If you haven't already done so, mark May 19th on the calendar. You're going to want to join us for the Wolsak & Wynn Hamilton Spring Launch, specifically:
NO TV FOR WOODPECKERS
A new collection of poems from Gary Barwin:
In the pages of Gary Barwin’s latest collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers, the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. No stranger to poetic experimentation, Barwin employs a range of techniques from the lyrical to the conceptual in order to explore loss, mortality, family, the self and our relationship to the natural world. Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us – that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. He reveals how we construct both self and reality through these relationships and also considers the human in relation to the concepts of “nature” and “the animal.” As philosophical as it is entertaining – weaving together threads of surrealism, ecopoetics, Dada and more – No TV for Woodpeckers is a complex and multi-layered work that offers an unexpected range of pleasures.
A new collection of poems from Catherine Owen:
Catherine Owen’s latest collection is an extended love letter to her poetic influences and to the real-world objects, people, places and situations that fascinate her. Inspired by the work of John Ashbery, among others, in Dear Ghost, Owen returns to the kooky imagery and humorous style she last visited with her award-winning collection Frenzy. These poems entertain immensities of sound while plumbing the depths of the psyche’s surrealities, content to enter a dreamlike realm where meaning is found in the nonsensical, the utterly human and the everyday. While Owen gathers her subjects from the mundane – work, sex, acquaintances and art – she imbues them with the extraordinary quirks and uncertainties that only language can create, and the effects are dizzying.
THE HEAVY BEAR
A new novel by Tim Bowling
What happens when a respectable middle-aged father, teacher and writer decides one day to abandon his ordinary routine and embark on an unexpected journey toward an unknowable fate, following the ghost of Buster Keaton and a vision of a bear? In Tim Bowling’s fifth novel, The Heavy Bear, the main character – a sort of contemporary version of Joyce’s Leopold Bloom who just happens to be named Tim Bowling – spends an intense late-summer day in downtown Edmonton. Haunted by “the slender sadness” of the world, and unable to face his afternoon class, Tim Bowling finds himself pulled into an escapade revolving around an antique toy, a capuchin monkey and a young student our narrator likens to Pippi Longstocking. Accompanied by the shade of the silent-film star Buster Keaton, and the bear-shaped spirit of the American poet Delmore Schwartz, Bowling’s Tim Bowling must confront, with equal parts humour and sincerity, a fundamental problem of our age: how to make and maintain human connections in a world that seems intent on destroying them?
YARDWORK: THE BIOGRAPHY OF AN URBAN PLACE
New non-fiction by Daniel Coleman
Daniel Coleman is looking to find a home. After a childhood that left him feeling placeless, he ended up in Hamilton, Ontario, one of Canada’s most polluted cities at the time. Yardwork is his attempt to put down roots in a place he never expected to be. Coleman decided he wanted to truly know and belong to a small piece of land, his patch of garden on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, to deeply understand its ecology, landscape and history. Starting with the creation myths and geology, moving through the settler era and up to the present, Coleman pours his considerable talents into learning, and sharing, as much of the story of the land as possible. Most books on ecology focus either on protecting the wilderness or analyzing a toxic dump. Most books on gardens focus on plant health or landscape design. Most books on Indigenous-settler relations focus on politics or social inequities. Yardwork meditates on the sedimentary layers of ecological, cultural and political stories that make up Hamilton, the escarpment city at the Head of the Lake. Along the way Coleman strives to build a new awareness of the place where he lives as sacred land.
*Unfortunately, Tim Bowling will not be able to be there for the event.
Some information about our venue, The Staircase (cafe):