New Star News

Book Launch :: Miskwagoode at the Massy Arts Gallery



Join us on June 18 for the launch of Annharte’s Miskwagoode at the Massy Arts Gallery!

Presented by Massy Voices, the launch will also feature performances by Madeline Terbasket (Annharte’s grandchild and artist of the illustration featured on the cover of Miskwagoode) as well as comedian Savannah Erasmus.

WHEN: Saturday June 18 6:00pm
WHERE: Massy Arts Gallery
23 East Pender St, Vancouver

This event is free and open to all, but be sure to register here on Eventbrite.

We’ve got a couple more events up our sleeves for the summer. Watch this space or keep tabs on our Instagram and Facebook for announcements coming soon!


‘sisters fallen but not forgotten’ :: Red Dress Day


The REDress Project, established by Indigenous artist Jamie Black in 2010, draws attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence. Since 2010, May 5 is annually recognized as Red Dress Day, in memory of the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people across the country. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report, and its 231 Calls for Justice, in 2019, but today Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people remain three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be victims of violence.

Miskwagoode, the latest collection of poetry from Anishinaabe Elder and poet, Annharte, is a book about mother loss, about “mothermiss”, about all the women “buried in common enough / cross-generational graves”. Miskwagoode (taken from the Anishinaabe for “woman wearing red,”), is Annharte, and she is Annharte’s mother, who disappeared when the poet was a girl.

The poems of this collection, while at times cheeky and playful, are shot through with the realities of despair and violence still persisting with the legacies of colonialism.

You can read ‘Boast Unanimity’ from Miskwagoode below.

Boast Unanimity


take to the streets  walk swirl spin words
.  incite rabble rouse

unwritten life manifesto re-image nation
.  step out more self-contained
.  wear a shawl over winter parka

talk swirl spin inward yet
outward confident conscious
possible defiant words declare
rebel, revolt, resolve, recollect
walk straight into dystopia

march out more self-contained
wear a ribbon skirt to match others
express compassionate solidarity
red or purple chosen colours of purpose

many red skeletons bump along back streets
make multiple paths toward crowd holding
candle lights in collective gesture to mourn
sisters fallen but not forgotten on this eve

foot after foot motion fumble feel around
awkward in shuffle step sound momentum
form outspoken unwritten life manifesto
zigzag animation an ultimatum showdown

proceed single file to women march
minus below breeze rips through crowd
red skeletal remains scramble to get closer
spirits in deference keep outside inner huddle

join hands thick mitts shield finger bone clutch
phantom fingers and toes dig in crunch together
as if it is all pavement road to navigate from ancestor
lodge while inside they did rest formal introduce
say tansi aaniin boozhoo sisters welcome back
we have work to do  maybe one grisly joke
murder she did not write only Agatha Christie
solved murder mysteries on telly every week
support this exceptional gesture of defiance

police now encircle where was presence
before criminal arrest supposed to take place
vital contact before bureaucratic damage done
now it is mere entrapment to have security
negotiations about safety must serve and protect
taste strange metaphor on tongue about to say
valentine day so boney red is suitable choice

valentine day winter evening
time being always time immemorial

find comforting grip for boney toes
dig in crunch together cannot avoid
bump in journey step over pot hole

as if it is all talk not walk to negotiate
re-image nation copy that

how many lives taken
speckled stones remain along pathways
find one it is divine to remember

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day


Saturday April 30 is Canadian Independent Bookstore Day!
The annual day when readers, writers, illustrators, publishers, and other industry supporters come together to celebrate indie bookstores across Canada. By joining the celebration, you are advocating for independent businesses, supporting a flourishing bookselling community, and investing in Canadian culture.

As a small press, New Star has always had a deep appreciation for independently owned bookstores and their passionately dedicated booksellers. Throughout the years we’ve found our most ardent readers through these stores, through the finely tuned skills of booksellers and their ability to create genuine excitement and connection within their communities. These past few years have only served to strengthen our faith in the indies as the backbone of Canadian bookselling.

So this weekend we encourage you to head out and buy a book or two (or three). Check out CIBA’s handy map to find your closest indie bookstore!
You can find New Star’s books alongside other fantastically curated titles on the shelves of these independent bookstores:

:: Massy Books
:: Munro’s Books
:: Iron Dog Books
:: Mosaic Books
:: People’s Co-op Bookstore
:: Queen Books
:: Book City
:: Type Books
:: Another Story Bookshop
:: Novel Idea
:: Words Worth Books
:: McNally Robinson
:: Shelf Life Books


Available Now :: Miskwagoode by Annharte


‘ This surprisingly tender collection is for mothers missed, a call to “retaliation not reconciliation” for “sisters fallen not forgotten,” for those we honour “valentine day winter eve / time being always time immemorial.” ‘
—Mercedes Eng


Annharte’s fourth collection of poetry, her latest since 2012’s Indigena Awry, publishes today! Miskwagoode, taken from the Anishinaabe for “woman wearing red,” is an unsettling portrayal of unreconciled Indigenous experience under colonialism, past and present.

