Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Poetry Round-Up

Since the weather has started to cool down in the past couple days, and the leaves are beginning to turn colour and loosen from their branches, and there's an undercurrent of wood smoke in the breeze, I'd be lying if I said it didn't all put me in a contemplative mood. So, with the spirit of contemplation in mind, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring a few recent poetry notices to your attention. 

A couple weeks ago, Catherine Owen's The Marrow Review did a nice roundup of two of our poetry books chosen completely at random: Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway by Alexandra Oliver and Meniscus by Shane Neilson. Oliver's 2013 Pat Lowther Award-Winning Canadian debut gets a favourable nod for its "sing-songy, Philip Larkinesque, rhyming, mannered, smart, continental and often quite droll" lyrics while Shane Neilson's "sophisticate and slant" musicality  in Meniscus is praised for its "bleeps & grinds & mellifluous witnessings to loss." Owen is especially fond of Meniscus for its controlled yet intense exploration of "elegy, insanity, injury and adoration."

Susan Gillis has been doing some great work on her newish blog Concrete & River of late, and this past week saw the posting of a short but fascinating exchange between her and Amanda Jernigan. Jernigan describes the various ways in which localized speech, a magical house of books in Virginia, and the life-altering experience of motherhood have informed her work and vision over the years. You can read the full exchange here. Jernigan's Groundwork was a 2011 Best Poetry Book, and her 2013 Cormorant follow-up, All the Daylight Hours, was a National Post Canadian Poetry Book of the Year for 2013.

Catherine Chandler's sonnet "Coming to Terms" received a Laureate's Choice Award earlier this month in the Great River Shakespeare Festival, Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest (Winona, Minnesota). It was singled-out among over 400 submissions by poets from thirty-six U.S. states and seven countries. The poem, which also won the 2010 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, appears in Chandler's Glad and Sorry Seasons. See why Eric Ormsby says there is "no form of which Catherine Chandler is not a master, from quatrains and Sapphics to ballads and pantoums. She is an especially brilliant sonneteer." 

And finally, Kerry-Lee Powell's Inheritance, which is our lead fall poetry title and which is making its way through the printers at Coach House as we speak, is a 49th Shelf Most Anticipated Fall Poetry Book. Kerry-Lee's fiction has won her a two book deal with Harper Collins as well as accolades from the likes of Nathan Englander and Junot Diaz, and her poetic debut is a fierce and moving one. It should definitely be on the radar of all lovers of Canadian Poetry.

And now back to my coffee and weltschmerz.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"One of Canada's Most Daring and Dynamic Independent Presses" Turns Ten!

If you've seen the September issue of  Quill & Quire, you'll know that this fall represents a  watermark for us at Biblioasis: it marks our tenth anniversary as independent publishers. To celebrate, we'll be hosting a series of retrospective features and launches in Eden Mills, Montreal, Toronto, Waterloo, Windsor, and Fredericton. In addition of featuring a stupendous sampling of our list to date, and sometimes serving as the launches for such new fall titles as Kathleen Winter's The Freedom in American Songs and Diane Schoemperlen's By the Book, each event will feature a unique lineup of readers as well as panel discussions with guest-hosts, not to mention book giveaways and other festivities. 

The dates as well as event pages for the various events are listed below. Come tilt at windmills with us!

Eden Mills:

Sunday, September 14th, 2:00-4:30PM
Chapel Street, Eden Mills 

Featuring readings from C.P Boyko, Diane Schoemperlen, K.D. Miller and Ray Robertson, and Dan Wells in conversation with Leon Rooke and John Metcalf


Monday, September 22nd, 7:00PM
Atwater Library, 1200 Atwater Avenue
Co-presented by QWF

The launch of The Freedom in American Songs by Kathleen Winter and Alphabet by Kathy Page, and featuring readings from Quebec writers Robyn Sarah, Alice Petersen, Norm Sibum, Joshua Trotter, Catherine Chandler, and Mauricio Segura, as well as a panel discussion.


Wednesday, September 24th, 7:30PM
Harbourfront Center, 235 Queens Quay West
Co-presented by IFOA 

The Toronto launch of The Freedom in American Songs by Kathleen Winter, By The Book by Diane Schoemperlen, and Inheritance by Kerry-Lee Powell; it will also feature readings from Alexander MacLeod, John Metcalf, K.D. Miller, Kathy Page, Ray Robertson, Leon Rooke, and Rebecca Rosenblum, as well as a panel discussion.


Thursday, September 25th, 7:00PM
The Jazz Room, Heuther Hotel, 59 King Street North 
Co-presented by Words Worth Books

Featuring readings from Amanda Jernigan, Alexander MacLeod, John Metcalf, K.D. Miller, Kerry-Lee Powell, and Ray Robertson. 


Friday, September 26th, 7:00PM
Capitol Theatre, 121 University Ave West 
Co-presented by Bookfest Windsor

Featuring readings from Marty Gervais, Alexander MacLeod, John Metcalf, K.D. Miller, Ray Robertson, and Paul Vasey, to be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Bob Steele of CBC Windsor.


Saturday & Sunday, October 4th & 5th,  All Day
UNB, Memorial Hall 
Presented by UNB Poetry Weekend 

Featuring readings from Kerry-Lee Powell, Zachariah Wells, Shane Neilson, Joshua Trotter, and Richard Norman. Hosted by Ross Leckie.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Biblioasis is Hiring

Are you interested in working for Biblioasis? We're currently hiring a full-time in-house publicist. If you're interested, check out the job description below, and email Dan Wells ( with you resumé and cover letter. Applications will be accepted until September 15th.

  • plan and implement national and international publicity strategies for 16-20 books annually, including electronic pitches, review copy mailings, and related follow-up
  • build and manage relations with key media throughout North America
  • write and tailor catalogue copy for different markets
  • write and update press releases and pitches
  • manage and update bibliodata and other electronic feeds to keep information about our books current
  • liaise with bookstores to promote our books, arrange author signings, and secure event coverage in area media
  • use social media to promote press, authors and books
  • submit books for appropriate awards programs
  • create and implement special promotions and co-op for key titles
  • help plan author receptions, book launches, and trade show appearances
  • write funding applications and grants which pertain to marketing, sales and author travel
  • oversee updates on the Press’s website 
  • serve as a spokesperson for the press
  • liaise with sales forces in Canada and the United States
  • field author queries and help handle author relations
  • solicit blurbs and endorsements
  • solicit direct sales 
  • other duties as assigned
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills 
  • highly organized with exceptional attention to detail under tight deadlines
  • strong knowledge of Microsoft Office and social media outlets/technology
  • strong interpersonal, organizational, and problem-solving skills are essential
  • the ability to prioritize and work on numerous tasks simultaneously and the ability to work with minimal supervision is required.
  • must be able to travel via any means necessary and must have a valid driver’s license and passport; overnight and occasional weekend and week-long travel will be required.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ondjaki in the Times Literary Supplement

Hey all. Happy to report that rumour became reality this weekend, with a thoughtful review running in Friday's Times Literary Supplement for Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret. You won't be able to find it online, but here are the highlights:

"As with Ondjaki's other novels—including Bom dis camaradas (2001; Good Morning Comrades) and Os Transparentes (2012)—this is a strangely deceptive read. Although the narrative often feels rather whimsical, Angola's long history of colonialism and conflict, its various foreign allies and enemies, and the extraordinary suffering of its population, are menacingly present ... a brave and highly political work."

The piece—written by Lara Pawson, former BBC correspondent to Angola—also does a good job of providing an historical context for Ondjaki's novel, and it draws forward the aspects of it that linger deliberately in the background. Want to see the whole thing? Feel free to drop us an email, and we'll arrange for you to see it. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Biblioasis leads off Quill & Quire's 2014 Short Fiction Fall Preview

In their new Fall Preview for Short Fiction and Crime Fiction for 2014, Quill and Quire opens with and devotes a whole paragraph to yours truly and our forthcoming story collections from Kathleen Winter and Diane Schoemperlen. We are pretty honoured. I include the paragraph in question below, and the full article can be found here.

Also, a nice nod to our own "talented designer of covers" Kate Hargreaves in the Poetry section, whose book  Leak is forthcoming from Bookthug in October. 
"In each successive season, Biblioasis (a small press in Windsor, Ontario) adds to one of the most impressive catalogues of short fiction being published anywhere in this country. This fall, it will release two new collections, including one by an undisputed master of the genre: Diane Schoemperlen. Her new work is billed as a sequel to the Governor General’s Literary Award–winning 1998 collection Forms of Devotion, which combined prose and images to tell its stories. By the Book: Stories and Pictures ($29.95 cl., Sept.) goes even further, comprising a series of stories interspersed with 73 colour collages that nostalgically evoke handbooks and encyclopedias of bygone eras. • Also in September, Biblioasis will publish the sophomore collection from Kathleen Winter, whose previous collection, boYs, won the Metcalf-Rooke Award. Featuring an erstwhile Zamboni mechanic who has entered the funeral business, a dog with a chastity belt, and a septuagenarian tree climber, The Freedom in American Songs ($19.95 pa., Sept.) showcases Winter’s offbeat, humorous sensibility." - Steven W. Beattie 

Friday, August 01, 2014

'All Saints reads like a collision between Barbara Pym and Lynn Coady’s Hellgoing'

The love for K.D Miller's All Saints keeps rolling in, this time courtesy of Kerry Clare in The Globe and Mail:

Miller – in language that doesn’t draw attention to itself, but bends to suit her purposes – uses the small moments in life to illuminate big questions. Where did the story start? What is destiny? Is there an order to the universe, to a life? ... It’s an absorbing, amusing and deeply meaningful read that affirms the power of sacred spaces – and excellent books – even in the modern world.

Happy Weekend!


Some nice bits of news for Kathy Page recently, including a staff pick for Alphabet at Boswell Book Co., a shout-out on David Abrams's "Front Porch Books" feature on The Quivering Pen blog, and a coveted spot at the Top of the Long List in this week's Barnes & Noble Review. "Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural," they comment, "from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses." Not bad, eh?

It's actually been a fun south-of-the-border week for Biblioasis generally, with this "Biblioasis wins at tote bags" tweet here from Lev Grossman, books editor at Time magazine. Plus David Abrams had this to say about l'il old us ...

"Speaking of Canada, have I ever mentioned how much I love Ontario-based publisher Biblioasis? If not, then let me correct that lapse right now. Biblioasis has been putting out high-quality, hand-crafted literature for a number of years and I always love it when their books sneak south across the border onto my doorstep."

Happy Friday!