Anthony Labriola

By: Anthony Labriola

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 Barnes & Noble or 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.

By: Anthony Labriola

The Pros & Cons of Dragon-Slaying: Collected Stories: ($19, 338pp, 6X9″, Amazon ISBN: 979-8-589853-75-9; 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.

Labriola - Cover - Poor Love - 9781681140001 - 1-10-2016

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; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): 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.

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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.

“ * In this wonderful tale, a man battles the frenzy of love, the city, and local politics as he struggles to become a barber… [T]he narrative is intriguing, with eccentric characters who are fully developed through rich dialogue. Readers will appreciate the exquisite imagery and Labriola’s pithy observations on life (“Losing changes a man, same as winning”). He infuses a plethora of literary works into his wordplay, making this novel a delightful adventure for lovers of language.” –Publishers Weekly, Star Review, February 27, 2017

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An Englishman in Italian: ($20: Softcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-347-7; $35: Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-348-4; $2.99: EBook: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-349-1; LCCN: 2017944017; Historical Fiction; Release Date: September 7, 2017; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): What if you woke up one day to find that you were famous? Lord Byron wrote that he woke up one day to find that he was famous. Centuries before, Will Shakespeare woke up to the dawning of his Shakespearean fame. An Englishman in Italian deals with the art of striving for success, the kind of success that leads to worldwide fame, and the perpetual longing for artistic immortality. But against the ambition of making it in the arts, the power of love and the force of death array themselves against the striving artists. The push and the pull of desire and pleasure in love and art battle against their enemies: time, failure, envy, spite, malice, and what Shakespeare calls the serpent’s tongue. Armed with talent, how will the man from Stratford-upon-Avon endure life’s natural shocks in order to prevail against time? Will Shakespeare endeavours through his passion, poetry and plays to triumph in the London scene and become a gentleman. John Florio tells the tale of Shakespeare’s dark romance with a certain Dark Lady and his enduring love affair with the Beauty of Words. The Bard wakes up one day to find he is famous. 2014 was the 450th Anniversary of the Bard’s birth.

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The Dandelion Clock: A Novel: ($20: Softcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-350-7; $35: Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-351-4; $2.99: EBook: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-352-1; LCCN: 2017944014; Literary Fiction; Release Date: September 7, 2017; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): is a novel of resistance. In rage and fury, it is a protest against “the dying of the light.” An old teacher, Leonardo Furioso, nicknamed Fury, sets out to delete his blighted memories of a life filled with misadventures, misdirected passion, and mistaken identity. The Dandelion Clock is also a portrait of a failed artist as an old man in a black frock coat with long, flaring, white hair. In his beleaguered and bewildered “second childishness” on the threshold of oblivion, Fury mocks both life and death as cruel jokes and joyous illusions, but delights in their cruel joy. The image of the dandelion clock refers to the childhood pastime of counting the puffs it takes to blow the seed-head off a dandelion in a past-flowering state to tell the time. Before it is too late, and in his rebellion against nature, Fury attempts to annihilate the past. He even hijacks and takes over the narration, shifting it from the third to the first person to speak for himself. As he says, one of the characteristics of the storytelling is the language—not only what is said, but how it is being said. His version of events requires the language of his faltering experiences. He wants to discard it all together, and subtract himself from the world before it erases every trace of his life story. He wants to discard it all together, and subtract himself from the world before it erases every trace of his self-obliterating life story. But, from another point of view, that of his alter ego, Hugh McNab, a stronger force wipes out its opponent virtually without loss. It is a story of transformation, a tale of conversion. In this way, the telling of the tale converts it, like subatomic particles, into radiant energy.

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Armour & Lace (From the Dragon Slayer’s Notebook): ($20, 126pp, 6X9”: Softcover: ISBN: 978-1-68114-358-3; $35: Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-359-0; $2.99: EBook: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-360-6; Poetry—Subjects & Themes—Love & Erotica; Release Date: December 1, 2017; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): deals with desire, its myths and ever-evolving realities. The free-form poems trace the arc of a journey on which there are joys and sorrows, a sense of delight, and the re-configuring of lives lived. Beyond bewilderment and mystification, the poems also converse with grief and wonder. In the words of Clement Rosset, “reality must be negotiated in terms of joyous cruelty.” Yet Bruno Schulz states that, “All poetry is mythologizing and strives to reconstitute myths about the world.” In Armour & Lace, the mythologizing of the world is not over yet. Faced with the bewildering and mysterious aspects of living in a confusing world, the poems long to connect with reality and the ineffable. They express the inconsolable yearning for the world both visible and invisible. In ceaseless mental fights, and in states of anguish, we take the road of sensuality, love and beauty. Reality leads us to an apprehension of a love greater than the one we once imagined. The German word Sehnsucht captures “the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what.” These poems yearn for the perfect arrow that will hit the target of understanding. They seek the mysteries of self-surrendering love, and reveal the fragmentation of visions of love. Though we are wounded in battle, we continue in our quests to know ourselves through experiences in the real world. These poems aim at such targets in the belief that our quests are real and true.

