Monday, October 19, 2020

Tom Sandborn reviews George Stanley's Love Is Not an Algorithm (2020) in the Vancouver Sun

Tom Sandborn was good enough to provide the first review of Vancouver poet George Stanley's Love Is Not an Algorithm (2020) over at the Vancouver Sun. Thanks so much! And of course, you can see the full article here.
Do you love lively language and rigorous thought? Try long-time Vancouver poet George Stanley, a too-little-known writer who can be a delightful discovery

Love is Not an Algorithm
By George Stanley, Above/Ground Press (Ottawa, 2020)

$5 | 24pp.

George Stanley is one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets.

For anyone who loves shapely language and rigorous thought, this too-little-known writer can be a delightful discovery. Stanley, an Irish-American poet from San Francisco, has been living and writing in B.C. since 1971, and much of his remarkable poetry reflects his Canadian experiences.

He writes in “Montmartre” that “I started out in Montmartre/in the bars and cafes. I drank/With Manet and Baudelaire/Now I drink at the Fringe Café/on West Broadway, in Vancouver. I’m one of the ‘regulars’.”

And he has indeed been a regular in the world of poetry for most of his adult life, and certainly all of his time in Canada, publishing collections, chapbooks and stand-alone poems. (Full disclosure: I have known Stanley since he arrived in Vancouver in the ’70s. I have also reviewed earlier volumes of his poetry, including a review in 2018 of Some End/West Broadway.)

Despite creating an impressive body of work over his Canadian decades, Stanley has never achieved the commercial success or notoriety that can come, even in these post-poetry years, to more emotionally and intellectually accessible writers, either in his home country or here in Canada.

Because Stanley seems to have read and digested almost everything ever published, his work is intellectually dense; and yet his keen-eyed observations of the fine grain particulars of his city and his mind invite the reader in and reward careful attention. His book-length Vancouver: A Poem (2008) and his jointly authored (with George Bowering in 2018) Some End/West Broadway are both master classes in poetic observation, reflection and distillation. A George Stanley poem can deliver the potent kick and long lasting after-pleasure of a glass of single-malt scotch.

While Stanley is not likely to ever be a mass-market poet, he has been recognized by the Poetry Society of America with that body’s Shelley Award in 2006, and in 2011

The Capilano Review devoted an entire issue to printing both his original work and poems and essays of appreciation from many powerful voices within the world of current poetry. Clearly, he is a poet’s poet.

But don’t let that scare you off. Love is Not an Algorithm will reward any careful reader with its lyrical reflections on love, desire, the beautiful, the mind and the city.

Highly recommended.

Friday, October 9, 2020

new from above/ground press: HOUNDS, by Cecilia Stuart


HOUNDS
Cecilia Stuart
$5

Three

When parts of you receded I began to chew in threes. I lit candles, bound books filled with housing, burned them in a pile and filmed it. I would grab the white-hot tines with my uncalloused hands, feign a rancid vision and vision myself blessed. More vigorous than ever, I’d pull the curtains back and weep. Add splinters. Add plastic. Add clumps of ash and heat.
 
Parts of you receded. Parts of me were caught up in the lees. Hawking popcorn tins filled with scraps of ragged denim, bones from flightless birds. Out of all these tiny fragments, I cobbled up some plan. In a small house on a small street, I had hands that tapped reserves of yellow dye. I had a photograph of gophers and I swallowed it. Felt shrill and often evil, far from home without a friend.
 
I set out to make a palace. I brought forth a kitsch. I made lists, lazed at broken harps. Desperate for a genre or for something to belong to. Perhaps I belonged to you but your hands would always sweat. Then came the first blue light through my window, right where I had left it all along. Every surface had an appetite, and in the glow I stacked a shoddy stack. The sun came slow or maybe bloody. What was left I sold for cheap.


published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Cecilia Stuart’s
first chapbook Mudroom, a collaborative project with photography by Adrian Kiva, was published by Anchorage Press in 2018. Her poems have appeared in PRISM international, The Antigonish Review, Plenitude and elsewhere. She lives in Toronto.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

new from above/ground press: from THE LOSS FOR WORDS, by Keith Waldrop


from
THE LOSS FOR WORDS
Keith Waldrop
$5


“I couldn’t live,” she tells me. “If I really believed you die and that, that’s the end...  Well I just couldn’t live if I believed that.”

    I believe...  actually, I can think of nothing I believe.

    And find it hard to see what difference it would make, my believing or not.  Difference, that is, to a possible object of belief. What is, I suppose, is, whether I think so or not.

    Perhaps?

    No doubt I—believing some notion, likely or unlikely—would be different from myself disbelieving the same notion. Or myself undecided. Or unconcerned.

    I’m told I deceive myself. I’m told I do believe, believe that—for instance—the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Well, certainly it seems likely.

    If that’s all believing means, I’ll admit to a sort of scale. I’m fairly positive the sun will come up tomorrow, whether or not it becomes visible. That it will rain tomorrow I think, but not with anything like the same approach to certainty. An earthquake is unlikely. I see no reason to doubt that night will fall and the dead will not rise. (“INTERVAL”)

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as part of above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Cover image by the author

Keith Waldrop is the author of more than a dozen books of poems, including Transcendental Studies (U of California Press) which won the National Book Award in 2009, and, from Omnidawn Publishing, Selected Poems (2016), The Not Forever, and The Real Subject. He has also published a novel, Light While There Is Light (Dalkey Archive) and translated Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil and Paris Spleen: Little Poems in Prose as well as contemporary French authors like Anne-Marie Albiach, Claude Royet-Journoud, Paol Keineg.

He is retired from Brown University and lives in Providence, RI where he edited, with Rosmarie Waldrop, Burning Deck Press.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Monday, October 5, 2020

new from above/ground press: The Ham Harp, by Amelia Does


The Ham Harp
Amelia Does
$5

A Silence

Believe it, there is a piece of ham
stuck to his favourite rock

Just a roll, a rolled jam cake
Silence is like milk to me

Can you write about things
Other than good or bad?

I’m sure people do it every day
In Marakesh there’s a few now

Writing long dedications, endless scrolls
Illegible scrawling on sheep innards

Ever closer dangling out the turrets
Sitting in a window, no glass

No light but a pink orange sunset
Their world brimming with silence


published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover illustration by the author

Amelia Does is an artist, filmmaker and writer from London, Ontario. Her poetry has been published by Proper Tales Press, Acta Victoriana, The Week Shall Inherit the Verse and Touch the Donkey. Amelia is author of essays and articles in Cineforum Italia, Senses of Cinema and Incite Journal of Experimental Media. She has self-published six books, six chapbooks and oversaw monthly and quarterly zine publications. Amelia has produced and consulted for several award-winning feature documentaries, and has recently begun a new video series called “Art Life”.  

Ameliadoes.weebly.com

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com