New Star Blogs

Finally, Michael Turner comes back to #TORONTO!


It’s been a while since Michael Turn­er last read in Toron­to. And to make up for it this month, the eclec­tic artist and writer has a slew of events lined up in the city that might nev­er win the Stan­ley Cup, if they can’t man­age it in the next cou­ple of sea­sons.

Turn­er will be doing a talk at OCAD Uni­ver­si­ty dur­ing the day on Mon­day Jan­u­ary 21st, and lat­er that evening, par­tic­i­pat­ing in Frost­bite: A Lit­er­ary Ice­break­er of an Evening, which is also a fundrais­er for Nellie’s Shel­terAnoth­er Sto­ry Book Shop will be on hand to sell books, includ­ing 9x11.

Oth­er Frost­bite read­ers include Erin Moure, author of Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots, and nine oth­er authors. The fol­low­ing evening on Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 22nd, Michael Turn­er will per­form at the Art Bar Read­ing Series, one of Canada’s most cel­e­brat­ed series and a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to get a signed copy of Turner’s new poet­ry book. 

For a quick refresh­er course on the poet’s first poet­ry title in near­ly a quar­ter cen­tu­ry, let’s take a look at some recent reviews.

In her Geor­gia Straight review oF  9x11 and oth­er poems like Bird, Nine, X and Eleven, Shazia Hafiz Ramji writes: “In unpre­ten­tious and straight­for­ward prose, Turn­er guides us into con­fronting the con­fu­sion and cacoph­o­ny of the city, plac­ing facts and speech beside images tuned in to cri­tique,” con­clud­ing apt­ly that “Turner’s frank, hum­ble, and humor­ous voice trans­ports us through the dif­fi­cult present of hous­ing in Van­cou­ver, while con­sid­er­ing the inti­mate work that goes into build­ing rela­tion­ships and the last­ing mag­net­ism of nar­ra­tive and speech.”  

In his review, poet / edi­tor / cura­tor / crit­ic rob mclen­nan wrote: “In short, sharp lyric turns, Turn­er blends the dai­ly mun­dane with the hor­rif­ic, artic­u­lat­ing how eas­i­ly such ter­ror becomes mut­ed, pre­sent­ed and even­tu­al­ly dis­missed, writ­ing out wars in oth­er places, and left far behind, yet with a vio­lence that often per­se­veres; car­ries through, is car­ried, and con­tin­ued.”

Jonathan Ball of the Win­nipeg Free Press calls Michael Turn­er “a nation­al trea­sure”, declar­ing it “bril­liant, strange, dark and even fun­ny,” and filled with “stark ele­gance.”




Homage to Bromige


It might have been one of the most suc­cess­ful author-less book tours ever. David Bromige’s recent­ly con­clud­ed Always Already Posthu­mous World Tour in sup­port of if wants to be the same as is: Essen­tial Poems of David Bromige, with stops in Sebastopol, San Fran­cis­co, Philadel­phia, New York, Wash­ing­ton, and Van­cou­ver, fea­tured dozens of read­ers. But Bromige’s own cameos were lim­it­ed to doc­u­men­tary film footage.

Bromige’s unavoid­able absence (he left the build­ing in 2009) pre­sent­ed the con­di­tions for cov­er per­for­mances — com­mon enough in music, sad­ly less a fea­ture of poet­ry world. Just as with a musi­cal com­po­si­tion you can’t real­ly get to know it until you’ve lis­tened to a few dif­fer­ent inter­pre­ta­tions, you don’t know a poem at all until you’ve had a chance to hear it: and, as with a music, every read­er brings their own under­stand­ing. Four dozen read­ers, rang­ing in age from some­teen to sev­en­ty-some­thing-some­thing, read from Bromige’s work in the course of his book tour.

Steven Lavoie pro­vides an account of the pro­ceed­ings at the Sebastopol Cen­ter for the Arts, which kicked off the tour, as well as the Alley Cat Books event in San Fran­cis­co, over at The New Black Bart Poet­ry Society’s Parole Blog. Sebastopol read­ers includ­ed Gillian Cono­ley, Jon­ah Raskin, Cole Swen­son, and Pat Nolan, who has now pub­lished what might be the first prop­er deep dive into the Bromige col­lec­tion in the newest Poet­ry Flash. Film mak­er (and cov­er por­trait pho­tog­ra­ph­er) James Gar­ra­han’s 2009 doc­u­men­tary about Bromige was also giv­en an air­ing in Sebastopol.

The San Fran­cis­co read­ing at Alley Cat Books a cou­ple of nights lat­er was dis­creet­ly record­ed some­o­ne­orother, and is now re-live­able in all its glo­ri­ous widescreen MP3 splen­dour on the Penn Sound site.  You’ll be hear­ing Nor­ma Cole, Lyn Hejin­ian, Max­ine Cher­noff, Paul DeBar­ros, Jean Day, Nor­man Fis­ch­er, Kath­leen Fras­er, Susan Gevirtz, Bar­ry Gif­ford, Opal Nations, Michael Palmer, Stephen Rat­cliffe, and Kit Robin­son read from Bromige’s work.

The Philadel­phia launch at Kel­ly Writ­ers House fea­tured Charles Bern­stein, Rachel Blau Dup­lessis, Steve Dolph, Ryan Eck­es, Eli Gold­blatt, George Economou, Chris McCreary, Tom Man­del, Jason Mitchell, and Orchid Tier­ney. PennSound is the place to be for that one too.

The Poet­ry Project launch in New York, New York fea­tured Bruce Andrews, Steve Ben­son, Charles Bern­stein, Lee Ann BrownBri­an Car­pen­terAbi­gail Child, Nada Gor­donMichael Got­tlieb, Eri­ca Hunt, A.L. Nielsen, Stan Mir, Nick Piom­bi­no, and James Sher­ry. Was it record­ed? Yes; yes, it was. In two parts, for greater ease of diges­tion; check ‛em out, here, and here.

The if wants to be the same as is-mania may have been what pro­vid­ed the impe­tus for them to fea­ture one of Bromige’s poems on their web­site: “Poem for friends”.

The Wash­ing­ton launch took place at the superfine Bridge St. Books, fea­tured K. Lor­raine Gra­ham, Ryan Walk­er, Buck Downs and Rod Smith, and the evi­dence for that evening can be found here.

The tour wrapped in Van­cou­ver, at the People’s Co-op Book­store, and read­ers includ­ed Fred Wah (who pub­lished Bromige’s first book, The Gath­er­ing), Mered­ith Quar­ter­main, Peter Quar­ter­main, George Bow­er­ing, Clint Burn­ham, Macken­zie Ground, Paul DeBar­ros, Anakana Schofield, and David’s son Chris and grand-daugh­ter Joni. Expe­ri­ence it for your­self; the launch is record­ed on Youtube’s, but also on the Penn Sound site,  where inci­dent­ly you’ll find a trove of Bromige read­ings &c., dat­ing back to the 1960s! There’s a pho­to gallery from the Van­cou­ver event here.

Mudflat Dreaming in the headlines


Jean Walton’s Mud­flat Dream­ing has been get­ting some buzz as of late.

In a recent inter­view on the Com­men­tary with Joseph Plan­ta, the author revealed insight into why she had to tell the sto­ry of these com­mu­ni­ties: “I want­ed to write some­thing that would take me back to that peri­od of the 1970s in the sub­urb of Van­cou­ver (Sur­rey) and when I was doing that I came across these films that were just gems of win­dows into that peri­od of time.”

In addi­tion to describ­ing Mud­flat Dream­ing as “a beau­ti­ful book,” com­mend­ing the author on her abil­i­ty to draw out the emo­tion­al real­ism of that time, Plan­ta praised Wal­ton for “evok­ing nos­tal­gia, even the pain of nos­tal­gia some­times that one feels towards a place that is famil­iar to them.”  Plan­ta described the book in his intro­duc­tion to their chat as “[o]ne of the more fas­ci­nat­ing books out now”.

Have a lis­ten at the entire inter­view here.

The Geor­gia Straight recent­ly pub­lished an excerpt of the book on their web­site which has been gar­ner­ing a lot of atten­tion from those curi­ous at see­ing Van­cou­ver in 1970 as it relates to this country’s ongo­ing hous­ing cri­sis in the present.

