Category Archives: Launches

DESCANT 152/Ghosts and The Uncanny Launch





Come out and help us celebrate the release of Descant 152: Ghosts and The Uncanny, visit this which will hit store shelves on March 28th.

April 6th at 7:30 p.m.

George Brown House

(186 Beverley St., prescription Toronto)

Enter – if you dare – the beautiful, see historic and allegedly haunted George Brown House and be greeted by the eerie music of violinist Phoebe Tsang, of the National Ballet of Canada orchestra. Enjoy readings of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from Descant 152 contributors Richard Rosenbaum, Jennifer Oliver, Kate Cayley and Daniel Zuckerbrot. Help yourself to a drink at our cash bar and mingle with fellow literature and art lovers.

We received more submissions for Descant 152 than ever before in its forty-year history, and Guest Editors Alex Maeve Campbell and Tina Francisco bravely undertook to sift through all of them to bring us this outstanding collection of fiction, poetry, essay, memoir and visual art. The collection takes a daring look into the world of the dead, sometimes
beckoning to it, even daring to interact with it.

The line between life and death is a fine one, Douglas Curran shows us in his memoir, It Happens: The Death of John Kanjadza. Ghosts can be very friendly, as Katherine Hajer shows in her short story The Expected Ghost, or highly malicious, like the ghost in Jay Snodgrass’s poem My Ghost Made an Art Movie, Too. Most often, though, they seem too busy with their own affairs to mind about the living. Ben Rawluk brings the uncanny – a jingle-jangling man made up entirely of light bulbs – right to our doorsteps: “Don’t just stand there,” he writes, berating our open-mouthed shock, “Invite him inside.”

Don’t miss this ghostly gathering! Check out our website after March 18th, 2011 for a sneak peek at the issue.

Winston Collins Winner and Honourable Mentions of 2011


On February 8, 2011 Descant announced the winner and two honourable mentions for this year’s 2011 Winston Collins/Descant Prize for Best Canadian Poem at Supermarket, Toronto. The night went off wonderfully with a speech from Descant’s editor-in-chief, Karen Mulhallen. We were lucky enough to have readings from Linda Woolven, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Giovanna Riccio and R. Brian Rigg, as well as our three finalists who also read their winning poems (Pamela Porter read via a uTube video).

The winner of the Winston Collins Prize and $1,000 in prize money was Barbara Schott, with her poem Thin Ice. The judges described this winning poem: “This poet has turned a winter drowning into a rumination on our own personal descent into a cold wet world…’Thin Ice’ works on the surface as an accounting of failure, of childhood promise that is doused and expectations disappointed. Yet the beauty of the world surrounds us, our final breath is full of the sight of it…It is a humble poem about the ego and about ego’s loss, and while we submerge into the icy depths we read the poem – it is about us! – scrawled on the bridge above.”

Honourable mention, winning $250 in prize money, was Carla Hartenberger, with Naked in the Sun. The judges spoke highly of this poem, “By the last words of this poem the reader may be filled with such a sense of loss and heartbreak that they may not be sure whether it was the poem that effected them so… That is because the summer that the poet recalls having spent in her youth with a sweetheart resonates so strongly that it will undoubtedly remind the reader of a summer they too had at some time. The poet uses a breathless, frolicking stream of consciousness to achieve this.”

Honourable mention, also winning $250 prize money, Pamela Porter with The Place of Feathers. The judges said this about her poem: “The author sees a landscape covered in feathers and allows herself to come to the conclusion that it was a multitude of angels that passed this way. This short poem describes the way that the natural world can transport us into the realm of myth and narrative. ‘The Place of Feathers’ takes an arresting moment and essentially arrests it, holding us there to feel that moment over and over again.”

The competition was fierce in its fifth anniversary, approximately 100 submissions came in from across Canada—from Victoria, British Columbia to Chateau Guay, Quebec; from Whitehorse, Yukon to Goulds, Newfoundland; from Canadians living as far away as Australia. Two rounds of judging narrowed the list down to 27 contenders, then to the final three.

The event was also for the launch of D151: Winter Reader, which is available in stores now. Descant would like to congratulate Kathleen Painter on organizing a wonderful evening and producing an enchanting issue. If you would like to have one delivered to your home, then please subscribe today by clicking here

Descant would also like to congratulate the three winners, as well as all those who made it onto the short list. We would also like to thank those came to the event on Tuesday 8th, we hope you had an enjoyable evening.

DESCANT 151/Winter Reader Launch — February 8


Come join us for the Descant 151/Winter Reader Launch!

