Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 1st: Kathy Page Launches Paradise & Elsewhere @ Salt Spring Island Library

"I've come from the sea," I told him, "I left my coat on the rock." My voice emerged rough-edged, sore. He raised the binoculars again. "I think I see something dark in the water. We'll take the boat and look." So we pushed out. He took the oars and I the glasses, and I quickly learned how to use them to bring the distance close. At times I too thought I could see a dark thing floating just below the surface of the water, but once we drew close I understood that it was nothing but a reflection of the rock, and despite him saying that whatever I had left there would likely wash up on the shore, I knew that I must act as if my old skin was gone, and that I now must live on land." - from "Low Tide"

Join Kathy Page @ the Salt Spring Island Public Library for the hometown launch of her "moody, shape-shifting, provocative" new collection, Paradise & Elsewhere.

Ray Robertson takes over the eh List in Toronto (Tonight!) and the Chatham Public Library (Saturday)

"I Was There The Night He Died doesn't read like a lot of Canadian fiction. It’s urban, has a lot of alt-country and obscure rock and roll in it, and it’s not trying to turn anyone into a better human being. It’s just a great story populated by some very real, very flawed characters.Granted, no one who works for the Chatham Chamber of Commerce will be too thrilled, but I think many of the rest of us will remember fondly a life not too far removed from our own, and have a laugh on the way." - David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books, The Cord Community
Ray Robertson takes over the eh List at the North York Public Library @7PM tonight, then we roll out the beer-soaked and musty grey carpet for his homecoming on Saturday @2PM at the Chatham Public Library. Both events are free and open to the public - yes, even to members of the Chatham Chamber of commerce.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ondjaki Appearing at IFOA

Join Host Grace O'Connell as she welcomes Ondjaki, Miriam Toews and Evie Wyld to present their latest works at Toronto's International Festival of Authors on Wednesday, April 30th.

Ondjaki was named one of The Guardian's Top Five African Writers in 2012. His most recent novel translated to English, Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret, was shortlisted in 2010 under the Best Book of the Year category of the São Paolo Prize for Literature. In 2013 Ondjaki won the José Saramago Prize for Literature.

Miriam Toews, 2004 Governor General's award winner and Giller Prize finaliast, will be celebrating the launch of her newest book All My Puny Sorrows. Evie Wyld will be reading from her second novel All the Birds, Singing. Her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.

Host Grace O'Connell has been nominated for the RBC Browen Wallace Award and two National Magazine Awards for fiction. Her novel Magnified World is a national bestseller.

The event begins at 7:30 pm in the York Quay Centre Brigantine Room, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto.

For more information visit the IFOA website here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Long Story Short, Kathy Page and C.P. Boyko

Join Biblioasis tomorrow evening at The Cultch in Vancouver for a round of short stories from two of  Canada's finest writers in the genre.

The Vancouver Sun describes them as "a pair of restless authors... drawn to experimentation with content, form, and tone, and who are (a reader could surmise) rebelling against a literary orthodoxy that holds up stalwart realism as the true writer’s best and only friend."

Kathy Page, nominee for the Governor General's Award and the Orange Prize, presents what Barbara Gowdy calls a "vibrant, startlingly imaginative collection" in Paradise and Elsewhere, while the Journey Prize-winning C.P. Boyko (Novelists, 2014) will have you rolling in the aisles with what Russell Banks calls "proudly, gloriously, gleefully old-fashioned" literary satire.

Hosted by Cynthia Flood, recently shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, Long Story Short will begin at 7pm and is an evening not to be missed.

As always, admission is free.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Presenting Ondjaki and Granma Nineteen

Next week we're delighted to announce that Ondjaki, one of Angola's best-known and most beloved authors, will embark on a cross-country Canadian tour. Are you in Ottawa? Toronto? Montreal? Windsor? Vancouver? Come out and hear the voice that has captured over a dozen international prizes and earned praise around the globe. For his complete tour schedule, read on! We'll have more about Granma Nineteen in the coming days.

