Off the Page

A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

Latest Blog Posts
Awesome August Giveaway

Awesome August Giveaway

By Kiley Turner

We hope you've had some wonderful summer escapes by now – we all deserve some magic this season! Today, we're highligh …

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Book Cover Blue Sky Kingdom

Let's Get Out of This Town: Literary Travel

By Kerry Clare

Journey through place and time with this collection of new and forthcoming travel books, spotlighting some of the best t …

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Book Cover Bird's Eye View

Ann Eriksson Launches BIRD'S EYE VIEW

By Kerry Care

"Anyone, young or old, who wants to learn more about the birds that live in their neighbourhood or on the other side of …

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The Chat with John Elizabeth Stintzi

The Chat with John Elizabeth Stintzi

By Trevor Corkum

Writer John Elizabeth Stinzi has the distinction of publishing two fabulous debuts a week apart this past spring. On The …

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Robert Bateman

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Bird Books

By Julie Booker

A flock of tales to get young readers into birding.

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Book Cover Hope Matters

Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Nonfiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

We're looking forward to books about history, true crime, memoir, nature, music, dance, food, and so much more. There's …

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Book Cover The Woman Before Wallis

Exploring Sister Bonds

By Bryn Turnbull

One of our most anticipated debuts of the season, Bryn Turnbull's The Woman Before Wallis, tells the true story of the A …

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 The Chat with Cicely Belle Blain

The Chat with Cicely Belle Blain

By Trevor Corkum

This week on the Chat, we’re in conversation with Cicely Belle Blain, author of the forthcoming poetry collection Burn …

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Garth Martens, 2010 Bronwen Wallace Award Winner: Readings and Readings

Garth Martens

Garth Martens is a construction labourer for an Edmonton-based commercial construction company and a recent graduate of the University of Victoria's MFA program. Garth was the winner of the 2010 Bronwen Wallace Award for most promising Canadian writer under 35. He is a former member of The Malahat Review's poetry editorial board and The Open Space Arts Society's Board of Directors. He lives in Argentina.

1) Garth Martens reads poems "Tonic Clonic" and "Collarbone:"

2) Tired Masculinity: Recommended Reading List by Garth Martens

The books I've chosen contribute to a conversation about masculinity. They don't offer new visions of masculinity, but they complicate the stereotype, the archetype, of the ordinary heterosexual man, whoever that is. They refuse the blinkered, reductive view. I've worked seven years off and on construction sites in Western Canada where there were seldom any women. The men I've known shared standards by which they measured themselves men. Eager to fit this role, each man nevertheless veered from it in astonishing ways. By shared understanding the crew moderated itself. And if each man was regulated by the tribe, he was also judged at a cross-cut by the public. So often I felt myself summed up at a glance merely because I wore steel-toed boot …

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Erin Frances Fisher: The Pleasure of Details

That Tiny Life is the debut from Erin Frances Fisher, winner of the 2014 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and was published earlier this year to rave reviews. In this reading list, she recommends books by authors who love good historical details just as much as she does. 

*****

Writing the stories in That Tiny Life took a lot of research—more research than I was used to—and this process surprised me by being incredibly fun. 

Some of that research was easier to access: my sister is a falconer and let me tag along when she went rabbit hunting with her hawk, and as a young kid I lived in Inuvik, NWT. Astronauts on the International Space Station livestream videos from space, and I found everything I needed about Civil War amputation via era-enthusiasts’ blogs and articles. 

The story that took the most time was “Da Capo al Fine,” set in Revolutionary Paris. I spent a lot of time virtually wandering Versailles and Paris using online maps’ street-view functions. Palaces that are now museums have displays on newspapers, parties and gambling, clothing, and the river baths. I also went to the library at the local university and took out a pile of books on harpsichord and pianoforte builders knowing that I was going to write about the switch of prominen …

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