The Big Day is almost here! BookThug is about to launch it’s 2015 Spring Season!
Come by the Garrison (1197 Dundas St. West, Toronto) this Thursday evening to watch a brilliant band of BookThugs read from their brand new books. Then stay for a drink, and help up raise a toast to these wonderful things made of spines and pages and the folks that made them happen.
The launch will include short readings from
Carellin Brooks, author of One Hundred Days of Rain (Read an excerpt) • Mike Steeves, author of Giving Up (Read an excerpt) • Pearl Pirie, author of the pet radish, shrunken (Read an excerpt) • Jimmy McInnes author of A More Perfect [ (Read an excerpt) • Daniel Karasik, author of Little Death: A Play (Read an excerpt) • Jake Kennedy, author of Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play (Read an excerpt) • kevin mcpherson eckhoff, author of Their Biography: an organism of relationships (Read an excerpt) • Lesley Battler, author of Endangered Hydrocarbons (Read an excerpt)
Doors open at 7:00 pm. Readings to start at 7:45 sharp • This event is FREE. All are welcome. Books will be available for sale. RSVP to Hazel at firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a $5.00 off coupon towards any book purchase at the launch! Hooray!
AGAIN—PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS LAUNCHES, THIS YEAR’S LAUNCH WILL BE AT THE GARRISON, 1197 Dundas Street West, Toronto!
We want you to know all about the books we’re launching AT THE GARRISON this Thursday, April 23, 2015, so we’ve prepared A BookThug’s Guide to the Spring Launch (see below).
BookThug would like to thank and acknowledge the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Playwright’s Guild of Canada.
A BookThug’s Guide to BookThug’s Spring 2015 Book Launch & Party AT THE GARRISON
❧ In which the books that are to be launched are described, along with the opinions of many venerable and learned authors
Little Death, A Play by Daniel Karasik
Introducing the newest member of the BookThug family: award-winning playwright and author Daniel Karasik! BookThug is thrilled to have published Little Death—OUT NOW, just in time to coincide with its World Premiere. Little Death is NOW PLAYING at the Theatre Centre in Toronto, ON, until May 3, 2015. Get tickets today!
Praise for Little Death:
“Karasik is one of Canada’s most exciting young dramatists. With Little Death he is asking juicy, red meat questions about sex, meaning, and mortality. It is a little gem of a play; finely crafted and timeless.”
— Jordan Tannahill, winner of the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays
“Karasik’s keen observations of the joys and hardships of life, articulated in precise and lyrical language, produce thrilling and eerily familiar glimpses of our own lives. He’s one of the most engaging new voices on Canada’s literary scene.” — Nicolas Billon, winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for Fault Lines
“With brevity and tenderness, Little Death toys with the intangible intricacies of intimacy as it relates to sex, love and mortality. In this evocative and poetic new play, Daniel Karasik proves himself, once again, to be one of Canada’s most assured and promising young literary voices.” — Rosa Laborde, Finalist for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for Léo
Endangered Hydrocarbons by Lesley Battler
Lesley Battler’s first full-length collection of poetry adopts the language of hydrocarbon extraction—with its blend of sexual imagery, archetype, science, pseudoscience, and the purely speculative—to shine a floodlight on the absurdity and pervasiveness of production language in all areas of human life.
Praise for Endangered Hydrocarbons:
“Lesley Battler’s fabulous Endangered Hydrocarbons is a high-octane romp through Alberta’s oil patch… a tour from office tower cubicles to bitumen sands extraction sites. But it’s as though the excursion is conducted jointly by the spirits of Edward Snowden, Groucho Marx, and Lewis Carroll… Battler distills, blends, and blurs the jargons of geology, chemistry, oil exploration, drilling technologies, and corporate spin.”
— Tom Wayman, author of For and Against the Moon
Reviews and Interviews:
“Endangered Hydrocarbons takes the language of oil extraction and plays it through different discourses-religion, mythology, imagined conversations with Foucault, public consultation processes, and creative writing.”
