Friday, July 27, 2007

Lure of the Labrador Wild, excerpt #1

The following excerpt is from Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallance. Wallace's account of the failed canoe expedition through the Labrador wilderness that resulted in the death of journalist Leonidas Hubbard was first published in 1905 by Fleming H. Revell, New York. The unabridged audio edition is narrated by Jody Richardson and is available from Rattling Books.

I. The Object of the Expedition


"How would you like to go to Labrador, Wallace?" It was a snowy
night in late November, 1901, that my friend, Leonidas Hubbard, Jr., asked me this question. All day he and I had been tramping through the snow among the Shawangunk Mountains in southern New York, and when the shades of evening fell we had built a lean-to of boughs to shelter us from the storm. Now that we had eaten our supper of bread and bacon, washed down with tea, we lay before our roaring campfire, luxuriating in its glow and warmth.

Hubbard's question was put to me so abruptly that it rather
startled me.

"Labrador!" I exclaimed. "Now where in the world is Labrador?"


Of course I knew it was somewhere in the north-eastern part of the
continent; but so many years had passed since I laid away my old school geography that its exact situation had escaped my memory, and the only other knowledge I had retained of the country was a confused sense of its being a sort of Arctic wilderness. Hubbard proceeded to enlighten me, by tracing with his pencil, on the fly-leaf of his notebook, an outline map of the peninsula.

"Very interesting," I commented. "But why do you wish to go there?"


"Man," he replied, "don't you realise it's about the only part of
the continent that hasn't been explored? As a matter of fact, there isn't much more known of the interior of Labrador now than when Cabot discovered the coast more than four hundred years ago."

He jumped up to throw more wood on the fire. "Think of it,
Wallace!" he went on, "A great unknown land right near home, as wild and primitive to-day as it has always been! I want to see it. I want to get into a really wild country and have some of the experiences of the old fellows who explored and opened up the country where we are now."

Resuming his place by the blazing logs, Hubbard unfolded to me his plan, then vague and in the rough, of exploring a part of the unknown eastern end of the peninsula. Of trips such as this he had been dreaming since childhood. When a mere boy on his father's farm in Michigan, he had lain for hours out under the trees in the orchard poring over a map of Canada and making imaginary journeys into the unexplored. Boone and Crockett were his heroes, and sometimes he was so affected by the tales of their adventures that he must needs himself steal away to the woods and camp out for two or three days.

It was at this period that he resolved to head some day an exploring expedition of his own, and this resolution he forgot neither while a student nor while serving as a newspaper man in Detroit and New York. At length, through a connection he made with a magazine devoted to out-of-door life, he was able to make several long trips into the wild. Among other places, he visited the Hudson Bay region, and once penetrated to the winter hunting ground of the Mountaineer Indians, north of Lake St. John, in southern Labrador. These trips, however, failed to satisfy him; his ambition was to reach a region where no white man had preceded him. Now, at the age of twenty-nine, he believed that his ambition was about to be realised.

"It's always the way, Wallace," he said; "when a fellow starts on along trail, he's never willing to quit. It'll be the same with you if you go with me to Labrador. You'll say each trip will be thelast, but when you come home you'll hear the voice of thewilderness calling you to return, and it will lure you away again and again. I thought my Lake St. John trip was something, but while there I stood at the portals of the unknown, and it brought back stronger than ever the old longing to make discoveries, so that now the walls of the city seem to me a prison and I simply must get away."

My friend's enthusiasm was contagious. It had never previouslyoccurred to me to undertake the game of exploration; but, like most American boys, I had had youthful dreams of going into a great wild country, even as my forefathers had gone, and Hubbard's talk brought back the old juvenile love of adventure. That night before we lay down to sleep I said: "Hubbard, I'll go with you." And so the thing was settled--that was how Hubbard's expedition had its birth.


To be continued.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Part 2 of Adrift on an Ice Pan, the comic

Wilfred Grenfell, Comic Book Hero

Ever wondered how Wilfred Grenfell's harrowing tale of survival in northern Newfoundland would translate into comic book form? Wonder no longer. The good doctor already made his debut way back in Issue 10 of True Comics.

