Friday, November 30, 2007

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, November 26-December 2

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, War Baby, is by John Donlan.

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, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins) is available from rattlingbooks.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lisa Moore loves Mavis Gallant




Lisa Moore loves Mavis Gallant.

Lisa Moore is one of this year's five CBC Canada Reads Panelists. The writer she has chosen to champion is Mavis Gallant (From the Fifteenth District).
Rattling Books also loves the writing of Mavis Gallant. In 2006 Rattling Books produced an award winning collection of Mavis Gallant short stories:

Montreal Stories
unabridged audio edition
by Mavis Gallant
Narrated by Margot Dionne
available from rattlingbooks.com

This collection of short stories by Mavis Gallant was selected by Russell Banks and printed in Canada by McClelland and Stewart Ltd. in 2004 under the title Montreal Stories and simultaneously in the United States by The New York Review of Books under the title Varieties of Exile. Thirteen of the fifteen stories first appeared in The New Yorker. The exceptions are "1933" which originally appeared as "Déclassé" in Mademoiselle and "The Fenton Child".

Stories in the collection Montreal Stories:

The Fenton Child / The End of the World / New Year's Eve / The Doctor / Voices Lost in Snow / In Youth is Pleasure / Between Zero and One / Varieties of Exile / 1933 / The Chosen Husband / From Cloud to Cloud / Florida / Let it Pass / In a War / The Concert Party

TELEMAN, Twelve Fantasias for violin without bass performed by Angèle Dubeau, CD # FL 2 3048 Courtesy of Groupe Analekta Inc.

Winner AudioFile Earphones Award

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Steffler reading in Ancaster, Ontario November 29

Thursday, November 29 - ANCASTER, ONTARIO - afternoon reading - John Steffler is Canada’s poet laureate and the author of The Grey Islands. 777 Garner Road East. For more information, contact Deborah C. Bowen at dcbowen@redeemer.ca

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week

Word of the Week

Play REDEFiNE iT's word of the week for the chance to win a prize from Rattling Books.

lewerdly

Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English
http://www.heritage.nf.ca/dictionary/d7ction.html

lewerdly a also looardly OED leewardly a 'of a ship: apt to fall to leeward'; ADD Nfld. Unlucky; awkward; clumsy.
1914 Cadet Apr, p. 7 Lewerdly, a lewerdly fellow, one subject to constant ill luck or misfortune. 1924 ENGLAND 182 You're nothin' but a lewerdly slinger as won't hold up the harm [acknowledge it].

Now, we invite u to REDEFiNE iT!

Just visit the following facebook group page and REDEFiNE away or have your say another way:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18492637848

N.B. Any Word of the Week receiving more than 10 redefinition posts will trigger a prize from Rattling Books for our favourite.
http://rattlingbooks.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lure of the Labrador Wild, excerpt #9

The following excerpt is from Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallace. 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.

In an hour we were in sight of Rigolet, and I saw a Hudson's Bay Company Post for the first time in my life. As our steamer approached, a flag was run up in salute to the top of a tall staff, and when it had been caught by the breeze, the Company's initials, H. B. C., were revealed. The Company's agents say these letters have another significance, namely, "Here Before Christ," for the flag travels ahead of the missionaries.

The reservation of Rigolet is situated upon a projection of land, with a little bay on one side and the channel into which Hamilton Inlet narrows at this point on the other. Long rows of whitewashed buildings, some of frame and some of log, extend along the water front, coming together at the point of the projection so as to form two sides of an irregular triangle. A little back of the row on the bay side, and upon slightly higher ground, stands the residence of the agent, or factor as he is officially called, this building being two stories high and otherwise the most pretentious of the group. It is commonly called the "Big House," and near it is the tall flagstaff. Between the rows of buildings and the shore is a broad board walk, which leads down near the apex of the triangle to a small wharf of logs. It was at this wharf that our little party landed.

Hubbard presented his letter of introduction from Commissioner Chipman of the Hudson's Bay Company to Mr. James Fraser, the factor, and we received a most cordial welcome, being made at home at the Big House. We found the surroundings and people unique and interesting. There were lumbermen, trappers, and fishermen--a motley gathering of Newfoundlanders, Nova Scotians, Eskimos and "breeds," the latter being a comprehensive name for persons whose origin is a mixture in various combinations and proportions of Eskimo, Indian, and European. All were friendly and talkative, and hungry for news of the outside world.

