Fall 2015 - Talonbooks

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  • 1
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    Writing the Okanagan George Bowering Canada
    9780889229419 Book LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Canadian Publication Date: September 21, 2015
    $24.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 1 in | 320 pages Carton Quantity: 21 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      George Bowering was born in Penticton, where his great-grandfather Willis Brinson lived, and Bowering has never been all that far from the Okanagan Valley in his heart and imagination. Early in the twenty-first century, he was made a permanent citizen of Oliver. Bowering has family up and down the Valley, and he goes there as often as he can. He has been asked during his many visits to Okanagan bookstores over the years to publish a collection of his writing about the Valley.

      Writing the Okanagan draws on forty books Bowering has published since 1960 – poetry, fiction, history, and some forms he may have invented. Selections from Delsing (1961) and Sticks & Stones (1962) are here, as is “Driving to Kelowna” from The Silver Wire (1966). Other Okanagan towns, among them Rock Creek, Peachland, Vernon, Kamloops, Princeton, and Osoyoos, inspire selections from work published through the 1970s and on to 2013. Fairview, the old mining site near Oliver, is the focus of an excerpt from Caprice (1987, 2010), one volume in Bowering’s trilogy of historical novels. “Desert Elm” takes as its two main subjects the Okanagan Valley and his father, who, as Bowering did, grew up there. With the addition of some previously unpublished works, the reader will find the wonder of the Okanagan here, in both prose and poetry.

      “Bowering is both highly skilled in the formal aspects of poetry and perfectly accessible to the average reader … A delightful collection that may inspire readers to seek out Bowering’s earlier work.”
      Booklist

      “One of Canada’s most original writers.”
      Calgary Herald

      “A lyricism that is spring-sweet and without boast or threat … Bowering has poured all his considerable power into one vessel, and he must be read.”
      Globe and Mail

      Bio
      George Bowering is a major Canadian literary figure and one of the most prolific writers in the country: more than eighty books to date, not including editions he has edited or contributed to, or his thirty-three chapbooks. He is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award and has been shortlisted for the Griffin Prize for Poetry, Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and B.C.’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. In November 2002 he was appointed Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate. That same month he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2004 he was awarded the Order of British Columbia. In 2011 he received the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence and the UBC Alumni Achievement Award. He is a respected poet, novelist, essayist, critic, teacher, historian, editor, and tireless supporter of fellow writers.
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      Awards
      Reviews
      “Bowering is both highly skilled in the formal aspects of poetry and perfectly accessible to the average reader … A delightful collection that may inspire readers to seek out Bowering’s earlier work.”
      Booklist

      “One of Canada’s most original writers.”
      Calgary Herald

      “A lyricism that is spring-sweet and without boast or threat … Bowering has poured all his considerable power into one vessel, and he must be read.”
      Globe and Mail

      “One of Canada’s most original writers.”
      Calgary Herald


      A lyricism that is spring-sweet and without boast or threat … Bowering has poured all his considerable power into one vessel, and he must be read.” – Globe and Mail
  • 2
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    The United States of Wind Travels in America 1st edition Daniel Canty Canada, Oana Avasilichioaei Canada
    9780889229426 Paperback BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary Figures Publication Date: September 21, 2015
    $16.95 CAD 5.5 x 8.5 x 1 in | 192 pages Carton Quantity: 1 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description

      Raise the windsock. Read the compass. Ride where the wind wills it.

      Late 2010. From the end of fall to the beginning of winter, Daniel Canty becomes a wind seeker. Aboard the Blue Rider, a venerable midnight-blue Ford Ranger crested with a weathervane and a retractable windsock, he surrenders himself to the fluidity of air currents. The adventure leads him and artist driver Patrick Beaulieu from the plains of the Midwest up to Chicago, the Windy City, into the wind tunnel linking the Great Lakes, through the cities of lost industry of the Rust Belt, only to veer off into Amish pastoralia, and to the forests of Pennsylvania, Civil War land, where fracking is stirring up the ghosts of the first oil rush.

      Canty creates a gentle road book, a melancholy blue guide written in an airy, associative prose, where images coalesce and dissipate, carried away through the outer and inner American landscape. The book, mixing the tropes of road narrative, poetic fabulation, and philosophical memoir, reaches towards images on the horizon of memory, to find out where they come from, while coming to the foreordained realization that, wherever memory may lead us, its images will be long gone when we get there and most probably were never even there at all. The book’s through-line is about this emotional reality of images, the ways in which they take hold upon us and carry us back to the deep narrative of self. Clocking in at 160 pages, most readers don’t realize that the adventure spans only ten days, and that The United States of Wind is, in a very real way, a journey through a fold in time.

      “I read this book as an essay, a method of thought. Canty doesn’t propose as much a theory of wind as a map of reflections on what emptiness holds, on what the imperceptible space between us occupies … The true object of this book’s love, or quest, is not a weather phenomenon, but rather something more akin to the American soul.”
      – Valérie Lefbvre-Faucher, Revue Liberté

      Bio

      Daniel Canty was born in the suburb of Lachine, Quebec, and now lives in Montreal. His works circulate freely between literature and publishing, film and theatre, contemporary art and design. He is the author of a novel, Wigrum (La Peuplade, 2011; Talonbooks, 2013) and a history of automata in American literature, Êtres artificiels (Liber, 1997). He has devised three award-winning collaborative books: Cité selon (Le Quartanier, 2006), on the city; La Table des Matières (Le Quartanier, 2007), on eating; and Le Livre de Chevet (Le Quartanier, 2009), on sleeping. He has also translated books of poetry by Stephanie Bolster, Erin Moure, Michael Ondaatje, and Charles Simic. His recent exhibition, Bucky Ball (Artexte, 2014), constructed a memory theatre out of the ghost of Buckminster Fuller and the phantom landscape of Expo 67.