Tuesday, April 29 – 8:30pm 
"Another Word for Nothing Left" 
with Padma Viswanathan, Ondjaki and Nadia Bozak
hosted by CBC's Adrian Harewood 
(location: Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street at Elgin)

Wednesday, April 30 – 7:30pm
Reading with Ondjaki, Miriam Toews and Evie Wyld 
(location: York Quay Centre, Brigantine Room)

3. Blue Metropolis Festival, MONTREAL                        
                           Friday, May 2nd – 7pm – 7:20pm
                            Book signing (location: Las Americas)

Saturday, May 3rd – 3:30pm – 4:30pm 
“Memory, family lore and fiction” 
with Luis Alberto Urrea, David Homel, and Ondjaki
(location: Las Americas)

Saturday, May 3rd – 5pm – 6pm
“Cara a Cara Com Ondjaki” Portuguese language event 
(location: Las Americas)

Saturday, May 3rd – 8pm – 9:30pm

“Face to Face With Ondjaki” Interview
hosted by CBC's Paul Kennedy 
(location: Salle Godin)

Tuesday, May 6 – 7pm
Reading with Ray Robertson, C.P. Boyko, K.D. Miller and Ondjaki 
(location: Biblioasis bookshop)

Wednesday, May 7 – 7:30pm
Reading with Ondjaki, Claire Battershill and Sean Michaels 
(location: Alice MacKay Room, Central Library)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Birds, Books, and Brunch @ The Willistead, May 10th @ 11AM

Dear Windsor friends! Spring is here, May is almost upon us, and you know what that means: Mother's Day is just around the corner! Still trying to figure out how to celebrate that special mother in your life? Look no further: we've got just the ticket. On Saturday May 10th @ 11AM, Biblioasis and House of Anansi will be teaming up to bring you Birds, Books, & Brunch, a special author event and luncheon with Toronto memoirist, bookseller, and birding fanatic Lynn Thomson @ The Willistead restaurantThomson will be launching and reading from Birding With Yeats, an inspirational memoir about motherhood and the family connections forged through birdwatching and nature. Join her as she takes us on trip a to several of Canada's most breathtaking bird sanctuaries, including our own Pelee Island

Individual tickets are only 35$ and include brunch, coffee/tea, and a copy of Birding With Yeats; tickets for two are only 50$ and include two brunches, coffee/tea and a copy of the book. These make for excellent Mother's Day gifts and are available at both Biblioasis and The Willistead. Spaces are limited and will move fast, so be sure purchase tickets soon. For more information call 519-968-2206 or email Jesse at We hope to see you there!

Biblioasis Author Interviews and Reviews

I'm happy to bring you more great news for Bibliosis authors.

Alexandra Oliver appears on rob maclennan's blog for an interview regarding the Pat Lowther-shortlisted collection Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway.

The Underground Book Club posted a glowing review of Zachariah Wells' Career Limiting Moves: Interviews, Rejoinders, Essays, Reviews. Michael Bryson calls it "Playful, snarky, sharp-witted, intelligent and polemical ... his debate skills (formidable) leave his opponents flattened."

EVENT Magazine reviewed Jessica Hiemstra's Self-Portrait Without a Bicycle, describing it as follows: “The poems themselves-free-verse stanzas whose titles are almost always composed of subject and verb, and whose sentences often overlap with the first lines of subsequent sections—dart in and out [of] narratives … [and] are strongest when the narrative stakes are highest … tender and convincing.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ray Robertson in the News

Biblioasis is pleased to announce several reviews of the highly acclaimed I Was There the Night He Died by Ray Robertson:

"I Was There the Night He Died, [Ray Robertson's] seventh novel, is an absorbing and hilarious read, despite the most tragic of narratives ... the narrative is filled with sly wit and keen observation ... an exceptional novel by one of the country's finest literary voices."—The National Post

"Penned in the stark-yet-warm rock'n'roll prose that has become his signature ... Robertson creates characters who dance and sing even as they suffer the malaise of life ... [and] has a great deal of fun with his chosen profession, poking sly jabs at the stereotypical image of the writer while at the same time paying tribute to it."—The Winnipeg Review

Ray was also interviewed by Chatham Daily News' Ellwood Shreve, who claimed that “I have read and enjoyed some of Robertson's books, including What Happened Later, David and Why Not? What makes his books even more interesting to me is the fact they are set in Chatham. The way he describes neighbourhoods and places, I can see it in my mind's eye.”—Chatham Daily News

On April 9th, Chatham This Week heralded I Was There the Night He Died as a "portrait of a self-medicating man’s midlife crisis, a testimony to love’s persistence despite death and decline, and ultimately a passionate defence of the power of popular music to change our lives.”—Chatham This Week

