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Featured Reviews of “Trying Again to Stop Time”

“We all know how life is simply not fair, not for a second. You only have to turn on the news to see the world in despair. In this 21st century people are still being displaced from their homes for geopolitical/racial reasons. What insanity is this?

Today’s book of poetry believes that poetry connects us, makes us more human…. Barzanji has been part of an oppressed minority in his own country, an exile, a refugee and an immigrant. Now living in Canada his voice broadens the scope with which we see the world and we are the better for it…. By illuminating his world of exile Barzanji shines a light on the whole world. His poems are witness and journey.

Canada is home to many voices and there is plenty of room for more. Jalal Barzanji’s Trying Again to Stop Time is a Rahsaan Roland Kirk beautiful shriek. These tender, searching poems are not jazz, that’s not what I meant — they are heart bound echoes, human song, passionate and persuasive. That was Kirk all day long…. Barzanji has a surprisingly light touch considering the depths he is mining, it surprises the reader again and again…. Jalal Barzanji’s story is a familiar one but it is not often shared, rendered into art. These poems shine.” Full review by Michael Dennis, September 6, 2015



“The poetry itself is political, personal and interrogating. It asks questions of governments, of individuals in power and of ourselves as citizens, readers, and artists. While the poems cross boundaries and decades, Barzanji’s work is intensely immediate, while always acknowledging the swift passage of time… Barzanji’s voice is warm, accessible, and occasionally humorous. He does not shy from the seriousness of politics and war, but reminds us that within those larger spheres beats an individual heart, alone or—one would hope—next to another.” Full review by Kimmy Beach, Arc Poetry Magazine, September 16, 2015


“…it will be easy for readers to connect with Barzanji’s writing, because his words seep with humanity’s universal emotions and occurrences.” Safa Jinje, Quill & Quire, April, 2015

Musings from Tanya, UAP Intern

What in the World is an ISBN?

We’ve all seen them on the back of books: that long, mysterious number located above the barcode. ISBN. What is that? What does it even mean?ISBNs

Well, it’s a very simple equation. Just take the average number of times that you turn a page in a book divided by the number of times you will reference the book in everyday conversions plus the amount of copies you will buy your mother all to the power of 5. You remember BEDMAS, right?

Okay… I’m pulling your leg.

Then, what is an ISBN? ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and it is commonly referred to as the book identifier. So, it’s like a fingerprint for books! Only, it’s not just books that get one. Each edition, or variation, of the original book (ebooks, audiobooks, paperback, etc.) gets its own distinct number. The ISBN program is run by Library and Archives Canada.

The number itself is 13 digits long and is divided into 5 main parts.

1.     Prefix element

2.     Registration group element (usually geographic)

3.     Registrant element (identifies the publisher)

4.     Publication element (the edition or format of the title)

5.     Check digit

While the ISBN might seem like “just a number”, it’s a lot more than that and there are lots of people working behind the scenes with that number to ensure that everything runs smoothly. So, next time you come across that 13-digit monster on the back of your prized copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, give it a high five in recognition of all the information, or metadata, that it offers.

What is metadata? Stay tuned…!

2015 Alberta Book Publishing Conference and Gala

UAP was well represented  at the 2015 Alberta Book Publishing Conference and AGM, with two panelists and five attendees. Linda Cameron participated in the “Permissions” panel discussion, and Alan Brownoff talked about his creative process in the “We’ve Got You Covered: Book Covers and Esthetics in Book Design.” The conference days were filled with many interesting and engaging sessions and conversations, and I’m sure that we all learned a lot from colleagues and experts in the field.

This year the Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA) tried something new: they held the Book Publishing Awards Gala at the same time as the Conference and AGM, and they held it at the picturesque Fort Edmonton Park.

UAP was shortlisted for numerous awards. small things left behind by Ella Zeltserman won the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award and UAP won the Publisher of the Year Award. (More about the other winners here.)


Kieran Leblanc, Executive Director of the BPAA, said: “UAP continues to push boundaries. Some recent examples are their creation of the first-ever position of Scholar-in-Residence, the roll-out of a new website, the acquisition of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press, and the implementation of a cutting-edge program to manage bibliographic data and workflow.”

“This has been a remarkable year for the University of Alberta Press. Its director, Linda Cameron, recently received the President’s Award from the Association of Canadian Publishers for her decades of exemplary service to the Canadian publishing industry. Now, the team has been recognized as Publisher of the Year by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta,” said Gerald Beasley, Vice-Provost & Chief Librarian at the University of Alberta.

We are committed to broadening the scope of our scholarship and the reach of our publication program.

