes. It is a book suitable to bookstores and galleries alike. The lyricism contained on each page is marvelous, and the combination of text and imagery make the collection a truly distinctive title in the big, wise sea of literary convention.”

Paradise and Elsewhere

Kathy Page announced as BC Book Prize fiction finalist

We’re thrilled to announce that Kathy Page’s Paradise & Elsewhere, already boasting a 2014 Giller nod, is now a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Other finalists include Michael Springate, Caroline Adderson, Brian Payton, and Aislinn Hunter. Adderson’s upcoming novel, A History of Forgetting, will be released by Biblioasis this spring. Congratulations to all the finalists!

New York Times Review of Diane Schoemperlen By the Book

Bit of overdue, but noteworthy news: The New York Times Sunday Book Review featured By the Book: Stories and Pictures by Diane Schoemperlen in their December Holiday Issue. Dan wrote a great post about the enthusiastic coverage her book’s been getting over the past month, and how we all feel about its success. Very gratifying to see that others in the media understand and appreciate this beautiful, brave, risk-taking collection, too.

If you’re interested in learning more about Diane’s process, and how she collected, chose, and assembled the collages that run with the stories in By the Book, you’re in luck: not only did Diane write an essay about the subject for The Story Prize blog, she was also featured on a recent episode of CBC’s Definitely Not the Opera with Sook-Yin Lee. You can listen to her interview here. (It starts around 39:15.)