And one more nod came with a men­tion in the Talk of the Town sec­tion of the Van­cou­ver Sun about her recent launch. It’s quite impres­sive how long the author had been work­ing on the book pri­or to pub­li­ca­tion and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings Jean and Mud­flat Dream­ing when she returns for more events.

From the Gare centrale to the Pacific Central: Toots on the shortlist for Vancouver and QWF prizes


Cana­di­an pub­lish­ing is not known for its chore­og­ra­phy. How­ev­er, fes­ti­vals and launch­es do often try their best to not step on each other’s toes dur­ing the fren­zy of each sea­son. So Erin Moure’s recent pres­ence in bi-coastal short­lists for region­al awards seems overt­ly quixot­ic. As pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed on these pages, Moure’s 2017 non fic­tion book Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots got a QWF nom­i­na­tion. And we got all excit­ed about that.

Well, fast-for­ward less than a month and it’s hap­pened again. This time, here in British Colum­bia of all places! We feel torn in excite­ment in two direc­tions, and the author her­self couldn’t be more pleased.

Sit­ting Shi­va is the sto­ry of a man with­out pub­lic record, or at least, by today’s “Google Search” stan­dards, a civic phan­tom. Moure, the acclaimed award-win­ning poet and trans­la­tor, a ver­i­fied Can­Lit icon, only slight­ly demys­ti­fies the almost Holy act of cre­at­ing this book in but a week.

The text was cleaned up some, copy­edit­ed, some new­ly remem­bered things were added, and I added the research his­to­ry at the end. It turns out — I should have known but I didn’t till lat­er — that the mem­o­ries of a lit­tle man actu­al­ly hold the his­to­ry of cities, Van­cou­ver and Mon­tre­al, and of peo­ples, and of colo­nial­ism and its gen­er­a­tional trau­mas, and of a class of peo­ple that always got the short end of the stick in every­thing but that still had dreams and loves and joys and per­cep­tions and striv­ings and appre­ci­a­tion for life and respect for oth­ers. I learned so much from that lit­tle man.”

It’s a note­wor­thy occur­rence, we think, for a BC pub­lish­er to have book by a Mon­tre­al author (who lived 11 years in Van­cou­ver from 1974–1985) to get nom­i­nat­ed in both cities of the book’s ori­gin. Moure is appre­cia­tive of the recog­ni­tion. She’s clear­ly proud. To use a worn out word from the cur­rent zeit­geist, the hap­pen­stance of Toots sto­ry becom­ing a full-fledged and now dou­ble-award nom­i­nat­ed book seems almost ran­dom — slight­ly larg­er than a mere writ­ing exer­cise one morn­ing. Moure only slight­ly dwells on the books ori­gin and rather pri­vate ini­tial recep­tion. “Peo­ple who have since read that book say they learn some­thing about why I am the way I am too from that book. They see it. Maybe the book thinks like my brain does.”

The vic­tor will be announced at a pub­lic cer­e­mo­ny at the VPL on Decem­ber 8th. 

Bonus fun. Here is a link which is men­tioned at the end of Moure’s book. The author says Paul looked like Dean Mar­tin on a cer­tain album cov­er. Also, the NFB film Pier­rot à Mon­tréal which the book speaks of, as Paul was most like the guy who puts up the num­bers in the dance con­test.

Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue is a book of sor­row that bears com­par­i­son to the great ones, among them Didion’s The Year of Mag­i­cal Think­ing, White’s Once and Future King, Milton’s “Lyci­das,” and, recent­ly, a slim but not slight vol­ume of poet­ry, City Poems, by foren­sic reporter Joe Fior­i­to, who mourns The Invis­i­ble Ones.” The Mala­hat Review

A brief excerpt:

Before I’d met him and before he’d had a steady job at CN as a wait­er then stew­ard, he’d had unem­ployed peri­ods of bad alcoholism,and he had sto­ries of the pros­ti­tutes and police, and of police mis­treat­ment of the poor and intox­i­cat­ed. Of being in the drunk tank and the police hos­ing them down because one per­son was shout­ing, and the impos­si­bil­i­ty of fight­ing against the force of water, being pushed across the floor by it. Then let out, lat­er, into the icy cold, with wet clothes.

Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots is the sto­ry of a man who had no obit­u­ary and no funer­al and who would have left no trace if it weren’t for the woman he’d called Toots, who took every­thing she remem­bered of him and — for sev­en days — wrote it down.   Erín Moure, a poet who once lived in Van­cou­ver, begins this “work of the imag­i­na­tion” (“minto,” in Gali­cian, means “I’m lying”) with a quote from Judith But­ler about those per­sons who have “come to belong to the ungriev­able,” though there may be some that grieve them.  In record­ing the tale of the lit­tle man, through mem­o­ries and Google search­es, the book gives a glimpse into an entire era of urban Cana­da, from Vancouver’s Down­town East­side and Main Street and Chi­na­town to a long–ago Mon­tre­al between the Great Depres­sion and Expo ’67.

Read a review of this book on rob mclennan’s blog.
Read a review of this book from The Mala­hat Review

Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots
Erin Moure
160 pages, 6×9 inch­es
Price: $21 CAD · $19 USD
ISBN: 9781554201419

The Big Note: ‘Big, beautiful, and smells great!’


It’s been a lit­tle over six months since Charles Ulrich dropped The Big Note on Zappa’s uni­verse last Mother’s Day. With August’s sec­ond print­ing — which like the first tru­ly deserves the epi­thet “big”; more than one tree had to go to make way for this suck­er — dwin­dling faster than the polar ice­caps, it’s high time to study this phe­nom­e­non clos­er, in order to try to bet­ter under­stand its root caus­es.

The first thing that jumps out is that The Big Note sto­ry has been com­plete­ly over­looked by MSM. So far, no Time or Rolling Stone cov­er (or even men­tion! (I guess they don’t have as much room to fit the news they print as they used to). Not once has it lead Reg­is and Kathy, or even Cana­da AM. No half-hour CNN News Spe­cial devot­ed to it. Not just Christo­pher Lehmann-Haupt, or Michiko Kaku­tani: the entire New York Times has main­tained a silence about what might be the biggest Zap­pa news sto­ry in a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry.

Nor have their been any well-attend­ed author sign­ings, whether at the Grand Open­ing of Indigo’s enter­prise flag­ship store in Short Hills, New Jer­sey, the Lab­o­ra­to­ry State; nor at the roll-out of the new-con­cept Barnes & Noble in Ver­non Hills, Illi­nois. The nev­er-planned cross-Cana­da tour was can­celled after a sin­gle show, the sold-out August 24 event at Lanalou’s Restau­rant in Van­cou­ver, BC, where an une­bri­at­ed Charles Ulrich tossed his U47 into the roil­ing crowd and swore that he would nev­er set foot in a tour bus again, unless it was going to Bad Dober­an next sum­mer.

So far the only crack in the main­stream Wall of Silence has been Char­lie Grimes’s review of The Big Note in the Decem­ber issue of Down­beat, down­load­ing into mail­box­es across these great lands of ours this month. And just in case Down­beat’s read­ers miss the point, we also have our own nifty, tough & bitchin’ ad on p. 85 of the same issue (and, for your view­ing plea­sure, repro­duced here as well). S’cool, you know. Down­beat was, like, the dad­dy-o of music mag­a­zines the first time Jann Wen­ner was wear­ing dia­pers.

And, local­ly, the review­er for the local under­ground news­pa­per the Geor­gia Straight has been one of the first, but not the only one, to point to the gen­er­al lessons that FZ’s music holds for all those lucky enough to have been born with prop­er ears. “[W]ill thrill ded­i­cat­ed musi­cians and musi­col­o­gists alike,” their writer Mar­tin Dun­phy con­clud­ed.

