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POETIC

Tell a classroom of wannabe writers to try their hands at a poem and the stilted, strangely wrought language that ensues can be alarming. It’s like they’re being told to write in some World War II secret code at gunpoint. How else to explain that something as simple as “This morning” can become “As dawn crept its blood-dyed fingers towards the undeniable throat of a new universe” or “Sunburst hollow toots of chimeras in love with themselves.” Yikes! Or else a sales conference of clichés, everything from “that golden orb” to “The sun smiles in my bedroom window.” Poetic in the worst sense: self-conscious, purple, words skinned of all common sense.

Writers' Trust Announces $25K Career Prize for Canadian Poets

From Our Friends at Writer's Trust:

The Writer's Trust of Canada is thrilled to announce the creation of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, an annual award in recognition of a Canadian writer’s exceptional body of work. The prize, which is sponsored by the Latner Family Foundation and administered by the Writers’ Trust of Canada, will be presented alongside five other prizes for excellence in Canadian literature at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards in November. The winner will receive $25,000.

MORE REVISION

A friend confesses that he could spend the rest of his life revising a handful of the same poems. One change leads to another. It’s like a glassblower unsure whether to make a swan or a squirrel, the glass seething as if it were breathing in and out, the heat becoming unbearable, until he stops, lets it cave in, then starts all over again. I know what he means. My poems have multiple personality disorder. One minute I’m being seduced by the muse, the next I’m being slapped across the face. There’s the sweet voice, the monster, the forgotten self, and the one who talks with a foreign accent.

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Ashley Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing

Author and illustrator Ashley Spires (known for her beloved Binky series) returns with her newest title, The Most Magnificent Thing (KidsCan Press).

The Most Magnificent Thing features a little girl whose many failed attempts to make the most magnificent thing leave her feeling frustrated, until a walk around the block with her loyal canine companion brings her back to her project with renewed enthusiasm — and with magnificent results.

Don't miss this trailer, which will pique your interest for the newest offering from one of Canada's most charming picture book creators!

Libris Awards 2014 Nominees Announced

Last week, the Retail Council of Canada announced the 2014 Libris Awards shortlist. Libris nominees and winners are selected by members of the Canadian Book industry, providing an opportunity for professionals in every segment of the book industry— from authors, publishers, editors, sales representatives to booksellers— to unite and celebrate their successes.

The winner of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award is author, broadcaster and humorist Stuart McLean, best-known for his book and radio series, The Vinyl Cafe.

Bloody Words Light Mystery Award Announces Finalists

The Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, also known as the "Bony Blithe" award, is an annual Canadian award that celebrates traditional, feel-good mysteries. The 2014 shortlist was recently announced and consists of books with laugh-out-loud and gentle humour, to books with good old-fashioned mystery stories low on violence and gore. In short, "books that make us smile."

The five finalists for the 2014 Bony Blithe Award are:

Gold Web by Vicki Delany (Dundurn)
Framed for Murder by Cathy Spencer (Comely Press)
Thread and Buried by Janet Bolin (Berkely Prime Crime)

Open Book Celebrates Earth Day! The Proust Questionnaire, with Tom Rand

Each year, April 22 marks Earth Day, and we at Open Book are excited to celebrate this important day promoting and encouraging sustainable living, responsible consuming and conservation.

We could ask for no more appropriate writer to speak to today than Tom Rand, whose
Waking the Frog: Solutions for Our Climate Change Paralysis (ECW Press) is an accessible and entertaining examination of the psychological and economic factors that have led to our inaction on the issue of climate change — and how we can wake up and change for the better.

ENDURANCE

It was a minute-and-a-half since I finished toying with a poem that hadn’t been working for weeks; I had that submarine feeling that it was sinking out of sight. But I had no time to dither with the muse. I had a meeting with a young poet with whom I’d been dodging the question for weeks now of how to know when revision isn’t working and a poem should be tossed.

Open Book Recommends: Earth Day Reads for the Family

Every year on April 22, people across the world celebrate Earth Day through a variety of events and activities that focus on raising awareness about the need for environmental protection. Here at Open Book, we've put together a list of books for the whole family on topics related to Earth Day, protecting our natural world and sustainable living.

Behind the Books, with Book Designer Laura Boyle

When we think of the people behind the books we love, we generally think of writers. But many people work in a variety of professions to get those books onto your shelves. In our Behind The Books series, Open Book speaks with the printers, publicists, book sellers, book bloggers, event programmers and many others who work in the publishing industry. Today we speak with Laura Boyle, a Book Designer with Dundurn Press. Laura tells us about a typical workday, her childhood aspirations and why she's proud to work at Dundurn, a Canadian-owned publishing house that is "thriving, adapting and ultimately keeping the sharks at bay."

Open Book:

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Ashley Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing

Author and illustrator Ashley Spires (known for her beloved Binky series) returns with her newest title, The Most Magnificent Thing (KidsCan Press).

The Most Magnificent Thing features a little girl whose many failed attempts to make the most magnificent thing leave her feeling frustrated, until a walk around the block with her loyal canine companion brings her back to her project with renewed enthusiasm — and with magnificent results.

Don't miss this trailer, which will pique your interest for the newest offering from one of Canada's most charming picture book creators!

Writer In Residence

April 1, 2014 to May 1, 2014

Barry Dempster »

Barry Dempster, twice nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, is the author of fourteen poetry collections, two novels, two volumes of short stories and a children’s book.

Whazamo: May 1st to May 31st on Open Book: Toronto

Random reads

The Time In Between

The Time In Between

(McClelland & Stewart, 2006)
A prose craftsman renders a stunning portrait of the after-effects of war as Charles Boatman travels from the interior of BC to the streets of Saigon in search of closure. http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771011399

Humber

Forest Reading Festival of Trees

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Poll

My Reading Resolution for 2014 is...: