27 April 2011

Launch info, plus the fall Mansfield books revealed at last!

The Cobourg launch for Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew was a success. The Human Bean was filled past capacity, and in addition to the locals (many of whom I didn't know), people came from Toronto, Whitby, Belleville, and Kingston. ECW editor Michael Holmes hosted, and he made me nearly weepy with his extremely generous words. I mean, ECW and I have had a relationship not without its bumps, but this experience of being back has been great. SDJ is my fifth book with ECW.

Shannon Siblock sang five original songs at the launch: his first public performance in many years. He's got this sweet and plaintive voice, and, as Ben Walker pointed out, he ends his songs perfectly: when there's nothing more to say, he stops. I had asked him to play one of the songs mentioned in the novel, but he wouldn't tell me which he'd decided on. Turned out to be "Eternal Flame," which, previous to last Thursday, I would never have imagined being sung by a male voice. Shannon did a great job all-round.

Steph from Bella's Bookshelves wrote a very thoughtful review of both the book and the launch. I met Steph last December when she came to the Grad Club in Kingston for my Real Resident Reading Series (man, I miss those days…) — an installment featuring readings by John Lavery, Anne McLean, and me, and music by Ben Walker. By coincidence, Steph wound up proofreading SDJ for ECW Press (and she made some great catches!).

In other news, it was a bit of a crazy weekend as I scrambled to finalize the "stuart ross book" selections for Mansfield's fall 2011 season. Already in the works was a brilliant and utterly entertaining quasi-memoir by George Bowering, called How I Wrote Certain of My Books, a nice spin on Raymond Roussel's book of the same title. To that, we're adding the debut poetry collection by Carey Toane — a fascinating and eclectic book called The Crystal Palace. Carey has been in Brooklyn for most of the past year, but before that she was very active in Toronto, doing a great hosting job on the Pivot at the Press Club Reading Series, acting as an operative on the Patchy Squirrel Lit-Serv, and collaborating with Elisabeth de Mariaffi on the Toronto Poetry Vendors project. As well, I'm really pleased to be edited Lillian Necakov's fifth full-length poetry book (and her second with Mansfield), Hooligans. Lillian's been steeped in mathematics and science reading the past few years, and the way she blends these new influences into her often-surreal poetry is fascinating. Rounding off the Mansfield fall list is a book that publisher Denis De Klerck is putting through, Lover Through Departure: New and Selected Poems, by Rishma Dunlop. I haven't read that MS yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

A final note: there is still some space around the table for Saturday's Poetry Boot Camp in Toronto. If you're interested, or know someone who is, I can be reached at hunkamooga [at] sympatico [dot] ca.

Over and out.


At May 01, 2011 1:03 pm , Anonymous Steph said...

Hey man, thanks for linking to my post! It was a pleasure to write it, to meet you in December, and to be there in Cobourg. I miss the days I went to these things more often because I lived in a bigger city (Hamilton), and was closer to the stuff that happened elsewhere.

It was a fun, enjoyable night. Seemingly short, perhaps, but just like Shannon Siblock, stopping when no more needs be said. And that's not at all a bad thing. In all, it was perfect.

PS. Even I got choked up by the things Holmes said about you! I haven't ever heard a warmer, more personal intro about an author, I'm sure.


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