      Canty studied literature and the philosophy of science in Montreal, publishing in Vancouver, and film in New York and Montreal. He teaches dramatic writing at L’École nationale de théâtre du Canada and event design at Université du Québec à Montréal. In 2014, he completed a six-month residency at the Studio du Québec in London.

      His website is danielcanty.com.

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      Awards
      Reviews
      “Between Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia, he records a whirlwind of reflections, sometimes profound, sometimes amusing, always insightful … A personal essay more than travelogue, The United States of Wind is an invaluable guide to the elusive essence of adventure.”
      – Martine Desjardins, L’actualité
      “Wind art? Almost. It’s certainly a sensitive and intuitive documentation of a journey determined by air currents.”
      – Catherine Lalonde, Le Devoir
      “Canty not only tells the story, but has a keen sense of observation: the similitudes between the cities visited, the people encountered at rest areas looking for places to stay or to eat, the ubiquity of sports and of televisions. Observation is never far from commentary, yet Canty’s total absence of prejudice against our southern neighbours allows for a tone of curiosity and intelligence which this narrative needed.”
      – Élizabeth Lord, Les Méconnus
      “Between Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia, he records a whirlwind of reflections, sometimes profound, sometimes amusing, always insightful … A personal essay more than travelogue, The United States of Wind is an invaluable guide to the elusive essence of adventure.”
      – Martine Desjardins, L’actualité
      “Canty not only tells the story, but has a keen sense of observation: the similitudes between the cities visited, the people encountered at rest areas looking for places to stay or to eat, the ubiquity of sports and of televisions. Observation is never far from commentary, yet Canty’s total absence of prejudice against our southern neighbours allows for a tone of curiosity and intelligence which this narrative needed.”
      – Élizabeth Lord, Les Méconnus
      “We accompany [Canty] on a wind-blown odyssey through the American mid-west … The United States of Wind presents Canty’s take on this elemental adventure, and a sense of his poetic perspective can be gained from [reading even the book’s subheadings] and from his vow – a kind of secular consecration – on the eve of their departure: ‘Trust the wind. Only it. Like we trust ourselves.’ ”
      Geist
  • 3
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    Studies in Description Reading Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons 1st edition Carl Peters Canada
    9780889229617 Book LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry Publication Date: February 10, 2016
    $24.95 CAD 7.5 x 5.5 x 1 in | 160 pages Carton Quantity: 28 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description

      Difficult writing has its way of illuminating the part of the world that counts. One such difficult text is Gertrude Stein’s highly experimental Tender Buttons: objects, food, rooms – long considered the single most groundbreaking literary work of twentieth-century art, literary criticism, and art history. One hundred years since publication, Carl Peters offers a sustained reading of the 1914 edition, responding to the eccentric sounds and rhythms of this long prose-poem with annotations that bring understanding, in particular, to the composition’s syntax, which is noted for its defiance of conventional norms; for example:

      ROAST POTATOES.
      Roast potatoes for.
      [Annotation] Grounded!

      Such annotations demonstrate that an apprehension of Stein’s whole art comes from the project and praxis of reading the work literally, actually. “Read her with her for less,” she asserts. “Translate more than translate the authority.”

      In Studies in Description: Reading Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, Peters demonstrates ways in which Stein’s thought questions everything, underlining reasons that her work has long served as the wellspring for generations of experimental poets, inspiring Language movement poets such as bill bissett, bpNichol, and George Bowering, and novelists such as William Gass, Sherwood Anderson, and Ernest Hemingway.

      The Modernist work Tender Buttons can be used to show how in the early twentieth century Stein and others helped us discover a different world in our midst, a moment of the Modern.

      Bio
      Carl Peters is an art critic and curator and author of two previous literary analyses of poetics and avant-garde art. He edited a major collection of bpNichol’s comics from 1960 to 1980, published as bpNichol Comics (2002). textual vishyuns (2011), his critical study of bill bissett’s poetry and visual art, analyzes this Canadian poet’s contributions to Modernist thought and vision. Peters is currently embarked on a study of modernist cinema, specifically the works and praxis of French New Wave film director Jean-Luc Godard.
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      Awards
      Reviews

      Reviews for Previous Work – textual vishyuns

      "A much-needed study, by turns polemical and proselytizing. Peters’ book signifies a crucial starting point for investigation of bissett’s important contributions to Canadian literature." – Canadian Literature

      "an astonishing book on how bill bissett thinks within his art. Here is a discovery of poetic space and time coming together, where we glean time and space entering into empathy with the object. Peters’ learned awareness of the image’s relationship to bissett’s surreal vulnerability to surface and depth reveals the graphic touch of the voice and hand, whether on paper or canvas ... textual vishyuns is not only a book on bill bissett, but also a way of bringing modernist thought and vision together without taking either apart." – Jerry Zaslove


      "Carl Peters has pulled off a terrific critical irony for our neomodal time, the first scholarly study of bill bissett’s poems and pictures. His referentiality is wide and his blade is sharp. He is both argumentative and blissful. I’d say that bill is fortunate to have this knowledgeable attentiveness, and I’d guess that he would agree."

