Rotten Peaches is a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition. Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go? Two women. Two men. One happy ending. It takes place in Canada, the U.S. and South Africa. Nature or nurture. South Africa, racism and old prejudices -- these are hardly old topics but what happens when biological half-siblings meet with insidious intentions? Can their moral corruption be blamed on genetics -- were they born rotten to begin with? And what happens when they meet up with more of their ilk? What further havoc can be wreaked, with devastating familial consequences?
Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. No Fury Like That, her most recently published work, is her seventh novel. It will be published in Italian, under the title Una furia dell'altro mondo, in 2019. Previous works include: The Hungry Mirror (winner 2011 IPPY Gold Medal); West of Wawa (winner 2012 IPPY Silver Medal); A Glittering Chaos (winner 2016 Bronze IPPY Medal ; The Witchdoctor's Bones; Between The Cracks She Fell (winner 2016 for Contemporary Fiction); and The Nearly Girl. Lisa lives and writes in Toronto. Her ninth novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist's Solution is forthcoming in 2019.
"Wow. Just wow. Lisa de Nikolits' Rotten Peaches blew me away. A dark, compulsive, and addictive story in which the characters' secrets and needs conflict with each other and fold back in on themselves in an ever-tightening noose, Rotten Peaches will keep readers gripped until the very last page. Highly recommended!"
--Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King's Daughter
"A noir page-turner that digs into the darkest corners of the human heart, Rotten Peaches dissects the lives of Leone and Berenice, women who live continents apart but are linked by the attentions of a charismatic con man, JayRay. Leonie, a kleptomaniac chemist for an up and coming cosmetics company in Toronto, juggles her trade show junkets with a taste for petty theft and an abusive affair with JayRay. Meanwhile, in South Africa, JayRay's half-sister Bernice, author of a best-selling series of self-help baking books based on recipes she's appropriated from her black housekeeper, is in love with a man committed to returning South Africa to white control. Slowly the two stories begin to merge: as one woman struggles for redemption and self-knowledge, the other slips into a whirlpool of deception and violence. Lisa de Nikolits succeeds in creating a disturbing, mesmerizing tale in which the boundaries of good and evil, justice and punishment, are blurred by family secrets, racism, and sexual obsession."
--Terri Favro, author of Once Upon a Time in West Toronto
"'I am not a killer. I just fell in love with the wrong man." In Rotten Peaches, two women grapple with Sisyphean circumstances, paralleled in the seeming inescapable strength of the demons they harbour. Lisa de Nikolits is a skilled craftswoman, gripping the reader from the first page, and suspends her there, brow furrowed, as each new disaster unfolds, highlighted always by our two heroes' inability to turn away from the men they love and the dangerous plots they've been seduced into. With cons, political unrest, poison, sex, and murder plots, Rotten Peaches is an unflinchingly cinematic read."
--Robin Richardson, author of Knife Throwing Through Self-Hypnosis.
Hilarity and queer magic realism twist the throttle when Jackie, a loner with a secret bank-robbing persona, meets Vespa: sexy, sculpture-welding artist and collector of vintage motorbikes. Still planning elaborate revenge on a New York ex-lover, Jackie tests both her new relationship and the loyalties of her friends, a rag-tag gang of post-punk eccentrics, realizing how love changes hatred only after her scheme runs out of control. An innocent misstep and an encrypted mystery swings the romance into the dangerous orbit of a construction mogul intent on subverting corporate money at any cost.
SK Dyment is a writer and visual artist with a love of political cartooning. SK likes take to the stage at open mic events to perform poetry, short prose and stand-up work and they have written several plays which were produced at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. Their illustrations were most recently published in Ursula Pflug's flash fiction novel, Motion Sickness, which was longlisted for the ReLit Award. Their humour and cartooning work has appeared in a number of magazines including, Peace Magazine, This Magazine, Open Road Magazine, Healthsharing, Herizons, Kinesis, The Activist Magazine, Kick It Over Magazine, and Fireweed. Steel Animals is their debut novel.
"Refreshingly different, fast-paced and nervy, while the themes are sobering. Expect the outrageous. This is a writer who is in touch with the surreal and the dark, yet with that rare talent that can't be taught--to surprise and delight the reader."
