Monday, September 26, 2016

Gary Barwin on the Giller Shortlist!

Congratulations to above/ground press author Gary Barwin, on being on the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist for his novel Yiddish for Pirates! Amazing!

above/ground press was fortunate enough to publish Barwin's chapbook Seedpod, Microfiche (2013), as well as "SYNONYMS FOR FISH," as an issue of STANZAS magazine (#26, March 2001). His work also appeared in the chapbook anthology 33 1/3 (2003).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

above/ground press: 2017 subscriptions now available!

Twenty-three years! As we edge even closer to twenty-five. Can you believe it? There's been a ton of activity over the past year around above/ground press, from the continuation of Chaudiere Books (the trade extension, one might say, of above/ground) to The Factory Reading Series and the poetry journal Touch the Donkey (included as part of the above/ground press subscription!). Just what else might happen? Current and forthcoming items include works by Pearl Pirie, nathan dueck, philip miletic, Sandra Moussempès (trans. Eléna Rivera), Carrie Hunter, George Bowering, Carrie Olivia Adams, Geoffrey Young, Buck Downs, John Barton and derek beaulieu (2016), as well as a whole slew of publications that haven't even been decided on yet. 

2017 annual subscriptions (and resubscriptions) are now available: $65 (CAN/US; $90 international) for everything above/ground press makes from when you subscribe through to the end of 2017, including chapbooks, broadsheets, The Peter F. Yacht Club and Touch the Donkey (have you been keeping track of the dozens of interviews posted to the Touch the Donkey site?).

Anyone who subscribes on or by November 1st will also receive the last above/ground press package (or two) of 2016, including those exciting new titles by philip miletic, Sandra Moussempès (trans. Eléna Rivera), Carrie Hunter, George Bowering, Carrie Olivia Adams, Geoffrey Young, Buck Downs, John Barton and derek beaulieu (plus whatever else the press happens to produce before the turn of the new year), as well as Touch the Donkey #11 (scheduled to release on October 15)!

Why wait? You can either send a cheque (payable to rob mclennan) to 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 7M9, or utilize whichever paypal button that applies to you:

Canadian subscription

American subscription

International subscription

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

new from above/ground press: That Toddlin’ Town / Baby, don’ ya wanna go? by George Bowering

That Toddlin’ Town / Baby, don’ ya wanna go?
George Bowering


Four cocktail
onions in a shot
glass, how classic
to let the guy

help build
his own Gibson,
no guitar but
a story from
his youth

as a reader,
a hick boy
in an agricultural

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

George Bowering
is a veteran poet who lives in Vancouver. He recently published a hockey book with ECW and has collaborated on a book of paternal letters with Charles Demers for Arsenal/Pulp.

That Toddlin’ Town / Baby, don’ ya wanna go? is George Bowering’s tenth above/ground press publication and fourth above/ground press chapbook, after STANZAS #12 (“BLONDES ON BIKES: 1-20,” April 1997), A, You’re Adorable (as “Ellen Field,” October, 1998; reissued October 2004) and Tocking Heads (ALBERTA SERIES #2, October, 2007). He is also the author of six above/ground press “poem” broadsheets: “UNKNOWN LIQUID” (#73, June 1998), “from Cars” (#152, June 2002), “Straight Pant Legs” (#184, October 2003) and “untitled” (#241, October 2005), as well as two as “Ellen Field”: “G” (#75, June, 1998) and “H” (#79, September, 1998)

