Thursday, January 31, 2008

Andy Jones in Peterborough

Andy Jones brings Newfoundland comedy to Market Hall shows; Character Uncle Val 'a reverse Wingfield'

from The Peterborough Examiner

Canadian comic Andy Jones brings his brand of outport humour to Peterborough on Feb. 7 and 8 at The Market Hall.

It is billed as An Evening with Uncle Val, the opening of his Ontario tour, states a press release.

"Jones has been a key figure in shaping the character of Canadian comedy, beginning in the mid-1970s with his participation in the Newfoundland comedy troupe CODCO and extending through till today with his varied and prolific career as a writer, actor, director and filmmaker in the comedy field," states Bill Kimball, artistic producer of local arts presenter Public Energy, in a press release. This will be the first performance of An Evening with Uncle Val in Ontario and the first time Jones has performed in Peterborough.

Jones will also offer a master class in sketch comedy during his three-day stay in the city, an opportunity for aspiring local actors and comics to get some training. "Andy doesn't do this kind of thing very often," Kimball stated. "It's a real treat for us."

Jones said, in an Examiner telephone interview from Banff, that he's been performing his Uncle Val character since 1978.

The initial character was based on an aimitation of a St. John's entertainer...

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, January 30, 2008

Writers' Alliance of NL Monthly Reading Series

The Writers' Alliance February reading brings together fact and fiction, and two local writers: Maura Hanrahan and Paul Rowe. Hanrahan has recently published The Alphabet Fleet: The Pride of Newfoundland's Coastal Service (Flanker Press). Rowe's first novel, The Silent Time, was recently released by Killick Press. The two will read on Monday, February 4 at 6:00 PM (please note the new start-time), at the LSPU Hall in St. John's. Admission free; all welcome. Funded by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Cultural Economic Development Program. For more information, call 739-5215.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Year's Resolution Contest Winning Entries

The winning entries of the REDEFiNE iT New Year's Resolution Contest have just been posted on the newly-minted REDEFiNE iT blog. Floating in the doldrums of post-holiday ennui? Go check it out and put some wind back in your sails.

The Big Why Reviewed in The Ottawa Citizen

Canadian Actors Bring Audiobooks to Life
from The Ottawa Citizen
January 27, 2008
By Janice Kennedy

"Note-perfect" and "memorable" are adjectives you'll also want to use to describe the audio version of Michael Winter's The Big Why, from the little Newfoundland company that could, Rattling Books (10.5 hours unabridged/1 MP3 CD, $29.95). Winter's haunting 2004 novel, a faux-memoir of real-life American artist Rockwell Kent's brief sojourn in Brigus, Nfld., just before the First World War, is a thoughtful reflection on the nature of art and the role of artists. But, plunked down squarely into the bustle of Manhattan and then the hard beauty of coastal Newfoundland, it is also a narrative that thrums with vibrancy and provocative colour.

Another veteran Canadian actor, Robert Joy (you can catch him on CSI: New York) deftly handles Winter's words and his characters, whether world-weary New Yorker or Newfoundlander with a poet's soul and a pragmatist's impatience with nonsense. Joy was born in Montreal but lived and worked on The Rock for years, so he has the voices down exactly right.

It is worth noting that The Big Why is also available as a $19.95 digital download from rattlingbooks.com, which also offers a variety of single-story downloads for bargain prices of $2.95-$3.95. It's a fine way to sample some of the company's outstanding wares.

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

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The unabridged audio edition of The Big Why
, narrated by Robert Joy, was recently published by Rattling Books. It is available from rattlingbooks.com as either an MP3 CD or Digital Download. Listening time 10.5 hours.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week: fairy squall

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week (January 27-Feb 2):

fairy squall

N.B. we've created a separate blog for REDEFiNE iT. You'll find a post there for the word of the week with the Dictionary Definition and an invitation to respond to it.

http://redefineit.blogspot.com

And the Winners of the New Year's Resolution Contest Are: !!

NEW YEARS RESOLUTION CONTEST WINNERS

The Decisions have been made. Our Contest Judges have revealed our Contest Winners.