49th Shelf posted it in the "On Our Radar" blog series and quoted Cord Community "I Was There The Night He Died doesn’t read like a lot of Canadian fiction. It’s urban, has a lot of alt-country and obscure rock and roll in it, and it’s not trying to turn anyone into a better human being. It’s just a great story populated by some very real, very flawed characters. Granted, no one who works for the Chatham Chamber of Commerce will be too thrilled, but I think many of the rest of us will remember fondly a life not too far removed from our own, and have a laugh on the way.”—49th Shelf

And last but not least, Open Book Ontario posted a segment with Ray Robertson on the role of money in fiction.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Week in Books

National Poetry month continues with an event in Halifax tonight, Tuesday April 22, at 6:30 pm. There Invisible Publishing, Literary Press Group, and The League of Canadian Poetry are presenting, for your listening pleasure, an evening of exemplary Canadian poets. Biblioasis' own Richard Norman will be reading from Zero Kelvin, a collection that marries astronomy to poetry. Also appearing are Geordie Miller, launching his collection Re:union, Rachel Lebowitz reading from Cottonopolis, and Sylvia Hamilton with her new collection And I Alone Escaped To Tell You. Stop by Argyle Fine Art, 1559 Barrington Street, Halifax for your literary fix.

Biblioasis is also pleased to announce the return of The Book Doctor Dan Mezza. Bring your antique, rare, and damaged books to the Bibliomanse on Saturday April 26th from 1-4pm for information on restoration and preservation.

More event postings to come.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Pope's Bookbinder Receives Honourable Mention from the Alcuin Society

Well we've thought for almost a year now that David Mason's The Pope's Bookbinder was one of our handsomest productions, and it seems that others agree. Want the specs? We printed it as a 6x9 hardback (boards Rainbow BB with a foil-embossed spine), jacket in uncoated Mohawk Feltweave, with the text on 55lb Rolland offset cream with 80lb gloss art paper for the photo spread. The vintage-looking Faber and Faber-inspired cover has been a hit with bibliophiles across the country. The endpapers were taken from a painting of David Mason's Gerrard St. store by Ruth Jackson. And we haven't even got to the limited-edition leatherback copies, hand-bound by Dan Mezza out of London, Ontario ....

Congratulations to David, to typesetter Chris Andrechek, and cover designer Kate Hargreaves. Well done!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

System Crashing Fidelity Upholder

In his thoughtful personal-reminiscence-cum-review for Underground Book Club, Michael Bryson praises Zachariah Wells's new essay collection Career Limiting Moves all the while clarifying certain misconceptions about its author: 
I have heard him called an asshole. I've heard him called right wing. I've heard him called a misogynist. In the book he notes he's been claimed and rejected by both the populists and the elites. In truth, he has always been what his letter to TDR in 2002 perhaps should have made clear: a jury of one. An iconoclast. One who rejects systems. One who seeks a genuine, unpredictable deep connection with the wildness that is existence and also, therefore, literature [...] He praises poems that press against the outer boundaries. He praises poems that pressure language until it reveals its limit. Then he asks it to go further.
For an example of Zach at his thought-provoking, counter-intuitive, and polemical best, we recommend checking out this week's #BITSblog post, in which he grapples with Goran Simić's From Sarajevo With Sorrow and the importance of journalistic fidelity when translating the poetry of witness. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kathy Page a "Best in New Small Press Books," Globe & Mail

This week we're happy to report that Kathy Page's Paradise & Elsewhere, pictured below in this wonderful display at Salt Spring Books, has had its first two reviews: a short-but-sweet feature in the "Best in New Small Press Books" in The Globe and Mail, and a lengthy write-up in The Winnipeg Review. Here's what our media pals had to say:

“The intensely familiar and the strikingly odd combine here to form a reading experience similar to that of fable. Indeed, though Paradise is set in modern times, here we cover similar ground as that of Greek myth or Grimm … but rest assured, these contemporary tales are as insightful as their older counterparts.”

“All at once the stories in this collection are realistic, feminist, apocalyptic … [Kathy Page] has got it all, and she is unapologetic about delivering the goods …  this book is full of beautiful intelligent writing that is sharp, raw and to the point. And it just might make us all better human beings.”

