Thursday, October 27, 2011

A review of Gunmetal Blue: A Memoir

A dream review of Shane Neilson's Gunmetal Blue: A Memoir.

Below is a snippet. Read the whole review at

"Perhaps the best way to describe what Gunmetal Blue is, is to describe for you what it is not. Poet, critic and family physician Shane Neilson has not written a pat memoir making pat connections between medicine and literature. Nor has he written a densely academic treatise about the role poetry plays in healing. He hasn’t written a sensationalized tell-all about his patients and how their suffering informs his poems. He hasn’t written a feel-good story about a depressed young man who overcomes adversity.

What he has written is a raw-boned, devastating, unflinching, uncomfortable and fiercely honest portrait of his life as a doctor and a poet. Neilson describes these duo careers (it’s unfair to call them hybrid careers, since he works so hard at them both) without a hint of sentimentality or pretension. Medicine is a matter of life and death, but for Neilson, so too is poetry. He weaves its importance into the very fabric of his life, treating it not as a pleasant adjunct to his existence but as a core component of it. Gunmetal Blue is about a man finding his voice both as a physician and as a scribe. It is cold-eyed and elliptical. This is a memoir as memoir should be..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Haunting of Amos Manor Halloween Events

Halloween-themed book launch with musical accompaniment
Children are encouraged to come in their Halloween costumes
Thursday October 27th @ 7:30pm
The Crossings Branch Library
255 Britannia Blvd. West, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Halloween Eve Story hour with Halloween treats and costume prizes
Sunday October 30th @ 2pm
Janice MacDonald will be reading from Ghouls Night Out
Richard Stevenson is readings from The Haunting of Amos Manor
Audrey’s Books. 10702 Jasper Ave. Edmonton, Alberta.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reprint: An Interview with John Barger

John Wall Barger’s second book, Hummingbird, is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press for Spring, 2012. He divides his year between Halifax, Nova Scotia and Tampere, Finland.

Dylan Riley: The first things that jump out from your bio are the divergent locations – but maybe that’s two questions.

First, what’s Finland like? What brought, or continues to bring you, there?

John Barger: I fell in love with a Finnish woman! This summer we lived together in Tampere, in the south, for four months. The whole country is eerie and gorgeous. So much dark. So much light. We visited a birch forest in Lapland, in the Arctic Circle, with five others in a cabin beside a frozen lake. It took two days to heat it. We chopped a hole in the lake for water, cut wood, had saunas at night. One night there were northern lights that looked like green flamenco fingers. The eternals (Vainamoinen, the eternal singer) and demons (Hiisi, the goblin who drowns children in lakes) you read about seem very close up there.

DR: I’m from the Maritimes myself, and I noticed a bit of a pattern. Young people seem to move from an obscure, small, Maritime city to Halifax, then from Halifax on to Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver. How do you feel about this, and do you plan on living permanently in Halifax?

JB: I did that: moved to Vancouver at twenty. I love Halifax, but I’ve always felt separate from it. I’m envious of “regional” writers like Faulkner or Margaret Laurence, who can write about a community and have it stand for the world. I don’t feel like I’m from anywhere. My first book, Pain-proof Men, mostly takes place in Halifax, but my next book, Hummingbird, does not have a single poem set there.

DR: But do you feel regionalism can be a trap sometimes, that in a way you better of as a writer without it?

JB: Maybe it’s a case of the grass always being greener – because I lack it, I want it. But I love [Charles] Olson’s Maximus poems, and his connection with Gloucester, Massachusetts. It seems like knowing where you are from is a beginning point, rather than an end. Like, once you have place, then you can jump off into the cosmos. I know most of the world lacks this sense of place these days – I’m not unique for this.

Read the rest of the interview at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review of The Haunting of Amos Manor

CM Magazine highly recommends our new Magpie Books juvenile fiction The Haunting of Amos Manor by Richard Stevenson. 
"The Haunting of Amos Manor is a wonderful mystery filled with suspense and foreshadowing. Through Mark's detective skills, readers will be intrigued in finding out the buried secrets of Amos Manor. As they follow Mark in uncovering the mystery, readers will also feel the tension and nervousness the characters feel."
3 1/2 stars out of 4!
Read the entire review here:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Too Obvious?

I know marketers use sex to sell but in this case it is so obvious I find it funnier than anything else.

Hungry? Well, for the women, BK promises at least 7 inches. And for men, they not so subtly hint that it is better than a blow job!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reprint: Eat Your Cake and Read it Too

"Cakes were in abundance at Willistead Manor yesterday as Windsor’s Pediatric READ program hosted it’s charity event 'Have Your Cake and Read It Too!'. The event was a charity auction of over thirty cakes made by local businesses, bakeries, and schools. All of the cakes were literacy themed, having been based off of a book or story, and were sold through silent auction..."

See more cakes and read the rest of the article at the link below:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Carapace Book Launch

October 15th, 2011. 7pm.
A Different Drummer 
with Shane Neilson
and Robyn Levy
513 Locust Street.
Burlington, ON.

--> The poems in Carapace explore the tensions between life and death as they battle for equal play in the natural world. As in her last two collections of poetry, The First Day of Winter and Fault Line, Lush returns to the themes of loss, death, birth, and rebirth, but with a more unforgiving eye and savage vision, exploring the dualities and ironies of experiencing these states simultaneously. At times, these poems are told through the eyes of a new mother as she attempts to balance the complex and often-times conflicting emotions that accompany motherhood: joy, anger, uncertainty, awe and fear. At other times, they are told through the eyes of a bereft narrator as she comes to grip with death and loss. Driving these poems is an often random and unexplained energy that arises from nature, the life force that underpins the natural world as it gives way to both regeneration and degeneration, and the surrendering to these forces as the narrator tries to arrive at some sort of understanding. The results are short lyric-narratives written in a highly imagistic mode.
“Lush’s ability to articulate by not saying gives her work a spiritual depth, an insight into the winters of the soul.”
— Books in Canada

“Adept at developing fresh images and metaphors that do what the best kind of writing should, Lush makes us take a second look at the world, makes us feel as if we are seeing things for the first time.”
— The Malahat Review

“Laura Lush…excels in flash fusion, the implosion of disparate materials into sudden metaphoric unities.”
— Essays on Canadian Writing