Grand Prize:
Andreae Prozesky

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Don McKay
Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir
Kathleen Winter

The Winners were revealed on CBC Radio's Weekend Arts Magazine with a panel discussion between the judges Anita Best (the Queen of the unaccompanied Newfoundland ballad), Tom Howell (Word Nerd from And Sometimes Y) and Gerard Van Herk (Memorial University Linguist).

The New Year's Resolution Contest was sponsored by Rattling Books.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Winners of the New Year's Resolution Contest to be announced on CBC Radio January 27

Winners of the New Year's Resolution Contest based on past Words of the Week from the facebook edition of REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English will be announced Sunday, January 27 on the Weekend Arts Magazine, CBC Radio.

Angela Antle, host of the CBC Radio program the Weekend Arts Magazine will speak with the three judges of REDEFiNE iT's recent New Year's Resolution Contest tomorrow morning around 8:40 AM Newfoundland time. They will announce the contest winners and chat about the English language as spoken in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Friday, January 25, 2008

St. John's Poetry Panel in The New Quarterly

The most recent issue of The New Quarterly is now out. In it, you'll find a feature on a panel of poet-critics that was hosted by the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador at the RCA Gallery in St. John's. Patrick Warner moderated a discussion on poetry and poetry criticism between Mark Callanan, Amanda Jernigan, George Murray and Carmine Starnino. The New Quarterly has published the transcript of their discussion along with a poem and a selection of critical prose from each of the panelists. It's worth checking out.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Night Song Circle

The Thursday Night Song Circle will be held at The Crow's Nest (off Duckworth Street) next Thursday, January 31. Come around at 8 o'clock for a few songs and recitations. You don't have to sing; you can enjoy a pint and listen. Linda Byrne and Anita Best will be hosting.

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Anita Best is the narrator of Rattling Books' unabridged audio production of Mary Dalton's collection of poetry, Merrybegot, as well as a narrator of Robin McGrath's Coasting Trade and Susan Rendell's short story collection, In the Chambers of the Sea. Her music (for, among other things, she is also a singer of traditional Newfoundland music) can be found here, on the website of Amber Music.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Article on Agnes Walsh in The Edmonton Journal

Literary Preview
from The Edmonton Journal
By Richard Helm

EDMONTON -- Some people will try to tell you that poetry is seizing the public mind these days like never before, that rhythm and rhyme somehow illuminate these querulous times.

Agnes Walsh holds no such illusions. She agrees that poetry is an "excited language," as it's been described by writer John Steffler, but she knows it's a language that only a minority of us will ever choose to speak.

"To me poetry has always been a special kind of thing, and by that I certainly don't mean elite. But it's a rare kind of bird," says Walsh, the inaugural poet laureate for St. John's, N.L.

"You can put poetry on the buses and all that, and it's going to catch the eyes of people, but I don't think it's ever going to be anything more than what it is."

Just what it is should be on grand display at Catalyst Theatre tonight when Walsh and her barnstorming companion, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, team up for a night of readings with local poets Ted Blodgett and Alice Major, Edmonton's current and past poets laureate, respectively. The four are part of a growing club across the land. There are now 19 poets laureate in Canada, including the parliamentary poet laureate, provincial laureates and municipal laureates like Walsh and Neilsen Glenn, the official bard for Halifax...

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

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Going Around with Bachelors by Agnes Walsh, published by Brick Books, is available as a digital download on the Rattling Books website (the print version can be found on Brick's website). Agnes Walsh's first poetry collection, In the Old Country of My Heart, is available as an audio book from Rattling Books.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Late New Year's Resolution Entry

This one comes from Michael Bradley of North Hatley, Quebect--too late for the contest deadline, yes, but at base, the contest is about playing with language, having some fun with it, so we couldn't resist posting the entry for your reading pleasure:

Some days I shive to get my waddock together and get my New Year's bawn written out. That way there's a lewardly chance that I might actually follow it. This year though there isn't a blue drop's chance in... well in bawk of writing anything down. You see I gud have done it on time by the 14th and everything, but my drung broke down right where the boo meets the pishogue. I tried to have it fixed ad the shop down by the angishore, but the guy there just yaffled at me and so did the other fellers. It really got my marl up, it did. I headed off to the bar where I droke several of Quidi Vidi's 1894s one after the other. And now I'm so merrybegot that I haven't the slightest clue what all this nuzzle tripe writing stuff I started to put down is all about. Was it something about New Year's?

