WINNER OF THE 75th GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FOR POETRY
WINNER OF THE 25th TRILLIUM BOOK PRIZE
WINNER OF AN ALCUIN AWARD FOR DESIGN
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GRIFFIN POETRY PRIZE
These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes. These are essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue.
Hall is a surruralist (rural & surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to -- Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, among others. He writes of the embarrassing process of becoming a poet, and of his push-pull relationship with the whole concept of home. His notorious 2004 chapbook essay The Bad Sequence is also included here, for a wider readership, at last. It has been revised. (It's teeth have been sharpened.)
In this book, the line is the unit of composition; the reading is wide; the perspective personal: each take a give, and logic a drawback.
Language is not a smart-aleck; it's a sacred tinkerer.
Readers are invited to watch awe become a we.
In Fred Wah's phrase, what is offered here is "the music at the heart of thinking."
A meditation on the poetic process that stimulates both the intellect and the imagination.
- Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star
Hall manages to rescue the lyrical essay from its recondite excesses and turn it into something that’s as adventurous as it is readable. Hall has called himself a "surruralist,” and this book charts his development as a writer, but it also demonstrates and furthers that development.
- Paul Vermeersh, The Globe and Mail.
Hall is aware that he’s aligned with an aesthetic of past decades that may not be fashionable, but he seems determined to keep its spirit alive by understanding what it tells us about our aesthetic today. To him I would give an award for unabashedly keeping an authentic Canadian poetic voice alive.
- The Montreal Gazette
I don’t know Hall’s work other than this book, which I glanced at and was immediately forced to sit down & read cover to cover. He gets my vote for Canadian book of 2012 and I was glad to see Killdeer receive Canada’s Governor General’s prize for poetry. It’s a wonderful read, even if Hall is a bit of a curmudgeon.
- Ron Silliman
...a wonderfully provocative experience...
- Jeff Weingarten via The Bullcalf Review
Killdeer is a testament to the creative life as an act of faith and transformation.
- The Griffin Prize Judges' Citation
...encompassing the best of what folk art is meant to be, self-taught and working-class, as [Hall] carves poems from a collage of phrases, lines and stanzas, while still managing to produce a highly-crafted 'high' art.
- Rob McLennan
These pieces are written with such honesty and empathy that it is impossible to read them and not tremble.
&ndash Stevie Howell via Arc
Voluptuous Pleasure: The Truth about the Writing Life is a collection of non-fiction whose title states that non-fiction does not exist. These stories, by acclaimed author Marianne Apostolides, are sensuous and smart, ambiguous but incisive in their truths. Voluptuous Pleasure will take you inside brothels and bedrooms, kitchens and consciousness; it will seduce you along the limits of non-fiction, making you question the veracity of anything you’ve ever read - or even experienced.
"Voluptuous Pleasure opens a window onto Marianne Apostolides’ house of unruly memories. These stories - memory-events that unfold through unflinching honesty - reveal that truth lies in the act of telling and - yes - the haunting pleasure of sharing it."
- Smaro Kamboureli, Canada Research Chair in Critical Studies in Canadian Literature, University of Guelph
In vivid language, Voluptuous Pleasure examines tensions between the exploration of personal memories and the construction of engaging narratives.
- Quill & Quire
Apostolides is a kind of fan dancer among thematic imponderables: the realms of memory, longing, fear, loss, redemption and, of course, the two sullen enormities between which all literary tensions must eventually find both flight and denouement, injustice and survival.
- The Globe & Mail
"Apostolides' impassioned little book cranes its pliant neck to peer directly up the birth canal into the briny recesses where stories and writing are conceived"
- Charles Wilkins, via The Globe and Mail
In the tradition of Borges, Nabakov, and Bolaño, The Red Album is a work of fiction that questions historical authenticity and authority. Divided into two parts, the book begins with an edited and footnoted narrative of dubious origins. In the second part, a section of "documents" (including essays, memoirs, a short play and a filmography) shed light on the first narrative. Familiar characters are revealed to be writers, and the writer and editors of the initial narrative are revealed to be characters. As the ghosts of social revolutions of the past are lifted from the soil in Catalonia, and a new revolution unfolds in South America, the number of mysteriously missing author/characters grows almost as fast as new author/ characters emerge and complicate and scatter the threads of the story.
In The Red Album, the scene of Spain and the fragile legacy of a poet occasion a series of astonishing entries into the archives and affects of revolution. Stephen Collis turns sharply away from "the department of historical memory,” exploring, instead, those alternative theatres of language and social struggle within which the past may be recovered and critically animated. This is a moving and also a challenging book, precisely because it confronts this enduring imperative: "We must see again what ways we can be together.”