--Heather Spears, author of The Strong Box
"I laughed out loud throughout the book Written with depth and authority about welding, motorcycles, flying, explosives, sex-trade exploitation, art and various other matters. In addition to the obvious humour, the book is full of cleverness and satire, often in subtle asides. Milieux wonderfully different from the usual run of Canlit." "
--Susan Mayse, author of Ginger: The Life and Death of Albert Goodwin, winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for True Crime
"Steel Animals is a powerful, brash, and magically sassy novel filled with a dynamic, surreal sense of journey, abandonment, romantic discord, and hilarious entanglement. The sheer dexterity of phrasing and ideas from start to finish make this tour de force a thoroughly enjoyable, sexy, and consistently thrilling read. Corporate corruption, hijacked bank machines, and towering condos filter in and out of a complex web of scenes and relationships that culminate in violent arboreal splendour. Reminiscent of Tom Robbins, Steel Animals, as a mighty serio-comic novel, utilizes a kind of magical surrealism that serves to punctuate the dire effects of certain corporate entities. This is a novel not to be missed."
--David Bateman, blogger, poet and performance artist
Robin MacFarland is a smart, funny, self-deprecating journalist who works for the Home and Garden section of a major Toronto newspaper while she grapples hilariously with her weight, drinking and spirituality. The city news is slow and Robin has been assigned to dig up a real estate development story in cottage country near Huntsville, Ontario. Her editor has given her a long list of potential angles including water pollution, light pollution, traffic congestion, boat traffic, taxes, electricity costs, golf courses, fertilizer, algae blooms, land grants and native rights. Robin and her feisty best friend Cindy, a crime reporter, head north and immediately stumble upon a body mangled by a bear in the forest next to Robin's cottage. Robin is suspicious that the victim's death has been disguised to look like an accident, but no one, including her new boyfriend, cop Ralph Creston, believes the person was deliberately murdered.
The plot is anchored by the destruction of wilderness by land developers, but pivots around Robin's humourous jaunt through middle age , a crucial social issue, and a bizarre murder weapon.
Sky Curtis travelled extensively around Europe after graduating from university and then lived in rural Nova Scotia where she had various poems published in established literary journals and her first play produced by CBC Halifax. After briefly living in England, she then moved to Toronto with her husband and supported her young family by ghost writing high school textbooks, designing educational software, writing magazine articles, teaching, script writing, and creating a syndicated children's column. Sky now divides her time between living in downtown Toronto, backwoods Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario. She has authored over a dozen books and is passionate about social justice issues and the environment. The first novel in the Robin MacFarland Mystery Series, Flush and Traps, were published by Inanna Publications in 2017 and 2019.
"Robin MacFarland is back in the second mystery of what I hope will be a long series by Sky Curtis. Our heroine is as un-heroine-like as ever, and just as hilarious, clever, and quick to rise to the sexist remarks of a small town police chief or the annoying habits of her class-conscious brother. The baffling mystery will keep you guessing, but the banter between Robin and her newsroom pal, Cindy, will keep you laughing. If you've ever spent time at a summer cottage or been bitten by a mosquito, this delightful mystery is for you."
--Jan Rehner, author of Just Murder and Almost True
"As a big fan of Flush, it was a thrill to become reacquainted with Robin MacFarland in Plots: this crime-solving journalist is as irreverent, clever, and as funny as ever. The dialogue practically crackles. A delightful read."
--Cathy Slaunwhite, MD, Canadian Forces Veteran
Finalist for the 2019 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards for General Fiction
The Heart Begins Here is the story of the ever-optimistic, earnest Sara Requier and her disintegrating seven-year relationship with the cynical Wanda Wysoka. Along with her relationship struggles, Sara must contend with the drastic changes in the book industry that threaten her feminist bookstore, as well as a mother who refuses to accept her daughter's lesbianism. Then, just as Wanda decides to leave Sara, Wanda's new young lover, Cindy, is murdered. The story takes place in a western Canadian city in 2001 -- much of it in Sara's bookstore, Common Reader Books -- in the shadow of the disturbing political climate that followed the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. This is a transitional point in the Canadian book industry: the proliferation of big box stores, the expansion of the Internet -- and Sara is caught up in the concomitant changes in her community. The book explores themes of love and loss, of the lingering effects of a dysfunctional childhood, of misogyny, of personal and societal homophobia, and especially the challenge of integrating the personal with the political.
