PQ Weekly Roundup: 19 Oct 2018

pqroundup2Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.



Thanks for stopping by to see what’s new and noteworthy in the bookish world this week. Hope to see you here next week–same time and place.


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Browse Inside: Jim Westergard’s See What I’m Saying

As a card-carrying book nerd, I have been known to get worked up about the vagaries of the English language. I’m not one of those purists who decry the lack of predictability in grammar—though I do pity the poor souls who have to learn English as a second language. I’m the type of person who finds endless amusement in the foibles and ambiguities in the written and spoken word, so naturally, I have a solid appreciation of books that explore these oddities.

One book that makes a great addition to my collection is Jim Westergard’s See What I’m Saying? Though primarily an art book showcasing the artist’s brilliant wood engraving talents, it is also a fun, amusing look at the idioms of the English language—and how a true artist can put his creative thinking to good use.

I’ve pulled out a few choice text-image pairings so you can get a taste of the delightful work of art for yourself.


Cutt Off the Nose to Spite the Face

Cut off the nose to spite the face

The phrase ‘to cut off the nose to spite the face’ describes a vengeful overreaction in which a person does as much damage to him- or herself as to the object of his or her ire. The expression has a bizarre origin.

In 867 A.D. St Ebba was Mother Superior of a monastery at Coldingham Priory in Scotland. She received word that Vikings had landed and were headed in the direction of the cloister. Ebba was fearful that she and the nuns under her direction might lose their virginity when the raiders arrived. She suggested that they should make themselves less appealing to the Vikings by disfiguring themselves and to do so she cut off her nose and upper lip. When the Vikings arrived they were so revolted by what they saw they burned the building to the ground. But St Ebba’s virginity remained intact.


My Mind Is Made Up

My mind is made up

When there’s a negotiation in progress and someone says their ‘mind is made up’, save your breath. Their brain has gone into lock-down mode and they’ve very likely thrown away the key.

This face was inspired by the faded memory of a brutal grade-nine algebra teacher, many, many decades ago.


Turn a Blind Eye

Turn a blind eye

When someone ‘turns a blind eye’ they are said to be ignoring or denying something they know to be true. The phrase originated with British Lord (then Vice-Admiral) Horatio Nelson during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. His commander signaled with flags from another ship, ordering Nelson to withdraw from the battle. Nelson had lost his right eye and right arm in two different battles years earlier. When he was told of the signal to withdraw he moved his right eye to the eyepiece of the telescope and announced that he couldn’t see the signals. He then gave orders for his ship to continue fighting. The battle ended with a truce between the British and the Danish and Norwegians.

* * *

PortraitI love these little gems. English idioms have such interesting origin stories! Don’t you feel like you learned something? These and many more illuminating illustrations can be found in See What I’m Saying?, available in print and as an ebook. Get your copy today.

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PQ Weekly Roundup: 12 Oct 2018

pqroundup2Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.



That’s it for this week’s roundup. Keep in touch with interesting bookish articles, and don’t forget to enter our Affect Trilogy giveaway!

Have a great weekend,

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Book Bundle Giveaway: Shane Neilson’s “Affect Trilogy”

After celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, I’m feeling very thankful, indeed, to have the support and enthusiasm of so many PQL friends and fans. Seriously. You are all awesome.

Another thing I’m thankful for is to have the great privilege of publishing the work of Shane Neilson, an acclaimed poet and physician who has just recently been honoured with the prestigious SSHRC Talent Award. We are pleased and proud to have published three books of his poetry with us, which he likes to call the “Affect Trilogy”.

Complete Physical, On Shaving Off His Face and Dysphoria each consider what Shane characterizes as a “relational emotional force”, and address challenging issues such as pain, dis/ability and the stigmatization of mental illness.

When asked to speak about the trilogy as a set, Shane pointed to two of the major themes that overarch his work—pain and disability—and points out evidence of his own growth as a writer:

[With] Complete Physical … I tried to write a book about the kinds of emotional work done by doctors and the cost of that emotional work. Included in the manifest were poems about pain, mostly because I consider pain to be a unique medical condition that combines both physical and emotional components as an experience. I was a younger man when I wrote this book, an angrier one…. I had to evolve—bringing me to my second book, On Shaving Off His Face. This text thinks through the iconography of the face in mental illness, and it also contains poems about pain…. One can detect a book-to-book shift from pain-as-anger to pain-as-sadness, meaning I was growing both as a writer, person, and doctor…. In Dysphoria, I wanted to make love the reason that pain exists in the first place because that’s a simple truth that authors much of the history of pain.

An important objective of the affect trilogy was to destigmatize mental illness and persons suffering from mental illness. My first step was to declare my identity as dis/abled person, thereby doing the work of representation that is perhaps the first cultural step to change…. I became more interested in everyone and everything else and trying to fit that everyone and everything into the poems that appear in On Shaving Off His Face…. In [Dysphoria] the final volume of the trilogy, I decided I wanted to not think of the past as it relates to the present but also to write out how disability itself is an author.