But the real work of the mar­ket­ing depart­ment was laid down decades ago, as Charles Ulrich estab­lished him­self as an author­i­ty on all mat­ters relat­ing to Zap­pa and the Moth­ers. It all start­ed out on the old usenet, in a dis­cus­sion forum going by the name of One-time affz denizen Russkiy_To_Youskiy remem­bers it thus­ly:

Well, I didn’t even know he had a book out. Lol… Basi­cal­ly, back in the day of the FZ news­group, there was a lot of just ran­dom info going around. For exam­ple, con­certs, set lists, and bootlegs that nobody knew about. A whole oth­er of guys were in search of info in one par­tic­u­lar aspect, and they were relent­less in pur­su­ing any­thing they could get, and they shared it with every­one. Ulrich start­ed the process of col­lect­ing and col­lat­ing all that info that every­one else was gath­er­ing. Guys like Roman start­ed the FZ lyrics page from the info he got from news­groups, which was essen­tial­ly crowd­sourced info, and then Ulrich incor­po­rat­ed all that info into his stuff. Rob­bert Heed­erik start­ed St. Alphonso’s Pan­cake home­page, and that was anoth­er huge and infor­ma­tive web­site from info gleaned from the news­group. I think, and I’m not sure right now, that St. Alphonso’s is gone, but Ulrich backed every­thing up and includ­ed it in his site. Vladimir Sove­tov’s is still up, and that was anoth­er exten­sion of the news­group to col­late huge amounts of info. Not sure if the­big­note web­page is still up, but that was a real­ly cool site too. A few oth­er peo­ple you can try look­ing up for sites and info are Patrick Neve, Jon Nau­rin, and Johan Wik­berg. Those guys were real­ly the ones who start­ed the FZ news­group, were the stew­ards of it, and a lot of info that we have now is because of those guys. There were quite a few sites in geoc­i­ties and there was a Frank Zap­pa web ring (if you remem­ber web rings), but off the top of my head I can’t real­ly remem­ber any specif­i­cal­ly. Im sure that if I look through my Netscape book­marks I still have them in there… ok, I’m feel­ing pret­ty old talk­ing this shit now… lol… At any rate, most of all that stuff went into plan­et of my dreams site, iirc.

(The “plan­et of my dreams” site that R2Y men­tions is Ulrich’s own web­site, The Plan­et Of My Dreams, which has its own spe­cial 1994 charm.)

A ves­ti­gial affz lingers on as part of the Google Groups empire, and sure enough, the ves­ti­gial lizard brain of the inter­net respond­ed to the stim­u­lus of the appear­ance of their old friend’s long-await­ed book.

Indeed, it is deep­est reach­es of the inter­net that most of the crit­i­cal recep­tion of The Big Note has been tak­ing place. Nowa­days, the biggest on-line FZ dis­cus­sion fori have names like and the demi-offi­cial The Zap­pateers dis­cus­sion thread that greet­ed the announce­ment of Charles’s book is kin­da fun.

One of the more detailed reviews so far is John Corcelli’s over at Crit­ics at Large (co-found­ed and edit­ed by Kevin Cour­ri­er, author of his own quite fat FZ book, who we are sad­dened to learn, left the firm last month). Sez Cor­cel­li, “.. . brings, for me, a renewed appre­ci­a­tion for Zappa’s col­lect­ed works and how to lis­ten to them. .. . suc­ceeds by defin­ing every­thing about the com­pos­er in pre­cise detail, and frankly I wouldn’t have it any oth­er way. The Big Note is a beau­ti­ful­ly ren­dered, 3-dimen­sion­al guide­book for the ages.” But you can read Corcelli’s review for your­self.

Amazon’s page for The Big Note is actu­al­ly pret­ty infor­ma­tive too, once you get past the publisher’s own b.s. Twen­ty-three cus­tomer reviews, not one less than 5 out of 5 stars. They’ve even heard about it over on Goodreads; just two reviews so far, but they’re both 5-star reviews too.

Mean­while, there are lit­tle dis­cus­sion threads pop­ping up all over the inter­nets.  More Red­di­ta­tion: “Most amaz­ing Zap­pa book there ever was!And over on the oth­er­wise-con­tro­ver­sial Steve Hoff­man forums, more respect for Ulrich’s amaz­ing achieve­ment., as well as our favourite com­ment about it so far: “The Big Note is big, beau­ti­ful, and smells great!”

