Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Keeping Time: rob mclennan interviewed for Boog City on twenty years of above/ground press

Kimberly Ann Southwick was good enough to interview me for the new issue of New York's Boog City [the specific issue featuring the original interview is downloadable here] on twenty years of above/ground press. Thanks very much! Boog City was also the host, many years ago, of an above/ground press reading (and the American launch of Groundswell: the best of above/ground press, 1993-2003) featuring myself, Clare Latremouille and Stephen Brockwell, January 7, 2004. See the brief post-reading post I wrote on such here.

Called "The Baseball Issue," Boog City #80 also features new work by Kevin Varrone, Kit Robinson, K. Lorraine Graham and plenty of others.

The author of more than 20 trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction in a number of countries, rob mclennan has published work in over 200 trade journals in 14 countries and three languages, and has performed in Ireland, England, Wales, the United States and across Canada. His most recent titles are the poetry collections Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies Press), grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books]), A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks), and Glengarry (Talonbooks) and a second novel, missing persons (The Mercury Press). After nearly eight months of producing chapbooks under different press names, above/ground press officially started with its first two publications almost 20 years ago, and has published nearly seven hundred publications since, including chapbooks, broadsides, and nearly 50 issues of the long poem magazine STANZAS, half a dozen issues of Missing Jacket, and drop, and many of the 15 issues of the writers group occasional The Peter F. Yacht Club. Additionally, he has also organized a few hundred literary readings in Ottawa, Edmonton, and Toronto. This January also marked the 20th anniversary of his occasional reading series, The Factory Reading Series. Earlier this year, mclennan took some time to answer questions about above/ground press and its upcoming anniversary.

Boog City: How long has above/ground press been around?
rob mclennan:
above/ground press started officially in August, 1993, after some eight months of a couple of other publications under various (if at all) press names.

BC: How has the press evolved over the years?
While keeping poetry chapbooks as the focus, I’ve been exploring and utilizing other forms in which to publish and distribute work. Over the years, the press has become more expansive, starting to produce single-poem “poem” broadsides in 1995 (which now appear on the blog, a few weeks after print publication), and a couple of journals as well, including STANZAS (for long poems/sequences), Missing Jacket (a writing and visual arts journal), and drop magazine, all of which are long gone. above/ground press currently produces most of the issues of our writer’s group journal, The Peter F. Yacht Club. In 2007-8, I produced a series of monthly chapbooks (by predominantly Alberta poets) while I was writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, later putting them all online as free downloadable pdfs.

BC: What are your hopes for the press in the future?
My hopes for the press are basically to continue to keep improving design and print quality, distribution and sales, while maintaining my own aesthetic of doing whatever I find interesting whenever I feel like it, and sending occasional packets off to the nearly 80 subscribers and “friends of the press.” Most of what I produce through the press are solicited works, by authors I’m excited to see new writing from, and for years I’ve been telling myself that I’ll stop doing these things (above/ground press being but one) when they’re no longer fun. Somehow I don’t see that changing for quite a long time.

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