Tuesday, September 25, 2018

new from above/ground press: BOOKBOOK, by Mark Laliberte

BOOKBOOK
Mark Laliberte
$5

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Mark Laliberte
is a Toronto-based artist-writer-designer-curator with an MFA from the University of Guelph. He has exhibited extensively in galleries across Canada and the USA, curates the online experimental comics site 4panel.ca, and edits the hybrid art/lit mag CAROUSEL. He has had pageworks, poems and other print experiments appear in publications big and small, including (PARENTHETICAL), Descant, Humber Literary Review, Ink Brick, Lantern, Other Cl/utter, Poetry, prairie fire, Prefix Photo, Rampike, subTerrain and Vallum. Recent publications include asemanticasymmetry (Anstruther Press, 2017) and Explosive Comic (Swimmers Group, 2017).

Laliberte is also a member of MA|DE, a collaborative writing partnership with works forthcoming in Poetry is Dead, Prism international and Rat’s Ass Review

More info at: marklaliberte.com + popnoir.bigcartel.com + ma-de.ca

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

above/ground press (today!) at Word on the Street, Toronto

above/ground press will once again be represented at the Toronto editions of this year's Word on the Street! Thanks much to WOTS, as well as The League of Canadian Poets!

Head on over to The League of Canadian Poets booth, Writers Block Table 10, 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!

Friday, September 21, 2018

new from above/ground press: Between Ocean and Land, by Lisa Rawn

Between Ocean and Land
Lisa Rawn
$5


Asleep in the Honey


Tupelo, a fancy dress from Wewahitchka
trolls its feet in lazy swampland
worker bees drown, dancing in high water.

Miel pura, a complex of divine sugars  
full of Dios, rolling in flowers,  Oh the varietals!
Avocado, Basswood, Sage, Sourwood.

McCormick, Cockshutt, Silver King, Hercules
since the first Klondikers sowed rows of canola
exhale summer heat, faithfully turning us under.

Mules sensed an early wrong with sensitive nostrils
but galloping spillways of pearls prepossessed
carnival grain slides in World’s Fair abundance.

Miserere!  Have mercy, as bees cannot find flowers
the brave ones lost in cattails and downed in silt
los vivos, hivebound without their vivid meals.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Lisa Rawn
lives in the sage just west of Kamloops, British Columbia.  Her 2015 chapbook Ahead of Winter was published by Alfred Gustav Press. Poems have been selected by various magazines, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart prize.

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, September 19, 2018

new from above/ground press: FACE PORTRAITS and AUTHOR COPS, by Sean Braune

Face Portraits and Author Cops
Sean Braune
$5

irreverse the throat
conduit

wipe the flighty
inverse

skirmish—obdurate and
faceless

the sample
tumult


is a
tulip

appropriate exposé
turn

up the

*
Face Portraits and Author Cops was the result of a lyrical conceptual practice of what I call “accelerated reading.” It is an attempt to regain some degree of agency—indeed authorial agency—in the 21st Century through the slightly underemphasized (in contemporary culture) practice of reading. It is the result of a frenetic engagement with all of the text that exists around me—text that I read, overhear, think, experience, imagine, erase, relocate, and reassemble. 

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Sean Braune’s
first book of philosophy, Language Parasites: Of Phorontology, appeared in 2017 from Punctum Books. His poetry has appeared in The Puritan, Rampike, Poetry is Dead, and elsewhere.

This is Braune’s third above/ground press chapbook, after the vitamins of an alphabet (2016) and The Cosmos (2018).

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

above/ground press 25th anniversary essay: Elizabeth Robinson


This is the thirty-second in a series of short essays/reminiscences by a variety of authors and friends of the press to help mark the quarter century mark of above/ground. See links to the whole series here.

above/ground: an appreciation

Once, years ago, Rosmarie Waldrop wrote to me that a Canadian poet, rob mclennan, had responded favorably to some of my poems in a book called Under That Silky Roof.  I file this away with appreciation at a time when my life is full of flux, and my life continues full of flux. By then mr. mclennan contacts me again a few years later to say he likes some of my poems in New American Writing. Here begins a more engaged correspondence, but only because rob is extremely patient with persons such as me who are always running to catch up. The wonder of it is that he seems always available to correspond, always alert, always keen to the most interesting writing going on over the largeness of the continent.

My friend Susanne Dyckman and I discuss how we enjoy rob’s Facebook posts featuring his daughters Rose and Aoife (That’s Emperor Rose and Lady Aoife to you) and how rob seems to have inexhaustible time and pleasure in his interactions with his children—but, we wonder, does the man ever sleep? His Facebook posts alternate between trips out for ice cream with the young ladies, posts of newly published above/ground chapbooks, “(12 or 20) Questions” interviews with authors, posts from “My (small press) Writing Day,” news of his “Spotlight Series,” and announcements of new issues of his magazine, Touch the Donkey. Tracking rob’s own writing from book to book, to say nothing of reading all that he publishes, is itself a full time job.

Thanks to rob’s efforts, I have a much better sense of the richness that is contemporary Canadian poetry. He’s a veritable underground poetry railroad, transmitting poetry back and forth across the border and I would venture to say that there is no living person who has done as much to invigorate a truly North American conversation and community that encompasses as many kinds of poetry as there are poets.

rob is himself an ambitious writer, moving between poetry, criticism, and fiction. As with his work as a publisher, his resourcefulness and productivity appear infinite. But what I like best about his writing is what I like best about above/ground: the ambition is bighearted and openhanded. It is oriented toward the larger project of making a lively, responsive literature, not toward making an individual poet famous. The best writing is generous and endowed with curiosity: it is participative in the sense that it makes community, and that community makes more good writing possible. rob mclennan demonstrates that writing one’s own work and publishing the work of other writers are practices that are continuous with each other.

Thank you, rob. Thank you very much. One of these days, I’m going to get in the car, drive north, and buy ice cream cones for you and Rose and Aoife.





Elizabeth Robinson is the author, most recently of Rumor, from Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, Pattern refuses to repeat itself (above/ground press), and Blue Heron (Center for Literary Publishing). With Jennifer Phelps, she is the co-editor of the forthcoming critical anthology Quo Anima, to be published by University of Akron Press in early 2019. Also forthcoming is Vulnerability Index from Ahsahta Press.

Robinson is the author of two above/ground press chapbooks, including Simplified Holy Passage (2015) and Pattern refuses to repeat itself = is divine (2017).


Monday, September 17, 2018

new from above/ground press: COMPARATIVE MORPHOLOGIES, by Michael Martin Shea

C O M P A R A T I V E   M O R P H O L O G I E S
Michael Martin Shea
$4


*

Nothing is dead until I say it’s dead and the revolution is super-dead.
The criminal world is another planet, the poet defends the state against such malfeasance but to no avail.


A revolutionary is a man who has been shot for his ideas. The poet is shot for thinking
he’s a revolutionary, thus fulfilling the prophecy.


The order doesn’t matter,
only the bees matter, and the bees are also dead:
grandfather spoke on their method, observed the azaleas,
it wasn’t a garden it was a yard.


You are dead but only because I say you are.
Your blue-eyes have another name now.
 
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Michael Martin Shea
is the author of the chapbooks Soon (Garden-Door Press) and The Immanent Field (Essay Press). His poems have appeared in Conjunctions, Fence, Colorado Review, jubilat, Pleiades, and elsewhere, and his translation of Liliana Ponce’s Diary is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2018. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is a doctoral student in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania and the managing editor of the Best American Experimental Writing anthology series.

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Greg Bem reviews Billy Mavreas' A MERCY OF SIGNS (2018)

Our pal Greg Bem was good enough to provide the first review for Billy Mavreas' A MERCY OF SIGNS (2018) at Goodreads. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
The book "reads" like a crime-scene, like post-crisis, like decay. It is small and mysterious, deceptive, riddled with complexities. Post-apocalypse or just plain storm drain, this is a book with an aesthetic that shadows and shadows well.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Chapbook Launch Party! w/ Allison Cardon + Travis Sharp / Buffalo NY

Join Travis Sharp (Sinister Queer Agenda) and Allison Cardon (What was the sign you gave (a selection)) as they launch their above/ground press chapbook debuts!

Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 8 PM
The Rust Belt Bookstore

415 Grant St, Buffalo, New York 14213
See the Facebook event here

Thursday, September 13, 2018

new from above/ground press: Coronagraphic, by Kyle Flemmer

Coronagraphic
Kyle Flemmer
$4



Coronagraphic is a suite of visual sonnets made from images copied out of the Uranometria 2000.0 star atlas. To select these images, ten interlocking sets of fourteen celestial coordinates were randomly generated by a computer. Star charts were scanned and the grid spaces containing each coordinate isolated. Poems have been arranged in loose grids from the resultant images, forming composite views of the night sky. Lines of sight therefore substitute for lines of text in each sonnet.

Stars are charted as they appear from Earth, which means our maps are essentially anthropocentric. That said, viewing every patch of sky included in a single poem is impossible from any one place on Earth. These poems are not tailored to or reflective of an individual’s experience. Instead, they attempt to pay homage to our place in the cosmos as a species. Visual poetry is a way to approach the ineffable, to capture a little of something words cannot manage on their own, and star-gazing is one of those most human of activities for which language, in my experience, is insufficient.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Kyle Flemmer
founded The Blasted Tree Publishing Company in 2014 as a creative outlet and community for emerging Canadian artists. He is currently the Managing Editor of filling Station magazine, where he served as Associate Poetry Editor for two years. Kyle graduated from Concordia University with a double-major in 2016, and has released several other recent poetry chapbooks, including ASTRAL PROJECTION (2017) from above/ground press, and Lunar Flag Assembly Kit (2017) from no press.

This is Flemmer’s second chapbook with above/ground press, after ASTRAL PROJECTION (2017).

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, September 12, 2018

above/ground press 25th anniversary essay: Kate Siklosi


This is the thirty-first in a series of short essays/reminiscences by a variety of authors and friends of the press to help mark the quarter century mark of above/ground. See links to the whole series here.

finding canada’s poetry unicorn: or, how i met rob.

I open the dictionary and look up the word “unicorn.” Three definitions appear:

1: a mythical animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and a tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead;

2: something unusual, rare, or unique;

3: business: a start-up that is valued at one billion dollars or more.

Two of these definitions aptly describe rob mclennan and above/ground: with his long flowing mane and perfectly unusual demeanor, rob has been rocking the small press lit market for 25 years. A billion-dollar industry it is not, and he might not have a horn in real life, but that’s easily fixable:

When the name rob mclennan was first spoken to me by my dear friend and til-death-do-us-part dissertation supervisor, Andy Weaver, I had already known of his work with above/ground. After all, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Canada who knows, loves, or practices poetry without hearing of rob and his press. I knew that to have an above/ground chapbook was a way “in” to the poetry scene, and Andy told me what a solid human rob is and encouraged me to send things his way. But at that time, I was knee deep in my dissertation, and scared to put creative work out into the world; so, I delayed and delayed contacting rob, admittedly for several years.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, when I had still been delaying sending rob stuff because I was nervous, and then bang, in my inbox was a solicitation from him for a piece for Dusie. Thus began an enthusiastic conversation about my work, and I sent rob some of my letraset pieces which became my first chapbook with above/ground: po po poems.

Without exaggeration, rob is the glue that keeps poetry in Canada vibrant, fresh, and continually evolving. Every time I see him, he is overloaded with books and is always distributing the latest work widely. The level of support for other’s work is simply unparalleled and unheard of. Not only does he send poetry far and wide, but with his “author activity” series, rob even keeps tabs on what his authors are doing outside above/ground and shares it with the community. In his own right he is an established and wonderful poet, but he often chooses to uphold the work of others before his own. This is such a rare thing in the world, to be so selfless and so in love with the words of others.

As I know from starting a small press, it can be thankless work. It is tiresome work. A true labour of love. At times, it is a beautiful privilege, and at others, it is downright exhausting. To do this work for 25 years and counting is no small feat—and rob does it on such a vast scale, by hand, with unwavering enthusiasm. He also appropriately ends each of his emails with a comma—he is always leaving room for the voices of others, always inviting more conversation, always opening the door to more and more people and ideas to join in on his love for poetry.

Mine is a common story, with many a poet I know having their first work published with rob. But little did I know that that email over a year and a half ago would also spark a very meaningful and fun relationship with Canada’s poetry unicorn. He brought me out of my shell, and continually reminds me why I—we—do this work we do. In rob I found the rare trifecta of editor, mentor, and friend. And he’s got great hair, too.



Kate Siklosi lives in Toronto with her three sidekicks: two kitties and a Saint Bernard named Bonnie Tyler. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry: po po poems (above/ground press, 2018), may day (no press, 2018), and coup (The Blasted Tree, 2018) and is the co-founding editor of Gap Riot Press, a feminist experimental poetry small press.  

[photo of rob mclennan by Charles Earl, circa 2008; horn added by Kate Siklosi]

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Greg Bem reviews Stuart Kinmond and Phil Hall's Alternative Girders: a collaboration / 2014 - 2017 (2018)

Our pal Greg Bem was good enough to provide the first review for Stuart Kinmond and Phil Hall's Alternative Girders: a collaboration / 2014 - 2017 (2018) at Goodreads. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
Reading through this book is like reading through each breath of the poets. Their language spurts out like girders, like structural supports, the innards of the book as a whole. There is a visual quality to the poem that is certified by the vispo works splicing the more conventional poems every few pages. The language is quite astute and phantasmagorical, with such intimacies that pretension need not be suspected.

Monday, September 10, 2018

new from above/ground press: little ditch, by Melissa Eleftherion

little ditch
Melissa Eleftherion
$5

ammonite sonnet


the ammonite an index of sutures
i got tired of cataloging them
hermetically sealing little traumas
afraid they’d get to know one another go boom
little mother catastrophes instead
i smashed little rocks to bits in a ditch
each shard a memory released pressure
from stomach the common burial ground
the cavity of accumulation
each little box coated in dust and feelings
each glass stone chamber not really secret
i get ready to shatter the discretions
i open my palms no explosions no pain
coalesce little traumas wrap your wounds
around each other a chrysalis blood
a becoming of feathers of air a fire
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Melissa Eleftherion
is a writer, librarian, and a visual artist. She grew up in Brooklyn, dropped out of high school, and went on to earn an MFA in Poetry from Mills College and an MLIS from San Jose State University. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & five chapbooks: huminsect (dancing girl press, 2013), prism maps (Dusie, 2014), Pigtail Duty (dancing girl press, 2015), the leaves the leaves (poems-for-all, 2017), & green glass asterisms (poems-for-all, 2017). Founder of the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange for San Francisco State University, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she works as a Teen Librarian, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series at Ukiah Library. Recent work is available at www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.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

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Greg Bem reviews Miguel E. Ortiz Rodríguez's ANGELTONGUE / LENGUA DE ÁNGEL (2018)

Our pal Greg Bem was good enough to provide the first review for Miguel E. Ortiz Rodríguez's ANGELTONGUE / LENGUA DE ÁNGEL (2018) at Goodreads. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
A brief book of poems that pulls from multiple literary lineages to explore conversations of humans and angels. The poems are crisp, dense, and material. Combined with frightening illustrations, they form a visceral bond with the reader and revisit ongoing questions of mortality and superhuman capabilities. Spirituality and practicality exist in harmony here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

above/ground press 25th anniversary essay: Pete Smith


This is the thirtieth in a series of short essays/reminiscences by a variety of authors and friends of the press to help mark the quarter century mark of above/ground. See links to the whole series here. 