Jacqueline Dumas is a writer and educator who lives in Nova Scotia. She was a long-time resident of Edmonton, Alberta, where she ran Aspen Books (1977-1985) and latterly Orlando Books (1993-2002), a progressive, feminist bookstore that promoted countless writers from across the country. Her published works include: Madeleine & the Angel (1989), winner of the 1989 Georges Bugnet Award for Best Alberta novel, and a finalist for the 1989 Books in Canada/W.H. Smith Best First Novel Award; The Last Sigh (1993); a children's picture book, And I'm Never Coming Back (1986); and a one-act play, Secrets, which was produced at the 2013 Edmonton International Fringe Festival. In 2012, she edited an anthology of work by second language writers, Writing in the Margins (Writers Beyond Borders). Her community involvement and commitment has earned her various awards, including awards for service to the Gay and Lesbian communities and the YWCA Woman of Distinction for the Arts.
"The Heart Begins Here is a delightful read that made me both think and laugh out loud. Sara's feminist bookstore is failing and her long-time lover is cheating. Dumas brings all of Sara's difficulties to life in incisive and often satirical prose. She skewers disastrous poetry readings and lesbian hangouts, but her true targets are cruelty, misogyny, and homophobia. As the title promises, the novel offers wisdom as well as humour, and pain as well as love."
--Caterina Edwards, author of The Sicilian Wife and Finding Rosa
"The Heart Begins Here is a novel for these times, exploring issues that many of us ponder regularly: the impacts of international conflict on individual lives; the effects of digital technology on how we create and access books and other forms of culture; the challenges of navigating the world as who we are, rather than as who others think we are&,dash;or who we ought to be. This is a novel about beginnings, changes, endings--of relationships, of business ventures--and about how the knowledge we gain as we progress (often unwillingly) through these cycles is essential to our ability to move forward. By turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, Jacqueline Dumas's new novel deftly keeps us turning pages, as much for the pleasure of reading her writing as from our keen interest in discovering what will happen next."
--Mary W. Walters, author of The Woman Upsatirs, Rita Just Wants to Be Thin, and Cool
Winner of the 2019 IPPY Gold Medal for Historical Fiction; Finalist for the 2019 Northern Lit Award; Shortlisted for the 2019 Fred Kerner Book Award; Winner of the 2019 International Book Awards (Best Cover Design - Fiction)
La Brigantessa is based on true events in the aftermath of Italy's 1861 Unification, a turbulent period known as "The Decade of Fire" (1860-1870), when scores of brigands rebelled against the harsh policies imposed by the new government, which in turn ordered the destruction of these outlaws and anyone harbouring them. Gabriella Falcone is a peasant girl who works for Don Simone, the parish priest. She is forced to flee her hamlet of Camini in Calabria in 1862 after stabbing Alfonso Fantin, a wealthy landowner who sexually assaulted her. Devastated to leave her fiancé Tonino, and knowing her fate will be life imprisonment at best if apprehended, she allows the priest to lead her through the harsh Aspromonte mountain range to seek refuge in an isolated monastery. They soon discover that Fantin has survived and is employing the forces of law to pursue Gabriella and bring her to justice. Gabriella and Don Simone continue their journey to seek yet another safe haven but soon fall into the hands of brigands. Gabriella is catapulted into a world she has only ever heard about in nervous whispers, a world where right and wrong, justice and vengeance take on new meanings, and where the boundaries between good and evil are blurred. Gabriella is drawn into the role of brigantessa and discovers that the convictions she once held dear no longer have a place in this wild, unlawful territory.
Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli was born in Calabria, Italy, and immigrated to Canada with her family at three years of age. She is a professional member of the Writers' Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers, Toronto Romance Writers and CANSCAIP. An alumna of the Humber School for Writers, Rosanna has been published in nineteen anthologies and journals. She has read at conferences and literary events in Sudbury, Parry Sound, Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Manitoulin Island, Winnipeg, Montreal, Vancouver, New York City, and Italy. Rosanna's novel La Brigantessa (Inanna Publications, 2018) was awarded Gold for Historical Fiction in the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards and she received her gold medal at the IPPY Awards in New York City in May 2019. La Brigantessa was a finalist for the 2019 Canadian Authors Association Fred Kerner Book Award and the Northern Lit Award. It won a 2019 International Book Award for Best Cover Design, and The Miramichi Reader's "The Very Best!" Book Award in 2019 for Best Cover Art (designed by Val Fullard). Rosanna has been guest author at book club meetings, literary events, and reading series. Along with writing historical fiction, short fiction, and creative non-fiction, she has had five romance novels published with Harlequin and two children's books published with Pajama Press. Pigeon Soup & Other Stories was released by Inanna in June 2021.
"This is an impeccably researched novel, borne out by the extensive bibliography of English and Italian sources, and the author's love of her motherland is evident..."
--Historical Novel Society
"This is what I expect from a good historical fiction novel--to be entertained as well as educated, and this novel did this brilliantly."
--Ottawa Review of Books
"This is a beautiful novel, one that vividly recreates the heartbreak and drama of one of the most turbulent periods in Italian history."
--Nino Ricci, award-winning author of The Origins of Species, Testament, and Sleep
"In the writing and storytelling of La Brigantessa, Rosanna Battigelli reflects the very passion and glory, the suffering and hope of the times that her Gabriella Falcone must endure and over which she must triumph. La Brigantessa is written with great heart and conviction--such that, in an era when truth is at a premium, no one will question the truth of this narrative. In fact, the great achievement of this novel is that Rosanna Battigelli is able to make fiction feel truer than truth, truer than non-fiction. Bravo!"
--Joseph Kertes, founder of The Humber School for Writers and author of GratitudeThe Afterlife of Stars
"Based on actual events, La Brigantessa is the triumphant, epic tale of a young woman's incredible courage and resilience during one of Italy's most tumultuous decades. This heart-wrenching, unforgettable novel was an addictive read that will stay with me for years."
&mdashl Mirella Sichirollo Patzer, author of The Orphan of the Olive Tree and The Prophetic Queen
"In this historically accurate novel, Rosanna Battigelli uses every detail from pigeon soup to Southern Italian traditions to bad omens, bad luck, and retaliation. As unpredictable as summer storm clouds, as enjoyable as homemade Calabrian sausages, you should read this book with a glass of strong red wine and a supply of baci chocolates."
--Maria Coletta McLean, author of My Father Came From Italy and Summers in Supino: Becoming Italian
"La Brigantessa is a feast for the senses. The author's visceral descriptions of events, both terrifying and exhilarating, instantly transport the reader to the sun-bleached hills of Post-Unification Calabria. The novel is a meditation on class, politics, and women's roles without losing sight of intrigue and adventure."
--Michaela Di Cesare, playwright and author of In Search of Mrs. PirandelloSuccessions
Winner of the 2019 IPPY Silver Medal for Multicultural Fiction.
Kavita Gupta is a woman in transition. When her troubled older brother, Sunil, disappears, she does everything in her power to find him, convinced that she can save him. Ten days later, the police arrive at her door to inform her that Sunil's body has been found. Her world is devastated. She finds herself in crisis mode, trying to keep the pieces of her life from falling apart even more. As she tries to cope with her loss, the support system around her begins to unravel. Her parents' uneasy marriage seems more precarious. Her health is failing as her unprocessed trauma develops into more sinister conditions. Her marriage suffers as her husband is unable to relate to her loss. She bears her burden alone, but after hitting her lowest point, she knows she needs to find a better way of coping. Desperate for connection, she reaches out to a bereavement group, where she meets Hawthorn, a free-spirited young man with whom she discovers a deep connection through pain. After being blindsided by a devastating marital betrayal, she wonders if a fresh start is possible in the wake of tragedy. Will she escape her problems and start over? Or will she face the challenges of rebuilding the life she already has? Side by Side is a story about loss, growth and the search for meaning in the wake of tragedy, illuminated through one woman's journey from harm to care.
