New Titles


The Clothesline Swing

NOT YET PUBLISHED
978-0-88971-332-1 - Paperback
5.5" x 8.5" - 256 pages - $19.95
May 2017

By Ahmad Danny Ramadan





The Clothesline Swing is a journey through the troublesome aftermath of the Arab Spring. A former Syrian refugee himself, Ramadan unveils an enthralling tale of courage that weaves through the mountains of Syria, the valleys of Lebanon, the encircling seas of Turkey, the heat of Egypt and finally, the hope of a new home in Canada.

Inspired by Arabian Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, The Clothesline Swing tells the epic story of two lovers anchored to the memory of a dying Syria. One is a Hakawati, a storyteller, keeping life in forward motion by relaying remembered fables to his dying partner. Each night he weaves stories of his childhood in Damascus, of the cruelty he has endured for his sexuality, of leaving home, of war, of his fated meeting with his lover. Meanwhile Death himself, in his dark cloak, shares the house with the two men, eavesdropping on their secrets as he awaits their final undoing.

Bad Ideas

NOT YET PUBLISHED
978-0-88971-326-0 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
May 2017

By Michael V. Smith





Nobody knows bad ideas quite like Michael V. Smith. In his new collection of poetry, he speaks to an intangibility of sense, or a sense beyond the rational. Bad Ideas explores the inevitability of loss and triumph with characteristic irony and tenderness. Through this dazzling collection of a remembered life, hung out to ogle like laundry on the line, Smith recalls a mother who discovers a sex tape, a man who dreams of birthing his own son and a woman who blends her baby girls into milkshakes.

Bad Ideas is a testament to how an altered perspective effects change, how stories can be recast. The collection forms itself into an exercise in which optimism is a practiced art recaptured in dreams and prayers and combined to acknowledge the unknowable, the contradictory, the ungraspable: "An evening is composed / in a hundred unchoreographed / dramas”; "I pull a Clark Kent / transform, dressed as a monk / in burgundy and gold robes. I think / this will protect me, but it doesn't”; "Dear Hatred, sweet / Hatred, do you not move our enemies / to know us better?” Hyperbolic and sincere, this collection brawls with the unquantifiable themes of family, loneliness and love.

Next Door to the Butcher Shop

NOT YET PUBLISHED
978-0-88971-330-7 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
May 2017

By Rodney DeCroo





Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rodney DeCroo's second poetry collection, Next Door to the Butcher Shop, explores the permeability of memory and uncovers heart-wrenching beauty from shadowy grit.

How quickly age

descends on us. Our memories are maps

to places that don't exist. I was an emperor

on a green lawn wearing a white sheet

and a paper crown. The birds sang my praises

from the hedges and the trees

DeCroo unsentimentally recounts moments suffused with grief, longing and loss, and offers a refreshingly unfiltered view of one's self.

I'd stand for days along the edges of expressway

to sing off-key into the screams of semi-trailers and cars

until I stood within a cocoon of silence and flashing shadows

In a deft combination of lyrical and visceral imagery, Next Door to the Butcher Shop offers a rare, sharp, first-hand perspective of life around the edges, with dark comedy dispersed throughout.

then/again

NOT YET PUBLISHED
978-0-88971-331-4 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
May 2017

By Michelle Elrick





Michelle Elrick's then/again is a poetic account of finding home, and the meanings and moments that the concept of home can come to embody. The collection tracks the poet through a landscape of intimate places—an ancestral home in Scotland, a mother's birthplace in Salzburg, a childhood home on the West Coast—as well as the memory-warped terrain of the poet's past houses.

In brief poetic capsules that combine to form long, lyrical narratives, Elrick enfolds layers of tactile and remembered experience, offering continual moments of surprise. In the observer's eye, the double act of perceiving and writing lends transformative and mythic properties to the everyday: "a heron drums a pattern of shadows on the surface of the sea, wings tick with quartz regularity. bay clouds spot red, bulbs of peach bloom, smoulder and die down into blue.” The collection is infused by a sense of nostalgia and longing within the present moment, illustrating the elusiveness of home even while it is being lived: "I watch as the day opens, expanding its geometry. diffuse light penetrates the blind. hot sun yellows cold concrete (caress stretching across the courtyard).”

Each quiet moment of reflection builds upon the others to produce a sense of place that is as immediate and fleeting as home itself. Elrick has an uncanny sense for capturing and illuminating those moments that will later glow in memory.

Should Auld Acquaintance
Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns


NOT YET PUBLISHED
978-0-88971-328-4 - Paperback
6" x 9" - 288 pages - $22.95
January 2017

By Melanie Murray





Robert Burns' "Belle of Mauchline” is given a voice in this lyrical and intimate depiction of the life of Jean Armour, known simply as the wife of the infamous poet and mother of nine of his children. Melanie Murray's biographical Should Auld Acquaintance reveals the historical tale of the talented farmer, a forbidden affair, and the tumultuous life of an 18th-century Scottish woman.

In Should Auld Acquaintance, Jean Armour comes to life and asserts her place as more than a footnote in poetic history. Without Armour, an educated young beauty and talented singer, as his partner and muse, Burns may never have achieved his prolific collection of songs. Murray traces the footsteps of Armour and Burns through the village of Mauchline, where they met and married, to their failed farm in Ellisland and their final home in Dumfries, attempting to discover the woman who inspired the timeless poetry that brought the lyrical Scottish dialect to the English world. More than a housewife in the shadow of her talented husband, Armour is portrayed as a resilient and passionate woman who must overcome the abandonment of her family, the loss of her children, and the instability of her philandering husband. It's impossible to ignore her significance as a figure in the literary realm and to not be swept up in the complex and intricate history woven from the poems, letters and stories of Robbie Burns and his "Bonie Jean.”

O Canada Crosswords Book 17

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-322-2 - Paperback
8.5" x 11" - 232 pages - $13.95
October 2016

By Gwen Sjogren





Puns, fun and Canadiana–they’re all standing on guard for solvers in O Canada Crosswords 17. These ninety-five new crosswords provide a playful mix of sixty-five Canadian- and other-themed puzzles in larger grids, plus thirty non-themed Canada Cornucopia crosswords.

For anyone passionate about puzzles, author Gwen Sjogren’s books are a go-to source for an invigorating crossword-solving experience. This collection taps Canadian themes like Retail Therapy, NHL Icons, Power to the People and Urban Islands, as well as whimsical offerings like Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Loco Loci and You Had Me at Hello.

To further put solvers’ wits to the test, ten crosswords have no fill-in-the-blank clues. And for an added element of intrigue, Sjogren debuts “Puzzle Link-up” where figuring out the themes of four consecutive puzzles allows solvers to unlock the theme of a fifth.

So get your pencil (or pen) ready, engage your brain and see thee rise to the challenge of O Canada Crosswords Book 17!

The Woods
A Year on Protection Island


AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-329-1 - Paperback
5.5" x 8.5" - 224 pages - $19.95
October 2016

By Amber McMillan





"Amber McMillan's writing balances an eye for the unusual and resiliently beautiful with a sympathy for the frailties common to all her islanders." -Kevin Chong, author of Baroque-a-Nova, Neil Young Nation and Beauty Plus Pity

*

The Woods: A Year on Protection Island is a personal memoir that probes the unique and sometimes unsettling tenor of life on one of BC’s smallest gulf islands. The measure of one’s success here, the author discovers, doesn’t rely on status or income, but on the ability to adapt both the rigorous outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and equally challenging human community of need, trade, and negotiated civility.

These are stories of the people and families who sought refuge here, for different reasons and with different outcomes: a city contractor whose idea of relaxing in the country is to spend his time running noisy power tools; a septuagenarian library curator who has happily re-discovered men and Scotch; but mostly the book is about the author and her family.

Witness, I Am

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-323-9 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
October 2016

By Gregory Scofield





Witness, I Am is divided into three gripping sections of new poetry from one of Canada’s most recognized poets. The first part of the book, “Dangerous Sound,” contains contemporary themed poems about identity and belonging, undone and rendered into modern sound poetry. “Muskrat Woman,” the middle part of the book, is a breathtaking epic poem that considers the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women through the reimagining and retelling of a sacred Cree creation story. The final section of the book, “Ghost Dance,” raids the autobiographical so often found in Scofield’s poetry, weaving the personal and universal into a tapestry of sharp poetic luminosity. From “Killer,” Scofield eerily slices the dreadful in with the exquisite: “I could, this day of proficient blooms, / take your fingers, / tie them down one by one. This one for the runaway, / this one for the joker, / this one for the sass-talker, / this one for the judge, / this one for the jury. / Oh, I could kill you.”

The Duende of Tetherball

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-325-3 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
October 2016

By Tim Bowling





The Duende of Tetherball fearlessly ransacks the scrutinizing role of the past on the present; the interactions and accountabilities of ourselves and other species; the challenges and pleasures of getting older and forever striving to balance our most cherished and often incomprehensible relationships both with the world and each other.

Bowling strives to account for and address our human need to resolve the tension between personal freedom and a world burdened by increasing homogenization and centralized control by adopting an industry of personal fortitude and thoughtful redress. He seeks to remember and to remember again the lessons polished over a lifetime: “Fifteen, scared but still apt / to toss “damn thee black / thou cream-faced loon” / in PE class at the rippling back / of some hoop or net-bound jock, / I was learning – too soon – / the only lesson that counts: / how to be alone.”

If I Were In A Cage I'd Reach Out For You

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-327-7 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
October 2016

By Adèle Barclay





If I Were In A Cage I’d Reach Out For You is a collection that travels through both time and place, liminally occupying the chasm between Canadiana and Americana mythologies. These poems dwell in surreal pockets of the everyday warped landscapes of modern cities and flood into the murky basin of the intimate.

Amidst the comings and goings, there’s a sincere desire to connect to others, an essential need to reach out, to redraft the narratives that make kinship radical and near. These poems are love letters to the uncomfortable, the unfathomable, and the altered geographies that define our own misshapen understandings of the world.

"With a depth of feeling for places and their connecting joys and aches, these are beautifully written poems, vivid as the morning paper, bracing as moonshine." -David McGimpsey, author of Sitcom and Asbestos Heights

Digsite

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-324-6 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
October 2016

By Owain Nicholson





Digsite draws on Nicholson’s experience working in the Alberta oil sands and arboreal forest, taking an archaeological lens to its subject, and in this way, reimagines tens of thousands of years of human existence. These poems grow from a schism between the current place of living and the ones in which we are pulled back to, in particular, the places we no longer occupy.

Nicholson’s language draws on his archaeological and fieldwork background as he burrows and grinds the places we have lost, consistently underpinned by the grief that must accompany such a fervent exploration. In these discoveries, Nicholson presents us with the material remains of our own abandonment, of loss and acceptance, and ultimately leaves us with more questions than when we began.

Surviving City Hall

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-320-8 - Paperback
6" x 9" - 224 pages - $22.95
May 2016

By Donna Macdonald



Based on a small town in British Columbia, this book is relevant to communities and the people who care about them, right across the country.




With humour and humanity, Surviving City Hall reveals the workings of the municipal world based on author Donna Macdonald's nineteen years as a city councillor. Wrestling with ground squirrels, dealing with dogs and grappling with the Three Bears of Governance, Macdonald offers an insider's view into how things work at city hall in a call to citizens in communities of all shapes and sizes.

From the table where council members make decisions—to lock out city workers, detoxify a workplace issue, permit high density development and ban dogs downtown—to the richness of community life, including meetings, memorials, meat banquets and rallies for the protection of endangered animals, this book is a big-hearted take on small-town politics.

It's also a reflection on leadership and on democracy, and how we could do both better. Macdonald ponders women's participation in local governance, why it's critical and what the barriers are that can dissuade women from engaging more fully in the governance of their communities.

Wigford Rememberies

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-319-2 - Paperback
5" x 7.5" - 192 pages - $19.95
May 2016

By Kyp Harness





“a great writer” –Daniel Lanois

“one of the finest songwriters on the planet... his lyrics [are] every bit as powerful as the best Dylan, Cohen and Lennon combined.” –Ron Sexsmith

“a national treasure” –Michael Barclay, Exclaim

“he’s a stone genius” –CBC

“Kyp Harness scrapes at the backdrop of reality to reveal the tired, the broken, the lost and desolate, imbuing their agony with a fine and desperate dignity and allowing the reader to be swept along as well.” –Mike Blouin, award-winning author of Chase and Haven

“Kyp Harness' prose has a unique flow: word and action, thought and thing are all contiguous and combined in lovely braided sentences. There's some Joyce splashed around Wigford, a satisfying read. This is a fantastic book, please just read it.” –Tony Burgess, author of Idaho Winter, finalist for the Trillium Award and author of Pontypool Changes Everything

Wigford is a small town in rural Southwestern Ontario, home to a cast of recurring characters: Buzz, a drunk-driving father of two; his wife, who should have married Bert Walmsley instead; Happy Henry, a devout, socially inept apostle who loves to play the organ; Elmer, a stroke survivor.

Wigford Rememberies tells this community's stories through an impressionistic series of vignettes. The language is inventive, innovative and exciting, and whether describing mucking out the pig barn—“there in the dust and the sweet smells of grain and straw and the heavy brown odour of shit so strong it makes you sneeze"—or helping a drunk articulate how to manipulate God's forgiveness—“‘if I gave my heart to Jesus—right there on my deathbed the minute before I died—he'd forgive everything an I'd go up into Heaven and be saved just as much as the other guy who never did nothin' wrong at all with no difference?'"—Harness wields words with an eye for detail, musicality and style.

Visceral, reflective and lyrical, Wigford Rememberies is a poetic evocation of mood and epiphanic realizations, and will resonate with anyone who has ever confronted suffering, love or the unknowable.

How Festive the Ambulance

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-321-5 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
May 2016

By Kim Fu





In this debut poetry collection by award-winning author Kim Fu, incantations, mythical creatures and extreme violence illuminate small scenes of domestic life and the banal tragedies of modern love and modern death.

A sharp edge of humour slices through Fu's poetry, drawing attention to the distance between contemporary existence and the basic facts of life: “In the classrooms of tomorrow, starved youth will be asked to imagine a culture that kept thin pamphlets of poetry pinned to a metal box full of food, who honoured their gods of plenty by describing ingredients in lush language."

Alternating between incisive wit and dark beauty, Fu brings the rich symbolism of fairy tales to bear on our image-obsessed age. From “The Unicorn Princess": “She applies gold spray paint to her horn each morning, / hoping to imitate the brass tusks / on the unicorns skewered to the carousel, / their brittle, painted smiles, harnesses / embedded in their backs and shellacked to high gloss." These poems are utterly of-the-moment, capturing the rage, irony and isolation of the era we live in.

The Red Files

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-316-1 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
May 2016

By Lisa Bird-Wilson





This debut poetry collection from Lisa Bird-Wilson reflects on the legacy of the residential school system: the fragmentation of families and histories, with blows that resonate through the generations.

Inspired by family and archival sources, Bird-Wilson assembles scraps of a history torn apart by colonial violence. The collection takes its name from the federal government's complex organizational structure of residential schools archives, which are divided into “black files" and “red files." In vignettes as clear as glass beads, her poems offer affection to generations of children whose presence within the historic record is ghostlike, anonymous and ephemeral.

The collection also explores the larger political context driving the mechanisms that tore apart families and cultures, including the Sixties Scoop. It depicts moments of resistance, both personal and political, as well as official attempts at reconciliation: “I can hold in the palm of my right hand / all that I have left: one story-gift from an uncle, / a father's surname, treaty card, Cree accent echo, metal bits, grit— / and I will still have room to cock a fist."

The Red Files concludes with a fierce hopefulness, embracing the various types of love that can begin to heal the traumas inflicted by a legacy of violence.

How to Be Eaten by a Lion

AVAILABLE
978-0-88971-318-5 - Paperback
5.5" x 8" - 96 pages - $18.95
May 2016

By Michael Johnson





From the monk who sets himself on fire in a crowded intersection of Saigon (“the familiar corded tendons of his hands, become / a bracken of ashes, a carbon twine of burnt”), to the salmon run in British Columbia (“The salmon word / for home is glacierdust and once-tall trees unlimbed, / a taste, no matter where, they know”), Johnson writes of topics varied and eclectic, unified by a focus on moments both declining and revenant.

Startling and haunting, the poems delve into the ways in which these moments are transformative, beautiful and unexpected. Being eaten by a lion is a gift rather than a loss, an opportunity for grace: “Instead, focus on your life, / its crimson liquor he grows drunk on. / Notice the way the red highlights his face, / how the snub nose is softened, the lips made / fuller; notice his deft musculature, his rapture.”

Lyrical and rich with visceral imagery, How to Be Eaten by a Lion lingers, exploring the world with an eye for detail and an ear for music.