Devouring the Artist ($15, ISBN: 978-1-937536-63-3, Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-68114-137-4, LCCN: 2014935003, 6X9″, 80pp, March 7, 2014, Purchase on Amazon): Set in the late sixties and early seventies in Montreal and Paris, the novella deals with Sebastien Elia, a young but accomplished artist, and his anarchic relationship with Lee Archer, a Canadian-born student-artist. Sebastien introduces him to the violence of life, sex and art. His rapacious hunger to devour experience draws Lee and a small group of intimates into a world of free love, social, artistic and sexual experimentation and rebellion. The sexual revolution is in full swing, but so is political unrest. Lee still longs to connect with his childhood sweetheart, Louisa Sable. Yet he begins a love affair with another art student, Anne Asher. Sebastien’s betrayal of a student cell of the FLQ in Quebec makes him a marked man and the target for political revenge. On the run, he returns to Paris, pursued by agents on a dark mission to assassinate him. When one of Sebastien’s “temporary muses” is murdered, Lee and Anne set out for Paris and are drawn into Sebastien’s sexually charged dark world of hunger, love and revolt.
The Pros & Cons of Dragon-Slaying: Collected Stories: ($19, 338pp, 6X9″, ISBN: 978-1-937536-65-7, Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-68114-135-0, LCCN: 2014937916, April 14, 2014; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble): This collection shows us the battles—fought, lost and won—when we strive to live life to the fullest. In the fabled adventures in both this world and the next, there are many quests to be embarked on, with countless clashes with dragons—seen and unseen. In The Pros & Cons of Dragon-Slaying, the characters struggle with the bewildering aspects of existence and try to prevail against the forces that are arrayed against them, or that are besieging them from within. Despite their multiple points of view, which range from the farce to the surreal, these crusade stories all speak in harmony, as they reveal life’s stunning surprises and twisted ironies. The tales also speak for life against death, for love against apathy, and for the human spirit against all forms of oppression. But as you weigh the pros and cons of dragon-slaying, take care to watch out for the tempters and demons of inwardness. Beware the dragons of the mind.
Poor Love & Other Stories ($20, 174pp, 6X9″, Paperback ISBN: 978-1-68114-000-1, Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-68114-115-2, LCCN: 2014921796, 1st edition: December 2014; 2nd edition: January 2016; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble): These stories, in all their narrative voicings, deal with sorrow and still seek to find life’s joys. Despite conflicts, contradictions, sacrifices, surprises and ironies, the haunted and hunted characters try to comprehend death in detail. In so doing, the human spirit rises up and triumphs against the incomprehensible and bewildering aspects of life, love and death.
Invisible Mending: Poems: ($20, 134pp, 6X9″, Softcover ISBN: 978-1-68114-009-4, Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-68114-108-4, LCCN: 2015901604, February 2015): A themed poetry collection—a kind of “séance”—an evening to get in touch with other souls, and the world they once lived in. Yet, as a linked collection, the poems trace the arc of a life from birth to death, from childhood to old age, and move towards a spiritual journey in art. Our lives seem to be vanishing acts, perfected from birth to death. The trip also takes us within. There are joys and sorrows, a sense of delight, and also grief. The collection suggests that the “real horror” is losing a loved one. But, while the poems keep an eye on death, the point is life, even the contemplation of a life beyond death. Certainly, there is remembrance—a time to mend our wounds—both visible and invisible. Invisible Mending tries to connect with the joy and grief that binds us all.
Invisible Mending consists of three parts: I. Invisible Mending, II. Walking Shadows and III. Mending Time. The title of Part I—Invisible Mending—refers to a technique used to patch fabric and leather so that the “wound” seems to disappear. My father used “invisible mending” in his trade, plied in the late 40’s, after World War II, but abandoned it when he came to Canada in 1952. Part II—Walking Shadows—is a poem sequence dealing with the life in the theatre and life as a play. The “poor players” that strutted and fretted” their hour on the stage are gone, but their “shadows” remain in life and theatrical memory. Part III—Mending Time—is a suite of linked poems tracing the spiritual quests of artists, writers and seekers who are searching for their “true worth” in the world.
The Blessing of the Bikes & Other Life-Cycles: Poems: ($15, 112pp, 6X9″, Print ISBN: 978-1-68114-092-6, Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-68114-106-0, EBook ISBN: 978-1-68114-094-0, LCCN: 2015906470, 1st edition: April 2015; 2nd edition: January 2016; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble): The Blessing of the Bikes & Other Life-Cycles is a themed collection in three parts that catalogues and values urban life. It chronicles the way we imagine and re-imagine the city. In so doing, the poems become urban praise songs. What would we miss if it were all to go missing? Even if we left the place behind for new cities (or the wilderness), what would always remain dear to us? What would our lives be without the places we have known, including public and private spaces? These poems measure and chart the value of our neighbourhoods and the spirit of the city that we wish to preserve. By meditating on our storied past, the poems in The Bless of the Bikes & Other Life-Cycles measure and chart the value of where we live and consider pathways to the city’s future.
The Lonely Barber: ($20, 140pp, 6X9”: ISBN: Softcover: 978-1-68114-302-6; $35: ISBN: Hardcover: 978-1-68114-303-3; $2.99: ISBN: EBook: 978-1-68114-304-0; Release: June 6, 2017; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): is an urban love story, a dark romance. On the cusp of making business plans for the future, a man nicknamed Lonely clashes with the past. Despite hostility, menace and violence, he seeks his bliss in the city. Love makes its erotic appearance in his life. Unlooked for, the love of his life makes her splashy entrance in the big city. Strapped together in pursuit of their love-dream, they come under the fast-paced and lunatic influence of the city’s unique beauty. By means of cooperation and collaboration, they surrender to the city’s passionate and noisy love for them. The Lonely Barber, as he discovers the true worth of city life through love and work, realizes that he is “lonely” no more.
Anthony Labriola’s work has appeared in The Canadian Forum, PRISM international, Vallum: Contemporary Poetry, Stone Voices, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Passion: Poetry, and The Colours of Saying. His poetry collections include The Rigged Universe (Shanti Arts Publishing), Sun Dogs (Battered Suitcase Press), Invisible Mending (Anaphora Literary Press), and The Blessing of the Bikes & Other Life Cycles (Anaphora Literary Press). His published prose works include Devouring the Artist (Anaphora Literary Press), The Pros & Cons of Dragon-Slaying (Anaphora Literary Press) and Poor Love & Other Stories (Anaphora Literary Press). The Japanese Waltzing Mouse & Other Tales (Cranberry Tree Press) appeared in August 2016. He lives in Toronto with his family. He studied at the University of Toronto and received a B.A. in English and French, a B.Ed. in English and Dramatic Arts, and an M.A. from the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama. He taught English, Drama and Performing Arts for 32 years. Then went on to teach Life Writing at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario.