Monday, December 28, 2009

Cool Typographic Covers

Jonathan Safran Foer always has great covers!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of Eanie Meanie

Review in Resource Links (Dec. 09): "Eanie Meanie Hate Zucchini is an eclectic collection of humorous poems ranging in subjects from animals, such as dogs, owls and narwhals to family life, including camping, garage sales as well as a variety of other topics such as pocket money, bubble gum and nighttime issues. The poems, written in rhyming verse, are accompanied by colorful illustrations created by Charles Checketts. The illustrations complement the humor adding both colour and interest while the script writing fonts projects a casual mood. The poems in this collection offer expressive language and appealing imagery."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Great Book Covers

Some of my favorite 2009 book covers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Revamping Beatrice

After a rejection of my MS by Goose Lane, I decided to revamp tired old Beatrice. The title was changed, the sections loosened to feel more organic, and the poems edited (again). Here are a few newly edited poems that have earlier versions posted:


Doctors visit often.
Insist your mind is too excited.
They warn—imagination a danger.
Confine you to bed.

The curtains are drawn shut.
Shadows creep into empty corners.
You no longer trust the darkness.
Keep one eye open, scanning

the invading night.
The walls are advancing.
You hear them whispering strategies, plotting
the deployment of chairs, the hostile

take-over of the window.
Feel the dresser’s encroachment,
slyly advancing
when you’re not looking.

Shut in,
the walls entomb you.
You toss, try to free yourself,
swaddled in crisp white sheets.

Beata Beatrix
Beata Beatrix, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864-1870.

He chose you as his favorite model,
made you both mistress and student.
For hours you sat motionless,
the feeling in your arms gone dead,
while he drew you thin and pale,
with hands and mouth curled shut
like a bud not yet bloomed.

The illness that kept you weak, withdrawn
into darkened rooms with blinds snapped shut,
did not affect your splendour. The dove
places a poppy in your hands. Your hair,
an ecstatic red.

He told you
you looked most beautiful while sleeping,
painted you languid and heavy-lidded,
as if your eyes had nothing to say
except when mirroring his own.


When you died, he declared
his muse forever lost. As the coffin’s lid
lowered, he tucked a manuscript
between cheek and hair. A dramatic
gesture, befitting the first Dante.

Seven years later, he regretted this impulse.
At his command, a bonfire was lit, your corpse
exhumed — hair rumoured to fill the coffin,
rubescent and coiling.

His manuscript now removed. Each page
disinfected. The stench of alcohol
dissipating as pages flap wet
on a line. Still, his soggy poems

cannot be deciphered.
Ink smudged, as if
by a wet thumb.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review of Calm Things

Richard Cole, in his review of Calm Things, states that “Lemay’s essays will appeal to those who wish to look at the world the way a still-life artist does: delicately and from oblique angles…. The cool temperature in her voice remains curious about everything from cone seashells to teacups and bowls… Despite jostling between objects and emotions, Lemay rarely succumbs to sentimental reverie without purpose; nor does she attempt to make bric-a-brac shimmer with empty words. In a kind of Roethkean or Keatsian sense, Calm Things describes the imaginative power commonplace objects hold. “ — The Malahat Review

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book Launch for Peeps and Ports

In Aislinn Hunter’s A Peepshow with Views of the Interior: Paratexts, Hunter offers a guided tour through the gap between our everyday perception of things and the wonder of things themselves. This book is a call to see the world more attentively — a reminder of the importance of both the real, common, everyday thing and its power to shape and transform not only our lives and imaginations, but also our understanding.

Miranda Pearson’s latest collection of poetry, Harbour, looks at ways humans are driven to construct territory in whatever space is available, however borrowed or makeshift. Moving from
hospitals to museums, the poems explore the tensions between antiquity and modernity, and how we collect and display artifacts. The poems illuminate the human drive to nest, gathering together ideas on how we seek refuge, a sanctuary, a keep. How we harbour.

Chivana Restaurant Lounge
2340 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C.
32 Books will be selling.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Eanie Meanie Hate Zucchini Book Launch

Kids love Eanie Meanie but hate zucchini. A book launch will be held October 17th at 2 pm at the LaSalle Public Library (5940 Malden Road, LaSalle, ON.). Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author Arnot McCallum.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pain-proof Men Book Launch

The title is a literal translation of the Arabic word fakir, which refers to both a Sufi holy man who performs feats of endurance or magic, and a common street beggar who chants the scriptures. In the world of carnivals, a fakir or torture king would go to great lengths to demonstrate his immunity to pain — by, for example, lying on a bed of spikes and then asking an audience member to break a concrete block on his chest with a sledgehammer. The voice that emerges in Pain-proof Men is that of a derelict who sings the names of God during the day, and moonlights at a circus as a human pincushion at night. The various personas in these poems (all manner of tricksters — from scarecrows, clowns, sailors, John Wayne, Clark Gable, to the confessional poet himself) are men in pain. All, however mythic and powerful, have failed at love and work and life, and feel an overwhelming ache. This human hurt, that connects us all, links the many voices in this multifarious, ludic book.