With an introduction from Annharte’s son and granddaughter, and featuring cover art from her grandchild, the intergenerational waves of Miskwagoode are felt throughout its pages. The woman in the red dress is Annharte, and she is Annharte’s mother, who disappeared when the poet was just a girl. This is a book about mother loss, “mothermiss,” about all the women “burried in common enough / cross-generational graves.”

Suffused with all of Annharte’s usual humour and hard-earned wisdom, the poems of Miskwagoode peek behind the “buckskin curtain” at the margins of settler society. Annharte tells us about granny circles, the horny old guys, and getting your hair done. But these poems about rez life and the community and belonging it offers are set against the background radiation of the poverty and the sicknesses, despair, violence, sexism, and sexual abuse, the legacies of unequal relations.

You’ll find copies of Miskwagoode at these local independent bookstores:

:: Massy Books – Vancouver, BC
:: Iron Dog Books – Vancouver, BC
:: Novel Idea – Kingston, ON
:: Another Story – Toronto, ON
:: Type Books – Toronto, ON
:: Book City – Toronto, ON (Bloor St, Danforth Ave, Queen St E)
:: The Book Keeper – Sarnia, ON 
:: Books on Beechwood – Ottawa, ON
:: Perfect Books – Ottawa, ON
:: The Bookshelf – Guelph, ON
:: The Printed Word – Dundas, ON
:: McNally Robinson – Winnipeg, MB & Saskatoon, SK
:: Librarie Moderne – Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
:: Livres Lac-Brome – Knowlton, QC
:: Pages On Kensington – Calgary, AB
:: Shelf Life Books – Calgary, AB
:: Bookmark – Halifax, NS

Or snag a copy online:

:: New Star Books
:: Chapters
:: UTP Distribution
:: Small Press Distribution

Watch Now! :: Bird Arsonist launch videos


Missed the launch of Bird Arsonist this past weekend? You can watch the full event on YouTube or in the window below!
Hosted by the fantastic Elee Kraljii Gardiner and joined by guest reader Kathryn Mockler, Bird Arsonist launched live on Zoom on Saturday February 5. Check this news post to find out where you can pick up a copy of the book.

And for the highlight reel, here’s Barwin and Prime performing a uniquely auditory poem from the book.

Cover reveal :: Miskwagoode by Annharte


We are excited to reveal the cover of Miskwagoode, the fifth collection from Anishinaabe poet Annharte. Available March 17. The cover features an illustration from, Madeline Terbasket, an artist, performer, and Annharte’s grandchild. Miskwagoode also opens with two introductions from Forrest and Soffia Funmaker, Annharte’s son and granddaughter.

Equal parts cheeky and clear-sighted, Miskwagoode sets playful scenes of rez life against a backdrop of unreconciled realities within Indigenous experience. Between botched haircuts and horny old guys, Annharte acts as “witness not survivor” to the poverty, sickness, despair, violence, sexism, and sexual abuse still flowing from the consequences of colonialism’s “swivelled meanings”

‘Granarchist coyotric Annharte’s Miskwagoode brings the anticolonial fire, critique, and medicine much needed in “Canadian Literature.” From pretendians to the Truth and Reconcilitation Commission to tokenism, Annharte’s legendary wry humour and biting commentary will delightbutwithguypunches both new readers and those familiar with Annharte’s germinal writing. This surprisingly tender collection is for mothers missed, a call to “retaliation not reconciliation” for “sisters fallen not forgotten,” for those we honour “valentine day winter eve / time being always time immemorial.”‘
– Mercedes Eng

ANNHARTE (Marie Baker) is Anishinaabe (Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Manitoba). She is the author of four previous books of poetry: Being On the Moon (1990), Columbus Coyote Cafe (1995), Exercises in Lip Pointing (2003), and Indigena Awry (2013). Her book of essays, a/k/a, was published in 2012 by Capilano University Editions. She lives in Gypsumville, Manitoba.

Available Now :: Bird Arsonist by Gary Barwin & Tom Prime


Gary Barwin & Tom Prime’s Bird Arsonist has flown the nest, and is available today!

Compressed to the point of implosion, the poems that make up this volume are contorted descendants of Dadaism, Surrealism, and every other -ism. Prime and Barwin confront poetry’s contemporary preference for confession and today’s digitization of reality not only by — as they are two — using a doubled “I,” but also by letting language elide the human-all-too-human hand of authorship tout court. The author of Bird Arsonist is language itself, sonorous and fragmentary. Prime and Barwin have merely done the job of giving it the room to speak, of keeping it infected, of making visible the outline of its splinters and its cuts.

