Mother Tongue Publishing History

In 1994 we began publishing beautiful limited edition chapbooks of Canadian poetry and since then have published 28 letter-pressed poetry chapbooks and broadsides by Canadian poets; Stephanie Bolster, Lorna Crozier, Kate Braid, Cathy Ford, Maxine Gadd, Shirley Graham, Penn Kemp, Robert Kroetsch, Sylvia Legris, Peter Levitt, Daphne Marlatt, Susan McCaslin, P.K. Page, Murray Reiss, Nadine Shelly, Peter Such, Phyllis Webb and Patricia Young.

Most of our publications employed handmade endpaper, beautiful cover stock, recycled paper, embossing, letterpress printing, handsewing, non-adhesive binding, tipped in photographs of paintings, signed and numbered. All were labour intensive and mostly created in-house.

All of our chapbooks had letterpress covers and most had beautiful original linocuts created by Peter Haase.

We have also held book art, letterpress and writing workshops, organized readings, book launches, and inspired others to start their own presses.

For more (m)Other Tongue Press history read an article by Richard Hopkins published in Amphora, or view the article* from Open Letter by Meredith Quartermain


In 2008, after 18 years as an established private literary press on Salt Spring Island that has specialized in publishing Canadian poets, and letterpress printing, we have decided to expand our publishing mandate, strengthen our name, and enter into trade publishing. We will continue to publish our poetry chapbooks; beautiful limited editions, as time allows. Our new trade wing will be dedicated to publishing unique, bold and stimulating books on British Columbia art history, fine art, and literature. We are committed to publishing outstanding emerging and established B.C. writers and producing beautiful well-edited books that will make a significant contribution to regional and national literature. The Unheralded Artists of BC, our long-awaited new series, is dedicated to recognizing unheralded B.C. artists and igniting an overdue discourse on their artistic and historic significance. Our art books are written for the discerning collector, curator and dealer as well as public institutions, students, teachers, historians, art lovers and individuals. Our series will begin by focusing on B.C. artists from the highly creative era of the 1950's and 1960's. An exciting time that witnessed the emergence of hundreds of artists in Vancouver, Victoria, and around the province, yet a time that sustained and elevated only a few. This was due to the serious lack of gallery/exhibition space in Vancouver and Victoria, territorial politics, art fads, and parochial views. The socioeconomic and political aspects of art and marketing often overshadow and dominate the position of an artist in society. Those that divorce themselves, for various reasons, from this aspect of the art world, to focus full-time on their creativity, often find themselves numbered among the disappeared. Inconspicuous in their absence, the public rarely hears about or sees their work, except in rare shows at local galleries, restaurants, home and studio showings. Then there are those artists that tried against all odds to obtain the support of a local gallery; attended the openings, peddled their paintings and portfolio of sculpture, but to no avail. The paradox of creativity and marketing wrestles many artists to the ground. Sending some outside the scene, to create in peace, (or defeat), as far as possible, from the pressures of the art world. The bridge between the artist and the public is best built through a supporting public or private gallery, patron, movement or book. Each can broach the divide. If public and private galleries fail to do their job, fail to support and promote local artists, fail to facilitate studio sleuthing, then the chances of the public viewing anything from older or non-mainstream artists is limited. This is where the book can assist. Acting as advocate and documenter, bringing the life and art of the artist into your home. In re-visioning the past, we at Mother Tongue Publishing, open the door on a wealth of hidden B.C. art and present a new collection of serious and significant Canadian artists. In 2008 we launched our trade wing. Welcome to our new adventure! Mona Fertig & Peter Haase