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Brick Books

The 2014 Governor General’s Award Winners

It's old news, we know, but we're still thrilled that LITERARY PRESS GROUP has won the 2014 Governor General’s Awards for Poetry and Drama!  Congratulations to Arleen Paré, author of Lake of Two Mountains(Poetry) and Jordan Tannahill, author Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays(Drama). From BRICK BOOKS:

Lake of Two Mountains (ISBN 9781926829876), Arleen Paré’s second poetry collection, is a portrait of a lake, of a relationship to a lake, of a network of relationships around a lake. It maps, probes and applauds the riparian region of central Canadian geography that lies between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence Rivers. The poems portray this territory, its contested human presences and natural history: the 1990 Oka Crisis, Pleistocene shifts and dislocations, the feather-shaped Ile Cadieux, a Trappist monastery on the lake’s northern shore. As we are drawn into experience of the lake and its environs, we also enter an intricate interleaving of landscape and memory, a reflection on how a place comes to inhabit us even as we inhabit it.

flint-dark far-off sky on the move across the lake slant sheets closing in sky collapsing from its bowl shoreline waiting taut stones dark as plums

~from “Distance Closing In”

Praise for Lake of Two Mountains:

“When has a body of water said so much, been looked at so many ways, spoken in so many voices? Arleen Paré’s “lake” is an astonishing creation, alive and changeable, as multifaceted as light on water. “Lake of Two Mountains” is a literal place, yes, but it is also a place with spiritual, personal, religious and political dimensions. A kind of all-seeing deity, it observes human life and measures the passing of time. I am in awe of this lake, its reach and complexities rooted in the specifics of flora and fauna. I am also in awe of Paré’s marvelous and deeply authentic poems. —Patricia Young

“Arleen Paré’s poems are monastic prayers of forgiveness, intense simplicities that praise all we have lost, all we have left. She is a gift the world has given us. Read her and then in deep quiet read her again.” —Patrick Lane

From PLAYWRIGHTS CANADA PRESS:

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Three of Jordan Tannahill’s fresh and riveting works are featured in this collection, including Get Yourself Home Skyler James, Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes, and rihannaboi95.

Based on a true story, Get Yourself Home Skyler James follows the harrowing journey of a young lesbian who defects from the army when she is outed by fellow soldiers. Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes chronicles the last hour of Peter Fechter’s life, a teenager in East Berlin shot while attempting to cross the Berlin Wall in 1962 with his companion. Finally, the award-winning  rihannaboi95 centres around a Toronto teen whose world comes crashing in when YouTube videos of him dancing to songs by his favourite pop heroine go viral. Together these solo plays explore the lives of three queer youth and their resilience in the face of violence and intolerance.

“…one of Canada’s most promising young independent theatre artists.”—Alison Broverman,Toronto Star

Check out a performance of rihannaboi95 on YouTube. Owais Lightwala is Sunny in this viral play, produced by Suburban Beast.

POETRY MONTH | New Books

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This week, Vehicule Press' fantastic Global Poetry Anthology, a poem about a Mennonite community, and very funny erotic poems about Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep. Global Poetry Anthology: 2013, featuring finalists for the Montreal International Poetry Prize—the world’s first $20,000 prize for one poem—this anthology is a one-of-a-kind collection of contemporary, previously unpublished poems gathered from all corners of the English-speaking world. Vehicule Press ISBN 9781550653670 $18.00

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Ordinary Hours by Karen Enns, In Ordinary Hours, the follow-up to Karen Enns’ Gerald Lampert Award-nominated first collection, That Other Beauty, we revisit Enns’ rural Mennonite childhood, replete with the sensuousness of “diesel fuel” and “hot peaches.” Brick Books ISBN 9781926829906 $20.00

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Failure to Thrive by Suzannah Showler, Hip and cerebral, this witty collection is as quick to make fun of itself as it is to turn its humour outward, where false historians have free rein, answers come in the form of questions, and the apocalypse seems like a good time to knit a sweater. Suzannah Showler’s debut shows us how a failing world can be the site of aesthetic renewal rather than decline. ECW Press ISBN 9781770412026 $18.95

