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Congrats to the 2016 Foreword Indies Book Awards Finalists!

We are so pleased and proud to announce that five of our beautiful PQL books have been named finalists in the Foreword Indies Book Awards. Every year, Foreword Reviews honours the best in independent publishing, choosing only the most worthy books out of over 2,250 submissions. Winners will be announced in June, but in the mean time, let’s take a moment to congratulate our finalists!

Art

Women’s Studies

Poetry

Graphic Novels & Comics

Essays

 

portraitWe certainly recommend checking out these finalists for yourself. All of these books are available now, in print and digital format, for your reading pleasure!

Enjoy,sig


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 24 Mar 2017

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.

 

 

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Whew! What a week. Who’s with me for some relaxation with a good book this weekend?

Happy Friday,sig


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World Poetry Day: In Praise of Poetry

World Poetry  Day
Poetry just doesn’t get enough love nowadays. With a few exceptions, the form is generally relegated to the university classroom or else delivered in bite-sized, hipster-friendly chunks on Instagram. And if that’s how you get your poetry, well, at least it’s something.

But every once in a while, it’s nice to remember the rich history of this mode of expression, and to appreciate the power that a few carefully chosen words and images, configured in just the right way, can have on the human psyche. Poetry, more than any other form of literature, stimulates both rational and emotional centres of the brain. It engages both sight and sound. To borrow an internet phrase, it hits you right in the feels.

So today, we encourage you to immerse yourself in at least one poem—any poem you like. It could be a nursery rhyme that you recall fondly, a classic filled with poetic devices, or even a humorous haiku you found on the web. There is a poem out there for everyone!

Need a few suggestions to get started? Check out a few of the poems lurking for free on our website. You can read Jay Macpherson’s famous poem “The Boatman” in The Essential Jay Macpherson, or “The Search” from P. K. Page’s Griffin Prize shortlisted Coal and Roses, or delve into the mind of “Elephant Man” John Merrick in “In the Year of Our Lord, 1875” from Words for Elephant Man. (If you like them, be sure to check out more by purchasing the book in print or digital format.)

Here’s a particular favourite, from Shane Neilson’s Complete Physical
 

The Doctor Will See You Now

I parcel out parts of me, fifteen minutes apiece.
I want to ask: were you told you were loved,

are the bills past due and all you can do is fight
with Mike about what was spent on nothing?

Love again. Damn. It’s more important than
your sore throat, than your cough. Your wretch

of a day in malady: I rarely fix, at best palliate,
and much of what is left of me is talk.

You are small, tear-stained, and buffeted, with straight black
hair lately going grey. Let ’s do an advertisement together:

Narrator: Doctor Neilson holds hands, but not too much.
And when I cannot fix, a part of me flecks off.

I give the shard to you, so you can rub it at night for answers,
you can suspend them from the ceiling like a chandelier of rubies,

they make great doormats. But they refract no light, will not
warm your pocket, nor are they brilliantly encyclopaedic.

They are finite, and futility chips away at my clinical edifice.
I wish I could join you in the room full of those shards

like sequins, we could make a scarf of not caring,
of intransigence. I could put together a real doctor,

I’ll call him Dr Quarter-To, and you will see him
with your beautiful scarf.

 
Hope you have a lovely and poetry-filled World Poetry Day!
 
P. S. If you liked Shane Neilson’s poem from Complete Physical, don’t forget to check out his new book (hot off the press!), Dysphoria.

Cheers,


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 17 March 2017

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.

 

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Hope you have a lovely weekend filled with some good reads.

Cheers,sig

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On the Power and Pleasure of Reading Short Stories

For some reason I’ve been craving short stories lately.

It’s really no wonder—I’ve been wrapped up in Alistair McLeod’s Island for the past few weeks. Without the time to sit down and read a novel start to finish, I’ve had to content myself with 20 pages here and there, whenever I have the chance to pick up a book for fun. I thought I’d miss the slow-burn of a novel, but surprisingly, I’ve found myself completely satisfied with the gulps of concentrated beauty afforded by McLeod’s short fiction, and for the moment anyway, I don’t seem to want anything else.

 

The Appeal of the Underdog

It’s something of an unpopular affliction, I think, this desire for short stories. Considering the popularity of blockbuster novels and the occasional oft-touted book series, story collections sometimes seem like the underappreciated red-headed step-child of CanLit. But the heart wants what it wants, and at certain times under certain conditions, mine wants nothing but short fiction.

dog

Gotta love an underdog.

I sometimes wonder why I get the sudden urge to read short stories. It’s not like they’re constantly in the news, winning prizes or being stocked, face out, on booksellers’ shelves. Sure, there’s the occasional award for short stories that makes the news (the ReLit winners were just announced, by the way), but for the most part, it’s YA series that get the most attention on blogs, and the Important Literary Novels that draw attention in newspapers and magazines. Short story collections tend to be the underdogs, the dark horses that occasionally fight their way to prominence.

Who doesn’t like an underdog? My contrarian nature heartily approves.

 

Linked Narrative: An Intellectual Treat

Oh what a tangled web … at least, that’s the way I like my short fiction!

For myself, I think it goes beyond the gratification of my nonconformist leanings. I have a particular fondness for short stories that link together. Paul Glennon’s The Dodecahedron comes to mind—short stories with wildly different styles and characters and themes, but which in some way, however small, reference the other stories in the collection. It’s a brilliant device—like a little treat for careful reading—and I wish I came across it more in my reading. Then there’s the short story cycle, a famous example being Francine Prose’s Mister Monkey, but also Margaret Gracie’s Plastic, coming soon, and even the last section of Barbara Sibbald’s The Museum of Possibilities. These display all the luxury of the novel form, but the flexibility of style and point of view of a short story. It’s like a novel for busy people—something you can pick up and put down without losing your place too much.

 

A Demanding Craft

But what is most appealing to me is the demanding nature of the form. I like the brevity—the way it forces the author to communicate concisely, to plot meticulously, to include only that which is essential. I like the fact that every sentence must have a purpose, that every character must forward the plot, and that every interaction is meaningful and carefully considered. To do all that, to do so with style and wit and an eye to literary device, is to me akin to genius.

So if you’re in a rut of novel reading and looking for some short stories, I humbly suggest acquiring a collection post-haste. It’s time we remembered the technical mastery and stylistic prowess of short story writers!

 

So is it just me? Are there others among us who yearn for a nice, meaty short story collection to sink their teeth into? I’m always open to hearing some good recommendations!

Thanks for visiting,


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 10 Mar 2017

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.

 

 

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Thanks for checking in on this week’s PQ Weekly Roundup. Have a great weekend and don’t let Daylight Saving Time get you down.

Happy Friday,sig


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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.