A variety of local poetry and fiction recorded on Audio CD.
Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant (read by Margot Dionne)
Mavis Gallant is the modern master of what Henry James called the international story, the fine-grained evocation of the quandaries of people who must make their way in the world without any place to call their own. The complexity of the very idea of home is alive in the stories Gallant has written about Montreal.
The Big Why by Michael Winter (read by Robert Joy)
A powerful historical novel chronicles a year in the life of celebrated American artist Rockwell Kent who, in 1914, decides to leave urban New York for the rugged wilds of Brigus, Newfoundland, but as the Great War escalates, he becomes a polarizing object of suspicion in the tiny, impoverished community.
Coasting Trade follows the voyage of a Yankee trading schooner circumnavigating the island of Newfoundland, with navigation notes adapted from Sailing Directions for the Island and Banks of Newfoundland by J.S. Hobbes (1865). As the vessel puts in at various ports, the lyrical narratives weave back and forth through a century of change. A smuggler who studies angels, a woman who knits a stove, green martyrs, a homesick immigrant, and a biologist studying the sexual characteristics of caplin all come to the attention of the navigator before he turns southward, to the joy of glad returning.
Songs for the Songs of Birds by Don McKay
The work of much-loved Canadian poet Don McKay, Songs for the Songs of Birdscelebrates the way birds “articulate the air” and considers what the world would be without them. Many of the poems have appeared in printed collections of poetry, notably Camber (McClelland & Stewart, 2004) and Strike / Slip (McClelland & Stewart, 2006). A few make their first appearance in this audio collection.
Merrybegot by Mary Dalton (read by Anita Best)
Call them prayers or curses. Fictions or true stories. Mary Dalton's new poems are voices caught in print, fashioned from the vigorous idioms and cadences of Newfoundland speech. Readers will, likely for the first time, encounter words like "conkerbells", "drite", "mollyfoostering", "mawmouth" and "elt"--potent words rich with the music of their centuries-old origins.
In The Old Country Of My Heart by Agnes Walsh (read by Agnes Walsh)
The tones and timbre of Agnes Walsh's voice seem to emanate from the heart of North America--from the most ancient parts of the continent. She reads her poetry with maturity, wisdom, and assurance. Like so many good poets, Walsh draws from her native soil, in this case the Placentia Bay area of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, to discover universal and personal truths. In her final selection, "Oderin," Walsh laments, "There is not enough time to understand all I need to know." Isn't that always the way it is? A number of musical selections for voice and pump organ round out this haunting volume of contemporary poetry.