Sunday 30 November 2008

Three-hole punch and a ribbon

Another catch-up post. Signal poet Susan Glickman (Running in Prospect Cemetery: New and Selected Poems, 2004) was interviewed last October on the increasingly indispensable Desk Space.

Glickman on her dog: "Toby has been a crucial contributor to my writing life for the past three years. While I work, he lies on a yoga mat you can’t see beside my desk, waiting for me to hit a snag so we can go out for a walk. How many walks he gets each day is directly related to how well my work is going."

The cartoon above is a part of a series called "The Write Stuff" by Glickman (aka Lotus). You can see more of them at Bitstrips.

Saturday 29 November 2008

Effin' good

I'm a little late with this, but want to put in a good word for the second issue of Riddle Fence, the smart new Newfoundland literary magazine. A couple of Signal poets make an appearance. Jason Guriel (whose Pure Product is slated for Spring 2009) reviews George Murray's The Rush to Here, and John Steffler (Helix: New and Selected Poems) has four poems.

Highlights also include poetry by the now Montreal-based Danielle Devereaux ("You'll know me when I'm / an old woman. I'll be the one with ratty / fingernails. Jowls."), David O'Meara ("The numbers predict tomorrow / will be cold, with a chance of rain") and David Hickey's hilarious baker ditty ("Even the baker hates me now / Even the baker hates me / Even the baker hates me now / For sins against Lord Bread").

The standout piece, however, is novelist Joel Thomas Hynes' torrentially abusive manifesto, "God Help Thee." Maisonneuve has bravely reprinted it on their website. Or you can hear Hynes' recitation of it -- as well as purchase the MP3 download -- at Riddle Fence.

Friday 28 November 2008

Manicom and Steinmetz launch party pics

A rather manic David Manicom holding Lucca Starnino

The Vehicule Family (Nancy Marelli, David Manicom, Andrew Steinmetz, Simon Dardick, Carmine Starnino and son Lucca)

Simon Dardick and Andrew Steinmetz

Marketing manager Maya Assouad and Maisonneuve editor Derek Webster

Buffalo Runs Press publisher Correy Baldwin.

Thursday 27 November 2008


Not sure how I missed this, but back in October reviewed two of our poetry books, Red Ledger by Mary Dalton and Standing Wave by Robert Allen. Money quotes below.

"[Dalton] displays a wonderfully unstodgy maturity in tackling the erotic, the historical and the socio-political environment of her home province in stanzaic poetry, rants and folkloric parables...This collection is entirely enjoyable, thought-provoking and well told."

"[Allen's] references favour present culture—including CNN, Tinkerbell, Satie, Billy Collins, Davey Crockett, and the Titanic—over the past. Yet there are echoes of Shakespeare in the repetition of the north-north-westerly wind direction, with traces of nursery rhymes and the Bible."

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Hood on Baseball and the Canadian Disposition

Andrew Hood talks to Ghostrunner on First in this exchange on baseball, the Canadian disposition, our inner monsters, violence in sport, John Olerud and Samantha Fox. About Pardon Our Monsters, Ghostrunner says, 'The collection reads like a veritable roadmap of the maturation-with-great-reluctance process. Various stages and ages are represented, but the interactions and feelings always ring true. ' Read more here.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Double Launch

Véhicule Press & Gaspereau Press invite you to a double launch on Thursday, November 27 at 6:30 pm. Paragraphe Bookstore, 2220 McGill College Avenue, Montreal 514.845.5811

Andrew Steinmetz is the author of Eva's Threepenny Theatre (Gaspereau Press). His work has been shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award, the Quebec Writers Federation (QWF) First Book Award, the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, and the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Steinmetz is the editor of Esplanade Books / Véhicule Press. He lives in Ottawa.

David Manicom is the author of Anna's Shadow (Véhicule Press). He is the winner of the 1998 Quebec Writer’s Federation’s Non-Fiction Award and his work was shortlisted for the National Writer’s Trust Viacom Award for Non-Fiction, and the 2004 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. A Canadian Foreign Service Officer, he has worked in Moscow, Islamabad, Beijing, Geneva, and is presently posted in New Delhi, India.

Monday 24 November 2008

Runaway Jury

Evie Christie, Alex Good, and rob mclennan duel in the fifth edition of Good Report's shadow poetry jury for the Governor-General's Award. Some interesting discussion of Al Moritz and his book The Sentinel and, of course, the ongoing controversy surrounding Jacob Scheier's "tainted" win.

Sunday 23 November 2008

Birth of the Buffalo

Correy Baldwin, Vehicule's previous marketing manager, has gone and started his own small press called Buffalo Runs Press. Correy aims to "gather the herds" around interesting books of literary or artistic merit. Buffalo Runs makes its first public appearance next weekend at Montreal's Expozine where it will launch Getting Out of New New Towne, a sci-fi comic book by Toronto-based artist Tony Baker.

Saturday 22 November 2008

Too Sexy for This Poem

Last thursday, Tightrope was in Montreal to launch the The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008 edited by Stephanie Bolster (Molly Peacock is the series editor). Modeled after the American anthology, BCP promises to be an annual series. A.F. Moritz has apparently already been lined up as guest editor for 2009

This year, two Signal Edition poets got swept into the net. One made it into the longlist (Patrick Warner) where he stayed. The other slipped thorough: Jason Guriel, whose poem "Spineless Sonnet" was originally published in Maisonneuve. Guriel's second book, Pure Product, is slated to be published by us in Spring 2009.

BCP is a excellent anthology, with lots of arresting poems. My favorites at the moment are by Todd Swift, Jeramy Dodds, Michael Lista, Jeffery Donaldson, Craig Poile and Jim Nason. Almost as rare as the ability to write good poetry, is the ability to recognize good poetry. Stephanie Bolster clearly possesses both gifts.

Friday 21 November 2008

Pennies from Heaven

In the latest issue Quill and Quire, Zach Wells has some very nice things to say about Shannon Stewart's Penny Dreadful:

"This is an ambitious undertaking that could have gone wrong in many ways, but Stewart eschews finger-wagging moralizing through formal playfulness. Selectively employed, well-timed rhymes often evoke children's verse, creating an effective juxtaposition of light and dark. Her handling of tone and perspective are deft as well. In one poem, for instance, the speaker ironizes her own relative affluence in a housing co-op; while some women "climbed into trucks, / closed doors and were gone," others "watched from [their] windows, / made cups of tea, carried on." The too-easy emotion is never indulged, the poet's big heart always balanced by her cold eye and keen wit."

Another endorsement came from the Vancouver weekly The Straight, which published a profile of Stewart for the occasion of Penny Dreadful's launch last month. Patty Jone calls the book "funny, horrifying, bizarre, rawly sexual, and heart-rending, frequently all at once.” Another great quote from the piece: "For the record, her poems are not as nice as she looks"

You can read the profile in its entirety here.

Below is a video of Stewart reading during her launch at the Railway Club. You can see more clips on her website

Thursday 20 November 2008

Victory for the Courier

I'm very pleased to report that Peter Richardson was awarded the 2008 A.M. Klein prize for his book Sympathy for the Couriers. After the travesty of this year's Governor General's Award for Poetry (for more on that, see here and here), last night restored some balance to the universe's sense of fair play. Sometimes the good guys do win.

If you want to order a copy of Peter's book prestosubito, you can now do that through the Vehicule Press website here.

UPDATE: an excerpt from the jury's comments:

"Richardson is an excellent poet of family life, and a touching elegist. This collection … is absolutely invigorating, so various in its subject matter, skilled in its turns of language and line, and consistently interesting. Tonally there is also great variety: sometimes comic, sometimes rueful, and often more pained than that, there is still a lightness to the vision each opens. Sometimes self mocking, but never easy or glib, the poems all ring true"

Thursday 6 November 2008

QWF Gala

I'll be joining friends, colleagues, and fellow debauchers tonight at the QWF award gala (and, later, we'll all hopefully be feeding on some delicious duck confit at Le Petite Extra, next door). Three Vehicule authors are up for awards. Andrew Hood's Pardon Our Monsters and Jaspreet Singh's Chef are both nominated for the QWF Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and Peter Richardson's Sympathy for the Couriers is nominted for QWF A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. I'll be cheering for all of them, but especially for Peter.

Here's Bert Almon's rave of Sympathy for the Couriers from the recent edition of the Montreal Review of Books:

"Peter Richardson's ABC of Bellywork was reviewed in mRb 13. His new book is even better. Richardson continues to balance personal poems with inventions and observations. His storytelling skills have deepened: he channels the voices of losers who are not beautiful but always interesting. Especially strong is the tale of Riley, who seduced his friends' wives and put himself beyond reproach by developing a fatal illness, which brought him even more attention than before. If the life of Riley was irritating, his death was even more so. Another poem retells the story of Billy Bishop, V.C., and subverts it all the way. The commentary on the back cover of Sympathy for the Couriers speaks of the Dantesque voices of his characters. They seem to come out of the Purgatorio, not the Inferno: they are venal or neurotic rather than damned. One of the best is a long tale told on an airplane (how typical that situation has become; all travellers should carry earplugs) by an Italian professor. He recounts his war experiences to the woman sitting next to him. He escaped the Nazis by taking refuge in a church-a suspenseful story. But he undermines the sympathy he has created by divulging that he had sold food and wine to the Nazis in his spare time. The book ends with "South Prospect Folio," a long, deeply moving elegy for a friend that mixes humour and loss in perfect balance. About a third of the way back in the volume are a couple of witty love poems: one in which lovers share a fantasy of having horns, the other about two lovers trying to see themselves in a foggy mirror after a soapy postcoital shower. Both poems are properly and joyfully sexual. Such poems show we have gotten beyond Irving Layton's condemnations of Canadian puritanism. "