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How do we find our way back through the labyrinth, through the dark forest? With a thread, with a trail of breadcrumbs? Glen Downie traces a path back to the now dimly remembered pre-digital age using a ribbon—a typewriter ribbon. What was once a fishing line to the future now sits nestled in its decorated tin among other flea market finds, a remnant of an obsolete technology. In Democratic Beauties, a book of poetic and imaginative criticism with colour images, Downie sifts through the detritus of our rapidly changing consumer culture and decodes, for its surprisingly contemporary relevance, much that has already become perplexing and mysterious. In an uncommon blend of the lyric, the narrative and the visual, Downie invites consideration of what old tins, labels, and bits of found text tell us about women in the workforce, our relationship to technology, the values of Business Mind, and that which utility cannot long ignore—beauty.
Praise for Glen Downie’s previous work
LOCAL NEWS (2011): Jangling with surreal vibrancy and suffused with a sinister edginess, many of these poems have a sting in the tail. … an insightful psychological intelligence runs through the book. … a fascinating collection—funny, dark, conflicted. —Miranda Pearson, Event
LEFT FOR RIGHT (2012): A “cabinet of mysteries” is … on display in Glen Downie’s Left for Right… Some of those mysteries are bizarre and surrealistic, while others are grounded in the familiar, seen in a fanciful light. … Downie’s lyric voice hits all the right notes in this accomplished, wide-ranging collection.—Barb Carey, Toronto Star
Glen Downie was born in Winnipeg, worked in cancer care for many years in Vancouver, and now lives in Toronto. In 1999, he served as Writer-in-Residence at Dalhousie University’s Medical Humanities Program. He has published several collections of poetry including Loyalty Management, which won the 2008 Toronto Book Award. His most recent books are Monkey Soap and Left for Right.
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Winner: 2013 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award
Shortlisted: 2013 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize
Shortlisted: 2013 Relit Award in the Novel Category
Shortlisted: 2014 PEI Book Award for Fiction
CBC Literary Award finalist Keir Lowther makes his debut with a novel that revolves around loved ones dead and alive, family or otherwise that haunts the modern psyche of one young boy, trapped in the grotesque world that surrounds him. Written in a creepy, deadpan, dark spiritual tone that will light a powder keg in the lukewarm waters of Canadian fiction. Dirty Bird is a family dystopia saga of anxiety and misplaced love, carved out in the spirit of spooky tradition of writers such as Tony Burgess, Joey Comeau and Lisa Foad.
“Keir Lowther’s Dirty Bird gets between your teeth. It leaves silt in your bed sheets and second-hand smoke in your hair. It’s a neo-Canadian gothic tale of dysfunction, hallucination, and denial. It will make you feel sick, weak all over, but you’ll love it. You’ll crawl around for days after finishing it, wishing for more. This book breaks into your brain – but you’ll have to read it to know what that really means.” —Liz Worth, author of Treat Me Like Dirt
“This debaucherous debut from Keir Lowther does not deal in pig-tailed orphans or raspberry cordial. Instead it delivers a darkly gothic PEI—made of grit, grime, and grotesquerie—in which the wronged dead crawl from their graves to track mud across your clean kitchen floor. Dirty Bird is a devilish, desperate plea from one very disturbed little boy who spends his summer longing for Happy Meals and coming of age among adults with human hearts and savage, animalistic appetites. This book reminds you of every bad thing you ever did and shames you for it. Dirty Bird will raze your brain and haunt your dreams and leave you begging for more.”—Matthew J. Trafford, author of The Divinity Gene
“There are serene moments in the book that breathe clean air into its dirty pages. But it’s the dirty moments that earn Lowther his ribbon; his ability to make small town tragedies new again, and make innocence unnerving, and his knack for writing about an off-kilter family from a tiny island out east that leaves us feeling bad on the inside.”—Colin Brush, Broken Pencil
“I’ll never forget this book… So real and gritty.”—goodreads.com
“We need more writers like Keir Lowther”—libeery.tumblr.com
Poems that reflect the individual’s experience in the urban jungle, combining observation and insight that every city dweller will recognize. The city, at once benevolent and indifferent to its residents, is the inspiration for this debut collection of poetry by Suzanne Bowness. In the first poem, a young woman arrives in the big city, where “in the beginning, anonymity is everywhere,” and wonders what her life there will bring. Using this new arrival as her starting point, Bowness moves on to develop urban themes of anonymity and collectivity alongside individualist themes of freedom, loneliness, and growing self identity. Part private reflection, part love letter to the metropolis, The Days You’ve Spent pulls back the curtain on city life, finding beauty in neon signs and profundity in laundromats. In these poems, the individual and the city interweave, and urban immersion becomes an essential element in personal growth.
“What a joy to spend days with The Days You’ve Spent by Sue Bowness. Excellence is her standard, structure and musicality her method, narrative spiced with whimsy her mode. Even while wondering its worth getting out of bed to face the day, Bowness flourishes imagery flooded with light. Here are poems that intrigue, provoke, entwine, and always shine.”—Molly Peacock, author of The Second Blush
“She [Sue Bowness] is a bard of whimsical domesticity, very much like Molly Peacock, whose endorsement graces the back cover.”—George Elliot Clarke, The Chronicle-Herald
Suzanne (Sue) Bowness is a writer and editor whose poems have appeared in the Literary Review of Canada and Pagitica. Her play The Reading Circle won first place in the 2006 Ottawa Little-Theatre One-Act Playwriting Competition. She has a PhD in English from the University of Ottawa.
In this remarkable portrait-survey of thirty-six of Toronto’s most distinctive and influential art dealers, artist Viktor Mitic has captured and illuminated the unique individual personalities of his subjects.
Depicting by turns their passion, insouciance, vivacity, shrewdness, eccentricity, geniality, and more, these portraits successfully reflect the rainbow of human emotion and expression.
As Gary Michael Dault says in his insightful introductory essay, “there isn’t a portrait here that doesn’t provide not only a fine likeness of its subject, but also a telling, charming, incisive route into the sitter’s essential nature.”
Viktor Mitic was born in Belgrade, Serbia. A University of Toronto graduate artist, classically trained in art schools in Europe, Mitic has produced a major body of work that spans a career of over two decades. For a number of years, he was painting non-representational paintings using natural elements such as rain and hail to render surfaces of the paintings in oils on canvas. Mitic has successfully integrated various materials into his recent body of work: charcoal, graphite, oil, acrylic, watercolour, pen and ink, and japanese traditional natural pigment. He has recently developed a distinctive, some would say provocative, method; he paints portraits of international iconic images and later shoots the outline of the figures using various weapons and live ammunition. He has had many successful solo and group shows of his paintings in Europe, the United States, Canada, and, most recently, Japan. Viktor Mitic lives in Toronto.
Gary Michael Dault is a writer, painter, and art critic in Toronto. He is the author—or co-author—of a number of books, including Cells of Ourselves with artist Tony Urquhart (Porcupine’s Quill, 1989), Esko Mannikko: Mexas (Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1998), Photographs by Tom Sandberg (Astrup-Fearnley Museum, Oslo, 2000), The Prix de Rome in Architecture: A Retrospective (Coach House Books, 2006), and Captive: The Zoo Photographs of Volker Seding (Les 400 Coups, Montreal, 2007). He has published a number of books of poetry, including The Milk of Birds (Mansfield Press, 2006) and Southwester (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2007). His Handyman: New Poems is forthcoming from the Black Moss Press. A limited edition of his Hebdomeros Suite—with watercolours by David Bolduc—is forthcoming from Coach House Books. Dault has written widely about contemporary art in Canada in journals such as Canadian Art, Border Crossings, Ciel Variable, Prefix Photo, Parkett, and ARTNews. He contributes the weekly art-review column, “Gallery Going,” to the Globe and Mail, and has written innumerable catalogue essays for galleries and museums. As a practicing artist, Dault has exhibited frequently, most recently at Toronto’s Peak Gallery, Gallery Page & Strange in Halifax, and the Michael Gibson Gallery in London, Ontario. Upcoming in 2010, he has exhibitions at Index G in Toronto and Modern Fuel in Kingston, Ontario. Among his writings for television is the six-hour mini-series, Inside the Vatican with Sir Peter Ustinov (1993). His writings for the stage include Alice in the Orchestra (with composer Gene Di Novi, 2005), The Goal (with composer Eric Robertson, 2003), and, also with Eric Robertson, Hauntings for Orchestra (2007).
Praise for the paintings of Viktor Mitic:
“Provocative art with religious connotations.”
—Peter Goddard, Toronto Star
“Serious painting, but it’s fun . . . there is levity to it.”
—Terry Graff, Telegraph Journal
[He’s] taken . . . an iconic religious image and used a gun on it . . . What next?
—Mark Coles, BBC