The digital collections' page of Michigan State University Libraries has this to say about the series:

"True Comics was begun in 1941 to 'counteract the wild, rowdy superhero comics,' according to comics historian Ron Goulart (The Comic Book Reader's Companion, HarperPerennial, 1993). The editors were David Marke, a historian, and later Elliot Caplin, a prolific comics writer. True Comics, it could be said, sparked a small genre of non-fiction newsstand comics. Real Heroes, from the same publisher, lasted 21 issues (1941-1946), and other publishers produced similar titles: Real Life Comics (1941-1952), and Real Fact Comics (1946-1949), for example. True Comics was the most successful, lasting until 1950 and producing 84 issues."

Click here to read the second page of the True Comics version of Wilfred T. Grenfell's Adrift on an Ice Pan.

Next week: page three of Grenfell's comic book blockbuster

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Adrift on an Ice Pan, by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company. The unabridged audio edition of Adrift on an Ice Pan, narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence, is available from Rattling Books.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thesis Defence: the Poetry of Don McKay

Notice of Defence

On Friday, July 27th at 12:30pm in Room 200 of the University of British Columbia Graduate Student Centre, Travis Mason will defend his doctoral thesis, "Ornithology of Desire: Birding in the Ecotone and the Poetry of Don McKay".

We wish him the best of luck.

*************

Coming soon from Rattling Books:

Songs for the Songs of Birds, Don McKay's selection of poems on the theme of birds, birding and flight. Narrated by Don McKay, the soundtrack features bird song recordings identified to species. Click here to hear Don McKay reading "Sometimes a Voice 1".

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Audio Book Contest Results










The Audio Book is Dead; Long Live the Audio Book


Rattling Books is pleased to announce the two winners of its audio book renaming contest, which featured on the Rattling Books Facebook page. To bring you up to speed: We solicited submissions of a new term to describe audio literature because “audio books” seems to have gathered nothing but negative associations in its tenure as reigning moniker.

The winning entry, DigiLit, was proposed by two entrants: Dana Evely in South Korea and Anne Mulkeen Murray in St. John’s, both of whom will receive fine—dare we say it?—DigiLit from Rattling Books for their winning entries.

The contest was judged by audiophiles and literary sages Julie Wilson, George Murray and Shoshanna Wingate. For full bios, please see below.

Thanks to all who participated in the contest, judges and entrants. Rattling Books is planning an ongoing series of word-related contests, so stay tuned. Details to follow as we dream them up.


Judges:

Julie Wilson
is the author of the popular book blog Seen Reading. She works at House of Anansi Press where she is the resident Facebook guru. Her fiction has been published in Taddle Creek and in Maisonneuve magazines. She lives in Toronto.

George Murray
is the award-winning author of four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is The Rush to Here (Nightwood Editions, 2007). His poetry and fiction has appeared in journals in Canada, the United States, Australia and Germany. He is the editor of the literary blog bookninja.com and a book reviewer for the Globe & Mail.

Shoshanna Wingate
is a poet and fiction writer. She received an MFA in Poetry from the New School and has extensive experience working with non-profit literary organizations, including Poets & Writers, Inc in New York. She is currently the Executive Director of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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To see a complete list of the contest entries, visit the discussion board on Rattling Books' Facebook group page.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Je sais que nous devons avoir ses livres: Mavis Gallant in Paris

In Paris with Mavis Gallant, Writer
from The Walrus
July 2007
Randy Boyagoda

“M’excuser, monsieur. Je cherche des livres par Mavis Gallant. Où peux-je les trouver?” I asked the bookseller my question and then braced for his answer. This was an upmarket bookstore in Montparnasse, after all, and I was fumbling at the counter with Ontario schoolboy French. If my prior encounters in Paris were a reliable guide, my effort would be met with a practised combination of annoyance, pity, amusement, and withering contempt. But this time proved different. The bookseller ignored how rudely I had chewed through his native tongue.

“Pardon. Je sais que nous devons avoir ses livres, mais nous ne les avons pas,” he said in a sheepish, apologetic way, as if he were acknowledging a failure of literary responsibility. He knew he ought to have Mavis Gallant’s books on offer, but he didn’t. I would expect an exchange like this in a Canadian bookstore, but it was surprising here, in Paris, in Gallant’s own neighbourhood, in a city she’s been living in for some five decades. I was about to meet her at a restaurant across the street and had ducked into the book­store, curious to see where, not if, Gallant was placed on the shelves. She had chosen the restaurant and agreed to a conversation on a Sunday afternoon this past October through a correspondence that had stretched over a year. Though eighty-four, frail by her own admission, and exhausted from participating in two recently filmed documentaries about her life and work, she eventually agreed to my request [...]

To read the entire article, follow this link.

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The unabridged audio edition of Mavis Gallant's short story collection, Montreal Stories (published as Varieties of Exile in the United States), is narrated by Margot Dionne and published by Rattling Books.

Friday, July 20, 2007

July Song Circle

The monthly Song Circle
THURSDAY, JULY 26 at 8 p.m.
at
THE CROW’S NEST OFFICERS' CLUB, off Duckworth Street, east of the War Memorial, St. John's, Newfoundland

Come along and sing a song or perform a recitation, if you're in the mood. Just sit with your pint and listen, if you'd rather. If you don’t want to sing, you can recite. Anything goes!

Sponsored by Anita Best, Linda Byrne and Eleanor Dawson

To get in the mood, listen here to Simone Savard-Walsh singing the ballad ( Fair Fannie Moore). This recording of Simone comes from the Rattling Books poetry CD by Agnes Walsh In the Old Country of My Heart.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Part 1 of Adrift on an Ice Pan, the comic

Wilfred Grenfell, Comic Book Hero

Ever wondered how Wilfred Grenfell's harrowing tale of survival in northern Newfoundland would translate into comic book form? Wonder no longer. The good doctor already made his debut way back in Issue 10 of True Comics.

The digital collections' page of Michigan State University Libraries has this to say about the series:

"True Comics was begun in 1941 to 'counteract the wild, rowdy superhero comics,' according to comics historian Ron Goulart (The Comic Book Reader's Companion, HarperPerennial, 1993). The editors were David Marke, a historian, and later Elliot Caplin, a prolific comics writer. True Comics, it could be said, sparked a small genre of non-fiction newsstand comics. Real Heroes, from the same publisher, lasted 21 issues (1941-1946), and other publishers produced similar titles: Real Life Comics (1941-1952), and Real Fact Comics (1946-1949), for example. True Comics was the most successful, lasting until 1950 and producing 84 issues."

Click here to read the first page of the True Comics version of Wilfred T. Grenfell's Adrift on an Ice Pan.

Next week: page two of Grenfell's comic book blockbuster

************

Adrift on an Ice Pan, by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company. The unabridged audio edition of Adrift on an Ice Pan, narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence, is available from Rattling Books.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Agnes Walsh's New Play Covered in The Charter

From the Shore
to the Sea: Tramore Productions set to release new play

The Charter
July 16, 2007
Linda Browne


In her latest play, renowned local playwright Agnes Walsh tackles some heavy issues, but she insists that it’s not a sentimental production.


Walsh describes her play from Tramore Productions, First View of the Sea, as a mini-novel in which she tries to deal with the raw material of life.


“That’s what interests me. I guess in a way the raw material of life is kind of my palette to write from,” she says.


The play focuses on a mother, her two children, and the passing on and importance of oral traditions in their lives.


“The mother in the family is very old and her son lives with her. And she goes in and out of dementia. And so she really wants to pass on a lot of the oral history that she knows from the Bay, from genealogy and those sorts of things. And the son is kind of learning that,” Walsh says.


“And there’s a daughter that comes into it and she thinks that the son is encouraging the dementia, by going in to all of this old oral history with the mother. So basically, there’s a conflict of values going on, and it pretty much kind of shows up inside of the family structure.