      – George Bowering

      “carl peters book on gertrude stein / is an essenshul n deep undrstanding / uv th work uv sumwun who displayd / n creatid enerjeez that shapd sew / manee langwage arts that undrstood / n went byond or outside uv th objek /”
      —bill bissett
      "Studies in Description is the midrashic feast that Tender Buttons has always promised. Stein’s wordness has never been better served.” – Charles Bernstein
      “You don’t read Gertrude Stein’s 1914 prose poem Tender Buttons casually – or you could try, but grow frustrated: The eye trips along the lines faster than the mind makes sense, and that’s on purpose. Tender Buttons isn’t nonsense, though it’s been called that by readers who haven’t the patience for its syntactic difficulty; Stein means to be difficult because she finds meaning there. Pause. Slow down. Look at the sentence the way you read a Picasso. How do you make sense of Picasso? That’s how you read Gertrude Stein. I crib these remarks from Carl Peters’s introduction to Studies in Description, his intense, personal study of meaning-finding in Stein’s work, though on reading Stein I speak from experience. Studies runs two texts in parallel: On the left page, Tender Buttons (the definitive, City Lights edition); on the right, Peters’s annotations. If you haven’t read the main text before, I recommend doing that first. But remember: Go slow.” – Globe & Mail
  • 4
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    Tales of the Emperor 1st edition Jack Winter Canada
    9780889229440 Book FICTION / Historical Publication Date: November 10, 2015
    $19.95 CAD 5 x 8.5 x 1 in | 264 pages Carton Quantity: 33 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Tales of the Emperor is based on the life of Qin Shi Huang (circa 260–210 BCE), the “First Emperor” – he who unified China, gave it his name, built the Great Wall, entombed an army of terra cotta soldiers, authored legalism, erased history, insinuated governance, and established paranoia as a national characteristic. His dynasty did not outlive him but his influence permeates the present and, there is ample indication, will dominate the future.

      The literary method of Tales of the Emperor is derived from the first Chinese attempt at “writing history” – the famous Historical Records of Ssu-Ma Ch’ien. Like that Chinese classic, Tales of the Emperor is motivated by the desire to understand the past by entering it, mixing testimony with anecdote, interpretation with invention, biography with characterization, objective analysis with passionate self-interest.

      Birth to death, Tales of the Emperor tells the story of its central figure in a thematic rather than a chronologic narrative. In a mosaic of separate tales – some no more than fragments, others chapter-length – intersecting characters are presented, entwined, relinquished, among them a failed assassin, a wily adviser, an ironic architect, a castrated historian, an entire tribe of grave builders, and, of course, the wry, conflicted, everyday tyrant himself. The Emperor’s accomplishments are documented, his strivings are examined, and intimate tittle-tattle about him is indulged.

      There’s only one principal theme: you find the antiquity you look for, or, in the language of the book: “history is the study of the paintings of great events.”


      “Histories are written using histories, and canons are created, just as surely in the lives and works of performers and companies as in playwriting. Jack Winter’s own story fulfils all the requirements for canonization, and quite rightly. [His work] reminds us of the complexities of the artistic life … in particular, the powerful relationship between international, national, and local politics. But it also reminds us that all histories, any histories, are first of all personal.”
      – Stephen Johnson, Theatre Research in Canada
      Bio
      Born in Canada, Jack Winter attended McGill University followed by the University of Toronto for a PhD in English literature. He has since held many university teaching positions across Canada in English literature, modern theatre, and creative writing.

      From 1961 to 1967 Winter was resident playwright at Toronto Workshop Productions (Toronto, Ontario), where he wrote five stage plays: Before Compiègne, The Mechanic, The Death of Woyzeck, Hey Rube! and The Golem of Venice.

      During his second tenure (1974–76) as resident playwright at Toronto Workshop Productions, he wrote four more stage plays: Letters from the Earth, Ten Lost Years, You Can’t Get Here from There, and Summer Seventy-Six (or Olympics ‘76).

      His many awards and recognition for his work include the Toronto Telegram Theatre Award for the Best New Canadian Play, Canadian Film Award (Genie) for Best Documentary Film, Academy Award nomination for Best Short Subject, Visiting Writer’s Fellowship of the Eastern Arts Association, and Arts Council of Great Britain Creative Writing Fellowship.
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      Awards
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      "To a remarkable degree, [Jack Winter] seems to resolve the 'conundrum of the now.' While providing lucid windows into distant personalities and dynamics, [his work is] also thoroughly contextualized and firmly grounded in Jack’s wry and utterly contemporary sensibility [, comprising] both a priceless historical artifact and something far more insistent and current: the work of a true original.”
      – Bruce Barton, My TWP Plays


      Tales of the Emperor claims to be ‘a novel … the birth-to-death story of the first Emperor of China’, but this word is quite inadequate. [Winter’s] supposition is that what we believe or imagine happened is as likely to be true as any ‘official’ history and so his narrative contains poems, songs, myths, fantasies, dreams, aphorisms, hearsay, fabrication, and downright lies – and even the lies might turn out to be the truth. … Read and learn, I say, and you’ll end up wiser, even more confused, and highly entertained, I insist. … Read it and weep, I say – and raise a laugh as well.”
      Peace News
      “Histories are written using histories, and canons are created, just as surely in the lives and works of performers and companies as in playwriting. Jack Winter’s own story fulfils all the requirements for canonization, and quite rightly. [His work] reminds us of the complexities of the artistic life … in particular, the powerful relationship between international, national, and local politics. But it also reminds us that all histories, any histories, are first of all personal.”
      – Stephen Johnson, Theatre Research in Canada
  • 5
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    Scree The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962–1991 Fred Wah Canada, Jeff Derksen Canada
    9780889229471 Hardcover POETRY / Canadian Publication Date: November 09, 2015
    $49.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 1.25 in | 648 pages Carton Quantity: 10 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description
      Fred Wah’s career has spanned six decades and a range of formal styles and preoccupations. Scree collects Wah’s concrete and sound poetry of the 1960s, his landscape-centric work of the 1970s, and his ethnicity-oriented poems of the 1980s. Fred was a founding member of the avant-garde TISH group, which helped turn Canadian poetry, in the West in particular, to a focus on language. He has said that his “writing has been sustained, primarily, by two interests: racial hybridity and the local.”

