Monthly Archives: July 2017

Finishing the Road—David Cozac

ISBN: 9781988040370
Price: $22.95



Finishing the Road is set in 1990s Guatemala, where a long, often brutal, civil war persists. The Canadian, French and Guatemalan protagonists travel the country, confronting various questions. How to forge an identity amid an intense sense of rootlessness? Where is home for the lonely and emotionally adrift? How to overcome grief? In his debut novel, David Cozac introduces the reader to a land beset by loss and to people seeking to end their isolation, free themselves of doubt and rekindle human connection.

“David Cozac’s novel reminds us that the bird of Guatemala, the quetzal, cannot survive in captivity. His story pays homage to the flight of the resplendent bird, whose beautiful plumage is echoed in the intricacies of Ixil weaving. In this braided quest story, four individuals seek connection and belonging in the highlands of Guatemala. In prose that flows with the inflections and metaphors of the land, a story is woven of three separate journeys. A teenaged girl takes her brother back to the village from which their family fled a decade earlier. Theirs is the story of persistence in the face of persecution, and an honouring of ancient ways. A young woman seeks to connect with the father she never met by travelling to the places that shaped him. A young man finds solace and direction in her published accounts. This is a novel about healing the wounds of fatherlessness, about the weaving of chance and fate, the wisdom of hope and the potential liberty in following the path of the heart.”—Kelley Aitken, author of Canadian Shield and Love in a Warm Climate

Finishing the Road was, for me, the type of book you don’t want to put down, can’t wait to pick up, and yet, at the same time, you never want it to end.”—James Fisher, Miramichi Reader

Photo by Sharon Ting

Canadian author David Cozac was born and raised in Toronto. He works for the United Nations. In the past, he worked for several human rights organizations, including PEN Canada and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.

 

Posted in 2017, 2017 Novels, Catalogue, F, Fall 2017, Novels | Tagged , , , , , , |

The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English

ISBN:  9781988040349
Price: 24.95




The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English takes the pulse of Canadian poetry with ninety superb poems that have excelled—twice—at the test of “the best.” With poems chosen from the first nine volumes of this landmark series, this special tenth-anniversary edition highlights a vibrant variety of subjects from romance and family to ecology and the economy—not to mention blizzards and bears. Ranging from iconic poets Michael Ondaatje, Anne Carson, George Elliott Clarke, and P.K. Page to notable upstarts, the anthology includes an index for readers, notes from the poets, an illuminating analysis of Canadian poetics by series editor Molly Peacock, and provocative excerpts from past introductions by guest editors Stephanie Bolster, A.F. Moritz, Lorna Crozier, Priscila Uppal, Carmine Starnino, Sue Goyette, Sonnet L’Abbé, Jacob McArthur Mooney, and Helen Humphreys.

For a full list of The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry contributors, visit the Best Canadian Poetry Series site.

“A collection as complex and satisfying as a symphony.” —Publishers Weekly

“A great jumping-off point for readers who might be interested in Canadian poetry but are unsure about where to start.”—Emma Healey, Globe and Mail

“Bits of eternity, arranged alphabetically.”—Merilyn Simonds, Kingston Whig-Standard

“Canada’s most eloquent, profound, humorous and meditative writers, ranging from the seasoned and well known to the new and upcoming.” —Eric Schmaltz, Broken Pencil

“The Best Canadian Poetry series offers an annual sampling of voices and experiences—a little slice of Canadiana that may be appreciated beyond borders as well.” —Lori A. May, Examiner.com

“Buy it, or borrow it, but do read it.”—Paul Tyler, Arc Poetry Magazine

Anita Lahey is a poet, journalist, reviewer, and essayist. She is the author of The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture (Palimpsest Press, 2013) and of two Véhicule Press poetry collections: Out to Dry in Cape Breton (2006) and Spinning Side Kick (2011). The former was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Ottawa Book Award. Anita is a former editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and posts occasionally on her blog, “Henrietta & Me: People and other wonders found in books.”

Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet and writer. Her seventh volume of poetry is The Analyst, poems about psychoanalysis, poetry, and painting, from Biblioasis. Her recent book of tiny tales is Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions, with illustrations by Kara Kosaka; she is also the author of a biography, The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, and a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece, all from McClelland & Stewart.

Posted in 2017, Anthologies, B, Best Canadian Poetry, Catalogue, Fall 2017, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Best Canadian Essays 2017

ISBN: 9781988040356
Price: 21.95

 


Featuring trusted series editor Christopher Doda and acclaimed guest editor Marina Nemat, this ninth installment of Canada’s annual volume of essays showcases diverse nonfiction writing from across the country. Culled from leading Canadian magazines and journals, Best Canadian Essays 2017 contains award-winning and award-nominated nonfiction articles that are topical and engaging and have their finger on the pulse of our contemporary psyches.

“The house of the essay has many mansions and every door here opens onto one worth entering.” —Toronto Star

Contributors: Peter Babiak, Deni Ellis Béchard, Matt Cahill, Jane Campbell, Leonarda Carranza, Francine Cunningham, Larissa Diakiw, Alicia Elliott, Suanne Kelman, John Lorinc, Lauren McKeon, Susan Peters, Russell Smith, Joanna Streetly, Richard Teleky, Jane Edey Wood.

Christopher Doda is a poet, editor and critic living in Toronto. He is the author of three books of poetry, Among RuinsAesthetics Lesson, and Glutton for Punishment: Hard Core Glosas. His award-winning non-fiction has appeared in journals across Canada and he was on the editorial board of Exile Editions for over ten years.

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of sixteen and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Her memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, first published in 2007, was an international bestseller. In 2007, Marina received the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, and in 2008, she received the prestigious Grinzane Prize in Italy. In 2008/2009, she was an Aurea Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College, where she wrote her second book, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, which was published by Penguin Canada in 2010.

Posted in 2017, Anthologies, B, Best Canadian Essays, Catalogue, Essays, Fall 2017, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sitting Down with Ron Charach: Part Two

A guest post by Luka Pajkovic

Ron Charach is a practicing psychiatrist and author based in Toronto, Ontario. He writes poetry, with ten published collections, and is a Canadian letter-writer, with his work often published in The Toronto Star, The National Post, and The Globe and Mail, as well as American venues such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic.

I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Ron about his first novel, cabana the big, which was published through Tightrope Books last year.

You can read the first part of our discussion here.

LUKA: Was there any specific inspiration that led you to cabana the big?

RON: I’ve always been fascinated by just how easily power gets abused and how easily it can get used to do the most awful things. I’m also interested in this whole notion of being co-opted, why do we ride with the eight? There are many reasons, and they’re explored in this book.

But it is hard to know exactly what got you started.

I was also curious about the stylistic choices in cabana, notably dropping quotations around dialogue. What led you to these decisions?

I like to keep the reader off-balance a little bit, and dropping quotation marks always manages to do that, it’s always a little more challenging to read. I don’t like everything to be cut and dry, because sometimes it’s not really clear who said what. I try not to make it impossible, but cabana is a challenging read, it’s a literary book. cabana seems like it’s having lots of fun, and not taking things seriously, but it is.

cabana is also described as a cautionary tale, is there something specific it’s warning us about, or strictly the gun obsession?

A move towards gun obsession is really a move towards masculinity obsession, obsession with maleness, and determination to use it to dominate the world and rape it of all its beauty and resources. And not caring about the consequences.

In big ned’s dream about the young girl, he is fully made of metal, then he becomes flesh again except for his dick, which stays metal. I saw this as being his gun; they are literally one and the same for him.

And is that crude? I don’t think so, take Kim Jong Un, he’s a porn addict, and his biggest joy is having those missiles, long phallic things with so much power, paraded by. He could majorly fuck up the world, and so can Trump.

What I’m saying with cabana is let’s drop the gloves, this man they’ve elected is a crude man, so it’s time to get crude. It’s time to realize that unless people stand up to him all the time, constantly, he’s going to drag everyone down to his level.

Do you have any advice for any budding poets or fiction writers?

I would say develop an ear for dialogue, listen to people talk. I would say have a day job. I believe it becomes a self-contained little world if all you’re doing is talking to the same students who are reading the same stuff.

