Monday, July 30, 2012

"poem" broadside #311: "Robert Kroetsch," by Natalee Caple

Well fuck I can’t believe you’re gone

Your deafening kindness

Your long seeded song

Seemed eternal

We fond moths read on

As you steep as you sink

Into the print and paper

But cars care nothing for culture

That last night sky you saw

I hope it was beaded with stars

Robert Kroetsch
by Natalee Caple
above/ground press broadside #311

Natalee Caple’s
two most recent books are a collection of poems, spells, and play fragments titled, The Semiconducting Dictionary, Our Strindberg (ECW) and a collection of fables, ecocritical fairy tales and ghost stories titled How I Came to Haunt My Parents ( and ECW). She lives in Peterborough with her husband Jeremy and twins Casey and Imogen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Factory Reading Series: Anstee, Irwin, Earl + Brockwell: above/ground press at nineteen,

The quintessential poet’s micro-press, above/ground press — founded and published by poet, writer, and editor rob mclennan out of Ottawa, Ontario — publishes chapbooks by both newly emerging and established poets alike. What makes above/ground press titles stand apart from other micro-press poetry chapbooks (besides their nondescript covers, that is) is that they offer the reader glimpses into collaborations as well as individual works in progress. It’s these glimpses which above/ground gives that makes their titles unique, revealing the process of the poet’s composition, their collaborations, as each waltz’s their muse along the thin razor’s edge of creation. […] It takes guts to write without a net, and particularly to publish those early efforts for all to see. Guts, indeed
                                                Mark McCawley, Fresh Raw Cuts

Ottawa’s above/ground press, a one-man operation run by writer, editor, publisher and critic rob mclennan, celebrates nineteen years of publishing in August with a reading and launch party at The Mercury Lounge.

Thursday, August 9, 2012
Door 7pm / readings 7:30pm
Cover $5 (includes a recent above/ground press title)

With readings and launches by:

Cameron Anstee (Ottawa ON),
            launching Regarding Renewal

Marilyn Irwin (Ottawa ON),
launching flicker

            Amanda Earl (Ottawa ON),
                        launching Sex First & Then A Sandwich

and Stephen Brockwell (Ottawa ON),
launching Excerpts from Impossible Books, The Crawdad Cantos

Part of the aesthetic of above/ground press has closely followed mclennan’s own interest in encouraging and showcasing a combination of emerging and local Ottawa poets alongside more established writers from across Canada, the United States and beyond, and in introducing new writers to the local community. Through over six hundred and fifty publications so far, the press has been fortunate to be able to be part of a number of early publications by now-established writers, including Stephanie Bolster, Gil McElroy, Stan Rogal, Natalee Caple, Stephen Brockwell, Michael Holmes, Clare Latremouille, derek beaulieu, Pearl Pirie, Jay MillAr, Marcus McCann and Anita Dolman.

Over the past eighteen months alone, above/ground press has produced limited-edition poetry chapbooks by three Governor General’s Award winners—Phil Hall (including a section of his award-winning Killdeer, as well as a collaboration he did with Australian poet Andrew Burke), George Elliott Clarke and Robert Kroetsch—and other titles by Kingston’s first poet laureate Eric Folsom, and Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Rae Armantrout, as well as Marilyn Irwin, Amanda Earl, Barry McKinnon, derek beaulieu, Michael Blouin, Deanna Young, j/j hastain, Fenn Stewart, Kathryn MacLeod, Sarah Mangold, Stephen Brockwell, Jay MillAr, Robert Hogg, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Rob Manery, Monty Reid, Ken Norris, Lea Graham, Ben Ladouceur, Dennis Cooley, Hugh Thomas, Camille Martin and Shannon Maguire.

Cameron Anstee lives and writes in Ottawa ON where he runs Apt. 9 Press and is pursuing a PhD in English Literature at the University of Ottawa. Recent chapbooks have been published by above/ground press, The Emergency Response Unit, and St. Andrew Books. He blogs on things Ottawa, literary, and ephemeral at

Praise for Frank St.:

“Cameron Anstee’s serial poem Frank St. (March 2010, $4.00) is a study of house, history (‘in 1878 this address / was at the city limit’), art and self. He moves through his new/old home precisely but gently, instructing himself and us how to relax, ‘learn to stop,’ in order to then ‘see better, poem.’”
Allan Brown, Jones Av.

This is Anstee’s second above/ground press title, after the collection Frank St. (2010).

Marilyn Irwin partook in two of Ottawa poet rob mclennan’s poetry workshops in 2010, and graduated from Algonquin College’s Creative Writing Certificate Program this Spring. Marilyn self-published her first chapbook for when you pick daisies (2010) which was immediately re-issued by above/ground press. Extrapolated fragments of her musings can be found in issues of Bywords, Bywords Quarterly Journal, ottawater and Peter F. Yacht Club.

Praise for for when you pick daisies:

            “…out of this complexity grows linguistic beauty.”
                        Roxanne Hathway-Baxter, Broken Pencil

This is Irwin’s second above/ground press title, after the collection for when you pick daisies (2010).

Amanda Earl’s poems appear most recently or are forthcoming in the Puritan, fillingStation, Rampike, In/Words Magazine, & ripple(s): a postcard press. Her chapbooks have been published by above/ground press, BookThug, Chapbook Publisher, Free Poetry For, Laurel Reed Books & Puddles of Sky Press. Amanda is the managing editor of & the Bywords Quarterly Journal, & the (fallen) angel of AngelHousePress. For more information please visit or follow her on Twitter @KikiFolle.

Praise for Eleanor:

There is something musical here. something that, like Jeanette Armstrong’s “Winds,” operates like wind chimes, notes hitting and resounding. Earl’s text jousts images and expectations, mundane glasses emptying, histories, feuds, mostly self-referential, domestic images, but still enough surprise here to keep me grasping through.
            Sina Queyras,

This is Earl’s third above/ground press title, after Eleanor (2007) and The Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman (2008).

Stephen Brockwell is the author of four trade collections of poems. Fruitfly Geographic won the 2004 Archibald Lampman Award for the best book of poetry by an Ottawa writer. His Excerpts from Impossible Books is an interminable work in progress. Brockwell runs the small business from his basement, borrowed office space and coffee shops.

Praise for Excerpts from Impossible Books: The Crawdad Cantos:

Stephen Brockwell’s Excerpts from Impossible Books: The Crawdad Cantos is the latest installment of Brockwell's ongoing work-in-progress. At times pithy, sometimes brilliant, Brockwell's poems run the entire gamut in this ongoing project.
                        Mark McCawley, Fresh Raw Cuts

Praise for Impossible Books (the Carleton Installment):

“Stephen Brockwell’s ‘Impossible Books project’ (this above/ground book is its second installment) is an ongoing series of individual poems that are presented as excerpts from imagined ‘impossible’ books. The impossible books of this installment range from Prime Minister’s Nursery Rhymes for Insolent Children, to the Evangelical Handbook for Engineers, to Metonymies: Poems by Objects Owned by Illustrious People, and Pindaric Odes to the Objects of Science, among others. This brief collection of ten poems is imaginative and surprising on every page.
                        Cameron Anstee, ottawa poetry newsletter

This is Brockwell’s third above/ground press title, after Marin County Poems (2001) and Impossible Books (the Carleton Installment) (2010).

For further information on the authors, event or the press, contact rob mclennan at 613 239 0337 or

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rob Manery's Vancouver launch of Richter-Rauzer Variations (above/ground), with Nicole Markotic,

Rob Manery launches Richter-Rauzer Variations (above/ground) alongside Nicole Markotic launching Bent at the Spine (BookThug) at Vancouver's People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, on Friday, July 27, 2012 at 7:30pm.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mark Truscott reviews Camille Martin's If Leaf, Then Arpeggio (above/ground press) over at Goodreads,

Toronto poet Mark Truscott was good enough to post this brief review of Camille Martin's If Leaf, Then Arpeggio (above/ground press, 2011) over at Goodreads:
Martin somehow manages what I’m tempted to call a closely attentive automatic writing. Her textures are subtle and rich but still loose. I missed the thrill that came with the formal awareness of Sonnets, but maybe there’s something different going on here that will become apparent in a larger group of poems.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cameron Anstee re-posts his review of Stephen Brockwell's Impossible Books (the Carleton Installment) (above/ground press, 2010)

Cameron Anstee reviews Stephen Brockwell's Impossible Books (the Carleton Installment) (above/ground press, 2010) over at his blog (see the review here). The second of Brockwell's three above/ground press titles, his ongoing "Impossible Books" project also includes The Crawdad Cantos (2012).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"poem" broadside #310: West End, by Sarah Pinder

West End

Towards the jetty of industry, streaking
heat, striated with gauzed air,
I sat there in the front,
wishing an occasional flame   
through the pixellated evening pinks of August,
little men in baseball whites
whirring to my right side.

We were passing, we were
being passed, we were at a light,
but your voice was so loud we were moving,
for sure.

A green pocket, the feathered wives
on woven chairs, unfolded.
One woman bent away, lost in her ankles
while someone else flapped into applause.
West End
by Sarah Pinder
above/ground press broadside #310
Sarah Pinder lives in Toronto. Her writing has been shortlisted for the Expozine Small Press Awards and included in the anthology She’s Shameless, and journals like Room, Canadian Woman Studies and invisible city. A zine-maker of over a decade, you can find her work in Montreal’s Distroboto art vending machines, as well as a mailbox near you. Her first collection, Cutting Room, is forthcoming with Coach House Books in Fall 2012.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

new from above/ground press: Prelude: selections from a collaboration by rob mclennan and Christine McNair

Prelude: selections from a collaboration
by rob mclennan and Christine McNair


When I reach my cabin fifteen minutes later, a rust-coloured deer is standing right in fron of it as if waiting for me. When she sees that I see her, she runs into the woods. I resent her all month for appearing at such a clumsily symbolic moment, on that is unusable in writing, as if to taunt me, she doesn’t show herself again.            
            Sarah Manguso


Le Chantecleur or coq, au vin. Dipping my feet at the edge of the lake. Pascale tells me the hotel poisons the lake, pours liquid in. I’m indignant in orange lifejacket. Wet curls. We found no evidence.

I lose my contacts in the lake. The fish mumble. Wake from water blur faced and metal.


To next fleur, chanson or chocolaterie. A cake my family ate in square portions, Cadix. The baker moves away and won’t teach the new owners how to make it. We adjust our palette. Settle for butterflies on chocolate crisp. Le Papillion.

Not simply some acres of snow.


Lake swans, lake boats, only that’s not here that’s there. That’s a ride at some park. Here there are paddleboats. My feet get hit if I’m not paying attention. I pretend swans.

I have never been on a train. 

Late songs on the deck.  Leaves, the yard spreads. A table of water.

Bare back to wood.

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

Christine McNair's work has appeared in cv2, Prairie Fire,, Arc, the Bywords Quarterly Journal, Descant, and assorted other places. Her first collection of poems, Conflict, appeared in May 2012 with BookThug. She works as a book doctor in Ottawa, is one of the hosts of CKCU Lit Landscapes, and blogs at

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent titles are the poetry collections grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2012), A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks, 2011), Glengarry (Talonbooks, 2011), kate street (Moira, 2011) and 52 flowers (or, a perth edge) (Obvious Epiphanies, 2010), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books (with Jennifer Mulligan), The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 402 McLeod St #3, Ottawa ON K2P 1A6 or paypal at