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A Farewell to Richard Sanger

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Richard Sanger, Biblioasis poet, friend and bon vivant. We knew that this moment was approaching: Richard had been working the last few months with his editor, Vanessa Stauffer, to prepare the manuscript of his final collection of poems, Way to Go, delivering it only last week. He remained himself to the very end: playful, enthusiastic, devilish. At one point, after making yet another death joke, he stopped and asked us if he was making us uncomfortable: he couldn’t help it, he told us, he found his own impending demise somewhat ridiculous. He kept laughing, and making others laugh, right to the end. We will miss that spirit, and his kindness, generosity and sharp-edged intelligence. And we will miss celebrating the launch of Way to Go in his person, raising a glass or three, though we take some solace in knowing that this book exists and he was able to get it where he wanted it to be, and that we will one day soon be able to share it with all of you who loved him, and hopefully a few more besides.

—Dan Wells

 

To honour Richard, we thought we’d share one of our favourite poems from his forthcoming collection, about the joy of movement and embellishment and friendship:

November Run

for Harold Hoefle

I read your letter, Harold,
as one nurse describes her new dessert
—rice krispie squares, peanut butter, chocolate—
to another who hooks me up to my IV drip
and I want nothing more than to go
for a run with you as wild
and muddy and unpredictable
as your letter, a long November run
to commemorate the races we never ran
against each other, the OFSAAs we never placed;
I want to head off hanging on your shoulder
—light-footed, loose-limbed, easy-breathing—
as you lead the way along the gravel shoulder
of the highway out of town, past the 7-Eleven,
the gas station, the monster homes,
then cut off down a path into the woods
and up whatever kind of hills you have
in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, or pastures
overgrown with sumac, I suppose,
or maybe we’d go for a run in the Gatineau,
why not, hell, up and down those ski trails,
over branches and rocks and puddles and streams
when there are still a few leaves
left on the hardwoods and also perhaps
a few precocious snowflakes in the air
appearing like over-keen students
to try their luck and melt on contact
as our cheeks and thighs redden,
and now you hang on my shoulder
as I lead the way, taking you on, pressing the pace
until we fall into a rhythm, brisk, mechanical,
each of our bodies telling the other’s
I can do this all I want, I can cream you,
our bones and sinews making themselves known
shedding all superfluous weight and thought,
as we run those Gatineau trails and this steep slope
and I attack, putting my forehead into it,
pumping my arms, thinking now I can do it,
administer the coup de grâce,
and leave you in the dust . . . No such luck.
At the crest, you’re still with me, surprise,
and so we head back, lungs panting, thighs aching,
letting our legs freewheel as fast as they can,
you ahead of me, or me ahead of you
breathing down my neck, laughing,
ready to pick me off and whoosh past
to the chalet where there’ll be showers and beer,
some women who’ll understand our jokes,
who’ll ooh and ahh over our mud-spattered calves,
and tell us we’re full of shit, if necessary,
and a roaring fire to get roaring drunk beside
as we proceed to purify the dialect of the tribe
and forge in the exuberance of our talk
the only lightly embellished story of our race.

ROMANTIC shortlisted for the DEREK WALCOTT POETRY PRIZE

We’re pleased to share that Romantic by Mark Callanan (October 12, 2021) has been shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry!

The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry is presented by Arrowsmith Press, in partnership with The Derek Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and is awarded to a full-length book of poems by a non-US citizen published in the previous calendar year. This year’s judge is Carolyn Forché.

The prize includes a $1,000 cash award, along with a reading at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in Boston. Winners will be announced on October 13, 2022.

Get your copy of Romantic here!

ABOUT ROMANTIC

A CBC Best Canadian Poetry Book of 2021

Drawing on Arthurian myth, the Romantic poets, the ill-fated “Great War” efforts of the Newfoundland Regiment, modern parenthood, 16-bit video games, and Major League Baseball, these poems examine the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, both as individuals and as communities, in order to explain how and why we are the way we are. At its heart, Romantic interrogates our western society’s idealized, self-deluding personal and cultural perspectives.