Enough! You’ve con­vinced me!” we hear you cry.  “Where can I get my hands on a copy of The Big Note, before it’s com­plete­ly sold out, and each copy has become a high­ly sought-after rar­i­ty that I will no longer be able to afford?”  Ah, yes, well for­tu­itous­ly there are still a few copies left, and you might find one of them rat­tling around on the shelves of these pur­vey­ors of actu­al-print­ed books: Munro’s in Vic­to­ria, BC; McNal­ly Robin­son Book­sellers on the lone­some prairie; Pulp­fic­tion, the People’s Co-op Book­store, and High Life Records in Van­cou­ver, BC; Type Books in TO; Nov­el Idea in Kingston; that pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned lit­tle ma-and-pa out­fit that start­ed in a garage in Seat­tle; and our own charm­ing, vin­tage web­site.



Gov­er­nor General’s Award-win­ning writer Erin Moure is short­list­ed for the QWF’s pres­ti­gious Mavis Gal­lant Prize for Non-Fic­tion for her book Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots (New Star Books, 2017). The book tells the sto­ry of a man who had no obit­u­ary and no funer­al and who would have left no trace if it weren’t for the woman he’d called Toots, who took every­thing she remem­bered of him and — for sev­en days — wrote it down.  I just knew he didn’t deserve to van­ish,” Moure recent­ly said. In record­ing the tale of the lit­tle man, through mem­o­ries and Google search­es, the book gives a glimpse into an entire era of urban Cana­da, from Vancouver’s Down­town East­side and Main Street and Chi­na­town to a long–ago Mon­tre­al between the Great Depres­sion and Expo ’67.

Erín Moure, a Mon­tre­al poet and trans­la­tor, who once lived in Van­cou­ver, begins this “work of the imag­i­na­tion” (“minto,” in Gali­cian, means “I’m lying”) with a quote from Judith But­ler about those per­sons who have “come to belong to the ungriev­able,” though there may be some that grieve them. Erín Moure’s most recent book of poems is Plan­e­tary Noise: The Poet­ry of Erín Moure, edit­ed and intro­duced by Shan­non Maguire (Wes­leyan Uni­ver­si­ty Press). No one alive now knows who Toots is.

The author of numer­ous books says she worked obses­sive­ly in a short span of time to pro­duce the first draft of Sit­ting Shi­va.  “All I did was write for sev­en days in grief and pan­ic to sal­vage every mem­o­ry I had of the lit­tle man so he would not dis­ap­pear. He lived in but did not par­tic­i­pate in our mar­ket-dri­ven economies and soci­ety of con­sump­tion and accu­mu­la­tion; he just lived in a remark­able atten­tion­al­i­ty to oth­ers and to spaces, and man­aged his dis­ease as best he could. Friend­ship meant some­thing to him, human­i­ty did; he under­stood it.” The author is pleased the work is get­ting recog­nised. “I am sur­prised and glad that it can mean some­thing to oth­ers, who nev­er knew Paul. But who live in the world espe­cial­ly of Van­cou­ver or of Mon­tre­al and who recog­nise the his­to­ries.” As for awards for books, Moure admits to not pay­ing that much atten­tion to short­lists in gen­er­al. “But in the fall I am aware of the awards as their pub­lic­i­ty reach­es me and I do enjoy cel­e­brat­ing the wide range of amaz­ing books that come out of Que­bec each year — so in that sense, I do look for­ward to that joy and pres­ence.”

The short­list comes as a hap­py sur­prise to the Mon­tre­al author who used to call Van­cou­ver home. “I am very hum­bled that it meant enough to a jury of folks who nev­er knew Paul Émile Savard to short­list it for the Mavis Gal­lant Prize in Mon­tre­al, which is one of its cities.” Oth­er final­ists for the award are Robyn May­nard — Polic­ing Black Lives: State Vio­lence in Cana­da from Slav­ery to the Present (Fer­n­wood Pub­lish­ing) Judi Rev­er — In Praise of Blood (Ran­dom House Cana­da). The QWF Awards Gala takes place on Tues­day Novem­ber 20th, 2018 in Mon­tre­al. For tick­et infor­ma­tion, click here.








Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots
Erin Moure
New Star Books (Van­cou­ver)
160 pages
Octo­ber 2017

Erin Moure a finalist for the QWF’s Mavis Gallant award


Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots, poet / trans­la­tor Erin Moure’s first work of cre­ative non-fic­tion, is a final­ist for this year’s Mavis Gal­lant Prize offered by the Que­bec Writ­ers Fed­er­a­tion.

