Retail 2010: Gaspereau Press
I bet you all thought I forgot about this. Well, I didn’t. I just took something of a break. And then I forgot about it. And then I remembered. And then I got food poisoning. And now it’s Thursday. Today we visit with Gaspereau Press, a miniscule brand with a reputation that far outdistances its budget and its print runs. Gaspereau makes breathtaking books, the kind of objets d’art that you want to put in the safest possible corner of your bookshelf, so as to let the expertly-chosen paper and ink avoid the mortal interference of other titles. Based in Kentville, NS, Gaspereau is also the closest thing this blog has to a hometown poetry press, as Vox Pop’s official mascot, a five-year-old terrier named Toby, lives with his grandmother just a bit further down the Cornwallis River, in Port Williams.
Author: Tim Bowling
Title: The Annotated Bee and Me
Collection Number: Eighth
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “A few years ago, while sorting through a box of family mementos, Tim Bowling discovered a slim volume which his Great Aunt Gladys Muttart had privately printed in 1961—a memoir of her family’s beekeeping adventures in Edmonton between 1906 and 1929. As he read and re-read the text of this little book, Bowling felt that “two very different ways of life, the early years of two very different centuries, began to merge, as if the past was something the present gathers from the fields on a summer day.”
Other Notes: Bowling has spent much of the last decade writing novels (The Bone Sharps, 2007) and non-fiction (The Lost Coast, 2007), though he also scored a poetry GG nomination for The Witness Ghost and The Memory Orchard (2003 and 2004). He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.
Author: Johanna Skibsrud
Title: I Do Not Think that I Could Love a Human Being
Collection Number: Second
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Poets have always wrestled with the mutability of things (particularly or life and love) and with the problem of conveying the true shape of human emotion and experience through the often inadequate tool of language. The poems in Johanna Skibsrud’s new collection, I Do Not Think that I Could Love a Human Being, employ the tentative and uncertain characteristics of language to their advantage, pulling the reader headlong into the fray as the poet endeavours to give shape to her experience.”
Other Notes: Skibsrud lives in Montreal now but, like a disproportionate number of Gaspereau poets, began life in Nova Scotia. Her first collection, Late Nights with Wild Cowboys, made the Lampert shortlist a few years ago and since then there’s been a novel called The Sentimentalists. Northern Poetry Review has this interesting interview with Alessandro Porco, which deals mostly in Cowboys but also mentions the novel. For those of you who can’t read, here’s the audio of Skibsrud at a recent reading.
Author: Paul Tyler
Title: A Short History of Forgetting
Collection Number: Le Debut!
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “As first collections of poems go, Paul Tyler’s A Short History of Forgetting is remarkable for its confidence, maturity of voice and control of form. Its style ranges from the aggressive pace, short measure and muscular language of its tightly-wound object poems, to gentler, more meditative reflections on aging and the loss of identity and language which comes with it.”
Other Notes: A rare first collection from Gaspereau, though as an associate editor with Arc for four years, Tyler has “been around” as we say. Here is a chapbook published through Rubicon Press and here is one of the several reviews he wrote in his Arc days. Tyler lives in Ottawa, which is also, you may know, the capitol of our country.