The Boy

Betty Jane Hegerat - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 280pp / May, 2011 /
ISBN:978-088982-275-7
/ $21.95

In 1959 Ray and Daisy Cook and their five children were brutally slain in their modest home in the central Alberta town of Stettler. Robert Raymond Cook, Ray Cook’s son from his first marriage, was convicted of the crime, and had the infamy of becoming the last man hanged in Alberta. Forty-six years later, a troublesome character named Louise in a story that Betty Jane Hegerat finds herself inexplicably reluctant to write, becomes entangled in the childhood memory of hearing about that gruesome mass murder. Through four years of obsessively tracking the demise of the Cook family, and dancing around the fate of the fictional family, the problem that will not go away is how to bring the story to the page. A work of non-fiction about the Cooks and their infamous son, or a novel about Louise and her problem stepson? Both stories keep coming back to the boy.

Part memoir, part investigation, part novella, part writer’s journal, The Boy, is the author’s final capitulation to telling the story with all of the troublesome questions unanswered.

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Uirapurú - Based on a Brazilian legend

P.K. Page - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / cip / 32pp / April, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-264-6
/ $19.95

In her version of the legend, P.K. Page tells the story of a group of mischievous boys who set off into the forest to catch the bird with nets and bows and arrows.
During their adventures they meet an old man with a flute who has spent his life trying to mimic the Uirapurú’s song and a maiden of the moon surrounded by all the creatures of the night. In her tale of mystery and transformation, P.K. Page creates a story as beautiful and as haunting as the song of the bird about which she writes. A story superbly illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman. A story you will never forget.

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2010 Governor General's Award, Finalist - Children's Literature - Illustration

Morbidity & Ornament

Steve Noyes - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 144pp / October, 2009 /
ISBN:978-088982-260-3
/ $17.95

In his fourth book of poetry, Morbidity and Ornament, Steve Noyes departs from a previous preoccupation with the narrative sequence that he mined in Ghost Country to explore a range of styles and subjects: basketball, Islam, the dissonance and resonance of Chinese culture, the mating habits of slugs, the first year of marriage in a new house, ciagerette smoking and love poems that animals, strangely, inhabit.

There are Petrarchan sonnets, poems in mock-Chaucerian middle English, a couple of surreal, winding, anxiety dreams, and a remarkable sequence that intersperses lyrics with homages to the Tang and Song dynasty poets, in Chinese and English. The book is a cornucopia that defies thematic arrangement.

As usual, Noyes’ tone migrates as much as he has during his life: it is belligerent, sarcastic, reverent, matter-of-fact, poignant and often acerbically funny. The voices vary so much that the effect is of listening in on life itself and its many personages: the assassinated Filipino leader Aquino, a Chinese fairy with a flute, NBA star Allan Iverson riffing on a Keats poem, a marooned quasi-prophet in an airport, a civil servant who may be from our time or the 9th century.

Readers will recognize the recurrence of one of Noyes’s familiar themes, the drift and dissolve of cultures and civilizations across time and space, but will find a new emphasis on the family, faith, and humour, the necessity of finding new music in an old instrument, the human voice.
This collection is testament to Al Purdy’s earlier observation that Noyes is “a damn good poet”.

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Delivery

Betty Jane Hegerat - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 312pp / April, 2009 /
ISBN:978-088982-257-3
/ $19.95

Lynn Howard has just begun to appreciate the freedom of the empty nest when Heather, her acerbic, self-centered twenty-year-old daughter announces that she is pregnant. Heather decides that adoption is the practical solution. After the baby is born, stunned and furious to find her heart at war with her head, she declares that she needs more time and she and her baby come home to stay with Lynn. Three weeks later, Heather suddenly insists that Lynn deliver the baby to her adoptive parents before that resolve weakens again.
And this is where the novel begins. Lynn can no more make that delivery than she could give away her own first child, so she stows Beegee in a laundry basket, straps her into the back of the car and drives west out of Calgary.
Alternating between Lynn’s story and Heather’s, the novel explores the burden of too many choices, the indescribable emotional maelstrom of birth and motherhood, and the tangled threads that tie a child to a family.

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Finalist, 2010 Alberta Book Awards Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

Harbour

Miranda Pearson - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 144pp / October, 2009 /
ISBN:978-088982-261-0
/ $17.95

Miranda Pearson’s latest collection of poetry, Harbour, looks at ways humans are driven to construct territory in whatever space is available, however borrowed or makeshift. In the first section, “Asylum,” Pearson turns, for the first time in her writing, to her experience of working in psychiatry. We hear the voices of both caregivers and patients, and flit back and forth between these two roles, contrasting and unraveling their meaning.
Moving from hospitals to museums, the poems explore the tensions between antiquity and modernity, and how we collect and display artifacts, preserving life in frozen morgue-like containment. Ideas on hoarding are touched upon, how even assembling a collection of poetry is a type of acquisition—of imagery, words, ideas, and other texts.

In the final section, “This Liminal Home,” lovers hastily improvise make-believe homes in hotel rooms, temporary harbours that provide a fleeting freedom within their anonymous settings. Other poems are situated in airplanes—the quintessential “no-man’s land” betwixt and between time and territory. Architectural imagery recurs throughout the collection, linking the themes of shelter and refuge with bridges, stairs, and corridors.

Harbour—the noun and the verb are interchangeable—illuminates the human drive to nest, gathering together ideas on how we seek refuge, a sanctuary, a keep. How we harbour.

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Finalist 2010, BC Book Prizes - Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry

Made That Way

Susan Ketchen - Bio and Media
Young Adult Fiction / pb / 176pp / December, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-254-2
/ $12.95

In this sequel to Born That Way, Sylvia, fourteen, is now taking medication for Turner Syndrome, the genetic disorder with the missing X chromosome. Without treatment, Sylvia will remain short, undeveloped and infertile, and the object of ongoing teasing at school. Unfortunately Sylvia experiences serious side-effects to her medication and grapples with what it means to become “normal”. If the hornless unicorn she dreams about is still very much a unicorn, then is Sylvia still a young woman when she has no ovaries?

Against her wishes, Grandpa has shipped Sylvia her first pony, who also turns out to not be normal, or at least not normal for a horse. He bugles instead of whinnying, and there’s something odd about his ears. Brooklyn is a hinny, a hybrid offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Hinnies are also missing a chromosome, unusually short and sterile. But no one talks about a “hinny disorder”. Sylvia wonders if it is possible that she isn’t “disordered” either. Could she be a hybrid? And how bad would that be, given what they said at the car dealership about hybrids being the way of the future?

Determined to take charge of her life, Sylvia first gains mastery over her lucid dreams. She challenges her unicorn spirit guide, she directs him, and eventually no longer needs him. Strength flows into her “real life” where, without being reckless or a bully, she stands up to her parents, she stands up to her tormentors at school, she even stands up to her hero Kansas.

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Born That Way

Susan Ketchen - Bio and Media
Young Adult Fiction / pb / 176pp / April, 2009 /
ISBN:ISBN 978-088982-254-2
/ $12.95

Sylvia is fourteen and she wants a horse but a few things are getting in her way. For one, she seems to be stuck in the body of an eight-year-old. Sylvia has an undiagnosed medical condition which makes her very short, with funny ears and strange hands. The kids at school call her Pygmy Chimp.

Grandpa has secretly promised to buy her a horse as soon as she grows as tall as his shoulder. Sylvia does everything she can to increase her height, including adhering to an unconventional stretching regime. She also sets out to demonstrate her responsible pet-care abilities by bringing home several live barnacles in sea water. Anyone would think barnacles were a pretty safe choice—who would guess that they are hermaphrodites? Sylvia’s ensuing Google research on barnacle care leaves a damning trail in the family’s computer history file. Her mom decides Sylvia needs therapy to resolve her latency and gender-identity issues.

Sylvia does find support for her quest. In lucid dreams, a grumpy unicorn offers her advice. Sylvia meets others who are equally obsessed with horses and so discovers she is a member of the herd of horsewomen. However, her greatest challenge comes when, on the brink of having her wishes fulfilled, she must reconcile the attainment of her childhood dreams with the emerging powers and responsibilities of womanhood.


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This Innocent Corner

Peggy Herring - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 304pp / October, 2010 /
ISBN: 978-088982-268-9
/ $19.95

Fifty-year-old Robin Rowe returns to Dhaka, Bangladesh, her first visit since she was an exchange student there in 1970. The country, then East Pakistan, was on the brink of the war that led to its independence from Pakistan. Robin was repatriated just as the violence erupted, and as a result of the conflict, lost touch with her friends, and the Chowdhury family with whom she boarded that year.

On her return visit, Robin discovers a shocking truth about her legacy in the country. A well-intentioned act she carried out – thwarting an arranged marriage – has resulted in disastrous consequences: suicide, torture and the disappearance of the beloved Luna Chowdhury.
Overwhelmed with this news, she returns home to Salt Spring Island, BC to find the roof of her house has collapsed. As she deals with the reconstruction, she must come to terms with the consequences of her act in Bangladesh, as well as other unresolved parts of her life: the unexpected loss of her husband, Graham, a decade earlier, and her estranged relationship with her adult daughter, Surinder.

Making peace with her mistakes and accepting the uncertainty of her future requires her understanding first the part she has played in the conflicts in her own life, and then becoming willing to engage with a world that is complex, unpredictable and sometimes as stubborn as Robin herself.

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Review of This Innocent Corner in The Globe and Mail, January 31, 2011.

"Herring nicely renders both the scents and tensions swirling in the Chowdhury family home."

— Vivian Moreau

Sweet Devilry

Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 104pp / April, 2011 /
ISBN:978-088982-273-3
/ $17.95

Yi-Mei Tsiang’s debut collection of poetry, Sweet Devilry, explores the tenderness of loss that informs motherhood as well as the power and the conflict that come with being a woman. Both celebration and elegy, these poems find their centre in familial love. Lyric and traditional, though attuned to the visual and the experimental, Sweet Devilry also has a whimsical, and sometimes biting, sense of humour. Tsiang’s smart, imaginative, and emotionally resonant work offers a keen and woman-centred perspective on the stories we tell ourselves about love, personal and societal struggle, and the inevitability of death.

"This is a book to treasure. This is a poet to watch. These are poems to savour. They are an impressive mix of tender, beguiling, and wise. Tsiang is bound to become a formidable voice in Canadian poetry." ~Helen Humphreys

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Gulf

Leslie Vryenhoek - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 80pp / April, 2011 /
ISBN:978-088982-274-0
/ $17.95

Gulf explores the nature of longing and belonging in a transient culture. From its opening assertion, “A neighborhood, no matter / how known, will not slip whole / into your knapsack,” the collection contends home is a portable assortment of minutiae: the taste of dirt, the solace of Home Depot, a pennant of bone. Opening on a child’s displacement, the poems loosely trace the author’s journey from American suburbia to small-town Canadian prairie, a transition aided by sardonic historical figures and a metric conversion chart. As the poems ricochet from coast to coast, Vryenhoek toes the U.S./Canadian border—“that thin line a wide gulf”— until crossing another gulf and arriving in Newfoundland, a place where being from/coming from away still holds sway in everyday dialogue.

Moving from solemn and meditative to saucy and irreverent, Gulf is a collision of natural elements and technology, native species and newcomers, the inevitable rending of families and the connective tissue of memory that ties us to place.

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"This book has a charged intelligence. Like one of the questing figures in it, it straddles the continent, articulating the gaps and disjunctions that create gulfs within and without. A clear-eyed exploration of the links between personhood and place. A beautiful debut."

~Mary Dalton

Snowdrift

Lisa McGonigle - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 204pp / January, 2011 /
ISBN:978-088982-271-9
/ $18.95

Newly graduated from university in Ireland, Lisa McGonigle came to the Kootenay region of British Columbia to spend a winter snowboarding. She wrote emails to her friends back home describing a remote mountain-town called Fernie, a series of smashes in the terrain park, unrivalled powder turns, working for minimum-wage and duct-taping over the holes in her outerwear. She left to take up a PhD scholarship to Oxford but the lure of the snow was too much. Several months later she abandoned her laptop, clothes and bike in Oxford and ran away back to BC. She went on to spend another three winters in the Kootenays, trading Fernie for an even smaller, more remote town called Rossland and learning to ski for good measure as well.

Composed of the emails written as events unfolded, and infused with an Irish take on Canadiana, Snowdrift documents the joyous, impoverished and injury-ridden life of a ski-bum who’ll do almost anything for fresh lines and explores just what happens when you leave it all behind to follow the snow.

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An Uninterview with Lisa Mcgonigle

By Teri Vlassopoulos

A few weeks ago a copy of Lisa McGonigle’s Snowdrift came in the mail. It’s her memoir of trading a full scholarship to Oxford for the ski bum life in the Kootenays in British Columbia. While I was reading her descriptions of skiing and snowboarding, I got it. Even her descriptions of the injuries sustained on the hill sound purposeful or at least hilarious.

The Wind River Variations

Brian Brett
Fritz Mueller
- Brian Brett
">Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 96pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-088982-269-6
/ $22.95

Brian Brett’s latest collection of poems, The Wind River Variations, addresses the intricate weave of relationships that exists between human beings and the natural landscape. In particular, he speaks to the preservation of the Three Rivers watershed (The Wind River, The Snake River and the Bonnet Plume River). In his acknowledgements he writes: “In an odd kind of way, the plundering of the world in the past is understandable, because there wasn’t the knowledge. Now, there are no excuses, and the almost belligerent and certainly arrogant lust of so many individuals to destroy what remains merely to create more wealth for a few has to make us wonder about the mental health of our species, and its eventual survival.”

In these poems, he takes us on an expedition into the Three Rivers watershed with other artists, writers, photographers, painters, naturalists in the hope that what they record will awaken and introduce us to the beauty and importance of this pristine area to the broader culture.

In these sometimes bitter and angry, always insightful poems, Brett speaks to the many environmental concerns, both physical and spiritual, that overshadow the diverse eco-systems that are so vital to our humanity and our survival.

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The Gate

Michael Elcock - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 224pp / April, 2011 /
ISBN:978-088982-272-6
/ $18.95

The Gate is a love story and a tragedy centred on the search by Stephen Rochefort, a Canadian, for information about his past. Rochefort receives shattering information about his origins at his grandmother’s deathbed—origins which lie in the dying days of World War Two Europe. These revelations set him off on a search for his past, against his better judgment and, initially, his own interest.

The story begins in the Pemberton Valley, north of Vancouver, and while most of the characters in it are fictitious, most of the events are not. The plot plays off actual events—including secret service activities only recently de-classified—and in some cases, actual people. It recounts an epic tale of Rochefort’s parents, their love and their efforts as part of the French resisitance fighting against the occupying Germans. It is a tale of happiness, and such sorrow as can only be partially remedied by the efforts of an outstanding and compassionate humanitarian, the Catholic Abbé Musty of Bastogne in Belgium. The unexpected events of war force the Abbé and his young students to escape across the hard-frozen, war-torn landscape. Inevitably, the story involves advancing German forces and the sinister depredations of the Gestapo and Heinrich Himmler’s Sicherheitsdienst.

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“Meticulous research and a cinematic sensibility have endowed The Gate with authentic power. The novel recreates the last year of the Second World War by focusing on a handful of individuals and how their lives were changed by the German occupation of France and Belgium, and I believe that Michael Elcock realizes his aim – to make us remember a period that is nearly forgotten, and must be recalled so that it never happens again.”

Isabel Huggan - Author of Belonging: Home Away from Home, winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction

Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny

Caroline Woodward - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 256pp / October, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-267-2
/ $18.95

In this long-awaited novel, Caroline Woodward returns to her Peace River roots. Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny is a contemporary story about middle-aged love enduring despite many obstacles. It is a retelling of The Odyssey, with a road story looping south from the Peace River region to the West Coast and across the province through the Kootenays before the wanderer struggles to find his way north, and home. The story winds around Penny, inventive and resolute ranch wife, and Wade Toland, reluctant rancher and good man, adrift behind the wheel on his last long haul truck run of the season.

The inter-island wars of ancient Greece are replaced by Canadian blizzards, biker gangs, lotus landers, covetous neighbours, not-so-friendly bank managers, a ravishing all-woman country punk band called The Sireens, and fatally malfunctioning truck brakes, amongst other menacing entities. The Goodland Historical Society and local choir, to which Penny belongs, pop up from time to time, like a Greek chorus.

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"Caroline Woodward is a B.C. writer who's far from average and well worth getting to know."

Rebecca Wigod, Vancouver Sun

"A beautifully written and marvelous story! Characters with dignity, characters you like, care for, root for."

Paulette Jiles, Author of The Color of Lightning

“Woodward’s crisp, earthy writing cuts to the chase of what it is to be human in this finely crafted novel about hard times, love, and the best of intentions. Wade and Penny will live on in my imagination for a long time.”

Anne DeGrace, Author of Sounding Line

Listen to Caroline on CBC Daybreak North.

Penny Loves Wade reviewed by Emily McIvor

Penny Loves Wade; Wade Loves Penny, by Caroline Woodward is a big adventure and a lively story: one of increasingly few these days in which things actually happen. Plot is important to this book, and during the reading of it, I found myself, while busy with other tasks, yearning back to it, wondering about the next fate of Penny and Wade, the protagonists.

Two O'Clock Creek Poems New and Selected

Bruce Hunter - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 204pp / October, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-266-5
/ $18.95

Winner - 2011 Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry

Two O’clock Creek – Poems New and Selected brings together the best of Bruce Hunter’s previous books of poetry as well as exciting new work that shows the sustained development of a life-long poet. Highly acclaimed by Books in Canada, the Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, and Canadian Literature, twice short listed for the CBC literary prize, and selected as a People’s Choice winner, Hunter is a poet who goes to the core of life.

These poems reveal the mysteries of rivers, the secrets of spurned loves, the lives of workers and the joys and heartbreak of new immigrants, always against a carefully drawn backdrop, whether urban or rural. The unequivocal and unflinching emotions here move from awe to anger to whimsy in an authentic voice that is in turns, tender, scathing and celebratory.

"Two O’clock Creek" is the “seed” poem which inspired Hunter’s novel, In the Bear’s House, which won the 2009 Canadian Rockies Award at the Banff Mountain Festival.

“Bruce Hunter’s poems are steeped in family history, legend, an agile sense of place, character, and are held together by the grit and gust of detail and the strength of sentiment. Two O’clock Creek is a bare-hearted book, composed of muscle and sweat, its verbs balancing a kind of heft and haul that powers the reader through close to thirty years. But it’s the light at the core of Hunter’s writing that manages to connect the macho to the transcendent, creating shivers of tenderness.”
~ Barry Dempster, author of Love Outlandish ~

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Living Under Plastic

Evelyn Lau - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 92pp / April, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-262-7
/ $17.95

Living Under Plastic represents a major departure from the author’s previous poetry books. Instead of the obsessive focus on relationships and emotional damage that has characterized much of her earlier work, this book opens up to explore new subjects: family history, illness, death and dying, consumerism, and the natural world. In a tone that is often elegiac, without ever being maudlin, these poems are steeped in immortality and loss. Haunted by the pull of the past, there is strength of character and a sense of affirmation in all of these poems. While grounded in travel and in place, the tone is surprisingly meditative and contemplative.

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The Moon's Fireflies

Benjamin Madison - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 164pp / April, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-263-4
/ $18.95

The eighteen linked short stories in The Moon’s Fireflies take us inside the experience of living as a foreigner in an African village. Adopted by two village boys, Effiong and Little Etim, the narrator is drawn into the life of the West African village of Akai Ison. He has been posted there to teach in the local school but spends most of his time learning.
In “Night Studies”, he begins to understand the West African magic called juju. It is a prominent theme in several other stories as well and through them we see that juju is not a collection of nonsensical superstitions but is a useful and important part of the lives of the villagers.
These stories are not only filled with insight, they are engaging stories in themselves. We share in the adventures and misadventures of the narrator as he gets mixed up with local matchmaking, tries to introduce out-of-season corn, and is required to embrace all the village women. “Shakespeare will debut in Akai Isong at noon,” he states at the beginning of “That Cassius,” and the disaster that follows proves both hilarious and profound.
This is an Africa we seldom see, an Africa of warm hospitality and tolerance, and the humanity and wisdom embodied in these stories lead us to examine our own lives and values. If you are interested in Africa, this book will turn you into a lover; if you love Africa, The Moon’s Fireflies is a feast.

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The Missionary, The Violinist and the Aunt Whose Head was Squeezed

Keith Harrison - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 176pp / April, 2010 /
ISBN:978-088982-265-8
/ $18.85

This narrative diary explores the gaps and myths of family history, identity, and expressiveness through the retracing of a many-generational voyage. In this new work, the focus is on his own family and its, at times, troubled and troubling history.

The story-line of The Missionary, The Violinist And The Aunt Whose Head Was Squeezed follows a five month journey that he made into the past, with his wife JoAnn as a companion. His father, John, had been born in Tokyo, and studied at Melbourne Grammar School before coming to Vancouver. His father’s father, Ernest, from St Ives, a journalist turned missionary, married Ethel Mercer, described in Melbourne’s Age as “Australia’s leading woman violinist”.

Keith Harrison discovers himself in the inadvertent circle shape of their voyaging, especially in the published writings of his father and grandfather. Of particular interest are the articles from Japan by Ernest during World War I and those by John that just precede World War II, that give a depth of time and range of tone to this composite, many-voiced book, that catches ancestors shaped by love and war.

Other documents found on this extended journey not only fill in the past but disrupt myths that had been transmitted down through the years. Key to this re-visioning of the past is the figure of Aunt Betty who suffered brain damage at birth. Ultimately and paradoxically, through an embedded work of fiction, she finds an imaginative rest.

This remarkable and honest fusion of travel writing, family history, and cultural anthropology is also a quest for meaning, and an understated love story.

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In The Bear's House

Bruce Hunter - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 432pp / June, 2009 /
ISBN:978-088982-253-5
/ $22.95

In the Bear’s House details the lives of two Scottish immigrant families in Calgary as they raise a deaf child. The novel opens when seventeen-year-old Clare Dunlop gives birth to a son while her husband serves a penitentiary sentence for a serious crime. Clare turns her creative and brooding spirit to her family, raising her children against the odds of poverty and depression.

The deaf boy’s ninety-nine-year-old great-great-aunt gives him a conch shell that becomes a kind of hearing aid in which he hears not the sea, but the stories of those around him. Nicknamed Trout for his family’s love of the wild and his own attachment to the watery and silent world of fishes, he is traumatized at the death of his aunt and spirals out of control.

His mother, who is pregnant with her sixth child, wavers between depression and clarity, and can no longer cope with Trout. She sends him to live with relatives in the wilderness. There he thrives, emerging to find love, connection and belonging with his partially deaf, forest ranger great-uncle and his musician wife. Trout discovers that while he can not always hear the world, he can feel it and he can learn to listen for its rhythms.

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Winner, 2009 Banff Mountain Book Festival’s
Canadian Rockies Award

Kaleidoscopes and Butterfly Dreams

Nancy Hundal - Bio and Media
Young Adult Fiction / pb / 132pp / April, 2009 /
ISBN:978-088982-256-6
/ $12.95

Change. Krista hates it, but it’s everywhere: new town, new house, new kids. And what’s worse, the town is ugly, the house is shabby and every kid is skinny and already has a best friend. Whereas Krista is lonely and . . . round. Forced to leave her best friend and fancy home behind, Krista struggles to fit into a town with no place for a book-loving city kid whose worst fear is appearing lakeside in a bathing suit.

Krista wants to find a real friend to share her secrets with, not just the retired gym teacher or a seven-year-old with endless snoopy questions. Will that ever happen, when her only activity is going door-to-door, selling broccoli-flavoured diet bars called Weight Wackers?

In a story filled with kaleidoscopes and butterfly dreams, Krista comes to learn that home is more a state of mind than a place. And in a town filled with things that will never change and things that never cease changing, she learns that a true friend can come in any size or at any age.

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Coastal Moments Illustrated Writing Journal

Island Illustrators Society - Bio and Media
/ hc / 128pp / April, 2011 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-277-1
/ $23.95

Join forty-four members of the Island Illustrators Society on a tour of Vancouver Island. Be inspired by the landscapes and people who inspire them. Contemplate the words of some of BC's finest poets. Coastal Moments is an illustrated writing journal that takes you on a journey through the colours and nuances of one of British Columbia's unique and beautiful places. Record your own thoughts and feelings as you share in the wonders of this remarkable island.

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The Aviary

Miranda Pearson - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 104pp / October, 2006 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-230-6
/ $17.95

Connected by the element of air, the poems in The Aviary raise questions about desire, the spirit and the unconscious juxtaposed against the everyday, beautiful and absurd, the surface of “things”. These poems propose an aesthetic of profound anxiety. Like caged birds, they clamour for escape even as they mourn loss. The poems circle ideas of impermanence, of our inner and outer landscapes with all their diverse freedoms and imprisonments.

