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Ellen Jaffe at INSPIRE, the Locke Street library, and her Latest Review in the Maple Tree Literary Supplement

Skinny-Dipping MuseGeorge Elliott Clarke reviewed the collections of both Tim Bowling of Gaspereau Press and Ellen Jaffe in the latest issue of the Maple Tree Literary Supplement. He praises  their work, Bowling for his sharp insight and Jaffe for her wry wit.

“she thinks about time past and its metaphysical import, and also about mortality.” He says, of Ellen Jaffe’s latest collection of poetry, Skinny-Dipping with the Muse.

In her collection, Jaffe explores darker themes when she juxtaposes the Holocaust with current domestic life, but her poems also explore lighter topics like Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

In her tougne-and-cheek poem “Fay Wray Writes to King Kong,” the now-aged actress writes to King Kong to say that: “Marriage wouldn’t have worked out— / you couldn’t be house-broken, / and, of course, we were an inter-racial couple….”

Grouped into four sections, the poems in this collection relate to the writer’s experience of diving “into the destructive element” (in Joseph Conrad’s words), naked, vulnerable, stripping off clothes, masks, and preconceptions in a process of connecting with the “creative spirit” in a way that is playful, loving, emotionally rich and wet, care-full, and spontaneous. These poems are conversations with the living, the dead, and the world itself.

Ellen Jaffe will also be making an appearane at the Guernica booth at INSPIRE, Toronto’s International Literary Festival. From 3:30-4pm Saturday, Nov. 14 Ellen Jaffe will be at the Guernica booth to sign copies of  her book.

Ellen Jaffe will also be reading from her work at the Locke Street Library, Hamilton, on Jan. 15, 2015. The reading starts at 2:00 p.m. and all are welcome.

To read George Elliott Clarke’s full review of Skinny-Dipping With the Muse, you can visit the Maple Tree Literary Supplement website at:

Skinny-Dipping with the Muse is available on the Guernica website at:

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Elana Wolff at INSPIRE and her latest interview with Open Book

A Hunger Artist and Other StoriesElana Wolff recently sat down (albeit electronically) with Open Book to talk about her latest publication and the books that inspired her as a young reader and writer.

Although many books have influenced Elana as a writer, she confesses that “Kafka has been with me the longest though and has influenced me in more amorphous ways.” When asked which book she has re-read many times, she replies that, for her, it is “Kafka’s The Trial. Actually almost everything by Kafka.”

No surprise then that her latest book, Guernica’s first flip book, is a dual translation of Kafka and Langer’s work. Having stumbled upon several mentions of Langer, one of which stated that “the importance of the friendship between Kafka and Langer had been ‘largely overlooked.’”, Elana  decided to set out and find Langer’s elegy of Kafka and uncover what she could about the little-known writer. The hunt that followed, which included a trip to Tel Aviv and fruitless searches in rare bookstores, is a story in itself and was recently written about in The Huffington Post.

The final translation, available for the first time to English readers has been described as “absorbing” and a “rare gift”.

Copies of A Hunger Artist and Other Stories; Poems and Songs of Love will be available at the Guernica booth at  the INSPIRE! Book International Book Fair. And, on Sunday, November 16, 2014, Elana Wolff will be signing copies from 2:00pm to 2:30pm.

Elana Wolff has published four collections of poetry with Guernica Editions, including You Speak to Me in Trees, awarded the F.G. Bressani Prize for Poetry. She is also the author of Implicate Me, a collection of essays on contemporary poems; co-author with the late Malca Litovitz of Slow Dancing: Creativity and Illness (Duologue and Rengas); and co-editor with Julie Roorda of Poet to Poet: Poems written to poets and the stories that inspired them. A bilingual edition of her selected poems, Helleborus & Alchémille(Éditions du Noroît), was awarded the 2014 John Glassco Prize for Translation (translator: Stéphanie Roesler). Elana has taught English for Academic Purposes at York University in Toronto and at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She currently divides her professional time between writing, editing, and designing and facilitating therapeutic community art courses.

To read the full interview, you can visit Open Book at:

To read the article about Elana’s hunt for Langer’s lost works, you can visit The Huffington Post at:

A Hunger Artist and Other Stories; Poems and Songs of Love is available on the Guernica website at:

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Orville Lloyd Douglas at INSPIRE and in Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

Under My SKinOut in Print: Queer Book Reviews is an American online review of books, and they recently read through Orville Lloyd Douglas’ latest book of poetry. And loved it.