The other thing is, recognize that if you come up with something totally new, people are going to revile it. So don’t worry about it. It may even mean you’re onto something.

 

You can find cabana the big here.

Posted in guestposts, News |

Sitting Down with Ron Charach: The Story of cabana the big

A guest post by Luka Pajkovic

Ron Charach is a practicing psychiatrist and author based in Toronto, Ontario. He writes  poetry, with ten published collections, and is a Canadian letter-writer, with his work often published in The Toronto Star, The National Post, and The Globe and Mail, as well as American venues such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic.

I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Ron about his first novel, cabana the big, which was published through Tightrope Books last year.

RON: cabana the big is a dystopic, post-nuclear novel. Billionaire harold galloway sets up his little world in an ecosphere, and he sets it up like a grade B western. Of course, the novel predicts Trump coming to power, which is kind of nice.

LUKA: That’s interesting. It’s your first novel too, right?

It’s my first novel; but I’ve actually been writing prose as long as I’ve been writing poetry.

I’m also one of Canada’s main letter-writers. My letters largely comment on gun control, and of course, cabana is an outrageous gun book. They love guns in this book, galloway loves having the big eight, his ‘one-better’ version of the magnificent seven; he loves all that kind of stuff. It keeps him alive, it keeps him hopping; he’s the kind of guy who needs a fight in order to feel real, just like Trump does.

Yeah, this story seems like a dream for the gun-obsessed, the environment is built around carrying guns; and everyone sees guns as part of a person’s identity. I noticed a lot of it felt related to compensation and ‘dick-measuring.’

Absolutely, cabana is a very genital book, and Trump is a very genital president. He’s deeply misogynistic, but also deeply homoerotic. When Trump was running against the other Republican candidates he was just grabbing at their nuts. He was criticizing their manhood left, right, and center, and they didn’t know what to do. No one had ever done that. No one had behaved in public like that.

Very crude.

And galloway is a very deceptive, crude man in his own way. But what intrigued me about writing cabana was henry morgan. He used to be Dr. Henry Morganstern, but now he rides with the big eight. His psychology is intriguing because he went from being a doctor and poet, to riding with the eight. And really, we are all riding with the eight; all of us are colluding with the powers that be, which are moving in a fascist direction.

I noticed that idea does come up in the story; at a town hall meeting henry basically accuses all the townspeople of wanting to be a part of the eight.

That’s right, and it’s like these people who love Trump. They love the brash power he has to do whatever the hell he wants. It’s the American outlaw tradition, adulation of the outlaw.

Being a psychiatrist, I imagine that also has an influence on how you write.

It does, I spend my whole day listening to people talk. I know how people talk. Sometimes I’ll read in other books people talking, and I know nobody talks like that. I have an ear for the colloquial, an ear for dialects and accents. I love accents.

I also have a knowledge of psychodynamics, so hopefully what happens between my characters is recognizable to people. I hope they understand why my characters act this way.

I imagine writing characters is pretty interesting when you have so much insight into how real people think and behave.

Characters are based on real people, but you always put some of yourself into every character. I’m a bit like everyone in cabana, because I wrote it, I chose how to set everything up. I like to think I have empathy with my characters, that I understand them and their insecurities.

Like galloway being jealous of the bulge in henry morgan’s pants.

I hope people get a real hoot out of this book; I think it’s hilarious. But you have to be able to get into it.

Get into that bit of crudeness that’s part of the world.

And part of everyone’s unconscious. It’s going on in all our minds. I started writing cabana when I was eighteen or nineteen, that’s why it’s so raw and sexual. As a psychiatrist, I didn’t see the need to censor any of that, because that’s what our unconscious is all about. Cognitive psychologists have lined up with the psychoanalysts, and they say most of what people do is done for emotional reasons. They agree there is such a thing as the unconscious mind.

And that’s what everyone is saying about Trump, his reasons are emotional, and based on his desire to be the best and most powerful.

Definitely. Trump lined up very quickly with the NRA, and he’s refused to criticize various paramilitary groups. He’s going where the power is. It’s very disturbing. People are saying he’s looking for a war; he needs a war, to draw attention away from his other failures.

You can find cabana the big here.

Part two of this interview is here.

Posted in guestposts, News |