ABOUT MARK CALLANAN

Mark Callanan is the author of two previous poetry collections, Gift Horse (Véhicule Press, 2011) and Scarecrow (Killick Press, 2003), as well as two poetry chapbooks, Skylarking (Anstruther Press, 2020) and Sea Legend (Frog Hollow Press, 2010). He was a founding editor of the St. John’s-based literary journal Riddle Fence, and co-edited The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry (Breakwater Books, 2013). He lives in St. John’s with his wife, poet and critic Andreae Callanan, and their four children.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Biblioasis!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! We have some great gift ideas for your mom or any mother figures in your life.

For the mom who keeps up with the bestsellers: A Ghost in the Throat

“A powerful, bewitching blend of memoir and literary investigation … Ní Ghríofa is deeply attuned to the gaps, silences and mysteries in women’s lives, and the book reveals, perhaps above all else, how we absorb what we love—a child, a lover, a poem—and how it changes us from the inside out.”—Nina Maclaughlin, New York Times

For the mom who wants a challenge: Ducks, Newburyport

“Lucy Ellmann has written a genre-defying novel, a torrent on modern life, as well as a hymn to loss and grief. Her creativity and sheer obduracy make demands on the reader. But Ellmann’s daring is exhilarating—as are the wit, humanity and survival of her unforgettable narrator.”—2019 Booker Prize Jury Citation

For the mom who attends open mic night: Hail, the Invisible Watchman

“Alexandra Oliver, Canada’s sublime formal poet, grabs centuries-old traditions by the throat and gives them a huge contemporary shaking in Hail, the Invisible Watchman. Terrifyingly clever, dazzlingly skilled, and chillingly accurate in her social observations, she plunges from lyric to narrative and back again in this, her third volume, where a housewife has ‘a waist like a keyhole’ and a ‘good mood’ has a ‘scent’ … With Hail, the Invisible Watchman Oliver again alters the landscape of Canadian poetry.” —Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst

For the mom who loves historical fiction: The Barrøy Chronicles

“A profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm.”The Guardian

For the mom who is everyone’s best friend: The Last Goldfish

“Lahey is a writer of extraordinary gifts, evoking the world of two raucous schoolgirls growing up in the 1980s in astonishing, at times laugh-out-loud funny, detail … Lou couldn’t have asked for a more stalwart, loyal friend than Anita Lahey; we couldn’t ask for a more acutely observant and empathetic writer.”—Moira Farr, author of After Daniel: A Suicide Survivor’s Tale

For the mom who wants to be surprised: Biblioasis Mystery Box

Each box is unique and carefully curated. Tell us some of your favourite books or genres in the notes box, so we can pick books specially for you, or leave it blank for a complete surprise!

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Biblioasis!

Spotlight On: LET THE EMPIRE DOWN by ALEXANDRA OLIVER

Spring is here and so is another title for our Biblioasis Spotlight series! To celebrate Poetry Month, we’ve decided to feature a quietly eerie collection of poetry from Alexandra Oliver, taking a trip across the ocean and slipping into homes, movies, and memories in Let the Empire Down (April 12, 2016).

And don’t miss a special note from Alexandra below, on her new collection Hail, the Invisible Watchman, which releases April 5!

 

LET THE EMPIRE DOWN

In her second book, Alexandra Oliver takes us on a journey of escape from the suburbs of Canada to Glasgow, Scotland. Training her eye on the locals—on the streets, by rivers, in museums, on playgrounds, in their own homes, in the ill-starred town of Lockerbie—Oliver travels back into her past while reflecting on issues of exile, memory and identity.

Excerpt from Let the Empire Down:

THE MEGABUS GOES BY SHERBERT LAKE

There’s the water tank that bears its name.
There’s its purple edge: the shore, the ship
that crossed the lake, beneath a heap of lime.
I went away. I gave the place the slip.

