Against Death: 35 Essays on Living is out from Anvil Press
A finalist for the Montaigne Medal 2019.
Launched on Sep 25, 2019 in Vancouver, and subsequently in Toronto, New York, Reykjavík, and Oaxaca.
The nimble, serious play of the title, Against Death: 35 Essays on Living, is an accurate reflection of the range of tones, approaches, and experiences with death (which is to say, living) inside this vibrant, tender collection. While one need not be grieving to find resonance here, those who grief has touched will not feel silenced or pushed outside. In eloquent, luminous prose, these essays will be a companion to many and will be a collection to return to (againlives inside against). As editor Elee Kraljii Gardiner reminds us, “To be against something can be to reject or refute it. But to be against death can also mean to be in contact with, pressed up next to, to be intimately proximate with mortality.” This is all of us. I am grateful for this gathering and for this expansive (re)framing. —TC Tolbert, author of Gephyromaniaand co-editor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics
The writers of these essays are courage embodied, honesty defined, strength incarnate. They refuse to look away, to be polite, to soften the blow. If you are willing to go where they are brave enough to take you, you will emerge awake and aware, a little joyful, a little frightened, and determined to live a little bigger every day. — Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek, Finding Hope In The High Country.
Contributors are: Adrian M Zytkoskee, Aislinn Hunter, Amanda Earl, Angela Rawlings, Becky Blake, Ben Gallagher, Bruce Meyer, John Asfour, Joe Average, Emma Smith-Stevens, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Harry Langen, Jane Mellor, Jennifer Van Evra, Susan Briscoe, Jennie Chantal Duguay, Jessica Michalofsky, Jill Goldberg, Kateri Lanthier, Kerri Power, Kiera Miller, Laurie Lewis, C.M. Faulkner, Lisa Neighbour, Maureen Medved, Mikaela Asfour, Moira MacDougall, Nikki Reimer, Rabi Qureshi, Rachel Rose, Rebecca Fredrickson, Sarah Lyn Eaton, Susan Cormier, Tanis MacDonald, Vera Constantineau.
Against Death is a natural outgrowth of my experience with vertebral artery dissection and stroke. The adage “write the book you need” applies here: as I thought about my own experience and processed it, I understood how helpful it would be to connect with others who have grappled with mortality, too. Building this community in writing helped many of us figure out how we relate to our familiar circumstances with a radical shift in perspective.
Three of our contributors died before they could see their words in print. John Asfour, Susan Briscoe and Harry Langen were enthusiastic and curious participants in recording their experiences, and it was an honour to learn with them. I send their families and communities much love and hope their words here are a comfort.