      Most of Wah’s early work is out of print. This collection allows readers to (re)discover this groundbreaking work. The volume contains:
      Lardeau (1965)
      Mountain (1967)
      Among (1972)
      Tree (1972)
      Earth (1974)
      Pictograms from the Interior of B.C. (1975)
      Loki Is Buried at Smoky Creek (1980)
      Owner’s Manual (1981)
      Breathin’ My Name with a Sigh (1981)
      Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail (1982)
      Waiting for Saskatchewan (1985)
      Rooftops (1988)
      So Far (1991)

      The collection has been organized according to a chronology of composition (rather than a chronology of original publication): this reveals new connections and thematic trajectories in the body of work as a whole, and makes the book an eminently “teachable” volume. The book includes full-colour facsimiles of two early books, Earth and Tree, reproduced to show the "hands-on" object-based aspect of chapbook publishing.
      Bio
      Fred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, in 1939 and grew up in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. After graduate work with Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, he returned to the Kootenays in the late 1960s, founding the writing program at David Thompson University Centre (DTUC). A pioneer of online publishing, Wah has mentored a generation of some of the most exciting new voices in poetry today.

      Of his seventeen books of poetry, is a door received the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Waiting for Saskatchewan received the Governor General’s Award, and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry. Diamond Grill, a bio-fiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian café, won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, and his collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, received the Gabrielle Roy Prize. Wah was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. He served as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

      Jeff Derksen is a founding member of Vancouver’s writer-run centre, the Kootenay School of Writing. His poetry and critical writing on art, urbanism, and text have been published in Europe and North America.
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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Best 75 Books (CBC Books) 2015, Commended
      Reviews
      “The book is gorgeous, … attempting to keep as close as possible the integrity of the original publications into a single volume. The resulting volume – shift of image, colour and font – is a breathtaking accomplishment that does far more than simply replicate a selection of thirty years of writing and publishing, but work[s] to present some sense of what those early publications might have felt like in their original forms …”
      —rob mclennan’s blog
      "This is surely the best poetry book of the year! Such care and thoroughness have been taken here to let each important early publication keep its style and colour and format. This is a heavy book full of some of the lightest, halest experimental poetry in Canada. It is so important that this work is being done, both the writing and the editing."
      – Phil Hall, BookThug
      "This is surely the best poetry book of the year! It is so important that this work is being done, both the writing and the editing." – Phil Hall, BookThug
      Scree, a handsome and expansive collection containing almost thirty years of Wah’s poetry, is both an introduction to and overview of the writer’s powerful but understated literary oeuvre. … As his body of work expands over time, so does its breadth and insight, even as the author breaks, disrupts and refines poetic form. Like the mountain that is a recurring image throughout Wah’s work, the vistas of Scree are both subtle and breathtaking…”
      Malahat Review
  • 6
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    Peacock Blue The Collected Poems 1st edition Phyllis Webb Canada, John Hulcoop Canada
    9780889229143 Book POETRY / Canadian Publication Date: September 15, 2015
    $29.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 1 in | 512 pages Carton Quantity: 10 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description

      When Phyllis Webb published Wilson’s Bowl in 1980, Northrop Frye hailed it as “a landmark in Canadian literature”: landmark, an event that marks a turning point in something (in this case, Canadian literature); and an instantly recognized feature of a landscape (in this case, the landscape of Canadian poetry). Wilson’s Bowl was Webb’s fifth volume of poetry. Three more followed and then she fell silent, turning from literature to abstract painting.

      Peacock Blue compiles in a single volume all of Webb’s published, unpublished, and uncollected works from a writing career that spanned fifty years. It offers readers the opportunity to relish the arc of Webb’s entire poetic oeuvre, from the modernist lyricism of her early works, to the groundbreaking volume, Naked Poems (1965), in which Webb created for herself a new minimalist language; from Wilson’s Bowl to what Douglas Barbour calls “Webb’s loving and subversive engagement with the ghazal” in Water and Light (1984); and finally to the postmodernist prose poems of Hanging Fire (1990).

      The concluding section of Peacock Blue contains almost fifty poems, some of which have never been published before. It also includes brilliant but forgotten poems and poetic surprises. Brenda Carr has suggested that one of Webb’s later essays, “Message Machine” (1990), “initiates a re-reading of her poetics and practice … Against her anxiety that she is a passive ‘message machine’ for masculinist culture.” However, as Carr points out, “Webb posits another possibility – ‘cross-dressing.’ She theorizes her mimicry of the male persona as analogous to a ‘masquerade’ or ‘street theatre’ and in so doing reconstructs even her earlier poems as a performative space in which agency is possible.” The truth of Carr’s insight becomes increasingly apparent to anyone who undertakes to read through Webb’s entire poetic output, gathered together, at last, in Peacock Blue.

      Bio

      Phyllis Webb was born in 1927 in Victoria, BC. She was educated at the University of British Columbia and McGill. The first major publication of her poetry was in Trio (1954), which included poetry by Eli Mandel and Gael Turnbull. For many years she worked as a writer and broadcaster for the CBC, where she created the radio program Ideas in 1965 and was its executive producer from 1967 to 1969. Webb served as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta from 1980 to 1981 and taught at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and the Banff Centre. She is a lifetime member of the League of Canadian Poets and currently resides on Salt Spring Island, BC.

      John F. Hulcoop received a BA and PhD from University College London. He emigrated to Canada in 1956 and taught in the English department at the University of British Columbia. Initially a nineteenth-century scholar, Hulcoop has published works on Robert Browning, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Truman Capote, and Virginia Woolf. A longtime critic of Phyllis Webb’s work, he edited and wrote the introduction to her Selected Poems 1954–65 (Talonbooks, 1971); he also wrote Phyllis Webb and Her Works (ECW Press, 1990).

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    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews
      Winner of the Governor General's Award for Poetry for The Vision Tree: Selected Poems (1982) Phyllis Webb was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992.

      "[Phyllis Webb] has always been distinguished by the profundity of her insights, the depth of her emotional feeling, the delicacy and accuracy of her rhythms, the beauty and mysterious resonance of her images—and by her luminous intelligence.”
      –Stephen Scobie

      "a philosophical poet par excellence."
      – Stephen Collis

      About Naked Poems (1965):
      Naked Poems … is one of the most influential works of its time, for it suggested a new vision of the book-length poem which profoundly affected a number of poets in the following literary generations. Full of lyric intensity yet transcending mere lyric posturing, Naked Poems is Canada’s first masterpiece of process poetics, a series of precisely crafted minimal texts which remain open to the possibilities of what the third section calls the ‘Non Linear.’ Robert Kroetsch has made perhaps the finest and most concise statement about this innovative and concise work: ‘On nakedness and lyric and yet on a way out, perhaps a way out of the ending of the lyric too, with its ferocious principles of closure, a being compelled out of lyric by lyric.’”
      – Canadian Encyclopedia

      “Webb’s poetic oeuvre displays a range and formal daring … unmatched in Canadian letters. … she has been and remains one of our finest, most linguistically sensitive poets. … Peacock Blue should long have a place in any and all CanLit libraries”– Canadian Literature


      “[Phyllis Webb] has always been distinguished by the profundity of her insights, the depth of her emotional feeling, the delicacy and accuracy of her rhythms, the beauty and mysterious resonance of her images—and by her luminous intelligence.”
      —Stephen Scobie
      “a philosophical poet par excellence.”
      —Stephen Collis
      “Webb’s poetic oeuvre displays a range and formal daring … unmatched in Canadian letters. … she has been and remains one of our finest, most linguistically sensitive poets. … Peacock Blue should long have a place in any and all CanLit libraries”
      Canadian Literature
      “a vibrant intelligence coupled with a wry wit … Webb’s dedication to social justice is evident in her poetry. … It’s evident from this book that Webb knew many of the major Canadian writers. She dedicates poems to many writers, she refers to writers, and she celebrates the words of others. Trying to capture [this volume] in a review is like trying to catch wind. There’s too much and it’s too powerful. Ultimately all I can say is [‘Read this poet’].”
      Maple Tree Literary Supplement
      “Surely, Peacock Blue is the literary event of the year. Reading this life-in-words, it is obvious that Al Purdy is not now our reigning voice – Phyllis Webb is. She has engendered her full scope – by silences – by retreats – unto a woman’s lyric authority.”
      Malahat Review
      “A tremendous revelatory moment/encounter … one of the major books of poetry in English of the last fifty years (anywhere).”
      —John Kinsella
      “Reading her work this way is like watching the seasons change, for people who have been writing as many years as she has don’t ordinarily stand still for long. … she has remained active politically, gradually settling on a mixture of anarchism, feminism and environmentalism that is to be found only on the West Coast. … Peacock Blue is a most important book. It’s both a testament and a trophy.”
      Vancouver Sun
  • 7
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    Prairie Harbour 1st edition Garry Morse Canada
    9780889229402 Book POETRY / Canadian Publication Date: September 21, 2015
    $18.95 CAD 6 x 9.5 x 1 in | 176 pages Carton Quantity: 21 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
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      Description

      In this contrapuntal follow-up to Governor General’s Award finalist Discovery Passages, Garry Thomas Morse traces multiple lines of his mixed ancestry. These include the nomadic “pre-historical” movements of Wakashan speakers who were later to form various West Coast First Nations; the schismatic mindset of Jedidiah Morse, the “father of American geography” ;and eternal struggles of European Jewish relations, artists, and close friends against perennial anti-Semitism. Set around the vigilantly maintained border/lines that mark the relatively “unsung” decline of natural prairie life, this unromantic “wrecklogue” radiates outward from a new real-estate development in Regina, Saskatchewan.

      The first section, “Company Romance,” is a sequence of sardonic “heritage minute” poems that examine the intensely aggressive capitalist aspects of colonization that drove the fur trade in Manitoba and deeply influenced our contemporary sense of cultural and national identity. They also draw parallels between the shift in nomadic hunter/warrior culture to our own transformation as global consumers.

      The second part, “Prairie Harbour,” a long poem in twenty-four parts, takes the form of postexilic elegies that transcend the dominant tradition of Canadian prairie poetry, infusing it with epical echoes of poets John Clare, Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, and William Carlos Williams. The work reaches its stride in a hearing of the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Gustave Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which includes a French horn of warning for the “have-not” province.

      The finale offers aesthetic fragmentation of Stephane Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés and “The Untroubled Mind,” a poem by Saskatchewan-born abstract expressionist Agnes Martin, salvaging space for an inner landscape and a “harbour” for the mind.

      “This ingenious masterpiece is Morse code ransacking Brit Lit up to Dylan Thomas, but from the vantage point of Canuck redoubts, such as Fort Garry … Fugitive reader, get thee into this epic!”
      – George Elliott Clarke

      Bio
      Garry Thomas Morse’s poetry books with LINEBooks include sonic riffs on Rainer Maria Rilke’s sonnets in Transversals for Orpheus and a tribute to David McFadden’s poetic prose in Streams. His poetry books with Talonbooks include a homage to San Francisco Renaissance poet Jack Spicer in After Jack, and an exploration of his mother’s Kwakwaka’wakw native ancestry in Discovery Passages, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Discovery Passages was also voted One of the Top Ten Poetry Collections of 2011 by the Globe and Mail and One of the Best Ten Aboriginal Books from the past decade by CBC’s 8th Fire.

      Morse’s books of fiction include his collection Death in Vancouver, and the three books in The Chaos! Quincunx series: Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (2013 ReLit Award finalist), Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour (2014 ReLit Award finalist), and Minor Expectations, all published by Talonbooks.