Thursday October 15th, 2009
8 - 10 pm
2539 Agricola St.
Halifax, NS.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shawna Lemay at the Edmonton Lit Fest

October 15th. 7 pm.
Shawna Lemay with The PEN Writers Cabaret.
The Edmonton International Literary Festival.
9535 Jasper Avenue.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Relit Awards

Palimpsest is pleased to announce that Valerie Stetson's poetry collection Living in Gravity was longlisted for the ReLit Award.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

3-Poet Tour

Poetry reading and signing for new works by three Atlantic poets: Christina McRae Next to Nothing (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd), John Wall Barger Pain-Proof Men (Palimpsest Press), Brent MacLaine Athena Becomes a Swallow and Other Voices from The Odyssey (Goose Lane Editions). Books will be available for sale and all are welcome.

WED SEPT 30 Acadia University at 7 pm, KC Irving Centre Auditorium, Acadia University, 32 University Avenue, Wolfville, NS (902) 585-1111.

THURS OCT 1 (Senior Common Room, King's College; King's College Bookstore selling.) 6350 Coburg Road, Halifax – 902-422-1271

SAT OCT 3rd to 4th UNB Poetry Weekend 11:00 am event starts. Fredericton,

New Brunswick.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Northern Lights

Some poems from Diane Tucker’s poetry collection Bright Scarves of Hours are included in a new anthology published in Ireland called Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada.

The editors ask “Canada is known for its wild and diverse physical geography. But do Canadians have a spiritual geography, an identity uniquely shaped by our land, history and people? This first-of-a-kind collection brings together writings from within the Christian heritage to help Canadians explore that question.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Interview with Shawna Lemay

Susan Olding interviewed Shawna Lemay for her blog. Part of the interview is posted here. You can read the entire interview at Http://

Q: What inspired you to write this book? Why did you choose to use the essay form instead of poetry, since you have already written a great deal of ekphrastic poetry?

A: I’m fascinated by all the ways there are to write about art, to approach painting, to translate pictures, what we see, into words. So in many ways this was a natural progression, the move from poetry into prose. I had been reading a lot of travel writing beforehand, and I remember feeling very unsettled and wanting to reconcile this with the circumstances of my life, and also this desire to learn to be alone in my room, to sink into that, to learn how to be present in exactly the place I found myself. A good friend had travelled to Africa and had begun writing some excellent essays (A.S. Woudstra) and I started wondering what would it be like to write travel essays about home. Just looking at things with the fresh and curious eyes of a traveller.

As luck would have it, I had written one essay the summer before I began grad school at the U of A. I had signed up for Greg Hollingshead’s graduate seminar in creative writing fully intending to write short stories. Most of the people did write short stories but he was very open to the essay form, and encouraging. I remember him saying, ‘this is great material.’ The book really started in that class, then – my confidence in the possibility of writing a collection of essays came from that experience.

Q: What, if anything, do you feel distinguishes the personal essay as a genre?

A: I think it’s another possible mode of telling truths. The genre draws on other genres – poetry, fiction, journalism or reportage, and so for me, it’s the openness to these permutations, the possibilities inherent in the form, that distinguish it.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you encountered in completing this book?

A: There is some pressure, when you begin shopping your book around to publishers to revise the entire work, the single essays, into one larger book with a narrative arc. Originally the book had included essays on other subjects besides still life, and though I couldn’t envision the book as a single piece, I could see the sense in narrowing it to only those essays about still life. It was very difficult to excise those essays, but I’m glad I did, because one of them has turned into a much larger piece that I’ve been working on in the several years since.

Q: What was the greatest reward?

A: There have been many! Having written poetry for so long, my writing community is filled with wonderful poets – but the essays have also introduced me to others in the community that I might otherwise not have met.

I had long been interested in the idea of writing a short book, and had read an essay by Kristjana Gunnars on the topic in her book Stranger at the Door which solidified this yearning. There was a time in my life, when my daughter was young, that I sought out short books. Anything else seemed extravagant. So there was some pleasure in having accomplished this small feat without really setting out to do it.

Another reward is hearing so many people say that after they read the book they were inspired to paint or write, or head back to the studio...

Read the whole interview at Http://

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kate Braid Launch

PALIMPSEST PRESS announces the release of a new poetry collection by Kate Braid, Turning Left to the Ladies. The B.C. launch will be hosted by 32 Books at The Joint Woodworking Studio.

In 1977 Kate Braid got her first job in construction as a labourer on a small island off the coast of British Columbia. Never in her wildest dreams did she plan to be a construction worker, much less a carpenter, but she was desperate to stay on the island and had run out of money, along with all the options a woman usually has for work—secretary, waitress, receptionist. Turning Left to the Ladies is an autobiographical account of the fifteen years she worked as a labourer, apprentice and journey carpenter, building houses, high rises and bridges. She was the first female member of the Vancouver local of the Carpenter's Union and the first full-time woman teaching trades at the BC Institute of Technology. Turning Left to the Ladies is a wry, sometimes humorous, sometimes meditative look at one woman’s relationship to her craft, and the people she met along the way.

