PQ Weekly Roundup: 17 Jul 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.


Happy Friday Quill fans! Don’t forget to register to attend the virtual launch of Ed Seaward’s Fair next week. And if you’d like to win a copy, well, that’s on offer, too!

See you soon!


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Book Giveaway Celebrating the Launch of Ed Seaward’s Fair

We are pleased to invite you all to attend the virtual launch of Ed Seaward’s debut novel, Fair, on Zoom!

Invitation to the launch of Ed Seaward's debut novel, Fair, on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Fair is a spare, poetic novel that follows a vulnerable young homeless man, Eyan, as he attempts to navigate the uncertain and often violent streets of LA’s Skid Row. Eyan’s life is shaped by two opposing figures: Paul, whose gang of ‘eyeless boys’ terrorize the neighbourhood and attract the attention of the police, and ‘the professor,’ an erudite and tragic mentor whose readings from Milton’s Paradise Lost have a profound effect on Eyan’s perspective of home—and hope.

This novel sheds light on the ever-present struggles of the homeless population, and speaks to the very human desire—now more than ever—to experience kindness, hope and fairness.

We hope you’ll attend the book launch via Zoom. It will be hosted by writer/poet and Canadian Authors—Toronto Co-President Lee Parapet.

Zoom Book Launch
for Ed Seaward’s Fair
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
7:30 p.m.

Register in advance of the event by clicking here. Once you’ve registered, you will receive a confirmation email with details on how to join the event.

In celebration of this virtual event, we are giving away three print copies of this beautiful book. Our three lucky winners will also receive a coupon code for a free digital copy of the book, just to make sure they can read how and when they want!

Here’s how to enter:

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

2. Earn up to six entries by visiting Facebook and Instagram, following us or 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

Book Launch Giveaway: Ed Seaward’s Fair

The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by email on July 21.


Fingers crossed for all who choose to enter, and we look forward to seeing you at the launch.



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PQ Weekly Roundup: 10 Jul 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.


To all our Quill fans in Southwestern Ontario, we sincerely hope you haven’t melted in this heat wave. Enjoy your weekend and be cool!

Happy Friday,


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Poetry Preview: The Blue Moth of Morning by P.C. Vandall

The Blue Moth of Morning

We all know that poetry is a many-splendored genre. Its primary claim to fame is often its capacity to convey great depths of emotion in creative ways that prose can’t always match. But with such lofty possibilities, I think many readers often dismiss poetry as too literary or pretentious or hard to understand. The truth is, poetry can break your heart and cause you to scratch your head, but it can also be just plain fun and offer a delightful opportunity for readers to experience the joy of playing with language.

P.C. Vandall’s The Blue Moth of Morning is exactly the kind of poetry that fits into this category. I particularly appreciate the clever turns of phrase peppered throughout, as well as the delightful little instances of language-induced humour. Don’t get me wrong–there’s definitely a lot of emotion and intelligence in this poetry, but the wordplay serves to inject levity into some serious topics such as aging and relationship woes. The triumph of it is that it does so in a way that feels true to life and in many ways charmingly optimistic.

Keep reading for a peek inside this book, which will be in print very soon!

Excerpt from The Blue Moth of Morning

Waste Not, Want Not

For Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in a culvert
after her adopted father force-fed her milk

Consider everything—the small space
between bones and teeth, cracks of light, hollows
of darkness, calcium and cartilage.

Contemplate whether the glass is half-full
or half-empty, whether to weep if milk
spills in moonlit rivers across a floor?

Somewhere a stove pot froths at the lip
and boils over and somewhere it soothes
a wee one’s cry. If the cup were brimming

with twilight, the stars could flitter like fire-
flies and burn holes through the blackness. Maybe
someone thought the milk was spoiled and poured it

down the drain, not knowing it could catch
in the pipes and clog. If the milk were left
to stand it might’ve grown skin. Even something

seemingly sour can turn sweet again.
In the dead of night, coyotes take nips
at the moon and the details film over

like a half-digested dream. It wasn’t long
ago that kids were found on milk cartons
and folks knew better than to dispose of them.

Matrimonial Cake

The honeymoon is over and now I hurl
things at your head for impact. I usually miss
the mark but make a point. Other times I punish

you with silence, sprawl out on the sofa
till I choose to make up our bed. When the mood strikes
I list off all the things you’ve done to hurt me,

lay it down like bricks between us and then stare
blankly at the wall like it’s the frame
of our future—dark, cold and unforgiving.

I have to admit I’ve defended myself
with lines from chick flicks, peeled out of the driveway
for dramatic effect. I’ve picked up the phone,

laughed heartily into the receiver
and then made romantic dinner plans
with the dial tone. Other times, I’ve left

the yellow pages opened up to divorce
lawyers, my computer screen on,
a passport and bikini at the front door. I do

these things because of the matrimonial cake
we served at our wedding. Mother reminded us
of its bumpy top, sweet filling and firm base.

Neither of us remembers how it tastes,
but we both agree there were many dates
and that it crumbled apart in our hands.

About the Author

P. C. Vandall is the author of three collections of poetry: Something from Nothing, (Writing Knights Press, 2013) Woodwinds (Lipstick Press, 2013) and Matrimonial Cake (Red Dashboard, 2014). Her work has appeared in numerous magazines in Canada as well as England, Ireland, the United States, India, and Australia. She resides on Gabriola Island with her husband and two children.


