Monday, November 30, 2020

new from above/ground press: i see i said, by Dennis Cooley

i see i said
Dennis Cooley



où he said

là she said

oh you mean
oui she said la la

oohhh he said

ah non she said là 

yes that’s what
i was saying he said

ooh la la he said

voilá that’s all

c’est tout

tout de suite
she said but
she said she didn’t

he only said she said
how sweet it is

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Dennis Cooley
was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and has lived most of his life in Winnipeg, where he has been active in many parts of its literary life. Latest books include departures, the muse sings, the bestiary, and coldpress moon.

This is Cooley’s third above/ground press chapbook, after “two poems” (STANZAS #45, April 2006) and have you learned / nothing kroetsch (2011).

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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Monday, November 23, 2020

above/ground press at the Meet the Presses Indie Lit Symposium : this weekend!

Please join us this weekend for the virtual Meet the Presses Indie Lit Symposium! We're all hoping that next year we can do the fair (as well as the semi-annual ottawa small press book fair) in person again, but until then, the Meet the Presses collective has organized a whole slew of readings and talks from participants all across the country.

You can register at the link for the event here.

All events are free, with the option to donate if you wish. Please note that you only need to register once and we will send out a Zoom link to each event one hour before it begins. If you don't receive an email in your inbox, please check your spam and junk folders.

Meet the Presses is an all-volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events that showcase books, chapbooks, magazines, recordings, broadsheets, and ephemera produced by independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The collective continues in the spirit of the original Meet the Presses events begun 30 years ago in Toronto by Stuart Ross and Nicholas Power. The collective consists of Gary Barwin, Paul Dutton, Beth Follett, Stuart Ross, Aaron Tucker, Jacqueline Valencia, and Tali Voron. The Founding Members Emeritus are Maria Erskine, Ally Fleming, Maggie Helwig, Leigh Nash, and Nicholas Power. You can learn more about the collective here.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

bpNichol Chapbook Award Shortlist reading and Winner Announcement, 7-8pm EST
shorlisted titles:
Tolu Oloruntoba, Manubrium (Anstruther Press)
Oubah Osman, Hereditary Blue (Anstruther Press)
Emily Lu, Night Leaves Nothing New (Baseline Press)
Nisa Malli, Remitting (Baseline Press)

Friday, November 27, 2020
The Roots of Small Press, 7-8pm EST
with above/ground press, Proper Tales Press, Book*Hug Press and Coach House Books

Saturday, November 28, 2020
The Future of Small Press, 12-1pm EST
with Metatron Press, Gap Riot Press, Anstruther Press and Knife Fork Book

Outlaw Presses: Pushing the Boundaries of Small Press, 2-3pm EST
with No Press, Noir Z, The Blasted Tree, Simulacrum Press, AngelHouse Press and Room 3o2 Books

Sunday, November 29, 2020
Magazines and Journals, 12-1pm EST
with CAROUSEL Magazine, Filling Station, These Days and Augur Magazine

Small Press and the Craft of Bookmaking, 2-3pm EST
with Baseline Press, Puddles of Sky Press and In Print Collective

Friday, November 20, 2020

new from above/ground press: SOME LEAVES, by rob mclennan and Gary Barwin

rob mclennan and Gary Barwin


One takes one’s computer into the woods and types “bird."
Birdsong; prerecorded, playback loops.
One takes out a photocopy of a leaf.  
One harvests the sentence. One pulls at weeds.  
One removes one’s tongue and plants it where the weeds once were
against an architecture of trees. Against the underbrush of syntax.
This long screen-capture of the sun; a sense of shade, and thistle.
Honestly, say the birds. You humans. It’s not about language.
One wishes not to speak of birds, their extraordinary example.
One takes out a photocopy of a bird.
Some leaves improvise. To reflect complexity.
Trees look on, doting parents examining macaroni drawings.
A backstage declaration of migration patterns, inkjet streaks.
Everything is connected to everything. “Everything” to “Everything.”
This blue sky repeats, flickers, holds. This blue sky trends.
We speak of birds.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

artwork by Gary Barwin

Gary Barwin
is a writer, composer, musician, and multidisciplinary artist and has published 25 books of fiction, poetry and work for children. His latest books include For It is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe: New and Selected Poems, ed. Alessandro Porco, Ampers&thropocene (visuals) and A Cemetery for Holes (with Tom Prime). A new novel, Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy will appear from Random House in 2021. He is a prolific collaborator having regularly worked with writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, and dancers. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario and at where he holds the David W. McFadden Chair in Diffuse but Earnest Luminosity at the National Rhyme Institute of Canada.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. He is the author of three works of fiction, two collections of literary essays, a tourist guide to Ottawa and more than two dozen full-length poetry titles, including A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019), with the book of smaller forthcoming in 2022 from University of Calgary Press. He won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour.

