Welcome to Talonbooks

Canadian distribution for Talonbooks is now through the University of Toronto Press Distribution. Returns also go through the University of Toronto. Our Fall books will begin to roll out soon! Check out our Fall 2019 Catalogue now. Sign up for our monthly newsletter here, peruse our list of upcoming events here, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


News, Events, and Announcements

news | Monday June 10, 2019

Our Fall 2019 Catalogue is now available!

Talonbooks Fall 2019 Catalogue

Our Fall 2019 catalogue, featuring new books from Bill Richardson, Michel Tremblay, Kim Senklip Harvey, George F. Walker, Deni Ellis Béchard, Danielle LaFrance, annie ross, and more, has arrived!

This catalogue also includes our Spring 2019 list, featuring work by M.A.C. Farrant, bill bissett, Carmen Aguirre, Drew Hayden Taylor, Christian Guay-Poliquin, Nikki Reimer, Dina Del Bucchia, Colleen Wagner, Raes Calvert, Sean Harris Oliver, and more!

Talonbooks Fall 2019 Catalogue PDF

These books can all now be purchased in Canada through our new distributor, University of Toronto Press Distribution. Click here for Talon’s full sales and distribution information.

news | Friday September 20, 2019

Just Like We Like It

Cover of Just Like I Like It; purple, half-tone, a type of tornado/vortex

Danielle LaFrance’s powerful new book of poetry and autotheory, JUST LIKE I LIKE IT, is now available!!

In JUST LIKE I LIKE IT, LaFrance combines poetry and autotheory as a means of targeting ideological infatuation, spilling into an obsession with ideological abolishment. JUST LIKE I LIKE IT searches for ways to kill and abolish “it,” seeking means to get it done right, even when attempted slowly and stupidly, even if the only way out is death. LaFrance draws on stupidity, sadomasochism, pretend power, parasitism, and violent revolutionary desubjectification to shape a felt experience, not so much asking as inhabiting a series of questions, including: “What are the implications of abolishing the self as it is racialized, gendered, and classed?” and “Can a theoretical framework hold every contradiction in tandem when every contradiction is substantial and felt?” Each page of JUST LIKE I LIKE IT pokes “it” awake all over again, culminating in a number of accomplished failures, including “It Makes Me Iliad,” a reworking of Homer’s Iliad. Poetry, it seems, is the best weapon for wiping it out with fewer casualties – which is why it is never enough.

Order your copy of JUST LIKE I LIKE IT today!

news | Tuesday September 17, 2019

Caught Red-Handed with Our Favourite Crime

Deni Ellis Béchard's My Favourite Crime on city pavement.

Deni Ellis Béchard’s new book of essays and journalism, My Favourite Crime, has arrived in-house! Not in the big house, just to be clear.

My Favourite Crime ranges across the world and over a wide array of contemporary issues. Divided into five sections, all united by a recurring consideration of how writing helps transform our understanding of our family, of ourselves, and of the world, the book addresses such disparate topics as: Deni Ellis Béchard’s tumultuous relationship with his father, exploring his struggle to make sense of his father’s criminality as well as his own, and the temptation to lapse back into crime when one has been raised with it; the illuminated gospels on Patmos, the Greek island where Saint John composed the Book of Revelation and where refugees are locked up without food or water; an American soldier transitioning between genders while serving in Afghanistan; children accused of sorcery and exorcised in Kinshasa’s revival churches; and Indian women’s responses to their country’s rampant rape culture. Including articles about Cuba, Colombia, Iraq, Rwanda, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Québec, and the United States, My Favourite Crime is current, engaged, compelling writing not to be missed.

Pick up your copy of My Favourite Crime today!

news | Tuesday September 10, 2019

I Saw Three Ships Sets Sail

I Saw Three Ships being held in front of the Fraser River.

Happy pub day to Bill Richardson’s fabulous new book I Saw Three Ships!

