Retail 2010: Insomniac Press and Palimpsest Press

The good times keep on rolling as we pay visits to two Ontario poetry publishers that do good things with the modest patches of cultural ground their berths in our little poetry community allows them. This morning, it’s time for Insomniac Press (London) and Palimpsest Press (Essex County). Alphabetical order says we start with the former.

Author: David McFadden
Title: Why Are You So Long and Sweet?, Collected Long Poems of David W. McFadden
Date: May
Collection Number: Twenty-Second (Editors Note: OMFG!)
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Why Are You So Long and Sweet? finally brings together all of McFadden’s masterful long poems. For some poets, the long poem is an occasion to stretch one’s lyrical legs, try on different stylistic hats, or work out ideas too complex for shorter poems. For David McFadden, the long poem is much more: here is McFadden’s prodigious imagination in overdrive, his language and imagery always mischievous and mesmerizing, spinning yarns both comic and cosmic. ”
Other Notes: It’s hard not to be excited by this volume of collected long poems. McFadded is on a bit of a roll of yet, his last book of new work, Be Calm, Honey, got shortlisted for the G-G, while his recent selected poems called Why Are You So Sad? (for which this new compendium is a wittily titled, companion) found itself on the Griffin shortlist. McFadden is an exciting poet who is able to work in a variety of styles, speeds, and voices. It’ll be neat to watch him work his way through them in the longer form. Whereas Why Are You So Sad? was my McFadden introduction, I’m eager to learn about his approach to the long ones. Stuart Ross edits, as he did for So Sad, which was also an Insomniac title.

Author: Jeff Latosik
Title: Tiny, Frantic, Stronger
Date: May
Collection Number: Le Debut
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Probing the pressure points where notions of physical, psychological, and technological strength continually threaten to erupt into their opposites, these poems ask which aspects of our daily lives might actually last beyond the here and now, beyond their own inherent limitations of time, person, and place.”
Other Notes: This first collection appears on the horizon after its author spent a couple years traipsing through the country, greedily scooping up wins and shortlistings for most of our top poetry prizes. His bouche now sufficiently amused by these wins, Latosik moves on to the main course of his career. It’s been fun watching Jeff (a close friend) grow into a more and more confident poet in the years I’ve known him. Here’s the poem of his The Malahat Review thought was the best they saw of the year. And here’s one from The Walrus. This book is an awesome accomplishment, and gets the full Vox Pop recommendation. Jeff is one of the two people I share an address with who is putting out a book of kick-ass new poems this year. Sigh. I’ll get the pom-poms and bullhorn out, and start practicing my cheers…


The other half of this double bill is brought to us by Palimpsest Press, a tiny little press with a big heart. They’re based in Kingsville, Ontario (Essex Co, pop: 20k). Two books on the slate this year for Palimpsest. Do the right thing, readers, and look into picking up one or both. Shake the little guy’s hand and let him know he’s your friend.

Author: Ariel Gordon
Title: Hump
Date: April
Collection Number: Le Debut!
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Hump is a mash-up of pregnancy-and-mothering poems and urban/nature/love poems that functions as an anti-sentiment manifesto from Winnipeg writer Ariel Gordon. Month by month, stanza by stanza, Gordon attempts to represent adequately the wonder and devilment of being with child. Hump is a love poem written to a father and child, to a lover with a glimmer in his eye, and to a city that is gritty and
faded but still greener than most.”
Other Notes: If you’re paying attention, this’ll be the third love-poems-to-a-city collection in the last two previews (after robinson’s Halifax and Bowness’s Ottawa). We seem to be moving West, manifesting some sort of destiny, as it were. Is there a Calgary or Vancouver writer out there with a love song of their own? Here’s her blog. And, of course, if writing about mothering seems like your kind of thing, your online home should always be Marita Daschel’s blog on the subject.

Author: Alessandro Porco, ed.
Title: Population Me: Essays on David McGimpsey
Date: April
Collection Number: Umm…it’s essays, by multiple authors (I seem to have asked myself an impossible question)
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Population Me: Essays on David McGimpsey gathers together, for the first time, a collection of essays that serve to highlight and explicate the scope and complexity of McGimpsey’s poetic practices. They examine McGimpsey’s positions on literary history, class, nationalism, humour, love, and aesthetics, all of which are celebrated in McGimpsey’s work.”
Other Notes: I know this isn’t a book of poems, per se, but I believe it’ll still be noteworthy to people who read this blog. The essayists are: poets Porco, jason Camlot, Elizabeth Bachinsky, and academics from U of T, UNLV, Texas Christian, U. Sask, and others. The whole thing closes with what I imagine is a fairly involved interview between Porco, Camlot, and McGimspey. As one of the great “nice guys” of Canadian poetry, McGimpsey can include among his many admirers people with only casual interests in contemporary verse. We need more people with that kind of audience. I’m glad the poet and blogger Alessandro Porco has stepped up to solidify the McGimpsey impact.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, Canadian Literature

6 Comments on “Retail 2010: Insomniac Press and Palimpsest Press”

  1. Alessandro Says:


    thanks for the good word, Jacob.



  2. Rob Taylor Says:

    Thanks for this, esp. the links to Jeff Latosik’s poems. I hadn’t read anything of his before and quite enjoyed them.

  3. Rob Taylor Says:

    Oh, and on the “Is there a Calgary or Vancouver writer out there with a love song of their own?”

    Maybe not in this round… but Vancouver needs to take a breather every once in a while – if we aren’t already love-songed out. In recent years we’ve had:

    Vancouver: A Poem by George Stanley
    Vancouver Walking by Meredith Quartermain
    Vancouver Special by Charles Demers (essays)
    The anthology A Verse Map of Vancouver
    feria: a poem park by Oana Avasilichioaei

    And I believe Sachiko Murakami is working on a “Vancouver” book as well.

    Those are in addition to the older, and better know, books like “Kingsway”, “Kerrisdale Elegies” and “Steveston”.

    Oh, and the reissue of Douglas Coupland’s “City of Glass”. And Matthew Good’s new album: “Vancouver”.

    It’s hard to keep up out here…

  4. Stuart Ross Says:

    Small correction, to give context. The full title of this spring’s McFadden collection is Why Are You So Long and Sweet? Collected Long Poems of David W. McFadden.


  5. voxpopulism Says:

    Sure thing Stu. Chnaged in the text.

  6. Ariel Gordon Says:

    Thank you kindly for the mention, Jacob…

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