Category Archives: New Releases

Upcoming Launch for our Summer Issue

Descant157coverHi Descant Fans! We are thrilled to announce that the Descant Arts and Letters Foundation will release its Summer 2012 issue, Summer Subversions, on June 27, 2012. Summer Subversions brings together engaging, thought-provoking, and sometimes harrowing art, fiction, poetry, and essays that are definitely not your typical poolside reading.

Hereʼs a taste of what’s inside: Paul Carlucci offers a glimpse into a northern communitycaught in a cycle of addiction, desperation, and violence. Andrew Creighton gives us a story about a young white supremacist girlʼs self-discovery. Arlene Somerton Smithʼs “Ruby Slippers” meditates on the meaning of death. A not-to-be-missed highlight is editor Karen Mulhallenʼs provocative interview with the late Czech-Canadian writer anddissident Josef Skvorecky, in which he talks about love, politics, and jazz. Photographers Claudia Ficca and Davide Lucianoʼs imaginative portfolio on potholes is (literally) like something out of Aliceʼs Adventures in Wonderland.

To celebrate the release, a public event will take place on June 27, 2012, doors open at 7:00pm at The Magpie, 831 Dundas St. West. Contributors Angela Hibbs, Mark Kingwell, Jimmy McInnes, and Kathryn Mockler will read selections of poetry and non-fiction.The event will also feature a raffle with fabulous prizes, ranging from gift certificates and book packages, to subscriptions and gift baskets. We invite all lit-lovers to join us for an evening of readings, conversation, food, and libation as we toast the summer and all of its complexities!

Here is the event listing on Facebook.

If you’re curious and want more information contact:

Vera DeWaard, Managing Editor:
Amy Stupavsky, Production Editor, 157:

REVIEW: ‘The Third Reich’ by Roberto Bolãno

There is perhaps no better testimony to the current widespread appeal of Roberto Bolãno than The Paris Review’s recent decision to serialize the Chilean author’s most recent release, The Third Reich (according to The New Yorker website, it is the first time the magazine has serialized a work of fiction in over forty years). From the inventive The Savage Detectives to the epochal 2666, Bolãno’s body of work has created a sensation over the last decade and made Bolãno himself a posthumous icon. As The Third Reich reminds readers, there is substance to the hype.

Written in 1989 and allegedly unearthed amongst the Chilean author’s notes, The Third Reich is centred on the first-person account of Udo Berger, a renowned German war games expert vacationing in Costa Brava with his girlfriend, Inebord. Rather than basking in the hot sun of coastal Spain, Udo—a man driven by rules, motives and strategy—opts instead to spend his time indoors perfecting a “variant” of his favourite war game, The Third Reich.

Soon Udo and Ingebord befriend another vacationing German couple, Charly and Hanna, who in turn introduce them to an enigmatic collection of local characters, including a shadowy beach dweller named El Quemado (literally “The Burned One”). When tragedy strikes (or at least appears to), Udo’s perception of the world around him begins to adopt a darker, more bizarre hue. His waking life slips seamlessly in and out of dreams and he begins to suspect those around him of deceiving him.

What results is a quietly brilliant novel that unfurls steadily like a mystery in search of a crime. Clues abound as do suspects, but the object of investigation remains hopelessly elusive—both to readers and to Udo. It is this ever-looming abysm of unknowability, however, that truly interests Bolãno. At one point, Udo, upon discovering the inconsequential factoid that El Quemado is not in fact Spanish but South American, comments: “I didn’t feel deceived. I felt observed. (Not by El Quemado; actually by nobody in particular: observed by a void, an absence).” The novel equates this “void” with a sort of ominous evil lurking in the negative spaces between a cause and is effect, a person and his or her motives. For Bolãno, it seems, existence itself is tantamount to deception. It’s esoteric stuff, but that’s why Bolãno remains such a force: His books coextensively compel and confound.

As expected, The Third Reich doesn’t carry the weight of The Savage Detectives or 2666, but it serves as a fitting and elucidating prelude to both works, providing hardcore Bolãno disciples with what may be the most direct entry to date into the author’s thematic, philosophic and aesthetic interests.

The Third Reich is published by Penguin Canada. Translated from the original Spanish by Natasha Wimmer.



It’s been a full year for Descant Managing Editor and Designer Mark Laliberte.

Earlier in the year, his book project BRICKBRICKBRICK was released by BookThug (click HERE for info); and now, Koyama Press has just released GREY SUPREME 1, the first issue in his new series. A full-colour, print-based “project platform”, GREY SUPREME is a way to collect Laliberte’s various experiments with image, text and hybrid forms. Exploration is a key to the series, which is intended to appear on a yearly basis: a different visual strategy will be employed for every new work — roughly 2 per issue — presented as open-ended studies.

For a sneak peek, click HERE

To visit his personal website, click HERE

DESCANT at Toronto Small Press Book Fair, Dec 11, 11am-4:30pm

SMALL PRESS image.gif

Toronto Small Press Book Fair
Saturday Dec 11, 11am-4:30pm
1087 Queen St W (at Dovercourt Rd. Some street parking. Public Transit: TTC Queen Streetcar).

Descant is inviting you to join us at this year’s winter Toronto Small Press Book Fair. From 11am to 4:30pm on Dec 11, publishers, writers, fans and friends of Canada’s smaller presses/publishers/publications will gather at the Great Hall.