Anita Kushwaha grew up in Aylmer, Quebec. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Geography from Carleton University, and is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at the Humber School for Writers, for which she was awarded the Bluma and Bram Appel Scholarship. She is the author of a novella, The Escape Artist , which was published in 2015. She lives in Ottawa.
"Kavita struggles with her grief and her split between cultures throughout the novel, but there is hope too. With humanity and empathy, Kushwaha dares us to reach into the deepest recesses of the mind as we stand 'side by side' with Kavita who tries to find the strength and peace to go on after tragedy."
--Ottawa Review of Books
"a compelling story containing a great deal of wisdom about grief and learning to live with loss"
--Art and Soul
"Anita Kushwaha's book Side by Side is a compelling and beautifully written novel that draws you from page to page with lyrical, brave and heart-wrenching prose. Vivid and powerful imagery make it feel as though you are alongside the characters sipping ginger tea, savouring curry and samosas, strolling the foggy streets of London and hiking the autumnal trails of Gatineau Park. The novel also explores the intense relationship between siblings and the aching and longing for that brother or sister after they are gone. How does one go on after a tragedy? With humanity and empathy, Kushwaha dares us to reach into the deepest recesses of the mind as we stand 'side by side' with Kavita who shares her grief with us. Throughout the novel, Kushwaha shows herself to be a writer with incredible storytelling gifts. A must-read for anyone going through or wanting to understand the process of bereavement. "
-- Sonia Saikaley, author of A Samurai's Pink House and The Lebanese Dishwasher
"If a family member is killed in a car accident, is shot or stabbed or poisoned, or succumbs to cancer, we can blame the other driver, the murderer, carcinogens or whatever we wish to blame. But whom do we blame when our brother kills himself? Side by Side takes us on a journey into the soul of an immigrant Indian family through the dead man's sister, Kavita, as she struggles with not only her own grief but that of her parents. Her marriage teeters on the edge of its own death, too, as she attempts to work her way through the stages of grief ten times over. Anita Kushwaha has the enviable ability to bring characters to life, to invite the reader to become part of Kavita's family, to grieve, to hope and cry and smile along with them while any cultural veil that might hang between the reader and the family dissolves into butterflies."
--Sherrill Wark, author of Graven Images and The Kesk8a Series
Born to privilege and wed to her high school sweetheart Veer, a free spirited Maya feels trapped in a conventional upper class family with patriarchal expectations in India. Claustrophobic within the dark walls of the mansion she lives in with Veer, Maya starts living precariously through the threads of her curiosity. This curiosity leads Maya to unearth a dark family secret, a brutal ancestral murder which begins to haunt her and also affect her new marriage.
To escape the malicious spirits lingering in the house, Maya and her family fly to a new land and discover the rough corners, hardship, and the bounty that this adopted country offers. As Maya tries to rebuild her life amidst adventure and the struggles of settling in a new country, her relationship with Veer is tested beyond its limits. Not knowing that the ghosts of their past have followed them, in a race against time, Maya is put to a final test. Armed with conviction and hope, Maya sets out to face the dark forces that lie await.
Peacock in the Snow is a one-of-a kind genre-bending thriller about the power of an eternal love, which survives through three generations of heartbreak, across two continents, and speaks to the tireless capacity of the human spirit to love, hope, strive, and succeed despite impossible obstacles.
Anubha Mehta is a Canadian writer and artist who was born in India. With a doctorate in Political Science, and two decades of Canadian public service experience, Anubha has been awarded for her leadership work with diverse communities. Her book, The Politics of Nation Building and Art Patronage (2012), was a culmination of years of her research in late 1990s. Her short stories and poems have been published in several Canadian magazines and journals and reflect her travels and life lived on both sides of the globe. She currently lives in Mississauga, Ontario. Peacock in the Snow is her debut novel.
"This is a thrilling page-turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The foreground story is the conflict faced by immigrants facing a new land and a different culture reminiscent of writers like Bharati Mukherjee, Madeleine Thien, Saleema Nawaz, and Kim Thuy. This is a highly entertaining novel that also says much about contemporary Canadian society."