If this sounds like the kind of poetry you would like to experience, we’re giving you a chance to do just that! Enter to win below:




Complete Physical, On Shaving Off His Face, Dysphoria


Want to win this awesome prize? It’s easy:

1. log in to the form below using email, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
2. earn up to five entries by visiting us on Facebook or Instagram, tweeting on Twitter or signing up for our newsletter. Don’t forget the bonus entry—if you’re not keen on social media, this option will still allow you to participate!
3. log out of the form to submit your entry

The winner will be contacted by email.


portraitThanks for helping us to congratulate Shane on his award win. We wish you luck in winning this awesome book bundle!


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 5 Oct 2018

pqroundup2Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.



Hi everyone–I missed you last week! Happy to be back today with another PQ Weekly Roundup to feed your bookish, newsy needs. Enjoy these links, and of course, have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Happy Friday!

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Defining Bibliophoria and Other News for October at the Porcupine’s Quill

Costly books.

PSA: Bibliophoria is an insidious disease! Side effects may include obsessive acquisitiveness of books and literary paraphernalia, inability to sleep without finishing just ONE more chapter, and coveting thy neighbour’s books. Seek help for reading habits that require you to remortgage your house and/or sell a kidney.

bibliophoria /bib-lee-oh-FOHR-ee-uh/ noun that feeling of joy or intense excitement derived from reading books and/or experiencing the pleasures of the written word. Common causes include but are not limited to:

1) trading book recommendations with a fellow reader with similar tastes (as I did yesterday on my plane home from Baltimore);

2) discovering that the book recommended by a friend is exactly as good as they said it would be (as I recently discovered reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society);

3) contributing to the camaraderie and general bookish love pumped into the atmosphere by literary festivals large and small (as I experienced this September at the Kerrytown Book Festival, Word on the Street Toronto and the Baltimore Book Fest);

4) witnessing the awe-inspiring history of print through the beautiful machinery that made it possible (as did Tim, Elke and Chantel at the inaugural Howard Iron Works Print Expo and Book Fair); and

5) arriving home after an exhausting month filled of travel to discover that it is the perfect weather to snuggle up with a blanket and a good book (which I fully intend to do this weekend).

[Originated c. Oct. 2018. Attributed (probably) to the book-obsessed mind of Porcupette Steph]


What’s happening this month…


OvertimeSee What I’m Saying?, Jim Westergard’s fabulous collection of wood engravings illustrating the peculiarities of the English language, is finally in print, which means we’re chugging along with our Fall 2018 list. This month, we’ll be focusing our efforts on Overtime, Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen’s look at the interesting everyday people who ply disappearing trades and cultural practices in the Waterloo Region of Ontario. It’s an eye-opening book, really, because it gives us so much insight into the ways that mechanization and “progress” have changed not only the way we build things, but also the way we do business and the way we participate in local social and cultural traditions.

In Toronto.

Richard Teleky, author of Ordinary Paradise, will be in Toronto this month to take part in a “Literary Table” event at the beautiful Arts and Letters Club of Toronto on October 16. Don’t miss this lunchtime event in an inspiring setting!

In Hamilton.

Fluke Print author Jeffery Donaldson will be participating in a panel discussion regarding dis/ability as part of CCENA’s Long Table Series. He will read from his work and talk about the participation of non-neurotypical artists in artistic communities. He will be joined by Ally Fleming, Shane Neilson as well as visual artist Fiona Kinsella and musical guests Dusty Micale and the ArtPop Ensemble. The event takes place on October 18 at the McMaster Centre for Continuing Education.

In Burlington.
A Different Drummer Books

Mark Frutkin will be in Burlington on October 26 to read from his hilarious and thought-provoking novel The Rising Tide. He’ll be joined at A Different Drummer Books by fellow author Gabriella Goliger.

In the world.

October 2 is Name Your Car Day. (My car’s name is Babycakes, just so you know.)

October 6 is World Card Making Day, which actually sounds really fun … and something you should totally do using all of the free vintage images available over at the Devil’s Artisan’s “Dingbats” resource page.

And, as you’ve no doubt guessed due to the beginning of this post, October 16 is Dictionary Day. Fun Fact: Did you know that I used to sit and page through the dictionary for fun. True story. I did that. Major book nerd alert!


From the porcupette’s corner…

Hello everyone! I feel like I’ve been neglecting you Quill fans of late. With so much time spent away from my desk this September, it has been hard to know whether I’m coming or going.


Truth be told, it’s a bit of a relief to get back to the routine and really put my nose to the grindstone when it comes to all those new projects we’ve been busy organizing. What does that mean for you? Well, I’m glad you asked! It means we’ll be revealing our all-new Spring 2019 line-up, so you can get a sense of what is coming up next from your friends here at PQL.

We’ll also be looking ahead to the future and examining at all of the wonderful submissions the writers among you have sent in for consideration. I can already tell there are some exciting manuscripts on my to-read list, and I’m looking forward to finding some talented new authors to add to our roster.


PortraitThanks for clicking over, Quill fans! I hope I’ve given you a little insight into what we’ve been up to as well as what’s coming your way in the next few weeks. Be sure to check back here for updates on our progress.

Cheers, and happy reading,Steph

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.