Sunlight, Fresh Air, and the Smell of Ink and Paper … and Other News for May at the Porcupine’s Quill

It is official. It has happened. Not to jinx it, but … I have consumed both literature and coffee on the patio today and I am optimistic that the spring sunshine is here to stay.

I can’t oversell the effects of a bright sunny day on the reading experience. The fresh air, the gentle breeze, the sunlight dancing across the printed page…. Granted, the nature of said reading experience requires a good old paper book or at least an e-ink display and not a tablet. This may or may not suit your fancy.

Sunny courtyard.

Oh Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun, please shine down on meeeee (while I read on the patio, please).

I’m not just whimsically expressing my preference for the spring weather here. Reading outside is a great idea, and you don’t just have to take my word for it. Research has shown that stale air in your home or office can lead not only to health problems, but also affect your cognitive function. So actually, the fresh air outside might help you read better.

But let’s not stop there. Many researchers have noted that sunlight is an excellent mood booster. Furthermore, it, along with sunlight-derived vitamin D, has been proven to protect us from cognitive impairment. Do we even need to go into the effects of plants and nature on our mental function and well being? Put it all together and you have the makings of a productive reading session in which your brain is at peak performance to understand and enjoy all of the intellectual stimulation you are feeding it.

The science is clear, ladies and gents. I encourage you to brew up some coffee or tea, drag out the patio furniture, and settle in with a book. Your mind will thank you.


What’s happening this month…


Printing, printing, printing! That’s right, May will be chock-a-block full of printing two rather large additions to our spring list: Jan in 35 Pieces by Ian Hampton and The Rising Tide by Mark Frutkin. We need to have both printed, folded, bound, trimmed and ready for some spectacular launch events in June. Stay tuned!

In Toronto.

Quill friend Tony Calzetta will be showing some new artwork at yumart this month. If you loved Fabulous Fictions and Peculiar Practices, you won’t want to miss his show, “Sophisticated Scribbles and Stories, Grim and Grin. Check them out May 5-26.

In Guelph.

Shane Neilson will be at The Bookshelf in Guelph to read from his book of poetry, Dysphoria. He’ll be joining fellow writers Ronna Bloom (The More) and Sarah Tolmie (The Art of Dying). Don’t miss what promises to be a brilliant event.



Book Expo logo

This porcupette is off to the Big Apple! Book Expo is one of the ultimate book events of the year. Packed with informative panel discussions, interesting presentations and a wide variety of exhibitors, it has a little something for publishing folks everywhere. If you’re going to be wandering the conference and would like to have a chat, get in touch! I’d love to meet up.

In the World.

May 2 is International Scurvy Awareness Day. Were you aware? Now you are.

May 16 is Biographers’ Day. I love a good biography as much as the next girl, so this should be a breeze to celebrate. I’ve been meaning to get to that book on Queen Elizabeth… (P.S. The history of Biographers’ Day is kind of cool. Check it out here.)

Image of Elizabeth and court.

I once took a course entirely about Elizabethan pageantry. Hey, it was grad school. Don’t judge me.

Finally, May 31 is Speak in Complete Sentences Day. In an era dominated by slang, emojis, and the dreaded, single-character text “k”, we need a day to remind ourselves of the power of human language when expressed grammatically and completely.


From the porcupette’s corner

It’s funny how making website changes can take you down a rabbit hole in which time and space lose all meaning. Looking back on this month’s work, I’m noticing just how much time it takes to develop interesting web content. (It’s for a project we’re not quite ready to show yet, so hold your horses!) I’m also noticing how quickly time flies when you’re tackling said content. I had a blast building pages and modifying images and figuring out just how to present information in a way that is digestible, interesting and useful.

Artist sitting at writing desk and looking out window.

Me, trying to design a poster that doesn’t completely suck. It takes many drafts and much staring about hoping for inspiration to strike. That’s my process. Again, don’t judge me.

I also had fun starting to prepare for the upcoming book launches on their way in June. Designing posters and invitations and other such materials allowed me to indulge my creative side and (slowly, gradually) teach myself a bit more about design.

All in all, a month of time-consuming but fun and rewarding projects. Be honest—aren’t you jealous?


Thank you very much for stopping by for my continued rambles. Also, here’s a PSA for you: don’t forget to enter our “Myth and Memory” book bundle giveaway before May 2nd!


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 27 Apr 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 checking in with the PQ Weekly Roundup. Don’t forget to come see us tomorrow, April 28th at the Grimsby Wayzgoose. We’d love to say hi and hear what you’re up to!