Kate Braid’s previous books include Covering Rough Ground, which won the Pat Lowther Award, To This Cedar Fountain, nominated for the BC Poetry Book Prize, Inward to the Bones: Georgia O'Keeffe's Journey with Emily Carr, winner of the Vancity Book Prize, and A Well-Mannered Storm: The Glenn Gould Poems. With poet Sandy Shreve she edited In Fine Form: The Canadian Anthology of Form Poetry.

The Joint
Thursday, June 18th at 7 pm
445 West 2nd Ave.
(Ph: 604-980-9032)
To access the parking lot, travel west along 2nd Ave, stay in the right hand lane and you’ll find the entrance just past the building.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Turning Left Cover

Kate Braid's new collection of poetry, Turning Left to the Ladies, will be released later this month. Here is a picture of the cover, which I designed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A puddy tat!

"I tawt I taw a puddy tat! I did, I did taw a puddy tat!"

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fall 2009 Catalogue Cover

If you would like a copy of the fall 09 catalogue, please email me to request a PDF by email or a hard copy by regular mail.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dawn Kresan design services

A couple of years ago I began selling design services to other publishers, self-publishers and small businesses looking for affordable promotional materials. This sideline business has proven worthwhile and I continue to market myself in this way as a means to financially support Palimpsest Press.  If you are interested in a quote, feel free to email me. Packages are available.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Alberta Literary Award Nominations

The Writers Guild of Alberta announced the finalists for the 2009 Alberta Literary Awards. Congratulations to Shawna Lemay for her book Calm Things: essays, nominated for the Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the a Literary Awards Gala on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the Hotel Arts in Calgary (119 – 12 Avenue SW) as part of The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta Limitless Sky Conference.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Alcuin Society

The Alcuin Society has announced the winners of its 27th annual Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The judges selected the winning titles from over 240 entries. No Palimpsest entries were short listed but I was pleased to see pictures of Calm Things and The Navel Gaze on the Alcuin Society website. The behind the scenes judging images can be found here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Bookshelves

Before my daughter was born I had an entire wall of bookshelves built by my husband and I in a main floor spare bedroom. Since our house has only two bedrooms, the extra room (which contains this MDF monstrosity) is now Gillian's bedroom. My extensive book collection, greatly reduced as a prerequisite to domestic harmony, has been relegated to basement dwelling. New bookshelves have finally been built, four years later, but I am happy... very cold in the basement but happy.

A detail from my previous shelves.

My new bookshelves are not as pretty but quite functional.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Book Collecting

I love the look and feel of old books. A few from my own collection include Famous Sisters of Great Men (1905), The British Female Poets (1849), and The Poetical Works of Mrs. Felicia Hemans (1854).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Calm Things reviewed in Prairie Fire

Calm Things was reviewed in Prairie Fire by Susan Olding. Here is a selection:

"In part a consideration of the mysterious life of objects, in part a meditation on the art of still life, in part a love song to her husband, visual artist Robert Lemay, and in part a reflection on the craft of poetry, this is a book in the tradition of Rilke's Letters on Cezanne. A writer looks deeply at paintings, and in the exercise of her deep attention, she learns and teaches as much about the art of writing as she does about the art of painting. It is a book about one art form that guides a reader towards a deeper understanding of all art forms. It is a book that both embodies and instructs us on the need for, and place of, loving attention and receptivity in our over-crowded, jangling lives."

You can read the entire review at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Calm Things Feature

Shawna Lemay’s Calm Things, and the visual art of her husband Robert Lemay, was featured in Edmonton’s art magazine Noteboook (vol 3.8). The magazine devoted six pages to this inspiring couple. Read excerpts from her book and see reproductions of paintings. Visit Notebook at

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Vandercook Press Exhibit

The Kohler Art Library:
The Vandercook Proof Press Celebrates Its 100th Birthday (1909-2009)
March 24 - May 31, 2009

On view are diverse folios from "The Vandercook Book," a limited edition artists' book published by Barbara Henry and Roni Gross to celebrate the centennial of the Vandercook Proof Press. Originally designed for commercial use, the Vandercook Proof Press has developed into a versatile and experimental printmaking medium used by artists. Techniques employed in the folios include pressure printing, sandragraph, lino cut, polymer plate printing, handset type, linoleum cut, die cut and wood cut, among others.

"Rules for Printers" is a linoleum cut by Mare Blocker.

The Kohler Art Library regularly exhibits materials from its collections, such as artist books and illuminated manuscript facsimiles.
Address: 800 University Avenue. Madison, WI. 53706
Phone: (608) 263-2258

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vintage Valentines

I was looking for Valentine cards for my daughter to bring to school — never know what I'll find in my closet — and I came across some vintage 1960's cards I pulled out of a desk I bought at a rummage sale some years ago. I remember using ones like these when I was a child. For nostalgic reasons, I am posting them, and because they are so much fun. There is the love boat theme and romance in space.

And of course, nothing says 'lovin like a boy and his wrench. If the boy didn't have those apple cheeks and Richie Cunningham hair, it would almost seem threatening.