Bowling’s memoir, In The Suicide’s Library: A Booklover’s Journey, was shortlisted for the 2011 Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction and the $10,000 City of Edmonton Book Prize. His most recent poetry collection The Annotated Bee and Me was nominated for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award. I have the book on hold at Audreys and no time to read it yet so for now you can read what his publisher has to say:
The Suicide’s Library is one of the most engaging and original books of prose Bowling has produced to date…The Suicide’s Library is as good a book about books and the literary life as I’ve ever read, and everyone I’ve recommended it to agrees. It chronicles Bowling’s strange eight-month quest into American literature of the 1940s and ’50s and the world of book collecting, a journey branching into a wealth of subjects ranging from the relationship between fathers and daughters, suicide, masculinity, the Internet, the history of printing, bibliomania and the strange effects of midlife and obsession on an otherwise rational mind.
–Andrew Steeves, Printer & Publisher Gaspereau Press.
Gaspereau Press is a Canadian literary publisher and printshop established in 1997 by Gary Dunfield and Andrew Steeves. Gaspereau Press publishes some of Canada’s most original and innovative authors and is dedicated to editing, designing and manufacturing their books in a fashion that honours their content as well as the great humanist tradition of printing and publishing. Employing a wide range of modern and antiquated production techniques and technologies, Gaspereau Press creates books that marry function and form. From limited-edition letterpress projects to Smyth-sewn trade paperbacks with handprinted jackets, every project carries some trace of the human mind, eye and hand. The result is a unique publishing list of award-winning books – affordable, beautiful, and designed to endure.
As for Bowling’s poetry, on a day that threatens to rain all week, you might appreciate this poem published on May 27, 2011 in a recent issue of EighteenBridges.com:
So Much Rain
So much rain
even the spiderweb rusts.
in glistening oilskins
creaks the winch that pulls
in the dead fly. Something
far inside me follows.
But only the fly appears to pray.
The layer of dust on the floors
of the condemned houses of my childhood
the layer of dust on the top of my midlife library
between the footprints of the boy
and the fingerprints of the man –
the life that leaves no trace.
When I take this steel and gut the years
a dark rain spreads all over my hands
and a few seconds of my mother’s tears
pearl the bitten edges of my nails.
The winch of her laundry-line creaks
as that something far inside me, that
invisible life, shivers and returns
to love’s lifted and animate eyes
once more in the gentleness of her weather
this damp embrace
of the essence of our past
before she dies.
Tim Bowling is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Fathom, The Book Collector, and The Memory Orchard. He has also published three novels, including The Bone Sharps and The Paperboy’s Winter. He has twice been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and has won the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for Poetry and two Alberta Book Awards. In 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Bowling lives in Edmonton and is the current writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta.