Ruthless Machinations of an Herbicidal Porcupette, or, News for November at PQL

It’s time I confess to the evil campaign I’ve been plotting. My machinations involving a sharp blade and no small amount of calculated ruthlessness can no longer remain hidden. This weekend, I plan to commit … herbicide.

The winter season has, for weeks, been knocking its frigid knuckles on the door, and I can ignore the unwelcome caller no longer. The hostas in front of the porch look woefully bedraggled and must be pruned to oblivion and put out of their misery until next spring. The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees, causing a right mess of small, wet leaves in the back and no small number of dessert plate-sized monsters in the front. I’ve got a hot date with a rake, which is kind of depressing, it must be said.

secluded nest and shrub in field

Sorry to the little leafy clumps clinging to life by the front porch. Your days are numbered.

These horticultural preparations are not among my favourite aspects of homeownership. I’ve never had much of a green thumb, as evidenced by the poor little aloe plant I almost drowned—metaphorically with love, and literally with water—before our fearless leader, PQL Publisher Tim, swooped in and rescued it from my tender attentions. He also (recklessly, it must be said) entrusted me with the gift of two lovely house plants to spruce the place up—a beautiful blooming peace lily and a rather pedigreed dracaena (long story)—which came with strict instructions, nutrient sticks, and idiot-proof planters that even I (hopefully) can’t mess up.

With all this seasonal yard work in mind, it’s little wonder that I’ve been thinking of all the lovely books with floral themes that remind us of the natural world over the winter months. A reader seeking some botanical bounty might pluck from the stacks Gerard Brender à Brandis’s A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare. The poetic minded among us might seek out the late Joe Rosenblatt’s The Bird in the Stillness. A wild Canadian lanscape plays an important role in particular in one of the stories in Daniel Bryant’s Rerouted. For sheer visual appeal, one might pick a bouquet of poetry, indulging in any one of over a dozen of volumes from our Essential Poets series (including the latest, The Essential Kay Smith, selected by Michael Oliver), whose charming covers each feature a flower from Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s Les liliacées.

I, for one, am pleased to have a few undemanding blooms in the house, in the form of these botanically inclined books. At least I don’t have to plot their inevitable demise via garden sheer.


What’s happening this month…


The Hunting of the Snark

Lots of balls in the air at this time of year. Tim is currently printing George A. Walker’s The Hunting of the Snark, which should be in print fairly soon, while Elke finishes the checks on Robert Reid and Wesley Bates’s Casting into Mystery. With a new issue of our journal of the printing arts, the Devil’s Artisan, on the radar, we’ll surely be keeping busy.

In Sarnia.

Sharon Berg is the Author of the Month at Lawrence House in Sarnia, and will be reading from her collection Naming the Shadows on November 1.

In Toronto.

Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market

PQL will have a table at the Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre in Toronto. Catch Tim behind the table, with a selection of PQL books, on November 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m.

Also in the Big Smoke, Daniel Bryant will be taking part in a panel discussion for Canadian Authors – Toronto entitled “What’s Your Day Job?”. You can find him on November 28 speaking alongside JF Garrard and Wendy Gruner at the Centre for Social Innovation on Spadina.

In Ottawa.

Rerouted author Daniel Bryant will be taking Ottawa by storm, first taking part in the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair at the Jack Purcell Community Centre on November 23, and then at a book signing at Perfect Books on November 24. Come out and support this great debut author!

In British Columbia.

Naming the Shadows by Sharon Berg

After her Sarnia event, Sharon Berg will be touring a number of venues in British Columbia this month. Catch her at the Spoken Ink Reading Series in Burnaby on November 19, at Metrotown Indigo in Burnaby on November 21, at the Surrey City Centre Library on November 22, at the Poetic Justice Reading Series in New Westminster on November 24, and at the Planet Earth Poetry Series in Victoria on November 29. You have lots of opportunity to meet Sharon, so make sure you come on out and say hello.

In the world.

November 8 is Cook Something Bold Day, which honestly seems like a recipe for disaster. (Yeah, I said it.)

November 12 is Young Readers Day—a great opportunity to foster literacy in children and encourage a lifelong love of reading.

November 16 is International Tolerance Day, because we can all use a bit of a reminder of the meaning of tolerance these days.


From the porcupette’s corner.

I’m juggling edits on three of our upcoming spring books among all the day-to-day tasks that crop up. It feels like a lot, but now that the days are short and cold, it’s not exactly hard to stay in, keep my head down and get to work. The only trouble is staying on task when there always seems to be another emergency job that needs immediate tending. It surely is teaching me to try to keep my priorities in order.

small man with huge pen atop large notebook

Sometimes those big jobs feel, well, huge.


portraitThank you all for stopping by to see what we’ve been working on lately at the Porcupine’s Quill. We hope you’ve enjoyed this update, and we hope to see you at one of our wonderful events in the coming weeks!


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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.