Not bad, huh? Kathy's got events coming up all over the place over the next few months, so keep an eye out for her in Vancouver (April 29), Salt Spring (May 1), Windsor (May 26), and Toronto (May 27-28). Books should be in stores any minute now, if they aren't already ... and if you want to know where you can find Paradise & Elsewhere in a town near you, drop us a line any time.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Biblioasis in the LA Review of Books

We knew it was coming. We'd thought maybe last month, and then we knew for sure this month, and then we knew for-sure for sure when a very dear customer wrote to us from California:
After 10 more days of pacing and nail-chewing, and again thanks to our friends Leslie and Neil, yesterday we finally saw a copy of the press profile that's running in this month's LA Review of Books. They ran a three-page interview with Dan. Needless to say, we were thrilled, but we were ESPECIALLY thrilled with their opening paragraph, of which I've transcribed the opening sentences:

"As Detroit considers selling off major artworks to stay afloat, the literary scene just across the river in Windsor, Ontario is flourishing. It's there in 'South Detroit' that Biblioasis is publishing some of the best poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the world."

Yep. In the WORLD. Three cheers for the LARB! It's print-only, so if you're eager to see a copy, drop one of us a line and we'll send you a scan.

Happy Friday, all—

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Best of the Best Translated Book Awards

For those of you who aren't yet in the habit of checking in every Tuesday for weekly updates on the newly revamped BITSblog, we had a pretty cool feature this week. We teamed up with Chad Post from Open Letter and Three Percent to showcase single iconic or otherwise representative sentences from all 25 books longlisted for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award. The sentences were posted unattributed, with embedded links to the books from which they were culled, so that readers could judge the quality of the writing and perhaps be moved to seek out a title they otherwise would not have gravitated towards. To read the compiled sentences click here. And if that wasn't cool enough, we were very pleased to learn in the immediate wake of the post that The Best Translated Book Award had just won the LBF International Book Industry Excellence Award! 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Polyamorous Clicking Song

It's been a few weeks since we've done a "Blogging from the Bookshop" post here at Thirsty, and I was thinking I'd mix it up a bit today by talking about a couple new Spring books I've picked up in the shop in the last week and have really been enjoying. 

Many of you in Windsor and beyond might be acquainted with Jason Guriel by now, our poetry criticism tour  - in which Zach Wells and Anita Lahey also took part - having recently swung through a city near you. I loved Guriel's new book of essays The Pigheaded Soul, in which panache, wit, and stylistic savvy make for poetry criticism as (who would have thought it?) page-turning entertainment. And Guriel is high on the entertainment factor, the following passage from the introduction to The Pigheaded Soul having been a point of irritation and contention for a surprising number of audience members at every stop of the What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry mini-tour: 
The truly helpful poetry critics can't help themselves - and can't help but frustrate some (maybe even many) of the very readers they hope to serve. These are the readers who tend to want too much and, paradoxically, too little from poetry [...] By overburdening poems with so noble a purpose (making thoughtless readers think) we over ennoble their authors. To be sure, a person might acquire a fact or two from poems, but the best poetry is first and foremost what T.S. Eliot would call a 'superior amusement'.
Contrary to what some interpret as an attempt to reduce poetry to crass entertainment, Guriel's insistence that a poem must above all else entertain and engage a reader - and that its various edifying, enlightening, consoling properties can only truly be achieved first and foremost through said engagement - is also an operating aesthetic principle in his poetry, and one poets should pay heed to: it demystifies the chasm between intention and effect and makes the poet accountable to their audience. 

It's too bad Guriel's new book of poetry Satisfying Clicking Sound, which just arrived in bookstores this week, wasn't out yet for the tour, because it is one such 'superior amusement,' featuring dexterous, colloquial poems with tight conceits that engage the reader at the level of music and image and put Guriel's critical credos into practice. Here's an excerpt from "Harebrained" in which the speaker imagines getting "a hare transplant" and being taken over by the impulses and tendencies of a promiscuous rabbit: 
You don't know
why you feel
compelled to hurry
once you clear
the canopy
of the wood -
you only know
you should.
Like a scrap
of cloud you get
carried away
by the scruff,
but you have no
word for talon-
tipped things
that fly above,
enjoying bird's
eye views of
whatever is
the word for
fluff like you.
It's ignorance
not to think
this bliss.
There's a platitude in the poetry community that poetry oriented at a reader is poetry that is inherently dumbed-down and *gasp* accessible. In addition to resorting to the post-modern cliché that coherent communication is an inherently cheapened and vulgar enterprise, it also assumes that capital P poetry exists only for a specialized audience of doctoral candidates. Guriel shows you that poetry can be flashy and smart without being oblique and arcane. I'd recommend Guriel's Satisfying Click Sound to longtime lovers of poetry and newcomers alike. 