Lying around everywhere, or skulking about the reservation, were big Eskimo dogs that looked for all the world like wolves in subjection. We were warned not to attempt to play with them, as
they were extremely treacherous. Only a few days before a little Eskimo boy who stumbled and fell was set upon by a pack and all but killed before the brutes were driven off. The night we arrived at Rigolet the pack killed one of their own number and ate him, only a little piece of fur remaining in the morning to tell the tale.

Within an hour after we reached the post, Dr. Simpson arrived on the Julia Sheridan; but as he had neglected to bring the mail for Northwest River Post that the Virginia Lake had left at Indian Harbour, he had to return at once. Dr. Simpson not being permitted by his principles to run his boat on Sunday, unless in a case of great necessity, we were told not to expect the Julia Sheridan back from Indian Harbour until Monday noon; and so we were compelled to possess our souls in patience and enjoy the hospitality of Mr. Fraser. I must confess that while I was anxious to get on, I was at the same time not so greatly disappointed at our enforced delay; it gave me an opportunity to see something of the novel life of the post.

While at Rigolet we of course tried to get all the information possible about the country to which we were going. No Indians had been to the post for months, and the white men and Eskimos knew absolutely nothing about it. At length Hubbard was referred to "Skipper" Tom Blake, a breed, who had trapped at the upper or western end of Grand Lake. From Blake he learned that Grand Lake was forty miles long, and that canoe travel on it was good to its upper end, where the Nascaupee River flowed into it. Blake believed we could paddle up the Nascaupee some eighteen or twenty miles, where we should find the Red River, a wide, shallow, rapid stream that flowed into the Nascaupee from the south. Above this point he had no personal knowledge of the country, and advised us to see his son Donald, whom he expected to arrive that day from his trapping grounds on Seal Lake. Donald, he said, had been farther inland and knew more about the country than anyone else on the coast.

Donald did arrive a little later, and upon questioning him Hubbard learned that Seal Lake, which, he said, was an expansion of the Nascaupee River, had been the limit of his travels inland. Donald reiterated what his father had told us of Grand Lake and the lower waters of the Nascaupee, adding that for many miles above the point where the Nascaupee was joined by the Red we should find canoe travel impossible, as the Nascaupee "tumbled right down off the mountains." Up the Nascaupee as far as the Red River he had sailed his boat. He had heard from the Indians that the Nascaupee came from Lake Michikamau, and he believed it to be a fact. This convinced us that the Nascaupee was the river A. P. Low, of the Geological Survey, had mapped as the Northwest. The Red River Donald had crossed in winter some twenty miles above its mouth, and while it was wide, it was so shallow and swift that he was sure it would not admit of canoeing. He could not tell its source, and was sure the Indians had never travelled on it. In answer to Hubbard's inquiries as to the probability of our getting fish and game, Donald said there were bears along the Nascaupee, but few other animals. He had never fished the waters above Grand Lake, but believed plenty of fish were there. On Seal Lake there was a "chance" seal, and he had taken an occasional shot at them, but they were very wild and he had never been able to kill any.

Strange as it may seem, none of the men with whom we talked mentioned that more than one river flowed into Grand Lake, although they unquestionably knew that such was the case. Their silence about this important particular was probably due to the fact, that while the Labrador people are friendly to strangers, they are somewhat shy and rarely volunteer information, contenting themselves, for the most part, with simple answers to direct questions. Furthermore, they are seldom able to adopt a point of view different from their own, and thus are unable to realise the amount of guidance a stranger in their country needs. In fact I discovered later that Skipper Blake and his son, who have spent all their lives in the vicinity of Hamilton Inlet, never dreamed anyone could miss the mouth of the Nascaupee River, as they themselves knew so well how to find it.


To be continued.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Architect Is Here

Michael Winter Gives Two Readings in Newfoundland

Michael Winter will be giving two public readings here in Newfoundland this week to promote his latest novel, The Architects Are Here.

Today, Monday, November 26, Winter will read at the Holyrood Public Library at 7:30pm.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27, he will read in Room A-1046 of the Arts & Administration Building Atrium at Memorial University of Newfoundland, 7:30pm.

The Holyrood reading is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Books will be available and there will be refreshments after the reading. The MUN reading is sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, The League of Canadian Poets, and the Office of the Dean of Arts. Everyone is welcome and free parking is available in Lot 15.

In other news, Rattling Books has just released an unabridged audio version of his prize-winning novel The Big Why, narrated by Robert Joy. Follow this link to have a look and listen to a preview.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, November 19-25

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, Sartorial, is by Mary Dalton.

