Freebie Image Gallery: Happy First Day of Spring

It’s trite but true: a picture is worth a thousand words. In our emoticon-spouting, animated GIF meme-ing, Facebook-loving times, we communicate, more and more, through images. The Freebie Image Gallery features high-resolution images available through Devil’s Artisan, our very own Journal of the Printing Arts. DA’s Dingbats Section offers an ever-expanding selection of free, high-resolution, downloadable dingbats, ornaments and fanciful initials for your printed and online projects.

Today’s freebie image gallery features a lovely collection of spring-themed images. Use them to liven up your print and digital designs, or use them at home–they make great wall art. Keep scrolling to see the selection.

garden whimsey

There’s nothing like a little garden whimsey to get you in the mood for the season.

hare and frogs

The Easter season is coming soon, which means we’ll see more bunnies hopping around the advertising world…

rose bush

Aren’t you looking forward to seeing the lovely flowering bushes in your neighbourhood bloom?

spring chicken

I’m not quite sure where the expression “spring chicken” comes from, but this is a pretty handsome specimen of one, in my opinion.

spring birds in tree

Nothing says spring like birds sitting in a tree and singing their little lungs out. Whether you consider this to be an adorable symphony or an annoying wake-up call is totally up to you.

hot air balloon

And finally, what’s spring without a little adventure. Don’t you think a hot air balloon ride would be thrilling?


PortraitI hope you find lots of interesting and innovative ways to use these images in your designs. These and many more are available at the Devil’s Artisan website. Click on the images above or browse the DA website for print-quality versions.


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 16 Mar 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.



Since I was away at AWP last week, today, you get the top-notch bookish links for the past two weeks, bundled here for your perusal. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Friday,sig

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Out and About with the Quill: AWP 2018 Book Fair

There’s nothing like a book fair to get your literary juices flowing. There are so many interesting books around, not to mention writers and publishers to talk to! So naturally, I felt like I was among my people at this year’s Association of Writers and Writing Programs Book Fair, held March 8-10 in Tampa, Florida. Here are some photographs of the event for you to enjoy, whether you missed the event or were there to see the sights.

palm trees

First of all, the event was in Florida, so I definitely enjoyed escaping the cold to venture into a land of blue skies and palm trees.

Tampa Convention Centre

As you approach the Tampa Convention Centre, you not only get a great view, but also a sense of the excitement that awaits.

Tampa Convention Center

On the first day the book fair, I arrived bright and early at 8:00 a.m. to check in and get set up.

Interior Tampa Convention Center

The convention was a bit of a ghost town first thing in the morning, but the lack of a crowd did give me a chance to peek at the books on display.

PQL table at AWP

I wasted no time in getting our table set up to display our lovely PSL books.

Bookseller's-eye view

A bookseller’s-eye view…

AWP attendees

At 9:00 a.m., attendees started to trickle in for a full day of bookish chatting!


And with that, I put away my camera and enjoyed soaking in the literary atmosphere.

PortraitIt was wonderful to meet all the writers and readers who attended the fair. I was particularly tickled to see people who remembered me from the Detroit Book Fest, and Printer’s Row in Chicago. Here’s hoping we meet again soon!


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Expectations, Reality, and a Few Surprises During the Month of March at PQL

I’ve been thinking about expectations lately, and let me tell you why.

We are all pretty familiar with the expression “in like a lion, out like a lamb” to describe the weather in March. So we expect snow squalls and frigid temperatures at the beginning of the month because we know that a thaw will eventually arrive.

First some context. The other day, it was gorgeous outside. I mean, there was not even the wispiest of clouds in the sky. The sun was shining pleasantly. It was so warm I sat out on the front porch in a light sweater, sipping coffee and drinking in the rays of the sun like a thirsty fern.

The next day it snowed a solid several inches.

Surprised reader.

What. The heck. Just happened?

My expectations for the month of March and the way weather patterns are supposed to work were completely subverted. For a few minutes, I was, it must be said, unaccountably grumpy that my spring-like idyll had ended. But then I noticed the giant chunks of snowflakes drifting down peacefully. It was like a postcard of winter, and it was all the more miraculous for occurring a day after sixty degree weather. (But that’s global warming for you.)

I’ve found that sometimes this subversion of expectations happens when reading, too. You pick up a book thinking the plot will go a certain way, or a character will make a certain decision and then … it doesn’t and they don’t. When that happens to me, I find myself angry for a split second, and sometimes even tempted to give it up as a bad job and close the book. But then I realize that I’m being an arrogant chump—that my way isn’t always (or even often) the best way and that it is both difficult and immensely rewarding to put my trust in an author and to let go and experience an imaginary adventure.