Moure’s book com­mem­o­rates an old friend and for­mer lover, the news of whose death inspires this work of mourn­ing and mem­o­ry.  Mid-cen­tu­ry Mon­tre­al and ear­ly 1980s Van­cou­ver are both pow­er­ful­ly evoked in Sit­ting Shi­va on Minto Avenue, by Toots.

The Mavis Gal­lant Prize for Non-Fic­tion is named after the Mon­tre­al-born, Paris-based short fic­tion writer who died in 2014.  Oth­er final­ists are Robyn May­nard for Polic­ing Black Lives and Judi Rev­er for In Praise of Blood.

The QWF’s announce­ment can be found here.  Win­ners are announced at the QWF’s annu­al gala on Novem­ber 20.  Tick­ets are avail­able here.

Mudflat Dreaming Launches in Vancouver (and Vancouver Island)


In the dog days of sum­mer, the crew at New Star Books began to put togeth­er the first of what we hope are many events in regard to the cel­e­bra­tion of Mud­flat Dream­ing: Water­front Bat­tles and the Squat­ters Who Fought Them in 1970s Van­cou­ver, a book, in many ways, decades in the mak­ing, which tells the sto­ry of two com­mu­ni­ties on Vancouver’s water­front fringes in the 1970s. So, now, as we enter into the busy month of Octo­ber, we are pleased to announce with great excite­ment our part­ner­ship with two fan­tas­tic orga­ni­za­tions who are help­ing launch Jean Walton’s excit­ing new book. The Wild Bird Trust of BC will present Jean Wal­ton in con­ver­sa­tion on Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 13th, from 1–3pm. The event is free and takes place at Cor­ri­g­an Nature House, Maple­wood Flats 2649 Dol­lar­ton High­way, North Van­cou­ver on the Unced­ed Tsleil-Wau­tuth Ter­ri­to­ry.

The event will guar­an­tee a live­ly in dis­cus­sion and gen­er­al vibe, with refresh­ments to enjoy (com­pli­men­ta­ry) and books avail­able for pur­chase. Don’t for­get to get yours signed by the author. The event will begin with remarks by Irwin Ostindie, Pres­i­dent, Wild Bird Trust of BC which oper­ates Maple­wood Flats. An option­al walk to view the Flats and Coast Sal­ish Art­work by Ocean Hyland will also take place fol­low­ing the talk.

For those on Van­cou­ver Island, ear­li­er in the week on Thurs­day, Octo­ber 11th, Courte­nay and Dis­trict Muse­um will be host­ing a lec­ture by Jean Wal­ton on her expe­ri­ence grow­ing up near these com­mu­ni­ties and what went into com­plet­ing her book. The event is $5 for His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety mem­bers, $6 for non-mem­bers (plus GST). The muse­um rec­om­mends pur­chas­ing your tick­ets in advance. Books will be on sale at the muse­um gift shop.


As a teenag­er, Jean Wal­ton lived just up the hill from Bridgeview, but it was only much lat­er that the author learned about the strug­gle embroil­ing her near neigh­bours, as well as its con­nec­tion to the Maple­wood Mud­flat squat­ter com­mu­ni­ty ––– not to men­tion Mal­colm Lowry and Habi­tat 76.   “Orig­i­nal­ly, I just want­ed to write some­thing set in the time and place where I came of age, in the sev­en­ties in the vicin­i­ty of Van­cou­ver- part­ly because I loved the idea of com­bin­ing fam­i­ly vis­its with research for a cre­ative project.”

Jean Wal­ton found her way, cre­ative­ly into these sto­ries is through a few doc­u­men­tary films made at the time about Bridgeview and Maple­wood, as well as Robert Altman’s break­through fea­ture film, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, shot just a few miles up the moun­tain­side from the Maple­wood Mud­flats.

Alexan­der Vasude­van, author of The Autonomous City, calls Mud­flat Dream­ing “a won­der­ful­ly evoca­tive account of the var­ied ways in which an alter­na­tive Van­cou­ver was imag­ined, con­struct­ed and lived by its res­i­dents in the 1970s.”

Mud­flat Dream­ing is the per­fect Christ­mas gift. And no it’s not too late to be think­ing about hol­i­day shop­ping! For more infor­ma­tion on these events, please vis­it us on Face­book and fol­low us on Twit­ter.


author Jean Wal­ton

ReUPDATED: October 12 at the People’s Co-op :: David Bromige if wants to be the same as is Vancouver launch


Hav­ing wend­ed its way through Sebastopol and San Fran­cis­co last month, and Philadel­phia, New York, and Warsh­ing­ton, DC this week, the David Bromige Always-already 2018 Posthu­mous World Tour bus returns to the west coast for its sec­ond leg, and final stop, Fri­day, Octo­ber 12 at the People’s Co-op Book­store in Van­cou­ver.

Bob Perel­man, part of the edi­to­ri­at (with Jack Krick and Ron Sil­li­man) that assem­bled if wants to be the same as is:  Essen­tial Poems of David Bromige, will be at the Van­cou­ver launch.  This will be the first Van­cou­ver vis­it in a looooong time (33 years?) for Perel­man, poet, teacher and crit­ic and known asso­ciate of the noto­ri­ous LCW gang.  He also has an extend­ed cameo in if wants to be the same as is as a Fig­ure addressed off stage.

George Bow­er­ing, who sup­plies an intro­duc­tion to his late (2009) poet­ry pal Bromige’s col­lec­tion, Fred Wah, who pub­lished Bromiges’ first book, Christo­pher Bromige, Peter Quar­ter­main, and Clint Burn­ham are among the con­firmed read­ers &c.

We can now reveal a few more read­ers: Mered­ith Quar­ter­main, Macken­zie Ground, Anakana Schofield, and up from Seat­tle, Paul DeBar­ros.

The launch, which is a free event, gets under­way at 7 PM.


Michael Turner launches 9 x 11 on 9/11 at Massy Books


It’s that time of year when books begin to launch like there’s no tomor­row. So, with that in mind, why not join us at Massy Books on Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 11th at 7pm for the launch of Michael Turner’s new poet­ry col­lec­tion, 9×11 : and oth­er poems like Bird, Nine, x, and Eleven

Dodie Bel­lamy has this to say about Michael’s first poet­ry book in two decades: “Read­ing Michael Turner’s extra­or­di­nary 9x11 I was remind­ed of Christa Wolf’s Acci­dent, how glob­al cri­sis inten­si­fies the dai­ly — except that in Turner’s/our cur­rent state dis­rup­tion has become the new norm. Dis­rup­tion both ter­ri­fies and excites the poet — the stacked monot­o­ny of sky­scrap­ers is bro­ken both by the hor­ror of peo­ple leap­ing out of build­ings and by Mallarme’s thrilling aban­don­ment of ver­ti­cal struc­ture in “Un coup de des jamais n’abolira le hasard” (1897). All the reflec­tions and con­tem­pla­tive rhymes add up to a holo­graph­ic text that begs repeat­ed read­ing. “9 x 11” is a date, a dis­as­ter, and the mea­sure­ments of the poet’s room. For Turn­er archi­tec­ture is a form of poet­ic div­ina­tion, and poet­ry is a form of archi­tec­ture. Liv­ing in a city, com­mu­ni­ty is inevitable — cof­fee house / apart­ment build­ing / poet­ry peers — and despite his cau­tion, Turner’s tense heart proves very big.”

Come on out for some deli­cious snacks, live­ly guests and a great evening of poet­ry and oth­er enjoy­able sur­pris­es. Massy Books is locat­ed at 229 E Geor­gia Street (604–721-4405). Books will be on sale and why not get your signed by the author? Michael Turn­er is the author of books such as Com­pa­ny Town (1991), Hard Core Logo (1993), Kingsway (1995), Amer­i­can Whisky Bar (1997) The Pornographer’s Poem (1999) and 8x10 (2009).

Read this great inter­view Read Local BC did with Michael Turn­er in which the author dis­cuss­es his rela­tion­ship with his work and poet­ry. “I have come to trust poet­ry, but for so long I had a disin­gen­u­ous rela­tion­ship with it.”