-- David Siegel, professor of political science, Brock University
"This is a tale that everyone from the East and the West should read. It catches your imagination at a level beyond cultural and geographic boundaries."
-- Jolly Rohatfi, artist-painter, development and gender advocate, India
Toward the North is the first anthology of thirteen short fiction pieces written and translated by Chinese-Canadian writers during the last two decades, each of which depicts the contemporary lives of new Chinese immigrants to Canada, and illustrates newcomers' perspectives of multicultural Canada. The theme of the anthology is Chinese transnational and cross-cultural life experience. A fundamental concern shared by most of the authors is to redefine their characters' cultural identity in their acculturation across times and space. In these stories, the exploration of the relationship between Chinese immigrants and Canadians extends beyond "yellow"/"white" binary model, revealing interactions between the Chinese and other ethnic communities. Struggles between cultural assimilation and resistance are vividly and captivatedly portrayed. The authors' approaches to their characters' life experience of culture's in-between displays an intriguing diversity both in content and in styles.
Hua Laura Wu was born in Beijing, China. She came to Canada in 1985. She studied comparative literature and Chinese literature at the Centre for Comparative Literature and the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto, where she graduated with her PhD. She is currently an associate professor of Chinese language and culture at Huron University College in London Ontario. Her current research is a comparative study of Chinese Canadian writers who write in English (Asian Canadian literature) and in Chinese (Sinophone literature). She has translated many literary and scholarly works, from English to Chinese and from Chinese to English.
Xueqing Xu is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, York University. Her recent research interests focus on Chinese Canadian diasporic literature both in English and in Chinese, and on Chinese women literature. She has published numerous articles and chapters on Chinese Canadian literature both in Chinese and English during the past decade. She lives in Toronto.
Corinne (Cory) Bieman Davies is Professor Emerita at Huron University College in London, Ontario. She has published on nineteenth and twentieth century British Literature, and has travelled in China. Cory owes her interest in the literature of the Chinese diaspora to her love and respect for her Chinese Canadian daughter-in-law, and to her friendships with her colleagues in Asian Studies at Huron.
"An impressive selection of finely translated fiction representing recent work by many of the most active Chinese-Canadian writers, these stories speak from a variety of perspectives to the contemporary Chinese-Canadian cultural moment. Set mainly in Canada by writers with deep experience of the country, the stories address the challenges of migration and cultural change, the personal costs exacted by the slow process of building new lives, the burdens of history, and the difficulties of communication. But they also offer, often poignantly, at times with sly humour, narratives of renewal, rebuilding, and new beginnings. A very welcome addition to the growing bookshelf of work in English by Chinese-Canadian writers."
-- Joseph Black, Professor, Department of English, University of Massachusetts Amherst
"These stories, translated from the Chinese, will knock your socks off. Universal themes of finding and losing love, family conflict, discovering a sense of home and belonging, death and murder(!), and the birth of babies are presented through the specific, lived experiences of first generation Chinese Canadians."
--Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Professor Emerita, University of Western Ontario, London
These poems dwell in the hearth of domesticity, but they look beyond the confines of the home with clear eyes. Boldly unafraid, they confront the realities of climate change, the desecration of habitat, some quiet truths about aging and death. There is no doubt that these are poems written by a woman. But even though many of them deal with the domestic world long considered the 'domain' of females, they reach well beyond the realm of the kitchen and tradition. They are a celebration of the quiet glory ensconced in the 'practical' nature of the everyday world, even though that world may often feel overwhelmingly filled with 'anxiety'
Heidi Greco is a longtime resident of Surrey, British Columbia, where she has been involved as a literary activist. She writes in many genres. Her essays and reviews have appeared in magazines and newspapers. Her novella, Shrinking Violets, came out in 2011. Her poems have been included in many anthologies: Practical Anxiety is her third book of poetry. She occasionally leads workshops on a range of topics from ekphrastic writing to chapbook making. She enjoys puttering in the kitchen and in a range of crafts and delights in foraging for edible tidbits.
"Heidi Greco's abundantly generous new collection, Practical Anxiety, sings "praises to the light." Not afraid to hold death in her open hands, Greco is also alive to the "happy slurry of life." This is poetry of breadth and depth, shimmering with firefly-quick intelligence and imagination. It is a book to cherish."
--Anne Simpson, author of Loop
"Heidi Greco's poems in Practical Anxiety capture the recollected fears of childhood in the bowl of "bedtime hands," and acknowledge, to an almost-honouring of, the irky angsts being an adult is amid its "skeltered" piles of unwashed dishes. Greco rewrites the psalms, celebrates threatened "blood-ruddy" ecosystems, reminds us of the dangers in "clutching remotes instead of each other." This collection of lyrical noticings can't simply be summed up as "domestic," but instead must be considered as a set of vital knowings from one fully alive woman's life. A moving and necessary collection!"
--Catherine Owen, author of The Day of the the Dead and Dear Ghost
"This collection is a triumph. In her detailing of "anxieties" that give her "practical" poems, in her sounding of clear notes of bewilderment, celebration, reflection, intense observation of other people and the natural world, and many-levelled love, Greco signs up her life under a scrupulous, subtle lyricism, with warmth and with never-failing charm."
--Russell Thornton, author of The Hundred Lives
"...powerful and evocative...will test the elasticity of readers' minds and imaginations."--Ormsby Review
The capacity of the world to signal and illuminate, restore and repair, fuels the poems in Every Shameless Ray. Emotionally acute, intellectually intriguing, and playful in form, these poems rely upon the unreliable, as when a tipped-over kayaker rides a river's current upside-down and discovers a channel to another world. Misunderstanding a child's word leads to a glimpse of longed-for innocence, or when assuming love will not be found signals, in the movement of a man's hands, a love that will last for years when he eases out the under-row of the black seeds of a papaya. Like the shock of seeing a Matisse painting, underestimated by the artist as merely decorative, these encounters "tear the fabric of the world."
In poems of tenderness and ruthless truth, Every Shameless Ray disrupts personal terror, familial myth, art historical bias, and political madness, offering some unlikely means for living in our unlikely times.
Born in Winnipeg and raised in Ontario, France, and Germany, Leslie Timmins discovered her love of visual art and architecture early in life, later finding a similar appeal in the raw beauty of wilderness. Activism, and a decades-long meditation practice, provide other engines that fire up her award-winning poetry. Her poems have appeared in fine magazines in Canada and the U.S., in the anthologies Global Poetry (2011), A Verse Map of Vancouver (2009), Sustenance (2017), and in her chapbook The Limits of Windows (2015). She reviews books for Event magazine and has written articles and essays for Canadian Living and The Globe and Mail, among other publications. She lives in Vancouver with her husband.
"Whether traversing the fraught terrain of cancer or depicting the ecstatic in Matisse's canvasses, Leslie Timmins explores the nature of perception, its shifts and shadows, in finely wrought, beautifully crafted poems. This collection shimmers with a radiant engagement with life."
--Fiona Tinwei Lam, author of Intimate Distances, Enter the Chrysanthemum, and The Bright Well
"If half the pleasure of Leslie Timmins' poetry comes from discovering surprising new perspectives, as in "The field speaks of its persistence," much of the rest comes from our sense of her tactile control of texture and language as she ranges from the endearingly domestic through the joyfully sensual to encounters with disease. Not only in her concluding Matisse sequence, but throughout the book, the poet displays a vibrant, painterly awareness of the colours and shapes of the real world that helps us to re-envision the familiar. Hers is an imagination we can trust."
--Christopher Levenson, author of A tattered coat upon a stick and Night Vision
"Leslie Timmins' Every Shameless Ray unfolds in three linked movements: "The Calling," "Echo," and "A Fine Disorder." The culminating sequence is a tour de force of ekphrastic reflection on the art and life of Henri Matisse that unifies the various themes of brokenness and regeneration in the volume as a whole. Though her poetic meditation on Matisse's windows, Timmins opens readers to the French artist's multi-dimensional planes of space and colour, landing us in the place of the open heart, a "First Supper" of sacramental feminine presence. Enter the world of these poems and be shamelessly transformed."
--Susan McCaslin, author of Into the Open: Poems New and Selected
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