      Morse is a casual commentator for Jacket2 and his work continues to appear in a variety of publications and is studied at various Canadian universities, including the University of British Columbia. He currently resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews
      “Of course, one of the best-known difficulties of the long poem is how to end it, and I think that Morse’s provision of a safe and quiet harbor for the mind is especially apt. With his intense examination of what the prairie harbors – including much ugliness and substantial racism – some shelter is needed, especially if the mind is expected to go on producing, or to go on at all. … His use of collage and deep engagement with place are clearly indebted to second-wave modernist poetics, and like many second-wave modernist works, they do much to complicate and enliven the place they represent. … Even as Prairie Harbour concludes, it demonstrates that there is enough drama in suburbia’s little boxes to keep us all going for a good, long while.”
      Cordite Poetry Review

      “Prairie: Haven for the fugitive. Harbour: Epicentre of epic. In Prairie Harbour, Garry Thomas Morse drafts a fugitive epic that represents the full flowering of all those seeds of thought that Robert Kroetsch’s Seed Catalogue ‘planted’ almost fifty years ago. This ingenious masterpiece is Morse Code ransacking Brit Lit up to Dylan Thomas, but from the vantage point of Canuck redoubts, such as Fort Garry. Imagine Billy Shakespeare shakin’ his spear at paleface invaders of Native land, or think of Eli Mandel, armed with Greco-Latin allusions, attacking Indian Act racism, and you’ll have an inkling of the finicky, spiky, thoughtful, beautiful verse that’s unfolded herein. How does an Indigenous intellectual imagine the arrival of the ‘filles du roi’ to Nouvelle-France? Here you go: ‘There is not even a sketchy sketch / of twelve year old orphan girls who / wince under old lechers, only lying / back and thinking of a new colony.’ Fugitive reader, get thee into this epic!”
      – George Elliott Clarke, Toronto Poet Laureate, author of MMI

      “Beware: when you delve into this book you are in danger of being ‘devoured by voles (or vowels?).’ And then there are the hares. No words, no words, no words can do this book justice. The poems explode every boundary – geographic, historic, linguistic. They leave you shriven as if the cold North Wind has found your bones. An incomparable verbal exuberance and quick, wide-ranging intelligence fuel and Garry Thomas Morse’s operatic howl.”
      – Lorna Crozier, author of The Book of Marvels

      “Visionary and discordant, reverent and relevant, Prairie Harbour is a symphony sounding the world. With an ear pressed to the troubled heart of history, art, the economy, and the environment, Morse’s lines pulse and click with urgency and incomparable wit. Strikethroughs, erasures, silences, and ever-shifting margins further animate and complicate the composition. Always challenging, always moving, this astonishing music of change is fully present and fiercely engaged. A powerful and masterful work.”
      – Brenda Schmidt, Author of Flight Calls: An Apprentice on the Art of Listening

      “Garry Thomas Morse lays bare all the connotations of safety and shelter that the word ‘harbour’ conveys and brushes these back against the bare, howling plains’ colonial history and present. Walking poems and documentary gestures track the ticking down of a heritage minute that refuses to end. The music of the spheres and the songs of the slough ring in our ears, asking what kind of a harbour is the prairie? Or what exactly does the prairie harbour?”
      – Sarah Dowling, International Editor, Jacket2

      “A whoppingly huge act of synthetic imagination, & an exciting example of the modernist (& post-) collage long poem. … What Morse has done in both his earlier Discovery Passages &Prairie Harbour is to radically complicate both the representations of & his readers’ responses to that history while also offering a fascinating reading experience to any willing to give these poems a go. … Prairie Harbour offers readers an engagement they will not soon forget.”
      – Eclectic Ruckus (blog)
      “ingenious masterpiece”
      —George Elliot Clarke, Toronto Poet Laureate, author of MMI
      “No words, no words, no words can do this book justice. The poems explode every boundary ...”
      —Lorna Crozier, author of The Book of Marvels
      “Visionary and discordant, reverent and relevant, Prairie Harbour is a symphony sounding the world.”
      —Brenda Schmidt, Author of Flight Calls: An Apprentice on the Art of Listening
      “Prairie: Haven for the fugitive. Harbour: Epicentre of epic. In Prairie Harbour, Garry Thomas Morse drafts a fugitive epic that represents the full flowering of all those seeds of thought that Robert Kroetsch’s Seed Catalogue ‘planted’ almost fifty years ago. This ingenious masterpiece is Morse Code ransacking Brit Lit up to Dylan Thomas, but from the vantage point of Canuck redoubts, such as Fort Garry. Imagine Billy Shakespeare shakin’ his spear at paleface invaders of Native land, or think of Eli Mandel, armed with Greco-Latin allusions, attacking Indian Act racism, and you’ll have an inkling of the finicky, spiky, thoughtful, beautiful verse that’s unfolded herein. How does an Indigenous intellectual imagine the arrival of the ‘filles du roi’ to Nouvelle-France? Here you go: ‘There is not even a sketchy sketch / of twelve year old orphan girls who / wince under old lechers, only lying / back and thinking of a new colony.’ Fugitive reader, get thee into this epic!”
      —George Elliott Clarke, Toronto Poet Laureate, author of MMI
      “Beware: when you delve into this book you are in danger of being ‘devoured by voles (or vowels?).’ And then there are the hares. No words, no words, no words can do this book justice. The poems explode every boundary – geographic, historic, linguistic. They leave you shriven as if the cold North Wind has found your bones. An incomparable verbal exuberance and quick, wide-ranging intelligence fuel and Garry Thomas Morse’s operatic howl.”
      —Lorna Crozier, author of The Book of Marvels
      “Visionary and discordant, reverent and relevant, Prairie Harbour is a symphony sounding the world. With an ear pressed to the troubled heart of history, art, the economy, and the environment, Morse’s lines pulse and click with urgency and incomparable wit. Strikethroughs, erasures, silences, and ever-shifting margins further animate and complicate the composition. Always challenging, always moving, this astonishing music of change is fully present and fiercely engaged. A powerful and masterful work.”
      —Brenda Schmidt, Author of Flight Calls: An Apprentice on the Art of Listening
      “Garry Thomas Morse lays bare all the connotations of safety and shelter that the word ‘harbour’ conveys and brushes these back against the bare, howling plains’ colonial history and present. Walking poems and documentary gestures track the ticking down of a heritage minute that refuses to end. The music of the spheres and the songs of the slough ring in our ears, asking what kind of a harbour is the prairie? Or what exactly does the prairie harbour?”
      —Sarah Dowling, International Editor, Jacket2
      “A whoppingly huge act of synthetic imagination, & an exciting example of the modernist (& post-) collage long poem. … What Morse has done in both his earlier Discovery Passages & Prairie Harbour is to radically complicate both the representations of & his readers’ responses to that history while also offering a fascinating reading experience to any willing to give these poems a go. … Prairie Harbour offers readers an engagement they will not soon forget.”
      —Eclectic Ruckus (blog)
      “Morse writes in the dense, trickster-like tradition of the so-called Prairie long poem … the reader willing to pay close attention will spot a series of unifying ideas. Prairie Harbour is, at its core, about the long and continuous attempts at erasure of aboriginal identity, and how the First Nations voice literally needs to fight against the margins, against the very idea of margin, to make itself heard. Morse lays out many aspects of his own heritage in doing this, but what he creates never feels forced or didactic. … His poetry energizes us to the threat of colonial erasure, hinting at the great spectrums of light that await us if we can move beyond the harm it brings. … This is a book that does not hold back its sense of hope.”
      – Mark Sampson, author of Off Book (2007) and The Secrets Men Keep (2015)
  • 8
    catalogue cover
    Cosmophilia Rahat Kurd Canada
    9780889229464 Paperback POETRY / Canadian Publication Date: October 13, 2015
    $16.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 1 in | 96 pages Carton Quantity: 1 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Cosmophilia means “love of ornament.” These poems might be thought of as elaborations – deliberate acts of imagination – that ornament the objects or events that inspired their creation, by emphasizing their complexity.