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Dragonfly’s Urban Crusade: A Dark Fantasy Thriller: (Softcover: $20, 210pp, 6X9”: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-403-0; Hardcover: $35: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-404-7; EBook: $2.99: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-405-4; LCCN: 2017916085; Fiction—Fantasy; Release: January 25, 2018; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): is a dark fantasy about the settling of old scores, and the longing for intimacy in a mysterious world. On his quest, a young man nicknamed Dragonfly sets out to solve the mystery of savage kidnappings, abductions, arson, and destruction in the Six. Fantasy and reality lead the detective and urban crusader to the discovery of a love greater than the one he once imagined.

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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: (Softcover: $25, 170pp, 6X9”: ISBN: 978-1-68114-356-9; Hardcover: $40: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-357-6; Release: December 19, 2017; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): The poems in The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters were written in the poet’s youth at the beginning of his experiments and poetic explorations. With sheer lyrical madness, poets such as Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, T S Eliot, Ezra Pound, WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Dylan Thomas, Anthony Burgess, Thomas Merton, Eugenio Montale and Leonard Cohen haunt the poet’s inner life in The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. They are often approximations of earlier works, translations or transliterations of dead poets. At other times, in daring homage or tribute, the poems interrogate each other, or interact and strive to get at their hidden truths. Some of the pieces, in different forms, have appeared in various magazines and collections. The entire work is a kind of “poet’s notebook,” with the whimsical play of “condemned poems,” from which many new poems were derived, worked on, and developed over the years.

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Jealousy: Two Tales: ($20, 128pp, 6X9”: Softcover: ISBN: 978-1-68114-424-5; $35: Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1-68114-425-2; $2.99: EBook: ISBN: 978-1-68114-426-9; LCCN: 2018905252; Fiction—Short Stories; Release: October 20, 2018; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble):The Jealous Shoemaker” and “Numbered Days” are envy-tainted tales that deal with jealously guarded secrets of the past. The distant past has become a lost paradise for old men such as Pietro d’Arborio and Bliss (Dodo) Bane. Hell-bent on telling their versions of the truth, they also bear witness to life’s stunning surprises, twisted ironies, dark enchantments, and puzzling mysteries. In a bewildering world, tainted by violence, guilt, jealousy, and revenge, they try to outface time’s shocks, and get even with their tormentors and adversaries. Haunted, how can they prevail against past rejection, absurdity and horror? For these old men, is the past just baggage? Or is it never over? If they look for closure, will they be relieved to find it? The two tales in Jealousy link the shadows of the vanishing world with the realities of the here-and-now.

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The Lover and Interpreter of Human Oddities: A Novella: (Softcover: $15, 74pp, 6X9”: ISBN: 978-1-68114-490-0; Hardcover: $30: ISBN: 978-1-68114-491-7; EBook: $2.99: ISBN: 978-1-68114-492-4; Amazon Soft Cover: ISBN 979-8-595593-94-6; Kindle eBook: ASIN: B08T6WL8D6; LCCN: 2018966168; Fiction—Psychological; Release: May 15, 2019; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): In order to expose his clients’ life lies, Dr. Clive Wango, real estate tycoon and self-styled psychotherapist, hosts exotic Truth Parties at his multi-million-dollar mansion. Once he gets people in conflict there, he spares no expense to free them from the tales they tell themselves to justify wrongdoing. But at his next Truth Party, will he be able to confront the malice of the criminal mind? Are some human oddities simply beyond his benevolence? Do some life stories disastrously defy interpretation? With his moral passion and an acute sense of responsibility, Dr. Clive Wango must live or die in his needful obligation to find out.

” **** Humorous and witty, this very interesting novella… has enough material to keep you thinking deep into the night. The almost satirical nature of the narrative had me hooked from the very beginning. Dr. Clive Wango is a very strange character, but he fits perfectly into the story. He brings life to the narrative with his wit and charm; he is smart, attentive and very intelligent. The pace is great and the flow of the story is perfect. In these limited pages, the author has succeeded in writing a complete story that will offer you entertainment and enough food for thought to make you question many things.” —Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite

All Things Counter, Original, Spare, Strange: Prose Poems: (Amazon Softcover: $15, 94pp, 6X9″: ISBN: 978-1-68114-553-2; Kindle Ebook: $2.99: ASIN; Ingram Hardcover: $30: ISBN: 978-1-68114-554-9; LCCN: 2020925831; Nonfiction—Poetry—Subjects & Themes—Death, Grief, Loss; Release: June 15, 2021; Purchase on Amazon): The collection of prose poems is a 4-part sequence that engages the perilous times in which we live, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The work is conceived as a meditation on issues of home, illness and recovery, compassion, social justice and the earth. The human condition, under threat and on high alert, needs healing as does the natural world. The collection is meant to be experimental and innovative for readers in the time of the current pandemic. The startling and vivid work of graffiti artists from around the world has been an inspiring response to the coronavirus lockdown. Images depicting the theme of “Illness and healing” are used throughout the book.

Love’s Cure: A Tale of Incurable Love: ($20, 140pp, 6X9”: Softcover: 979-8-53123-855-9; $35: Hardcover: 978-1-68114-556-3; LCCN: 2021913656; $2.99: Kindle EBook; Fiction—Literary; Release: July 5, 2021; Purchase on Amazon in Softcover or Kindle; or from Barnes & Noble): Anton Sergeevich Antonov and his mamochka, Zoya Ivanovna Antonov, are under secret police surveillance for suspected subversive activities. He is a retired writer who believes he lives an inverted life, like a character out of Gogol. His farcical inversion makes him feel that he has been cured of any interest in the illness of life. He now claims he wants a cure for his obsession with the sickness of love. What are these things called life and love, but irremediable diseases, especially as he grows older? When at last he turns 40, his birthday wish is that this birthday be his last. He agrees with Dostoyevsky in his Notes from Underground on the question of aging: it is bad manners to live beyond forty. To live with smugness, triviality, banality and bad taste—what the hell for? His Gogolian world is now turned inside out and flipped upside down. He can no longer accept the rules imposed by his society, especially the ban on same-sex marriage. Defiance leads to disobedience and its consequence for him and his lover. He should get married, but inverts the desire, in order to choose otherwise. Through the absolute inversion and subversion of what is real and what is not, Anton Sergeevich and the love of his life are fated to confront prejudice and inequality before it is too late.

Creek Songs: A Tale of Love and Music: (Softcover: $20, 198pp, 6X9”: 979-8-482542-08-8; Hardcover: $35: 979-8-482542-97-2; Kindle EBook; LCCN: 2021919603; Fiction—Cultural Heritage; Release: October 1, 2021; Purchase on Amazon): is a work of fiction that, with comic irony, tells the tale of Tone Damone, wild frontman for a homegrown rock’n’roll band, on a too-late quest to save 1950s rock’n’roll from the British Invasion. In the aftermath, and in a bold and youthful search for identity, love and fame, the young rebels in his group are like Minute Men, formed from locals, all living obscurely near Lost Creek in a small factory town, crazy to guard their own kind of music, and live in a world of their own making: one dream, one rebel flag, one band. In a clash of generations, will this group of teens (calling themselves The Lost Creek Boys, and later The Skinny-Dippers when two girls join the band), ever wake up one day to find that they are famous? Or, when the moon is full, will they wake up unknown and alone, and then just fade away? During the summer of 1966, in their youthful rebellion, singing their “creek songs,” they daringly resist the trends and shocks of the times and insanely fight for their own sense of how things should be in the matters of music and love. In his own Tone-Beat style, slangy and ironic, the storyteller chronicles the fast-paced goings-on down by Lost Creek in the hapless lives of bandmates, girlfriends and enemies alike. He tells how living along the creek-run, making music and making love are filled with what he calls “clashes, bashes, crashes, and smashes.” Feeling talented and unwanted, he has had to grow up fast in a new age of free love and social experimentation. Still, this musician and rebel, like his bandmates and lovers, is possessed with a fierce and edgy longing to live a beautiful life. 

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.   


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