New Star News

Available Now :: Could Be: New Poems

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George Bowering’s latest collection of poetry hits the shelves today. Could Be assembles a new offering of poems from one of Canada’s indisputable literary greats, wiser, though not any mellower, for his years. These pages are suffused with the warmth and curiosity of any young poet.

Join us on Zoom Sunday June 27 at 2pm PST for a double feature launch event to celebrate both Could Be and Bowering’s earlier 2021 release, Soft Zipper.

Missed the launch event? You can watch the recording right here on YouTube.

Cover design by Oliver McPartlin

Every day now
in my ninth
decade I am newly

educated by small things I
was educated by
when I was little

when my arm
was half as long
as it is now

when I knew
for the first time
the big earth was

turning over
with me
able to stand on it.

Find Could Be in store at your local bookseller:

:: Galiano Island Books – Galiano Island, BC
:: Laughing Oyster Bookshop – Courtenay, BC
:: Bookingham Palace Bookstore – Salmon Arm, BC
:: 32 Books – North Vancouver, BC
:: Queen Books – Toronto, ON
:: Someday Books – St. Catherines, ON
:: Hunter St Books – Peterborough, ON
:: Book City – Toronto, ON (Queen St & Danforth Ave)
:: Chapters

Robson St – Vancouver, BC
Granville St – Vancouver, BC
Yonge St – Toronto, ON
Bloor St W – Toronto, ON
Rideau St – Ottawa, ON
Place Montreal Trust – Montreal, QC

Or order online:
:: New Star Books
:: Amazon.com
:: Amazon.ca
:: Chapters

Post-utopian Tales :: Tamas Dobozy’s Ghost Geographies: Fictions

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A wry, propulsive, visceral collection of stories about the afterlives of utopia – imagined and real – from the author of the Writers’ Trust Prize-Winning Siege 13.

 

In his first book since the award-winning Siege 13, Tamas Dobozy joins New Star with Ghost Geographies, a collection of stories, each of which vividly imagines a number of unsettled utopias populated by decadent and absurd personalities.

Fleeing communist Budapest by air balloon, a wrestler tries to reinvent himself in Canada. On a formal invitation from the Party’s General Secretary, a Belgian bureaucrat “defects” to communist Hungary, chasing the dream of a better world. Meanwhile, a provocateur filmmaker drinks and blasts his way to a final, celluloid confrontation with fascism, while an enfant terrible philosopher works on his prophetic, posthumously panned masterpiece, Dyschrony.

Ghost Geographies contains 13 short fictions and novellas, including “Krasnogorsk-2” (National Magazine Awards 2014 Gold Medal for Fiction), “The Tire-Swing of Death” (Named Distinguished Story in Best American Short Stories 2015) and “No. 10” (Best Canadian Short Stories 2017), all of which delight and intrigue with a complexity inviting comparison to the worlds of Bolaño.

Cover design by Oliver McPartlin

Tamas Dobozy is the author of three previous collections of short fiction and novellas: When X Equals Marylou (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2003), Last Notes and Other Stories (HarperCollins Canada / Arcade [US] 2005), and the Governor General’s Award finalist and Writers’ Trust Award winner, Siege 13 (Thomas Allen / Milkweed [US] 2012).

Available September 16, 2021
320 pages :: 5.5 x 8.25
$24 CAD :: $20 USD
ISBN 9781554201792

 

 

Bowering Double Trouble :: Could Be & Soft Zipper Zoom Launch

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This summer we’re celebrating the two most recent titles from George Bowering: Could Be: New Poems and Soft Zipper: Objects, Food, Rooms.

 

Join us for a double feature launch over on Zoom on Sunday June 27, 2PM PDT. Register here!

COULD BE: NEW POEMS

“Still producing at the height of his powers” is a cliche that rarely applies as well as it does to George Bowering’s recent output. In ‘Could Be: New Poems,’ gathering work since his close call five years ago, Bowering shows off a wiser, though not necessarily mellower, aspect alongside the wit and unerring ear readers have come to expect from one of our greats.
Glad to be alive, these are poems that look out into the world with fresh eyes, curious as any young poet’s. Only now the shadow of mortality finally takes its proper place alongside life’s many other sources of magic and wonder. Sunlight and warmth suffuse these poems, formally spanning short lyric verse, “found” stuff, and a long poem (“Sitting in Jalisco”). Rewarding attention as always, with ‘Could Be’ George Bowering adds to a substantial body of work.

