On October 8, 2014, on one of the first really chilly nights of the Fall, the brightest lights of Toronto’s literary community assembled in Kensington Market to celebrate the launch of BookThug’s new Fall lineup. It was a brilliant evening. And luckily, the cameras were rolling. Thank you to R. Kolewe for capturing the following images for us, while also launching his own book! Thank you as well to John Schmidt for filming all of the readings which can be viewed here. Here’s the recap!
Our Head Thug Jay MillAr hosted the event and kicked the evening off by welcoming everyone and thanking them for choosing literature over hockey (Note: our launch was the same night at the Leaf’s Home Opener). Oh, and check out those great cover images surrounding Jay!
Arriving with infant child in hand, Wanda Praamsma started the evening’s festivities, reading several absorbing set pieces from her ambitious-yet-intimate narrative poem a thin line between.
Next, Toronto poet R. Kolewe read from his debut book Afterletters, a stunning poetical dialogue between the author and the exquisitely documented love affair between poets Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann. Thank you to his friend who took over on camera duty during R.’s reading.
After a humorous and heartfelt introduction, BookThug mainstay Marianne Apostolides delivered a tour de force reading from her new novel of loss, longing, and ideas—Sophrosyne.
We were so happy to welcome Gregoire Pam Dick [a.k.a. Mina Pam Dick, Jake Pam Dick et al.] up from New York City to read to us from her exciting and restless new verse-novella Metaphysical Licks.
To play us into the break, playwright Adam Seelig, founder and director of One Little Goat Theatre Company, Toronto, performed a solo, acapella rendition of “B-b-b-bacon,” one of the musical numbers from his topical and irreverent “anti-musical” Ubu Mayor: a Harmful Bit of Fun—the frolicsome tale of a mayor (Ubu) whose wife (Huhu) is having an affair with his older brother (Dudu).
Bunny and Shark is a brilliant tale of island survival, reinvention, and revenge, set against the balmy backdrop of an uber-posh vacation community on a mysterious Caribbean island. Big thanks to Emily Keeler for standing in for author Alisha Piercy and reading a passage in which the novel’s eponymous heroine, Bunny, pulls off yet another perilous escape.
Acclaimed author and roller derby champion Kate Hargreaves (aka Pain Eyre) gave us a taste of her spectacular debut book of poems, Leak. Hargreaves’s visceral imagery, driving rhythms, and special knack for linguistic play had the audience enthralled, in stitches, and occasionally grossed-out (in a good way).
Author Bertrand Laverdure and translator Oana Avasilichioaei tore the house down with their highly performative collaborative reading of Bertrand’s sprawling, pop-culture sci-fi/fantasy post-modern micro-epic, Universal Bureau of Copyrights, and Oana’s excellent English translation.
To cap the evening, another luminary of the Toronto poetry scene, Michael Boughn read from his most recent collection of poems, City: Book One: Singular Assumptions.
The house was packed; the readers were fantastic. Thank you to everyone who made the evening a roaring success! We can’t wait to do it all over again in the Spring of 2015. One more round of applause for everyone!