Expectations are all well and good when it comes to books and reading, but surprises are so much more delicious.


What’s happening this month?


As we get closer and closer to the tentative warmth of spring, we’re also getting closer and closer to publishing the first of our Spring 2018 books! Look for the latest addition to our Essential Poets series, The Essential Dorothy Roberts, in the coming weeks.

In Tampa, FL.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Logo

I’m stoked to be attending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Bookfair in sunny Tampa, Florida! If you’re in the area, stop by the Tampa Convention Center to pick up some beautiful PQL books to add to your collection.

On the Air.

John Reibetanz and Jeffery Donaldson will be chatting with Christine Cowley about The Essential John Reibetanz on Hunters Bay Radio’s Storylines. Tune in online or on the airwaves on Saturday March 24 at 8:00 a.m., or Wednesday March 28 at 11:00 p.m., depending on whether you’re an early bird or a night owl.

In Toronto.

The 10th annual Battle of the Bards is going down on Wednesday, March 28 at Harbourfront Centre. The poetry competition will feature live readings by 20 poets, duking it out in verse for a coveted spot at the International Festival of Authors. The lineup will be announced soon, so check their website for details.

In the World.

March 8 is International Women’s Day—celebrate the cultural, economic and political achievements of the women in your life!

Also coming up is Everything You Do Is Right Day on March 15. But … if everything YOU do is right, and everything I do is right, but we both disagree … what happens? That’s some Inception stuff right there.

And March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. The power is in your hands. Be creative. Be merciful. And tell us all about it.


From the porcupette’s corner.

Rising balloon

Sometimes, and not for lack of trying, my product descriptions go over like … well, a lead balloon.

They’re baaaaack. That’s right, March means TIP sheet time! Those glorious little documents detailing our Fall 2018 new releases are all typed up and just about ready to go. I am so excited! Can you believe I get paid to read manuscripts before they’re published? And that I get to think about how to communicate my enthusiasm for said books to all you fine folks. This season, my product descriptions seemed to go over fairly well, which is heartening, because sometimes they really, really don’t. It can take a lot of negotiation to arrive at the final draft. But this time around, it was refreshing to feel like I’m on the same page as our crop of authors—hopefully that bodes well for the new season!

Now, I’ll stop torturing you with vaguely complimentary accounts of so-far secret books. But not to worry—I’ll be letting you in on the secret real soon. Once I’m back from the AWP Bookfair in Tampa, I’ll be tackling the task of putting those new books on the website for your perusal.


PortraitThanks for stopping by to see what’s up with us at the Porcupine’s Quill. If you’re ever curious about what goes on behind the scenes, drop me a line. Maybe you’ll inspire next month’s newsletter!


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 02 Mar 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.



Can you believe it’s already March, Quill fans? Where does the time go? Catch you here next week, same time and place, for another update on the literary lay of the land.


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Pulled from the Pages: Ordinary Paradise

reading on the beach

I couldn’t help myself. The publication of a new book of criticism at PQL is just too exciting not to share. As you all know, I have a well-documented love of good literary criticism. There’s something about the responsibility of passing judgment on another writer’s work that I think brings out critics’ best, most interesting thinking.

Of course, that’s the case with criticism done well. I’m not talking about those book reviews that offer a plot summary and an uncontroversial star rating, but rather those essays that aren’t afraid to write actual criticism. The ones unafraid to write about controversial topics or disagree with popular opinions or pan a literary darling’s latest book. I love criticism that makes me think, that offers compelling reasoning and research. Basically, I love criticism that isn’t afraid to be critical.

This is the type of book that Richard Teleky has written with Ordinary Paradise. The interesting thing about this collection is the way in which Teleky has been able to offer opinions, pass judgements and think through complicated questions without going negative. Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that I do enjoy a good negative review, but there’s something refreshing about an essay that engages critically but respectfully with canonical classics, or considers the import of everything from books about aging to marginalia to traditional perceptions of beauty and heroism. It’s also entertaining to get a sense of some of Teleky’s experience as an editor, working with greats like Margaret Avison and P. K. Page. All in all, the nook has a warm and personal feel that can be quite rare among critical collections nowadays.

After reading the book, I think you’ll find that Teleky’s brand of criticism is a very Canadian one—polite, wide-ranging and never boastful but always academically and analytically rigorous.


