Archive for the ‘2012’ category

Retail 2012: Mansfield Press

February 11, 2012

Something of a consistent source of surprise, the little press that is based in Toronto, but does its poetry from Cobourg. The list this season is decidly Atlantic-centric. Which I’m into.

Title: In This Thin Rain
Author: Nelson Ball
Release Date: April
Collection Number: Hard to Quantify. Let’s just go with “many”.
Time Since Last Collection: Eight years
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “In his first full-length poetry collection since 2004, Nelson Ball, Canada’s most renowned minimalist, offers up compressed meditations — ranging from the whimsical to the mournful — on clouds, birds, insects, trees live and dead, water-stained walls, crumbling windmills, and hyphenation in the Globe & Mail. Ball’s poems are meticulously polished gems that move through the seasons, finding beauty and depth in the most banal and simple things.”
Google Says: One of the poems included in the Mansfield Press catalogue for this book is exactly eight words long. You can find something of Mr. Ball’s life work in this detailed CV I found. Nelson is a bookseller by day, and his unique business model can be explored in this little piece on his store. By-appointment. I work the same way. You can catch some selections from Ball’s Mercury Press book, The Concrete Air, in this CanLit.ca three-way review. His stuff comes up somewhere in the middle.

Title: Holler
Author: Alice Burdick
Release Date: April
Collection Number: Third
Time Since Last Collection: Four years
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “In her follow-up to 2008’s Flutter, former big-city-dweller Alice Burdick explores nature and the small town, taking a cue from children learning their voices: “All I see are trucks, / trucks and ducks.” With a blend of playful narrative and a collage approach reminiscent of John Ashbery, Burdick paints a portrait of our world as one of continuous wonder, and full of relationships — between people, and between people and things — that never die but continually transform, even in death.”
Google Says: Alice lives in Mahone Bay. Which is the town next to the town I grew up in. The first time I got drunk, it was on Jack’s Hard Lemonade and we drank it in the playground of the elementary school. The cops showed up because we were being crazy loud and when everyone scattered, I climbed onto the top of a jungle gym and when the officers found me I shouted out something like, “You can’t see me! Your visual acuity’s based on movement!” Well, that’s neither here nor there. Moving on to Alice Burdick, here’s some poems from her last collection on the oddly aggressive “ditch” website. Meanwhile, these three all date from 2009. Meanwhile again, if it’s reviews you’re after you can see one of Burdick’s last collection from one-man review machine and capital letter phobic, rob mclennan or one up on the Northern Poetry Review site. Seems like a well-liked book. I liked it well, too.

Title: Sympathy Loophole
Author: Jaime Forsythe
Release Date: April
Collection Number: First
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “This lively first collection, often both creepy and hilarious, serves up an image-laden universe where contortionists, womanizing ventriloquist dummies and pickled sharks compete with the everyday for airtime. Forsythe’s poetry is full of wit, mystery, and surprise — a contemporary inventory of pop culture and human experience.”
Google Says: While this is Jaime’s first collection, it’s not technically her first book, as she previously edited this really great and criminally under-read book of short fiction for Invisible. Jaime and I did the MFA at Guelph the same time, and new poetry collections from fellow whatever-the-school-mascot-is-at-Guelph-ers always gets my pom poms out of the closet. Jaime took the same poetry workshop as me on a lark, apologized for being a newcomer to the art form on day 1, and by the end of the semester was among the most exciting people in a really talented class. Here’s three poems from her in This Magazine. Here’s a bit on Elisabeth Bishop she wrote for her day job working for The Coast. And here’s her blog, featuring a photo of her cat picking out the poem order in the book. As good as anything, I suppose.

Title: What’s the Score?
Author: David W. McFadden
Release Date: April
Collection Number: Again, as with Nelson Ball, I’m going to say something like “a lot”.
Time Since Last Collection: Four years.
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “The often outrageous and always wise follow-up to 2008’s Governor General’s Award–nominated Be Calm, Honey shows David W. McFadden at his most inquisitive and provocative. Here you’ll find ninety-nine poems full of surprises by a Canadian long-distance poet in his sixth decade of writing, a writer who never rests on his laurels or allows himself to become complacent. This is a book full of mystics and Golden Age movie stars, friends of McFadden and long-dead philosophers, and their tales are all told in the poet’s deceptively plainspoken voice.”
Google Says: This is the official follow-up to Be Calm, Honey, the 2009 GG nominee I really loved. You can check out a review of said book right here. Or, if you don’t know how to read, you could just listen to him read from one of his longer pieces right here. There’s six pieces from various points in McFadden’s career branched off of this U of T site. And, as a Griffin nominee, there’s all kinds of archived stuff with Dave’s name on it here at the Griffin Trust site, too.

