Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover bread and water

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

New books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so muc …

read more >
Book Cover Unlocking

CanLit Yearning

By Amy LeBlanc

"At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, iden …

read more >
The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, …

read more >
Book Cover The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

With new books by Miriam Toews, Dawn Dumont, Douglas Coupland, Marie-Renee Lavoie, Omar El Akkad, Zoe Whittall, Trudy Mo …

read more >
Book Cover The Quiet is Loud

Speculative Fiction: Vast and Thrilling

By Samantha Garner

"As a reader and a lightly superstitious human, I can’t deny the pull of the unusual, the not-quite-real. I love books …

read more >
Book Cover Travels in Cuba

Writing with Four Hands

By Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

"That’s what the Travels series is all about: sending a resourceful, observant, unafraid (well, sometimes a little afr …

read more >
The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

By Trevor Corkum

“Norma Jeane Baker of Troy leverages a millennia-old story of beauty and war to animate a history of the male gaze and …

read more >
Book Cover The Hunted

The Places We'll Go

By Roz Nay

Pack your fictional bags at your peril! A recommended reading list by Roz Nay, whose latest thriller is The Hunted.

read more >
Book Cover Ontario Picnics

Ontario Picnics

By Lindy Mechefske

A celebration of dining in the outdoors from new book ONTARIO PICNICS.

read more >

It's Poetry All the Time at 49th Shelf

April is National Poetry Month, and we can think of no better occasion than that to point you toward the excellent poetry coverage that we get up to all the time at 49th Shelf. A short trip back through our archives will reveal that our national poetry is celebrated here all year round.

Book Cover Hummingbird

We're pleased to feature the shortlists for the Raymond Souster Award, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, which were announced on April 2.


Book Cover What It Feels Like For a Girl

To mark International Women's Day, Marita Dachsel (author of new book Glossolalia) brought us a diverse and compelling list of great Canadian poetry collections written by women.


Book Cover Journey With No Maps

Julie Wilson recently did a great interview with Sandra Djwa, author of Journey With No Maps, the acclaimed new biography of Canadian poet P.K. Page.


Continue reading >

P.K. Page: I could do with the good solid reality of you

Book Cover Where the Nights Are Twice As Long

Under the covers of Where the Nights Are Twice as Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets, David Eso and Jeanette Lynes collect letters and epistolary poems from more than 120 Canadian poets, including Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Louis Riel, Alden Nowlan, Anne Szumigalski , Leonard Cohen, John Barton, and Di Brandt, and many others, encompassing the breadth of this country's English literary history.

We are pleased to feature this excerpt, a love letter from P.K. Page to F.R. Scott, a letter full of longing and love from one poet to another. And learn more about the anthology at 


P.K. Page to F.R. Scott Friday, June 30, 1944


I’m sorry to write rot.

1x1 has just arrived. Lambie-pie how swell of you. I have been gobbling it up & not understanding but getting the feeling & going back & regobbling & understanding better & all in all feeling it’s my birth day or yours or something. Cummings seems to be a sort of carrier pigeon flying back & forth between us.

I have decided to leave here on the 14th & that is definite. Will arrive at New River the same day — or night rather — if I can connect with a bus. I’m quite excited about it. From now on I’m going to try to work like stink on the histories to make enough money …

Continue reading >

Best Canadian Poetry: A Lyric Meditation That Leads To Awe

Book Cover The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry

The Best Canadian Poetry series turns ten this year, and its editors have celebrated this momentous occasion with Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, an anthology which includes the best works from the previous nine volumes of the series. Explore works by Best of the Best authors here, and enjoy an excerpt from editor Molly Peacock's foreword, “The Best Canadian Poem Now: A Lyric Meditation Leads to Awe.”


Twenty-five years ago, when I emigrated from the United States to Canada, I would walk into a bookstore—there were many bookstores, then—and speed to the poetry section. Few of the names were familiar to me. I had searched the world for poems to represent the whirling cultural mass of New Yorkers when I co-originated Poetry in Motion on the New York City subways and buses. Even as I scoured for Greek, Japanese, Polish, Nigerian, Chilean verse, it only slowly occurred to me to search for a Canadian poem to put on a New York placard. Who were these poets, and why didn’t I, an international traveler who read poetry from many countries, know about them?

My curiosity led me to an alliance with the founder of Tightrope Books, Halli Villegas. Just as she was forming the press, my idea of bringing the American tradition of choosing the best group of poems pub …

Continue reading >

Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Poetry Preview

Our fall preview continues with poetry!


Poet and intermedia artist Oana Avasilichioaei’s follow-up to Limbinal is Eight-Track (November), a transliterary exploration composed of eight “tracks” plus two bonus tracks, each of which explores one of the various meanings of the word “track”: musical track, a physical path, marks left by a person or animal, speech tracking, animal and human tracking, and systems of surveillance. The National Gallery (September), Jonathan Ball’s fourth poetry book and his first in seven years, swirls chaos and confession together, and at the book’s heart is a question: Why create art? Whether calling a tree “an anthology of leaves” or describing time as “a Fisher-Price View Master of ‘first kisses’ and ‘no return’ policies,” Chris Banks approaches writing as if anything might make for alarming, strange, and dizzying verse in Midlife Action Figure (September). 

Book Cover NDN coping Mechanisms

Building on the dreamy emotional landscapes she plumbed in If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You, Adèle Barclay navigates even …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
Contacting facebook
Please wait...