About the Book

“While representing the best of human endeavor, works of art have become ordinary features of our lives, familiar and reliably present,” writes Richard Teleky. “They are, however, extraordinary. So extraordinary, in fact, that in themselves they are a kind of paradise.”

In Ordinary Paradise, acclaimed author, critic and editor Richard Teleky considers a variety of artistic forms—from novels and poems to paintings and sculptures to movies and musical compositions—in celebration of the creative achievements that surround us and affect our daily lives. He examines, as well, some of the challenges and tensions in any artist’s life.

The essays in Ordinary Paradise challenge conventional wisdom and exemplify a dynamic and lively critical approach, pointing out troubling trends in contemporary appreciation of art and culture. They reveal the rewarding complexities of the demanding art of translation, the nostalgic power of re-reading in provoking self-assessment, and the fraught connection between language, silence and identity as they relate to marginalized voices. Teleky immerses himself into ideas of truth, beauty and humanity, and in so doing, provides a compelling exemplar for engaging with contemporary culture and learning the innumerable lessons that artistic accomplishments have to teach us.


Pulled from the Pages

From “Glenn Gould and the Mouse”

On a cold wintry Sunday three of us sat around my dining-room table finishing the sandwiches I’d set out for lunch while continuing a lively debate about which of Glenn Gould’s letters would make it into the book we were preparing. For no good reason I still remember the sandwiches: rare roast beef and ham-and-cheese. We’d even played a game that I associate with musicians, identifying each other as a musical key. One of the guests, John Roberts, said that I was definitely B minor.

This working lunch took place back in 1992, not long after I left my job as Managing Editor of Oxford University Press Canada to concentrate on my writing and to return to teaching. But I had agreed to serve as the Press’s editor for a book I’d previously acquired: Glenn Gould’s Selected Letters. The opportunity to work with editors from the Gould Estate was too interesting to pass up because Gould had been a hero of my musical life since I was an undergraduate and bought his extraordinary LP of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. As well, the art deco apartment building where Gould lived for much of his adult life, near Toronto’s Yonge and St. Clair intersection, was only a four-minute walk from my own apartment; in the 1970s I’d actually spotted him twice on the street, heading late at night towards Fran’s, one of a popular chain of restaurants that kept long hours.

The Gould Estate naturally wanted a book of musical substance, which of course suited Oxford, and the editors were chosen accordingly: John P. L. Roberts was then Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Calgary, and a former producer at CBC in Toronto, where he’d been Head of Radio Music; he was also President of the Glenn Gould Foundation and a close friend of Gould himself. His co-editor, Ghyslaine Guertin, was a professor of philosophy at the College Edouard-Montpetit, an associated researcher at the Faculty of Music at the Université de Montréal, and a member of the Glenn Gould Prize jury. I hoped we would see eye to eye. Fortunately the literary agent for the Estate, Lucinda Vardey, was one of Canada’s savviest, and I’d always enjoyed working with her. She saw the potential for a cult of Gould and had even selected the book’s cover photograph, a sexy, James Dean-ish image of the cool young pianist, which Vardey also wanted to turn into a poster. We were all working on behalf of that creature now referred to as “an icon.”

Before our Sunday meeting I’d read photocopies of all the letters (or at least the ones I was shown) and marked my own selection, keeping in mind Otto Friedrich’s biography Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations (1989). A senior writer for Time, and the author of books about Hollywood in the 1940s and Berlin in the 1920s, Friedrich no doubt faced many obstacles in writing about Gould, which perhaps explains why his book is light on personal material. He doesn’t even mention Gould’s affair with Cornelia Foss, wife of the American composer Lucas Foss, though in musical circles it was a matter of common knowledge. The Gould letters I was given were mainly professional notes to colleagues, discussions of upcoming recitals, recordings, and television documentaries, courteous replies to media requests (to name his favorite local restaurant, for example) and the like. Gould the man remained hidden, if not a mystery – a perfectionist who seemed to float above the messier details of ordinary human life. No matter how sexy the cover photograph of the Selected Letters might be, the actual book would please only Gould’s most devoted admirers and other musicians. Careful selection was essential for our book to come alive.

[Continued in “Glenn Gould and the Mouse”]

* * *


PortraitIf this little excerpt has whetted your appetite, well, I’m very glad to hear it! The book will be off the press and available for purchase very soon, so be sure to put Ordinary Paradise on your wish list this month.


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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.