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Retail 2012: Brick Books

February 3, 2012

We begin our annual round-up with those good Londoners over at Brick Books. Brick is presided over by Kitty Lewis, the bon-bon giving, cheek-pinching, favourite aunty of Canadian poetry. It’s editorial input comes from a committee that has been active, in different incarnations, for many years now. The idea of an editorial committee making the decisions, instead of the singular voice of a poetry editor, has gone from eccentric to totally mainstream over the last year or so, as numerous other presses (Goose Lane, Coach House…) have done the same thing.

Four books in the poetry catalogue for Brick this spring. Here they are.

Title: Omens in the Year of the Ox
Author: Steven Price
Release Date: February
Collection Number: Two
Time Since Last Collection: Six Years
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Steven Price’s second collection is part of a long-lived struggle to address the mysteries that both surround and inhabit us. The book draws together moments both contemporary and historical, ranging from Herodotus to Augustine of Hippo, from a North American childhood to Greek mythology; indeed, the collection is threaded with interjections from a Greek-style chorus of clever-minded, mischievous beings—half-ghost, half-muse—whose commentaries tormentingly egg the writer on. In poems that range from free verse to prose to formal constructions, Price addresses the moral lack in the human heart and the labour of living with such a heart. “
Google Says: Steven Price’s 2006 poetic biography of Harry Houdini, The Anatomy of Keys, was one of that year’s most discussed new books. Well-liked, and well-disliked, depending on the table and bar you chose to sit at to talk about it. I loved the shit out of that book and apparently so did the Gerald Lampert Award jury. The author published a novel last year, called Into That Darkness. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on the list. His partner also published a novel last year that, I’m guessing, won the couple’s informal “Total Domestic Sales” Derby by something like a 20-1 margin. Even people that didn’t love Anatomy of Keys responded to how well-structured it was. It was a highly novelistic book of poems, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Into That Darkness, when I eventually get around to it, will be awesome.

Title: Monkey Ranch
Author: Julie Bruck
Release Date: March
Collection Number: Third
Time Since Last Collection: Thirteen Years
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “Julie Bruck’s third book of poetry is a brilliant and unusual blend of pathos and play, of deep seriousness and wildly veering humour. Though Bruck “does not stammer when it’s time to speak up,” and “will not blink when it’s time to stare directly at the uncomfortable,” as Cornelius Eady says in his blurb for the book, “in Monkey Ranch she celebrates more than she sighs, and she smartly avoids the shallow trap of mere indignation by infusing her lines with bright, nimble turns, the small, yet indelible detail. Bruck sees everything we do; she just seems to see it wiser. Her poems sing and roil with everything complicated and joyous we human monkeys are.”
Blurbs and other Favours: The above-mentioned Eady, author of the too-wonderful-to-even-look-at Brutal Imagination.
Google Says: I always feel like we should be taking up charitable collections for Canadian poets who live abroad. Julie Bruck teaches and lives in San Fransisco now, and despite really classy byline credits like The New Yorker and Ploughshares, I wonder if people are going to read her here. They should. I like this one online at the Valparaiso Poetry Review. A poem of hers gets taken out of Arc magazine and ran through David Godkin’s brain here on his Speaking of Poems blog. The poet’s own website is right here, and I’ve been told it’s kept up to date with readings and whatnot.

