(Earlier Books)

Back in the 20th century Mark wrote and edited several books. Three of them are described below. They are now out of print, though you may be able to find them at a good used bookshop (Mark’s personal favourite is The Word, located on Milton Street in Montreal). You can also try online booksellers such as abebooks.com

Beyond Forget: Rediscovering the Prairies

Mark’s first book, a literary travelogue about Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, was published in 1986 by Douglas & McIntyre (Canada). Later editions appeared from Sierra Club Books (United States) and Chatto & Windus (England). Among the reviews:

“Well-written, evocative, entertaining, enlightening … A considerable accomplishment.”
— W.P. Kinsella, Maclean’s

“Abley has the sharpest of eyes and a way with words which makes his remarkable rediscovery of the prairies come alive on the printed page.”
The Scotsman

“Abley has an eye for the crazed, the marginal, the strangely comic … Unexpected pleasures like these dot the landscape on this quiet, deeply felt journey.”
— Michael Ignatieff, The Observer

Blue Sand, Blue Moon

Mark’s first collection of poems, published in 1988 by Cormorant Books, was shortlisted for the QSPELL Prize for poetry. Among the reviews:

“Abley’s narrative and lyric poetry is finely crafted, involving and emotionally direct.”
— Carolyn Smart, Kingston Whig-Standard

“The work of an intelligent, observant and insightful writer … One of the lessons of Blue Sand, Blue Moon is that, by opening ourselves up to ways of surviving other than our own, we come back home better able to cope with what confronts us here.”
— Michael Harris, Montreal Gazette


In 1994 Quarry Press published Mark’s second collection of poems. Like its predecessor, it was nominated for the QSPELL Prize. The title poem, an elegy for endangered languages, has been translated into Esperanto and Jèrriais.

Glasburyon, which means ‘glass castle,’ is evocative of the majestic and empty place where poetry lives in modern life, but thankfully Abley writes as if poetry can still change the world. These are poems of passion and contemplation … I admired this book for its attention to detail and for Abley’s obvious pleasure in the language.”
Michael Redhill