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Thistledown Press Spring 2017

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  • 1
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    Glass Beads Dawn Dumont Canada
    9781771871266 Paperback FICTION / Women Publication Date:May 01, 2017
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 in | 350 gr | 196 pages Carton Quantity:25 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      These short stories interconnect the friendships of four First Nations people — Everett Kaiswatim, Nellie Gordon, Julie Papequash, and Nathan (Taz) Mosquito — as the collection evolves over two decades against the cultural, political, and historical backdrop of the 90s and early 2000s.

      These young people are among the first of their families to live off the reserve for most of their adult lives, and must adapt and evolve. In stories like “Stranger Danger”, we watch how shy Julie, though supported by her roomies, is filled with apprehension as she goes on her first white-guy date, while years later in “Two Years Less A Day” we witness her change as her worries and vulnerability are put to the real test when she is unjustly convicted in a violent melee and must serve some jail time. “The House and Things That Can Be Taken” establishes how the move from the city both excites and intimidate reserve youth — respectively, how a young man finds a job or a young woman becomes vulnerable in the bar scene. As well as developing her characters experientially, Dumont carefully contrasts them, as we see in the fragile and uncertain Everett and the culturally strong and independent but reckless Taz.

      As the four friends experience family catastrophes, broken friendships, travel to Mexico, and the aftermath of the great tragedy of 9/11, readers are intimately connected with each struggle, whether it is with racism, isolation, finding their cultural identity, or repairing the wounds of their upbringing.

      Bio

      Dawn Dumont is a columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, the Regina Leader-Post, and Eagle Feather News, and is the author of two books, Rose’s Run (2014) and Nobody Cries At Bingo (2011). She has previously written for the Edmonton Journal and CBC Radio, and has worked as a stand-up comic making people laugh at clubs across North America including New York’s Comic Strip, the Comedy Club, the Improv, and Toronto’s Yuk Yuk’s and the Laugh Resort. She lives in Saskatoon.

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  • 2
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    The Fabric of Day New and Selected Poems Anne Campbell Canada
    9781771871303 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:May 01, 2017
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.44 in | 400 gr | 160 pages Carton Quantity:64 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Throughout the years, Anne Campbell’s work has remained consistently engaging, her tone steady and trustworthy and her control of imagery precise. There are subtle changes in her presentation of the natural world and slight shifts in the metaphysical approach to space, time, and possibility. But in this retrospective there is no doubt that her strength lies in her ability to capture the transcendence that occurs when nature informs the mind and the commonplace rises to philosophical insight. Though universal in scope, the poems only give up all their richness upon slow and careful readings.

      The Fabric of Day is an offering to readers who want to know about emotional and spiritual survival and how a creative person confronts regrets and failures through a medium like poetry. The subject matter is as old as time and as contemporary as any authentic Facebook page or blog, except that the language employed is both beautiful as it is impacting.

      Campbell’s poetic style is specific, local, and universal at the same time. Her images are powerful and her language honed to land and sky, horizon to earth. Her ability to illuminate common and intimate natural forces and how they play out against people’s emotions and alter their lives demonstrates great lyric power full of finesse, grace, and passion. Her voice declares its territory with a careful control of rhythm and space on the page and a gentle insistence to expectation on the ear.

      Bio

      Anne Campbell is an award-winning author of five collections of poetry and of popular non-fiction. Readings of her work, workshops, and musical compositions with Tom have taken her across Canada, the USA, and Britain. Her many awards include the City of Regina Writing Award, the Mayor’s Arts Award, and the Mayor’s Heritage Award.

      In her work at the Regina Public Library, Campbell administered Canada’s first public Writer-in-Residence program; as a long-time Saskatchewan arts and heritage activist, she served on the boards of The Writers Union of Canada, the Writers Development Trust, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, and, presently, the Heritage Committee of the Wascana Centre Authority. Campbell lives in Regina.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews

      “… a woman who has survived, one whose spiritual autobiography contains as many epiphanies of beauty and joy as it does of regrets and failures. Her poetry is about relatedness, the special connections the truly serious, truly authentic poet explores between human beings and the natural world in which they live.” — Canadian Literature #103, for No Memory of a Move

      “… time appears to be so still that an eternity might be encased between words dropped onto the page as if they landed there accidentally … there is a woman talking, yet also a refined lyric … a spiritual search for transcendence of a sort, peace of mind, a cessation of metaphysical storm. RED EARTH, YELLOW STONE is not a book to be read quickly …” — Canadian Literature, for Red Earth, Yellow Stone

      “Campbell’s poetry is both subtle and poignant as it captures essences of life and surprisingly erotic when it explores the nature of love. Her latest collection is both refreshing and rewarding.” — Literature & Language, for Angel Wings All Over

      “Like the poems of Emily Dickinson, who haunts this collection, Campbell writes in an epistolary style that belies the depth of thinking that is engaged. The poems vibrate between human breath and earthly spirit. Nothing is insignificant.” — Kristjana Gunners, for Soul to Touch

  • 3
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    Wanderlust Stories on the Move Byrna Barclay Canada
    9781771871358 Paperback TRAVEL / Special Interest Publication Date:May 01, 2017
    $20.00 CAD 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 in | 350 gr | 280 pages Carton Quantity:40 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Readers of Wanderlust, an anthology of travel stories, will at once feel that need to roam, the longing for surprise, the thrill of just recognizing the threat of danger, and the nomadic impulse simply to move oneself for the sake of moving, that restless and endless quest for a new beginning — even if it means the end of one life and the start of a new one.

      In every story a character embarks on a journey of discovery. They travel through the Nordic Viking age, experience family life in Italy, interpret the Lascaux Caves in France, climb Nicaragua’s volcanoes, undertake a road trip through the villages of Mexico, and finally are brought back to the Canadian prairies. Editor and contributor Byrna Barclay draws inspiration from the philosophers who expounded on the theory that, rather than change, a person simply becomes more of what he or she already was at birth.

      Anthology Contributors:
      Byrna Barclay
      Brenda Niskala
      Linda Biasotto
      James Trettwer
      Shelley Banks
      Kelley-Anne Riess
      Annette Bower

      Bio

      Byrna Barclay has published ten novels and short story collections including House of the White Elephant (Burton House Books, 2015). Her book, Crosswinds (Coteau, 1995), won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction and Summer of the Hungry Pup (NeWest Press, 1981) won the Saskatchewan Book Award for First Novel. She was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2005. She has served as chair of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and as president of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild and of the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre. Barclay lives in Regina.

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  • 4
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    nipê wânîn my way back Mika Lafond Canada
    9781771871297 Paperback POETRY / Women Authors Publication Date:May 01, 2017
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.44 in | 300 gr | 160 pages Carton Quantity:30 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      Moving between Lafond’s own Cree language and her adopted English language, these poems create a kind of cultural dialogue that invests heavily in the close relationship she had with her grandmother and the teachings that were offered to her. Employing the transformation rituals of her Cree culture, Lafond seeks out the universal love of “all people, all animals, all things/my heartbeat slows, my spirit breathes/ in a circle of women I find myself/with my ancestors.” The tone of such adaptation is reflected time and again in the elements of nature that form the life source for understanding her grandmother’s words and for understanding how she can be one with her Cree past. The descriptions of the natural world – the rain and snow, the sage and sweetgrass, and the wind and clouds serve her poems as do the memories of her grandmother’s life and the day-to-day rituals that shaped it. Stylistically emotive but never maudlin, Lafond recreates those energies that now give her strength.

      nipê wânîn: my way back is a poetic journey of one woman discovering her Cree heritage and how it has shaped her. The poems are written in both Cree and English, on facing pages. Her pathway for the poems was paved by her grandmother’s life and teachings.

      I am my grandmother’s thought. I was in her tears. I have shared dreams with her. I am a sprig of present produced by the past, cultivating the future. (from “I am”)

      I come back to find solace in my history, to see the depth of the sky once more, to fall away to peacefulness with the stars. (from “homebound”)

      Bio

      Mika Lafond is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. She took a great interest in creative writing while she attended ITEP at the University of Saskatchewan through a mentorship with author Bill Robertson. Lafond and her cousin Joi Arcand started Kimiwan Zine in 2012 as an outlet for Indigenous visual artists and creative writers. Lafond has worked in education for ten years, has written resources for teachers, and began teaching at the U of S in 2015. Her writing is influenced by her love for her culture, language, and the importance of education. This is her first book. Lafond lives in Saskatoon.

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  • 5
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    9781771871327 Paperback FICTION / Family Life Publication Date:May 01, 2017
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 475 gr | 292 pages Carton Quantity:36 Thistledown Press
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      Description

      After the move to Delwood, Matt Humphreys, sixteen, comes to understand that his father, Jack, is a broken man not looking to heal after the death of his wife. It has left him angry, bitter, and a drinker. Matt knows it falls on his shoulders to provide care and attention for his younger brother Ben; he wishes he could give Ben another life other than the upheaval he’s known.

      Matt has once again reestablished himself — new friends, a spot on the basketball team, a girlfriend — and if he was given a chance to stay, he might just do something meaningful with his life. All it takes is a collision between the nomadic Humphreys men and the town-born-and-bred Rutger family to set their erratic lives in motion once again.

      This is a story of quiet, desperate hope, the fulfillment of which depends upon altering fate, adjusting to change, and transforming one’s spirit. If Matt can be the catalyst, Ben and Jack might change as well. Are a brother’s love and sacrifice Matt’s only pathways out of the adversity that threatens to wreck his family once again, or is it time for him to take control of his life, put his needs first, and leave those tough challenges behind?

      Bio

      Shari Narine is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor for newspapers and magazines. Currently she works at the Aboriginal Multi Media Society (AMMSA), Playhouse Publications, in Edmonton. After having a handful of short stories published in various journals, she wrote Oil Change at Rath's Garage, her first novel. Narine grew up in Daysland, a small town in Alberta, and has travelled extensively within Canada and to six continents (and has ridden camels on four).

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  • 6
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    Helpless Angels a book of music Tom Wayman Canada
    9781771871310 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date:May 01, 2017
    $20.00 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 in | 250 gr | 72 pages Carton Quantity:128 Thistledown Press
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Helpless Angels weaves several themes together: music’s impact on a life, expressed through memory; poems that are like songs; music found in or described through nature; poems that directly consider music’s power; and, as a counterpoint to how music carries us through life, how art — and each of us — deals with significant loss: the death of a loved one. Helpless Angels looks at a long-term development — the ubiquitousness of widespread personal access to music performed by others that began in the 1950s and has continued to expand ever since. The collection explores via the medium closest to music, poetry, and a number of the delightful or at least positive dimensions to this enormous change in the fabric of people’s everyday lives.

      All people have incorporated music into their lives individually as well as socially as when they gather for celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and church service or when they gather at funerals, or to send off soldiers to war. There is little that music doesn’t touch. In the written arts, poetry, of course, has long been the source for song and its intricate structures have been the layman’s access to the complexities of rhythm and meter. The connections between poetry and music run deep and offer engaging opportunities for readers.

      Wayman’s Helpless Angels also reminds us that many of us are from the generations that have been able to listen, anyplace and anytime, to our own choice of music performed by others. Thus, we are the first human beings who have been continually surrounded by music made by others all our lives. How this change has impacted us is a major focus of this book.

      Bio

      Tom Wayman has published more than twenty poetry collections, three essay collections, two short story collections, a collection of novellas, and a novel. He has also edited six poetry anthologies. He has been Writer-in-Residence at the universities of Windsor, Alberta, Simon Fraser, Winnipeg, and Toronto. He is a co-founder of two BC alternative post-secondary ventures: the Vancouver Centre of the Kootenay School of Writing (1984-87) and the writing department of Nelson’s Kootenay School of the Arts (1991-2002). He is currently a director of the Calgary Spoken Word Festival Society and of Nelson’s Kootenay Literary Society, where he serves on the education committee and the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival organizing committee. Wayman lives in Winlaw, BC.

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews

      “Tom Wayman is the rare poet who has the ability to put our lives into verse in a way that helps us see ourselves and others with greater compassion and clarity, and while he does tread the poet’s usual turf—“love, nature, death” as he describes it—he finds poetry in the everyday, and particularly in our daily work. This is a remarkable collection of poems by a poet whose work is not just compelling because of the sweep and power of his language, but because of his insight into the joys, realities and challenges of being human.” — Don Sawyer, review of Built to Take It (2014), Industrial Worker Oct. 2014

      “Always the poems are permeated by intense attention to justice or a sense of justice. Tom Wayman seems to say, ‘Yes, I care about who gets shafted and why, and through these poems I will make you care too.”
      — Micheline Maylor, review of The Order in Which We Do Things (2014), Alberta Views June 2014

      “As to be expected from a poet rooted in the political ethos of the underdog, this book is refreshingly short on angst and long on social interaction, political agitation, sensuality, lost love and utopian dreams. Passionate and lyrical by turns, didactic at others, insisting that ideals matter, that people must strive for more empathy and honesty, Wayman demands much of his readers. He leaves us, as always, with a fire in the belly and a smile on our lips.” — Sid Marty, review of Winter’s Skin (2013), Alberta Views September 2015

      “Wayman uses words and images—the craft of twentieth century poetry—to cut through the steel irony and stylishness of these times and quietly expose the machinery that encloses and constrains us. Wayman’s strategy has always been to include himself at the heart of any critique. This strategy insures that the poems do not perform as rants; they are never simply prescriptive; they are always inclusive, open and self-questioning. The voice that delivers this material is a smooth, accessible voice that Wayman has grown into over such a long, rich career. Like a seasoned jazz saxophone player, Wayman leans back into the music he is creating because he has paid his dues: he has reached that point of grace in improvisation, a poise that takes years to acquire.” — John Lent, review of Dirty Snow (2012), Arc Poetry Magazine May 2013

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