Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Little Literary Press That Could (& More Praise for Jailbreaks)

Managing editor Jared Bland has published a short post on the Walrus Blog about Biblioasis, enough to pick up our spirits a touch on a rather sweltering day above the garage. Here's a taste:

Surely Biblioasis, the small independent press run out of Emeryville, Ontario, is among the bravest entities in Canadian literature. This spring, after all, their list contained not one but two books of critical essays. One would be risk enough. Two is sort of admirably crazy.

Also, for Jailbreaks, the second nice bit of praise it has received this week. The Winnipeg Free Press reviewed it last Saturday, saying it belonged in every school library across the land, but thus far they are the only major paper to give it som much as a millimetre of ink.

Jared had this to say:

But what’s most endeared the press to me this year is Jailbreaks, a collection of ninety-nine Canadian sonnets, edited and annotated by Zachariah Wells. (Just how eclectic and broad is Biblioasis’s scope? This fall it will release Wells and Rachel Lebowitz’s children’s book in verse, Anything but Hank!, which has a really awesome cover.) Wells’s collection makes me happy for a number of reasons, but foremost among them is the eccentric range of names contained within ... What Wells offers is a thematic survey on formalist grounds, a sort of sleight of hand that makes the collection immediately familiar and intelligible but also, as his insightful notes on each poem show, rigorous in its aesthetic evaluations and thoughtful in its attention to details of prosody. As an editor and commentator, Wells is incredibly perceptive and mercifully concise. ... It’s perhaps a fine distinction, but this is a collection for those interested more in poetry by Canadians than Canadian poetry.

The whole post can be found here:

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