There’s the mall where I would watch and wander;
there’s the bench where I would go and cry;
there’s the Polish deli that went under;
I left it all. It won’t remember me.

There’s the strip of mansions on the lee;
there’s the strap that ravaged my behind.
There’s the corner which they saved for me;
I made it out, and nobody will mind.

There’s the pier where people disappeared;
there’s the field of seven hundred crows.
The wind blows now. Convenient, ill-starred,
there it goes, forever. There it goes.

Alexandra Oliver was born in Vancouver, BC. She is the author of Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway (Biblioasis 2013), winner of the 2014 Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Let the Empire Down (Biblioasis 2016), and the chapbook On the Oven Sits a Maiden (Frog Hollow Press 2018). She is the co-editor (with Annie Finch) of Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters (Penguin Random House/Everyman’s Library 2015). A PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, she lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband and son.

Pick up your copy of Let the Empire Down here!

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

On Her Latest Collection

Hail, the Invisible Watchman is my third book; I suppose, loosely speaking, you could say it forms a triptych with Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway and Let the Empire Down, in that it deals with the grimmer underside of the suburbs, those elements which puncture the myth of cultivated, middle-class perfection. The fictional town of Sherbet Lake keeps coming up in all three collections, so perhaps you could call the whole lump The Sherbet Lake Trilogy. Just a fanciful thought.

What informed me in writing this particular book (and I suppose what makes it different from its predecessors) was that I found myself thinking specifically about what it is to be haunted—in this case, by loneliness and fear and isolation and what that does to one’s state of mind. The pandemic upped the ante. When it hit, people were driven indoors. There was this initial pot-banging “We’re going to beat this!” performance of enthusiastic resistance that took hold at the beginning, but then it wore off. People become afraid of going out or else went into complete denial. The political divide became a gaping chasm, and public discourse turned vicious, illogical. When I speak of the “Invisible Watchman”, I initially thought of that which watches us—consumerism, social media, the alt-right, the spectre of totalitarianism—but now I think it really means that hidden side of the self that threatens to cannibalize you at every turn if you’re shut away and living with uncertainty. I think being judgmental is one of those toxic threads—that particular theme weaves through the whole book but particularly through the last two sections.

Having mentioned all of this heavy stuff, I wanted the poems in the book to have a cinematic/tableau-like quality to them and an element of humour. I sort of imagine my reader holding up a View Master (remember those?) to the light and clicking through the reel thinking Okay, well that’s weird, I wonder if it’s going to get any … no, I guess not.

Order Hail, the Invisible Watchman here!

Take a look at Alexandra’s other work here!

THE MUSIC GAME, SAY THIS, CHEMICAL VALLEY, POGUEMAHONE, A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE, ON DECLINE: March Media Medley!

IN THE NEWS!

THE MUSIC GAME

An excerpt of The Music Game (February 8, 2022) by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe, has been published in Literary Hub! The excerpt was published online on February 28, 2022.

Read the full excerpt here.

The Music Game was also featured on the blog, Buried In Print. Read the full article here.

In the post, they write:

“Readers get a clear sense of that fog of youthfulness (where inherently ideas contain dichotomies like ‘clarity’ and ‘confusion’) but also a sense of lived-in and vibrant Montreal (and Ottawa) … It’s not the kind of story that makes you feel like you need to know what happens—because, actually, very little “happens”—but it’s the kind of storytelling that makes me care about the characters’ daily lives and lifelong dreams.”

In celebration of International Women’s Day, CBC Books put together a list of ’22 women writers in Canada you should read in 2022.’ Included on the list is The Music Game by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe. You can view the full list here.

The Music Game was listed by both Literary Hub and 49th Shelf as recommended reads for March! You can read the full list from Literary Hub here, and the full list from 49th Shelf here.

In her recommendation for Literary Hub, bookseller Kay Wosewick writes:

The Music Game is a delicious sneak peek into Millennial life, one that acknowledges few boundaries, alternates between excess and emptiness, repeatedly taste-tests and spits out adulthood, and ebbs and flows within the surrounding cacophony. Simultaneously exciting and unsettling.

The Music Game was reviewed in the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books! The review is printed in their Spring 2022 issue and was posted online on March 2, 2022. You can check out the full review here.

In her review, Roxane Hudon writes:

“Clermont is relentless in her writing, and pain seems to await these characters at every corner, but by concluding this way, with everyone together and alive sharing music and stories, she’s showing us that, even for a generation often teetering on the edge, there is beauty, and friendship, and hope.”

The Music Game was reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press! The review was posted online on March 12, 2022. Read the full review here.

In her review, Sara Harms writes:

“Montreal author Stéfanie Clermont’s award-winning debut is a stunning, incisive immersion into a community of young radical activists finding love, experiencing violence, rejecting hegemony, and struggling to survive financially in a world of dead-end jobs.”

The Music Game was also reviewed in The Charlatan, posted online on March 10, 2022. Read the full review from The Charlatan here.

In her review, Melissa White writes:

“Canadian author Stéfanie Clermont delivers in her debut novel, The Music Game, pushing the boundaries of narrative structure through intimate portrayals of young adulthood … Similar to the extremely successful Irish-millennial author Sally Rooney, she portrays the complex feelings and emotions of her characters in simple terms, thus making them feel universal.”

Pick up your copy of The Music Game here!

SAY THIS

Elise Levine, author of Say This (March 1, 2022), was interviewed in The Baltimore Fishbowl. It was published on March 2, 2022. Read the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

BFB: […] Has form always been a central consideration in your writing?

EL: I’ve always understood form and style as elements in service of character. But with Say This I felt greater freedom to formally experiment. Here I was writing a novella— when I’d previously written short stories and novels—and then a second one, so why not take things further? Especially in light of the characters’ experiences with the unsayable, the unanswerable, which called out for me to push hard on the use of fragments and white space as a kind counter-text.

Say This was reviewed in Toronto Star. It was published online on March 11, 2022, and can be read here.

An excerpt from the review:

“Levine repeats the phrase “everything has already happened” in both novellas and the line is key to the book as a whole. It is both the truth and wishful thinking: the crime is done, it’s already happened, this much is true. But for these characters, the crime is never in the past. It is always happening, a constancy of pain and loss that will forever shape their lives.

Say This is a breathtaking, daring exploration of that constancy, of the lingering power of trauma, and the roots and branches of violence and despair.”

Author Elise Levine was also interviewed by PEN America on March 3, 2022. You can find the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

I used fragments as a way of working against the truisms and conventional handlings of narratives surrounding violent crime. By their very nature, fragments embody what is missing; they convey a sense of absence, what remains unvoiced, including hard-to-name desires and the power imbalances that fuel abuse and thrive on the silences surrounding them. The fragments in the book highlight these silences and absences, reflecting how partial, how broken the characters’ understanding might be, and how difficult if not impossible it is for them to access an all-encompassing, consoling truth.

Say This was also named an Editors’ pick for March 2022 by 49th Shelf. You can see the full list here.

Get your copy of Say This here!

POGUEMAHONE

Poguemahone by Patrick McCabe (May 3, 2022) has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly. The review was published online on March 8, 2022, which you can read here. Poguemahone has also been selected as an Indie Next pick for May!

Publishers Weekly writes:

“McCabe draws the reader into a rambling web replete with Gaelic folklore, IRA agitation, and a soundtrack of glam and progressive rock. Lively and ambitious in form, this admirably extends the range of McCabe’s career-long examination of familial and childhood trauma.”

Preorder Poguemahone from Biblioasis here!

A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE

A Factotum in the Book Trade by Marius Kociejowski (April 26, 2022) was featured in Hamilton Review of Books as part of “What We’re Reading: Editors’ Picks, Spring 2022.” The article was published online on March 9, 2022. You can read the full list here.

Preorder A Factotum in the Book Trade today here!

CHEMICAL VALLEY

Chemical Valley cover

Chemical Valley by David Huebert (October 19, 2021) was named a semi-finalist for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature! The announcement was made on March 7, 2022. Congratulations, David!

Chemical Valley also received an excellent review from Kirkus! The review was posted online on February 25, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Kirkus wrote:

“Huebert has a razor-sharp wit and an exacting eye for human foibles … [he] manages to offer intimate portraits of human lives without ever letting readers forget the climate bubbling just outside their windows … A masterful assemblage of environmentally minded tales.”

Order your copy of Chemical Valley here!

 

ON DECLINE

On Decline cover

Andrew Potter, author of On Decline (October 19, 2021) was a guest on the podcast Lean Out with Tara Henley. Host Tara Henley is a former CBC reporter, journalist, and bestselling author. The episode was published online yesterday, March 16, 2022. You can listen to the full episode here.

Pick up your copy of On Decline here!

Spotlight On: WHEREVER WE MEAN TO BE by ROBYN SARAH

Ring in the new year with another fantastic title from Biblioasis’ Spotlight series! For January, we’re featuring a collection of poetry from Robyn Sarah, the arresting and beautifully sensory Wherever We Mean to Be: Selected Poems 1975–2015 (November 14, 2017).

This month we’re also including a special reading of several poems from this collection by Robyn herself! Listen in below.

 

WHEREVER WE MEAN TO BE

A four-decade retrospective from the winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry.

Spanning forty years and ten previously published collections, Wherever We Mean to Be is the first substantial selection of Robyn Sarah’s poems since 1992. Chosen by the author, the 97 poems in this new volume highlight the versatility of a poet who moves easily between free verse, traditional forms, and prose poems. Familiar favourites are here, along with lesser-known poems that collectively round out a retrospective of the themes and concerns that have characterized this poet’s work from the start.

Warm, direct, and intimate, accessible even at their most enigmatic, seemingly effortless in their musicality, the poems are a meditation on the passage of time, transience, and mortality. Natural and seasonal cycles are a backdrop to human hopes and longings, to the mystery and grace to be found in ordinary moments, and the pleasures, sorrows, and puzzlements of being human in the world.

Robyn Sarah is the author of eleven collections of poems, two collections of short stories, a book of essays on poetry, and a memoir, Music, Late and Soon. Her tenth poetry collection, My Shoes Are Killing Me, won the Governor General’s Award in 2015. From 2011 until 2020 she served as poetry editor for Cormorant Books. She has lived for most of her life in Montréal.

 

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

Special Reading of Seven Poems

Wherever We Mean to Be is the first selection of my poems since The Touchstone in 1992. A forty-year retrospective of my work as a poet, it is again my own selection, a new winnowing of my first five collections and of four published since. I chose the title because, in revisiting where I’ve been, it struck me that this phrase—the last line of a poem called “Station”—seems to embody something that runs through all of my poetry.

In “Station”, a couple—”two travellers, refugees/ of our own pasts”—contemplate a space ship on the lawn of the science museum. They have not come to visit the museum; they are just passing, here for the day on business. They don’t know why they feel compelled to stop; something inarticulate attends this moment as, hand in hand, they gaze blankly at the “mute ship poised for flight/ it will not take.” The poem ends:

… The thought
that beats, propeller-like
above our heads
is that we’re here—
wherever we were before,
wherever we mean to be.

We’re here.

“Here” is where we are now—a moment in time, a position on the globe. But the present moment is nearly always infused with some awareness of past and future: memory and imagination are part of it. I think this is how humans live: with one foot in the past and one directed towards a future or an elsewhere made of promise and intention. Unlike animals, we live in a present that embodies consciousness of where we’ve been, and hopes/fears/schemes/dreams of where we one day may be.

We are where we are, and it isn’t necessarily where we mean to be. It’s this ambivalence, integral to the human moment, that fascinates me as a poet: the tug between immediate particulars and a mind that can project backward or forward in time. Those same particulars can make time stand still if we’re paying close attention to where we are now. Yet stresses that thwart or divert intention can give a moment its aliveness.

A walk along a beach at dusk leads to a scramble up a cliff face to escape the incoming tide. The search for “something perfect” comes up against the demands of domesticity. A man on a scaffold and a woman below give up trying to have a conversation that way. A woman at the top of a staircase contemplates stairs that “end in mid-air, halfway down” after the man at the bottom has cut off a section he wants to reconfigure. In the mirror on a bureau that once belonged to the father she lost in childhood, a woman sees how her own face has come to resemble his mother’s as she remembers it from when she was a child…

“We are where we are”—for now. In the accompanying sampler of poems I’ve recorded as audio, these are a few living moments caught on the fly.

 

Get your copy of Wherever We Mean to Be here!

Order her latest work Music, Late and Soon here!

Have a look at Robyn Sarah’s other fantastic titles here!

 

BEST CANADIAN 2021 SERIES Virtual Launch Video

“The legacy of this series is massive … a literary institution.” —Ottawa Citizen

Last night we celebrated the virtual launch of the 2021 Best Canadian Series! The event kicked off with a discussion and Q&A between publisher Dan Wells and editors Bruce Whiteman, Diane Schoemperlen, and Souvankham Thammavongsa. This was followed by selected readings by contributors from each anthology: Eva-Lynn Jagoe from Essays, David Romanda from Poetry, and Metcalf-Rooke Award-winner Colette Maitland from Stories. The night finished off with a series giveaway.

And even if you missed the live event, you can still watch here!

ABOUT BRUCE WHITEMAN

Bruce Whiteman is a poet, translator, culture historian, and book reviewer. His reviews appear regularly in Canadian Notes & Queries, The Hudson Review, and elsewhere. Recent poetry collections include Intimate Letters (2014), Tablature (2015), and The Sad Mechanic Exercise (2019). His translation of Fanny Daubigny’s study Proust in Black: Los Angeles: A Proustian Fiction was published in 2019.

ABOUT DIANE SCHOEMPERLEN

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Diane Schoemperlen has published several collections of short fiction and three novels, In the Language of Love (1994), Our Lady of the Lost and Found (2001), and At A Loss For Words (2008). Her 1990 collection, The Man of My Dreams, was shortlisted for both the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium. Her collection, Forms of Devotion: Stories and Pictures won the 1998 Governor General’s Award for English Fiction. In 2008, she received the Marian Engel Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. In 2012, she was Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.

ABOUT SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of five books: Small Arguments (2003), winner of the ReLit Prize; Found (2007), now a short film; Light (2013), winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Cluster (2019); and the short story collection How to Pronounce Knife (2020), winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She has been in residence at Yaddo and has presented her work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

 

Order your copy of Best Canadian Poetry here!

Order your copy of Best Canadian Stories here!

Order your copy of Best Canadian Essays here!

Get the Best Canadian 2021 Bundle here!

ROMANTIC Virtual Launch Video

Last night we celebrated the virtual launch of Mark Callanan’s new poetry collection, Romantic (October 12, 2021)! Mark Callanan had a wonderful discussion with fellow poet Luke Hathaway, who showed up dressed in shining armor for the event! The reading was followed by an audience Q&A, and a successful book giveaway!

And if you missed the live launch, you can still check it out below!