Introducing the New Intern at UAP

Let me introduce our new Intern, Tanya Ball. She’ll be learning about publishing, while completing her Masters of Library and Information Studies. Her first blog entry gives you many more interesting details about her:

I received my BA and MA at the U of A. For my BA, I was a double major in history (focusing on Latin America) and Romance Languages (Spanish and French). For my Masters, I specialized in Spanish and Latin American Studies and wrote my thesis on the representation of Aztec culture in Walt Disney World. So, if you have any questions about Disney, please ask!

My position as intern began the week of September 1st, 2015 and will continue until March 31st, 2016. During the semester, I am working with the U of A Press on Wednesdays and Thursdays afternoons.

Regarding specific responsibilities and tasks, I will be doing a bit of everything. For example, some of my duties include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Assist with development plans for projects
  • Work with BooksoniX (book data)
  • Inventory
  • Assist with data transfer

About me specifically, I am of indigenous descent. My family name is Lepine, which is a very famous name in Canadian History. My ancestor’s name is Ambroise Lepine, who was Louis Riel’s cousin and right hand man. On an interesting side note, we have many of our family photos inside the Cultural Museum in Winnipeg!

Aside from my heritage, what’s awesome about me is my little family. My husband, Craig, and I have been together for about 8 years now and married for 3 of those years. Together we have two children: Dylan (who is about 3 years old) and Milo (about 4 months).

Here is Tanya as a manatee, and her little family. Welcome Tanya!

“War Paintings of the Tsuu T’ina Nation” at the ROM

The University of Alberta Press co-published War Paintings of the Tsu9781772120523_largeu T’ina Nation with University of Nebraska Press in March 2015. This beautiful book showcases a unique set of little known hide paintings that offer valuable insights into one of the lesser-studied Plains Indian societies. It has received attention from book lovers as well as those interested in native history and art.

Here is author and illustrator Arni Brownstone’s blog post about a visit from the Tsuu T’ina Jr. Sr. High School:

It came as a surprise the other day when Marie Williams wrote that she had brought her grade nine class from Tsuu T’ina Jr. Sr. High School all the way to Toronto and would like me to meet with them at the ROM the next day. Today I had the pleasure of meeting these warm and well-mannered students.

Surely the highlight of their visit to the First Peoples Gallery was viewing the buffalo robe painted in 1908 by Two Guns with the war exploits of Bull Head, the esteemed Head Chief of the Tsuu T’ina (formerly the Sarcee). In 1877 he negotiated the treaty on behalf of that tribe and established their reserve about 14 kilometers from the center of Calgary.

The visit was serendipitous as my book, War Paintings of the Tsuu T’ina Nation, has just been published so I was able to give a copy to school library. It warmed my heart to note how interested and thankful the students were for the book. The students asked for a photograph to be taken and they carefully posed themselves with Bull Head’s robe showcase in the foreground and in the background the Chief’s photograph, still a strong presence in the Tsuu T’ina community.

Tsuu T'ina High June 16, 2015.

It’s great to see a book “in action”!


Featured Reviews of “abecedarium”

“Cooley’s latest collection invites us down to, and then past, the level of alphabet to shred and rebuild meaning from the smallest elements of language. He often does so using humour, sometimes through poetic-historical essays on pivotal moments in the evolution of language and script, and always with a sense of adventure…. In abecedarium, he continues to9780888646453_large discuss language in an engaging and exciting way…. He brilliantly conveys and samples these elements—from miniscule, single sounds to sweeping philosophies of language—that together lead to the varied sound and shared meanings that keep language interesting, and that make it work…. To Cooley’s great credit, he adeptly plays to the linguistic elite while still offering something deeply interesting, thought-provoking and even fun to readers less interested in the backstory than the reward.” Full review by Anita Dolman , ARC Poetry Magazine, May 21, 2015


“All writers love language–it’s a basic job requirement–but few writers adore the alphabet as much as Winnipeg experimental poet Dennis Cooley…. abecedarium is a convincing challenge to the notion that poetry must be ‘difficult’ or unpleasant to be relevant. Rather, embracing all that is playful and fun about language, Cooley shows that such poetry can be at its most incisive.” Jay Smith, Alberta Views, January 15, 2015



2014 Alcuin Society Award Winner, Alan Brownoff

One more feather in Alan Brownoff’s designer hat!9780888647269_large

He received Third Prize in the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada in the Prose Non-Fiction Illustrated category for Conrad Kain.

The Alcuin Society Awards is the only national competition for book design in the country, founded in 1965 by Geoffrey Spencer, with the goal of promoting a wider appreciation of beautifully produced books.

Congratulations to Alan, and to all involved in creating this award-winning book!!


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