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inspired by the Rattling Books
New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

REDEFiNE iT Word of the Week (January 20-26): elt


Word of the Week (January 20-26):

elt

Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English

elt n Cp EDD ~ sb1 'young pig' So Do D. Scoundrel; wag. P 108-70 An elt is a real nothing. 'There's another elt in the harbour / John Mitchell is his name / And when the wind is at its height / He'll say it's getting calm.'

Now, we invite u to REDEFiNE iT!



and check out the related discussion topic.

or post a "comment" here or visit the Contact Us page at rattlingbooks.com and send us an email there.


N.B. Winners of the New Year's Resolution Contest will be announced next weekend both here and on the CBC Radio program Weekend Arts Magazine which will also begin spreading the word about the Word of the Week here at REDEFiNE iT.
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REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English is inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Short Fiction Single available from rattlingbooks.com - Halfway to the Devil's Kitchen by Joel Thomas Hynes, narrated by Sherry White


Halfway to the Devil's Kitchen


by Joel Thomas Hynes


narrated by Sherry White


SHORT FICTION SINGLES ARE AVAILABLE AS DIGITAL DOWNLOADS ONLY


Halfway to the Devil's Kitchen is drawn from Down to the Dirt. The complete edition of Down to the Dirt (roughly six and a half hours of listening) is available from our fiction section as both an MP3-CD and as a Digital Download.


Fiction "Singles" are a relatively new thing at rattlingbooks.com.


It's an affordable way to try some literature to listen to on your ipod or mp3 player- one bite and only a few bucks at a time!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Kathleen Winter's boYs Reviewed in the Globe and Mail

Excerpted from a tripartite review from the Globe and Mail:

...Canadian Kathleen Winter, winner of Biblioasis's Metcalf-Rooke Award for her fiction collection boYs, thinks small, not big. This seasoned journalist's 24 gemlike tales engage in an almost hyper-real attempt to capture the texture of small-town East Coast life, and what binds them together is a strong voice. Many of these stories are very short and contain little in the way of plot, dramatic tension or narrative arc. Vignettes such as Jolly Trolley, which records a conversation between quiet Marianne and voluble Mrs. McGettigan, cover very little narrative ground, yet mine deep; Mrs. McGettigan "should be home making supper instead of sitting down eating banana and toast and talking about Florida with Marianne."

A miniaturist, Winter's greatest skill is observation, brilliantly capturing moments and details...

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

The Big Why Appears on Community Radio Show

Just a little piece of news on a recent release: Rattling Books' unabridged audio version of Michael Winter's award-winning historical novel, The Big Why, appeared in a broadcast on Fredericton-based community radio program, Ashes, Paper & Beans. Check out producer Joe Blades' blogspot here.

Rattling Books' unabridged audio version of The Big Why by Michael Winter is narrated by Robert Joy. Follow this link to have a look.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Michael Winter Reviewed in The Vancouver Sun

Dickens of a story
Michael Winter's modern orphans are all in their 30s
M.A.C. Farrant, Special to the Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, January 12, 2008


The Architects Are Here, the latest novel by Michael Winter, is a stunner. Forty-seven synoptic instalments appeared online last summer in what his publisher claimed was "the world's first-ever Facebook novel serialization."

Comparisons to Charles Dickens inevitably arise. Think of the reported thousands who lined the New York docks waiting for the latest newsprint instalment of David Copperfield. I wonder if Winter's novel received the same treatment on the blog site 157 years later or if the event was drowned in the equal-opportunity soup that is virtual reality.

It probably was, but fortunately this doesn't matter: Being unmoored in the virtual world is what the book is all about. Furthermore, the novel -- published in fall 2007 -- stands as a solid object of excellence, something reassuringly old-fashioned, hand-held, enduring...

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

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The unabridged audio edition of The Big Why
, narrated by Robert Joy, was recently published by Rattling Books. It is available from rattlingbooks.com as either an MP3 CD or Digital Download. Listening time 10.5 hours.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Maisonneuve Magazine Excerpts Riddle Fence essay by Robert Chafe

Award-winning Montreal-based magazine Maisonneuve has republished an essay on Newfoundland theatre by Governor General nominated playwright Robert Chafe. His essay, "Is Newfoundland Theatre Dead?" originally appeared in Riddle Fence, a publication of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador. To read the essay in its entirety, follow the link below.

Is Newfoundland Theatre Dead?
The Rock is a 'powerhouse of comedic political satire' too often ignored by the Toronto-centric press
By Robert Chafe

In the winter of 2007, Eleanor Wachtel hosted a special edition of CBC Radio’s Arts Tonight where she spoke to the two of most recent theatre critics for the Globe and Mail: Kate Taylor, who served from 1995 to 2003, and Kamal Al-Solaylee who took Taylor’s place. True to Globe tradition, most of Taylor and Al-Solaylee’s knowledge and experience centred on Toronto, with brief forays to Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. This being a discussion of theatre highlights during their tenure, the Stratford and Shaw Festivals were also heavily mentioned.

I wasn’t surprised that less than a minute was spent on Newfoundland (somewhat touched, actually, since four provinces went wholly unmentioned). What did surprise me was Taylor’s grand revelation that theatre artists in Newfoundland were all comedians and had wisely, she joked, moved into the more lucrative field of television. Theatre in Newfoundland, if one were to extrapolate from Taylor, was dead; a lifeless shell in the wake of Halifax having swooped in and stolen the talents of Codco and Mercer to fuel the nation’s hunger for comedy both intelligent and actually funny...

Read the rest of this article

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Year's Contest Entry

A New Year's Resolution Entry from Governor General Award-Winning Poet Michel Savard

For the New Year, I resolve to …


Shive away from yaffles where nuzzle tripe runs and blue drop flows : that always makes me marl lewardly and leaves me drung as a pishogue.

Stay away from the waddock types : they may boo highly, but always let me down to angishore.


And avoid to bawk in vain the name of gud’s sweet little bawn that merrybegot.


For the New Year, I resolve to be droke as a pin, this time, hopefully, for good.


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inspired by the Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Mavis Gallant Interview on Writers & Company

Eleanor Wachtel Interviews Mavis Gallant

Click here to hear the interview archived on the CBC website

or

Click here to visit the CBC Writers & Company interview archive page.

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Rattling Books' unabridged audio production of Mavis Gallant's Montreal Stories, narrated by Margot Dionne, was selected as one of 2007's twelve best fiction audiobooks by the U.S. audio book magazine AudioFile.

Read more on the AudioFile website .

To read more about Montreal Stories on the rattlingbooks.com website or to purchase the MP3 CD or Download click here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Now Magazine Reviews Michael Winter's Latest

Winter's Tale
Susan G. Cole
from Now Magazine


There’s a section of The Architects Are Here that really got to me. It describes hard-assed tech biz whiz David Twombly’s knack for getting rich, and uses the metaphor of stacking plates – a stand-in for stocks – until they’re just about to collapse and then selling out fast.

Reading it gave me that feeling I love – a thundering in my head that I don’t notice until I’ve finished the passage and my brain calms down. It’s the feeling I get when I’m being moved by fiction...

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

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Rattling Books has just released an unabridged audio version of Michael Winter's prize-winning novel The Big Why, narrated by Robert Joy. Follow this link to have a look.

Friday, January 11, 2008

REDEFiNE iT New Year's Resolution Contest Entry from Trouty


In this year of Our Lord 2008 I resolve to be a better person than I
have ever been before, ignoring the fact that I have leanings towards
being a BOO laden ANGISHORE and a NUZZLE TRIPE, I shall, with pride,
hang unto my being a MERRYBEGOT (everyone in the harbour knows the
PISHOGUE that mudder LEWARDLY dropped me like a WADDOCK on the village
BAWN while she was luggin’ a YAFFLE of slop Labrador and there I lay
bawlin’ something like a cross between a BAWK and a GUD); but this year
after I SHIVE the fire wood from me favourite DROKE I be stayin’ up me
DRUNG never to MARL down not even if one ger big BLUE DROP forms between
here and The Funks.

Clarence Dewling

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inspired by the Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Judges confirmed for the REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English New Year's Resolution Contest


Introducing the Panel of Judges for the New Year's Resolution Contest from REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Anita Best
Born on Merasheen Island in Placentia Bay (since abandoned under the resettlement program), Best has worked as an educator, archivist, folklorist, broadcaster and singer. A particular interest in oral history - songs and stories passed down through generations - lead to her performing career. She has toured extensively as a storyteller and singer, made numerous television and radio appearances and added her voice to several Newfoundland recordings.
Anita Best is best known for two albums: The Colour of Amber , a collaboration with Pamela Morgan, was released in 1993. Crosshanded, a collection of twelve songs for solo voice, followed a few years later. In these recordings and in her performances, Best tends to forego the standard Newfoundland repertoire in favour of the lesser known songs and stories collected from around the province.
(above biographical notes are from Memorial Unversity’s Newfoundland and Labrador’s Heritage Site)


Anita Best is also the voice of Mary Dalton’s poems on the Rattling Books recording of Merrybegot.

Tom Howell
Tom Howell is a radio broadcaster, multi-instrumentalist, sometimes back-up singer and ex-lexicographer who worked on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary for a few years. He is known as the Word Nerd from the recent national CBC Radio program And Sometimes Y hosted by Jane Farrow. Tom also works as a book editor and musician playing keyboards and strings in several Toronto bands. His preferred instruments are violin, piano, mandolin, and guitar.


According to one of his myspace pages Tom Howell is trying to kick his word-nerd image by being a cool musician but his Blog entries say things like "I dropped into the Tranzac room ('dropped into' in the colloquial sense that means much the same thing as 'walked in' or something like 'entered' or 'visited') on Friday to hear Ronley Teper's gig, and ..." His influences include Thelonius Monk and the Gaurdian Newspaper. You can befriend Tom Howell as a Word Nerd or as a Musician on myspace.

Gerard Van Herk
Gerard Van Herk is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Language and Oral Text. Also a professor of linguistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Van Herk's area of research interest is linguistic diversity in contemporary Newfoundland and Labrador. Apparently contemporary Newfoundland is an ideal "language laboratory” and a recent worldwide study chose traditional Newfoundland speech as the most distinct variety of English on the planet.

Much to the delight of Rattling Books Gerard Van Herk also has an Indie Record Label in his past. Before becoming a linguistics academic Gerard Van Herk, “along with his partner in “sludge-a-billy,” Tony Dewald, were the hepcats behind Deja Voodoo” a Montreal band of the 1980s associated with Og, their own independent label.

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Contest Background
The Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest originated from the Rattling Books facebook group/game REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.


We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.


The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

REDEFiNE iT New Year's Resolution from Iceland

An Entry for the New Year’s Resolution Contest from Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir (Sigurbjorg Thrastar):

I promise and lewardly bawn to myself and my whole waddock of friends to yaffle, marl and bawk with more intensity and beauty in 2008 than ever before, in order to shive my angishore and crank up the nuzzle tripe of those around me, be it plainly in the blue drop, out on the drung or high up in the pishogue. This does not, of course, in any way gud my orderly
mid-January droke, to stab the merrybegot though the heart with a sleek and slightly bent boo.

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These resolutions were inspired by the Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Michael Crummey News

Acclaimed author named writer in residence
from today.mun.ca

Internationally acclaimed writer Michael Crummey – author of The Wreckage, River Thieves, Flesh and Blood and three collections of poetry – is happy to be back at Memorial University as writer in residence for the winter 2008 term.

Mr. Crummey completed his BA in English literature in 1987 before departing for Kingston, Ontario, for postgraduate work.