- David Chariandy
fur(l) parachute claims as its surrogate the Old English poem "Wulf and Eadwacer.” Declining from a mutant echo of this nineteen-line fragment that appears in the tenth century Exeter manuscript as a text that might be a riddle, or an example of a woman’s lament, or even a broken elegy, the language of fur(l) parachute is further disrupted by such texts as instructions on how to make a parachute lure for fly fishing or the misreading of mathematical knot diagrams. Wryly troubling origins, this poem multiplies its outlawed longing for all that cannot cross.
Via the gentle lurch of familiar unfamiliarity in half-heard syntax and reminderings of fellow wordsmiths, Maguire grapples with poetic heredity in a quest to reconstruct a pastoral lyric from translation and procedure. This extended stochastic murmur-beat thrusts grammar into ecstatic contortion. Fur(l) Parachute dissects self, nature, society in a poetics of sustainability reliant on taught and inherited knowledges - and, throughout, "always this craving for earth.”
- Angela Rawlings
At once scholarly and lyrical, conceptual and embodied, archaic and utterly contemporary, sounded carefully by the tongue and thought out deeply in the vortex of ideas. Desire is "what writes” these poems, running through texts genders localities grammatical cases "peripersonal” space and time itself to tip us into the sounds of our own borderless islands, hungry for "undigested books,” gathering the "kindling of voice” to light the fire where "we, an uninterrupted carnival” are enjoyed as "one mouthful of howl.” Looking around at the landscape of poetry that continues to matter deeply to me, I see in Maguire kin I didn’t know I had. I believe I have found a new favourite poet.
- Stephen Collis
In her astonishing and original fur(l) parachute, Shannon Maguire trans-slants the Old English poem "Wulf and Eadwacer” to offer us our queer, extra-human being still capable of love and mourning. The green world is alive, tender and reproductive in unexpectedly animal and technological ways. In the break between original and translation, all the bodies we thought we’d lost writhe - full of life. Read and feed this shining word whelp to remember your collective difference. The best thing I’ve read in years.
- Larissa Lai
Virtualis: Topologies of the Unreal is a poetic investigation of melancholia and the baroque. As a collaborative reading of writers such as Walter Benjamin, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, David Dowker and Christine Stewart have created a series of linguistic interjections that run from the allegorical barricades of the baroque to the topological confound of the modern, incorporating (for example) Medusa and the Sphinx, aestivating snails and the alchemy of bees. Lush and extravagant, this is writing tuned in to the terrestrial spectacle.
...a futuristic present haunted by shades coming into being and vanishing, shape-shifting texts, and cyborgs in the production line of a linguistic factory that manufactures mirages both magical and nightmarish. The atmosphere is suffused with coded signs and electrical currents, the screen inhabited by a hybrid of pixel and gene finding its muse in the common denominator of its nuptials.
- Camille Martin, on Machine Language
Tuft: "A bunch (natural or artificial) of small things, usually soft and flexible,
...fixed or attached at the base." - OED
With Tuft, Kim Minkus takes us on flights of poetic fancy into futures where we "observe the green elite" and "iceplants bloom in the monotony of paved paths." We tangle and climb into language and are swept into the lives of the animals that haunt the shores of our city's waterways. This is a world where worker, lover, animal and poet unite. Minkus brings Venus and Satan into one sentence and in doing so unleashes the "bitter-broken-fallen" of our world. This is a gathering that calls out to the reader to pay attention and look closely. Tuft reminds us that without words our bodies would not exist and that only time makes us secret. We are all attached to something.
Minkus forms impossible compounds to do just what the best poetry must: express the inexpressible.
- The Globe and Mail
Her utterly original voice is unlike any other in poetry.
- Judith Fitzgerald
Read [Minkus] to increase your awareness of the times, in a lyrical, rhythmic way.
- Geist Magazine.
The first word in this new collection by Phil Hall is "raw" and the last word is "blurtip." Between these, many nouns cry faith within a hook-less framework that sings in chorus while undermining such standard forms & tropes as "the memoir," "genealogy" and "the shepherd's calendar." With a rural pen, these poems talk frogs, carrots, local noises, partial words, remnants, dirt roads, deep breath & hope:
my laboratory the moment
is accordion-shaped - cluttered - sopping
& not eternal
[Hall has created] a meditation on the poetic process that stimulates both the intellect and the imagination.
- Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star
Hall manages to rescue the lyrical essay from its recondite excesses and turn it into something that's as adventurous as it is readable. Hall has called himself a "surruralist," and this book charts his development as a writer, but it also demonstrates and furthers that development.
- Paul Vermeersh, The Globe and Mail
Hall is aware that he's aligned with an aesthetic of past decades that may not be fashionable, but he seems determined to keep its spirit alive by understanding what it tells us about our aesthetic today. To him I would give an award for unabashedly keeping an authentic Canadian poetic voice alive.
- The Montreal Gazette
Killdeer is a testament to the creative life as an act of faith and transformation.
- The Griffin Prize Judges
Hall was the 2011 winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in English for his book of essay-poems, Killdeer. In 2012, Killdeer also won Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, an Alcuin Design Award, and was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.
Previously, Trouble Sleeping (2001) was nominated for the Governor General’s Award, and An Oak Hunch (2005) was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.
He has taught writing and literature at York University, Ryerson University, Seneca College, George Brown College and elsewhere. Currently, he offers a manuscript mentoring service for the Toronto New School of Writing.
Hall has recently been writer-in-residence at Queens University & the University of Windsor. In fall 2013 he will be an instructor at the Banff Cenre for the Arts, in the Wired Writing Program.
He lives near Perth, Ontario.
Nobody Rides For Free: A Drifter in the Americas chronicles former bike courier John Hughes' rambles through Latin America on a bicycle. In this gripping mosaic-travellogue, readers are introduced to banditos, artists, grifters, would-be wives, dope fiends and attacking monkeys: a cast of characters who conspire to reduce him to alcoholic destitution. His last remaining $400 is spent sailing the Amazon, flying to Miami, and then hitchhiking across some of the most frightening highways in the United States with the goal of making it safely home to Vancouver. Throughout his adventures we learn about con-artistry, fear, and kindness set against the imposing backdrop of everything we think we know about the Americas. Nobody Rides For Free sheds light on obscure 1990s road culture while gearing itself to the needs of anyone with a desire to run from their demons on the open road.
...full of adventure, humor, insights into various cultures, and tall tales that sound as though they are completely true.
- Grady Harp via amazon.com
"A breathtaking look at a sometimes hilarious and often terrifying odyssey"
- Jayna Carter via indigo.ca
Enter the Raccoon documents a love affair between a woman and a raccoon. They are a couple that loves without preconceptions, whose being together eschews all limits until their beliefs in the self are put to the test. Their story unfolds each time one surrenders to the other in a sometimes melancholic and cruel, other times joyful, even ecstatic embrace.
Not since Marian Engel's Bear has the thirst for CanLit bestiality been so righteously quenched. Enter The Raccoon brings the reader into a wild world of otherworldly love with arms -- and mechanical paws -- wide open.
- Chris Urquhart for This Magazine
It is a human-sized raccoon that greets you as you plunge into the subconscious wiring of Beatriz Hausner, accessed through this prosthetic book machine, this "mechanical extremity" that bids you to Enter the Raccoon. This is a book you will wish you could dream. Its cumulative prose lines extend through the essay, the anecdote, the fable, into the realm of fancy, fantasy, and fornicating (transpecies) wish fulfillment. It arrives at poetry and dives through that soft mirror to reveal the ancient machine working the illusion in the kingdom of happiness. This is the machine that knows you, and whispers things to you about your magic body that you can only imagine. It speaks of love as a thing made at the origin of language only to explode in radiant embrace.
- Gregory Betts
Enter the Raccoon bridges the gulf between the Canadian traditions of relatively realist, pornographically enraptured novels of nature (notably, Marian Engel's Bear) and experimental, non-realist poetry. Entering Enter the Raccoon will unnerve and delight, so that the reader exits disturbed but gleeful.
- The Winnipeg Free Press
While Canadian poetic practices have steadily pluralised since the early 1960s, the poetry review has remained stubbornly constant. You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence is a critical, and at times hilarious survey of reviews of innovative Canadian poetry in English since 1961. What is at stake in the reviewing of poetry? What fantasies are inherent to the practice? How is poetry itself produced in the reviewing of poetry? Why has the reviewing of poetry remained largely invisible to self-reflexive critique? These are some of the many questions You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence dares to ask in its query to determine if poetry reviewers can claim to have the authority they imagine they have over their chosen subject. As a retort to the retrograde trend that is poetry reviewing in Canada, You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence is the first book to detail the production and structure of an "aesthetic conscience" and demonstrate how this functions as the dynamic administrative apparatus of any aesthetic ideology. In short, this book opens for the first time a new and desperately needed channel in Canadian criticism.
This lively, engagingly written, and theoretically sophisticated study takes a provocatively pointed look at postmodern Canadian poetry through the revealing lenses of its reviews: their ideological and moral blindspots, their lamented critical belatedness, and the "ongoing positions war" of their canonization practices. Mancini's theorizing of the "aesthetic conscience" and his astute analysis of the discourse of the "craft" of poetry are major additions to the critical work on reviewing. This is a "must" for anyone interested in Canadian poetry - and reviewing.
- Linda Hutcheon, author of The Canadian Postmodern; A Poetics of Postmoderism: History, Theory, Fiction; The Politics of Postmodernism.
In You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence, Donato Mancini exposes and delimits the ideology behind a practice of poetry reviewing that functions more like diamond appraisal than intellectual engagement. If you read or write poetry whose clarity, carat, colour or cut is deemed flawed in such a critical political economy, you will find in Mancini’s work a challenge to aesthetic exclusivity that is incisive, expansive and potentially liberatory.
- Wayde Compton