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PQ Weekly Roundup: 22 Jan 2021

Every 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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If you’ve been hit by a cold snap like this little icicle of a porcupette has, we hope you stay warm, stay in, and as always, stay reading!

Happy Friday!

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 15 Jan 2020

Every 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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Congratulations on making it through another week! Take a break and relax this weekend with a good book or two. (I’m happy to provide suggestions!)

Cheers,

Steph


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Pulled from the Pages: Metamorphosis by P. K. Page

Metamorphosis by P. K. Page

If you’ve been following the Porcupine’s Quill at any point in the last ten year’s you’ve probably noticed one of the projects near and dear to our hearts: The Collected Works of P. K. Page.

Porcupine’s Quill and P. K. Page go way back. We published the first volume of her collected poems, The Hidden Room, in 1997, and have since published fifteen of her collections, ranging from poetry to fiction to children’s literature.

Indeed, her literature for and about children is the focus of the most recent addition to the Collected Works of P. K. Page. This handsome volume, Metamorphosis, includes a delightful blend of poetry, fiction, drama and essays, featuring her signature blend of wordplay, imagination and wisdom.

Keep reading for a peek inside this unique and fascinating work.

Uirapurú

Let me tell you about a
beautiful bird,
an everlasting bird
that lives deep in
the rain forests
of Brazil.

Those who have heard it sing call it ‘Uirapurú’ because that is the sound of its song:

‘Oor a poor oo’ ‘Oora poor ooooo.’

There were some who thought it sang, ‘You’re a poor you.’ Others thought it sang, ‘You’re a pure you.’ Still others thought that it was just singing. Many people went in search of it. Some never returned. Those who did, told of its beautiful song sung in the black of the night—a song they would never forget.

‘Oora poor oooo.’

One day a group of boys decided to catch the bird. They had nets and bows and arrows and they wanted the bird alive or dead. For many days and many nights they travelled into the rain forest. Then one night they heard a sound so sweet they thought it could only be the song of the Uirapurú. They drew closer and closer to the source of the music but instead of a bird they saw an old, old man sitting at the foot of a tree and playing a flute.

‘What are you doing?’ the boys asked.

‘I am trying to play the song of the Uirapurú,’ the old man said.

‘If you play the notes, will the bird come?’ the boys asked, for they could see that in this way the old man might help them.

‘Sadly, no,’ the old man said. ‘For I would have to play the song perfectly and that I cannot do. The Uirapurú will come only for another Uirapurú and it is said that there is only one left in all the world. And if his song dies, the world, as we know it, will end. So I listen and listen and try to copy it exactly.’

The boys were angry with the old man and drove him away. But they were excited by the idea that there was only one Uirapurú in all the world and they were even more eager to catch it. The forest seemed quiet and lonely with the old man gone and very dark indeed and soon the boys fell asleep—half-listening, even as they slept, for the song of the Uirapurú. What wakened them instead were astonishing sounds—clicks and buzzes and squeaks and hoots.

[Continued in Metamorphosis…]

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I hope you enjoyed this peek inside the pages of Metamorphosis. If you know a child who would appreciate this book–or you, yourself, are young at heart, be sure to order your copy from your favourite indie bookseller, or buy online through our Distributor, UTP.

Enjoy,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 08 Jan 2021

Every 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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We survived the first full week of 2021! (Barely?) Hope our bookish updates are keeping you entertained and optimistic.

Happy Friday,

Steph


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Rays of Literary Sunshine and Other News for January at the Porcupine’s Quill

Normally at the cusp of a new year, it’s a no-brainer to rhapsodize over the past year and all of its various accomplishments. The fun launch parties and event photos and such are trotted out like a pat on the back and a fond remembrance of times past.

This year, it feels like an accomplishment to have simply survived.

Indeed, we’re faced with an unrelenting pandemic of negativity (alongside, you know, an actual pandemic), in which one has only to gesture vaguely to encompass … the world … as justification for the immediate and inevitable classification of 2020 as a dumpster fire.

Sun on the horizon
Is this sun rising or is it setting? It’s a glass half full kind of thing, so let’s look on the bright side! (Get it? Nudge nudge.)