The poems in this collection also reflect on the intimate power dynamics between men and women, employing an audacious tone of self-mockery to question the value of confession, and taking a mournfully wry view of the lyric and romantic tradition. Infidelity and betrayal are explored with stark and resolute determination, defining a philosophy of loss and attempting to delineate the ways and means of jealousy, grief and ironic ecstasy. Throughout this collection landscape is invoked as balm, a touchstone more reliable than any human relationship. In The Aviary, we fly above the boundaries of countries, in and out of time, and our notions of sanity. We play with the imperfect process of remembrance, where artifice is defense against loss.

I delight in these poems. Their verbal strategies, their echoes and replies, their life-givingness.
––Robert Kroetsch

Far From Botany Bay

Rosa Jordan - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 440pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:
/ $22.95

At age 21, Mary Broom was sentenced to hang for the crime of stealing a cloak. When her sentence was commuted to transportation “upon the sea, beyond the seas,” she was sent to Australia. One of the first European women to set foot on the continent, she landed in what was to become a prison colony popularly known as “Botany Bay.” Mary endured two “starvation years” as the colony struggled to feed itself. Then, in 1791, she executed the most daring escape ever attempted from that wild and brutal place on the far side of the world. How such a young, uneducated woman could have developed a plan to get herself back to England, and found the courage to implement it, is a mystery. How she persuaded eight men to accept her leadership is more mysterious yet. Her story has been told before, in history and fiction, the two generally co-mingled, as they are here. But never has the nature of this remarkable woman been so completely explored. What combination of physical endurance, psychological daring, natural intelligence, and trust in her own intuition made it possible for Mary Broom to succeed at the kind of escape that almost always ended in death for those who attempted it? And what does her story say about how much female liberation and equality have been advanced by women who never considered the concept, only its absolute necessity?

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Elf The Eagle

Ron Smith - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / hc / 40pp / October, 2007 /
ISBN:978-088982-241-2
/ $19.95

This delightful book tells the story of Elf, a baby eagle who worries about many things, including the distance from his nest, high up in a tree, to the ground, way, way down below. He also worries about his sister, Edwina, who is older and more adventurous than he is, and who spreads her wings and flies out of their nest, which frightens Elf a great deal. Eventually, when his baby down grows into strong, black feathers, Elf’s parents stop bringing him food, and tempt him with tasty morsels that they keep just out of reach. Elf gets very hungry and one day he accidentally tumbles out of his nest. As he starts to fall, his parents yell at him to flap his wings. He does, and he is flying! At the story’s end, Elf can’t wait for dawn to break so he can fly all the way to sun.

With beautiful, full-colour illustrations by Vancouver artist Ruth Campbell, Elf is an inspiring story, told with gentle humour. It will delight children, who will relate to Elf’s fears and will realize, as he does, that they too will grow into their wings and fly, when the time is right.

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Finalist, Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Award, BC Book Prizes - 2008

Finalist, Shining Willow Award - 2010

“With wide eyes, lopsided wings, and unsteady feet, Elf the baby eagle hesitates at the edge of the world. He doesn’t know yet what his parents and sister are trying to teach him—that he belongs to the air, and the air to him. Perhaps you know someone like this? You’ll love this delightful tale. Join Elf as he learns to fly. Fly with him as he grows beyond fear and discovers joy.”
—W. H. New

Silent Inlet

Joanna Streetly - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 448pp / September, 2005 /
ISBN:978-088982-207-8
/ $22.95

Silent Inlet traces the lives of four very different characters in Hansen Sound, a fictional small-town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Amidst storms, mist and rain, they find themselves thrown together, struggling to trust one another. When a violent accident injures a handicapped boy, the tentative relationships that they have established begin to fall apart. Chaos ensues and lives begin to unravel.

Harry Farre is a feisty woman in her sixties, who lives primitively on an island in the middle of Hansen Sound. Her daughter, Hannah, is returning to the Sound in the aftermath of a failed relationship. Big Mack Stanley is a First Nations man in his late thirties, beset by the troubles of his upbringing. His orphaned nephew, Lonny, is ten years old, desperate for love and a place to belong. Each of these characters sees life without “seeing” each other, and the story is told in their interweaving voices and points of view.

Hesquiaht hereditary chief, Simon Lucas, once said: “You only see us with one eye.” This novel brings the west coast to life through a spectrum of perspectives within which the reader experiences the raw physicality of people and place: people who are caught in the sea of turbulence, hardship and brilliance that characterizes the west coast, shaped by its history, First Nations culture, and the forces of Nature.

A Song For My Daughter

Patricia Smith - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 460pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:978-088982-244-3
/ $22.95

A Song for My Daughter, set in British Columbia in 1988, is an entrancing novel about transformation, healing and the irresistible magic inherent in telling stories. Vivian, the Old Woman who narrates the story, is a trickster figure with all the powers of Raven and all the savvy of a Greek chorus.

We first meet Vivian by her favourite fishing hole. With her we enjoy the taste of freshly-caught salmon cooked over an open fire, take a sip of a cold beer and listen to her stories. With Vivian as our guide, we follow the adventures of three women—Joan Dark, the mysterious and radiant Salmon Woman and daughter of Vivian; Mary Chingee, a Carrier-Sekani woman, estranged from her family; and Sally Cunningham, the spoiled daughter of wealthy Vancouver socialites. Recently released from a mental institution, this unlikely trio journeys up river into the heartland of BC in the hope of returning Mary to her ancestral home. Along the way, they meet, amongst others, cowboys, a revivalist preacher, a woman who runs a guest ranch and an old man without a shadow. Their exploits help us to discover what it means to be female at the end of the millennium, how it feels to be a marginalised minority, and what it takes to rebalance the world.

Adam Rivers, the Head Psychiatrist of the Fraserview Institute, also joins the story, first as a sympathetic advisor to the three women and then as the author of his own journal in which he records his conflicting and confused feelings. Since his first meeting with Joan, he has become obsessed by his memories of her, by the voices he has begun to hear and by her continuing appearance in his dreams. He finds himself in a state of desire and longing that is contrary to all the rules of his profession, and yet he gives in to a spell that not only lifts him out of his own loneliness but leads him to a suprising revelation.

Beautifully imagined and written, A Song For My Daughter, takes us on a multilayered and celebratory journey of love and survival. Through a collision of cultures, western and First Nations, the world is righted, as it must be if we are to survive and live in harmony and peace.

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Enchantment and Other Demons

Ron Smith - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / April, 2001 /
ISBN:

Prez: Homage to Lester Young

Jamie Reid - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / April, 2010 /
ISBN:
/ $14.95

Lester Young has been described as jazz’s first hipster who forever changed the sound of the tenor saxophone. In Prez, Jamie Reid creates an evocative image of Young with poetry and poetic prose that resonates with the fluid notes of Lester’s music.

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“Cooler in tone than many of the raving epiphanies of Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsburg, Prez unmistakably partakes of both their style and substance in its jazz-derived improvisations-on-a-theme form and its deeply humanistic take on life.”
- John Moore, Vancouver Sun -

“A strong, focused, and unified work that will long be in the collections of poets and musicians.”
- Victory Review -

Time Out of Mind

Laurie Block - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 112pp / April, 2006 /
ISBN:978-088982-225-2
/ $17.95

In the foreword to this moving, honest and luminous collection of poems, Laurie Block inscribes the last coherent words his mother said to him: I used to be quite fond of you. Shortly after that, she lost what remained of her senses and sank into the vegetative state in which she spent her last years. Lights Out, the first section of Time Out of Mind, is the poet’s journey into a darkness that is only in part his mother’s. He writes to touch the borders of consciousness and emerges with a map of the mind and body in extremis. Many of these poems are rooted in disorientation, displacement and loss of equilibrium, the friction between what happens outside the skin and what may be taking place on the inside. The poet believes that we value consciousness as somehow more concrete, enduring and linked to assumptions about identity than our bodies. He therefore asks the question: Is the self first a face or a soul?

Here In Hope: A Natural History

J.M. Bridgeman - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 200pp / November, 2002 /
ISBN:978-088982-212-2
/ $22.95

Here In Hope is a history of place, a spiritual and ecological memoir, and a biography of the community of Hope, British Columbia. J.M. Bridgeman tells the stories of this land and its people with both a mystic's sense of wonder and a scientist's curiosity about the precise nature of the forces that shape our world. Elegantly written in precise lyrical language, Bridgeman describes the evolution of the place called Hope, and gives voice to the forces that have shaped this unique area.The story of Hope begins with a narrative of geological forces: the collision of mountain ranges, the slow grinding of earth by glaciers and ice, the carving out of valleys, and the convergence of two great rivers.Human habitation then enters this landscape, firstly with Aboriginal settlers who lived lightly on the land and saw in the mountains and rivers  the sacred interconnectedness of all life. Then come the explorers and fur traders who moved into the area.Next comes the discovery of gold in the Fraser River, which brought a rush of inhabitants with their European-shaped ideology of human dominance over nature. And as the world chugged into the industrial age with its railroads, new technologies, and more immigrants,  the ecology of this pristine environment changed profoundly.

Mars Is For Poems

Aaron Bushkowsky - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 104pp / April, 2002 /
ISBN:978-088982-204-7
/ $14.95

This collection of poetry zings a meteor’s path from cosmos to earth, from the great themes of love and death to their very particular manifestations—the death of a parent, the dissolution of a marriage, love’s awakening in triumph and hope, the grief and confusion of love lost, love distorted into hate. In his poems, sound weaves rhythmic patterns, anchoring the reader the way a drumbeat anchors a piece of music, freeing the melody to soar. Stars and galaxies, planets and their moons, gods and goddesses are linked through human consciousness to everyday lives, to the wonder of new love, the shout of mortality. These poems are meticulous in their details: “there alone/icu/room 3/second bed” begins the poem satellite. It ends: “each breath/tugging at the lines//waiting for a sudden/off-shore breeze.” The impossibly distant is embedded in our human hearts, and we discover the vastness of the cosmos in the things that are closest to us. “nearly hoarse/from hollering/go for broke/we race/race against time/become part of it/suns of fury/a massive runaway feeling/no field too large/we charge across/galactic meadows/kids playing soccer/mothers watching from heated cars/azure quasars/fathers scanning the net/for kiddie porn/sirens from the dark side/of the city/”. Space and time bend in remarkable ways to permit us glimpses of our interior lives, mirrored in the qualities we attribute to Mars, to Venus.

Hiding Places: Essays

Timothy Brownlow - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 272pp / September, 2008 /
ISBN:978-088982-251-1
/ $18.95

These essays are forays into what Wordsworth called the “hiding places”of the creative impulse. Sometimes in aphoristic form, this selection of meditations on the arts of poetry and teaching functions as an indirect self-portrait and probes the poet’s Irish heritage. For Brownlow, there is a fruitful tension between scholarship and poetry; too often divorced, these activities are not for him mutually exclusive. This book asserts the autonomy of the literary imagination. His aim is to be, as in Whitman’s great line, “aplomb in the midst of irrational things.”

“ . . . a peculiar sweetness of insight and a generous mind . . . lines full of piercing grace . . . a furious poignancy.”
~Eavan Boland in Icarus

“Brownlow’s Irish capacity to embrace a personal cultural tradition readily and unselfconsciously is one from which many determinedly Canadian poets could learn.”
~W. J. Keith in Canadian Book Review Annual

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Leaving The Farm

Ross Klatte - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 384pp / May, 2007 /
ISBN:978-088982-237-5
/ $22.95

Leaving the Farm is a poignant, funny, beautifully rendered memoir about growing up on a small Minnesota dairy farm in the 1950s. It was a time when family farms throughout North America were beginning to disappear. Tracing his family’s roots from Quebec and Saskatchewan to Minnesota, Ross Klatte tells the story of the struggle between a bookish, daydreaming boy and his self-made, driven father—the tension between real life on the farm and the boy’s imaginative world.

It’s a story that lovingly delineates the richness and drudgery of farm life, the emotion of family ties, and a rapturous intimacy with nature. Above all it’s a farm boy’s story. At first, the farm, with its surrounding fields and woods, provides a natural playground for the boy. Later, called upon to do a man’s work and expected to take over the farm someday, the boy begins to feel trapped and dreams of escape. He escapes into worlds of his imagination based on avid reading and his longing for other places.

