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PQ Weekly Roundup: 15 Apr 2021

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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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Thanks for stopping by this week’s roundup. If you find yourself cruising for a new book or two, keep in mind that all poetry eBooks in our eStore are 50% off this month with the coupon code NPM2021. Who can say no to that?

Keep well,

Steph


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Big Book Bundle Giveaway: The Collected Works of P.K. Page

Kaleidoscope, Metamorphosis and Brazilian Journal covers

If you’ve followed us here at the Porcupine’s Quill for any length of time, you know that we’ve had the pleasure of publishing a lot of work by iconic Canadian writer and artist P.K. Page—from her poetry to her fiction to her life writing. We’re pleased to round out the Collected Works of P.K. Page project with a brand new edition, Metamorphosis, which presents verses, plays, fables and essays written for and about children.

In celebration, of this new book, and in honour of National Poetry Month, we’re offering one lucky grand prize winner a print copy of each of the six volumes currently in the Collected Works of P.K. Page. That’s around 1,500 pages of Page goodness—and a value of over $150!

And because we’re feeling generous, one runner up will receive the entire set digitally.

The bundle includes:

Want to win? It’s easy!

1. Scroll down to find the entry form below.

2. Log in to the form using email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

3. Earn up to five entries by visiting Facebook and Instagram, tweeting on Twitter or by signing up to our newsletter. (If you’re already a newsletter subscriber, an avid social media follower, or an avid social media avoider, the bonus entry method is for you!)

3. Log out of the form to submit your entry.

The contest for digital copies ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Winners will be chosen by random draw and contacted via email. (Open to residents of the United States and Canada only.)

Book Bundle Giveaway: P.K. Page Six-Book Collection

Now, to use a cliché—but wait, there’s more!

Publishing PK Page chapbook cover

We’re offering a free digital download of our latest chapbook, ‘Publishing PK Page’, which features PQL Publisher Tim Inkster’s reminiscences about his years of producing over a dozen volumes of her work. The download is available free of charge to everyone over at the eStore’s Chapbooks page, no winning required. Be sure to download yours today.

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Best of luck, PQL and P.K. Page fans! We wish you the best of luck in winning this tempting giveaway, and we hope you have a great National Poetry Month.

Cheers,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 09 Apr 2021

PQ Weekly Roundup calendar graphic

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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Happy Friday, Quill friends! We hope you enjoyed your week and experienced minimal upheaval. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, don’t forget to check out P.C. Vandall in the CoRvid Cabaret event as part of the Isle of the Arts festival.

Cheers,

Steph


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A Feast for the Soul, or, April Is National Poetry Month at the Porcupine’s Quill

I consider food to be something of a love language. A home-cooked meal or a care package of freshly baked cookies from a friend or family member never fails to brighten my day. I’m not much of an accomplished cook myself, but I’ve been known to try my hand at a new recipe or two, in instances when I might like to convey my own appreciation. Both preparing and consuming food can be physical pleasures, but sharing it—that just feels good for the soul.

Laughing man holding large platter containing roast meat.

Similarly, physical acts, such as moving pens or eyeballs across paper in the creation or consumption of poetry, are accompanied by a more spiritual or emotional pleasure. A poem might spark a recognition of similarity or provoke a warm feeling of understanding. It might inspire great emption or enlighten the reader about a new experience. It can start a conversation, or add to one. Poetry’s not about telling a reader about emotions, it’s about sharing them.

National Poetry Month is a great opportunity to remember the generosity of poetry. All month long, we’ll be directing your attention to poets who have sought to share their thoughts, feelings and beliefs through verse, and we’ll be offering you a wide variety of ways to enjoy their work.

Ebook Sale Alert

In celebration of National Poetry Month poetry ebooks in the PQL eStore will be 50% off until the end of April!

Apply the coupon code at checkout to receive your discount:

NPM2021

Click here to browse our poetry ebooks now!

(Available in Canada, the USA and the UK.

Keep reading for a list of poetry resources available at the Porcupine’s Quill for your browsing pleasure:

  • Top Poetry Picks—a list of a dozen poetry collections selected by PQL Publisher Tim Inkster as being among the very best published during the press’ history.
  • The Essential Poets Collection—a landing page with everything you ever wanted to know about the series, which features the work of iconic Canadian poets in volume that are beautiful, accessible and affordable.
  • The Unpacking Poetry Teaching Guide—a sample lesson plan to teach the Essential Poets (for example, The Essential Anne Wilkinson) in the classroom.
  • Broadsides—a selection of free, downloadable, high-resolution printables featuring poems by a variety of PQL poets. Use them as décor or as a lovely keepsake.
  • The PQL eStore Poetry Catalogue—the complete listing of poetry ebooks available for download through the PQL eStore for only $4.99. Be sure to take advantage of the coupon code above!