Title: Between Dusk and Night
Author: Emily McGiffin
Release Date: May
Collection Number: First
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “There are many journeys encompassed in the pages of this mature and well-crafted first collection; literal travels to different parts of the world, to Europe and Africa, are the outward manifestation of the inward quest, the asking of the old but still essential questions: What is real? What is true? What is honourable? What is right? Yet these questions are new in that the poet is deeply concerned with the need to find a new paradigm, a new way to relate to the earth at this time of ever-heightening environmental crisis. And this seeking for how to be in and of the earth is paralleled by a personal search for intimacy with her fellow humans—with friends and lovers, with a grandfather, with the people she encounters as she ventures into uneasy relationships with people from other cultures.”
Google Says: McGiffin won the 2009 Bronwen Wallace Award over two other poets (Michael Johnson and Jeff Latosik) that are pretty great themselves. I’ll link to a story about it here, by awesomely-professional Globe and Mail employee, Judith Fitzgerald, written in a departure from her usual Proustian diction and style. I’m 90% confident the poet is the same person who wrote this letter to The Walrus in support of Vancouver Island’s forests (scroll down a bit, it’s at the end). As for the book, itself, I’m excited for it. You can read the citation and whatnot from the Writers’ Trust on their website, and there’s an actual poem from the poet up here on the Globe.

Title: I see my love more clearly from a distance
Author: Nora Gould
Release Date: April
Collection Number: First
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “In Nora Gould’s one-of-a-kind debut, the Prairie itself is a central character: muse, mythic persona, the place of deepest solace and of deepest questioning. The poems focus with great firmness and technical command on the facts of daily life on the farm: impregnating cows, the neighbour kid picking off a coyote, cutting hay, getting water to the herd in a drought, dehorning. But Prairie anecdotalism this ain’t. What is breathtaking about this book is the relation between its exactness of observation and the grief, horror, and beauty that it documents. What the voice achieves, in its very gestures, is a kind of transcendence: not with the purpose of avoiding pain, but in order to make all of it—all of it—seeable and feelable by a human being. ”
Google Says: Nora Gould is a veterinarian living on a family ranch in rural Alberta. Take that, monkish Toronto-centric poetry nerds! That idea of “the prairie as a character” is going to be a recurring concern this year. Look for it to be treated politically in the new Tim Lilburn, and geologically in Mathew Henderson’s debut this fall from Coach House. She won the Bliss Carman Award in 2010, thus presenting her with the opportunity to get her fingers photographed by Ariel Gordon. Worth the trip, by itself, I can vouch. It’s neat to think of Brick’s two debuting female poets as coming from different ends of a certain poetry-preparation spectrum. McGiffin younger, Gould older. McGiffin an insider with the big award and the credits, Gould the outsider with her separate interests, independent career, and a whole life spent only indirectly in the service of poems. I’m not making a judgment call, either way. But I know people do. I’m struggling to find a Nora Gould poem to link to here. If anyone sees one online, do let me know….Update: Thanks, Carolyn Smart. Here’s one right here.

That was fun. Let’s do another press very soon.

Call for Lists: Retail 2012

January 21, 2012

Hi everyone.

It’s thinking-about-this-Springs-books time again, and as per the annual traditions of 2010 and 2011, it’s my intention to use this space to preview the upcoming poetry catalogues many Canadian publishers as possible. Now that I’m all moved into my new headquarters (with the Voxette, out of Parkdale and into Yorkville; I go to the Whole Foods sometimes and write; I work out at the Manulife Centre now; my life is a Billy Joel song) I’m able to get organized for this. Some of you more ambitious publishers out there have already emailed me your lists, or at least a link to your electronic catalogues. Thanks. Good to see you putting those unpaid publishing interns to good work.

If you’d like to be reminded how this little project worked out in past years, here’s the link to last spring’s master list. I’ll start soon with the houses I’ve already received lists from. If I don’t get one from a given house, I’ll go looking for it, and if I can’t find it in a length of time I deem reasonable for someone working on his lunch break, I’ll probably forget about it and move along. Sorry. I’ve got a copywriting gig to attend to, and a social calendar, and the continued uphill rolling of the oft-rumoured Vox Novel, forever being rolled up a hill slick with my own tears and sweat.

So get those lists to me, to be helpful. My email is unchanged and can be found in the contact section. My twitter is @VoxPopulist. My FB is /jmmooney. My mailing address has changed as described above, you can get it from me at either the email, the twitter, or FB. That’s triangulating your means of contact, kids!

Looking forward to finding out what I’ll be spending my money on this Spring. I hope there’s pictures this year.

Yours,

Jake Mooney

a division of Bertelsmann AG