Small to medium-sized presses will offer all kinds of books for sale, including chapbooks, graphic novels, audio books, magazines and comics, arts & crafts that offer different perspectives and opportunities to enjoy alternative literary experiences. The Fair is also offering readings from some of Toronto’s better known and emerging writing talents. As well there will be door prizes to be won and every opportunity to mingle. The Toronto Small Press Book Fair offers family-friendly fare, too.

Descant’s new D:151 “Winter Reader” will be available to purchase at this event!
Hope to see you there!

For more information on the Toronto Small Press Book Fair and link to their website, click here.

Review of DESCANT 150


We are pleased to say that there has been a very positive review of Descant 150: Writers in Prison posted on; to read the review click here

D150 is currently on newstands to purchase and see for yourself what the review is talking about.

If you wish to purchase this and any forthcoming Descant publication then subscribe here today to have them mailed to your home.

DESCANT Recommends: Pilot Project Book 7 Launch

Descant would like to recommend Pilot Pocket Book 7. The launch will take place at Toronto’s Tequila Bookworm, on Sunday Nov 7 at 6pm. There will be live performances, readings and an art auction. It’s set to be a great night for all!

By the way, Descant’s own Managing Editor Mark Laliberte has a project in Pilot 7, so don’t forget to pick up a copy.
If you want to know more about The Pilot Project then head over to their website by clicking here 

DESCANT 151: A Sneak Peek


Descant 151 will be available in stores in mid-December 2010, it’s going to be a great winter read! Please click here for a sneak peak!

To subscribe to Descant and receive our issues via mail please click here

DESCANT Recommends: Joseph Maviglia new release Angel in the Rain

We are very excited to see that writer, Joseph Maviglia is releasing his new CD Angel in the Rain on Sunday, November 14th in Toronto! Joseph is both a musician and a poet, having published three books of poetry and criticism as well as releasing the album Memory to Steel in 1994. In 1992, his song “Father, It’s Time” was on the Juno Award-winning compilation album, The Gathering. He was also featured in Descant issues 78, 88 and the very special 100th issue.

Angel in the Rain was recorded at St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Toronto and mixes the musical styles of blues, rock and jazz. Musicians who joined Joseph to record the CD will be performing with him at the CD launch, including: Colleen Allen, Ernesto Cervini, Kathleen Gorman and Robert Hamlyn.

If you’d like to join Joseph in celebrating his new CD at this event, head over to Waterfalls Indian Tapas Bar and Grill (303 Augusta Ave.) on Sunday, November 14th from 2-5 pm. The cover charge for the event is $15, which includes a copy of the CD, a performance by the artist and a great party.

Last December, Joseph played some of his songs at the NHT! & Descant holiday party, and we’re super-excited to see him releasing this new CD! Make sure you come out and congratulate him on this latest achievement.

If you want to preview some of the tracks from this new album, head over to Joseph’s myspace page.

Myna Wallin launches her new book on Wednesday, June 23!

WHAT: The launch of Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar by Myna Wallin
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23 at 8:00 pm
WHERE: Proof Vodka Bar, 220 Bloor Street West

This Wednesday, join Myna Wallin in celebrating the launch of her new book!

Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar is a boisterous collection of short stories that puts a hilarious, postmodern twist on our ideas of sex and relationships. It’s been called “frank, rollicking Sex and the City adventures told in prose that reads like a memoir” — and it’s definitely an entertaining work that is not to be missed!

When not working in prose, Myna is also an accomplished poet who achieved an honourable mention in Descant‘s 2009 Winston Collins Poetry Prize. The judges called Myna’s poem, “Death, Wildlife and Taxes,” “a poignant incantatory poem that draws together the speaker’s worries, weaving a spell around her fears.” The work will be appearing in Descant’s upcoming issue, D149: Summer and Smoke (click here to preview the issue now!).

The launch will be taking place this Wednesday, June 23 at 8:00 PM, at Proof Vodka Bar on 220 Bloor Street West. Come out for food, drink, excellent prose — and to hear jazz singer Fern Lindzon!

Naturally, cougar attire is recommended.

Save the Date: DESCANT 148 Launch!


Descant 148: The Search for Happiness / Descant Spring Issue Launch

Monday, April 19, 2010 / 7:30pm
The Victory Cafe (581 Markham Street, 2nd Floor)

It’s that time again, literary ladies and gents! Descant is launching its 2010 spring reader at The Victory Cafe, featuring readings by contributors Emi Benn, Roo Borson, David Day, Larry Frolick and Alex Pugsley.

Entitled The Search for Happiness, this issue tackles one of life’s greatest struggles for the unobtainable through poetry, fiction, memoirs and travel essays. Can a person ever obtain genuine satisfaction? Contributing editors Mark Kingwell and Rosemary Sullivan delve thoughtfully into the topic, while long-time Descant writer Larry Frolick offers up his memoir-in-progress, “Dark Side of the Moon.” Descant 148 also features portfolio and cover art from acclaimed artist Anitra Hamilton, and portfolios from American sculptor Jim Hake and Canadian media-artist John Massey.

Expect another bang-on event of delectable ideas and riveting readings! Don’t forget to RSVP to the Facebook event.

You can catch a sneak peek of our beautiful new issue on our website HERE.