Being back at Memorial “feels like a full turn of the wheel,” said Mr. Crummey. “I started writing poetry in my first year of university and had my first public exposure to the world through the Gregory Power Poetry Awards. Coming back now as some kind of an ‘established’ writer is a nice confirmation that I haven’t completely wasted the last 25 years.”

After discontinuing his PhD. in English at Queen’s University, Mr. Crummey published three books of poetry and a collection of short stories and then began work on the novel that would become The River Thieves. Short listed for the Giller Prize in 2001 and published in the U.S., U.K., France and Holland, this epic tale of early Newfoundland settlers and the Beothuk was a national bestseller. The Wreckage, published in 2005, is the story of young Newfoundland soldier Wish Fury and his beloved Sadie Parsons. It was nominated for the 2007 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

To read the rest of this article, please 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.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Uncle Val Goes West

Jones finds laughs at the outpost
Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald
Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Spotlight

An Evening With Uncle Val by Andy Jones runs tonight and Thursday at the Martha Cohen Theatre. Tickets available at Ticketmaster

- - -

Newfoundlanders have always been pretty exotic for the rest of Canada. What's surprising is that outport Newfoundlanders -- those eccentrics who live in remote hamlets -- seem just as odd to Newfoundlanders themselves.

That was the inspiration behind Andy Jones' latest one-man show, An Evening With Uncle Val, that the comedy veteran is performing as part of the High Performance Rodeo tonight and Thursday night.

"I've always seen outport Newfoundland as a very exotic place," Jones says, over the phone from St. John's, where he grew up in the 'burbs.

"It was the source of so much inspiration for Newfoundland artists. All the storytellers, all the musicians -- so many of them."

The plot of An Evening With Uncle Val concerns an old outport Newfoundlander named Val, who is forced to spend time in St. John's to have eye surgery. At first, Val writes to the folks back home about how much he hates St. John's, but as time goes on, his opinion of the place changes and he doesn't want to leave. In a way, it mimics the migration from the country to the city (and beyond) over the past several decades...

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.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

An Entry for the New Year’s Resolution Contest from Lloyd Brown:

Although in my youth I was often regarded as a lewardly fellow, a nuzzle tripe, a angishore, and was sometimes taunted as a merry-begot, I have maintained a strong affection for my out-port home, and resolve this year (2008) to return there to immerse myself in ordinary out-port activities such as shiving longers, helping to mend nets spread out on the bawn, hunting bawks and guds in my father’s skiff, yaffling dried fish, marling down to the harbour to observe flatfish in the blue drop between pans of ice, kicking the waddock on a frozen meadow, strolling down the drungs to visit old friends, cutting crunnicks in the droke just inside of Long Pond, and sitting in my Uncle’s kitchen listening to old fishermen spinning pishogues and boo stories.

Two entries from Dave Paddon:

The resolution

“Das it” said Joseph Ploughman, puffing and blowing after a five minute walk across the bawn to his house “I got to get in shape next year”.
“I s’pose you do” scolded Harriet, his wife “you looks just like the waddock and you’re so lewardly as a gud on the shore”.
“S’pose I AM a bit of a angishore” admitted Joseph.
“Ha! The only reason you takes a marl ‘round the droke once in a while is ‘cause you can’t fit through the drung with a yaffle of splits!”
“Stop shiven’ out me Dad, you old she-boo” said Josephs daughter “you got ‘en drove with your naggin’ and pishogue!”
“Merrybegot!” screeched Harriet “He won’t be gittin’ off his big arse so long as the little nuzzle tripe got ‘en in her lun”.
“P’raps I’ll get a berth on the hunt this year” said Joseph, brightening “I knows I wouldn’t get in shape fast out running ‘round the blue drop after the swiles”.
“Yes b’y” sneered Harriet “you’ll come back trim as a bawk, no doubt.”


This year I resolve to get in shape by running along the bawn, kicking a waddock around the blue drop with the merrybegot, doing chinups in the drung, taking a marl around the droke with a yaffle of splits and doing whatever it takes to change from a lewardly gud of a angishore to a shived-out bawk who doesn’t have to put up with any more new age exercise pishogue from some 20 year old nuzzle tripe hounding me like a boo.