In I Saw Three Ships, eight linked stories, all set around Christmastime in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood, explore the seasonal tug-of-war between expectation and disappointment. These tales give shelter to characters from various walks of life whose experience of transcendence leaves them more alienated than consoled.

I Saw Three Ships captures a West End community vanishing under pressure from development and skyrocketing real-estate prices. As arch as they are elegiac, as funny as they are melancholy, these stories honour a cherished period in the history of the West End. Sometimes twisted, sometimes tender, I Saw Three Ships will speak to all who have ever been stuck spinning their wheels at the corner of Heathen and Holy.

In Vancouver? Bill will launch I Saw Three Ships this Friday, September 13 at 2 p.m. at the Joe Fortes Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. More info here.

Order your copy of I Saw Three Ships today!

news | Wednesday September 4, 2019

Flow's Softcover Edition Has Arrived!

The softcover edition of Roy Miki's Flow on a wooden table in soft light.

Flow collects all of Governor General’s Award winner Roy Miki’s books of poetry – saving face, random access file, Surrender, There, and Mannequin Rising – with a substantial new, previously unpublished work, Cloudy and Clear, and numerous full-colour photographs and photocollages. This definitive edition of Miki’s poetic work includes a foreword by poet and critic Louis Cabri, an interview by the collection’s editor, Michael Barnholden, and an extensive bibliography.

Flow has been available in a beautiful $49.95 hardcover edition – with coloured endsheets and silver foil – since last year. We are now very pleased to make its softcover sibling available – all of Miki’s wonderful poetry and photocollages, with a special softcover dust jacket, for $29.95.

Flow is the newest book added to our Collected Series, which collects important works by west coast poets. Roy Miki is one of Canada’s most innovative poets; he is also an influential critic, founder of the literary journals Line and West Coast Line, and as a noted activist, became a prominent figure in the movement for Japanese Canadian redress. We are so pleased to share Flow with you.

Pick up your softcover copy of Flow today!

news | Sunday August 18, 2019

Rita Wong's Public Sentencing Statement

We at Talon stand with poet and activist Rita Wong, who was sentenced this past Friday to serve twenty-eight days in prison for participating in a protest last August against the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Please read Rita’s public statement on her sentencing, reproduced in full below.

Rita Wong’s Public Sentencing Statement

I’m grateful to be here alive today with all of you on sacred, unceded Coast Salish territories, the homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh peoples.

On 24 August 2018, while British Columbia was in a state of emergency because of wildfires caused by climate change – breaking records for the second year in a row; putting lives at risk, health at risk, and displacing thousands of people – I sang, prayed, and sat in ceremony for about half an hour in front of the Trans Mountain pipeline project’s Westridge Marine Terminal.

I did this because we’re in a climate emergency, and since the Federal government has abdicated its responsibility to protect us despite full knowledge of the emergency, it became necessary to act. We are in imminent peril if we consider the rate of change we are currently experiencing from a geological perspective – we are losing species at an alarming rate and facing mass extinction due to the climate crisis that humans have caused. This is the irreparable harm I sought to prevent, which the court, the Crown, and corporations also have a responsibility to prevent.

Everyone has the responsibility to respond to this crisis. We are on the global equivalent of the Titanic, and this industrialized ship needs to change direction. We also need to build life boats, healthy places that can support resilience in the future, such as the sacred Salish Sea.

I acted with respect for the rule of law which includes the rule of natural law and the rule of Indigenous law and the rule of international law. Under the rule of law:

  • I have a responsibility to my ancestors and the ancestors of this land to protect the lands and waters that give us life with each breath, each bite of food, each sip of water.
  • I have a responsibility to reciprocate to the salmon who have given their life to feed mine, to reciprocate to the trees that produce and gift us the fresh air from their leaves through the perpetual song of photosynthesis.
  • I have a responsibility to give back to the great Pacific Ocean, the Coast Salish Sea, Stalew (the Fraser River), and the many water bodies on which human life – and other lives – depend.
  • I have a responsibility to hold our politicians accountable when they persistently breach their international legal obligations to protect us. They should be reducing greenhouse gas emissions, not increasing them in ways that put the very existence of life at risk.

