Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shawna Lemay on writing...

Shawna Lemay was recently on the Lemon Hound blog talking about her experience writing ekphrastic poetry. Here is a snippet:

"My approach is in spirals, I walk around in my mind, around the painting. I try to see the supports, the stretcher and the nails, the frame might be important. It might not be. The tooth of the canvas is of particular interest of course.

Ecstatic, elastic, there is often a fragrance that must be absorbed.

I think about the word, ekphrastic. A cough. A quiver, a thrum. A clearing of the throat. I think about tomato soup being poured whole out of a can, adding milk to it. That glory.

I think about ekphrasis as a rhetorical device, how I’m too old for rhetorical devices, and how I’m afraid of heights. And I won’t even get into the competition aspect of the procedure. More than anything else I crave an inner peace and a solitude of the soul. Sometimes what I really want to write about is exhaustion and shyness but this might make matters not worse exactly, but I think it would make me less sympathetic to the spectrum of ineluctable encounters with suburbanites."

Read the entire blog entry at

Friday, February 15, 2013

CM review of Not With a Bang

Canadian Materials February 15, 2013

"Brimming with teenage angst and resentment, Jan is a 17-year-old kid in trouble with the law. Forced to serve community service hours at a senior's centre after pleading guilty to a marijuana possession offense, Jan finds himself paired with a spirited old man, Al. Initially at odds, the two characters become friends. As their relationship develops, Jan adopts Al as a mentor and father figure. Jan begins to envision myriad of possibilities through Al's guidance, expanding his scope into the world around him. 

Readers meet Jan, an only child and product of divorce, living with his mother in Ontario. He has grown distant and disconnected from his mother, from literature, from writing and ideas. His father, remarried, keeps limited and intermittent involvement with Jan. This loss of connection is at the forefront of Jan's mind and is attributed to his careless behaviour. 

From the moment he meets Al, Jan begins to re-evaluate his reckless decisions, falls in love again with books, writing, and a young girl. The driving force of this novel is the relationship between Al and Jan. Old and young. Contentment and struggle. And, at the heart, is a love for literature. 

Gail Sidonie Sobat evokes a sense of teenage angst rife within today's society and so prevalent in the source material: T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Man. This novel is riddled with a variety of classic literature infused in such a playfully innovative format. Sobat's framing device of Jan's bad dreams is a captivating mélange of past and present events. The use of powerful and active verbs, concise and poetic pacing of prose, allows the words do the heavy lifting, keeping the reader engaged."


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alberta Readers' Choice Awards

Since October 31st of 2012, the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award team has been delighted to receive stellar work from Alberta authors published in that year. We are thrilled that Gail Sidonie Sobat's novel, Not With a Bang made the longlist of ten finalists.

2013 Alberta Readers' Choice Long-List can be found at:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

On Canadian Poetries blog

Three of my poems from my upcoming collection, Muse (Tightrope 2013), were featured on Canadian Poetries.

The link:

One of the poems is found below.

Elizabeth Responds to Christina’s Goblin Market

Christina, let me tell you plainly
goblin men don’t hide in dusty alleyways
selling orchard fruits, sun-kissed and forbidden.
They are the men you know and love. Artists
with a lustful curiosity for lower class girls,
their interest beyond the mere play of light
on bare shoulders. They do not offer
plum peaches and rare pears, but gifts
of furs, dresses of magenta silk,
crowns of profuse delicate buds.

They offer beauty and velvet textures never before felt,
paints of swirling sapphires, glittering emeralds
and ambers. What gray-stone girl could say no
to such intense colour?
You think sisterly love saves all, but what do you know,
sitting with your nuns? You, jilted by a false suitor,
thinking yourself above other women, alone
with your god. Reserved and pious, a dried rose
shut in the pages of a book.
Your brother saved me from austerity. Brought me
into his world of colour, taught me the beauty
of pure pigment, the vibrancy of blue.
Now he is leaving. Goes dancing with other women,
brings them to his studio to paint their faces,
adoring him. I no longer inspire him, he no longer
offers me colour. Do you feel
any compassion for me, sister?
You, who reject me as your brother’s wife,
dismiss me as a butcher’s daughter.