      The central poems are drawn from the poet’s memories of time spent with her family in Kashmir and, in particular, from contemplations of traditional Kashmiri handicrafts. Other poems in this collection draw on multiple cultural and artistic sources, family history, and Islamic imagery and language, and are elaborations on the author’s reflections on living and walking in Vancouver through the end of a marriage.

      The poet’s lyrical, emotionally powerful, narrative style engages cultural complexity by weaving traditional religious and political language and imagery into contemporary contexts. Some poems explore ideas of how the body refracts from historical trauma, including division of the state of Kashmir during the 1949 parition of Indian and Pakistan, as well as the loss of Arabic and non-Arabic scripts in Urdu and the consequent removal of language and memory embodied in language. Additionally there is a foregrounding of thematically interlinked schisms between religion and secularism, and the tension of navigating through these polarities as a person living within diaspora. Further areas that contribute to torquing the language are the emergence of secular modernism within the context of Muslim cultural and familial space.

      Cosmophilia represents and discovers the modern Muslim woman’s experience in Kashmir as well as urban North America, a setting both alienating and stimulating.

      Bio

      Rahat Kurd was a finalist in the 2014 Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Prize and named Emerging Artist in the Literary Arts category of the 2013 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Awards. Her essays have appeared in The Walrus and Maisonneuve magazines. She is a poet and a prose writer at work on a memoir about the making of Muslim culture in North America. Her work has been nominated for National Magazine Awards in the categories of Poetry and Personal Journalism (2011) and shortlisted for a CBC Literary Award (2007). She is the author of Reading Rights: A Woman’s Guide to the Law in Canada (Quarry Press, 1999).

      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews
      “This very rich world of images & sounds offers something of a gift to English-speaking Canadian readers … Cosmophilia is full of moments [that] strike to the heart. It’s a rich & rewarding first collection by a writer I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from.”
      – Eclectic Ruckus
  • 9
    catalogue cover
    Impeccable Regret Judith Fitzgerald Canada, Thomas Dilworth
    9780889229495 Book POETRY / Canadian Publication Date: September 28, 2015
    $16.95 CAD 6 x 9 x 0.75 in | 80 pages Carton Quantity: 1 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      Impeccable Regret travels terrain demonstrating that, as a result of the so-called postmodern impulses driving poetic discourse, culture has replaced nature as humanity’s defining context; that, within the paradigm of the twenty-worst century, the recollection of natural environments seems anachronistic or oxymoronic. The poems in this collection respond to the questions: What happens when natural phenomena no longer provide solace and comfort? And how do we define both “self” and “other” in postmodern terms when the basis for such assessments fails on a grand scale?

      To these ends, the poems concern themselves with the power of politics and the politics of power, both as they surround and confound the individual; both “I” and “you” in these poems transcend the local in order to undertake the divagation of truths with regard to the way in which, when two (or more) individuals are brought (or thrust) together, the dynamics of power and the political demand that one or more people dominate the others. Taking a stance far from the confessional mode, the work examines elements of our interior/exterior values while concurrently demonstrating how evaluation and devaluation control the work’s central question: how does one remain true to a common valuing of humanistic principles when the world, such as it is and isn’t, presses so insistently against each or all of us? Where do we turn when we wish to “disconnect”? Why does impeccable regret become so difficult to achieve, maintain, and sustain (or thrive beyond mere survival)?

      In the words of Arthur Miller, “all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.”

      Bio

      Judith Fitzgerald is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry as well as two bestselling biographies, Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy (Dundurn, 2001) and Building a Mystery: The Story of Sarah McLachlan and Lilith Fair (Quarry, 1997). Rapturous Chronicles (Mercury, 1991) was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry; her epyllion, River (ECW, 1995), was both shortlisted for the Trillium Award and honoured with the James McMaster Poetry Prize; and her collection of ghazals and sonnets, Twenty-Six Ways Out of This World (Above/ground Press, 1996), was named one of the six best poetry collections of the year published in English (Globe and Mail’s Top 100). Given Names: New and Selected Poems (Black Moss Press, 1985) was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award and won a Writers’ Choice Award.

      Thomas Dilworth is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and specializes in Modern Literature and Romantic Poetry. He is the author of multiple volumes of literary criticism, one of which, The Shape of Meaning in the Poetry of David Jones, won the British Council Prize in the Humanities.