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 editions of The Grey Islands by John Steffler (narrated by John Steffler, Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and Darryl Hopkins) and Mary Dalton's Merrybegot (narrated by Anita Best) are available from rattlingbooks.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Upcoming Readings by John Steffler in Ontario


Tuesday, November 27 - TORONTO, ONTARIO - Art Bar Poetry Series. S.E. Venart reads from her new book Woodshedding with John Steffler, Canada’s poet laureate, author of The Grey Islands - 8 p.m. at Clinton’s, 693 Bloor Street West, by Christie subway station. http://www.artbar.org/

Wednesday, November 28 - LONDON, ONTARIO - Poetry London - John Steffler is Canada’s poet laureate and the author of The Grey Islands. 7:30 p.m. at the Fred Landon Branch, London Public Library, 167 Wortley Road. Phone 519-439-6240 http://www.poetrylondon.ca/

Thursday, November 29 - ANCASTER, ONTARIO - afternoon reading - John Steffler is Canada’s poet laureate and the author of The Grey Islands. 777 Garner Road East. For more information, contact Deborah C. Bowen at dcbowen@redeemer.ca

Thursday, November 29 - HAMILTON, ONTARIO - Hamilton Poetry Centre - John Steffler is Canada’s poet laureate and the author of The Grey Islands. 7:30 p.m. at Bryan Prince Bookseller, 1060 King Street West. http://hamiltonpoetrycentre.blogspot.com/



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The unabridged audio edition of John Steffler's The Grey Islands is published by Rattling Books and is available from rattlingbooks.com as either a 2-CD set of Audio CDs of as an MP3 Digital Download.

John Steffler CHRW radio interview


Wednesday, November 21 - LONDON, ONTARIO - Poetry London - John Steffler, Canada’s poet laureate and the author of The Grey Islands, will be interviewed on "Gathering Voices", CHRW, 94.9 FM London, on November 21 at 6 p.m. The interview will then be archived on http://chrwradio.com/talk/gatheringvoices


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The unabridged audio edition of John Steffler's The Grey Islands is published by Rattling Books and is available from rattlingbooks.com as either a 2-CD set of Audio CDs of as an MP3 Digital Download.

The New Yorker' s Audio Fiction

from The New Yorker online:

Antonya Nelson reads Mavis Gallant’s short story “When We Were Nearly Young” and discusses Gallant with The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. “When We Were Nearly Young” was published in The New Yorker in 1960. Two collections of Gallant’s work, Paris Stories and Varieties of Exile, are available.

Click here to hear Nelson's reading
.

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An 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, November 19, 2007

Metcalf-Rooke Award Shortlist Announced

Bruce Johnson Makes the Metcalf-Rooke Award Shortlist

Bruce Johnson, curator at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, has been shortlisted for the Metcalf-Rooke Award for the manuscript of his novel, Firmament. Other shortlisted writers are Grant Buday for Dragonflies, a novel; Rebecca Rosenblum for Once, a collection of short fiction; and J.J. Steinfeld for Contemplating Madnesses, a collection of short fiction.

The winner of the award will receive a $1500.00 advance, a publishing contract with Biblioasis, a book tour, a leather bound copy of their book, a special pre-publication profile in The New Quarterly, and "other as-yet-to-be-determined perks." The winner will be announced this Friday, November 23rd. For more information, visit the Biblioasis website.

Newfoundland writer Kathleen Winter was the winner of last year's Metcalf-Rooke Award for her short story collection, Boys.

Rattling Books would like to congratulate all of this year's shortlisted writers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Riddle Fence Launch at The Ship Pub

Come Join in the Celebration!

Riddle Fence, a celebration of Newfoundland and Labrador literature published in the 20th year of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be launched at The Ship Pub on Solomon's Lane in St. John's, December 3 at 8pm.

Guest readers and musicians to be announced. Copies will be available for purchase.

from Riddle Fence’s editorial:

The title is a term recorded in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. You may know it as wriggle or riddling or wriggling fence; these are all permutations of the same basic element. The phrase has a great music to it — a vibrancy, an impish energy. What’s more, the riddle is one of the oldest forms of literature; it is steeped in a history that reaches back even further than the printed medium, into the oral tradition. But mostly, the title owes its genesis to the fact that I’ve been thinking about fences and boundaries a lot lately in relation to this province. Fences keep things out or keep things in. They bisect land and define territory. I like to think of Newfoundland and Labrador as being constantly stuck between two things, two states — occupying a liminal space. It is partway between the Old World and the New, partway between being a country and a province; it is torn between its storied past (which is both burden and blessing) and the allure of the future; we love the word Newfie/we hate the word Newfie. The people here are border dwellers — lodged between the earth and the sea.