By breaching the injunction, I had no intention of reducing respect for our courts. I do intend to ask the court to respect Coast Salish laws that uphold our responsibilities to care for the land and waters that make life, liberty and peace possible for everyone. I sincerely ask the court to take our reciprocal relationship with the land and water into consideration because we are on Coast Salish lands, where everyone is a Coast Salish citizen.

I’m one of over 200 citizens of conscience who were arrested because, unlike our federal and provincial governments, we take the climate crisis seriously. We take the need to protect society seriously. We did what we could to maintain respect for our justice system:

  • We cooperated with Indigenous spiritual guardians, non-governmental organizations and the police.
  • We waited patiently for decades before determining – at a moment in history when time has almost run out to act – that orthodox ways of getting the federal government to act were doomed to fail.
  • The police were informed in advance and they appointed people to liaise and communicate with the NGOs in order to maintain order.

All of this is evidence of the rule of law working.

I respect the court’s concern for the rule of law. I do appreciate that obeying court orders is part of the rule of law. There are more aspects of the rule of law that I would ask you to consider before sentencing me.

Natural law and Indigenous law rely on mutual aid and cooperation, qualities that require maturity and a deep love for one’s community, recognizing that we are all equal. It is a rule of law that works primarily from a place of love and respect, not from fear of authority and punishment.

This is the aspect of rule of law that has moved the hearts and spirits of the thousands of people who’ve shown up to care for the land and waters of this place. Such an understanding of rule of law, as coming from a place of love and courage more than fear, could strengthen our sense of democracy. It could make our commitment to reconciliation a sincere one.

We can all learn from natural law and Coast Salish law that we have a reciprocal relationship with the land; and that we all have a responsibility to care for the land’s health, which is ultimately our health too. This was reinforced most recently for me by Tsleil-Waututh speakers at the Drums Not Drills gathering at the scene of my arrest, the Westridge Marine Terminal, on Aug 5 this year, which I helped to co-organize as part of the Mountain Protectors group.

My ancestors teach me to act responsibly, to honour the water, the land and my relatives. I feel their teachings in my blood & guts, my bones that carry their spirits within them, my heart as it closes & opens again & again with each beat.

The morning of my arrest we hung red dresses to honour the murdered and missing Indigenous women, the sisters who are made more vulnerable and victimized by the man camps that accompany pipeline expansion and massive resource extraction. We sang the women warriors song, over and over again, for each woman who should have been there & wasn’t.

We sang for our grandparents, for people from all four direction of the earth.

Our ceremony that morning was an act of spiritual commitment, of prayer, of artistic expression, of freedom of expression, an act of desperation in the face of climate crisis, an act of allegiance with the earth’s natural laws, and a heartfelt attempt to prevent mass extinction of the human race.

As I see it, one shows respect by speaking honestly, a view shared by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To speak the truth is not to show contempt, but to hold those in power accountable for failing to protect us and for instead knowingly choosing to inflict systemic harm & violence upon us and upon the land and waters that give us life.

I pray that the urgency of the climate crisis and our responsibilities to be good relatives living on Coast Salish lands, under Coast Salish laws, will help to guide this justice system as it encounters land defenders. As land and water defenders, we do what we do for everyone’s sake.

Thank you,
Rita

news | Monday June 24, 2019

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day!

Cover of Michel Tremblay's A Crossing of Hearts.

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to all of our Québécois readers, and to French-Canadians across the country. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrates diverse Québécois culture, and Talon is proud to have a long history of translating Québécois classics – as well as new and exciting titles from emerging authors – for anglophone audiences. Today, we’d like to recommend some titles to you.

news | Friday June 21, 2019

A poem from Wanda John-Kehewin's Seven Sacred Truths

Today, on Indigenous Peoples Day, we are pleased to share a poem from Wanda John-Kehewin’s Seven Sacred Truths.

tO all the children Of residential schOOls …

(Inspired by Mechelle Pierre)

i hOpe YOur life is filled with lOve
frOM here On earth and frOM abOve.
i hOpe YOu can OvercOMe YOur fears
thrOugh faMilY, friends, and ManY healing tears.

news | Thursday June 20, 2019

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

Cover of Talonbooks 2018 Indigenous Catalogue

Talon is honoured to work with many Indigenous authors and to celebrate Indigenous voices. Publishing writing by, for, and about First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples is a central part of what we do every day of the year.

So: happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

We have some recent and forthcoming titles we’d like to share with you today. Kevin Loring’s Thanks for Giving, Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians and Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion, Sean Harris Oliver & Raes Calvert’s Redpatch, and Wanda John-Kehewin’s Seven Sacred Truths were all published in the past year.

Soon, we will be reissuing an updated edition of They Write Their Dream on the Rock Forever, by Annie York, Richard Daly & Chris Arnett; forthcoming this fall is annie ross’s Pots and Other Living Beings as well as Kim Senklip Harvey’s Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story. In Spring 2020, we will publish Marie Clements’s Iron Peggy and Kevin Loring’s Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer.

For even more Indigenous-authored books, download our 2018 Indigenous Catalogue.

news | Monday June 10, 2019

Christine Stewart in conversation with Erina Harris for CWILA

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) has posted a great conversation between Christine Stewart, author of Treaty 6 Deixis, and poet Erina Harris. An excerpt:

Erina Harris – You once mentioned that moving to Edmonton inspired or induced a radical reckoning asked of you as a poet and teacher. Could you elaborate?

Christine Stewart – … During the summer of 2007, a tent city had grown up in downtown Edmonton. This was shut down by the city in early September and many of the inhabitants moved across the river into the ravine. In the mornings, on my way to work, as dawn broke, I would bike by people cooking breakfast on open fires or sleeping in shelters along the creek. At that time, the majority of the people living in the ravine were Indigenous, and as I later learned, many were nêhiyaw (Cree), from the Edmonton area – home and homeless. This condition remains very true for many people in Edmonton and across Canada – to be home and yet to be homeless in that very place of home. The enduring societal and governmental violence that is necessary for such a fact to be true is staggering. In the years that have followed, it has become obvious to me that I didn’t know where I was in those days, that I never had known, and that I still don’t, but that I urgently need to know where I am and what is expected of me here. This has lead me to work and write in very different ways and with very different intentions and yet, I think what has remained with me, is that writing is real, that it matters, that language matters, how we use it and why, that there is a truth in language on the page. It might be a truth that we find hard to believe or do not want to believe but it is there. Which is not to say that writing is everything. It isn’t. There are circumstances within which I often find myself now wherein writing needs to stop. Some things should not be written; sometimes writing is not enough.

Read the full conversation over at CWILA.

news | Monday May 27, 2019

TISH poets read from their Talon books in North Van

Fred Wah reading from Scree.

On Saturday, April 6, George Bowering, Gladys Maria Hindmarch, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah read from their TISH works and Talon books at a reading associated with the Griffin Art Project’s exhibition the poets have always preceded art and poetry in Vancouver, 1960–present, which was on from January 26 to April 27, 2019. All four poets are part of our Collected Poetry series.

Fred Wah’s Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962–1991 came out with Talon in 2015. Daphne Marlatt’s Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems 1968–2008 came out in 2017. Gladys Maria Hindmarch and George Bowering both have Collected volumes forthcoming with Talon.

Check out these great photos that Kit Marlatt took of the reading, and order Fred’s and Daphne’s books today!

Daphne Marlatt reading

George Bowering reading

Gladys Maria Hindmarch reading

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breth
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Flow
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PERFACT
By Nicole Raziya Fong

112 pages | Poetry

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Rite of Passage
By Michel Tremblay
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

280 pages | Fiction

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Synapses
By Simon Brousseau
Translated by Pablo Strauss

128 pages | Fiction

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Taking Measures
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The Living
By Colleen Wagner

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