In their Fall Poetry Roundup, Out in Print states that the poems in Douglas’ Under My Skin are “Powerful and muscular, these pieces are not to be consumed all at once. One or two bites are all you need to digest before you go back, but Under My Skin is a harsh meal that deserves to be finished because its lessons are so vital for everyone.”

Under My Skin asks a lot of questions, questions that demand answers: Why are young black gay men invisible in Canada’s queer and black communities? Do their lives really matter? How do young black men deal with the daily challenges of dealing with multiple oppressions in relation to our race and gender? Is Canada truly a multicultural nation? Why are the brothers dying due to gun violence on the streets of Toronto?

Orville Lloyd Douglas is a writer and social activist. His writing examines image versus reality of tolerance and multiculturalism in Canada from the perspective of a young, gay, black man. His poetry has received critical acclaim from George Elliott Clarke, who described Douglas’ first collection, You Don’t Know Me, as “bold and brash” and Ginsbergesque in “the same pell-mell rush of ideas and images that drives Howl.”

Copies of Under My Skin will be available at the Guernica booth at the INSPIRE! Book International Book Fair. And, on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 Orville Lloyd Douglas will be at the Guernica booth from 1-1:30pm to sign copies of his book.

To read the full review, you can visit Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews at:

Under My Skin is also available on the Guernica website at:

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Directory of the Vulnerable and Breathing Underwater Get their New Zealand Debut

On November 4th the Embassies of Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, the High Commission of Canada, the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation and Wai-te-ata Press, in partnership with the Italian and Spanish Programmes will be hosting the launch of two of Guernica’s newest translations. The Directory of the Vulnerable by Fabiano Alborghetti and translated by Marco Sonzogni, along with Breathing Underwater by Pablo Valdivia and translated by Ross Woods, will have their first New Zealand launches.

The Directory of the Vulnerable is a book in 43 cantos about vulnerable human beings whose feelings and experiences are watched and recorded. By showing the actions and reactions of a credible cross-section of contemporary society, Alborghetti seeks not universality but to stand in the shoes of his subjects.

Pablo Valdivia’s debut collection, Respirar bajo el agua (Breathing Underwater), stands as a conversation between a young man and the world around him. It is a collection tinged with aching nostalgia — an emotion intensified by the often sterile images inspired by the Swedish and English backdrops in many of its poems. Fittingly, Valdivia borrows a line from Natalia Ginzburg to begin one section: “England is beautiful and melancholic.” And, with this epigraph, he succinctly describes his own poems; they are beautiful and melancholic.

When: 5:30pm-7:30pm November 4, 2014

Where: Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Parade, Wellington, New Zealand

The event will include readings in English, Italian, and Spanish. Light refreshments will also be served, courtesy of the Embassies of Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

The Directory of the Vulnerable is available on the Guernica website at:

Breathing Underwater is available on the Guernica website at:


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Joseph Maviglia to appear at INSPIRE, Toronto International Book Fair

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Fresh from a book tour in California, Joseph will be an inaugural participant in Toronto’s exciting new literary venture: the INSPIRE International Book Fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to be held November 13 – 16, 2014.

Joseph’s appearance and book-signing will take place on Saturday, November 15, between 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm at the Ontario Book Publishers’ Organization Pavilion (Row 200 next to The Discovery Stage).

Since the release in May of his new collection of cultural essays, Critics Who Know Jack: Urban Myths Media and Rock and Roll by Guernica Editions, Joseph has been touring in Ontario, Quebec, Eastern Canada and California and reaching a wide cross section of audiences.

Joseph had two successful appearances in Montreal at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival and the Italian Cultural Institute in May and returned to Toronto for the much awaited Guernica Spring Launch at The Supermarket in Kensington Market.

On June 1, Joseph was feted in Toronto by Senator Nancy Ruth at an invitational garden party and book signing hosted by Rita Davies, Toronto’s former culture czar and CEO of Culture Capital. The event featured readings by Clifton Joseph, dub-poet extraordinaire; Liz Marshall, award-winning documentary film-maker; and Julie Nesrallah, host of the CBC classical music radio show Tempo; with a riveting performance by Joseph himself of his tribute to Lou Reed titled In Memoriam: Full Moon Lou.

Late June brought Joseph to his hometown of Ottawa for a reading and performance at the Villa Marconi which drew a diverse and very appreciative audience. In mid-July he performed with new-traditional country band On the Dial at the venerable Toronto institution The Free Times Cafe.