— Jay Smith, Alberta Views
“My day job has given me something of a poetic mission. I think industry is a topic that needs to be explored in a discourse that goes beyond stock market price. Now that anyone who protests, or even questions, the hegemony of Big Oil is branded a terrorist, writers who question that power, or wrestle with issues of conscience versus livelihood might be worth hearing.”
— Lesley Battler for Poets in Profile on Open Book Toronto
One Hundred Days of Rain by Carellin Brooks
Praise for One Hundred Days of Rain:
“A quiet and meditative book that reads like a mystery: How do we find ourselves—sometimes simultaneously—moving both toward and away from the things that matter to us most?”
— Johanna Skibsrud, 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner for The Sentimentalists
“Is there a worse city in which to suffer a vindictive, litigated break up than unrelentingly sodden Vancouver? In these one hundred intimate chapters, Carellin Brooks has convinced me no. Her forbearing heroine bikes through torrents, dodges puddles, keeps moving through bitterness and weather. Nobody, not even the rain, has such nerve.” — Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces
“Carellin Brooks’ marvellous and brooding novel, sparking after yet another downpour, offers a natural history of rain and breakups. Just as snow-bound cultures have numerous words for different kinds of snow, so the Vancouverite requires many words and varied descriptions for rain. The exquisite descriptions of internal and external tensions are what capture here, what pierce and press the reader forward, j-walking through the tumbling language of rain, dodging in and out of the doorways of these short, sharp, shocked chapters … the most precise and revealing sentences I have read in years.” — Stephen Collis, poet and novelist
“[…] a memorably profound and stylish portrait of love’s complications.”— Publishers’ Weekly
“One hundred days of rain in all possible variety (this is Vancouver), side by side with equally subtle shifts in mood described in sparse, poetic prose. It’s heavy material but, as with poetry, rewards contemplative reading in quick breaks.” —Jade Colbert for Globe and Mail
“Brooks describes a world either lost in or entirely made of rain. It’s in these flashes of insight where she gets closest to revealing something essential: all this rain is simply the water we’re all swimming in, whether or not we really notice it.” — David Berry for National Post
“[… ]it is the young woman’s anger and cynicism that keeps her afloat in her oppressed and watery world. Rain has become her adversary and, as such, keeps her focused and makes possible her, albeit shaky, survival.” — M.A.C. Farrant for The Vancouver Sun
“In 100 brief and rain-drenched chapters Brooks maps the painful distance from hope (romantic whispers of future anniversaries) to despair (police sirens, lawyers, court dates, loneliness). Between the two states, there’s lots of introspection pursuing the age-old question: “How did things go so very wrong?” — Brett Josef Grubisic for Daily Xtra
“[…] a story of struggle and resilience. It’s a tale of one woman’s journey to find her way after losing so much, to make a place in this world for her and her son.”— Worn Pages and Ink
A More Perfect [ by Jimmy McInnes
In A More Perfect [Jimmy McInnes dismantles what is arguably Barack Obama’s most iconic address (“A More Perfect Union”) into a radical poem that exposes the wiring of the political campaign speech as a genre, the complicated relationship between politics and the English language, and the quasi-mystical power of political oratory to rouse and persuade.
Praise for A More Perfect [:
“Barack Obama’s eloquent and iconic 2008 speech on race, “A More Perfect Union,” is the master text underlying Jimmy McInnes’s ingenious poem. In the course of laying bare the devices of political rhetoric, McInnes presents an intricate lattice of tropes, formulas, gestures, and contexts. A More Perfect [ reads like a performance theory handbook, a poet’s theater script, and a grammar manual, all rolled into one concatenating barrel of tricks.”— Charles Bernstein
“We know language is littered with heinous tools to obscure, evade, and punish. Through passive euphemism and doublespeak, malapropism and catachresis and plain old gibberish, those who wield power—our politicians, advertisers, reviewers, friends—use words to fill space, making noises without referents, all according to comforting pattern and script. Why are we so shocked, red-faced, to see the scaffolding? McInnes tears away the colour and flesh of distraction to show all that spooky structure—the rehearsed rhetoric of those who lie for a living (we the 99 percent). When he reads this book live, he infuriates, galvanizes, but who can deny the concurrent sparkle of a language stripped to its constituents? Never have noun, verb, adjective held so much basic, mesmerizing radiance. It’s still ours, after all. Take it back.” —Spencer Gordon, author of Cosmo
“According to Thomas Hobbes (via Rachel Zolf’s Neighbor Procedure), power is the “capacity to give names and enforce definitions.” Jimmy’s reverse rhetorical procedure on President Obama’s speech does two things: first it demolishes the monologic power of the spectacle and then it returns that power (now made dialogic) to the people, to the demos, and to language itself, by inviting us to participate in his gleeful and meticulous parsings. A More Perfect [ is a gift of open form.” —Mat Laporte
Poets in Profile: Jimmy McInnes
—Open Book Toronto
Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play by Jake Kennedy
In 1981 Jake Kennedy accidentally burnt down an abandoned house. Years later, as an adult, he read a story about how the German artist Kurt Schwitters’ “interior house-sculpture” (“Merz Structure No. 2”) was destroyed in 1951 after some children playing with matches accidentally burnt the building down. This sad ‘unmaking’ became the inspiration for Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play, a collection of experimental poetry that explores the vital (if often unsettling) relationship between creation and destruction, bliss and pain, utterance and silence.
As diverse in form as they are in artistic/cultural references, the poems of Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play invoke an endless bounty of characters: the poet remembers Harold Ramis; Kafka summons the courage to tell his dad where to go; another tornado razes another small town; Yorick returns to run balls-out into the sea; Louise Bourgeois smashes a tea cup against one of her sculptures. Readers who connect with Phil Hall’s artistic investigations in Killdeer and Lisa Robertson’s clear-eyed take on humanity in Magenta Soul Whip will enjoy Kennedy’s feeling examination of loss.
Watch the book trailer:
the pet radish, shrunken by Pearl Pirie
the pet radish, shrunken is the third full-length collection of poetry from the inimitable Pearl Pirie. Sly and virtuosic, Pirie’s new collection speaks in a range of styles and voices: From a military convoy of turtles, to a Kafkaesque conversation with a housefly, to the dissection of a fruit machine, Pirie offers oulipo-found speech as it integrates and disintegrates, plays with and tumbles “outward and onwards, inward, lingward and lungward.”
Praise for the pet radish, shrunken:
“Quirky and fresh, playful yet serious, Pirie’s collection, the pet radish, shrunken, demands and activates new pathways of reason. These line-by-line lyrical segments both tantalize and take the reader down the rabbit hole (pulling rabbits out of hats along the way) with their semantic surprises and jumpy music. Pirie sees the world askew and brings the reader along for the ride. An invigorating collection.”
— Catherine Graham, author of Her Red Hair Rises With the Wings of Insects
“The poems collected in the pet radish, shrunken invite us equally into routine and catastrophic events. Pirie submits “we are always settling into a new now” and leads us through a life revised by the external and internal encounters of a day. With humour, play, and brass, Pirie revels in the daily ruckus of domesticity, verbatim conversations, and the language that must somehow hold a whole existence.” — Jenny Sampirisi, author of Croak
“In Pearl Pirie’s poems, language ferments, foments a “vinegar vigour.” Flipping the labels off contemporary mores, cooking with sound, she offers quick food for thought. Keep up with her if you can.” — Daphne Marlatt
“Precise riots of vowels and consonants rattle these poems. Pearl Pirie’s lines burn with sonic-rich images: “kalimba of algae” and “tight loops of oops.” Her verbal verve is rooted in an ecstatic attentiveness to language, both found and formal. Charged with innovative and lyrical energies, the pet radish, shrunken is a gorgeous rebellion.” — Eduardo Corral, author of Slow Lightning
Reviews and Interviews:
“Like a difficult crossword puzzle or an advanced sudoku, Pirie’s poems are a stimulating exercise in cognition, where reading becomes a process of unravelling language.” — Quill and Quire
“[Pirie will] slip a hard edge into the most carefree poems to knock you out while other lines evoke giggles[…] a radiant union of contemporary situations and classic themes…..charming, playful, and immaculately skewed.”-Maisonneuve
“Through her work, she hopes to dispel the notion that poetry can’t be funny…No worries there, she had us at pet radishes and secret agent squirrels.”—Anne Boys for The Kitchissippi Times
Their Biography: an organism of relationships by kevin mcpherson eckhoff
Would it be possible to compose a book that appears to be “about” its author, but is indirectly about something else, like identity or relationships or language? Maybe a book not written by a hero… but by many?
