by Patrick Friesen
Finalist for the Victoria Butler Book Prize
6” x 8” *106 pages
paperback * $19.95
“Patrick Friesen defies fashion and always sings. His language keeps invoking the condition of music: “any guile will do” as he hums an ode to the conjunctions, tunes for childhood and youth, jazz for death itself—on a ride cymbal with Max Roach. Friesen’s “voice/ growing into landscape” maps the psychic territory in which we see the world.”–Maurice Mierau, author of Autobiographical Fictions
"Patrick Friesen is a wide-ranging artist, devoted to film, music and the stage, but poetry always has been, and always will be, his devoir and his duty. Songen is a haunting suite of 86 meditations on the complexity of life inside the words we use to describe ourselves.”–George Fetherling, author of The Sylvia Hotel Poems
The poems in this new collection move like swifts. They alight, but only briefly, before their smooth lifts, and hair-trigger turns take us places we had not expected to go. Each poem, one sentence long and separated by commas, tracks the movement of the mind. Occasionally using words and phrases from Middle English and Low German, the poems touch on musical influences, the changes in language over the centuries and on the dissolutions, dilemmas and inevitabilities of old age. A beautiful body of work, the poet at his finest.
About the Author
Patrick Friesen, formerly of Winnipeg, now lives in Victoria. He writes poetry, essays, drama, song lyrics and text for dance and music; he has also co-translated several Danish poetry books with Per Brask. He has collaborated with various musicians, choreographers and dancers and has recorded CDs of text and improv music with Marilyn Lerner, Peggy Lee and Niko Friesen. He was short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award In Poetry in 1997, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in BC in 1998 and 2003, the Griffin Poetry Prize (a co-translation with Per Brask of Frayed Opus For Strings & Wind Instruments by Danish poet Ulrikka Gernes) in 2016, and the Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence in Poetry in 2016. He received the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award in Manitoba in 1996 and the ReLit Award for poetry in 2012. In 2018 his play A Short History of Crazy Bone was staged by Theatre Projects Manitoba. A Short History of Crazy Bone was published by Mother Tongue in 2015.
5.5” x 7.75” | 250 pages
paperback | 978-1-896949-65-9
A long-awaited dazzling first collection of short fiction from one of Canada’s most accomplished poets. These incandescent stories in Crow Jazz come from tree level, the corvid community, where sex and death are celebrated with mirth and compassion. They have clever crow energy, selecting beak-sized twitter-bits from life on Earth below, with an eye to the bigger picture. Highly inventive; children, families, crows and the old bewitch and astonish the imagination. Improvisation, syncopation; all the jazz words come into wordplay. “Mud Pies,” “The Child City,” “Darling Boy,” “The Tea Party,” “Lucy Laughed,” “Elusive Beauty” and “Virginia Sat Down” are a few of the twenty-plus polished tales in Linda Roger’s quirky and clever short fiction collection. A wild breath of fresh air for literary Canada.
About the Author
Linda Rogers is a novelist, essayist, editor and songwriter, past Victoria Poet Laureate and Canadian People’s Poet, and President of the League of Canadian poets and the BC Federation of Writers. She has published twenty-nine books, appeared in a number of anthologies and been awarded national and international literary prizes, including the Leacock Prize, the National Poetry Prize, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the Gwendolyn MacEwen Prize and the Milton Acorn Award in Canada; the Cardiff Prize, the Bridport Prize and the Petra Kenney Award in Britain; the Prix Anglais in France, the Rukeyeser Award in the United States and the Voices Israel Award for Poetry.
Rogers has written songs for children with her husband, mandolinist Rick van Krugel (whom Muddy Waters called “the best white blues mandolin player in the world”), who also accompanies readings, and lyrics for various songwriters. Her song for Terry Fox marked the thirtieth anniversary of his run. She wrote the screenplay for the award-winning film Legend of the Dolphins and the play Warhol for the Ontario Gallery of Art. She is currently writing a children's book, Hello. Wiksas? with Kwakwaka'wakw artist Chief Rande Cook, whose primary interest is also in the rights and rites of children.
