Vancouver resident Roxanna Bikadoroff has made a name for herself internationally with illustration work that has appeared in The New Yorker and graced the covers of classics by Angela Carter and Flannery O’Connor. This fall, she lends her talents to not one, but two poetry collections, each of which is unique in tone and content:
Twenty Seven Stings (New Star Publications) is
a sequence of poems focusing on the cultural and
militaristic backgrounds that resulted in various
wars throughout history. From Asia in the time
before Christ to contemporary America, poet Julie Emerson interrogates humanity’s propensity for organized violence.
At the other end of the spectrum is Bill Richardson’s The First Little Bastard to Call Me Gramps: Poems of the Late Middle Age (Anansi). As its title implies, Richardson’s collection is a humorous look at the (in)dignities of traversing the line from middle to old age.
From the beginning
♦ For the past six decades, Fred Wah has been a towering figure on the Canadian poetry landscape. His work in the genre has won numerous awards (including the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and the Stephanson Award for Poetry), he is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and (along with George Bowering) one of the founders of TISH, which George Fetherling has called “probably the most influential literary magazine ever produced in Canada.”
Despite all this, much of Wah’s early work has been allowed to go out of print. In an effort to redress this, at least to a limited extent, Vancouver’s Talonbooks is bringing out a single-volume collection of Wah’s early verse. Clocking in at close to 600 pages, the massive volume includes the complete contents of Wah’s collections published between the years 1965 and 1991. Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems (Talonbooks) is edited by Jeff Derksen.
To be brief
Short stories continue to provide a venue for some of the most exciting, invigorating, and boundary-pushing writing in this country. This season features a clutch of collections from interesting writers, both veterans and newcomers.
Ekstasis Editions has an English-language version of a story collection by Quebec writer and essayist Lise Gauvin on tap for August. Fugitives is translated by Jonathan Kaplansky.
Toronto resident Kevin Hardcastle also has a debut collection on the horizon. A group of hardboiled noir tales, Debris (Biblioasis) contains the author’s story “Old Man Marchuk,” which was included in the 2014 Journey Prize anthology
Wasela Hiyate was born in Guyana and came to Toronto at the age of one. Her debut story collection, Travel is so Broadening and Other Stories (Quattro Books), addresses the idea set out in its title.
Greg Hollingshead won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his 1998 novel, The Healer. He returns this fall with his fourth collection, Act Normal (Anansi).
A Polish immigrant to Canada who has spent much time in Vietnam, 73-year-old Elizabeth McLean’s debut, The Swallows Uncaged: A Narrative in Eight Panels (Freehand Books) is a suite of stories about girls and women in the Asian country.
Josip Novakovich was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize. He’s back in September with Ex-Yu (Véhicule Press), a collection of stories that circle around the subject of the Bosnian War.
Richard Van Camp
Dogrib Nation author Richard Van Camp saw his novel The Lesser Blessed adapted for film in 2013; he returns in October with a collection of stories, Night Moves (Enfield & Wizenty), which revisits the lives of characters from his previous work (and reportedly has nothing to do with Bob Seger).
Veteran Winnipeg writer Armin Wiebe has won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. He returns to his fictional Mennonite community of Gutenthal for some of the stories in the playfully titled Armin’s Shorts (Turnstone Press).
Back in the saddle
Fall 2015 brings a clutch of new poetry collections from veterans of the genre. Here are four to look out for:
1. On Shaving Off His Face (The Porcupine’s Quill) by Shane Neilson
2. Diversion (ECW) by George Murray
3. Standard Candles (University of Alberta Press) by Alice Major
4. Ardour (Coach House) by Nicole Brossard; Angela Carr, trans.
(Q&Q’s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2015. All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.)