For more information, see the website at: writersalliance.nf.ca/riddlefence.html

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Rattling Books would like to congratulate Riddle Fence on its successful publication.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Val on the Road

Uncle Val to Visit Carbonear
from The Compass

Andy Jones will bring the character of Uncle Val to life during his one-man show at the Sheila NaGeira Theatre in Carbonear this Sunday, Nov. 18. The performance, entitled An evening with Uncle Val (The Cup o' Tea in the Woods Tour) features an indignant 70 year old fisherman, played by Jones, recently displaced from his outport home and trapped in the big city of St. John's...

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

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Letters from Uncle Val, a series of fictional letters from Andy Jones' incomparable comedic character of the stage play An Evening with Uncle Val, is available from Rattling Books. Written and performed by the author.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Joel Thomas Hynes in Conversation

Newfoundland Novelist Joel Thomas Hynes speaks with Alison Gzowski about his latest novel, Right Away Monday, on Book TV.

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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 from Rattling Books.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bernice Morgan Reads at The Rooms

On Wednesday, November 14, celebrated Newfoundland writer Bernice Morgan will read from her latest novel, Cloud of Bone.

The reading begins in The Rooms Theatre at 7 PM.

Bernice will be available, following the reading, to talk and sign copies of her book.

This reading is presented by The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery. Please note that seating is limited; first come, first seated.

Words, Wonderful Words

Humdinger of a Project: Tracing Slang to Ireland

from The New York Times
November 8, 2007
by Corey Kilgannon

Growing up Irish in Queens and on Long Island, Daniel Cassidy was nicknamed Glom.

“I used to ask my mother, ‘Why Glom?’ and she’d say, ‘Because you’re always grabbing, always taking things,’” he said, imitating his mother’s accent and limited patience, shaped by a lifetime in Irish neighborhoods in New York City.

It was not exactly an etymological explanation, and Mr. Cassidy’s curiosity about the working-class Irish vernacular he grew up with kept growing. Some years back, leafing through a pocket Gaelic dictionary, he began looking for phonetic equivalents of the terms, which English dictionaries described as having “unknown origin.”

“Glom” seemed to come from the Irish word “glam,” meaning to grab or to snatch. He found the word “balbhán,” meaning a silent person, and he surmised that it was why his quiet grandfather was called the similarly pronounced Boliver.

He began finding one word after another that seemed to derive from the strain of Gaelic spoken in Ireland, known as Irish. The word “gimmick” seemed to come from “camag,” meaning trick or deceit, or a hook or crooked stick...

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

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Love words? Check out Rattling Books' Facebook group, REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Road Trip

Andy Takes Uncle Val on the Road
By Heidi Wicks
from The Telegram

Andy Jones is taking his sarcastically bitter but beloved Uncle Val on a trip around the Arts and Culture Centres of Newfoundland and Labrador. The show chronicles Valentine Reardigan’s arrival to suburban, middle-class St. John’s from his home in outport Newfoundland, as he begrudgingly goes to live with his daughter, odious son-in-law, grandchildren Jimmy and Kimmy and their matching French poodles.

Deliciously sarcastic, discussing encounters with The Beatles, the Senior’s Olympics and the devilish “dos and don’ts of babysitting” through letters home to his friend, Val goes from being “a slightly bitter permudgeon to being an important part of his daughter and son-in-law’s family,” says Jones...

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

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Letters from Uncle Val, a series of fictional letters from Andy Jones' incomparable comedic character of the stage play An Evening with Uncle Val, is available from Rattling Books. Written and performed by the author.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Rattling Books at the Fine Craft and Design Fair

Something for Everyone

Come visit the Rattling Books booth at the 2007 Newfoundland and Labrador Fine Craft and Design Fair for a fine selection of Christmas gifts.

Hot off the press: The Big Why, Michael Winter's fictionalized novel about American painter and adventurer Rockwell Kent

A Christmas classic: David Weale's much loved children's book, The True Meaning of Crumbfest, charmingly read by a five-year-old Antonia Francis

For the lawyer in the family, try this adaptation of Frank Holden's one-man play in the voice of Newfoundland's famous magistrate: Judge Prowse Presiding

For the sailor in the family, try Robin McGrath's Coasting Trade, a lyrical narrative that follows the voyage of a Yankee trading schooner circumnavigating the island of Newfoundland

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www.rattlingbooks.com

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Return of the Brick Book Club

The Brick Book Club is back!