These are some of the questions that we are invited to luxuriate in via kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s new book Their Biography: an organism of relationships—the first installment of a perpetual book-poem in which “the organism of relationships amassed by and about the object often identified as kevin mcpherson eckhoff” will compile a collaborative memoir of himself, composed in the rich language of human relationships: a sort of autobiography authored by anybody but its nominal subject.
Watch the book trailer:
“It’s wide-ranging and it roams, but it’s also incredibly playful, and the experience of reading it is fun even when it’s frustrating. Eckhoff isn’t bludgeoning readers with a thesis, nor is he asking us to swallow a sea of ideas and words. He’s just examining – and messing around with – our ideas about what a self is.” — Emma Healey for Globe and Mail
“It might be the best autobiography not written by its subject, and it’s certainly the funniest.”— Jonathan Ball for This Magazine
“It’s a hilarious, melodramatic interpretation of the idea we have no essential self, but that our personality shifts depending on the day and social context. Where is the “real” eckhoff inside of all of this? Their Biography suggests the self is a comedy of errors, but the stage rather than the play.” — The Winnipeg Free Press
Giving Up, a Novel by Mike Steeves
Giving Up, the hotly anticipated debut novel from Montreal author Mike Steeves, is the story of a young married couple in crisis. The story takes place over the course of one evening, unfolding in three sections, each consisting of a long unbroken paragraph and told in the voices of two protagonists—James and Mary—who reveal the nature of their problems (creative, marital, procreational) in painstaking detail. In grappling with the line between what’s happened and what might have happened, Steeves scours the depths of modern relationships, giving voice to the anguish of a generation of people who grew up with great expectations, and are now settling into their own personal failures and compromises.
Praise for Giving Up:
“Steeves is a brilliant, singular voice in Can Lit: funny and fresh and fast! Giving Up burns and glows with the intensity of a blue flame and all the pathos and obsessiveness and truth and absurdity of modern coupledom.”
— Miriam Toews, author of All My Puny Sorrows
“Few first novels in recent memory are as consistently charming, smart, entertaining and incisive as Giving Up. Somehow Mike Steeves has written a page-turner about stray cats and trips to the bank, and a story that treads through the stuff of everyday life with such precision to cast each detail, every gesture and object and silence, with great meaning.”
— Pasha Malla, author of People Park and The Withdrawl Method
“Mike Steeves’ GIVING UP is like a Facebook-era version of Paula Fox’s 1970s New York classic DESPERATE CHARACTERS: a lucid micro-portrait of an apartment-bound couple facing childlessness, marital landlock and a malevolent feline presence. But its pulse is faster, warmer, more irregular. It’s a chamber piece for two voices sharing disappointingly overhyped takeout, a woozily funny yet deeply decent view of adult love. It broke the shit out of my heart. Read it with someone you adore who you fear half the time can’t stand the sight of you.”
– Carl Wilson, author of Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste
“The monotony and discomfort of innermost thoughts, through normal and abnormal circumstances, are brought to life in this novel, pulling the reader into the exhausting cycle of anxiety in which the narrators have lived for years.”
— Publishers’ Weekly
“This is a novel of unrelenting relatability, truth, contravention, hope, loss, and usefulness. Within these 216 pages, the reader may be forced to accept the dark side of her/himself, and the society from which s/he was contrived. I can see myself returning to this book once a year, every year, for the rest of my life…”
— Nomadic Press
❧ For more information and to RSVP to BookThug’s Spring 2015 Book Launch and Party, visit the event page, here
Want all of these books and more? Seasonal and Annual Subscription Packages are available, here.
N.B. BookThug will also be launching The Thought House of Philippa by Suzanne Leblanc, Translated by Oana Avasilichioaei and Ingrid Pam Dick, in Toronto on Friday May 15 at 7.00 at Videofag. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/
Check out an exclusive preview of The Thought House of Philippa, here.