      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Reviews
      Praise for past work:

      “Judith Fitzgerald’s poetry is remarkable. It is stunningly original; distinguished by wit, beauty, and a powerful sense of language, created always according to the high standards of integrity and craftsmanship which inform all aspects of her admirable literary enterprise.”
      – Leonard Cohen

      “Judith Fitzgerald is a poet and knows a thing or two.”
      – Paul Lisson

      “Read and reread her poetry: in its amazing use of language and idiom, she captures an entire world and its visions.”
      – David Staines (University of Ottawa)

      “A truly excellent poet, I don’t think there’s anybody in [Canada] that probably has the originality [Fitzgerald’s] voice possesses. She is not only the most intelligent poet in Canada, she’s also able to take language to new heights and is sensitive to language and all the nuances associated with it. She’s one of the greats; and, by that, I mean, THE GREATS.”
      – Alistair MacLeod
      “These poems are high-wire performances, in which all the glories of poetic history are employed, with sheer bravado, wit, & pizzazz. . A fitting tribute to all those it recalls, & to the poet whose final offering it has become.”
      – Eclectic Ruckus
      “These poems are high-wire performances, in which all the glories of poetic history are employed, with sheer bravado, wit, & pizzazz. . A fitting tribute to all those it recalls, & to the poet whose final offering it has become.”
      – Eclectic Ruckus
  • 10
    catalogue cover
    Rom Com Dina Del Bucchia Canada, Daniel Zomparelli Canada
    9780889229600 Book POETRY / Canadian Publication Date: October 13, 2015
    $19.95 CAD 5 x 8.5 x 0.75 in | 128 pages Carton Quantity: 54 Canadian Rights: Y Talonbooks
    • Marketing Copy

      Description

      At precisely the cultural moment you were hoping for, a dream team of smart, sexy, brunette, West Coast poets of Italian descent has passionately co-authored an intelligent collection of poetry that both celebrates and capsizes the romantic comedy.
      From the origin of the genre (It Happened One Night) to its contemporary expressions (Love Actually), the poems in Rom Com trace the attempt to deconstruct as well as engage in dialogue with romantic comedy films and the pop culture, celebrities, and tropes that have come to be associated with them. These irreverent, playful, weird, and comedic poems come in a variety of forms, fully engaging in pop culture, without a judgmental tone. They see your frumpy expectations and raise you issues of sexuality, consent, sexism, homophobia, race, and class. They explore the highs and lows of romantic relationships and the expectations and realities of love, tackling real emotional worlds through the lens of film.

      Two cool people wrote it. Dina Del Bucchia, the fashionable and voluptuous, is a woman on the go, brazenly hosting literary events and tweeting about otters and award shows. Daniel Zomparelli, the handsome and dashing, is a young, gay man-about-Vancouver who somehow also quietly edits (in chief) a semi-annual poetry journal. (Ship them all you want, fools.)

      How to tell if you are compatible with this book: Are you equally versed in literature and pop culture? Are you a film-savvy fan of contemporary poetry? Are you an academic with interest in literature and cultural studies? Are you in general a cool, sad person? This book might just be the sassy best friend you’ve wanted.

      Bio
      Dina Del Bucchia is the author of Coping with Emotions and Otters (Talonbooks, 2013) and Blind Items (Insomniac Press, 2014). She guest edited the Humour issue of Poetry Is Dead magazine, and is an artistic director of the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series. Her story “Under the ‘I’” was a finalist for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award. Dina co-hosts the podcast Can't Lit with Daniel Zomparelli. She holds an MFA from UBC and lives in Vancouver.

      Daniel Zomparelli is editor-in-chief of Poetry Is Dead magazine. He is a co-podcaster at Can’t Lit. His first book of poems, Davie Street Translations was published by Talonbooks. His current endeavours include After You, a series of interconnected poems that span North America.
      Marketing & Promotion
    • Awards & Reviews

      Awards
      Alcuin Awards for Book Design in Canada 2015, Commended
      Reviews
      “Daniel Zomparelli and Dina Del Bucchia lend coolness to a genre that’s steadfastly anything but in Rom Com. The book mines the conventions of romantic comedy, as well as the content of actual romantic comedies, with the kind of deep sympathy and sense of humour you’re only really able to pull off when you really love the thing you’re making fun of. … all in all it’s an in-depth exploration of a skin-deep genre that’s whip-smart and extremely fun to read.”
      Globe and Mail

      “If your relationship with mainstream rom coms remains, like mine, love/hate, on-again/off-again, or just ‘it’s complicated,’ then Rom Com might be a great place to share a laugh and maybe some tears of disappointment in mainstream media representation. I not only felt represented in these poems, but also seen and validated. … Rom Com doesn’t shy away from being critical of mainstream romantic comedies, even as it unabashedly expresses its love for the genre.”
      Daily Xtra
      “an in-depth exploration of a skin-deep genre that’s whip-smart and extremely fun to read.”
      Globe and Mail
      “Basically awesome. … The poems bounce between poking fun at the absurdity of rom-coms and their clichés, and shovelling ice cream scoops of sadness into their downturned mouths – sometimes all at once. …”
      —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
      “If your relationship with mainstream rom coms remains, like mine, love/hate, on-again/off-again, or just ‘it’s complicated,’ then Rom Com might be a great place to share a laugh and maybe some tears of disappointment in mainstream media representation. I not only felt represented in these poems, but also seen and validated. … Rom Com doesn’t shy away from being critical of mainstream romantic comedies, even as it unabashedly expresses its love for the genre.”
      Daily Xtra
      “Basically awesome. … The poems bounce between poking fun at the absurdity of rom-coms and their clichés, and shovelling ice cream scoops of sadness into their downturned mouths – sometimes all at once. … Maybe more people would like poetry if it was always this smart and fun.”
      —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
      “An enormously smart and witty collection, playing with stereotypes and a love of bad film. And yet, are Del Bucchia and Zomparelli celebrating the genre or pulling away the curtain, and revealing its inherent shallowness? The answer, I think, is, somehow, incredibly, both.”
      —rob mclennan’s blog

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