In September, Joseph was invited to perform in Los Angeles for a Shapeshifter Salon Evening, and then on to San Francisco for a performance at Sweetie’s Bar and Lounge in the heart of the city’s historic North Beach community.

Critics Who Know Jack: Urban Myths, Media and Rock and Roll is currently being formatted as an E-book by Guernica Editions and an audio version of the text will be released in 2015.


For interviews and booking enquiries please contact

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Future Guernica Author Caroline Vu Makes QWF Shortlist for her Debut Novel Palawan Story

The shortlist for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards is out and soon-to-be-Guernica-author Caroline Vu made the list for the Best First Book Award. Her first book, Palawan Story (published by Deux Voiliers), is up for the award.

Although Caroline Vu’s debut novel is being described as this year’s biggest underdog story, it is a strong contender with its gripping narrative and captivating writing.

Palawan Story follows the journey of Kim Nguyen, a young girl whose mother put her on a crowded fishing boat so that she could escape the Vietnam War. After a harrowing journey across the sea, Kim arrives at a refugee camp in the Philippines, where she is sent to the United States for adoption in a case of mistaken identity. Her story continues as Kim, now an adult, returns to Palawan to piece together the missing parts of her journey and family.

Caroline Vu is a family doctor, and has also published several articles and stories in the Tico Times, Geneva Times, Medical Post, Doctor’s Review, Toronto Star, and The Gazette. She was born in Vietnam and her childhood was spent in Saigon during the peak years of the Vietnam War, before leaving Vietnam for the United States and then eventually moving to Canada. Her second book, That Summer in Provincetown, is scheduled for publication by Guernica Editions.

The Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards will take place on Tuesday, November 18th at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre (2490 Notre Dame St. W). There will be a cocktail dinatoire at 6:30 p.m., with the award ceremony starting at 8 p.m. Tickets for the gala are $50 for the gala and cocktail dinatoire ($40 for full-time students), and $20 for the ceremony only ($10 for full-time students). For more information call 514-933-0878. This year’s Gala honours “Great Women of Words” Maya Angelou, Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro.

To read the full article, you can visit The Gazette website at:

For the full shortlist, you can visit the QWF website at:

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Stan Rogal at Grey Borders

After WordsStan Rogal will be reading from his work on October 24th at the Niagra Artists Centre. The reading will be part of the Grey Borders Reading Series,  and will include performances by Karen Enns and Stevie Howell.

Stan Rogal was born in Vancouver and has resided in Toronto for 25 years. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US and Europe, some in translation. He has published 19 books, including four novels, four story and 11 poetry collections. He is also a produced playwright and the artistic director of Bulletproof Theatre.

The idea for the collection After Words, Stan Rogal’s latest collection of poetry, was to offer a tip of the hat to people whose lives and/or works have influenced him. Each piece is forwarded by a short background story as well as an epigram which provides some descriptive entry and flavour. The key was to construct these pieces in the author’s own style and voice and not fall into simple mimicry. Many names have been encrypted into the pieces as fractured homonyms, a sort of pun for the astute reader.

When: 7pm October 24, 2014

Where: 354 Paul St, St Catherines.

After Words is available on the Guernica website at:

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Rosemary Clewes Talks Inspiration and Overcoming Writer’s Block with Open Book Toronto

Rosemary ClewesRosemary Clewes spoke with Open Book Toronto on September 25th, and in her interview, she talked about inspiration, education, and negotiating writer’s block. She recounts the moment when she decided to become a poet:

“We camped on the shore at St. Mary’s Bay just five miles from Cortez Island in the Canadian West.” Clewes recalls, “The salal grew so thickly by the shore as to be impenetrable. Thus we were left with twenty feet of beach and the tide coming in… We moved the fire inland a tad, and by the light of the moon and blazing stars, [our kayaking instructor] began to read from Mary Oliver’s “New and Selected Poems”. It was then that I decided to become a poet.”

Of course, Clewes’ story does not end there. She also discusses quick, non-stop prose ‘blasts’, which she uses to overcome writer’s block, and how poetry was included in the curriculum when she went to school.

Paper Wings, Clewes’ latest collection, is a collection of poems in five parts, seen through the lens of history, geography, familial loss and celebration. Whether travelling by icebreaker, kayak or on foot, or weaving memory into new landscapes of the heart, these poems incline to the marvellous and metaphysical. Each asks in different ways the question: “Where is home?” The conclusion: Home is found within our selves and without, anywhere, anytime.