25 & Counting
Nearly Too Much is the title of an early critical book about J.H. Prynne.  When you puts down $65 for a year's worth of chapbooks & by August 31st you've received 43 + three issues of Touch the Donkey (a neat little quarterly mag that comes out quarterly, imagine!, Jan, April, August right on time) + some broadsides & The Peter F Yacht Club anthology #26, well it's both Nearly Too Much & Not Nearly Enough: the former in trying to keep up with the reading, the latter in cost.

I had first stumbled across the small-press world through Peter Finch's extraordinary survey of everything he could lay his hands on in "Small Press Scene" in his mag Second Aeon. The names of the presses signalled their distance from mainstream: Curiously Strong, Strange Faeces, Transgravity Advertiser, Sixpack, Gaberbocchus Press, Baron Samedi.  It was to these presses & mags like Grosseteste Review & Great Works that you came to find a living tradition of restless folk wanting to create  more than museum exhibits.  I was, however, a provincial kid  with no contact with poets who was only looking in on that small press world & starting to seek that kind of energy in his writing but was also working on his 'museum' skills.

Somehow I disconnected from all of it. A switch of continents & if you will, of consciousness brought that exploration to a temporary end.  Recently I described it to a friend thus: "must have been the late 90s when I'd returned to writing poetry after my 'alien abduction' had kept me away for 15 or so years. They took me to their mothership called the Church of Holy Fingerwagging but eventually my agnostic angel came to my rescue." 

The second wind of poetry brought me in touch with poets through readings at the local college, Earl Birney, John Newlove, rob mclennan come to mind, & connection with local poets through Warren Dean Fulton & a fruitful few years of connection to the Kootenay School of Writing in Vancouver. Internet connections took me many places & to publications & readings in England & Ireland in particular but, except for Kamloops Poets' Factory, ksw's W & poems & reviews in The Gig, nothing in Canada.

Enter above/ground.  "You'll know quickly if he wants to go with it & then it will appear surprisingly soon after that."  It did. Strum of Unseen in 2008. I found rob easy to work with & its 'industrial look' echoed Writers Forum chapbooks in England which was a bonus for me. Connection with above/ground I discovered did not end with the chapbook in hand.  The 12 or 20 question interview soon followed (which I treated way too flippantly & would like to see disappear, but I guess that is me some of the time, nervous to acknowledge how vital poetry is to me) & invitations to the Dusie Tuesday poem (not the Rolling Stones song) & to Touch the Donkey.  I don't know what took me so long to finally subscribe to above/ground. I'm late to the party but now I have this box containing everything I've received since 2015. I've even read some of them!  I regularly grab a couple for my coffee house trip.  And feel a bit more connected.

I see the mclennan poetics as L=i=v=i=n=g.  All else follows: as simple and as difficult as that.




Pete Smith: Born & raised in the English Midlands, emigrated to the interior of BC in 1974.  Worked with/for people marginalized from birth by intellectual, behavioural & mental health challenges.  Wrote in the margins of that working life. After a long wrestling match with poetry he acknowledged defeat & began writing again circa 1990. Has since published essays, poems, reviews, a chapter in a book of criticism, chapbooks and a poetry collection gathering six longish sequences. Uncountable thanks for publishing &/or invitations to read to the late William Cookson, kamloops poets factory, Randolph Healy, Peter Riley, John Tranter, Keston Sutherland & Andrea Brady, kootenay school of writing, Nate Dorward, Ted Byrne, David Dowker, Kevin Nolan & Lissa Wolsak & CCCP16, Peter Hughes, rob mclennan, Peter Quartermain, Mona Furtig & Harold Rhenisch, Simon Perril, Andrew Levy, Tony Frazer, Jenny Penberthy, Peter Philpott, Michael Boughn & Kent Johnson. It is still a blast.

Smith is the author of two above/ground press chapbooks, including Strum of Unseen (2008) and A New Love/ An Aching Stone (2016). A third is forthcoming.