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 or paypal at

Monday, September 12, 2016

above/ground press in Ottawa: a report,

[Braydon Beaulieu, reading] As you most likely know, this past Saturday was the above/ground press twenty-third anniversary event at Black Squirrel Books in Ottawa, held not long after a similar event in Toronto [see my report on such here], with readings and launches by Braydon Beaulieu, Sean Braune, Pearl Pirie and Stephanie Bolster. Thanks so much to all who participated!
[Sean Braune, reading] Now that I've heard two different readings by Beaulieu and Braune in a short period, I'm getting a better sense of what either of them are doing (Braune's reading really stood out, of the four authors), and might be capable of (and am further intrigued). Beaulieu also has work forthcoming in The Calgary Renaissance (Chaudiere Books), an anthology edited by myself and Derek Beaulieu.
[Pearl Pirie, reading] The crowd was small, but worthy, and included a variety of above/ground press authors past and present, including Cameron Anstee, Amanda Earl, Stephen Brockwell, Michelle Desbarats and Colin Morton, as well as Ottawa poet Chris Johnson, who generously donated his time and energy for the sake of the door/book table (did you know he has a chapbook forthcoming with Frog Hollow Press?). What became curious, in hindsight, was realizing that the four readers read in reverse order of how long I've known them, having first interacted with Stephanie Bolster back in the mid-1990s, and publishing her first item back in 1996 (newly reissued, and discussed here).
[Stephanie Bolster, reading] For Pearl's reading, she made a point of wearing Vulcan ears, to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of Star Trek (she wore them unrelated to the reading in any way). Another highlight included the fact that Stephanie came by the house a few hours early for the sake of a visit, and to meet our latest edition, nearly five-month-old Aoife. And after the reading, a small mound of us went out for drinks and an extended period of stellar conversation.

While I may be a bit behind on a couple of publications (and mailouts) (our newborn and toddler are rather distracting), the next few weeks should see new chapbooks by George Bowering, Geoffrey Young, Carrie Hunter and John Barton, as well as the 11th issue of Touch the Donkey, among other possibilities.

As well, I'm most likely announcing 2017 subscriptions around the end of the month, by the by. And what might 2017 bring? I'm not entirely sure yet, but, as per usual, I've a number of irons in the fire. Just keep watching.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

new from above/ground press: sex in sevens, by Pearl Pirie

sex in sevens
Pearl Pirie

sex at 31.2: thigh pillars as profundo as Song of Solomon’s songs

no church has eclipsed my shadow in a decade,
but religious allegory splits each nail bud.
God says what you love, He will be jealous of
and will take, to test. (a messed up sense of love.)

lack of *ahem* data points. intervals sharp to graph. (& I do graph.
& belay gratification with gaffes.) like uuuh after figure skating show
in bed — I pulled a score card of 6. guess who laughed. no, really, guess.

I garden as he leaves, receive a wave. (zoom in on my face)
Love thy neighbour God says & I do.         Jim said once
your most sensual poems are of forests — write me about trees.
tell me about your fern groves.
(meaning can be mean.)

look into my pupils; that’s me in there — teeth clipping
the roses as a tango tangle, minding my hedge, mind’s eye
behind a patch, arms make an espalier of all that I won’t say.


he passes, climbs into his Dodge Ram Tough, 4WD
he prides for going wherever he likes. mud-spattered.
I tuck into bucket seats of my eyelids, shake knuckles loose
from being his seatbelt buckles. really, body, really?

neighbour is more misshapen, rougher than a chopping block.
he can’t smell that good. whoops. we know this: to dismiss
as less, next encounter will cone-deafen that lie. what is, is.


dry throat swallows visions of rosebud lips of our
grandchildren, goats, kittens. dozens of kittens.
to chisel him to size, I’m left with a Greek youth torso
much like what I have back inside.

if you spent as much time romancing me, we’d
be in a better place.
blue moon body forgets
the forest musk of your trunk, thrift of its curves.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Pearl Pirie
does bookish and lookish things. She has made a bunch of chapbooks & you probably should too.  (Bio is Italian for speaker’s corner, right?) For those who answer no, Pirie has been published in 3 books, a few anthologies, many chapbooks and has a renewed love of canoes. has resources for templates.

btw, there’re a few guys who do the sex at tradition: 

[Produced, in part, for the above/ground press 23rd anniversary reading/launch/party at Black Squirrel Books, Ottawa, September 10, 2016, and PHILALALIA, the three-day small press/art fair, September 15-17, 2016 in Philadelphia PA. Thanks much to Kevin Varrone for his help and support.]

This is Pearl Pirie's sixth above/ground press publication and fourth chapbook, after oath in the boathouse (2008), vertigoheel for the dilly (2014) and today’s woods (2014).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 or paypal at