Retail 2010: Nightwood Editions

Nightwood is next. Apologies for scheduling them into the “following the Haitian catastrophe” slot on the blog. It had to be somebody…

Always a good mix of exciting voices confidently framed by talented designers, this BC-based publisher is hard to summarize into a specific house style (that’s a compliment). This spring’s theme appears to be “sophomore efforts”, with one fifth collection thrown in to lead the hikes.

Author: Triny Finlay
Title: Histories Haunt Us
Date: March
Collection Number: Second
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Finlay plumbs the depths of family life as she negotiates the territories of ancestry, love, and new motherhood: a great-grandmother who went to bed for seventeen years; a lover caught with somebody else; a son’s critical illness — things that “encroach, they devastate, so that you must decide: you are an anchor or you are not.”
Other Notes: Finlay’s debut collection, Splitting Off, is loved by many. Originally from Austrialia, she now lives in Toronto and is a PhD candidate in English at U of T. I think I’ve seen some of the poems from this collection in recent journals and liked them, however…that title! Is it bad journalism to suggest a title is no good without actually reading the book? It is, isn’t it? I will not judge this book by its title. I will not judge this book by its title. I will not judge this book by its title. I will not judge this book by…

Author: Ray Hsu
Title: Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon
Date: March
Collection Number: Second
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon uses the grammatical concepts of singular and plural as grid-lines to chart contemporary life and concerns both harrowing and humane. Extending from this principal division, Hsu explores the borders between civic engagement and domesticity, dissent and accord, freedom and restriction—each of these are tested against another and framed by the tension between the collective and the individual.”
Other Notes: I haven’t read Antropy, Hsu’s Lampert-winning debut collection, but it’s one of those books—I’ve heard five different opinions from the last five people who brought it up. I’ve commited myself to reading his work ever since my research led me to this interview and his answer to a question about the last “non-literary” book he’s read, “How to Be a Great Boss, a self-help book that uses alliteration to convince you that what it says is true.”

Author: Jim Johnstone
Title: Patternicity
Date: March
Collection Number: Second
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Johnstone’s work is informed by a scientific approach, his own corporeal environment and an exploration of “the unreliability of language, regardless of how it’s relayed.”
Other Notes: I’m not sure how lyric poetry can be “informed by a scientific approach” (what are the variables, I ask? the theory? the hypotheses?) but that’s no matter. I think part of the lesson of this series is that the marketing of poetry can get pretty silly. Some of these poems were part of Johnstone’s CBC Lit. Award Runner-Up manuscript, which may partially explain the rushed release, coming only two years after his first collection, The Velocity of Escape.

Author: Jay MillAr
Title: Other Poems
Date: March
Collection Number: Fifth
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “This book, being a collection of Other Poems, is an assemblage of seemingly disparate materials—the poems are of various lengths, subjects and origins and were composed over the past ten years of this prolific author’s life.”
Other Notes: I got to say, I love thematic collections and will continue to do so, but That Title + That Bumfspeak = Maximum Charming! MillAr is a busy dude, as he also heads up two of Toronto’s better indie-lit staples, BookThug and Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe.

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, Canadian Literature

One Comment on “Retail 2010: Nightwood Editions”

  1. LH Says:

    This is a great idea, Jacob. I appreciate the little head’s up on pubs to come. Particularly with the added commentary.


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