One day he is shocked awake, into dreadful reality, when his four-year-old sister is killed on the farm. Within a year and a half of that terrible accident, his parents hold an auction of their livestock and machinery and the boy leaves for Navy boot camp. This memoir is Ross Klatte’s tender requiem for his lost sister, for the father with whom he struggled for freedom, and for his childhood on the farm, whose shape has indelibly imprinted itself on the man he has become.

“Ross Klatte leads us to an epic comprehension of the loss of one family’s farm, with writing so eloquent and disarming, so deftly nuanced and intensely moving that my sorrowful empathy with the tragedy herein is balanced by the sheer pleasure of reading such good writing. This is a wonderful achievement . . .” —Caroline Woodward

“. . . both a haunting elegy for a way of life that is fast disappearing and a beautifully crafted memoir about the universal experience of growing up. Leaving the Farm is life-writing at its best.” —Ken McGoogan

Renovating Heaven

Andreas Schroeder - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb with french flaps / 224pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:978-088982-248-1
/ $18.95

Hilarious, bizarre and heart-breaking by turns, this novel in triptych about Mennonite life in Canada from the 1950’s to the 1970’s fills in the gap between Rudy Wiebe’s "Of This Earth" (a generation older) and Miriam Toews’ "A Complicated Kindness" (a generation younger). Leaving Germany with little more than their 16th century Anabaptist faith and lifestyle to guide them, Schroeder’s family settles on a small Fraser Valley farm in British Columbia and proceeds to try making sense of the perplexing mores and values of “The English” who surround them. The family finds solace, but not much else, within the local Mennonite congregation founded by Schroeder’s grandfather, every single one of whose sixty-two members is related to Schroeder on his mother’s side.

In more forgiving times, these stories might have been described as largely autobiographical. However, given today’s more stringent standards—not to mention Schroeder’s enthusiastic dedication to all the elements of effective storytelling (or, as his siblings would have it, “inclination to rampant lying and exaggeration”)—Schroeder has raised the white flag and called these stories “a novel in triptych.” That should go some distance to protecting the guilty and mollifying the innocent—if such there be.

“This is a fine novel about trying to love, trying to forgive, and trying to build something perfect: a trapeze glide from the comic into the tragic and back to a place of balance in between. A pleasure in three sure-handed parts.”

~Fred Stenson

The “immigrant experience” may never have been told so entertainingly or convincingly as it is in this story of a German Mennonite family adjusting to life in western Canada. The final installment of this story will make you want to read the whole lovely, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking book again, armed with new insight gained from a painful glimpse at the past. This is an important story, beautifully told.”
~Jack Hodgins

“This family portrait, written with love and compassion, is a masterpiece.”
~Edith Iglauer

“At first, Renovating Heaven lulls the reader into the nostalgic comfort of hilarious family memories, but the accumulated gathering of comic events adds up to a tragic portrait of people displaced by history, stifled by exaggerated belief systems, buoyed up and crushed by faith and love. Andreas Schroeder is a liar and a rascal indeed.”
~Armin Wiebe

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Cartography

Rhona McAdam - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 88pp / April, 2006 /
ISBN:978-088982-221-4
/ $16.95

In Cartography, her fifth collection of poetry, Rhona McAdam weaves an imaginative passage through the territories of love, work, family and aging. The journeys she takes her readers on are odd, familiar and memorable: we travel with her through startling and sensuous reflections on love, office paperwork and corporate layoffs; teen murder, truck stops and dementia. Here we find poems about suitcases, shoes and vegetables imbued with the same wry compassion with which she suffuses her portraits of aging parents and meditations on marital status and childlessness.

The world of her poems is completely and evocatively imagined, with humour and humanity, and traces the poet’s own movements, from England through Europe and back to Canada. Her themes reveal themselves cumulatively through the course of the collection. With a mature and original command of her craft, she reveals sensitivity to form, and to the ways in which rhyme and meter can enrich a poem.

A Crack In The Wall

Betty Jane Hegerat - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 240pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:978-088982-240-5
/ $18.95

The characters in A Crack in the Wall share a strong sense of home, whether it is a lifelong sanctuary, or a shell as fragile as the person who inhabits it. A young kleptomaniac ventures outside the shaky walls of her self-imposed confinement. A middle-aged woman pragmatically disposes of a houseful of pets in Calgary before returning to the Maritimes to embark on the next phase of her life. An elderly woman is forced to share her room in a nursing home with an old enemy. The stories explore the vastly different ways in which people deal with blows to the foundations of their lives, with loss. In the title story, “A Crack in the Wall,” a perfect home fractures after the death of a child. And in another, a grieving husband finds the house haunted by ghostly messages attached to the frozen meals left behind by his dying wife. These are ordinary people, abundantly flawed, often recognizing, but still clinging to their weaknesses.

A Crack in the Wall takes the reader on a voyeuristic walk down suburban streets, a glimpse into open windows at people yearning for what was, and making their reluctant peace with what is, and what will be.

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The Year I Got Impatient

Valerie Stetson - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 216pp / April, 2007 /
ISBN:978-088982-238-2
/ $18.95

A tragic accident leads to a disastrous love affair. A midlife crisis leads a man to trespass in a private pool. A marriage is torn apart when the husband becomes manic depressive. This collection of stories follows men and women in different walks of life while they cope with the events, good and bad, that shape them. In many ways, these stories look at how people bridge the differences between them, whether their differences are of race, culture, age or sensibility. These are stories of people in transition and an account of how they face everything from unlucky twists of fate to their own personal demons.

In these eight stories, the reader encounters a variety of characters: an auto body painter turned manic depressive, an unhappy art gallery owner who trespasses into a private pool in order to recapture his joie de vivre, a bitter, aged mother whose daughter suddenly redefines her sense of duty, an arrogant Czech engineer who is brought to her knees by an unexpected love affair. From the desperate to the dashing, all are clouted by life’s vagaries. Whether the sorrows range from the tragic—a senseless death—to the absurd—choking down a plate-sized, clandestinely imported mushroom at a dinner party—no one escapes unscathed. As their tales unfold, some characters stumble into false moves, while others find a way to triumph over their circumstances.

Valerie Stetson’s fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals and three anthologies. In 2001, she received The Bronwen Wallace Award for her story: “The Year I Got Impatient”. Her articles have appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and The Times Colonist. The Year I Got Impatient is her first book.

Incidental Music

Carol Matthews - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 228pp / September, 2007 /
ISBN:978-088982-234-4
/ $18.95

“There has to be give and take in a marriage,” Tannis’s father tells her when she becomes engaged. “You’ll find the lasting value of a marriage appears not at the beginning but later, towards the end. It is a journey, not a destination. And it’s how you travel, day by day, that makes the difference.” The seven linked stories comprising Incidental Music show Tannis facing the contretemps of maturity, mid-life, aging and abandonment. Set in Montreal, Vancouver and Vancouver Island, these stories trace the geographic and emotional journeys of Tannis and her husband Stephen, as they negotiate the day-to-day twists, turns, impasses and throughways of their domestic and work lives.

Incidental Music covers a range of life situations in which women struggle to make the choice that is right and good. An approaching marriage presents tensions between a future husband and an eccentric father; a woman has to choose between the worlds of her daily psychoanalysis and her domestic relationship; an aging voice artist opts to leave her day-trading fiancée. Music runs through these stories, in title, theme and event, suggesting the line between the remembered past and the unknown future: “Shhh,” says one character, “listen to the music. Just follow it, one note at a time.” Poignant, humorous, these compassionate stories are also concerned with the larger social landscape. Underlying each one is a sense of hope and a belief in people and in the bonds that unite them.

Green Girl Dreams Mountains

Marilyn Dumont - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / April, 2001 /
ISBN:978-088982-200-9
/ $14.95

Green Girl Dreams Mountains is a book of many parts, a book of overarching vision. This new collection of poems by Marilyn Dumont is about place and family, about a mother’s love for her daughter, about a father’s sense of loss and disenfranchisement, about belonging and separation. It is a book imbued with sadness and desperation which ends in celebration. A vision of a book!

Green Girl Dreams Mountains is about memory and transformation, about the details that shape us no matter which culture we emerge from or into. It is a book about place, rural and urban, and the powerful way landscapes define our character, our perceptions and the future.

It is a book of love poems, of extraordinary sensuality. It is a book that celebrates language and the songs we are compelled to sing. It is a book of lessons.

Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story

Ron Smith - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / hc / 384pp / September, 2011 /
ISBN:978-088982-276-4
/ $30.00

Gerry James, aka Kid Dynamite, was not only the youngest player ever to play in the CFL at 17, but he was one of the toughest athletes of his time. While playing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1954, James was the very first recipient of the CFL’s Schenley Most Outstanding Canadian Award. He won the award a second time in 1957. James led the league in scoring in 1957 and held the record for most rushing touchdowns in one season for forty-three years. He was on four Grey Cup winning teams. Along with his father, he holds the honour of being a member of the CFL Hall of Fame, the Manitoba Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. Not only did James achieve greatness in football, but after winning a Memorial Cup with the Toronto Marlboros in 1955, he went on to play hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs for four seasons. James is the only person to play in a Grey Cup and a Stanley Cup final in the same season. In the 1970s, after coaching in Davos, Switzerland, he embarked on a twenty year career as one of the most successful coaches in Canadian junior hockey history.

Kid Dynamite captures a rare glimpse into the sporting and personal life of one of Canada’s most outstanding athletes.

Say hi to Ron at www.ronsmith.ca.

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The House of the Easily Amused

Shelley A. Leedahl - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 156pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:978-088982-239-9
/ $17.95

Where is home? What, and who, constitutes family? Why does one sometimes feel more at home when away? With the poet’s sensibility and the pilgrim’s resolve, Leedahl’s complementary evocations of disparate people and landscapes—both faraway and familiar—put traditional concepts of home to the test.

You won’t find the “house” from the book’s title on any particular map. Its metaphoric doors open into rooms of both love and lament, and the “easily amused” are all those who follow the faint hope of deer trails, wear mismatched socks, or rejoice in the sky’s infinite game of Lite-Brite. You know, they’re those fortunate souls who venture outside the fence of their lives, and leave the blue gate swinging.

“Amidst the banality of suburban life, the ordinariness of domesticity, [Leedahl] grounds a fierce love of beauty, of the moment’s transcendence, of the lonely soul making its peace with the world. She’s not saying, Look at me, she’s saying, Look at this. Out of love, and care for the reader, as evidenced by her careful craft and camera eye, her poems show us a way to see, and an admirable way to be in the world.”
~John Donlan

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Liminal Space

Leanne McIntosh - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 80pp / September, 2005 /
ISBN:978-088982-213-1
/ $16.95

The poems in this book are poignant and honest, touched with ambivalence, emotion and spirituality. Following the last months of her husband’s life Leanne McIntosh passes through the disorientation of diagnosis, the discomfort of a new reality, the amazement that almost anything can become routine, until eventually sadness gives way/pressed lightly/into new love.

These poems speak the often silent questions: Whose death am I grieving? How do you kill someone? Will he know me at the end? With an artist’s eye small details and everyday events become significant. These are poems of the liminal, the in-between space characterized by unease and challenge where, within the grief of separation, relationship itself is remade. These are poems at the edge of the known world where birth and death, humans and divinity constellate. These are poems of tenderness, a softness/a dismantling/of all hard edges/and light diffused bone/an intimacy.

YVR

W.H. New - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 128pp / November, 2011 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-280-1

YVR weaves a suite of lyrics into a powerful long poem, a citywide Vancouversong. Combining memoir, civic history, love song, and social critique, it’s a highly personal poem, vividly rooted in Vancouver life, and at the same time a charged portrait of social change. In three parts, it begins in disaffection and disruption, tracks its way back into images of childhood (bush, beach, boys at war), and then moves forward again, celebrating ‘’the sawtooth Coast’ and the river, ‘the shingle house of interruption’ and the polyphonic voices of the city now. A poem about instability and edges--about seeing them, addressing them, embracing them--at its heart is a remarkable walk the length of Main Street. To read this book is to live the city: it will fret you, rankle you, jar you and surprise you. It will take you into the city that only a few people know, and it will touch your heart.

