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Mansfield Press on the Road!

It’s that time of year again, when we finally get to share the marvellous projects we have been working on, and you get a chance to meet our authors up close and personal. Posted below you will find an updated launch schedule. We hope you can join us along the way. It’s time we had a little visit, isn’t it?

Those of you in Toronto who can’t make the launches may want to drop in and see the new books at the marvellous Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market. You’ll find some amazing authors and amazing publishers, and if you are there at the right time, you can celebrate the announcement of this year’s bpNichol Chapbook Award. We will be at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Ave., Toronto) Saturday November 14, from 12 pm until 5 pm.

All Launches

 

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New Fall Launch Dates

After a lovely Peterborough launch of Tara Azzopardi’s Last Stop, Lonesome Town, we are continuing our tour of the fall books. Please join us along the way to meet our authors and hear some great readings. And check back in on this page as we may be adding dates.

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Our first Launch in Peterborough with Tara Azzopardi and Stuart Ross!

Please join us on November 4. This one is going to be fun.

Peterborough Launch

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$4.00 Election Fun with Stephen Harper

RogueCoverLRZRogue Stimulus Revisited

With the election race coming into the home stretch, the “chattering classes” (that’s us) are lighting up social networks and op-eds to denounce the smear tactics of our Machiavellian PM. Carol Goar wrote a quick summary this morning, so we won’t repeat the many charges against the guy. You can read about his misdeeds just about anywhere these days, along with polls that show many Canadians might actually vote for him again. Funny world!

But remember when he prorogued Parliament not once, but twice? Those were good times! If you don’t want to hear the peoples’ voice, just shut down the House of Commons. Talk about creativity!

The last time it happened Stephen Brockwell and Stuart Ross came up with an idea to give back Canadians their voice, and what a chorus it turned out to be. Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Holiday Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament was filled with poems from across the country celebrating our great authoritarian-in-chief. Reading it today shows how well it holds up and how well it captures our country and our illustrious PM.

It was a fun project and we thought you might like to have a look too. So from now until election day we are going to drop the price of Rogue Stimulus to a mere $4.00. That’s basically the cost of postage and a bubble envelope. You’ll hear from many different voices in this collection and who knows, come October 19th, you may want to add your own.

Below you’ll find Stuart’s introduction to the book to give you a little background on how this project came about. We’ll post Stephen’s preface in a couple of days too.

Happy election everyone!

 

It’s no secret that good political poems are about as rare in Canada as, well, a prime minister who punts Parliament so he can go watch snowball fights. But, somehow, when Stephen Brockwell called me, just a couple weeks ago, and—after a thoroughly entertaining rant—invited me to collaborate on an anthology of poetic responses to our illustrious pm, it totally slipped my mind.

I’ve had a bit of experience in the field. In 2004, I edited a small anthology called My Lump in the Bed: Love Poems for George W. Bush. I put out the word for that one, selectively, and within about 15 hours, I had over 30 poems. And back in the 1990s, when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien throttled a protestor one sunny Flag Day, I took his words to reporters about the incident, verbatim and in order, and created a found poem called “Minor Altercation.” It ended up getting published widely and I made about $900 from it (that’s about $30,000 in human money). So I liked Stephen’s idea a lot, and I approached Denis De Klerck, the publisher of Mansfield Press (where I’m the poetry editor). Thing about this book is that it had to move with lightning speed: collect the poems, choose, edit, typeset, design, proofread and get it to the printer so it’d be ready for the resumption of Parliament on March 3.

Denis rolled his eyes, smiling faintly, and maybe a little resignedly, as I suppose all publishers do when they agree to that big moneymaker—a poetry book. So later that day we sent out the call: we approached writers we admired; we alerted listservs; we sent out press releases. Our deadline was five days from Denis’s nod.

Over the first four days we received about 200 submissions. Then, just before our Tuesday-midnight deadline, Stephen Brockwell appeared on cbc Radio. The segment was kicked off with an awful limerick, but the interview went well otherwise. In the few pre-deadline hours after the show, another 100 or so poems flooded in. Stephen Harper inspired an awful lot of awful limericks among them. After the deadline, the limericks—and other poems—kept straggling into the inbox at harper@mansfieldpress.net.

Now, although I don’t ever want to read another goddamn limerick, I am awestruck by the number of people who pounced on their keyboards to vent their exasperation with Stephen Harper and his despicable second proroguing of Parliament on December 30, 2009. Denis De Klerck, Stephen Brockwell and I salute all of you—whether you sent in some free verse, a found poem, a sonnet, a haiku or…yes…a limerick.

From the 300-and-something poems that arrived, Stephen and I wrestled them down to what we felt was a representative—and high-quality—72. Seventy-two fine and varied poems, by writers and other ordinary people across the country—all giving Stephen Harper what for. (We did get a fantastic limerick at the last minute!) Will Rogue Stimulus bring about the fall of this Little Emperor and his diabolical plans for Canada? Maybe not, but it might give him something to read. Seeing as his government is doing everything possible to slaughter the country’s literary magazines, where else is he going to find poetry—especially poetry about his favourite subject: himself.

Anyway, I don’t want to prorogue your reading of this book much longer. Thanks again to the Canadians from across this country who sent in poems. And to the extraordinary artist Gary Clement for rustling up such a fantastic cover so quickly. And thanks to you, the reader, for buying extra copies of this book for all your cousins.

Enjoy. And see you on Parliament Hill!

Stuart Ross
Cobourg/Toronto
January 29, 2010

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Eva H.D. wins Montreal International Poetry Prize!

Big and hearty congratulations to Eva H.D., whose poem “38 Michigans” placed top in the Montreal International Poetry Prize. The prize brings with it $20,000. The editorial board looked at over 2,000 entries from 66 countries before handing off a shortlist to prize judge Eavan Boland.

You can hear Eva reading her poem right here.

Eva’s first poetry collection, Rotten Perfect Mouth, was published by Mansfield Press this past spring. It has quickly become one of the fastest-selling poetry titles in Mansfield’s history.

Prize judge Eavan Boland wrote:

This poem—“38 Michigans”—is a quirky, intense elegy. It works so well, I think, because it makes fresh again an old and powerful basis of lament: one in which all the contours of ordinary reference and experience are forced into a new shape. Where any logic of place or geography becomes the willing servant of memory and longing.

We never get to feel here that the person missed or lost is also being objectified into silence or passivity—a big risk in the contemporary elegy. Instead the subject of the poem is defined, right from the start, in original, offbeat, surprising ways so that we stay connected to them and to the emotional colour of the poem. They are “thirty-eight Michigans away.” Or they are “polishing off a sandwich made of rare, impossible air.”

There is a fine line being managed here between the sugar of whimsical language and the shadow of an actual loss. But the management is always adroit and convincing. The poem benefits from the tension. The whimsy itself suggests that grief has found a voice and is making its own reality with a devil-take-the-hindmost defiance.

Rotten Perfect Mouth_Cover

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