Buy Agnes Walsh's Going Around with Bachelors and all other 2007 Brick poetry titles in time for Christmas.

Get all the 2007 poetry books from Brick Books delivered directly to your home for the low price of $120 – a savings of more than 25%** [shipping and taxes included] .

2007 Books: Going Around with Bachelors by Agnes Walsh, Combustion by Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Torch River by Elizabeth Philips, All Our Wonder Unavenged by Don Domanski, Two Hemispheres by Nadine McInnis, Thin Moon Psalm by Sheri Benning, and Woodshedding by S.E. Venart

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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, November 06, 2007

Riddle Fence at the Fine Craft and Design Fair

A Celebration of Newfoundland and Labrador Literature

Riddle Fence, a celebration of Newfoundland and Labrador literature published in the 20th year of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be available for purchase at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador's 2007 Fine Craft and Design Fair, November 9-11 at the St. John's Convention Centre.

from Riddle Fence’s editorial:

The title is a term recorded in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. You may know it as wriggle or riddling or wriggling fence; these are all permutations of the same basic element. The phrase has a great music to it — a vibrancy, an impish energy. What’s more, the riddle is one of the oldest forms of literature; it is steeped in a history that reaches back even further than the printed medium, into the oral tradition. But mostly, the title owes its genesis to the fact that I’ve been thinking about fences and boundaries a lot lately in relation to this province. Fences keep things out or keep things in. They bisect land and define territory. I like to think of Newfoundland and Labrador as being constantly stuck between two things, two states — occupying a liminal space. It is partway between the Old World and the New, partway between being a country and a province; it is torn between its storied past (which is both burden and blessing) and the allure of the future; we love the word Newfie/we hate the word Newfie. The people here are border dwellers — lodged between the earth and the sea.

For more information, see the website at: writersalliance.nf.ca/riddlefence.html

Monday, November 05, 2007

Listen to Ron Hynes reading Bonfire Night by Michael Crummey



Click here to listen to Ron Hynes reading Bonfire Night by Michael Crummey from Hard Light: 32 Little Stories.

Fires on Guy Fawkes Night


If you're feeling nostalgic for the grandness of Guy Fawkes night fires of the past you can go to Michael Crummey's Hard Light.

Two of the 32 little stories in the audio release Hard Light: 32 Little Stories by Michael Crummey are about bonfire night. They are both narrated by Ron Hynes.

Oh my, what I wouldn't give for those days when the fires were bigger and we were smaller.

Word of the Week for REDEFiNE iT: gud


Word of the Week (November 5, 2007):
gud
Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English
gud n Northern razor-bill (Alca torda); TINKER. 1884 STEARNS 235-6 I have often seen the water covered with a clustered flock [of puffins], all engaged in making a hoarse, rasping sound, not unlike the filing of a saw; this is also done both by the 'murre,' and the 'turre,' and at such times, which ever species is present, they receive from the sailors the name of 'guds,' from a fancied resemblance to that sound.
Now, we invite u to REDEFiNE iT at our facebook group below or in the comments to this blog!
REDEFiNE iT: Using the Dictionary of Newfoundland English
a Rattling Books facebook group:
N.B. Any Word of the Week recieving more than 10 redefinition posts will trigger a prize from Rattling Books for our favourite.http://rattlingbooks.com/
Special Note: The logo and icons used by our sponsor Rattling Books are gud images - don't you think?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

iTunes Tip for Audio Book Listeners

Is iTunes driving you crazy by fading out one track and fading up the next track before you can hear the end of it?

Here's what you need to do:
1. In the main iTunes menu go to Edit
2. select Preferences
3. in Preferences select Playback
4. in Playback unclick the box entitled "Crossfade playback"

Phew!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

“People can be bi-dialectal, as well as bilingual” says Professor Alison Henry, this year's Henrietta Harvey Lecturer (Nov. 23)

Local dialects, says Professor Alison Henry, get a bad rap as inferior to the standard – or ‘correct’ – form of a language. “There’s a general perception that there’s only one correct form of a language, and that the others are wrong.”

Professor Henry, a distinguished linguist in the School of Communication at University of Ulster at Jordanstown, will be at Memorial’s St. John’s campus to give the Henrietta Harvey Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 23. She will also talk to classes, share ideas with faculty and try to take in some local dialects during her first-ever visit to Newfoundland and Labrador.