If you can’t wait to read The Blue Moth of Morning, you’re in luck—you can download the ebook edition right now in our eStore. Print copies will be available soon, so stay tuned!



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PQ Weekly Roundup: 03 Jul 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.


Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day this week–perhaps your celebration has extended into the weekend? Be safe, keep cool and keep reading!

All the best!


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From Far and Wide: Reading Across the Country with PQL for Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, Quill friends! We hope you’re enjoying a relaxing day off under sunny skies, wherever you may be. And if you wanted to add a book to the equation, well, we certainly wouldn’t say no.

In celebration of this most patriotic of holidays, we’re going on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada in books. So strap in and enjoy our cross-country adventure—and maybe discover a book or two.

British Columbia

The Bird in the Stillness, The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, Zero Gravity

We’re starting out our Canadian road trip on the west coast. First, we find Nick Tooke’s debut novel, The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, set in the BC interior during the Great Depression and featuring a delightful cast of characters—from boxcar bums to circus performers—as well as truly immersive descriptions of the landscape. Then—shh! If you’re really quiet, you might see a little collection of poetry—The Bird in the Stillness by the late Joe Rosenblatt. It’s hanging out with Bite Me!, another Rosenblatt collection. Both are steeped in the mythopoetic appreciation of the natural world, from the Green Man of the forest to the more bizarre side of Mother Nature’s handiwork. And before we go, you might like a taste of something a little more urban. Don’t forget Sharon English’s story collection Zero Gravity.

The Prairies

We continue our little adventure into the Prairies, where we discover a few more interesting titles. We’ll swing by Alberta, the setting for Marika Deliyannides’s Bitter Lake—a novel that investigates the consequences of silence and what happens when families try to ignore tragedy. While we’re in the neighbourhood, we should also stop by See What I’m Saying, an amusing and beautiful book on lexical oddities by Red Deer-based Author Jim Westergard. Then, a little attention to David Carpenter’s Welcome to Canada would be welcome—his stories are steeped in the Saskatchewan prairies and the Alberta foothills. Finally, we’ll pop our heads in on Lori Cayer’s Mrs Romanov. While the poems themselves may be rooted in Russian history, Lori is a proud Manitoban!

The North

Let’s swing north for a bit, shall we? The frigid Yukon winter is very important to Bruce McDougall’s Every Minute Is a Suicide, and we could all use a bit of a cool-down this summer anyway. While we’re there, we’ll take a moment to appreciate Yukon poet Michael Eden Reynolds’s Slant Room.


Daddy Hall, Rerouted, Casting into Mystery

Onward to Ontario, and boy do we have a packed itinerary! Daniel Bryant’s story collection Rerouted stands out for one story in particular that takes place in the northern wilderness of the province. Then, we can travel down to Southwestern Ontario, where we can discover Tony Miller’s wordless novel Daddy Hall, a story about a half-Mowhawk, half-African Canadian man who went on to become legend in Owen Sound. Further south, Robert Reid and Wesley W. Bates’s Casting into Mystery presents some thought-provoking essays on the sport of fly fishing, centred on the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Also in the neighbourhood, Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen take a more people-focused view in their book of photos and profiles, Overtime.


Whew! Has our literary trip tired you out yet? We hope you find your second wind, because we’re arriving in Quebec. Of course we can’t forget to stop by and see Clark Blaise’s Montreal Stories. They’re exactly what it says on the tin—stories set in Montreal that made Blaise famous! It’s also a perfect time to check in on Montreal poet Michael Harris, perhaps by perusing his selected works in The Gamekeeper. We’ll round out our Quebec tour with The Essential D. G. Jones. D. G. Jones was a lyric poet whose literary contributions to the country also included co-founding the bilingual literary journal ellipse: Writers in Translation (1969-2012), the only magazine of its kind in Canada. 

The Maritimes

Thoughts on Driving to Venus, High-Water Mark, Margin of Interest

We’re in the home stretch now! Any bookish trip to the Maritimes wouldn’t be complete without Thoughts on Driving to Venus, the “car books” written by Newfoundland painter Christopher Pratt as he drove through the countryside searching for artistic inspiration. How fitting for our adventure, hm? Of course, we’ll need to revisit Nova Scotia writer Nicole Dixon’s superb short story collection High-Water Mark. And to round out the tour, perhaps a little poetry criticism. New Brunswick native Shane Neilson’s Margin of Interest is a good bet there—don’t you feel more informed on Maritime poetry already?

Country-Wide Culture

Whew, what a whirlwind tour! But we’re not done just yet. Canada’s Indigenous people have contributed much to the country’s artistic and cultural landscape. Spending some time with the images in James Simon Mishibinijima’s Pictographs are a wonderful way of appreciating Indigenous heritage.

If you’re looking to appreciate a wide variety of authors from all the corners of Canada, immerse yourself in Bruce Meyer’s Portraits of Canadian Writers. You’ll get snapshots—in words and images—of some of the country’s most iconic and influential authors, all in one handy volume!


Thank you all for coming along on this wonderful cross-country literary odyssey with me. Here’s to hoping we’ve inspired you to read a little more Canada this Canada Day!

Happy travels,


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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.