Retail 2011: Harbour Publishing & Nightwood Editions

I’m going to go out there and say something: if I look across the catalogues, for the last three or four years, book-by-book, I find myself figuring out that Nightwood Editions is one of the strongest, most consistent, beacons of quality in Canadian poetry publishing. They almost never do a bad book. I expect, then, that these books will not be bad. This is what we refer to, in the adult entertainment business, as “predictive history”.

I count one new collection on the main Harbour label (the Pass), and three on the Nightwood Editions imprint. There’s a couple, also, on the Caitlin Press tag.

Title: crawlspace
Author: John Pass
Release Date: May
Collection: Using ISBNs as the signifiers of books over chapbooks, this would be #9, though his wikipedia page lists sixteen titles.
Timespan Since Last Book: Five Years
What Bumf Say: “crawlspace is John Pass’s first volume of poetry since he won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in 2006.” and if that’s not enough, “Pass’s intelligent and compassionate vision stretches out before us, encompassing human frailty, memory, and our relationship to the natural world. “The long view’s our forever/ human incongruity in landscape, on earth. A given, /the distance. And a gift, to stretch us—restless reaches along the road.” crawlspace is a gift that expands the landscape and sensibility of Canadian literature even as it celebrates the intricacies of self.”
What Google Say: Here’s a poem and an interview on the Canadian Literature site. Here’s an interview with Book World after winning the GG, and here’s Alex Good et al hammering out Stumbling in the Bloom as part of their annual “Shadow Jury” GG analysis.

Title: Earworm
Author: Nick Thran
Release Date: March
Collection: Second
Timespan Since Last Book: Five Years
What Bumf Say: “This eclectic collection takes in topics ranging from cartoons to Caravaggio to cicadas, expressed in a comparable variety of poetic forms. Despite this diversity, the book is unified by its perfectly balanced blend of thoughtful observation laced with Thran’s characteristically whimsical sense of humour. ”
What Blurb Say: David O’Meara says: Side-stepping the more likely subjects, Thran’s poems freewheel through a rangy lyricscape of our urban, cultural life, from Picasso to Jessica Rabbit, from the Smurfs to Barry Bonds.”
What Google Say: Here’s Thran doing a personal essay on the subject of rapper D-Sissive. Here’s a review of his last book, the Lampert-shortlisted “Every Inadequate Name”. Here’s some folks at Cosmos Records reading “How Pop Sounds” from said debut for the How Pedestrian blog. And here’s me listing Earworm among my most-anticipated books of the coming season. Seriously, kids. I’m going to enjoy this, everything I’ve read sofar has been great.

Title: Embouchure
Author: Kevin McNeilly
Release Date: March
Collection: Le Debut
What Bumf Say: “Embouchure compiles the intertwined lineages of trumpet players who came to prominence in the States during the “pre-bop” era, loosely defined as the period between 1890 and 1939. This series of vignettes betrays a broad and detailed knowledge of the players’ lives and work, yet reads like a collection of conversational anecdotes shared between the musicians and those around them. Rather than focusing on the solid facts of their lives, McNeilly brings to life the characters they inhabited and stories that surrounded them, all in a vibrant, slangy dialect that adeptly reproduces the feel of the period.”
What Google Say: Here’s Prof. McNeilly’s bio as part of something called the “Song Institute”, which is a Vancouver thing, I guess, about songcraft and song interpretation. On that topic, here’s McNeilly’s academic article on the work of composer John Zorn. Finding poetry online from the good professor has proven more difficult, so please feel free to relineate this discussion on Canadian ecopoetics in which McNeilly’s words get a lot of play.

Title: Err
Author: Shane Rhodes
Release Date: March
Collection: Fourth
Timespan Since Last Book: Four Years
What Bumf Say: “Equally amusing and stunning with his joyful manipulation of language and his stark portrayals of disease and oppression, Rhodes tackles everything from AIDS to martinis with style, wit and clarity.” Note: The Nightwood Bumfsmith has a distinct house style. Lots of “covering everything from ___ to ___” going on.
What Google Say: Here’s a story about Rhodes sharing part of the prize money for the Lampman-Scott award three years ago on account of Scott being a jerk. Here’s an old poem of his from The Walrus. And here’s a lukewarm review of his The Bindery in Quill & Quire

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, Book Industry, Canadian Literature, Poems in the Wider World

One Comment on “Retail 2011: Harbour Publishing & Nightwood Editions”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carolyn Black, Jacob M. Mooney. Jacob M. Mooney said: Retail 2011: Harbour Publishing & Nightwood Editions: http://t.co/o8VQbdF […]


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