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These resolutions were inspired by the Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Monday, January 07, 2008

John Steffler's Poem of the Week, January 7-13

Follow this link to Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler's Poem of the Week website. This week's poem, Melt, is by Patricia Young.

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

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Fifth and Final Christmas Reference: Old Christmas Day by Michael Crummey


(This is the fifth and final installment for this Christmas in a series featuring excerpts from Rattling Books titles involving reference to Christmas.)


Old Christmas Day


My father, yes.

Father died on Old Christmas Day, January 6th, 1946. We thought he was getting better, he'd managed a decent meal that Sunday for the first time in months, salt beef and cabbage, peas pudding, he ate the works. Mother used to make fruit puddings in the old Baking Soda cans, Hollis and myself carried one up to him for dessert. He took three or four mouthfuls from the can and then he slumped over in the bed, never made a sound. I ran across Riverhead to Uncle Wel's and burst in saying Father was dead, I don't know what I expected them to do.

Anyway we buried him. Had to take out the kitchen window to carry the coffin from the house and it was cold enough to skin you. Then we buried him.

I'm not saying this like I meant to.

He used to run a sawmill up the brook, it was something to do over the winters when there was no fishing. Mother made a fried egg sandwich and corked a bottle of tea for him every morning, we'd carry it up there together. It was warm inside from the heat of the machines running, and the scent of pine and spruce in the sawdust, I never smelled a place as clean as that mill. Father sat me up on th cutting table while he had his lunch and I usually ate more of the sandwich than he did. The first mill he had burnt down, the second one there weren't enough trees around to keep it running and he had to sell off the equipment or let it rust.

He worked hard is all I'm saying. The only summer that man didn't come to the Labrador he was having cataracts taken off his eyes. That was the year before he died, when he was sixty-two.

No, that's not it, nevermind, nevermind now.

Nevermind, I said.

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Old Christmas Day is from the book Hard Light by Michael Crummey published by Brick Books. There are three autonomous sections in Hard Light. The section entitled 32 Little Stories includes Old Christmas Day and is available in audio format from Rattling Books, narrated by Michael Crummey, Ron Hynes and Diedre Gillard-Rowlings.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Year's Resolution from Don McKay (REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English Resolution Contest entry)

For the New Year’s Resolution Contest
From Don McKay

January 2nd and your head still feels like a waddock that's been bashed up and down the field by size thirteen spaugs, and no wonder, you're after being a slinger randying all Christmas, guzzling the screech and stuffing your gob, telling your old cuffers filled with all that pishogue, how you were forever grassing in the bawn like the rawny merrybegot you are, how you'd marl up the droke with a joke and a bottle and all the girls waiting to kiss you in the drung behind the church hall, way back when you were but a lewardly nuzzle tripe of a angishore before the blue drop got in your blood and you were out jiggering for cod with the bawks and guds whirling overhead, the gillies, turrs and tickleaces skimming the surface, the swiles sculling and diving, now here you are so hung over you can hardly stand to shive the goowiddy off your fousty face, yes my son, you say to the boo in the mirror, you've been a jeezly seeny-sawny long enough, it's time for a whole yaffle of resolutions, if only you could figure out where to start.


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Don McKay is a poet whose most recent book Strike/Slip was awarded the Griffin Prize.


This Resolution was inspired by the Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.

The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired in part by Mary Dalton's collection of poems entitled Merrybegot. The unabridged audio edition is available as an audio CD or Digital Download from Rattling Books. It is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Christmas References IV: from Merrybegot by Mary Dalton


(This is the fourth installment in a series featuring excerpts from Rattling Books titles involving reference to Christmas.)


Mat

Some of them could go fast as the wind -
Nell now - and she was a great hand at it,
Scrolls and squares and dogs and roses
And one time a red punt on the water.
And then the scrubbing -
Dragging mats down to the cove in summer.
We beat them against the beach rocks,
And the salt water gave back their colour.
And come Christmas
Out we went mummering,
Out in the fools, happy as kings.
Mat rags sewed into our clothes.


