Lissa Wolsak wins $4,000 bpNichol Chapbook Award


Celebrating 30 years of recognizing excellence in Canadian poetry chapbooks


TORONTO – November 14, 2015 – The Meet the Presses Collective announced today that Lissa Wolsak (Vancouver, British Columbia) has won the 2015 bpNichol Chapbook Award for Of Beings Alone: The Eigenface, published by Nomados Press. This is the richest annual literary award for a poetry chapbook.

The prize was awarded at the 2015 Indie Literary Market, held at the Tranzac Club in Toronto. The Market is a curated event that introduces the public to independent literary publishers and authors of books, chapbooks, magazines, broadsheets, and recordings that are largely not available in bookstores. Though Wolsak was unable to attend in person, friend and poet David Dowker accepted the $4,000 prize on her behalf. Here’s an excerpt from her acceptance speech:

“In 1988 I twice heard bpNichol indirectly call my name. I was spellbound by both his performances. Poetry was to become my lasting love and my entire future’s immersion. My wholehearted and warmest gratitude to Meet the Presses Collective, for this splendid acknowledgement and gift!”

Thanks to a generous annual donation from Toronto writers Brian Dedora and Jim Smith, the publisher of the winning work, Nomados Press, also received $500. Here is a quote from their acceptance speech:

“Nomados Literary Publishers is tremendously proud that Lissa Wolsak is receiving the bp Nichol Chapbook Award this year. We are very honoured to have helped this book into the world, and constantly grateful that the bpNichol Chapbook Award continues to encourage micropublishers like us across Canada to extend the map of the real, and to enhance and enlarge the very existence of a vibrant and unorthodox Canadian writing.”

Judges Alice Burdick (Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia) and Karl Jirgens (Windsor, Ontario) chose the prize finalists from 68 submissions from across the country. This year’s other shortlisted poets are:

Nelson Ball, A Gathering (BookThug)

Jason Christie, Cursed Objects (above/ground press)

Phil Hall, Notes from Gethsemani (Nomados Press)

Ben Ladouceur, Lime Kiln Quay Road (above/ground press)

Matt Rader, I Don’t Want to Die Like Frank O’Hara (baseline press)

Of Wolsak’s winning collection, the judges remarked: “This is a wonderfully lucid narrative that takes the reader through the web of perception. Wolsak’s delicate precise language shapes the text – and leads us through both solid and sense worlds. Such a strange and effective articulation of the mysteries of existence.”

About the Prize:

Awarded annually since its establishment in 1985, the bpNichol Chapbook Award goes to the author of the best poetry chapbook – a collection of no more than 48 pages – published in Canada in the previous year. The award is named in honour of the late poet, novelist, and micropress publisher bpNichol, who was the original co-judge of the award 30 years ago.

About Meet the Presses:

Meet the Presses is a volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The Collective is proud to administer the bpNichol Chapbook Award each year, supporting those who make the artistic choice to publish in chapbook form.

More information can be found at and


Media contact: Susannah Ames, or 647-991-5349

2014 Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market & bpNichol Chapbook Award Announcement

Saturday, November 22, 11:30 am – 5 pm
The Tranzac Club, Toronto

The Meet the Presses collective presents the 2014 Indie Literary Market, where handpicked literary presses and magazines stand behind their work!
 The Market will also feature the announcement of the winner of the 2014 bpNichol Chapbook Award! See the shortlist for 2014 here.

Participating publishers and mags tentatively include:

Above/Ground Press (Ottawa) • Mansfield Press (Toronto) • Proper Tales Press (Cobourg) • Pedlar Press (St. John’s) • Rampike (Windsor) • Apt. 9 Press (Ottawa) • Porcupine’s Quill (Erin) • Cough (Toronto) • Baseline Press (London) • Serif of Nottingham (Hamilton) • Frog Hollow (Victoria) • Coach House Books (Toronto) • Laurel Reed Books (Mt. Pleasant) • Gesture Press (Toronto) • Thee Hellbox Press (Kingston) • BookThug (Toronto) • Taddle Creek  (Toronto) • Sunnyoutside Press (Buffalo) • Little Brother Magazine (Toronto) • Biblioasis (Windsor) • Wolsak and Wynn (Hamilton) • Underwhich Editions (Toronto) • Imago/Red Iron (Toronto) • Junction Books (Toronto) • Phafours (Ottawa) • words(on)pages (Toronto) • OutWrites (Toronto)

Facebook event page here.

bpNichol Chapbook Award shortlist and Doubling of Award Purse

Meet the Presses Announces bpNichol Chapbook Award shortlist and Doubling of bpNicholChapbookAwardLogoAward Purse

TORONTO (10 October 2014) —

Meet The Presses announced today that, beginning this year, the prize purse of the bpNichol Chapbook Award will double from $2,000 to $4,000, thanks to the generosity of its Anonymous Donor. Meet the Presses is a volunteer collective that organizes public events showcasing books and chapbooks, magazines, recordings and broadsides produced by independent publishers of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction.