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011/ 7:30pm


268 Augusta Ave., Toronto

Descant is proud to announce the arrival of its winter 2010 issue, Descant 151/ Winter Reader, an eclectic ensemble of intriguing memoirs, a discerning essay, witty poetry, captivating fiction, and amazing artwork from some new and established talent in and outside of Canada.  Held at Supermarket in Kensington Market, the night will be filled with food and drink, as well as readings from our D151 contributors:  Giovanna Riccio, Linda Woolven, R. Brian Rigg and Elisabeth de Mariaffi.

Winter is a mixed season. Themes tend to vary from happy holidays with the warmth of loved ones gathered and fires roaring, to snow and ice, short days and long nights, and death. Poems like “Christmas Cacti” by Joan Crate and “Night” by Linda Woolven explore the various colours of winter, from the grays and silvers outside to the reds and golds inside. This season is also a time to reflect. With the lack of sunlight and warmth, it is only natural we are reminded of death. Touching memoirs by Brian Fawcett and William Kaplan reflect on Decembers past, the people they have lost, and what those people meant to them. But not all is dark and dreary: the approaching New Year brings hope for the future and the feeling of a fresh start. In this issue of Descant, we are reminded that it is just as important to look back as it is to look forward.

Don’t miss this important event!

You can catch a sneak preview of D151: Winter Reader, on our website.

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 Fall Issue Launch!

Reminder to those of you in Toronto to come join us and celebrate the launch of our fall issue (D150) — the first of our special 40th anniversary year!


Make sure to RSVP to the Facebook event.

Descant D149 Summer Launch — July 14!


Wednesday, capsule July 14, 2010 / 7:30pm
Bar Italia
(582 College Street, Toronto)

Come celebrate with us at the launch of our exciting summer issue, Descant 149: Summer and Smoke: The Search for Values. Held at the Bar Italia, the night will be filled with food and drink, as well as readings from our D149 contributors: Roxanna Bennett, Lauren Carter, Glenn Hayes, David Mason and Douglas Rodger.

Summer and Smoke: The Search for Values explores travel and investigation of place and self. The issue features a diverse range of local and international writers that invite you to engage with them in a journey around the world — from Douglas Rodger’s rich and vibrant travel log from his trip to Hanoi to Leslie Palleson’s compelling portrait of a couple during an ill-fated trip through Peru. You will also get a chance to read an introspective essay by Alberto Manguel, which will transport you to his home city of Buenos Aires. You’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of this special issue featuring many other talented artists and writers who will entice you to travel!

Don’t miss this important night! Make sure to RSVP to the Facebook event.

You can catch a sneak preview of D149: Summer and Smoke: The Search for Values, on our website.

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.

BookThug Spring 2010 Launch – Featuring DESCANT’S Managing Editor!

BookThug, Toronto publisher of the innovative and the experimental, is launching its Spring 2010 line-up next week!

On Thursday May 27 starting at 6 PM come and celebrate BookThug’s fantastic new line at the Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market). The launch will feature a number of readings by a variety of talented BookThug writers: Cara Benson, Jason Dickson, Mark Goldstein, Andrew Hughes and Mark Laliberte Descant’s own Managing Editor, who somehow found the time to write a book (sort of) while keeping the magazine together. Well played, Mark!

With work that ranges from imaginative lyrics to experimental constructions — and from crafted sensation to verbal transmutation — it’s bound to be an interesting night. Don’t miss it!

Read BookThug’s own announcement about this event …

To see the full list of BookThug Spring 2010 titles, click here …

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.

NOW HEAR THIS! The Barracuda Launch


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 / 7-9pm
The Gardiner Museum, Terrace Room (111 Queen’s Park, Toronto)

Descant is excited to announce that our outreach program, NOW HEAR THIS!, will be launching it’s newest anthology, The Barracuda! This 2-colour, book-length anthology contains the best student writing from NHT!’s 2009 S.W.A.T. (Students, Writers & Teachers) creative writing workshops, which partner professional Toronto writers with youth around the city. The Barracuda showcases student written stories, poems and personal essays, along with creative pieces from S.W.A.T. Writers-in-Residence Andrew Daley, Desi Di Nardo, Larry Frolick, Rebecca Rosenblum, Jenny Sampirisi, Julia Tausch and Aaron Tucker. Gorgeous illustrations therein are provided by Toronto artist/cartoonist Marc Ngui.

This launch promises to be NHT!‘s biggest event of the year, featuring readings by students and S.W.A.T. Writers-in-Residence, food, and friends. Be sure you don’t miss it!

RSVP to the Facebook event HERE!