SOFT ZIPPER: OBJECTS, FOOD, ROOMS

“The supple scale of space, from dresser drawer to American road trip, here folds and regroups the poet’s craft — for George’s prose is poet’s prose, with its joyous attention to the detail of syntax, the humour and mystery of juxtaposition, and the music of tone.”
– Lisa Robertson, from the Introduction.
This engaging memoir relates stories about George Bowering’s small-town BC upbringing and his parents — his father long dead and his mother more recently passed on at the age of 100 — while at the same time honouring the author’s other “parents”: Gertrude Stein, Charles Olson, and Roland Barthes.
Read a review of Soft Zipper from Rose Hendrie in the LRC

Pre-order your copy of Could Be right now on:
:: Amazon.ca
:: Amazon.com
Or ask your local bookstore to get it in stock!

And click here to check out where to find Soft Zipper both online and in store.

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“We’ve met before, haven’t we?” :: Stephen Lee Naish – Screen Captures: Film in the Age of Emergency

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A spirited, far-sighted guide to politics, Star Wars, the Avengers, David Lynch, and the lost highways between them, for today’s capitalist-realist age.

 

“We’ve met before, haven’t we?” The grand illusion of our era is that we’re at the end of history and movies are now no more than tranquilizing entertainment. What we’ve lost sight of is the political undercurrent running through cinema and its potentially redemptive power, whether through Hollywood mega blockbusters like Star Wars or off-kilter indies and art films like Blue Velvet.

This is the premise and challenge of Screen Captures. Critic Stephen Lee Naish guides us through the recent cinematic phenomena that reflect/refract our contemporary political existence in this collection of essays, observations, and love letters to the films that have shaped not only his own cinematic literacy, but also the larger phenomena of Hollywood and beyond. Screen Captures adds a sharpening filter to the film-goer’s experience on the big and little screen.

Cover design by Oliver McPartlin

Naish’s previous books include U.ESS.AY: Politics and Humanity in American Film (Zero Books, 2014), Create or Die: Essays on the Artistry of Dennis Hopper (Amsterdam University Press, 2016), Deconstructing Dirty Dancing (Zero Books, 2017), Riffs and Meaning (Headpress, 2018).

Available September 30, 2021
208 pages :: 5.5 x 8.5
$20 CAD :: $18 USD
ISBN: 9781554201754

 

Jalisco Dreamin’ :: George Bowering, Could Be: New Poems

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In a hillside

above my dry town

I dug a hole out

of which I lifted

a knife, a baseball

and finally

this poem.

The indefatigable George Bowering graces our lineup yet again this year. In Could Be, Bowering has assembled a collection of poems that are suffused with the warmth and curiosity of any young poet and which span short lyric verse, “found” stuff, and a long poem (“Sitting in Jalisco”). Following the early 2021 release of his engagingly playful Stein-inspired memoir, Soft Zipper, Bowering continues to produce at the height of his powers, and with all the usual wit and craft that readers have come to expect from one of Canada’s literary greats.

Cover design by Oliver McPartlin

George Bowering is a poet, novelist, memorist, essayist, critic, and legend of Canadian letters. He is Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate and a two-time G-G winner. Of his 100-plus books, his most recent include: Soft Zipper (non-fiction, 2021), Writing and Reading (essays, 2019), No One (fiction, 2018), Ten Women (stories, 2015), and The World, I Guess (poetry, 2015).

Available June 24, 2021
120 pages :: 5.5 x 8.5
$18 CAD :: $16 USD
ISBN: 9781554201785

 

Święte zioło / Diabelski Chwast :: Polish publishing house Vis-A-Vis Etiuda releases Struthers’s The Sacred Herb / The Devil’s Weed

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We’re as happy as a pair of mutually inverted clams to behold the Polish edition of Andrew Struthers’s joint The Sacred Herb / The Devil’s Weed, published this spring by Vis-A-Vis Etiuda of Warszawa, one of Poland’s leading publishing houses.