What’s happening this month…

The Essential Elizabeth Brewster

At PQL.

Perhaps fittingly, this month we will be working on publication of a new addition to the Essential Poets series—The Essential Elizabeth Brewster. This twenty-second volume in the series, selected by poet and artist Ingrid Ruthig, shines a spotlight on the questioning, conversational poetry of Elizabeth Brewster, a New Brunswick-born poet who went on to settle in Saskatchewan. Brewster’s work voices a female perspective that has been historically silenced, and approaches themes of selfhood and isolation from outside of the dictates of tradition. It’s a beautiful addition to this must-have series. Pre-order your copy today!

On the Internet.

P.C. Vandall, author of the smart and sassy poetry collection The Blue Moth of Morning, will be participating in the Isle of the Arts Festival’s “CoRvid Cabaret” on Saturday, April 10. Visit the Isle of the Arts Festival website for information on how to register and tune into this Zoom event.

In the World.

April 13 is Scrabble Day, which is the perfect excuse for all us word nerds to brush up on our vocabulary.

April 17 is International Haiku Poetry Day.

Write a little poem
Better make it a good one
Or for shame, writer

And finally, April 27 is Tell a Story Day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or truth, prose or verse—just enjoy the opportunity to spin an entertaining yarn for those around you.

From the porcupette’s corner.

The porcupette has to admit to not being quite herself lately. I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom external pressures are starting to take their toll. I’ve been feeling as if it takes me twice as long to accomplish half as much. Don’t get me started on my normal level of analysis, which always feels just out of reach nowadays. Call it brain fog or stress or what have you; this is all to say that if you, too, are having trouble concentrating, you are not alone!

Man dozing in a church pew.

But despite the fog, I am pleased to say that this month I quite enjoyed a busy day of pitch meetings with Canadian film and television producers, and was pleased to meet with our friends at the Literary Press Group regarding the titles from our upcoming season. And with several grant applications behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to more editorial and marketing pursuits. Bring on the new books … and wish me luck!

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Thanks everyone for checking in to see what PQL has on tap for this National Poetry Month. Check back weekly for deals, giveaways and more!

Cheers,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 02 Apr 2021

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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’ve made it to yet another long weekend! We hope your holiday is pleasant (if virtual) and that you find a little time to enjoy the sunshine–and a good book.

Cheers,

Steph


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Pulled from the Pages: Urban Disturbances

Urban Disturbances

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last year, it’s that there’s a whole spectrum of humanity out there. People doing good things for bad reasons or bad things for good reasons. People helping out. People taking advantage. People strengthening relationships and people leaving them altogether. It is this spectrum of humanity that is evident in Bruce McDougall’s latest short story collection, Urban Disturbances.

The thing about Urban Disturbances is that you won’t like all the characters, but you’ll probably feel like you understand them. That’s the beauty of McDougall’s writing—its overarching empathy, and its keen understanding of the complexities of human nature. The attention to detail and the clever turns of phrase help, too.

Each story is a little literary gem—polished and full of shining facets and unique in character—but for me, the stories are also windows into our society, a society whose divisions and imperfections have become all too clear over the course of our pandemic. And despite what might seem a rather serious stance, the stories as a whole left me with a feeling of hope and humour—a sense that even in the darkest of stories, a little light always finds its way through.

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Read an Excerpt

From “Stalking Jack: A Suburban Fairy Tale”

Jack’s mother was pissed. Jack had lost his job again, the rent on the bungalow was due, and he’d sold the TV set and the VCR to some gorilla he’d met in a bar who showed him how to pull quarters from behind people’s ears and promised to pay him as so on as he got some cash. Jack’s mother told him he should get fifty bucks for the electronics. ‘And I want the money ASAP,’ she said. It was a drag, Jack thought, living with your mother.

Jack went back the next night to the bar and asked Mamood, the bartender, if he knew where the big gorilla lived. Mamood said he didn’t, but he told Jack that the guy would probably show up at the bar in a half hour or so.

By the time the gorilla arrived, Jack had pounded back three Schlitzes, for which he owed Mamood about fifteen bucks. By then, he’d forgotten why he’d come to the bar at all, until the large lad sat down beside him, put a paw around his shoulders and gave him a heartfelt squeeze.

Wriggling free of the big fellow’s embrace. Jack said, ‘I’m here to collect my fifty dollars.’