Happy Friday,sig

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Book Bundle Giveaway: Myth and Memory

We’ll be sad to see National Poetry Month end next week, but we’re determined to send this fun yearly promotion out with a bang. We’ll keep sharing our #PQLPoemADay on Facebook and Twitter, but we’ll also be offering one more beautiful book bundle for a lucky Quill fan.

We are proud to say that we’ve just recently published Jeffery Donaldson’s remarkable collection of poems, Fluke Print. You might recall we published Jeffery’s collection Slack Action a few years ago, so we were especially pleased to keep the relationship going, so to speak, with this latest offering.

I have a particular weakness for books about reading, writing, and books in general, so it should come as no surprise that this collection, which talks about creativity and meaning and knowledge and meaning (among other topics) has quickly become a favourite. Fluke Print even works in a printing analogy, for which it gets major bonus points in my book! But aside from my own biased preference, I think you will find that Fluke Print is intelligent, emotional, and nostalgic while also tackling Big Questions. What more could you ask for?

If this sounds like something you might enjoy, you’ll love this giveaway. We not only have a copy of Fluke Print up for grabs, but also copies of two other poetry collections focused on themes of myth and memory.




Fluke Print, The Gamekeeper, A Serious Call


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 six entries by visiting us Facebook or Instagram, tweeting on Twitter, browsing our Essential Poets page or signing up for our newsletter. Don’t forget the bonus entry—complete at least one action (visiting our Instagram page, for example) to unlock!
3. log out of the form to submit your entry

The winner will be contacted by email next week.


portraitThanks for helping us celebrate yet another National Poetry Month. We wish you luck in winning this awesome book bundle!


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 20 Apr 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 PQ Weekly Roundup. Come back next week for more excellent bookish links!


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PQL Author of the Month: Margaret Avison

We’re trying something new here at the Porcupine’s Quill. We’ve published so many fantastic authors over the years, but the reality of book publishing is that we so often focus on brand new titles that the older ones necessarily fall by the wayside. In keeping, we’ll be honouring some of our backlist authors with our PQL Author of the Month blog series.

Today, we’re kicking off the series with a fitting honouree for National Poetry Month—Margaret Avison, whose centenary we will be celebrating on April 19 with the St. Thomas Poetry Series.


Margaret Avison was one of Canada’s most respected poets. She was born in Galt, Ontario, lived in Western Canada as a child, and then moved to Toronto. She had productive career that stretched back to the 1940s, during which she produced seven books of poems, including her first collection, Winter Sun (1960), which she assembled in Chicago while she was there on a Guggenheim Fellowship, and which won the Governor General’s Award. No Time (Lancelot Press), a work that focussed on her interest in spiritual discovery and moral and religious values, also won the Governor General’s Award for 1990. Avison’s published poetry up to 2002 was gathered into Always Now: the Collected Poems (Porcupine’s Quill, 2003), including Concrete and Wild Carrot which won the 2003 Griffin Prize. Her most recent book, Listening, Last Poems, was published in 2009 by McClelland & Stewart.

Margaret Avison was the recipient of many awards including the Order of Canada and three honorary doctorates.

‘Margaret Avison is a national treasure. For many decades she has forged a way to write, against the grain, some of the most humane, sweet and profound poetry of our time.’

—Griffin Prize Judges’ Citation

You can browse her work in the following six volumes published by the Porcupine’s Quill:


Read an Excerpt:

Why are we so
often not
any different? Oh there are
changes nobody tried to
make happen but on a
workaday level, never from
silence’s special
place where it’s as if
periwinkle faces play at
being zenith:

up, up so
mirror-silent the
glassy dimness shows the
one far flower, here, or
almost blindingly
aloft, as well.

(From The Essential Margaret Avison)

Find Out More About Margaret Avison on the Web


Don’t Forget!

The St Thomas Poetry Series

Join PQL and the St. Thomas Poetry Series in celebrating the centenary of Margaret Avison. The beloved poet would have been 100 years old on April 23. Join us for readings, reminiscences, and music!

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Parish Hall, St. Thomas’s Church, 382 Huron St., Toronto, Ontario

Looking forward to seeing you there!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this very first PQL Author of the Month post. If you would like to see a particular author featured, or if you have some ideas as to what sorts of information you’d like to see in these posts, drop me a line at



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PQ Weekly Roundup: 2018 Apr 13

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 to everyone who has reached out to chat this week! We hope you enjoy these bookish links, and of course, we wish you a wonderful weekend.


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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.