Switching gears from poetry to fiction, I'd also bring Montreal-based writer Jacob Wren's new novel Polyamorous Love Song to your attention. Wren is an interdisciplinary artist whose work engages with literature, art criticism, radical politics, cinema, and performance installations. His books are structurally innovative, but functionally, necessarily so. He writes about love triangles, secret societies, gallery curators turned con-artists, politics as reality tv, interpersonal relationships and romantic crisis as fodder for avant-garde art, and more. His style is much more indebted to and reminiscent of  the central European and Latin American authors you'd find on a New Directions or Archipelago roster than anything published in Canada. Which, I guess, is partly why I like his work so much: it's heartening to know someone in Canada is not only reading as widely as Wren, but also finding an authentic way to synthesize the material. For Wren, "reading is always an act of creating one's own personal literary canon and then trying to put it into play, put it into some sort of dialogue with the world."

His 2010 novel Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed is a personal favourite of mine which, as Chris Kraus puts it, "recasts the recent political past as dystopian sci-fi." Polyamorous Love Song only came in yesterday, but I read half of it in a sitting last night, and so far it's about the parasitic nature of the artist; the fraught enterprise of creativity; an art movement in which "the idea of making [a] film is gradually replaced by this new idea of living it out instead"; a shadowy terrorist group advocating for "the social liberation of those who wear mascot uniforms"; a man writing a book about Hitler having intercourse with a dog; a woman writing a book about orgies whose purpose is to spread a virus engineered to eradicate high-ranking members of the political right (when a woman from the left gets it and becomes terminally ill she is forced to reexamine the authenticity of her political beliefs); and a book that is possibly the instruction manual of a cult and also shares the same title as the book about orgies: A Dream for the Future and a Dream for Now. How this all synthesizes is difficult to describe, but it does, and it's blowing my mind. Wren's fiction depicts a world in which everything is mediated by the political, a thrilling and terrifying world in which conceptual art bleeds into an underground nexus of conspiracy and intrigue and where the lines between life and performance are dissolved: 
"If this was one of your projects, one of your films -" Silvia was really shouting now, trying to be heard over the music that was filling her head, trying to be heard over her own crying and anger, "if this was one of your projects then you'd really be paying attention. Then you'd know what the fuck I was talking about."
"What do you mean one of my projects?" Filmmaker A realized she couldn't help herself, she was getting angry, raising her voice too, as they stared each other down across the expanse of the warehouse balcony. 
"One of your projects." Silvia was crying so hard now she could barely make herself heard. "one of your fucking projects. One of your films."
"What are you talking about?" Filmmaker A was really yelling now, really getting upset, "This is the film ... What we're doing now, this is the film. Haven't you understood anything I've been saying ..." But then she caught herself and quieted down a bit too suddenly, nonetheless continuing to speak, almost to herself, though still loud enough for Silvia to hear, "This is the film." Silvia was crying but listening. "This is the film. And it's heartbreaking. And it's wonderful." 

Catherine Chandler at the Signal Gala, This Friday

It's day two of National Poetry Month here at Biblioasis, and we're pleased to say that very soon our own Catherine Chandler will be launching her new book (Glad and Sorry Seasons) along with a host of extremely talented Signal Editions authors. Taking place on Friday at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, 211 Bernard Ouest, Montreal, the Signal Gala is the perfect way to begin the month. Join Catherine along with Edward Carson, Jason Guriel, Jim Johnstone, and Richard Greene at one of the best indie bookshops going!

Catherine's poetry marries modern themes with traditional poetic forms, such as the sonnet, the kyrielle, the sonondilla, and the ballad stanza. We've included a little excerpt for you below (and we will, FYI, be continuing to post poems daily, or-close-to-daily, on Thirsty from now until the end of the month). She'll also be reading at The Yellow Door on April 10th.

(We're pretty sure spring feels a little more sprung now than it did when this next poem was written.)