Check your local independent bookseller for a copy:
:: Munro’s Books – Victoria, BC
:: Mobius Books – Port Alberni, BC
:: Bookingham Palace Salmon Arm, BC
:: Novel Idea – Kingston, ON
:: Another Story – Toronto, ON
:: Type Books – Toronto, ON
:: Book City – Toronto, ON (Bloor St, Danforth Ave, Queen St E, Beaches)
:: Perfect Books – Ottawa, ON
:: Blue Heron Books – Uxbridge, ON
:: Mixed Media – Hamilton, ON
:: Epic Books – Hamilton, ON
:: The Printed Word – Hamilton, ON
:: Fanfare Books – Stratford, ON
:: The Book Keeper – Sarnia, ON 
:: The Bookshelf – Guelph, ON
:: McNally Robinson – Saskatoon, SK
:: Owl’s Nest Books – Calgary, AB
:: Shelf Life Books – Calgary, AB

Online you can find the book at:
:: New Star Books
:: Chapters
:: UTP Distribution
:: Small Press Distribution

Ready to hatch :: Bird Arsonist available on February 2nd! Launch incoming!



Bird Arsonist, the latest collaboration from Gary Barwin and Tom Prime, is nearly here. Publishing in just two short weeks on February 2, this twin-penned implosion of poetry does away with easy, lawful language in favour of “mangled and botched experimental and algorithmic procedures” (in the words of artist, author, and critic Felix Bernstein). In face, the author of Bird Arsonist is language itself, sonorous and fragmentary. Prime and Barwin have merely done the job of giving it the room to speak, of keeping it infected, of making visible the outline of its splinters and its cuts.

In the first review of Bird Arsonist, rob mclennan says the collection “displays a language of sound poetry shaped to the page, writing poems that play with the distortions of meaning, image and sound.” This is a book that is bound to ruffle your feathers in one way or another, and you can pre-order online it right now on,, or directly from us here at New Star.

Once you’ve snagged a copy, be sure to join us live on Zoom for the launch of Bird Arsonist, with host Elee Kraljii Gardiner.

Saturday, February

4:30 PT / 7:30 ET

Click here to register


Check out the excerpt video below for a taste of what you’re in for:

You’ll also find Gary Barwin at the Jewish Book Festival on February 6 with his recent, award winning novel Nothing The Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy.

GARY BARWIN is a writer, composer, musician, and multidisciplinary artist and has published 25 books of fiction, poetry, and numerous chapbooks. His latest books include For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe, ed. Alessandro Porco, and Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy.

TOM PRIME is the author and co-author of several poetry chapbooks, including A Cemetery for Holes with Gary Barwin. His debut solo collection, Mouthfuls of Space, was published in the fall of 2021.

ELEE KRALJII GARDINER is the author of two poetry books Trauma Head, winner of the Fred Cogswell Poetry Prize, and serpentine loop, shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award. An experienced mentor, Elee is the founding director of Thursdays Writing Collective, which supported emerging writers from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.




The Smallest Objective Wins the 2021 Vine Award for History


The winners of the 2021 Vine Awards, presented by the Koffler Centre for the Arts, were announced live last night on November 23 and we were thrilled to watch along here at New Star Books as Sharon Kirsch’s memoir, The Smallest Obejctive took home the prize in the History category. Watch the full awards ceremony.

The Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature is an annual national awards program that honours both the best Canadian Jewish writers and non-Jewish Canadian authors who deal with Jewish subjects in Fiction, History, Non-Fiction, Young Adult/Children’s literature, and Poetry.

Here’s what the jury had to say about The Smallest Objective:

“In the wake of her mother’s illness, and driven by lore of hidden treasure, Kirsch excavates history from ephemera found in her parent’s home; she follows clues to wherever they lead in a meandering path along different research trajectories that unearth mysteries and figures from her family tree. With poetic prose, and a proclivity for listings of things, Kirsch has a microscopic attention to detail that matches the theme of objects put under scrutiny to divine secrets. This writing has a way of hinting at the ineffable and drawing synaptic connections that reveal a real playfulness and love of words. This listing is stylistic, but also a method for coping with grief. There are themes of memory and forgetting, loss and lost things, and of course the search for treasure, where things — letters, postcards, photographs, slides, seashells, and rocks — become archival documents.”

We would like to extend our congratulations to the shortlsited authors in all categories and especially to Paul Roberts Bentley and Celia Rabinovitch, whose books it was an honour to be shortlisted alongside! Our gratitude also to the Koffler Centre, the Lillian and Norman Glowinsky Family Foundation, and the 2021 jurors, Zelda Abramson, Nathan Adler and Naomi K. Lewis.

Sharon also participated in a virtual panel on November 18 with fellow shortlisted authors, Rachel Matlow, Myriam Steinberg, and illustrator, Christache on the themes of memoir, motherhood, and lived experience – you can watch that panel right here on YouTube.

waiting for a poem :: Poetry in Transit Celebrates 25 Years



Poetry in Transit, an initiative featuring poems on buses and SkyTrains across the TransLink system here in British Columbia, celebrates its 25th anniversary!

Read Local BC and The Association of Book Publishers of BC have marked this occassion with the publication of an anthology of 40 selected poems from the PiT archives, edited and introduced by poet Evelyn Lau.

George Stanley’s poem ‘waiting’ from the 2013 collection After Desire has been included in this wonderful anniversary edition. Check out the anthology at or keep your eyes peeled around BC transit for copies hidded around the TransLink system.