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Blind Items by Dina Del Bucchia, erotic poetry about celebrities like Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray. These hypermodern confessional poems are funny, strange, and very, very sexy. Insomniac Press ISBN 9781554831289 $16.95

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Sin Eater by Angela Hibbs, reassembles the seven deadly sins to reflect a modern context and culture.With nimble language and an uncommon wit, Hibbs reveals the fluidity of transgression when traditional definitions no longer apply. Sin Eater is a bold new collection from one of Canada s brightest poetic voices. Arbeiter Ring Publishing ISBN 9781894037495 $14.95

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Asking by Shawna Lemay, a collection of poems and poem-essays about paintings, ekphrasis, beauty, and deep looking which takes its title from the lines by Phyllis Webb: "Listen. If I have known beauty / let's say I came to it / asking." Seraphim Editions ISBN 9781927079270 $17.95

POETRY MONTH | Weekly Highlights

It's POETRY MONTH, which for some people is the cruelest month of the year, breeding black turtle necks out of moth-eaten closets, mixing casual coffee drinkers and poets at pop up slam competitions, stirring glassy-eyed shoppers with sprung rhythm. At Manda Group, we love poetry month and want to help you choose the perfect haiki or meta-poem to buy, so for the next couple of weeks we will be unveiling upcoming and newly released titles! Here's the first few GEMS:

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100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda Exile Editions ISBN 9781550963878 $24.95

Forty years after Pablo Neruda’s death, this compilation of his sonnets, unlike previous translations, captures the true spirit and verbal dexterity of his lesser-known genre. Pablo Neruda is still one of the most widely read, influential and beloved 20th-century poets. He was a Nobel Laureate, famous for his politically engaged lyrics, who also wrote these bold and sensual sonnets. In this new edition, the poems are followed by three essays on reading Neruda and his poetic effect by the notable poets and translators A. F. Moritz, Beatriz Hausner, and Toronto’s Poet Laureate (2012–2015) George Elliott Clarke, as well as a new afterword by the translator, questions for discussion, and recommended readings.

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Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting by Kevin Powers Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 9780316401081 $25.00

National Book Award finalist, Iraq war veteran, novelist and poet Kevin Powers creates a deeply affecting portrait of a life shaped by war. Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting captures the many moments that comprise a soldier's life: driving down the Texas highway; waiting for the unknown in the dry Iraq heat; writing a love letter; listening to a mother recount her dreams. Written with evocative language and discernment, Powers's poetry strives to make sense of the war and its echoes through human experience.

Just as The Yellow Birds was hailed as the "first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war," this collection will make its mark as a powerful, enduring work (Los Angeles Times).

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Blue Sonoma by Jane Munro Brick Books ISBN 9781926829883 $20.00

Award-winning poet Jane Munro draws on her well-honed talents to address what Eliot called “the gifts reserved for age.” A beloved partner’s crossing into Alzheimer’s is at the heart of this book, and his “battered blue Sonoma” is an evocation of numerous other crossings: between empirical reportage and meditative apprehension, dreaming and wakefulness, Eastern and Western poetic traditions. Rich in both pathos and sharp shards of insight, Munro’s wisdom here is deeply embedded, shot through with moments of wit and candour. In the tradition of Taoist poets like Wang Wei and Po-Chu-i, her sixth and best book opens a wide poetic space, and renders difficult conditions with the lightest of touches. Grey wood twisted tight within the framework of the tree – impossible to snap off, forged as it dries.And in me, parts I can’t imagine myself without – silvering. ~from “The live arbutus carries dead branches…”

Check our blog next week for more highlights!

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems

With key matchups between the USA and Canada this week, hockey has been top of mind both north and south of the border. Fans from either nation are either cheering their respective teams to victory or provide compelling excuses for why things went wrong. In either case, the memory of these olympic matchups will not fade for at least a few days. But for those of us that are disappointed in the end, it may prove a good idea to take a more philosophical view of what transpired rather than let emotions rule the day.