‘I don’t have no fifty dollars,’ said the galoot, ordering a double Jack Daniel’s and a Tuborg from Mamood, who didn’t mind running a tab for the big guy, because he knew he would get his money sooner or later. Even if he didn’t, Mamood wanted to stay on the gorilla’s good side, especially when he drank. He’d once seen the hulk eat a squirrel, tail-first.

Jack explained that he’d lost his job, run out of money, and his mother wanted to kill him. He said if he didn’t go home with something to show for the day’s assignment, his ass would be grass and he himself would be royally fucked. The big doofus reached into his shirt pocket and showed Jack a handful of beans. ‘ Take these, bud,’ said Man Mountain. ‘ They’re magic.’

That night when Jack went home, his mother met him at the door with her hair in curlers, a Came o Menthol hanging from the corner of her mouth and a rolling pin in her hand. ‘O mother of mine,’ Jack said, ‘you’ll never believe what happened.’

A few minutes later, slouched in a folding plastic lawn chair in the garage to which his mother had banished him, Jack wondered if perhaps he’d overestimated his mother’s capacity for understanding. He didn’t blame her for glaring at him with disgust when he reached into the pocket of his Levi’s, pulled out a handful of beans and scattered them across the kitchen table. It was a stupid thing to do. ‘Pick ’em up and go sleep behind the push mower,’ his mother said. She was waving the rolling pin over her head. Now Jack felt disgusted with himself. As he walked to the side door of the garage, he yanked the beans out of his pocket and hurled them into the yard. Then he sat back down in the lawn chair and went to sleep.

The next morning, Jack found an enormous beanstalk in the yard behind the bungalow. It was really big, by far the biggest beanstalk in the subdivision. So far, though, no one else had noticed it. It was a weekday, and all Jack’s neighbours were going through their morning rituals before they went off to work. Some of them looked out their windows but didn’t see anything because they were hungover or preoccupied with anxiety and stress. Some of them looked out their windows and noticed the beanstalk, but tried to ignore it, because they didn’t want to get involved. One or two of them phoned the police and reported a beanstalk growing out of the yard down the street. The police said they’d get right on it, but a rogue beanstalk didn’t rank high on the priority list of the stalwart men and women who uphold law and order in Jack’s burb.

Having lost his job and with nothing better to do, Jack climbed the beanstalk. He climbed for a long time. It wasn’t difficult because the hairs that grew out the side of the beanstalk were as big as Jack’s arm. It was almost like walking up a circular staircase. He walked up and up and up, around and around and around. He didn’t reach the top until two-thirty the next morning.

The first person he met was a pretty young woman named Rapunzel. It happened like this. Jack had just reached the top of the beanstalk and had crawled under a tree to take a nap in a grove near a tower made of stone, when an old hag came along and called out, ‘Rapunzel, let down your hair.’ From a tiny window at the top of the tower came a cascade of lustrous brunette hair. It reminded Jack of the advertisements for Miss Clairol in his mother’s movie magazines. When the locks landed at the old hag’s feet, up she climbed, hand over hand.

A half hour later, the old hag rappelled down the tower and scurried away like a window washer on a smoke break. Jack thought he’d give it a try. He hollered out Rapunzel’s name and told her to toss the hair back out the window.

When Jack’s half-bald mother fussed with her hair, it didn’t inspire him to great heights. Instead, Jack thought of a cobweb on a bowling ball. But this was a hairdo of a different ilk. Jack understood now why some women seemed so proud of their hair and fussed with it all the time, although a woman’s tresses had never inspired him to climb a building until now. Down it came, and up he shinnied.

When Jack peeked over the windowsill at the top of the tower, Rapunzel seemed disappointed to see him. But he soldiered onward. He smiled, catapulted himself into the room, performed a few magic tricks, filled out Rapunzel’s income-tax forms, installed crown moulding around the ceiling, washed her cashmere leggings with baby shampoo in the sink, vacuumed the Persian carpet, applied new putty to the mullioned window, replaced the hardwood flooring, tested the electrical outlets, re-installed the operating system on her computer, whistled a Bo Diddley tune as he cleaned the sink, nailed a couple of slabs of drywall to the ceiling to insulate the room from the cold weather, stood on his head and sang ‘Chances Are’ like Johnny Mathis, replaced the float in the toilet, then whipped up a four-course meal on Rapunzel’s hot plate.

‘Easy on the salt, Jim,’ said Rapunzel.

‘Jack,’ said Jack. ‘The name is Jack.’

(Continued in Urban Disturbances…)

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Hope you enjoyed this peek inside the pages of Urban Disturbances. Be sure to pick up your copy in print or digital format today.

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.