19 November 2012

My Indie Lit Market haul

The Meet the Presses collective was very pleased with the Indie Literary Market we put on this past Saturday. Attendance was pretty shaky for the first hour or two, but then things got very busy. Would have liked to see more books selling, but overall the presses seemed happy with the event.

I wish I'd picked up more items myself, but here's a list of what I did come home with — both from the presses' tables and a couple of individual writers who were there with some stock in their bags:

Michael e. Casteels, cemantics (Puddles of Sky Press)
David Peter Clark, feathereDinosaurs (shuffaloff/Eternal Network)
Graeme Clarke, Thirst and Other Stories (Horse of Operations)
Warren Clements, The Charles Arthur Stories: Tales of a Man to Whom Things Happen (Nestlings Press)
Sonia Di Placido, Exaltation in Cadmium Red (Guernica Editions)
Howie Good, Strange Roads (Puddles of Sky Press)
Spencer Gordon, Feel Good! Look Great! Have a Blast! (Ferno House)
Adrienne Gruber, Mimic (Leaf Press)
Beth Learn, jabberodge (learn/yeats & co)
Micah Ling, Settlement (Sunnyoutside)
Rampike Vol. 21 No. 2, ed. Karl Jirgens
Michael Sikkema, The Sky The (Serif of Nottingham Editions)
Cordelia Strube, Milosz (Coach House Books)
Caroline Szpak, Garland Get Your Gun (Horse of Operations)
Hugh Thomas, Opening the Dictionary (above/ground press)
J. A. Tyler, the zoo, a going: (THE TROPIC HOUSE) (Sunnyoutside)
Christine Walde, The Black Car (baselinepress)

I do think the Meet the Presses formula of a curated literary market makes for a fantastic event. And now that we are also administering the bpNichol Chapbook Award (congratulations to Adrienne Gruber, author of Mimic from Leaf Press!), the Indie Literary Market has even added importance.

Over and out.

16 November 2012

Indie Literary Market & bpNichol Chapbook Award: Toronto, November 17

Very excited about this.
Over and out.

05 November 2012

Mansfield Press Fall Launch — November 5, Toronto

Excited about Monday night's Mansfield Press launch in Toronto! All four titles are books I brought to the press, and three of them are appearing under the "a stuart ross book" imprint. The launch happens November 5 at 7:30 at the Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton Street.

For the first time, Mansfield is releasing two fiction titles in one season. One is Paula Eisenstein's first novel, Flip Turn. It's chilling stuff, narrated by a young swimmer whose teen brother has killed a girl. But it's a playful book as well, and intriguingly structured. The other fiction title is Sarah Dearing's long-awaited third novel, The Art of Sufficient Conclusions. I know this book has gone through several incarnations; I remember Sarah reading a stunning excerpt from the manuscript at the Words in Whitby festival about seven or eight years ago. In this one, the narrator discovers that her father, in his childhood, was "sold" to a sculptor in England.

Both of these books blur fiction and fact. Both authors are from London, Ontario, and now live in Toronto.

In the poetry department, we're offering up the third full-length collection by Kingston poet Jason Heroux, Natural Capital. In this first two books, Jason created a tone and sense of dark whimsy that became unmistakable trademarks for him; in this book, he pushes his accomplishments into new and surprising places. The other poetry book is Jim Smith's Happy Birthday, Nicanor Parra, whose title invokes a poetry giant who happens to be a favourite we share. And an influence on both of us. This is Jim's follow-up to 2008's Back Off, Assassin! New and Selected Poems. It's over the top.

It was an incredible pleasure to work with all four of these writers in my editorial capacity. (Mansfield publisher/editor Denis De Klerck also provided smart substantive feedback on the books. I learned a lot watching him at work.) They were all open and eager to be challenged. I'm proud of these books. I'm looking forward to helping them seep out into the world.

Anyone interested in reviewing any of these books for a print or online publication or blog should drop me a note at razovsky [at] gmail [dot] com.

Over and out.

02 November 2012

Headaches & good things

I have a goddamn headache today. I haven't slept well in a while. My cat is walking around with a cone on his head so he doesn't sabotage the positive effects of having wandering organs surgically shifted out of his chest cavity. My dog won't stop barking.

On the other hand:


I am working on a new chapbook of poems by Nelson Ball. I've always wanted to do a Proper Tales Press chapbook by Nelson. And it turns out he'd always wanted to have a Proper Tales Press chapbook. This one is called The Continuous Present. It's a beautiful mixture of spare visual poems and linear, image-driven poems. It's a nice companion volume to In This Thin Rain, the full-length collection that came out through my imprint at Mansfield Press earlier this year.

I am also working on a chapbook of death haiku by Tom Walmsley. This will be the second Proper Tales chapbook by Tom — the first, a sequence of 15 haiku called Concrete Sky — came out a couple years ago. This new one has 36 haiku and it's called Rich and Dead as Dogs. Is that a Walmsley title or what? The poems are angry, visceral, and also sometimes funny. In a dark way. Two years ago I did a Walmsley novel through my Mansfield imprint; it's called Dog Eat Rat, and the protagonist, Trip, writes and spouts haiku. He writes and spouts haiku like the ones in this new chapbook.

By the way, if you don't have these two books from Mansfield, you would do well to order them today.

Plus, this afternoon Mark Laba sent me a new poem. So far as I know, he hadn't written any new poems since about 2005. But I was talking with him on the phone earlier this week, and I said, "Why don't you just sit down and write one?" And he did, and he sent it to me, and it's so fucking good. It was like coming home, reading a new Mark Laba poem. Maybe because Mark and I grew up on the same street in Bathurst Manor in the early 1960s.

OK, the ibuprofen is starting to work.

Which is good, because I'm also doing a reading tonight. This reading is part of a three-day festival that Sandra Alland organized here in Cobourg, where I now live and where her parents live (she's visiting for six months from Scotland). It's called the Cobourg Poetry & Literary Arts Festival (I gave her the business about "what — poetry's not a literary art?" and she explained that she meant poetry and other art that involves text, like the photos and fibre art and video art that are also part of this festival). It all takes place at Impresario, on King Street West in Cobourg. Tonight, tomorrow afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Also appearing at this festival are Zorras, Jenn LoveGrove (from the Where Are They Now? file), Gary Barwin, Pearl Pirie, Beatriz Hausner, Ted Amsden (Cobourg's Poet Laureate after the previous laureate, Jill Battson, fled town), Laurie Siblock, Karen Miranda Augustine, Andrew Kaufman, and others. PWYC.

Also typed a few more sentences this afternoon of The Pig Sleeps, a collaborative novel that Mark Laba and I wrote in the 1980s. It was serialized in Kevin Connolly and Jason Sherman's WHAT! magazine and then appeared in book form from Katy Chan's Contra Mundo Books in 1993. Mark and I are planning a 20th-anniversary (of the original book) edition. I imagine we're going to do a lot of revising and augmenting of the original text.

Time to walk the dog to shut her up.

Over and out.