Święte zioło / Diabelski Chwast joins an impressive list at Vis-A-Vis, including books by William S. Burroughs, Doris Lessing, Paul Tillich, Noam Chomsky, Bret Easton Ellis, Carl Jung, George Orwell, Ann Rice, J.G. Ballard, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Pascal, T.S. Elliot, and quite a few other household names; Sruthers is listed between Bram Stoker and Sun Tzu on Vis-A-Vis’s website.

Get your copy of Święte zioło / Diabelski Chwast here or here or here or even here.

Online Book Launches :: Join us on Zoom in May

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The sun is starting to shine here on the west coast and while we are still unable to celebrate in person, we invite you to join us from far and wide live on Zoom in the first weeks of May for two exciting virtual book launches.

THURSDAY MAY 6 – The Wig-Maker

 

First we have Janet Gallant and Sharon Thesen hosted by poet Kerry Gilbert on Thursday May 6 at 6:00 PDT for the launch of The Wig-Maker.
A powerful tale of violence, grief, resilience, and transformation, The Wig-Maker brings together Janet’s voice with Sharon’s verse to weave together a range of topics and incidents; the human hair industry, Black immigration to Alberta and Saskatchewan in the early 1900’s, maternal abandonment, the stresses of military life, adoption search websites, the suicide of Gallant’s teenage brother, the sudden death of her young husband, the stress-disorder of alopecia, and the loneliness of surviving all this and continuing to search for answers.

Described by Griffin Poetry Prize winner Eve Joseph as “a work of heart-breaking brilliance”, The Wig-Maker is Janet Gallant’s song; her story comes to life in Sharon Thesen’s poem.

Our host, Kerry Gilbert, lives in Vernon, where she teaches Creative Writing at Okanagan College. Her first book, (kerplnk): a verse novel of development, was published in 2005 with Kalamalka Press. Her second book of poetry, Tight Wire, was published in 2016 with Mother Tongue Publishing. Little Red, is a new verse collection with Mother Tongue, released March 2019.

Register on Zoom!
Share the event on Facebook

Check out a review of The Wig-Maker in BCBookLook, watch these recent interviews with Paul Nelson and find out where you can get a copy of The Wig-Maker in this news post.


THURSDAY MAY 13 – Outside

 

Join us the following Thursday May 13 at 7:30 EST / 4:30 PDT for the launch of Outside by Sean McCammon, hosted by Susanne Ruder.

McCammon’s debut novel follows David Wood, a new fourth-grade teacher, across a dual narrative between the classrooms of small-town Ontario and the hiking trails and Shinto shrines of Kyoto, Japan. During a seemingly innocuous field trip, a fateful decision leads to disastrous consequences, not just for himself but many around him. Consumed by guilt, and desperate to make sense of the seemingly random incident, David flees to Japan, going to ground with a group of eclectic world travellers in a Kyoto boarding house.

As the tragedy is recalled, a parallel narrative finds David drawn into the chaotic lives of his boarding-house companions. The group, including a food-connoisseur deejay, a crude karate student, and an Israeli draft dodger, drag David into experiences that offer hope, love, and the possibility of redemption. In a city cloaked in the ancient trappings of Buddhism and Shintoism, David struggles to draw meaning from his surroundings and experiences before being called home to answer for his actions.

Outside is an ode to the responsibility of the teacher, the healing power of friendship, and the search for meaning in a haphazard world.

Host Susanne Ruder is a Halton, Ontario-based writer whose work has appeared online and in print for more than 22 years. Credits include Profit Magazine, MoneySense, Canadian Business Online and Reader’s Digest.

Register on Zoom
Share the event on Facebook

We have a list of booksellers and online retailers stocking Outside in this news post, be sure to check it out if you’re yet to pick up a copy.

 

Can’t join us on the day? No problem. Both of these launch events will be recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel a few days later. Make sure you’re signed up to our email newsletter, and following us on Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss that link.