This year’s bpNichol Chapbook Award shortlist consists of six poetry titles:

Government: Jason Christie (above/ground)
Life Savings: Mat Laporte (Odourless)
pleasantries and other misdemeanours: Christine McNair (Apt. 9)
a fist made and then unmade: matt robinson (Gaspereau)
Oilywood: Christine Leclerc (Nomados)
X: Phil Hall (Thee Hellbox)

The winner of this year’s bpNichol Chapbook Award will be announced at Meet the Presses’ fifth Indie Literary Market, on Saturday November 22, at the Tranzac Club in Toronto. The Market is an invitational event focused exclusively on things literary. It provides an opportunity for the public to meet independent literary publishers and purchase publications that may not be readily available (or available at all) in bookstores and other commercial outlets. The collective came together in the spirit of the original Meet the Presses events begun 29 years ago in Toronto by Stuart Ross and Nick Power.

The bpNichol Chapbook Award recognizes excellence in Canadian poetry published in chapbook form. The prize is awarded to a poetry chapbook judged to be the best submitted. This year’s judges are Kevin McPherson Eckhoff and Sandra Ridley. The author now receives $4,000 and, thanks to the largesse of writers Brian Dedora and Jim Smith, the publisher receives $500. Awarded continuously since 1986, the bpNichol Chapbook Award is currently administered by the Meet the Presses collective.

Meet the Presses
Gary Barwin, Paul Dutton, Ally Fleming, Beth Follett, Hazel Millar, Leigh Nash, Nicholas Power, Stuart Ross, Eric Schmaltz and Jess Taylor. [Founding Members Emeritus: Maria Erskine, Maggie Helwig]

2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award Winners Announced!



Sandra Alland and Gil McElroy win 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award

TORONTO, ONTARIO — Poets Sandra Alland and Gil McElroy are the co-winners of the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award.

Sandra Alland won for her chapbook, Naturally Speaking, published by espresso [paperplates press]. Toronto, Ontario.

Gil McElroy won for his chapbook, Ordinary Time: The Merton Lake Propers published by baseline press of London, Ontario.

Named for the late poet, novelist, and indie publisher bpNichol (1944‐1988), the prize is awarded to the author of an English-language poetry chapbook published in Canada in the previous year, as selected by a panel of judges. Administered by Toronto-based small press collective Meet the Presses, the prize is worth $1,000 to each of the winning writers and was donated by an anonymous donor.

Through the generosity of writers Jim Smith and Brian Dedora, each publisher will receive $250.

This year’s judges were poets Sandra Ridley and kevin mcpherson eckhoff, who included the following in their remarks on the winners:

“Be quiet. Someone’s shooting.” The airy din or timeliness of Gil McElroy’s Ordinary Time gives readers gently vigilant “confession suppressed.” With rapt attention to both the fierce and the delicate, with elegiacal tone, McElroy delivers and sustains reverence. The plain language of instinct and mercy becomes planar, a proper surface surmounting a sermon of “Very, perhaps. I cannot be sure.” McElroy has given us a tautly measured and meditative work on the convergence of the physical and metaphysical battlefields – the agony of the wait and the wild hunt. Get simple days/nights beget simple syntax begets simple beauty be. Ordinary Time embodies the beauty of the extended long poem – each small moment opens large. All rigor, no slack, McElroy’s work here is haunting.”

“In Naturally Speaking, Sandra Alland eyes one another another way to sell this equipment body software is poetry joyful joyful something that leads as the about that you need to get the booty areas to the bow bow elegant and electric this collection is a truth towards ineffable laughter at & of togetherness voices SOS Natural ease peaking this emergency list of ingenuity you Sandra Alland explore new language junctions between the listening cognition recognition communication and communion know whether they see me as human who never seen him allands pomes come from the disquieting collaboration artificial intelligence and speak to from of the processes of translation identity and pain “

The judges selected the winner from 90 submissions from across Canada. This year’s other finalists were:

thirteen poems for releasing love by joanne thorwaldson (leaf press)

An OK Organ Man by Fenn Stewart (above/ground)

fruit machine by Shannon Maguire (Ferno House)

21st century monsters by ryan fitzpatrick (Red Nettle Press)

In 2012, Meet the Presses took over the administration of the annual bpNichol Chapbook Award, which was inaugurated in 1996. This year’s winners were formally announced at the Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market at the Tranzac Club, Toronto, on Saturday 16 November 2013.

The Market gave the public an opportunity to meet independent literary publishers and authors and take home books, chapbooks, magazines, broadsides, and recordings that are largely unavailable in bookstores.

