Wednesday, September 20, 2017

above/ground press at Word on the Street, Toronto + Vancouver; September 24,

above/ground press will be represented at both the Toronto and Vancouver editions of this year's Word on the Street! Thanks much to WOTS, as well as The League of Canadian Poets, for their continued support:

Toronto: Head on over to The League of Canadian Poets booth, Writers Block Table 12, and pick up a copy of an above/ground press broadside! I really dug through the archives for this one, pulling out poems published throughout the past fifteen years, and there will be a whole mound of poems and authors to choose from, including poems old and new by derek beaulieu, Sandra Ridley, rob mclennan, Eric Schmaltz, Fred Wah, Gwendolyn Guth and a slew of others. Get them while supplies last!

Vancouver: Stephen Collis will be reading as part of the Vancouver launch of his chapbook FIRST SKETCH OF A POEM I WILL NOT HAVE WRITTEN! He, of course, will have copies of the chapbook on-hand for anyone interested.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

above/ground press: 2018 subscriptions now available!

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS! How the hell did I manage to get to a quarter century? And with nearly eight hundred and fifty titles produced so far, there's been a ton of above/ground press activity over the past year, including some thirty chapbooks (so far) produced in 2017 alone (including titles by rob mclennanAmanda EarlKristina DrakeStephanie BolsterAdele GrafBuck DownsSarah Dowlingnathan dueckSarah CookJessica SmithIan WhistleFaizal Deen, Marilyn IrwinLisa RobertsonJordan AbelStephen CollisSandra Moussempès (trans. Eléna Rivera)Sarah FoxBrenda IijimaJake SyersakHelen HajnoczkyDerek BeaulieuKyle Flemmerphilip mileticGeoffrey YoungJason ChristieCarrie Hunter and Sarah Swan, all of which are still in print), 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 natalie hanna, Katy Lederer, Valerie Coulton, Sacha Archer, Joe Blades, N.W. Lea, Matthew Johnstone, Eric Schmaltz, Geoffrey Nilson, Andrew Cantrell, Alyssa Bridgman and Anna Gurton-Wachter as well as a whole slew of publications that haven't even been decided on yet. 

And 20th anniversary reissues of titles by Gil McElroy and John Newlove are already scheduled for 2019! Gah!

2018 annual subscriptions (and resubscriptions) are now available: $65 (CAN; American subscribers, $65 US; $90 international) for everything above/ground press makes from the moment you subscribe through to the end of 2018, 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 2017, including those exciting new titles by all of those folk listed above, plus whatever else the press happens to produce before the turn of the new year, as well as Touch the Donkey #15 (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 send money via paypal to rob_mclennan (at)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Joel W. Vaughan reviews Christian Bök's 10 Poems (2016) in Broken Pencil #76

Joel W. Vaughan was good enough to provide a generous (as well as the first) review of Christian Bök's 10 Poems (2016) in Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here. The review reads:
Christian Bök has become, since the popularity and critical success of his 2001 Eunoia, something of a (divisive) house-hold name in Canadian poetry. It is likely that anyone already familiar with his work has a strong opinion on it, and it is equally likely that 10 Poems will further entrench that opinion, whether it be positive or negative. I happen to really enjoy Eunoia, Bök, and — no surprise — 10 Poems.

These poems extend Bök’s method of linguistic play into a few new interesting corners. In “The Doomsday Song,” he for-mats comic-book style onomatopoeia (think “KROOM! KROOM! KRAKOOM! / KRAKA-DOOM! KA-DOOM!”) into a kind of table of contents, bridging the gap between his deconstruction of English and his tension between language-heard and language-read. In his “Phonological Key”, printed as a poem in itself, he deliberately guides the reader through missteps, so that the pronunciation of subsequent poems is always off-kilter. If “u = ‘oo’ as in lute” for instance, then the “blubbering / rubber gut” in the following poem must be pronounced “bloobering roober goot.”

Bök’s work here then is as opaque as you ask it to be. He places pointed stress on the English language in an effort to decentre it, and the result is a series of poems that are as familiar as they are foreign. I have encountered many who find this frustrating, but just as many who appreciate the game being played. I find myself in the latter category, and recommend above/ground press’s print-ing of Bök just as heartily as I would Coach House’s or Northwestern University’s.