“Bill New, in these fabulous poems, becomes the stroller in the city, the busy idler, the flaneur. But he is also and always the seeker, the savant, risking
night as well as day. He is seduced by the flawed city he dares to love; he invites the reader to an equal daring.”
~ Robert Kroetsch

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Day and Night

Dorothy Livesay - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 72pp / October, 2011 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-281-8
/ $18.95

Day and Night was Dorothy Livesay’s first Governor General’s Award winning title and her first book as an established Vancouver writer. Day and Night emerged out of the struggles of the depression and the societal changes brought about as a result of the Second World War. It was one of the first books with Vancouver content to be awarded the Governor General’s Award for poetry.

Day and Night is an excellent example of Vancouver’s role in the literary history of Canada and demonstrates the interrelationship between the city and the rest of Canada. Livesay’s notion of social justice is paramount and the struggles faced as a country are exemplified in poems such as “West Coast” which speaks to the struggle of life during the time of the Second World War.

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What Echo Heard

Gordon Sombrowski - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 224pp / November, 2011 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-279-5
/ $21.95

“We were once here” resonates through this collection of short stories set in the small town of Fernie high in the Rocky Mountains. The gossips, the busy bodies, the do-gooders, the miscreants, society high-born and low, they are all here: little Zarah, immigrant girl, Mr. Kenneth Trites Wood, potentate, Ivy Greenleaf, the Reverend’s wife, Andy, cheeky boy from Slavtown, Mrs. Arthur Young, tea table heroine. They live in the valley under the regard of the impassive Rockies. Snowy peaks for whom the fortunes and misfortunes of the town whether private or shared for good or bad are only echoes. Each echo a poignant vignette inspired by memories so that these stories are universal and yet redolent of Fernie as it was before it became a well known ski and resort town. In the tradition of fables, tales and yarns, elders are reminded of a time they can remember and youngsters see what a time gone by was like for those who called the valley home.

“This is a beautiful collection of tales: warm, beguiling in its humour, and heart-felt. It has the confident voice of an insider, a consummate storyteller, one who cares about these immigrant characters, and a time that has (only recently) disappeared. Each story seems to say: ‘Come, sit on this bench. I have a secret to tell you...’”
~Peter Oliva - Author of The City of Yes

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S'ney'mos

Kevin Roberts - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 52pp / April, 1978 /
ISBN:
/ $10.00

Desperately Seeking Susans

Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 128pp / September, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-287-0
/ $18.95

Though many anthologies purport to establish a new canon, Desperately Seeking Susans simply luxuriates in the ridiculous surfeit of talent we can find in not only Canadian poets, not only female Canadian poets, but female Canadian poets named Susan.
Included in the anthology are works by:

Susan Andrews Grace
Susan Briscoe
Sioux Browning
Sue Chenette
Susan Elmslie
Susan Gillis
Susan Glickman
Sue Goyette
Susan Holbrook
Susan Ioannou
Sue Macleod
Susan Musgrave
Susan McMaster
Susan Olding
Sue Sinclair
Sue Stewart
Susan Telfer
Sue Wheeler

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Grows That Way

Susan Ketchen - Bio and Media
Young Adult Fiction / pb / 208pp / May, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-285-6
/ $12.95

Sylvia wishes that hormones weren’t such finicky things. She has Turner Syndrome and will need estrogen supplements to develop normally—whatever that means, since almost everyone around her seems to be hormonally imbalanced. Her doctor suspects her ambivalence about growing up has caused Sylvia to imagine seeing a large hairy creature in the woods. Interesting theory . . . but her pony has seen it too.

Praise for Born That Way and Made That Way

“Ketchen’s writing is fast-paced, compelling and full of surprises. Sylvia’s persistence and creativity in overcoming her life’s challenges will inspire the reader for a lifetime.”
~ Horse Family Magazine

“Susan’s books do a world of good. Through her kind-hearted exposure of human foibles, she shows what love actually looks like in day-to-day reality. Through her characters she explores the different ways of being strong and the power of hope. Behind all the humor and fun is a lot of wisdom.”
~ Dr. Robin Routledge

“I just finished Born That Way...It was AMAZING! I am excited beyond words at the way you made Turner Syndrome not a huge part of the story, but it’s enough for someone who doesn’t have Turner Syndrome to understand what it might be like. I can’t wait to read the other books! Thank you!”
~ Davina Gaudet

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Sneaker Wave

Jeff Beamish - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 436pp / November, 2013 /
ISBN:978-088982-278-8
/ $22.95

Four mismatched teens. One act of violence. One nod by each of them to agree it never happened. This raucous yet poignant story of friendship, loss and long-denied regret springs to life in the dying days of high school in a seaside Pacific Northwest town. A popular resident is critically injured while confronting seventeen-year-old Brady Joseph and three friends who have broken into an abandoned house to party. Luke, a seething runaway, is suspected of attacking the man, while Sam, a gentle, imperiling opportunist, and Sarah, Brady’s wildly irrepressible girlfriend, are accused of helping Brady cover up the crime. The teens’ code of silence keeps them out of jail, yet for Brady their duplicity is not so easily accepted, especially as their lives and those of others begin unraveling in a dizzying plunge, leaving him with two choices, each one tragic. This is a story about teens doggedly pursued into adulthood by suspicion that lingers long after the media moves on to the next crime du jour. It’s a haunting journey into the gaps between right and wrong, between harmless half-truths and disastrous self-deception.

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Scrabble Lessons

Leslie Vryenhoek - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 192pp / October, 2009 /
ISBN:9780889822597
/ $18.95

In Scrabble Lessons, characters who have confined themselves to comfortable patterns are suddenly thrown off their games. A young woman trying to control her impulses won’t slice the pricey tomato her lover left on the windowsill, but can’t stop dissecting the relationship. A successful radio personality turns up on her brother’s doorstep carrying all the old family baggage and a terrible new secret. A poetry chapbook with an unusual cover reawakens passion in a lonely insurance broker, while the ordered pattern of a Scrabble game—225 squares, 100 wooden tiles—becomes an anchor in a world tossed by grief and uncertainty.

In this debut collection, set in Winnipeg, Leslie Vryenhoek draws us into the desires of those who are easily overlooked: the chary cook at a home for pregnant women who grieves the transition from nuns to social workers; a down-on-his-luck labourer in Winnipeg’s inner city who wants to ride a stolen bicycle; the middle-aged woman, demoralized by family obligations, who lets a fast-talking chocolate salesman in the door.

These are stories about the longing that gnaws at our most ordinary days, and about those rare moments of acute certainty, even joy, on which whole lives can pivot and change course.

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The Sky Tree

P.K. Page - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / hc / 112pp / November, 2009 /
ISBN:9780889822580
/ $19.95

The first volume in this trilogy, A Flask of Sea Water begins with the search for a husband for the Princess of Ure. Whoever presents the King with a flask of sea water will win the hand of the princess. But Ure is a landlocked kingdom and only members of the royal family have ever been to the sea— the rest have neither seen it nor do they believe in it. And although the princess is beautiful, only three young men set out on the quest—Stabdyl, Mungu and Galaad. Of these, only Galaad is truly in love with the princess.

Many adventures overtake the three young men as they search for the sea. Unknowingly, Galaad falls under the spell of the Wizard of the Eastern Ocean. Once in his power, Galaad is put in charge of the wizard’s goats, and completely forgets his quest. Advised by a wise old woman he takes his goats to the Eastern Sea, where they are all changed into young men and women again. But now he has to get them safely back to Ure, which he does, with one exception.

The Goat that Flew follows the adventures of that one goat as the princess and her husband, Prince Galaad (for he did get to the sea after all), try to help him get free of the Wizard’s powers and become a man again.

In the third volume, King Galaad and his Queen are very old. They have ruled wisely and well and are tired and ready to rest. This story tells of their ascent to heaven, and of their son, Treece, a brave young man who will in- herit the kingdom from them.

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Desert Rose, Butterfly Storm

David Manicom - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 72pp / April, 2009 /
ISBN:9780889822559
/ $16.95

A farewell letter to a departing son, and a scream of fury against the age: Desert Rose, Butterfly Storm is a symphony of chaos and a lyric loving plea, an anthem for the age of terror and laser-guided death. Soaring and bit- ter, sweet and savage, David Manicom’s new book of poetry follows his Governor-General’s Award-nominated The Burning Eaves with a remark- able departure. Riffing and sampling on Yeats and Radiohead, Eliot and Ginsburg, the Bible and the Pentagon, Manicom has composed a searing new Howl for our times.

“This is beautiful, sophisticated writing from an accomplished poet. David Manicom has depth, intelligence, ambition and immense talent.” —Ottawa Citizen

“Manicom is a poet to read, quote, study and memorize . . . His lines shimmer and ring with something resembling genius.” —Books in Canada

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The Rope Maker's Tale

W.H. New - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 94pp / April, 2009 /
ISBN:
/ $16.95

The old Rope-maker who sits under the apple tree quietly watches the world that passes him by, but while he does so, he gathers the world’s stories. So when he starts to tell his tale, everything can happen, and does: the wind will rise, the bells at the city gate will begin to peal, and a motley group of travellers will set out on the ring road of life, taking listeners with them. While the Rope-maker twists together sisal, hemp, jute, and cot- ton, his stories coil inside other stories—stories of war, disguise, trickery, passion, fear; stories of birth, hope, rivalry, laughter, play; stories of sor- row and death, friendship and family, defiance and recuperation. All of life swirls here. Braiding past and promise, The Rope-maker’s Tale cautions against passivity, celebrates joy and generation, and affirms the power of story-telling itself to take us on a journey into ourselves.

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The Oyster Who Looked at the Sky

Darcy Dobell - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / CL / 32pp / September, 2008 /
ISBN:9780889822504
/ $16.95

Gentle humour characterizes this story of a wilful small oyster who breaks with family tradition in order to remain true to her own adventurous nature. As she discovers the world around her, and gradually inspires her family to see it for themselves, young readers will delight in a series of playful shifts in perspective that ultimately bring the small oyster’s big vision back home.

Beautifully illustrated with vibrant artwork that evokes all the magic of the west coast, this book celebrates the natural curiosity of children in a way that will inspire readers of all ages to see the everyday world as an extraordinary ground for imagination and transformation.

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Shirin and Salt Man

Nilofar Shidmehr - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 164pp / April, 2008 /
ISBN:9780889822467
/ $17.95

Shirin and Salt Man is a novella in verse, which tells the story of a young modern day Iranian woman, Shirin. She is an ordinary girl from Kermanshah born before the Islamic Revolution, who imagines herself to be an incarnation of princess Shirin, depicted in the ancient Persian classic Shirin and Khosro. At first she tries to shape her life to that of the myth, but later decides to change her destiny and become the author of her own story. She leaves her husband and runs away with the Salt Man, a 1700 year old mummy on display at the Iranian National Museum in Tehran.

The poems form a compelling narrative of the life of a contemporary Iranian woman whose voice has been muted by Khosro, her fundamentalist and traditional husband. In an environment where the dominance of men is written in stone and where only men have the authority for fashioning and telling stories, Shirin reclaims a place for herself as a lover and teller of stories. She re-enters life through cracks of narrative to invent Shirin anew, one whose life-path radically diverges from that of her namesake, Shirin of Nezami’s story. She digs out Farhad, the mythical lover of princess Shirin, who has now become the Salt Man, from under the dust and stones of history and she gives him another opportunity to love her. In transforming Salt Man to another Farhad, Shirin creates a new history—one shaped and narrated by a feminine voice.

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The Incorrection

George McWhirter - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 176pp / September, 2007 /
ISBN:9780889822436
/ $17.95

From Sasamat Street in Vancouver to Samoa, the fish, fowl and animals ask what we are up to with our fixings, our vegetarian dressings-up of salad and tofu to make them meat enough for us. Will that change the flux of our existence on the planet, the flow of everything in the old world into memory—from primary instinct into new good intentions, which turn into coils of the hangman’s rope, dangling over every deed—like mistletoe, waiting for the farewell kiss to all that, at low-cal Christmas, or next diet-mined and minded fest? The poems and the personae fight the battle between fat and thin, rhyme and un-rhyme, merely to find that love and poetry don’t care what shape or form we’re in, so long as we’re subject to the natural Law of Incorrection: In trying to correct an old wrong/I seem to create a new one/and find myself arraigned/by a hapless incorrection.

Mush and the Big Blue Flower

Laurie Payne - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / 104pp / October, 2007 /
ISBN:9780889822429
/ $12.95

Mush is a Gypsy word meaning ‘friend’. Mush and the Big Blue Flower is the story of a little boy who is persuaded that he has lost his voice. Unwilling to return to his mother without it, he goes looking for it. He meets a rather strange cast of characters and befriends a magical flying teapot who becomes his guide and transportation as he travels around looking for his voice and other senses, which the odd individuals he meets persuade him he is missing. Deeper and deeper into the lands of magic he travels, becoming more and more confused. For it seems that, although the people he meets are most friendly and determined to help him, they are all so dangerously misguided that time and again Mush is only able to escape danger at their hands with the help of the teapot and its counter-spells. A final terrifying confrontation puts Mush to the ultimate test. Despite his terror, he manages to summon enough courage to surmount his fears and in the process clears the way for a happy reunion with his voice and his other senses.

With playful humour and a delightfully loopy cast of characters, Mush and the Big Blue Flower tells how we all lose our voices, along with our ability to dream and to believe in the magic of imaginative play, as we emerge from childhood. It also tells how, with courage and the determination to be free, each of us can rediscover our own authentic selves.

Words

Mark Ellis - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / hc / 40pp / September, 2006 /
ISBN:9780889822276
/ $19.95

Words is a story of a child who can’t read “because the words dance around and won’t stay still”. This tender and inspiring tale challenges the cultural assumption that every child can access written language. As many teachers, librarians, and parents know, a number of children have difficulty reading. With understanding and empathy, the teacher-librarian in Words encourages the child protagonist to learn how to read, and eventually to write her own stories.

“Now, she found that when you make words dance they sing, they flow in currents of sound, they are water tumbling over rocks and great cliffs, they are air rushing through trees.”

In lyrical prose, rich in imagery, Words revels in the discovery of written language. Ruth Campbell’s luminous illustrations evoke a child’s view of the world, filled with sensory delight and wonder.

Writing on Stone

Michael Elcock - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 296pp / September, 2006 /
ISBN:9780889822313
/ $21.95

Michael Elcock emigrated to Canada from Scotland when he was twenty-one years old. Since then, his life and travels have taken him to many parts of the world—and back to Scotland, many times. In Writing on Stone, Elcock reflects on the immigrant experience, and the questions of memory and identity that come with leaving roots behind, and putting down new ones. Elcock's shrewd observations and humour take us behind the masks that old countries, and new countries, project—and to the importance of people to our reality. To his surprise, Elcock finds near the end of his exploration that he is not the first member of his family—as he'd supposed—to travel this emigrant route. From the west coast of Canada to the west coast of Scotland—and along the route of the Mounties' Great Trek.

Along a Snake Fence Riding

W.H. New - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 96pp / September, 2007 /
ISBN:9780889822368
/ $16.95

Along a Snake Fence Riding is a long poem for eight voices. One of these voices is that of the narrator, who steps into the poem “from time to time” to record a life of intention and ambition, resistance and refusal, byways of discovery and decision, and continuing persistence. Other voices speak “out of time.” These are the voices of memory and experience, flooding back in fragments, recalling moments in a life (or the moments of living)—not in chronological sequence but by association, as though set in motion by the senses, or by the twisting circuits of thought. In the back- ground, constant but often ignored, is the last of the eight voices, the voice of the clock, which carries time forward even while the mind is collapsing duration into momentariness, refusing the conventions of sequence, and revisiting the past as though it were happening even now.

The poem is, in short, a meditation on time and memory, and on the science of time and memory: rich in allusion and eloquent in imagery, wide-ranging and yet remarkable in its close attention to detail. The poem invites readers not just to follow the life that is imagined on these pages but to venture into their own lives, discover the joy and the pain of living in connection—in connection with other people, with love and loss, and with the environment we sometimes ignore and yet always call home.

Along a Snake Fence Riding is an experience, a visceral, emotional experience, that calls the reader to follow the fence line wherever it irregularly wanders, to immerse in the river it follows, to engage with the music of the language and discover, too, the possibility of celebration.

Father Tongue

Danielle Lagah - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 112pp / April, 2007 /
ISBN:9780889822351
/ $17.95

Father Tongue is a poetic exploration of one family’s Indo-Canadian immigrant experience. The family’s stories of life in India and Canada are told in several voices, but the lens through which they are focused is the consciousness of the narrator—a young woman of mixed blood who is seeking to find her footing between two conflicting worlds. Bringing together the legends, secrets, and facts of her family’s history, she unearths and pieces together the stories of grief and triumph that will ultimately serve to illuminate her own truths. There is the story of Piari, her father’s sister, who was mysteriously poisoned to death at the age of seven in the family’s Indian village of Pubwan; the story of her father’s battle with a childhood illness believed to be caused by supernatural possession. And there is the story of the narrator’s own journey to the land of her ancestors—one that is marked by revelation and discovery of the purest kind. These are tales of betrayal and cruelty, death and birth, joy, and fierce love—in a word, family stories.

It’s been said that we can “reclaim truth from the lies of poetry.” Father Tongue uses the language of poetry to bridge the chasm between two cultures, two worlds separated by barriers of language, tradition, geography, history, and very different ways of viewing the world. Through poetry, the author has chosen to record, preserve, and ultimately construct her narrative. The two worlds of the book—the dream-like landscape of far away India, and the concrete reality of the West Coast—are depicted in poems that merge verse with elements of prose and scripting, a method that serves to echo Father Tongue’s themes of disconnectedness and cultural blending.

“Lagah’s poems are beautiful, lucid stepping stones through the rivers of imagination that surround her south Asian heritage. This is not a bridge between cultures, but a palimpsest: a document of Lagah’s own life writ- ten between the lines of inherited and witnessed stories of village, family, illness and disappearance—streams that feed a narration that began with her father’s tales of a secret garden in India. A unique, inclusive journey through the world of emigration, difference and adaptation, written with exceptional clarity.” —Marilyn Bowering

Notes for a Rescue Narrative

J. Mark Smith - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 96pp / April, 2007 /
ISBN:9780889822337
/ $16.95

Story rescues no one from death, but out of the seams and lacunae of narrative a certain kind of lyric can emerge. In Notes for a Rescue Narrative, J. Mark Smith charts the oxbow turnings of diverse human voices through scepticism and belief, hope and despair, pride and humility. Inspired by the elegiac plainness of Wordsworth as much as by the many-mindedness of Pound, Smith’s poems probe into regions of experience where meaning falls away, and “the names hardly stick.”

A middle-aged British sailor remembers, decades afterwards, a strange “human-and-not-human” incident in the colonial port of Bombay. A man walking his dog near the Katyn monument in Toronto wonders at signs, and at the “mother-deep” ocean of human suffering. In a moment “out of an airport,” the speakers and story-tellers of the Mackenzie River regroup and ready themselves, not for a rescue, but for the future. Blue jays in the pine forests of the Great Basin turn through a death-dance of forgetfulness and fecundity. A traveller on a snow-bound plane straightens his spine to bear the difficult reality of an unstoried present. A man buries his long-dead father’s alpine equipment beneath a mountain in California, and finds a new welcome in the familiar “noise of chaos.”

Notes for a Rescue Narrative moves deftly between metrical and free verse forms, and includes homages to Horace, Eugenio Montale, and Antonio Machado.

Night Room

W.H. New - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 92pp / January, 2004 /
ISBN:9780889822269
/ $15.95

In this book-length poem, W. H. New uses the metaphor of Snowman to represent the alternative self, the alter-ego, the doppelganger. Here we encounter the cold version of the warm person.

Throughout this book, the narrative voice searches for the intrinsic harmony that lies within each individual. New suggests that our fear of anarchy causes us to create rigid boundaries within which we attempt to find order. Yet ironically it is the disorderliness of the human spirit and the natural world, which alone can save us from isolation and despair. Freedom lies in our ability to balance our inner needs and desires with those external forces which oppose our deepest longings—forces imposed upon us by the very nature of our industrialized world.

Night Room explores the sometimes surreal world of isolation and paralytic despair, the delay between observation and action. Rich in image and painfully exact, these poems reverberate with a wry humour, reaching finally towards the balance of musical composition.

The Burning Eaves

David Manicom - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 92pp / October, 2003 /
ISBN:9780889822245
/ $15.95

In his fourth collection of poems, David Manicom affirms his place as one of the most compelling poets writing in Canada today. The Burning Eaves, a mixture of shorter lyrics and longer sequences, is a meditation on the nature of language and the power of love. Things are never as they appear to be, in Manicom’s world; yet he is a trustworthy guide, who steers us through a poetic geography, from chaos to the edge of our longing for order.

As a poet, he is forever inhabiting more than one myth, as he uses the mathematics of interplanetary physics and astronomy to explore the universe of intimate objects and the particularities of our daily lives. Our journey through these poems is one of twists and turns, through sudden, surprising shifts that are mesmerizing in the way they reveal how we experience the world in language and thought, how we process irony in coping with our inexorable sadness and our search for grace.

The School at Chartres

David Manicom - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 280pp / June, 2005 /
ISBN:9780889822221
/ $21.95

The School At Chartres combines the intrigue of a thriller with the sophistication of a major international literary work reminiscent of A. S. Byatt. Set partly in 1990s Montreal and partly in medieval France, The School At Chartres is a long love-letter—the final letter—from the protagonist, John Wilson, to his lost love.

In thirteenth century France, a catastrophic fire has destroyed the greatest shrine in Christendom. Out of the ashes of the tragedy, history leaves a shadowy tale of a miracle, of the resurrection of faith, and of reconstruction—the erection of the masterwork of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral at Chartres. At the time of the fire, a powerful visitor, Cardinal Melior from the Holy See, has just arrived to find a new core for his faith at the brilliant School located in the town.

A failed Montreal architect-turned-historian, John Wilson is convinced that by excavating the story of Chartres, by explaining its unparalleled complex beauty, he can heal something in his own life. And he is increasingly convinced that Cardinal Melior holds the key to his own personal dilemma.

As exquisitely woven as a medieval tapestry, The School At Chartres will appeal to readers of literary mysteries, such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and A. S. Byatt’s Possession.

Touching Ecuador

W.H. New - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 80pp / March, 2006 /
ISBN:9780889822238
/ $16.95

Touching Ecuador is a long poem in four voices, following the interconnected observations of a modern-day tourist-traveller, a struggling castaway, a disillusioned preacher, and an Everyman weaver who tries to come to terms with mountain histories and a mountain home. Everywhere these four observers find a landscape rich in words: guidebooks and notebooks, calendars and woven letters, alphabets and beaded rituals, children's verses and the stories that populate place. Through their experience they move past security into the blessing of contradiction, finding at last "the breath to live by, /glimpses of connection . . . /the ambiguities of liberty."

eagles
touch the unreal, upset
the alphabet
of ordinary,

imagine Ecuador

Those who reach the peaks and shores of Ecuador, who watch and listen, will never again be the same. Some will rediscover what it means to be alive; some will try not to leave; none will ever forget; all will change. Perhaps it is the overlap of tropic sun and alpine snow; perhaps the nearness of Darwin's finches and the gilded saints. Perhaps the colour: flamingos against the bleak black of lava. Perhaps the contrast: Andean hummingbirds amongst the flowers, and overhead the frigate birds scavenging. Fact and myth, baroque and plain, stone and garden, politics and habits of belief that sometimes challenge, and are sometimes confirmed. The appeal of romance, unrealistic or not. The wings and claws of feral memory.

Perhaps it is the Line itself—ecuador, equator, latitude zero, the pathway of the sun. Who crosses it? Whom does it touch?

Notes from the Interior

Elizabeth Templeman - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 304pp /
ISBN:9780889822207
/ $21.95

In this, her first book, Templeman pushes the envelope of literary genres by combining personal essays, memoir, and community history with meditations on the nature of language, work, family, and human relationships

Templeman is a keen and insightful observer, who delights in the mysteries of how children learn, how a community is forged, how we, as human beings, knit together the bonds that cradle us. Her observations of daily life in her hometown expand outward into philosophical meditations on art, education, and marriage, and her essays invite the reader into a world imbued with the wild beauty of British Columbia’s interior and the wilder beauty of the human heart.

Elliot & Me

Keith Harrison - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 228pp / March, 2006 /
ISBN:9780889822191
/ $21.95

Elliot & Me is a tender, funny, moving double narrative about two people who don’t understand each other. Elliot is a bright, reckless 17-year old who has just quit school late in his graduating year. Megan, his mother, is a woman who is haunted by the death of her father while she was “traipsing” through China, and is tired of being viewed as a beautiful work of art. The threatened return of Elliot’s father, Jack, a huge American ex-ballplayer, causes Megan and Elliot to flee from their home in East Vancouver to Hornby Island. Here, in an idyllic and very photogenic setting, this displaced odd couple—an angst-ridden, vibrant, self-destructive teenager and his inwardly questing mother whose physical loveliness makes her a target for other people’s dreams—experience a highly consequential summer. In a novel that is both a coming-of-age story and a portrait of the artist as a youngish, mesmerizing woman, both characters learn more than they want to about each other—and about themselves.

"The writing is beautiful and subtle and to me, very poetic." – Marilyn Bowering.

The Sound the Sun Makes

Leanne McIntosh - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 84pp / January, 2004 /
ISBN:9780889822184
/ $15.95

The Sound the Sun Makes introduces a remarkable new poetic voice in Leanne McIntosh, who tenderly and fearlessly examines themes of old age and the love which flourishes in the midst of everyday sorrows. Lush and sensual, these poems evoke a time and place in Canada’s history—Saskatchewan before and during the second world war—while drawing us ever deeper into those truths that remain universal through all times and places.

Love Songs for a Tender God

Hiro Boga - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 96pp / November, 2002 /
ISBN:9780889822160
/ $14.95

Reminiscent of Donne, Rilke, and Wendell Berry, Hiro Boga blends classical and contemporary styles in a poetry that is inspiring, intimate, and passionate. With language rooted in the senses, Boga’s poems flow between ideas and feelings, nature and spirit with ease and grace.

The Elder's Palace

Margo Button - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 60pp / November, 2002 /
ISBN:9780889822146
/ $14.95

The Elders’ Palace brings together two cultures that meet on the common ground of parenthood and of children lost, dying or dead. In these bilingual poems, Button documents her meetings in Kitikmeot in the Canadian Arctic with families and Inuit elders, who asked that her poems be translated into Inuinnaqtun. The stories they tell are heartbreaking, the fruit of a harsh land:

“. . .the children he counts on his fingers./One died of alcohol. One froze. One burned. . .//The first child was killed by a husky. The second fell from a Honda./The next died/and the next one—though he doesn’t say how./I’ve had enough of this telling./No tears, no drama, only lines/traverse his face . . . ”

The poems weave together the stories of the Inuit with that of the poet’s own schizophrenic son, who stabbed himself to death when he was 26 years old.

Mary Kasoni translated the poems, illustrated with ink drawings by Inuit artists Bella Kapolak and Mary Kilaodluk

The Thing About Dying

Mildred Tremblay - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 130pp / October, 2005 /
ISBN:9780889822115
/ $17.95

In The Thing About Dying, Tremblay reflects on the nature of dying and death. Her subjects include old men and younger brothers, sisters and mothers, as well as reflections on the deaths inflicted by murderous cats. Tremblay writes with irreverent humour and luminous insight about the perils of religion and the powerful connection between sex and soul.

The Last We Heard of Leonard

Rachel Wyatt - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 223pp / June, 2002 /
ISBN:9780889822108
/ $19.95

In this superb new collection of seventeen stories, Rachel Wyatt explores the convergence between reality and fantasy. It is a mysterious inner realm, perhaps best described by the word absence, that lies between what’s possible and the imagined, between the bizarre and the blurred edges of reality. Her men and women are often disenchanted and occasionally detached from their world.

The mirror Wyatt holds up to reality reflects back an image puzzling and disturbing, invariably at odds with the image we have of ourselves. In stories that are often humorous and quirky, things are out of square, time slightly distorted, the world out of focus.

The Village of Many Hats

Caroline Woodward - Bio and Media
Young Adult Fiction / pb / 112pp / April, 2012 /
ISBN:9780889822849
/ $9.95

It takes a village to raise a child and to care for families in crisis. In The Village of Many Hats Caroline Woodward also shows it takes a child and a wise hat-maker, to save a village. Young Gina struggles with her sister’s illness and a tragedy within her village that ultimately brings her community together.

Village of Many Hats reviewed in CM Magazine:

"The great variety of subjects touched on in this slim book of just over a hundred pages makes it engaging for a broad readership as well. Community involvement, the importance of the human element (or the personal touch) in everything we make and do, the impact a serious illness can have on all members of the patient's family, an example of the democratic decision-making process on a small scale, and the wise use of available technology are all described, while the story, itself, that Gina makes a special hat for her sister to give her courage and hope before an important surgery, is poignant. The emotions of Gina, who is under stress to be both a brave sister for Sara and a responsible child for her parents in a time of crisis, are dealt with subtly, interspersed realistically with her new interest in and enthusiasm for design and sewing, her love for her village, and her growing friendship with Madame D'Oiseaux. A satisfying read, and good material for discussion." . . . more

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Rainbow Stage-Manchuria

Steve Noyes - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 128pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-288-7
/ $18.95

Rainbow Stage-Manchuria, Steve Noyes’s fifth collection, sees him return to the long poem twice over, displaying his range and inventiveness. “Rainbow Stage” presents a 1973 rock concert in real time by the psychedelic Winnipeg band The Next. This sly mélange of panoramic action, wicked lyrics and deft character sketches is a broad wink at the conventions of rock and the silly cosmologies of the seventies. Daydream and raise your Bic lighters along with The Next as they ask, Where does childhood end? “Manchuria” is a long, sarcastic lament by an exiled woman in Northern China who explores the possibilities of alternative histories. “Manchuria” is sweet and sad, a testimony for our age on the scarring of a voice by time. And a third section, “The Marais,” brings together Noyes’s shorter riffs on dystopias, medical policy, raptors, and the dramas of human and family frailty. Rainbow Stage-Manchuria, with its layers of play, is nothing short of a world.

“Ambitious, compassionate and wise, with unforgettable characters who leap off the page, fully-fleshed and deeply flawed, Steve Noyes’ new collection is that rare thing in Canadian poetry: a page turner.”
~ Steve McOrmond, Author of The Good News about Armageddon

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Long Legs Boy

Benjamin Madison - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 220pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-290-0
/ $18.95

A twelve-year-old African boy named Modou is orphaned when his family dies from AIDS. He leaves his remote village in the Sahel, attaches himself to an African holy man and becomes a beggar in the city. The street smarts he thus gains enable him to survive when he is separated from his mentor. Modou befriends another orphaned boy, Umaru, and together they cope with the trials of street life: abuse, hunger, police brutality and inept interventions by social agencies.
Modou regularly evades the police and unwittingly becomes a popular hero for his cocky attitude and daring escapes. His indomitable spirit inspires political opposition in the country to unite and drives a determination in both the police force and the national army to capture or kill him. Despite being constantly thwarted, Modou never loses his optimism or his determination to rise above his circumstances. Long Legs Boy is the story of a hero, not the story of a victim.

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Cuba Unspun

Rosa Jordan - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 352pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-289-4
/ $22.95

In Cuba Unspun Rosa Jordan introduces readers to Cubans in all walks of life, people whom she has met during travels around the island by bike, bus, plane, train, truck, and car. Familiar places like Havana and Varadero are viewed from unfamiliar angles and serve as starting points for adventures that began in 1996 and continue into the future.
Jordan has camped in a military compound, spent a rainy night in the jungle without a tent, cycled through hurricane-devastated coastal towns, run into a friend at a gay pride parade in the capital, picked up hundreds hitchhikers, come face to face with Fidel, and much more. It is a trip through time as well as space, recording changes in Cuba over the past 15 years and offering analyses of Cuban history and its present leadership that holds many surprises.

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A Grain of Rice

Evelyn Lau - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 96pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-286-3
/ $17.95

Evelyn Lau’s new book of poems, A Grain of Rice, picks up on some of the themes she covered in her last wonderful book, Living Under Plastic. Once again she honours people, in particular family, and the past; the presence and importance of nature in urban spaces; the influence of other writers on her life and in her career as a writer.
A Grain of Rice includes a passionate suite of poems that pay tribute to John Updike’s life and work (he is the writer who has most influenced her writing career).
Many of the poems in A Grain of Rice, her sixth book of poetry, are haunted by the deaths of friends and family. They explore cultural history, stories in the news, travel and place — especially the relationship between home and our nomadic inclinations. In many respects the book is a meditation on loss. Grief and aging, family history, an attention to place. poems on local urban social issues; poems that seek and find their inspiration in Asian culture and literature — all form a tapestry of faces that simultaneously defy and embrace the inevitable and celebrate the transformational.

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Adventures with Ollie

Adrian Chamberlain - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / hc / 202pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-291-7
/ $19.95

Vancouver Islander Adrian Chamberlain always wanted a Porsche. When that turned out to be too expensive, he got a pug instead.
Adventures with Ollie is a collection of vignettes describing his family’s exploits with a headstrong, playful pug named Ollie. Adrian describes the delights of housetraining, teaching a dog new tricks, smuggling Ollie into summer cabins and trying to dissuade him from rolling on dead sea creatures.
Adventures with Ollie provides an insider’s view into dog culture that all pet owners will recognize. Readers will sympathize with Adrian’s efforts to compete with macho types who fling logs into the ocean to be retrieved by their enormous Labrador Retrievers. They will be amused by his embarrassment over his wife’s habit of dressing Ollie in peculiar costumes. And they may share his bewilderment when, after warding off a pug-chasing rat, he is reprimanded by a fervent animal rights activist.
A funny, warm-hearted read that will amuse dog lovers… and anyone who takes delight in human/animal antics.

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Bears Above the Valley

Mike McPhee
Mark Gallup
- Mike McPhee
">Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / 96pp / October, 2012 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-292-4
/ $34.95

A History of Catskiing and Snowboarding at Island Lake Lodge
The granite spire peaks of the Three Bears rise above the Lizard Range and Cedar Valley like sentinels guarding a secret place. And a very special place it is. The Cedar Valley is home to a unique old growth rainforest including: 800-year-old Cedar trees, giant larch, spruce and Douglas fir. Grizzly bears, cougar, elk and moose prowl the pristine valley as they have for millennia. The intense micro-climate produces an unusual amount of snow for this part of the Rocky Mountains, thus adding to the reputation of one of the best know backcountry lodges in North America – Island Lake Lodge.
Bears Above the Valley explores the diverse history of the Cedar Valley and Island Lake Lodge. Flora and fauna, as well as a history of skiing and snowboarding, are well documented with stunning photography and insightful text. Scot Schmidt, the godfather of freeskiing, and Craig Kelly, the pioneer of big mountain snowboarding, are two of the many ski industry characters that are covered and an integral part of the Island Lake story.

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The Rainbow Rocket

Fiona Tinwei Lam - Bio and Media
Children's Titles / hc / 32pp / September, 2013 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-282-5
/ $19.95

The Rainbow Rocket takes James on a marvelous and magical dream journey to visit his beloved grandmother, whose beautiful paintings and loving guidance have inspired his own creativity. Celebrating the Chinese holiday of Ching Ming, James finds a meaningful way to honour their bond of love and his grandmother's rich legacy of art. The Rainbow Rocket shows how the tremendous power of the heart and the imagination may transcend loss.

Intergenerational bonds, the importance of ritual, and the vital significance of the arts in affirming human connection are tenderly depicted in this luminously illustrated picture book. A wonderful resource for families, libraries, and those in the healing professions.

"Author Fiona Lam and artist Kristi Bridgeman bring inspired contributions to this sensitive, highly recommended book for all ages. Simple yet profound, The Rainbow Rocket touches such charged topics as death, loss and dementia with gentleness, honesty and endless heart. A remarkable achievement; a high-priority book for all who love life and value the journey."
~Dr. Balfour M. Mount OC, OQ, MD, FRCS(C)
Emeritus professor of Medicine,
McGill University

“A touching and beautiful story of love, loss and imagination, told with sensitivity and grace.” ~Dennis Foon

“The themes of love, memory, loss and renewal are sensitively rendered in this poignant story and will resonate with readers of all ages.”
~Judy Fong Bates

Listen to Fiona Tinwei Lam talk about The Rainbow Rocket on CBC's NXNW

Listen to Fiona Tinwei Lam talk about The Rainbow Rocket on Co-op Radio

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A Plot of Light

Susan McCaslin - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 96pp / April, 2004 /
ISBN:9780889821972
/ $17.95

Susan McCaslin’s A Plot of Light charts a contemplative journey in which the world of visionary dreaming lies along a continuum with the everyday life of the mystic, baffled and blessed by moments of connection with a larger, more comprehensive mind, wooing us with her poems into the world of the invisible.

The poems form a quaternary, beginning with a series of visionary dreams, then exploring the dreamer as pilgrim treading the sites of poet-contemplative Thomas Merton’s birthplace in Southern France. The poems integrate moments of transcendence into the sharper light of the everyday, and the volume ends with an elegiac sequence about the decline and death of the poet’s father, in which the world of the dead is inseparable from the world of the living. These poems embody the longing for the birth of a new self.