Meet the Presses, a volunteer literary collective, is devoted to organizing public events showcasing publications produced by independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non‐fiction. The collective consists of members Gary Barwin, Paul Dutton, Ally Fleming, Beth Follett, Hazel Millar, Leigh Nash, Nicholas Power and Stuart Ross. If you have any questions, or wish to arrange an interview, contact Paul Dutton at

Meet the Presses announces its Fall 2013 Indie Literary Market

Meet the Presses is pleased to present its fall 2013 Indie Literary Market on Saturday, November 16, from noon to 4:30 pm at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Street) in Toronto.

The Indie Literary Market is a curated event that showcases about 25 exciting literary presses and magazines, from some of the tiniest of micropresses to some of the biggest small presses, selling books, leaflets, broadsides, chapbooks, zines, journals, CDs, and more. The Market gives the general public an opportunity to peruse — and buy — some of the best of Canadian literature, much of which isn’t available in the ever-dwindling bookstores.

The afternoon will also mark the announcement of the winner of the prestigious bpNichol Chapbook Award, which earns $2,000 for its author and $500 for its publisher.

So mark November 16 on your calendar. If you run a small literary press or magazine, and would like Meet the Presses to consider you for a table at this event, please send a detailed note to by early September — let us know what you publish and why you publish, and provide any links that will help us become familiar with your publications. You may just receive an invitation to take part in the Fall 2013 Indie Literary Market.

Announcing the bpNichol Chapbook Award 2011 Winner

Claudia Coutu Radmore



Published by Apt. 9 Press

Honourable Mentions:
Kevin McPherson Eckhoff, Game Show Reversed (BookThug)

Toronto Poetry Vendors, Vol 2, No 1   (authors: Laurie D Graham, Sachiko Murakami, Aisha Sasha John, Linda Besner, Mathew Henderson, Nathaniel G Moore, Adam Seelig, Moez Surani, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Matthew Tierney)

Special mention for excellence in production: JackPine Press

The judges for this year’s competition were Maggie Helwig and Bill Kennedy.

View more information on the bpNichol Chapbook Award here.

The Last Vispo Anthology

Another excellent reason to swing by next weekend’s market:

Meet the Presses’ Toronto Indie Literary Market

proudly presents a digital display of

The Last Vispo Anthology

edited by Crag Hill and Nico Vassilakis

Saturday, June 5, 2010 | 12-5 | Clinton’s Tavern,

693 Bloor Street West, Toronto

The Last Vispo anthology is a 300-page book of visual poetry featuring well over 125 different seasoned and emerging writer/artists from around the world and covers the decade between 1998 and 2008.

Mark your calendars: the 2nd Indie Literary Market is coming!

The Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market gives the public an opportunity to meet dozens of Canadian literary presses and directly purchase publications that may not be readily available (or available at all!) in bookstores. So far, participating publishers and magazines include:

  • Anvil Press
  • BookThug
  • Brick Books
  • Carousel
  • Coach House Books
  • Ferno House
  • Gesture Press/Battered Press
  • Imago
  • Insomniac
  • Learn/Yeats
  • Lowlife Publishing
  • Mansfield Press
  • Mercury Press
  • Pedlar Press
  • Peter O’Toole
  • Porcupine’s Quill
  • Proper Tales Press
  • Rampike
  • Red Iron
  • Room 3o2 Books
  • serif of nottingham editions
  • sub-Terrain
  • The Emergency Response Unit
  • Toronto Poetry Vendors
  • Underwhich Editions
  • Wolsak & Wynn

This is Toronto’s only all-literary indie-publisher showcase! You’ll find cutting-edge fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction from some of the most exciting, challenging publishers in Canada.

Saturday, June 5, 2010
Clinton’s Tavern, 693 Bloor Street West

Admission is free. Clinton’s has a great selection of food and drink for purchase.

Three Cheers for Small Press!

The Meet the Presses INDIE LITERARY MARKET on November 29 was a blast.

Thanks so much to all the participating publishers:

Coach House Books
Cormorant Books
ECW Press
Exile Editions
Gesture Press
Insomniac Press/4 a.m.
learn/yeats & co
Mansfield Press
One Hour Empire
Pedlar Press
Playwrights Canada Press
Proper Tales Press/Peter O’Toole
serif of nottingham editions
The Emergency Response Unit
The Expert Press
The Mercury Press
The Porcupine’s Quill
The Puritan
Twoffish Press
Um, Yeah Press
Underwhich Editions
White Wall Review
Wolsak & Wynn

and especially to all the enthusiastic members of the public who turned out for this event. Thanks, too, for emptying your pockets in the name of indie Can-lit!

Click here to view photos from the Indie Literary Market.

Stay tuned in the new year for more events devised and put on by the Meet the Presses collective.

If you’d like to join our email list, just drop us a note at