Anvil Press Winnipeg Group Launch with Patrick Friesen, Sarah Gilbert, Eve Joseph & Annette LapointeFriday Oct 06 2023 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium, Streaming via YouTube
Join four Anvil Press authors with prairie roots for their Winnipeg book launches this evening! The event will be hosted live in the Atrium of McNally Robinson Booksellers, and also available as a simultaneous YouTube stream. Before arriving, please review details of how to attend physical events here at the store. The venue is accessible.
It’s a literary extravaganza full of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, featuring readings from Patrick Friesen’s Reckoning (poetry); Sarah Gilbert’s Our Lady of Mile End (stories); Eve Joseph’s In the Slender Margin (memoir); and Annette Lapointe’s swim: into the north’s blue eye (poetry).
Patrick Friesen has published more than a dozen books of poetry. Most recently he has released the collaborative CD, Buson’s Bell, with Niko Friesen, and Outlasting the Weather: Selected & New Poems, 1994-2020, published by Anvil Press.
Sarah Gilbert is from Winnipeg but has been living in Mile End Montreal since 1990. Gilbert has worked as a freelance writer and a radio producer and is a faculty member at Dawson College where she teaches literature.
Eve Joseph’s nonfiction has been shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards and won in the “Gold” category of the Western Magazine Awards. The first edition of In the Slender Margin won the Hubert Evans Nonfiction Prize and was named one of the Top 100 Books of the Year by the Globe and Mail.
Annette Lapointe’s first novel was nominated for a Giller Prize and was the Winner of two Saskatchewan Book Awards, a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and cited as a Globe & Mail Top 5 First Fiction choice. swim: into the north’s blue eye is her debut poetry collection.
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Reckoning is one long poem in search of itself, its own meaning. A synecdoche of verse, segments calling and responding to each other, like jazz musicians riffing back and forth in a late-night smokey speakeasy. Snippets of conversation make it through the air, across the space that seems vast even in its closeness. We are big, we are small, there is eternity in a birdcall. This is end times, yet beginnings surround us. They are there in memory, in grief, in happiness and in song.
Here is a master poet taking stock in later years. Adrift and grounded, lost in memories that are alive in the present and also lost to history, the artist's mind cannot help but speculate and wonder about the navigation of it all. How does one chart the course? How did one chart the course? And what was discovered along the way? Joy, awe, grief, loss, wonder . . . "disappearing into the mind of the dream, / that opening," and now all rolled into one ball of what, wisdom?
"what was my early life, banging away at that padlocked gate?
. . .
is this where
the return begins? starting over in old age, body
falling apart according to plan, and no blossoming
wisdom, kneeling on the muddy riverbank, thirsty
once again for mind,
. . .
the brain falters the stories skew once more into
something unfamiliar, something from long before
you, and those pieces won't be put together again,
not ever, will they?"
What connects us with the past? Memory and story. Each fragment a part of the whole. Without it we exist in isolation. Friesen's deep and careful observations make Reckoning both intensely personal and universal.
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Our Lady of Mile End is a neighbourhood of stories where recurring characters face personal challenges and unexpected intimacies against a backdrop of renoviction threats and walking tours.
The overlapping lives (of girls and women, tenants and landlords, neighbours and strangers, the old generation and the next) chart the tensions and affections among people living in a community that has turned into a destination.
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Originally published in 2014, In the Slender Margin was enthusiastically received and applauded for its respectful sensitivity in dealing with a subject that is still, to many, an avoidable topic of conversation: death and dying. Using her 20+ years' experience working as a palliative care counsellor in a hospice as a springboard for exploration, Joseph probes our collective knowledge of that final life experience that we all must face.
Intimately personal and wise, this award-winning poet gives us a deep and profound musing, a "wise and lyrical meditation" on the slender margin, that mysterious slip of geography between life and death.
From the Preface:
"First published in 2014, In the Slender Margin was/still is, a meditation of sorts on death and dying. It did not prescribe then, nor does it now, ways to move through grief in order to find closure. I wrote the book as a way of understanding what I had seen in my years as a hospice counsellor. In the process of writing and thinking about death from many different angles, I found the brother I had lost many years ago and, fifty years after his death, was able finally to mourn and hold him close. COVID-19 has initiated many discussions about mortality. It is my hope that this book can add, in whatever way, to those conversations."
Praise for In the Slender Margin:
"In the Slender Margin is intended as an exploration rather than a balm or solace, though it will no doubt be those things for some people. Its resonance comes, rather, from its intelligent open-endedness, its unflinching, simultaneous embrace of death's reality and persistent mystery." (Globe and Mail)
"A literate, free-association meditation on the final fact of life." ( Kirkus Reviews )
"Intricate and beautiful . . . Provides an intimate language for grief and makes death a site of wonder as much as pain. . . . In her careful prose, her encounters with the dead, dying and mourning take on a kind of grace." ( National Post
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Annette Lapointe's poetry collection swim / into the north's blue eye explores the gothic anxieties and bodily discomforts of constant travel. Some of its journeys are global, but many are more regionally oriented: from one prairie city to another, between small towns, from city to cottage-country, from prairie to coast. The collection also follows Lapointe's family migrations around western Canada, particularly into fly-in communities of northern Saskatchewan in the 1960s and 70s. Those settlements, which make every trip monumental, provide a frame for years of restlessness and desire, and for meditations on the still world and its swarming occupants.