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Mat appears in the collection Merrybegot by Mary Dalton. The unabridged audio edition of Merrybegot is narrated (and occasionally sung) by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Latest REDEFiNE iT Contest Entry

Here's the latest entry to the REDEFiNE iT contest, as posted on the discussion board of the REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English Facebook page by Newfoundland writer Kathleen Winter, author of (among other things) the Metcalf-Rooke Award-winning short story collection boYs:

By every gud and bawk marling over drung, bawn and blue drop, I resolve to shive four hours off the night and keep writing long past midnight, no matter what lewerdly boo wants to whisper pishogues in my ear or pelt me with guilty waddocks, this angishore is sick of early to bed and early to rise just because she's mothered a brood of merrybegot nuzzle-tripes wailing all day long at her that they're hungry and she's supposed to find a fish in the droke and fry it up for them when what she should be doing is getting her yaffle of stories ready for the next bloody Pulitzer.

For contest details, have a look below or check out our page on Facebook.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

On the Road Again

Poets laureate hit the road
The Chronicle Herald


LONDON, Ont. — Halifax’s poet laureate Lorri Nelsen Glenn, along with Agnes Walsh, poet laureate of St. John’s, will embark on a cross-country tour.

In a media release, Brick Books, a Canadian poetry publisher, announced the tour will take place in January and March.

While on tour, the two poets will read from their poetry collections, lead writing workshops, and team up with poets laureate in other cities.

They will travel to Edmonton, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Salt Spring Island, B.C., Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto and Ottawa.

Glenn is the author of the poetry book Combustion and was appointed laureate for Halifax for 2005-2009.

Walsh is the author of Going Around with Bachelors and in 2006 she was named the inaugural St. John’s laureate for a four-year term.

For more information, visit the Brick site.

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Going Around with Bachelors by Agnes Walsh, published by Brick Books, is available as a digital download on the Rattling Books website (the print version can be found on Brick's website). Agnes Walsh's first poetry collection, In the Old Country of My Heart, is available as an audio book from Rattling Books.


Christmas References III: from Light Years by Susan Rendell

Christmas References III: from Light Years by Susan Rendell
(This is the third installment in a series featuring excerpts from Rattling Books titles involving reference to Christmas.)


"That November they took Mom to St. John's, to the hospital. I wasn't around when she went, but I knew when I came in the house she was gone, I could feel it. That was the Christmas I found out there was no Santa Claus. Not how most kids finds out; you know, their Mom or Dad tells them or they hears it at school, but it's not so bad because they still get presents and everything. But when me and Brian went down over the stairs Christmas morning the year Phonse died and Mom went away, taking the stairs two at a time like we always did, pushing and shoving each other - it's a wonder we never broke our necks because there was no carpet or nothing on them stairs and they were as slippery as a gutting table - our stockings were as flat as panckes; we could see 'em laying limp over the clothesline by the stove before we were even halfways down. I couldn't believe it. The old man never said nothing to us when he got up, and we never said nothing to him. The old bastard; dead to the world on Christmas Eve on all that money, and me and Brian laying awake for the longest time, listening for the reindeer to pitch on the roof."
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Light Years is one of fourteen stories in the collection of short fiction by Susan Rendell entitled In the Chambers of the Sea. The unabridged audio edition is published by Rattling Books. The story Light Years, narrated by Joel Thomas Hynes is also available as a Digital Download Single.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Resolution


I resolve:

firstly: to shive all lewardly pishogues yaffled into this drung of a world by hangishores believing in boo darbies

secondly: to juggle four waddocks on the bawn and teach my merrybegot to do the same before

thirdly and lastly: I quit this droke peopled by nuzzle tripes, marl on out to the blue drop and hang with the bawks and guds.


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This Resolution was inspired by the Rattling Books New Year's Resolution Contest based on the Rattling Books facebook group REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

We invite you to post your own Resolution either here or on the REDEFiNE iT Facebook group page under the relevant Discussion Board Topic.


The REDEFiNE iT group was inspired by Merrybegot by Mary Dalton. The unabridged audio edition is performed by Anita Best and Patrick Boyle.