 

ABOUT ROMANTIC

Drawing on Arthurian myth, the Romantic poets, the ill-fated “Great War” efforts of the Newfoundland Regiment, modern parenthood, 16-bit video games, and Major League Baseball, these poems examine the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, both as individuals and as communities, in order to explain how and why we are the way we are. At its heart, Romantic interrogates our western society’s idealized, self-deluding personal and cultural perspectives.

ABOUT MARK CALLANAN

Mark Callanan is the author of two previous poetry collections. He was one of the founding editors of the St. John’s, Newfoundland-based literary journal Riddle Fence and co-edited The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry. He lives in St. John’s with his wife, poet and critic Andreae Callanan, and their four children.

 

Get your copy of Romantic from Biblioasis here!

STRANGERS Virtual Launch Video

On Thursday, May 27 we celebrated the launch of Rob Taylor’s poetry collection, Strangers! Rob Taylor was joined for a great discussion by Sadiqa de Meijer and Sue Sinclair. The night finished off with an audience Q&A and book giveaway! The event was co-hosted with Massy Books in Vancouver, BC.

And ICYMI, you can still watch the launch in the video below!

ABOUT STRANGERS

“It makes no sense. You would be strangers / if not for this.”

In Strangers, Rob Taylor makes new the epiphany poem: the short lyric ending with a moment of recognition or arrival. In his hands, the form becomes not simply a revelation in words but, in Wallace Stevens’ phrase, “a revelation in words by means of the words.” The epiphany here is not only the poet’s. It’s ours. A book about the songlines of memory and language and the ways in which they connect us to other human beings, to read Strangers is to become part of the lineages (literary, artistic, familial) that it braids together—to become, as Richard Outram puts it, an “unspoken / Stranger no longer.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Taylor is the author of four poetry collections, including Strangers (Biblioasis, 2021) and The News (Gaspereau Press, 2016), which was a finalist for the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He is also the editor of What the Poets Are Doing: Canadian Poets in Conversation (Nightwood Editions, 2018) and the guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry 2019 (Biblioasis, 2019). Rob lives with his family in Port Moody, BC.

Order your copy from Biblioasis here!

You can also order from Massy Books, or your local bookstore!

Poetry Month with Biblioasis Poets: Part II

National Poetry Month may be over, but poetic excellence lives on! If you happened to miss our posts on social media, thankfully you can still enjoy listening to our fantastic poets read from their works, collected below! Check out out these virtual readings from the last half of the month (and you can find those from the beginning of the month here).

Erín Moure kicks off this round reading from her poem, “Odiama,” featured in Best Canadian Poetry 2020 and first published in Arc Poetry Magazine.

Frances Boyle reads from “Pegging Out Washing,” which was in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and originally in Queen’s Quarterly.

Andrea Thompson both reads, and explains the inspiration behind her poem, “To Whyt/Anthology/Editors,” which appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was first published in Arc Poetry Magazine.

Babo Kamel reads from her poem “It’s Always Winter When Someone Dies,” which was featured in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and first appeared in Contemporary Verse 2.

Abby Paige shares from her “Selected Hoems.” Her work can be found in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was originally published in Arc Poetry Magazine.

Selina Boan discusses and reads from her poem, “Minimal Pairs Are Words Holding Hands,” which can be found in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was originally published in Room Magazine.

Maureen Scott Harris shares with us “A Room Of My Own,” which can be read in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was first published in The New Quarterly.

Have a listen to Tanis MacDonald’s reading of “Feeding Foxes,” which is featured in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was first published in Contemporary Verse 2.

Join Anita Lahey in her reading of Adele Wiseman’s “Never Put Off a Poem,” which can be found in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was first published in Juniper.

Last, but certainly not least, finishing off the month is Margret Bollup, reading from her poem “Dementia and common household objects,” which is featured in Best Canadian Poetry 2020, and was originally published in The New Quarterly.

We hope you enjoyed our celebration of Poetry Month, and continue to dive into the works of our wonderful poets.

Purchase Best Canadian Poetry 2020 from Biblioasis here, or from your local bookstore!