“Often times, a lot of old people with dementia, all they really have is their past, is their oral history. And I wanted to play up the importance of that in peoples’ lives.


Walsh hopes that each member of the audience will take something away from the production.


“It’s kind of a look at a life and it could be anybody’s life. But if people in the audience can’t identify with it, then I think at least it’s an investigation into the lives of others,” she says.


To read the complete article, click here.

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In the Old Country of My Heart, Agnes Walsh's first book of poems, is available as an unabridged audio recording, read by Agnes Walsh with unaccompanied ballads by Simone Savard-Walsh and pump organ music by George Morgan, from Rattling Books.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mavis Gallant Featured in The Paris Review's Art of Fiction

The Art of Fiction No. 160
from The Paris Review
Winter 1999

INTERVIEWER: Does it bother you that there are true stories that you’ll never put down?

GALLANT: It depends on what you call a true story. A journalism student in Germany once told me she was bothered by the fact that the most plain and simple and ordinary news stories could conceal an important falsehood. She gave me an example, say, a couple celebrating their seventieth wedding anniversary. They will sit holding hands for the photographer and they’ve had their ups and downs over the years, but the marriage has been a happy one. The reporter can only repeat what they say. But what if the truth is that they positively hate each other? In that case, the whole interview is a lie. I told her that if she wanted to publish the lie perceived behind the interview, she had to write fiction. (She became a critic, by the way.)

To see The Paris Review's page on Mavis Gallant, follow this link.

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The unabridged audio edition of Mavis Gallant's short story collection, Montreal Stories (published as Varieties of Exile in the United States), is narrated by Margot Dionne and published by Rattling Books.

Monday, July 16, 2007

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, July 16-22

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, What light decays, is by Anne Compton.

from John Steffler's word of introduction:

"The Poem of the Week website features a new poem by a Canadian poet each week. The initiative, which was started in 2003 by Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Bowering, and continued by his successor, Pauline Michel, has proven very popular as a way of showing readers everywhere a sample of the work of Canada’s contemporary poets. The support of the Library of Parliament makes it possible for me to keep the project alive.

There are many fine poets writing in Canada today. My aims are the same as those of George Bowering and Pauline Michel: to try to offer an inclusive representation of contemporary Canadian poetry in both English and French from all the country’s regions.

Here you will encounter the skill, imagination, and wide variety in Canadian poetry and gain a special insight into life in this country..."

******************

The unabridged audio edition of The Grey Islands by John Steffler, narrated by John Steffler, Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Diedre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins, is available from rattlingbooks.com

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Plunge into the Wild (Hubbard Expedition) July 15, 1903


By a campfire in southern New York in 1901, Leonidas Hubbard Jr. put the question to his friend: “How would you like to go to Labrador, Wallace?”

By 1903 the plans were laid and Hubbard confided: “It will be a big thing, Wallace. It ought to make my reputation.”

On July 15, 1903 the two set out from Northwest River, Labrador with their guide, George Elson, to canoe up the Nascapi River to Lake Michikamau in the interior and make new maps, meet Indians, and run with caribou – all fodder for famous magazine articles Hubbard would write. But alas, they took the wrong river and Hubbard’s reputation was made instead through his death by starvation on the Susan River. A hundred years later the tale of his folly is no less poignant.
The unabridged audio edition of The Lure of the Labrador Wild as produced by Rattling Books is narrated by Jody Richardson.
Visit our new myspace page for this title: Lure of the Labrador Wild on Myspace.com

Friday, July 13, 2007

Michael Crummey at Ontario Literary Festival

from the Peterborough Examiner

Who's Who
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Here's a look at the authors, performers and hosts coming to take part in the Lakefield Literary Festival:

- Ken Alexander is the editor of The Walrus magazine.

- Nancy Belgue is the author of three books of young adult fiction: The Scream of the Hawk, Summer on the Run, and Casey Little, Yo-Yo Queen.

- Noelle Boughton is the author of the book Margaret Laurence: A Gift of Grace, which documents the spiritual life of the novelist Margaret Laurence.

- Anne Laurel Carter is a children's writer. She co-edited the book of essays titled My Wedding Dress: True-Life Tales of Lace, Laughter, Tears and Tulle, published earlier this year.

- Karen Connelly is the author of seven books of fiction and poetry. Her latest novel, The Lizard Cage, is set in Burma.

- Michael Crummey wrote two novels: River Thieves and The Wreckage.

To read the complete list of writers appearing at the Lakefield Literary Festival this year, please click here. To see the festival schedule click here.

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Michael Crummey is also the author of three poetry collections: Arguments with Gravity, Hard Light, and Salvage. Hard Light: 32 Little Stories is available in an audio edition from Rattling Books read by Michael Crummey, Ron Hynes and Deidre Gillard-Rowlings.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dictionary of Newfoundland English: water pups in a poem by Mary Dalton

The following entry is from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English :

water pup: blister, sore or inflammation common among fishermen, whose skin is often in contact with salt water. Possibly a playful synonym of water whelp. Also attrib.
1909 BROWNE 118 Others, with bandaged hands or arms 'in a sling' are suffering from sores, deep ugly ulcers ('water-pups') that need skilled attention. 1920 WALDO 56 So many fishermen get what are called 'water-whelps' or 'water-pups,'—pustules on the forearm due to the abrasion of the skin by more or less infected clothing. C 65-4 Water pups are a form of boil [breaking] out on arms that have been rubbed by wet clothing and salt water. C 69-2 When he was fishing he never failed to use water pup chains around the wrist. These were brass chains worn to prevent the wrist and arm from being chafed by the oil or rubber coat and causing water pups which he says could be pretty bad.


Water pups appears in "Water Pups" in Merrybegot, a collection of poems by Mary Dalton, the audio edition of which was narrated by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn; published by Rattling Books in 2005.


Water Pups

On shore, to think on the water.
Once out, windshook as a rotten pine,
To see in sleep the great water bears
And go in dread of a wild weather light,
To burn with the fire of water pups

Hands full right up to the elbow

Sometimes so big two'd go into one.
To think on the yoked goats,
The rocky paths, the tilt of
The yellowbelly, junks a-crackle in the red stove,
The missus and youngsters run down from the flake.
Out on the water, to think on the shore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Review of Mary Dalton's Red Ledger in Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire
Review of Books
Reviewed by Andrew Vaisius

It isn't until a good third of the way through Red Ledger that Mary Dalton, an out-loud poet, comes out, with lines like these: "dried blood in the cold-eyed sun" (35) "Clouds: racing masses of soot./ Dried grasses bow to the seething,/ bend as one to the sea" (36). These are images you can spit at. Just be sure which direction the wind is blowing. By the book's end Dalton rolls like breakers over rock beaches. "There never were larks--/ first light sent crows," she declares in "Dawn Song":

Caw! Their black whoops
ricochet across the hill:
void made flesh,
maddened accordion, blood-carnival. (96)

Out loud and loud poetry, to be sure. "Salt Mounds, St. John's Harbour" becomes total hyperbole: "these would be her breasts--/ these massive salt mounds/ laced tight in their black vinyl tarps" and "she'll burn all she touches" (22) sounds anything but namby-pamby [...]


To read the complete review, click here.

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Mary's previous book of poems, Merrybegot, is available as an unabridged audio recording narrated by Anita Best with music by Patrick Boyle from Rattling Books.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, July 9-15

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, ESPRIT, is by Jean Yves COLLETTE.

from John Steffler's word of introduction:

"The Poem of the Week website features a new poem by a Canadian poet each week. The initiative, which was started in 2003 by Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Bowering, and continued by his successor, Pauline Michel, has proven very popular as a way of showing readers everywhere a sample of the work of Canada’s contemporary poets. The support of the Library of Parliament makes it possible for me to keep the project alive.

There are many fine poets writing in Canada today. My aims are the same as those of George Bowering and Pauline Michel: to try to offer an inclusive representation of contemporary Canadian poetry in both English and French from all the country’s regions.

Here you will encounter the skill, imagination, and wide variety in Canadian poetry and gain a special insight into life in this country..."

******************

The unabridged audio edition of The Grey Islands by John Steffler, narrated by John Steffler, Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Diedre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins, is available from rattlingbooks.com

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Chronicle Herald's Fall Fiction List: Michael Winter's The Architects Are Here

Fall fiction to thrill, stimulate
from the Chronicle Herald
July 9, 2007
Mary Jo Anderson

Two days in a huge convention centre full of authors, publishers and books is like being locked into a candy store at night, or better yet, a bookstore.

I attended the annual Book Expo Canada Conference and Trade Show hosted by the Canadian Booksellers Association and organized by Reed Exhibitions. I arrived in time for the Libris Awards ceremony and emerged three days later with my head swimming with new titles and copies of catalogues.

Here are some of the fiction highlights coming this fall from publishers across Canada. (A later article will feature new titles from Atlantic publishers).

Where to start? Perhaps with one of the most anticipated books of the season [...]

Read synopsis of Michael Winter's The Architects Are Here and other fall titles here.

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Coming soon from Rattling Books: an unabridged audio edition of The Big Why, Michael Winter's dazzling reinvention of the historical novela passionate and witty faux memoir of Rockwell Kent, the famous illustrator of Moby Dick. Narrated by Robert Joy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Excerpt: Adrift on an Ice-Pan by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, installment #11

The following excerpt is from Adrift on an Ice-Pan by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. A true account of Grenfell's near death experience, the story was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company. The unabridged audio edition narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence is available from rattlingbooks.com

Excerpt


But it was now freezing hard. I knew the calm water between us would form into cakes, and I had to recognize that the chance of getting near enough to escape on to it was gone. If, on the other hand, the whole bay froze solid again I had yet another possible chance. For my pan would hold together longer and I should be opposite another village, called Goose Cove, at daylight, and might possibly be seen from there. I knew that the komatiks there would be starting at daybreak over the hills for a parade of Orangemen about twenty miles away. Possibly, therefore, I might be seen as they climbed the hills. So I lay down, and went to sleep again.

It seems impossible to say how long one sleeps, but I woke with a sudden thought in my mind that I must have a flag; but again I had no pole and no flag. However, I set to work in the dark to disarticulate the legs of my dead dogs, which were now frozen stiff, and which were all that offered a chance of carrying anything like a distress signal. Cold as it was, I determined to sacrifice my shirt for that purpose with the first streak of daylight.

It took a long time in the dark to get the legs off, and when I had patiently marled them together with old harness rope and the remains of the skin traces, it was the heaviest and crookedest flag-pole it has ever been my lot to see. I had had no food from six o'clock the morning before, when I had eaten porridge and bread and butter. I had, however, a rubber band which I had been wearing instead of one of my garters, and I chewed that for twenty-four hours. It saved me from thirst and hunger, oddly enough. It was not possible to get a drink from my pan, for it was far too salty. But anyhow that thought did not distress me much, for as from time to time I heard the cracking and grinding of the newly formed slob, it seemed that my devoted boat must
inevitably soon go to pieces.


To be continued.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bookslut Chats Up Michael Winter

The Big Why: A Conversation with Michael Winter
from Bookslut.com
February 2006

My initial interest in Michael Winter’s The Big Why was primarily because its subject, Rockwell Kent, is an American artist that I actually can identify. When I worked at a bookstore in Fairbanks, Alaska, Kent’s small and elegant book, N by E was always popular with the tourists. Aside from his trip to the Last Frontier that the book was based on however, I really didn’t know that much about Kent’s work or his personal life. That fact that Winter chose to write about Kent through the guise of historical fiction made it seem much more approachable to me, and less intimidating. Having Michael Ondaatje’s ringing endorsement on the cover, (“A wild and bravely written novel that shatters the spine of ‘historical fiction’.”), didn’t hurt much either.

On the surface, Winter’s novel is about the period in Kent’s life when at the age of thirty he decided to leave New York City behind and settle with his wife and three children in the remote area of Brigus, Newfoundland. He was hoping to get away from the superficial nature of the city and find the quiet wonder that he believed existed in Newfoundland. Most of the appeal for Brigus was based on Bob Bartlett, the famous arctic explorer who had captained Robert Peary’s ship on his successful journey to the North Pole. Kent had heard Bartlett speak years before and then became friends with him and was so taken with the kind of man that he was, with his total lack of artifice and obvious deep love for his home, that Kent could not forget it. He believed he would find something that his life was lacking by moving to Brigus. Finally, in 1914, he convinced his wife Kathleen to give it a try. Then he packed his art supplies and left for the North, with his family planning to follow, after he had secured a home [...]

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

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Coming soon from Rattling Books: an unabridged audio edition of The Big Why, Michael Winter's dazzling reinvention of the historical novela passionate and witty faux memoir of Rockwell Kent, the famous illustrator of Moby Dick. Narrated by Robert Joy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dictionary of Newfoundland English: drite in a poem by Mary Dalton

The following entry is from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English :

drite* n also driet, dryth [phonetics unavailable]. OED dryth now dial (1533-); EDD dryth 1 s cties. Dryness in the air, low humidity; little dampness or fog, consequently a condition suitable for drying salted cod; hence the degree of dryness of the various grades or 'culls' of fish (see 1962 quot).
1897 J A Folklore x, 205 Driet or dryth, dryness or dryingness. 'It's no use spreading out the fish, there is no driet in the weather.' 1924 ENGLAND 221-2 Such wind an' rain, me sons! Dere was no let-up, an' no driet [clearing up] in de wedder, a week on end. 1937 DEVINE 19 Driet, dryth. Drying power in the weather prevailing. 1962 Nfld Fisheries Conf 202 He don't feel like selling a draft of light cured fish say for $13.00 which is a problem which must arise owing to the drieth of the fish, there is so much moisture in the heavy cured fish. 1966 HORWOOD 266 But this early in the morning the day had almost perfect 'dryth.' P 157-73 There's no dryth for the fish today.


Drite appears in "Cullage" in Merrybegot, a collection of poems by Mary Dalton, the audio edition of which was narrated by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn; published by Rattling Books in 2005.

Cullage

Not a bit of drite.
Day after day of this mauzy old stuff

Now the fish is maggotty and it's slimy,
And I got to get out on the flake again
With small tubs and pickle and wash it.
And rewash it and perhaps the weather'll
Marl on like this for a fortnight,
And when 'tis all over I got nothing

Nothing to show but a mess of cullage.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, July 2-8

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, Entering Active Pass, is by Jane Munro.

from John Steffler's word of introduction:

"The Poem of the Week website features a new poem by a Canadian poet each week. The initiative, which was started in 2003 by Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Bowering, and continued by his successor, Pauline Michel, has proven very popular as a way of showing readers everywhere a sample of the work of Canada’s contemporary poets. The support of the Library of Parliament makes it possible for me to keep the project alive.

There are many fine poets writing in Canada today. My aims are the same as those of George Bowering and Pauline Michel: to try to offer an inclusive representation of contemporary Canadian poetry in both English and French from all the country’s regions.

Here you will encounter the skill, imagination, and wide variety in Canadian poetry and gain a special insight into life in this country..."

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The unabridged audio edition of The Grey Islands by John Steffler, narrated by John Steffler, Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Diedre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins, is available from rattlingbooks.com

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Clubbing with Joel Thomas Hynes

from the Globe and Mail

Book Club with a Twist
by Nadja Sayej

"...If Joel Hynes tickles your reading fancy, you might want to visit the Drake in August. Mr. Hynes's book Right Away Monday is the pick for that month. But please, no talk of metaphors."

To read the entire article, please click here.

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The unabridged audio edition of Down to the Dirt by Joel Thomas Hynes, narrated by Joel Thomas Hynes, Sherry White and Jonny Harris is available here from rattlingbooks.com