Soft Zipper :: Bowering’s ode to Stein/Barthes/Olson

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Cover design by Oliver McPartlin

“The supple scale of space, from dresser drawer to American road trip, here folds and regroups the poet’s craft — for George’s prose is poet’s prose, with its joyous attention to the detail of syntax, the humour and mystery of juxtaposition, and the music of tone.”
– Lisa Robertson, from the Introduction.

 

Feast your eyes on the cover of George Bowering’s latest book, Soft ZipperWith an introduction from Lisa Robertson, Soft Zipper is set to hit the shelves in late March.

Borrowing a structure and some precepts about writing from Stein, Bowering remains true to his inimitable self, relating his recollections and observations, his ever-curious mind travelling across the decades as he recounts some of the objects, food, rooms, and people that have shaped his engagement with the world. Charles Olson’s ideas about proprioception shape Bowering’s approach to himself as “an object among objects” (and, with increasing age and frailty, even containing numerous objects), while Roland Barthes’s writing strategies also make themselves
felt throughout.

But these stories wear their learning lightly — it’s ridiculously easy to enjoy these wise and gentle reminiscences of an older writer who spent his childhood in sunny South Okanagan, without even noticing the carefully wrought structure.

Available March 25
160 pages · 4.75 x 7.5in
$19 CAD · $17 USD
ISBN: 9781554201723

You’ll find Soft Zipper at the following booksellers:
:: Black Bond Books – Surrey, BC
:: Munro’s Books – Victoria, BC
:: Chapters Indigo, Robson St, – Vancouver, BC
:: Tanner’s Books – Sidney, BC
:: The Open Book – Williams Lake, BC
:: 32 Books & Gallery – North Vancouver, BC
:: Mosaic Books – Kelowna BC
:: Biblioasis – Windsor, ON
:: Book City – Toronto, ON

:: Shelf Life – Calgary, AB
:: Librarie Carcajou – Rosemère, QC
:: Librarie La Maison Anglaise – Québec City, QC
:: McNally Robinson – Winnipeg, MB, Saskatoon, SK

Or order online right now at the following links:
:: UTP
:: New Star Books
:: Amazon.com
:: Amazon.ca
:: Chapters

Find your ebooks here:
:: Amazon/Kindle
:: Kobo

Read the an excerpt of Soft Zipper below.


Among Objects

So an object is a thing, if tangible, placed before the eye, or if not tangible, before the mind. Let’s say more or less solid items one can see and theoretically touch. Our planet’s moon is a large object that few have touched, and that with the intermediary of space-age clothing. But now I have a junior grade philosophical question. Quite some time ago I had the lenses of my eyes cut away and replaced by artificial lenses. Leaving aside the qualities of objects seen through these lenses, can’t we say that the artificial lenses were objects before they were attached to my eyeballs, and isn’t there a problem in saying that they are now part of my subjective conglomerate? Of course you might interpose that every atom that makes up a human body came from our planet, and perhaps ultimately from stardust. Let’s leave eyes for now, and consider teeth. The eyes might be part of the brain while teeth are the visible part of the skeleton. I have a question similar to the one above, as there is a row of artificial teeth screwed into my left lower jawbone and another in my right upper jawbone. Are these still objects? I mean, I don’t consider my fingers and toes to be objects. Fifteen years ago a doctor in Welland inserted four short metal rods to hold my right hipbone together, and when I broke my right femur last spring, a Vancouver doctor took out those four short metal rods (I asked him whether I could have them for souvenirs, and he replied that the paperwork would be too much) and inserted a long metal rod in with the marrow, and some more connective pieces. I think that the airport metal detector would consider these rods to be objects, though they are not easily removable as are my hearing aids. But I can’t use the airport metal detector because I have a defibrillator inserted under the skin of my breast, and it has wires whose ends are inserted into my heart. It also has a pacemaker to help it with the mathematics. I am probably not worth six million dollars in scrap, but I face the twenty-four dollar question: is it easier for me than for most people to follow Charles Olson’s direction and sense myself as an object among objects?