Full Snow Moon
Catherine Chandler

The moon is full again. A latticed frost
clings to my window, while the crystal crust
of Lake Saint Louis glows as if embossed
with pearls this February night. It must
be twenty-five below. I search for words
of warmth the Guaraní alone must know
to trace their land of butterflies and birds
I made my own a mere four weeks ago.

She waxes and she wanes; she's counted on,
through human inconsistency and pride,
to reverence the rising sun each dawn
and keep her promise to the ocean tide.
But Luna's is a distant, lurid face,
her silent O no answer as to how
on earth I'll ever find the grit and grace
to muddle through to spring, one moon from now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Alexandra Oliver Shortlisted for Pat Lowther Award

Dear Friends:

We're delighted to kick off National Poetry Month with happy news: this morning the League of Canadian Poets announced that Alexandra Oliver's Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. The Lowther is given annually to a book of poetry by a Canadian woman, and carries a $1,000 prize. It is presented each year at the League’s Annual General Meeting in May or June. Previous winners include Karen Solie and Dionne Brand.

For those of you new to Alexandra's work, you're in for a treat. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway was a Canadian Poetry Book of the Year (National Post, 2013) and from first page to last stands as a testament to the sheer performative power of form. It's acerbic, witty, dramatic, moving, and sharp. Below is a sample of what the critics had to say. And if you've never had the pleasure of hearing Alexandra read, we highly recommend you check out some of her recent performances online: this is from our fall 2013 Toronto launch, and this is Alexandra's reading at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in 2011.

We hope you'll join us in offering your hearty congratulations to Alexandra, and to all the other nominees (Elizabeth Bachinsky, Anne Compton, Sadiqa de Meijer, Micheline Maylor, and Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang). The recognition is much-deserved. For ordering information, more about Tormentors, or a sample poem or two, please read on.

Peace and love,

Praise for Alexandra Oliver

“An incredible feat of vision and voice … technically, nothing is out of Oliver’s grasp. Her go-to iambic pentameter can swallow anything in its path. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway should go a long way toward establishing Oliver as one of the country’s best stanza makers, with a fluidity and ambition aspiring to Dylan Thomas or Yeats  … When she succeeds, she succeeds entirely.”—Michael Lista, The National Post

"Alexandra Oliver has many arrows in her quiver—all of them sharpened to a fine point … This is an excellent and entertaining collection."—Timothy Steele

"It is sometimes argued that our disjunctive times need to be mirrored by disjunctive forms: only aesthetic disorder can respond to our experience. Such a simplicity is disproven by Alexandra Oliver’s Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, in which disjunctions of many kinds (such as the one in her title) are brought to order by the poet’s refining passion and corrosive wit. Here are brilliantly contemporary poems in traditional forms, the work of a stunning new voice."—Charles Martin

"Alexandra Oliver is in full command of a saber wit and impeccable ear. With these she tackles nothing less than the unsettling hazards, absurd encounters, and oddball ironies of our modern predicament to make poems that bite and entertain … Oliver’s considerable formal skills are always employed to prod and direct poetry’s energies to keep pace with the contemporary world. Lucky the reader along for the ride."—Jeanne Marie Beaumont

For more about the Pat Lowther Award visit the LCP website.

About Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway
Visit Alexandra's page at Biblioasis.Trade Paper
Sept. 2013
14.95 USD/17.95 CAD
64 pp

In Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway
, Alexandra Oliver zooms in on the inertias, anxieties, comedies, cruelties, and epiphanies of domestic life:

They all had names like Jennifer or Lynne
or Katherine; they all had bone-blonde hair,
that wet, flat cut with bangs. They pulled your chair
from underneath you, shoved their small fists in
your face. Too soon, you knew it would begin,
those minkish teeth like shrapnel in the air,
the Bacchic taunts, the Herculean dare,
their soccer cleats against your porcine shin,
that laugh, which sounded like a hundred birds
escaping from a gunshot through the reeds—
and now you have to face it all again:
the joyful freckled faces lost for words
in supermarkets, as those red hands squeeze
your own. It’s been so long! They say. Amen.

Oliver’s poems, which she describes as “text-based home movies,” unveil a cinematic vision of suburbia at once comical and poignant: framed to renew our curiosity in the mundane and pressing rhyme and metre to their utmost, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway is a five-star performance from Canada’s new formalist sensation.

Visit Alexandra's website
Visit Biblioasis's website
Purchase a copy online