Rogers writes literary criticism and profiles of many Canadian artists and is currently involved in an ekphrasis project, women poets responding to women painters, with Mexican artist Maria Luisa de Villa.
She teaches, performs and reports from Victoria, taking dictation from her crow friends.
110 pages, $19.95
6” x 8” 978-1-896949-69-7
Mother Tongue Publishing
Undiscovered Country is filled with soulful accomplished writing in a variety of lyrical modes, including the long poem. When someone we love dies, what we miss are their presences and particulars. In this new book Rempel journeys through the grieving process, exploring death and loss, and the “dark night of the soul”; through the filters of the geographies and seasons of northern BC. What he finds is an “undiscovered country.” Even the bright clouds in spring or the colours of fall, or an afternoon with his daughter, offer an opportunity for the poet to contemplate his existence and rework his worldview. In this new country, he finds a measure of hope, even in the darkest night; like the moon, illuminating the road by the river.
About the Author
Al Rempel’s books of poetry are This Isn't the Apocalypse We Hoped For, Understories and two chapbooks: Four Neat Holes and The Picket Fence Diaries. His poems have also appeared in various journals including The Malahat Review, GRAIN, CV2, Event, and Prairie Fire as well as in anthologies such as The Best Canadian Poetry in English, Rocksalt, 4Poets, and Half in the Sun. He was awarded Prince George's Arts & Culture Award for Poetry in 2012 and Shortlisted for the Fred Cogswell Excellence in Poetry Award in 2013. One of his poems was shortlisted for Arc's Poem of the Year Award in 2015 and his poems have been included twice in the Poetry in Transit project in Vancouver. Rempel has also had some of his poems translated into Italian by the poet Sandro Pecchiari. Rempel has also created a number of videopoems in collaboration with local artists. “Sky Canoe” was screened at the Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver, 2012, and at the Filmpoem Festival in Dunbar, Scotland, 2013, as well as Liberated Words in Bristol, UK, 2013. Three of the poems in Undiscovered Country have also been made into videopoems. Al Rempel currently lives in Prince George, where he teaches math and science at a high school, but grew up in Abbotsford and loves to visit the Gulf Islands.
WINNER of the 4th Great BC Novel Contest.
$23.95, 250 pages
This astonishing novel begins at a fair on a hot August day in 1971 in Hope, BC. Sage and Della Howard are driving to Fernie to start a job and begin a new life. They stop for a break, lose their dog and in the search find a crying toddler in the nearby woods instead, and just as unexpectedly, are back on the road continuing their journey with her. As the story unfolds and years pass, the Howards keep their dark secret and raise Stacey as their own. A compelling and original story, with fascinating characters, well-paced, that takes you to the other side of happenstance and fear.
“A dog is lost; a child is found. This is the terrific opening to this year's winning novel in the 4th Mother Tongue prize plus publishing contest: Ordinary Strangers, by Bill Stenson. We are quickly led into a complex world full of quirky characters, centred around the "found" child, Stacey, who wonders why there are no baby pictures of her in the family album. At times very funny, at times horrific and at times so sad, this novel will make you think hard about what it means to be a family and how far one can travel on the rocky road to forgiveness without completely falling apart.”–Audrey Thomas, author and final judge
“A beautifully written and imagined novel about children and parents and love, both blossoming and in peril…the writing is breath-taking, and the plot is surprising and jarring, while the landscapes of the BC Interior are so vivid and natural.”–John Lent, author and short-list judge
About the Author
Bill Stenson is a writer who currently lives in the Cowichan Valley. He has published a short story collection, Translating Women, and two novels, Svoboda and Hanne and Her Brother, all published by Thistledown Press. He has taught creative writing at the high school level, the Victoria School of Writing, and the University of Victoria. He co-founded The Claremont Review with Terence Young, an international literary magazine for young adult writers that is still going today, a magazine he edited for many years.