Toronto poet Rosemary Clewes is the author of two books: Thule Explorer: Kayaking North of 77 Degrees (2008) and Once Houses Could Fly: Kayaking North of 79 Degrees (2012). In 2005, she was nominated by The Malahat Review for The National Magazine Awards and, in 2006, a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards. She has made seven trips to the Arctic, travelling by kayak, raft and icebreaker.

To read the full interview, you can visit Open Book at:

Paper Wings is available on the Guernica website at:

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Henry Beissel Winning Awards, Going on Tour, and Inspiring Future Generations of Writers

Henry BeisselThe Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa recognize the top English and French books published in the previous year and this year Henry Bissel’s Fugitive Horizons made the list.

Beissel’s poetry collection is among the finalists for the fiction prize, which will be awarded October 22nd at 8pm at the Shenkman Arts Centre. The event is open to the public and all are welcome.

But that’s not all Henry Beissel is up to at the moment. His latest book, Coming to Terms with a Child and its counterpart, Ein Kind Kommt zur Sprache, are going to be published in a bilingual edition by the University of Marburg before the end of the year.

Beissel has also just returned from a tour with talks and readings at universities in Poland and Germany. Next September, he will return to give the keynote address at a literary conference at the University of Augsburg, followed by another tour, the fourth in as many years.

Finally, it was also recently announced that a Henry Beissel Award for graduate students in Creative Writing has been established at the University of Toronto.

Henry Beissel is an award-winning poet, playwright, essayist, translator and editor with more than thirty publications to his credit, including twenty volumes of poetry. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. His first book of poetry was New Wings for Icarus, the very first book published by Coach House Press in 1966. His most recent collection is Seasons of Blood, published in 2011 by Buschekbooks. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, artist Arlette Francière.

Fugitive Horizons takes the reader on a mind-blowing journey across the known micro- and macrocosms to the extreme outer edges of space and time. The counter-intuitive insights of modern science here become reality as we are led to question the representations of our senses. Quantum physics and cosmic relativity, captured in the intimacy of the prevailing sonnet form, create a dynamic challenging the reader to reaffirm the human world in the face of the unknowable.

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Michael Mirolla Awarded F.G. Bressani Literary Prize; Short Story to be Published in The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir

michaelMichael Mirolla has been awarded the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize for his latest book of poetry, The House on 14th Avenue.

The Signature Editions book is “about paired and shared lives, featuring two people whose connection sometimes seemed forced and uneven. That of master and slave. That of trembling and acceptance. Some of the poems detail each individually, a scraping together of momentary identities; others bring them together as they embark on journeys both physical and psychic.”

The F.G. Bressani Prize recognizes the best in Italian-Canadian literature, poetry, and short fiction. It is named after the writer whose book,  Breve Relatione (Brief Relation), is considered to be the first Italian-Canadian literary work. This year’s winners also include Darlene Madott (fiction), Eufemia Fantetti (short fiction), and David Macfarlane (Italian themes).

Not only will Mirolla be receiving his award on November 6th at the Italian Cultural Centre, he is also looking forward to the publication of his latest short story in The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir.

The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir, edited by Claude Lalumière and featuring the work of authors Corey Redekop, Joel Thomas Hynes, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Chadwick Ginther among many others, explores the whole spectrum of the noir esthetic. It explores its hardboiled home in crime fiction; its grim forays into horror, fantasy, and surrealism; its dystopian shadows in science fiction; its mixture of desire and corruption in erotica; its stark nihilism in literary realism. It tells the stories of several twisted characters in Canada and elsewhere.

Novelist, short story writer, poet and playwright, Michael Mirolla’s publications include a punk-inspired novella, The Ballad of Martin B.; three novels: Berlin (a Bressani Prize winner and recently translated into Latvian); The Facility, which features among other things a string of cloned Mussolinis; and The Giulio Metaphysics III, a novel/linked short story collection wherein a character named “Giulio” battles for freedom from his own creator; two short story collections: The Formal Logic of Emotion (translated into Italian as La logica formale delle emozioni) and Hothouse Loves & Other Tales; and three collections of poetry: Light and Time, the English-Italian bilingual Interstellar Distances – Distanze Interstellari, and The House on 14th Avenue. His short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology, featuring the year’s 10 best short stories, while another short story, “The Sand Flea,” was nominated for the US Pushcart Prize.

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