Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
 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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Book Cover Indians on Vacation

Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

New books by old favourites, sparkling debuts, and more than a few timely books about pandemics are among the titles tha …

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Book Cover County Heirlooms

Summer Eats: Kohlrabi Slaw, from COUNTY HEIRLOOMS

By Natalie Wollenberg and Leigh Nash

"I’ve always been impressed that seeds will produce all the food you need to live. It’s miraculous."

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Book Cover Cedar and Salt

3 Great Recipes from the 2020 Taste Canada Awards Shortlist

By Kerry Clare

Foodies, take note! Great recipes from celebrated cookbooks.

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Book Cover On Nostalgia

Launchpad: On Nostalgia, by David Berry

By Kerry Clare

"Berry’s subject is a wide-ranging one, but he pulls off the impressive feat of covering plenty of ground in a concise …

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Literatures, Communities and Learnings

Literatures, Communities, and Learning

By Kerry Clare

9 conversations with Indigenous writers about the relationship between Indigenous literatures and learning, and how thei …

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The Chat with Faye Guenther

The Chat with Faye Guenther

By Trevor Corkum

Swimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing) is Faye Guenther’s debut collection of short fiction. These six stories expl …

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Book Cover Little Secrets

Summer Reading Starts Here

By Kerry Clare

Summer is not cancelled, and summer reading isn't either. We've got thrillers, epics, drama, historical fiction, and so …

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Behind the Poem: "Abandoned Car" by Mark Lavorato

Book Cover Wayworn Wooden Floors

I think, because I’m a novelist, my poems are often quite story-centred. In Wayworn Wooden Floors I have written several series composed of five poems in that vein, but none of these is more inspired by story than the set I did on abandoned things (an abandoned car, resort, toys, grave, and a farm), all of which were things I had come across in my travels.

When something is abandoned, it’s not discarded, not simply tossed aside for something new. No, it’s a thing that shouldn’t have been discarded, a thing that works perfectly fine as it is, but because of some extraneous circumstance, had to be left behind. Because of this, I think finding something abandoned inspires the part of us that wants to know the story, that wonders, hypothesises, and in turn, formulates an odd form of empathy. Those very questions are what I wanted to draw out of the reader, and delve into myself, in writing the abandoned series in the collection.

The most dramatic story in the series is about an abandoned car. I set out into the Californian desert on a climbing road trip one year, and after a long stretch of driving through the most arid scrubland imaginable, arrived at our destination. It was extremely hot, and you could climb only at certain times of the day. From atop the bui …

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