The message she hopes to impart: local dialects are valuable both from a scientific and a cultural perspective. She notes that while there’s been a global movement to support minority languages as an important resource, respect for local dialects is lagging behind.

“There are often features of a language that are highly stigmatized, so when you use these, people will perceive you as inferior.” This can result in fewer opportunities for employment or social advancement. However, she asserts, it’s all grounded in nothing more than preference and power. “What passes as the standard form of language is purely accidental, and dependent on where the power base is located within a region.”

And it’s a two-edged sword. Sometimes moving to a more standard dialect – and developing what, in some places, is dismissed as a “too posh accent” or “putting on airs” – can lead to ostracism within one’s own community.

However, Professor Henry does believe that a standardized version of the English language is also important to facilitate communication across regions, but says one form doesn’t have to displace another.

“People can be bi-dialectal, as well as bilingual,” she says, noting she believes this message is critical for educators. “Teachers fear that if they acknowledge local dialects as valuable, they will lessen students’ ability to pick up standard English. But actually, the opposite is true. Students can more easily acquire standard English if they are taught how it differs from their own dialect.”

Professor Henry believes there are signs that dialects are gaining respect, but adds: “I wish we were making more headway.”

Dr. Henry’s Nov. 23 lecture, Local Dialects and the Myth of Inferiority takes place at 8 p.m. in the Science Building, Room SN-2105. Dr. Henry will be in St. John’s from Monday, Nov. 20 – Friday, Nov. 24.
Parking available in Lot 15.

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If you're on facebook and interested in English as spoken in Newfoundland check out the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: using the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Michael Winter is in the top 10 hardcover fiction book Authors in Canada compiled by Maclean's magazine


Michael Winter is in the top 10 hardcover fiction book Authors in Canada compiled by Maclean's magazine. He's also the author of Rattling Books new title, the unabridged audio edition of The Big Why, narrated by Robert Joy. Now if there was only an audio list at Maclean's ....


FICTION
1 (1) Late Nights on Air - Elizabeth Hay
2 (7) Divisadero - Michael Ondaatje
3 (4) The Assassin's Song - M.J. Vassanji
4 (2) A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
5 (3) October - Richard B. Wright
6 (-) The Gum Thief - Douglas Coupland
7 (-) The Architects are Here - Michael Winter
8 (5) World Without End - Ken Follett
9 (6) Run - Ann Patchett
10 (8) Exit Ghost - Philip Roth

Stories to Sing to: Exploring Newfoundland Song with Anita Best and company

CANADA LIVE! presents
THE NEWFOUNDLAND SONGBOOK VOL 1 & 2

Featuring an all-star cast of traditional music makers including: Anita Best, Pamela Morgan, Kelly Russell, Billy Sutton, George Morgan and Graham Wells.

VOLUME 1 - The Early Days
Friday, November 2
LSPU Hall

Lords and ladies, pirates and sailors, villains and cruel parents, the Newfoundland Songbook has it all.
In part one of the two part concert series Pamela Morgan, Anita Best and an all-star cast of Newfoundland’s traditional music makers explore the songs of our ancestors.
The show presents material from the British, French, Irish and Scottish cultures that formed the foundation of the Newfoundland oral tradition since the earliest days. These classic and broadside ballads, ditties and tunes comprise the heart of the cannon that is the Newfoundland Songbook.
Love, betrayal, murder, revenge, trickery - the themes are universal; the scene historic; with a narrative that ties the songs into world events and local history of the era.

VOLUME 2 - 1850-1949
Saturday, November 3
LSPU Hall

Songs and tunes that were made up about life in the new world, in the New-founde-lande.
They tell of disasters at sea, sly politicians, soup suppers in the parish hall, life under the "cruel rogues of merchants", work in the lumber woods or on the boats. They speak of a world of community values and virtues, of hard work and simple fun. They give us a picture of a young country making its way in a new world.
Some of them make sport of local characters and the small world of scattered coastal communities. Names are named and real people come to life in historical events.
The selections for this show include songs from Johnny Burke, Mark Walker and Peter Leonard and tunes by fiddlers Emile Benoit and Rufus Guinchard.
For more details click here.

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Anita Best and George Morgan have both performed on Rattling Books recordings.

Anita Best narrated two of the stories in Susan Rendell's collection In the Chambers of the Sea as well as narrating Merrybegot by Mary Dalton. Together with Robert Joy and Rick Boland Anita is also heard on Coasting Trade by Robin McGrath.

George Morgan played pump organ and Fisher-Price Roly Poly on In the Old Country of My Heart by Agnes Walsh.