Stumbling In The Bloom

John Pass - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 120pp / August, 2005 /
ISBN:9780889822018
/ $17.95

The poems in Stumbling in the Bloom engage the ever-present enticements and entanglements of beauty on life’s, and art’s, home ground—in wilderness and garden. But this surprising volume, the finale of John Pass’s quartet of poetry books, At Large, takes intriguing side trips on the home-stretch, including a wry excursion to the chiropractor, a fanciful flight from a student driver’s parallel parking practice, up an “Everest” in Alberta, and on a singularly moving Canadian journey towards and away from the “ground zero” of the 9/11 tragedy. The book, and Pass’s aesthetic, come to rest finally on a fulcrum, a paradox, of acceptance: the embrace of uncertainty and (un)happy accident that purpose and effort alone make possible.

“Pass truly qualifies as the best writer in Canada you never heard of until now . . . [He] dares to go beyond the personal lyric, weaving classical, Christian Romantic and existential threads from our eclectic culture into a narrative tapestry of language and ideas.” –John Moore, The Vancouver Sun

Winter's Skin

Tom Wayman - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 80pp / September, 2013 /
ISBN:9780889822931
/ $19.95

Amid the heavy snow and cold one winter in southeastern B.C.’s mountains where Tom Wayman lives, he happened to reread the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s posthumous volume Winter Garden in translation. Wayman decided to write a series of poems in response to a phrase, image, or entire poem of the Nobel laureate’s. Wayman’s series ranges across memory and the present, coastal and inland settings, and metaphorical as well as literal winters. The delights and despair of a love affair gone wrong, vivid recollections of social protest in the steady Vancouver winter rain, and the beauty of experiencing ski trails along the Slocan River are all part of Winter’s Skin. “I do not ask to be winter’s tongue,” the poet writes,

...I ask only
to take the minutes

of the meeting between the season
and myself.

And the poet finds much to praise and to wonder at as he moves through the chill air and ubiquitous white of the wooded ridges and valleys he calls home.

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Leaving Howe Island

Sadiqa de Meijer - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 72pp / September, 2013 /
ISBN: 978-0-88982-295-5
/ $17.95

In Sadiqa de Meijer’s Leaving Howe Island, poem after poem sings with an accuracy and freshness, a power and a delicacy, which leaves one breathless. In the long opening sequence, "Great Aunt Unmarried," winner of the 2012 CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize, the poet takes us on a wistful, astute journey into the past. Musings on family, childhood and belonging unfold in a series of snapshots that astonish us with their clarity and mystery, their tranformative power.

This is sensual, intimate writing in which the observations of a mother, caught up in daily chores, are hanuted by her own recollections and longings. From Friesian living rooms to the sidewalks of Toronto’s Little India, these are poems that explore the increasingly complex world of the contemporary psyche.

What does it mean to be a neighbour, to experience love, to anticipate global warming while raising a child?

De Meijer's answers are anecdotal, ekphrasic, incantatory, unsettling and funny, but always profoundly attentive to craft. From "the quiet theatre of our lives" Sadiqa de Meijer's debut collection is one of stunning eloquence.

“Both tender and funny, the poems fulfill Octavio Paz’s demand of poetry - they ‘resurrect presences’.” - CBC Poetry Prize 2012 Jury (Julie Bruck, Dennis Lee and Patrick Lane)

“A voice of authority and grace.” – Michael Crummey

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Loggers' Daughters

Maureen Brownlee - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / 224pp / November, 2013 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-294-8
/ $19.95

It is 1983. On the streets of Vancouver women’s libbers are marching. In the forests of the northern interior a tapped out logging contractor is slowly going broke. Down the road, on a small stump ranch, Adare and Dave Wilkins face the fact that they have given the best years of their lives to a farm that can never support them. In a tumultuous time, when ancient values are being put to the test and found wanting, a scattered family is forced into an uneasy proximity by the need to make end-of-life decisions for their dying mother. Exploring the forces that shape individuals,
families and communities Loggers’ Daughters weaves the story of one logging family onto the tapestry of the industry that built British Columbia.

“An epic novel set in the forests of the Rocky Mountain trench—a part of BC that has long been waiting for its definitive reflection in fiction. Loggers’ Daughters accomplishes this with a story so gripping, and a writing style so evocative, it will surely become a Canadian classic.”
~ Andreas Schroeder, Renovating Heaven

“Through this engaging story, Maureen Brownlee marks a turning point in the history of women. To take on the challenge of necessary change, the protagonist of Loggers’ Daughters must forgive her mother and learn from her daughter. Adare Brennan stayed with me long after I finished reading this captivating novel. Brownlee has created a protagonist who has the complexity and strength of character to stand alongside the most memorable women of Canadian fiction. Loggers’ Daughters is a novel about claiming what is rightfully owed, forgiving past injustices and moving forward with a smile that stretches the heart. I love it.”
~ Angie Abdou, The Canterbury Trail

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Status Update

Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 88pp / November, 2013 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-296-2
/ $17.95

Rarely does a writer surprise and delight her reader with such beauty, subtlety and subversive vulnerability. Status Update, Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang’s second book of poetry, is a collection of epigraph poems, each one composed in response to an entry pulled from a real status update posted on Facebook. Tsiang plays with a wide variety of subjects, from the deeply personal, to the banal, to the puzzling, to the philosophical. Her reverence for language, her playfulness and understanding, often mischievous, weave poems of rich diversity, irony and curiosity.

Status Update is a collision between one of today’s most popular social networking websites and the seemingly rigid conventions of poetry. Through this juxtaposition, Tsiang explores the intimate, perverse, and endlessly compelling world of text that is sent out daily to strangers and friends alike.

“As Tsiang’s poems depart from life to virtual life to burning imagination, they become strangely illicit. You wonder abour your own conduct. Should you be reading / so closely / the lives of others?”
~Ian Williams

“I read Tsiang’s work and was taken immediately by how well she navigates our time. She injects poetry into our online community, which is becoming like a park in the city where we as poets meet to exchange and share our news. And she does it with the spirit I’ve come to expect from her: wild, funny, proper. Tsiang adds some much-needed verve and sass to Canadian poetry.”
~Sue Goyette

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God Telling a Joke and other stories

Dave Margoshes - Bio and Media
Short Fiction / pb / 288pp / May, 2014 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-299-3
/ $19.95

God Telling a Joke and Other Stories is a collection of new stories by the author of Bix’s Trumpet and Other Stories, named Book of the Year at the Saskatchewan Book Awards and a finalist for the ReLit Award in 2007, and A Book of Great Worth, one of Amazon.Ca’s Top Hundred Books of 2012.

Among the characters in the collection’s 16 stories are a 99-year-old stand-up comedian wearily challenging God to deliver the punch line; a lightning strike survivor whose luck finally runs out; a Princeton-educated trapper who transforms himself into the King of the Jews; a young Second World War veteran unable to talk another vet out of suicide; a carnival sideshow “geek” with a glass jaw; a stroke victim who suffers a different type of heart attack; and a writer dubbed by an award jury as “a connoisseur of longing.” The stories range from laugh-out-loud comedy to wry satire to heart-wrenching romance to sober meditations on the nature of beauty, truth, life and death. The stories show Margoshes, a master story-teller, at the top of his game.

The Trees of Calan Gray

Danial Neil - Bio and Media
Fiction / pb / May, 2014 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-297-9
/ $19.95

Calan Gray talks to trees. They speak back to him. Not in words, exactly; he hears the language of trees. They become his sanctuary against a violent father who wishes to commit him to an institution for expressing such delusions. It is 1964, and the world is a harsh place for those who are different.
When his grandfather, Dunmore McLeod, arrives from Scotland, Calan begins a journey against a backdrop of trees, from the hard, rural, prairie life of the sixties to the birth of environmentalism on British Columbia’s west coast, where, in 1971, protesters sailed to Alaska to stop the Amchitka nuclear blast. Under the tutelage of Grandpa Dunny, Calan struggles to understand a world view in which an intimate relationship with the land is something to value, not denigrate, and he comes to know the different ways of being and knowing in the natural world.
In a prose that is haunting and lyrical, Danial Neil weaves a romantic tale that is unsettling, profound and ultimately liberating.

Between Lives

Nilofar Shidmehr - Bio and Media
Poetry / pb / 136pp / July, 2014 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-301-3
/ $19.95

"The voice of Nilofar Shidmehr's poetry moves restlessly between two imagined lives: one, a life rooted in the past and in Iran, a life of strict gendered expectations but also of continuity and familiarity; the other, a life in Canada, relatively uncompromised by gender segregation, but yet still troubled by the pain of exile and others' prejudice. These poems speak plainly of mothers, of daughters, of lovers, but always beneath each simple story is the pulse of an intelligent, sensous desire. These poems are feminist, moist, fragrant! Each word bursts, ripe in the mouth, like pomegranate."

~Sonnet L'Abbé (Canadian Poet and Critic, Winner of Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award, 2000)

"In this stirring collection Between Lives, Shidmehr's direct voice and unflinching gaze put her among such great activist poets as Martin Espada, Dionne Brand, and Pablo Neruda. With a clear gaze and arresting imagery. Shidmeher brings to light the violence and injustice of women's lives in Iran and in the diaspora. Fully wrought and deeply personal, this is a necessary book by an accomplished writer.

~Elizabeth Bachinsky, nominee for Governor General's Award for English-language poetry

"These poems are the untold stories of contemporary Persian women's lives, lives portrayed with intimacy and lyricism, despite their subjugation. These are poetics meditations that only a poet simultaneously intimate with a place, and exiled from it, can offer. In this book, men and women are like 'fire and cotton,' and must be kept apart; they are 'flammable with the slightest spark.' Nilofer Shidmehr's poems burn with a fierce, haunting fire.
~Rachel Rose, winner Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry

Cease

Lynette Loeppky - Bio and Media
Non-Fiction / pb / September, 2014 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-309-9
/ $22.95

Love in a Time of Crisis
Cecile and Lynette were living on an "Old MacDonald"-style hobby farm, commuting into the city for work. Each evening Lyn would come home to a farm full of animals and the unpredictable Cec. She could be brilliant, insightful, engaging. She could also turn on Lyn, suddenly and cruelly.

After eight-and-a-half years, just as Lyn had decided to leave and was beginning to plan her exit, Cec became seriously ill. Almost overnight Lyn found herself in the role of caregiver at Cec’s hospital bedside.

“Lyn’s a terrible nurse,” Cec would tell visitors and Lyn knew she was right. Lyn was awkward and jumpy, her timing invariably wrong. She felt trapped, and furious at having to stay, guilty for wanting to flee.

Lyn spent long days and nights at Cec’s bedside, imagining how death would come and contemplating a relationship gone wrong. “Impossible to set this right,” Lyn thought, as she lay curled on a small cot in Cec’s room.

One last time Cec surprised her.

Cease is a blunt and honest account of experiences that are usually kept hidden. Told with a frank and intimate voice, Cease offers an unsentimental look at the inner workings of a uniquely difficult relationship that is revealed for what it is – more human than strange.

Down To Earth

Jennifer Heath
Helen McAllister
- Jennifer Heath
">Bio and Media
/ pb / 192pp / October, 2014 /
ISBN:978-0-88982-302-0
/ $29.95

Two friends began peeking over fences to find out how people in cold climates grow their own food. Throughout the beautiful Elk Valley, in the southeastern corner of BC, they found generous gardeners who taught them simple ways to grow more productive and sustainable gardens.
In vivid colour, Down to Earth celebrates the viability of cold-climate gardening. Stories, tips, and recipes inspire you to plant a few seeds and create your own food security. No matter where you live, this book will help you meet the challenges of a short growing season.

There are many inspiring gardeners who grow their own food and enjoy it year-round. Their harvest makes the zero-mile diet tangible to more than just those living in a warm, temperate climate.

This book is a celebration of the beauty and diversity possible in cold-climate vegetable gardens. It is designed to guide and inspire you on a seasonal basis. We begin with winter planning, then progress to spring planting, the abundance of summer, and culminate in the rewards of a fall harvest. You will also find personal stories throughout the book that provide successful examples of cold-climate gardens.
No matter where you live, we hope to inspire you to plant a few seeds, regardless of how large or small your garden space. If you are a seasoned gardener, perhaps you will learn some new tips. Overall, we hope to get you talking about how you, too, can grow some of your own food.