But not so, your porcupette!

Now, I’m not exactly a ray of sunshine, even in the best of times, but that said, there were a few glimmers of brightness in 2020. Did we manage to produce each and every book scheduled for publication this year? Well, no, but we did come out with some very fine books of which we are, I think, justifiably proud. Some books, like Casting into Mystery and The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, sadly sustained a whole slate of cancelled promotional events just as the first lockdown hit, but efforts to sell copies live on, with some degree of success. Fair, The Blue Moth of Morning, and Seeking Shade all came out in the strange summer lull, in which we were all scrambling to discover what exactly technology could do for us in our new era of social distancing. The Essential Derk Wynand and Affect emerged during the massive fall season that saw an unprecedented number of books vie for attention, but still found homes in the hands of avid readers and indie book lovers.

Personally, I’ve experienced a renewed appreciation for my work, not simply because I was already used to the work-from-home reality that was suddenly thrust upon so many (who had to quickly scramble to set up a home office and learn to self-motivate amid many distractions), but also because I still had a job when a large proportion of workers suddenly found themselves laid off or furloughed or let go entirely. Whenever I feel the smallest of inkling to complain about the state of the world, I remember how privileged I really am.

And I also like to think that 2020 gave me the chance to grow as a reader, too. Thanks to the importance of staying home, I read more books in 2020 than in any other year of my life. I was able to broaden my horizons, trying new genres and authors that I would never have tried before. I’ve rediscovered my love of the local library, which operated tirelessly during the pandemic, and even came up with innovative programs to serve the community, such as setting up a system for calling and chatting with isolated patrons. And I’ve definitely learned to appreciate even more the pleasure of browsing bookstores, because even though I’m not currently able to browse the shelves, you can bet I’m looking forward to doing so when it’s safe again. (You can bet your boots I have a list of books to buy, too.)

Though I’m not one for resolutions, this year, I want to make a concerted effort to look on the bright side, to thank my lucky stars, to see the glass as half full, to look for that silver lining. For my own sanity, I need to embrace all those clichés about optimism and really look for that light at the end of the tunnel … even if it is an oncoming train!

Victorian train
Actually, this oncoming train looks quite dashing. I might be okay with a train like this.

What’s happening this month…

At PQL.

Metamorphosis: Selected Children's Literature by P. K. Page


The name of the game this month is “catch up”! We’ll all be putting in lots of effort to put out some of the publications that have been delayed over the last year. That will include binding Metamorphosis, a charming collection of the children’s literature of P. K. Page, including a selection of poetry, plays, short stories, and even drawings by little P. K. when she was a child. It will be a lovely volume perfect for any fan of her work, or for the young—or young at heart! First copies are just rolling out of the bindery, so be sure to snag your copy ASAP. And be sure to check out other volumes in the Collected Works of P. K. Page series.


In the world.

Did you know that January 4 is Trivia Day? Pester Regale your friends with fun factoids all day to increase their edification. I’m sure they’ll thank you.

January 10th is Peculiar People Day. But if you are, yourself, a peculiar person, does that make every day Peculiar People Day? Asking for a friend.

And finally, January 18 is Thesaurus Day. Confession: I once got an Oxford thesaurus for my birthday. Acknowledgement: I loved it. Disclosure: I might have shed a few joyful tears.

From the Porcupette’s corner…

small man with huge pen atop large notebook
I feel a great kinship with this little man whose to-do list is bigger than he is.

Is it just me, or did time off seem a little pointless this holiday? I will admit to having fired up the old computer and getting some work done in that weird week between Christmas and New Year’s, and you know what, I’m not ashamed. I took it easy, made sure I had breaks and snacks and time to socialize on the phone and such, but given that I’m truly terrible at being completely idle, I’m pretty pleased with how my working holiday turned out. And let’s face it—I’m pretty relieved to be able to knock something off the to-do list!

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And how about you all? Hope you enjoyed your quieter-than-normal holidays, and that you stayed safe and healthy.

Cheers,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 24 Dec 2020

Every 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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This roundup might be a day early, but it’s just as full of bookish links as always. Hope you enjoyed, and have a wonderful holiday!

Cheers,

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.