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs provides the perfect jumping off point for such ruminations. Brick Books has provided hockey fans of all loyalties with an insightful collection of poetry focused on a hockey legend that has played for multiple teams on both sides of the border. When talking about Sawchuk, there is no need to mince words. He is simply one of, if not the, greatest goalies of all time. His 103 career shutouts was a record that stood for 39 years and most thought would never be broken.

Night Work sheds light on the enigma that is Terry Sawchuk who Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail calls the “...[D]arkest most troubled figure in the history of the national game.” Brunt goes on to heap praise on the collection, saying it “...[M]ay be the truest hockey book ever written.” If truth can be measured by the emotions a book dregs up in a reader, then I could not agree more.

The unique format of this book is like no other hockey title I have come across, and if sheer blissful escape are what you’re after then this is the books for you. Reading this book will cause any hockey fan to lose themselves for hours at a time in a swirl of deep, rich imagery that you can almost smell. Night Work is magical a piece of art that will leave you thinking about so much more than just the Olympic results.

Manda News Update | Cinnamon Toast and The End of the World Rave Review, DAVID AND GOLIATH Cover Reveal & Smashing China with Ann Shin

cinnamonIt's already JUNE, and we have so much to tell you. First off, Janet E. Cameron's incredible Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World (9781444743968) finally released in May (5/5/2013 to be exact). You can read an excerpt hereThe book is getting RAVE reviews across the country and on goodreads.com. The Globe and Mail called it, "a good summer read because a juicy coming-of-age story, especially one with a twist, fits well into a beach bag." They also wrote, "Cameron’s portrayal of 17-year-old Stephen Shulevitz is astonishingly good. There’s an alchemy here that not every writer who takes on a character so different from herself can achieve. She captures it all..." Click here to read the rest of the article and, if you want more of Cameron's writing, follow her twitter feed @ASimpleJan.

Father's Day is this weekend so we will be posting book and gift suggestions on our Facebook and twitter feed. Don't miss it! We'll have suggestions for the handyman Dad, the-I-don't-mess-around-in-the-garden Dad, the grill-master Dad, the super-sporty Dad and every Dad in between.

A couple of weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal revealed the cover for Malcolm Gladwell’s highly anticipated DAVID AND GOLIATH (9780316204361).

David and Goliath It's been 5 years since Outliers was published.  As you can imagine, we have been eagerly anticipating this book along with a million other readers!

Here's the synopsis from Hachette Book Group:

In DAVID AND GOLIATH, Malcolm Gladwell, with his unparalleled ability to grasp connections others miss, uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. Gladwell examines the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, takes us into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, and digs into the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms-all in an attempt to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages. When is a traumatic childhood a good thing? When does a disability leave someone better off? Do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? Why are the childhoods of people at the top of one profession after another marked by deprivation and struggle? Drawing upon psychology, history, science, business, and politics, DAVID AND GOLIATH is a beautifully written book about the mighty leverage of the unconventional.

Read more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/malcolm-gladwell/david-and-goliath/9780316204361/#desc.

Elsewhere, Ann Shin, the lovely, award-winning filmmaker and author of the book of poetry Family China (9781926829807 | Brick Books), is on tour. Leah McLaren of The Globe and Mail wrote, "Shin’s book, which she described in a recent interview as a collection of poems about “family, connections and destruction,” is an evocative, impressionistic collection, full of objects, images, scents and sounds from her early childhood on a five-acre farm in Langley, B.C." FamilyFor the book launch book, Ann smashed her family china at the Soho House and invited spectators to smash their own personal objects.  She told The Globe and Mail, "“It’s about breaking out of the confining narrative of our lives.”  Wish we had been there!

That's it for now. Follow us on twitter @MandaGroup and on Facebook for author updates, book trailers, and much more!