New Releases :: Outside by Sean McCammon | The Wig-Maker by Janet Gallant & Sharon Thesen

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Today we welcome two more hotly-anticipated titles from our Spring list. The Wig-Maker by Janet Gallant and Sharon Thesen and Sean McCammon’s Outside. It is a privilege to publish these first-time offerings from McCammon and Gallant (though with the guidance of Thesen’s wise and elegiac verse across The Wig-Maker).

In Outside, David Woods arrives in Japan with a suitcase full of pharmaceuticals and nightmares that leave him drenched in sweat. A tragic incident has led him to leave his family, his teaching job and his girlfriend, Joanna. With his once-charmed life in shambles, David seeks anonymity in a Kyoto guest house, but instead finds friendship with an eclectic group of world travellers.

A chronicle of violence and transformation, The Wig-Maker gives voice to a woman’s childhood trauma, her quest for identity, and the healing in between. Almost by magic — certainly with the assistance of the uncanny — the 18-month long process of Gallant’s telling/Thesen’s listening-writing has resulted in Gallant’s discovery of her true genetic, and social, identity.

Read an excerpt from The Wig-Maker here on our previous post. A preview of the first two chapters of Outside can be found here!

Find The Wig-Maker in store with the following booksellers:
:: Mosaic Books – Kelowna, BC
:: Abraxas Books – Denman Island, BC
:: Otter Books – Nelson, BC
:: The Book Keeper – Sarnia, ON
:: Type Books – Toronto, ON
:: Another Story – Toronto, ON
:: A Novel Spot – Etobicoke, ON
:: Book City – Toronto, ON
:: Librarie Carcajou – Rosemère, QC
:: Livres Lac-Brome / Brome Lake Books – Knowlton, QC
:: Shelf Life – Calgary, AB
:: Pages on Kensington – Calgary, AB
:: Bookmark – Charlettetown, PEI

Or order online:
:: UTP
:: New Star Books
:: Amazon.com
:: Amazon.ca
:: Chapters

Outside is available at the following booksellers:
:: Livres Lac-Brome / Brome Lake Books – Knowlton, QC
:: Booklore – Orangeville, ON
:: Book City – Toronto, ON
:: Books on Beechwood – Ottawa, ON
:: Biblioasis – Windsor, ON
:: The Bookshelf – Guelph, ON
:: Oxford Bookshop – London, ON
:: Words Worth Books – Waterloo, ON

Or order online:
:: UTP
:: New Star Books
:: Amazon.com
:: Amazon.ca
:: Chapters

Grab an ebook version below:
:: Kobo
:: Amazon

The Wig-Maker :: Poetry from Sharon Thesen & Janet Gallant

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Cover of The Wig-Maker by Janet Gallant and Sharon Thesen. The cover is an older family photo of Janet Gallant as a young woman, in long dark pants and a white blouse, Sharon holds a sporting trophy proudly while standing in the courtyard of a housing complex. "The Wig-Maker" along with the authors names appear in white text, a blurb from Eve Joseph, Griffin Prize Winner, appears at the top of the cover and reads "A work of heart-breaking brilliance"

Cover design by Oliver :

A chronicle of violence and transformation, The Wig-Maker gives voice to a woman’s childhood trauma, her quest after identity, and the healing in between.

 

We are pleased to reveal the cover of The Wig-Maker, by Janet Gallant and Sharon Thesen.

Abandoned by her mother and abused by her father as a child, Janet has sought to unearth and articulate the questions around her upbringing and her family’s past ever since. Recounting her story to Sharon, she found a receptive ear, the ability to heal, and a willing, uncanny, and faithful lyrical transcriber.

Janet’s self-recognition as a biracial child, her mourning the early loss of her brother and sister, the Black history of Alberta and Saskatchewan, her passage from McCrate, to Clift, to Gallant, and her wig-making work are woven together in Sharon’s elegiac verse.

The Wig-Maker is Janet Gallant’s song; her story comes to life in Sharon Thesen’s poem.

Griffin Poetry Prize winner Eve Joseph calls the book a “work of heart-breaking brilliance.”

Available March 11
128 pages · 5.5 x 8.5in
$18 CAD · $16 USD
ISBN: 9781554201716

You can find a list of bookstores carrying The Wig-Maker on this news post.

Read an excerpt of The Wig-Maker below.