Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Publication: J.J. Steinfeld - Essays on His Works

I'm very happy to announce that I have an essay included in a recently published anthology looking at the life and works of PEI writer, and my good friend, J.J. Steinfeld. I have very limited experience writing more academic-style pieces, but I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this book when scholar Sandra Singer from the University of Guelph contacted me two and a half years ago. My essay, "Situational Exposition: Elisions and Inclusions in J.J. Steinfeld's Word Burials" looks at J.J.'s 2009 novel through the lens of his being the child of Holocaust survivors, of his ongoing obsession with Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett, and of the tradition of captivity narratives that J.J. and other writers have written.

The anthology includes other scholarship from such luminaries as George Elliot Clarke, Shane Neilson, Richard Lemm, and Singer herself. If you know J.J.'s work, this book is definitely worth picking up. And if you don't know his work, this would be a good time to start reading him.

M.
 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Acceptance: Grain magazine

So just before I took an extended long weekend and jaunted off to Scotland for a wedding, I received an acceptance letter from the venerable literary journal Grain out of Saskatchewan for a new poem of mine called "A Consortium of 26 Lien Lenders." No, that's not a joke - it actually is the title of the piece. (And many thanks to RR for providing the inspiration for it.) Anyhoo. The poem - the sixth I've published this year from the new manuscript - is slated to run in the magazine's fall issue, so look for it then.

M.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My review of The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep by Steven Heighton

I'm back in the digital pages of The Winnipeg Review with this evaluation of Steven Heighton's new novel, The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep. I'm always impressed when a writer as accomplished in poetry as Heighton can also write well-crafted and gripping prose, and that is certainly the case here. This story, set on the divided island of Cyprus, weaves a complex tale about love, loyalty and authoritarianism in an abandoned resort town called Varosha. Definitely worth checking out. Read the review.

M.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Quill and Quire review of All That is Solid Melts into Air, by Carole Giangrande ...

... is now online at the Q&Q website. This book takes on the formidable task of recreating the events of 9/11 in fiction, and as I say in the review, Giangrande does a splendid job. As I also point out, you may require an oversized crane to suspend your disbelief that so many of protagonist Valerie's loved ones could be tangled up in the events of that tragic, historic day, but if you can look past such an acute implausibility, you're in for a sharp and well-written read.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Out and about with The Slip and So Much Love

So RR and I are on the road here in the Maritimes doing a combination book tour/vacation, and it's been an interesting few days to say the least. On Monday of last week, we read before a small but mighty crowd at Tidewater Books in Sackville, NB, and then made our way to PEI for an event at Charlottetown's Confederation Library last Thursday. The day before that event, we got to do a wonderful interview with CBC Charlottetown's Angela Walker for her show Mainstreet, which you can listen to here.  

And speaking of radio interviews, I was also pleased to see this interview I did with the super-talented Jamie Tennant for McMaster's 93.3 FM CFMU campus radio in Hamilton about a month ago was posted while we were here. Tennant is an accomplished novelist in his own right, and his show, GET LIT, is a perfect platform for his serious interviewing chops.

Finally, there was also this lovely review of The Slip posted the other day on Brenton Dickieson's blog, A Pilgrim in Narnia. Some of you may recall that Brenton, who lives here on PEI and with whom I went to high school, wrote a very generous review of my previous novel, Sad Peninsula, for his blog earlier this year. I am, as always, eternally grateful for the care and insights he has shown in his attention to my work.

Despite all this business, RR and I have managed to get some relaxation/family time in as well. The photo above shows us at Rustico Beach with my parents shortly after we arrived on PEI, and we've had some spectacular meals, lazy strolls, family-filled visits, mornings of sleeping in, a Scrabble game or two, and various other rejuvenating activities we don't get to partake in very much in our busy lives back in Toronto. It's nice to get a break.

M.

Monday, July 3, 2017

New poems in Numero Cinq

So I woke up to news this morning that the online literary journal Numero Cinq has published four poems in its new issue, which I'm very excited about. If you follow my blog you know I contribute regular reviews to this magazine, but this is the first time I've published more creative work in its pages. These pieces come from a new poetry manuscript I've been working on for about a year or so now, and I'm glad to see them out in the world. Check them out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Quill and Quire review of Arabic for Beginners, by Ariela Freedman ...

... is now online at the Q&Q website. In fact, I think it's been up for a while and I somehow missed it. Anyway. I loved, loved, loved this book. Freedman is such a fluid, confident writer and I felt I could just trust her, paragraph after paragraph, to take me wherever she wanted to go. Arabic for Beginners, about a woman who moves to Israel with her family after her husband lands a year-long university appointment, sort of felt like one of these small-press books that may not get nearly enough of the attention it deserves, so I'm hoping this starred review in the Quill helps because it really should be read by a lot of people. So go check it out!