This is Barwins’s sixth above/ground press chapbook, after “SYNONYMS FOR FISH,” STANZAS #26 (March, 2001), Seedpod, Microfiche (2013) and Dust of the Wren: poems and translations (2019), and the collaborative PLEASURE BRISTLES (with Alice Burdick; 2018) and gravitynipplemilk anthroposcenesters (with Tom Prime; 2018).

This is mclennan’s sixty-fourth above/ground press chapbook, following Twenty-one stories, (2020), Poems for Lunch Poems for SFU (2020), Somewhere in-between / cloud (2019), Study of a fox (2018), snow day (2018) and It’s still winter (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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Monday, November 16, 2020

Russell Carisse reviews Amanda Deutch’s Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (2020) in antilang

Russell Carisse was good enough to provide the first review for Amanda Deutch’s Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (2020) in antilang #8. Thanks so much! You can see his original review here. As he writes:



Rummaging around Brooklyn’s streetscape with Amanda Deutch’s Bodega Night Pigeon Riot, from above/gound press, one is drawn along and through the accoutrements and fashions of late-capital’s urban millieux. This chap of haiku rattles off with arhythmic comparisons made by the witness in the window of a moving train with words that embark on the dichotomous unrest of jarring the traditional fair of petals, lurching suddenly against the ossified detritus of economic growth - the final excrements of replicative production. There’s a moment hanging on a bridge reaching for itself, but the lul of progress, the lul of onomatopoeic security, of the flashing signs, the monetary venture to work arrives fully stationed for a fresh departure from tradition, again, but with touch of that temporal inflexibility and constraint incorporated in conjunction with the police state - America's cultural soul, as approved religiously over and over again. A soul that is expressed by civil iconographics and neon churches posing in stolen clothes. Pulling into a solipsism that is triggered by the act of naming, a feigned escape materializes from personal reminiscence but tempered with its assurances of willful forgetting and itemized appropriations - the valorized garb of existential valuation. And then it’s off again, with the cycle of storefront-church-mural, uninterupted and augmented by humanity’s popular refrain singing its tune of wealth appreciation. The destination arrives with the traditional fair now blooming and employed with a future naturally littering itself for an immanent return, as one will keep coming back to these poems. Oh, and FUCK the POL(ICE)!


Monday, November 9, 2020

new from above/ground press: a moment in flight: essay on melancholy, by Kristjana Gunnars

a moment in flight
essay on melancholy
Kristjana Gunnars

In the garden there is a bower for melancholy, a hidden garden where I can stay with sadness. Wisteria hangs overhead, lilacs emit their scent and birds wing past at extraordinary speed.

There are fragments of eternity in all passing things.

Saturn is still in the universe with all its moons, Artemis, goddess of the forest, still has green thoughts in a green space.

Tall pines lean slightly in the grey mist of distance, branches tangle with branches against a backdrop of haze, water, sky, overhanging rock.  

I now think love is a story that has failure in it, complexity, something foreign—a story I tell myself when I am at a loss for words.

When the smooth surface of sentiment cracks, love itself enters, through small openings that formed when things broke down into parts until I no longer recognize myself.  He says love took you away from your plans—you lost more than you can bring back.

That is the time you need to be willing to go under.

What you expect to happen is not what will happen. If you need to withdraw, he says, love is telling you, withdraw—

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the fifth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
November 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Kristana Gunnars
is a B.C. based writer and painter, author of several books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. She was formerly Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Alberta and is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Iceland. Her last chapbook of poems was At Home in the Mountains from Junction Press, Ontario, 2018, and her last poetry chapbook with above/ground was Snake Charmers, 2016. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

new from above/ground press: BLUE, by Nathanael O’Reilly

Nathanael O’Reilly

Pure Adrenalin Sound

The raw sound of rock & roll,
the crack, rattle and roll of snares,
the wail, roar and moan of singers,
the simulated orgasm of guitar solos,
the hypnotic pulse of bass,
the rhythms of hi-hats and riffs,
foot-stompin,’ blood-pumpin,’
pure adrenalin sound
makes me want to speed down
desert highways with one arm
hangin’ out the window,
one hand beatin’ on the wheel,
the wind tearin’ through my hair,
expressing the inexpressible.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Nathanael O’Reilly
is an Irish-Australian residing in Texas. His books include (Un)belonging (Recent Work Press, 2020); Preparations for Departure (UWAP, 2017), named one of the Books of the Year in Australian Book Review; Cult (Ginninderra Press, 2016); Distance (Ginninderra Press, 2015); Suburban Exile (Picaro Press, 2011); and Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010). More than 200 of his poems have appeared in journals and anthologies published in twelve countries, including Antipodes, Anthropocene, Australian Love Poems, Cordite, fourW, FourXFour, Headstuff, Marathon, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Skylight 47, Snorkel, Transnational Literature and The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

above/ground press is on TIFA's interactive small press map of Canada!

In case you didn't see, Kate Siklosi and Dani Spinosa of Gap Riot Press partnered with the Toronto International Festival of Authors to construct an interactive map of small and micro presses across Canada! And an interview with me on above/ground press, where I speak highly of recent titles by George Stanley, Misha Solomon and Amanda Earl, lives there as part of it! It is all very impressive. [remember when they hosted a small press fair? that was totally fun. I wrote a whole slate of reviews following the event, even] The map is incredible, with short interviews and features with small press publishers from across the country, some of whom I hadn't been previously aware, including natalie hanna's battleaxe press, Karen Schindler's Baseline Press, Canthius, Kyle Flemmer's The Blasted Tree, Sacha Archer's Simulacrum Press, Marilyn Irwin's Shreeking Violet Press, jwcurry's Room 302 Books, Dessa Bayrock's post ghost press, Mallory Tater and Curtis LeBlanc's Rahila's Ghost Press, Geoffrey Nilson's pagefiftyone and a whole ton of others. You should check it out!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Gary Barwin : Recommended Reading : Simina Banu + Margaret Christakos

Our pal (and above/ground press author) Gary Barwin was good enough to mention a couple of above/ground press titles--Simina Banu's Tomorrow, adagio (2019) and Margaret Christakos' Retreat Diary 2019 (2019)--as part of a list of "Recommended Reading" over at The Fiddlehead; thanks so much! You can see his original post and list here (including titles by Derek Beaulieu, Anthony Etherin, Gregory Betts, Mark Laba and Tanis MacDonald). As he writes:

Simina Banu: Tomorrow, adagio (above/ground press)

Mesmerizingly preternatural, strange and in the uncanny valley between senselessness music and touchingly lyric, Banu’s chapbook is a series of phonic, visual, and sometimes literal translations of Mihai Eminescu’s poetry. Set in the present and in an oblique literary past, these poems are resonant, surprising, and inventive.

Margaret Christakos: Retreat Diary 2019 (above/ground press)

This suite of poems pulsates with the vibrant intelligence, music, tactility and sense of being-in-the-world that is characteristic Christakos. The lines are energized and self-aware. We are always/already writing/reading/poeming, retreating and advancing through language. And we communicate and wrestle and dance with communication and the problem/possibility of communication through (social) media, language, received notions of self, our culture and the world.  

Thursday, October 29, 2020

new from above/ground press: Man Agar, by Baron Rocco Fleetcrest-Seacobs

Man Agar
Baron Rocco Fleetcrest-Seacobs

For rob mclennan, March 14, 2019.

Clan: born men
Be n' morn clan,
Carbon ln, men
Mrn bone, clan
Mn born clean
Brnn coal, men
Mrn bone, clan
Clamber onnn,
Cln-born, amen.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Baron Rocco Fleetcrest-Seacobs
, pseudonymously known by some (for sultry and rather unseemly reasons that we dare not delve into here too deeply, because this is a family-friendly establishment) as Rocco Fenestra, which translates roughly as “Rock Window” in Romanian, is an experimental poet living both aboard and abroad. His poetry has, he claims, been longlisted for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize and has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, Canadian Literature, The Capilano Review, filling Station, ditch, and others, although we can find no public record of these accusations. He portends his recent chapbooks to include aeiou (No Press 2018), uoiea (above/ground press 2019), teksker (Simulacrum Press 2019) and no mỡ, no mo, no mò (nOIR:Z 2020), although hard evidence of these charges are scant and wanting. He also alleges to have leaflets, booklets and other poetic ephemera out through The Blasted Tree, Penteract Press, and Spacecraft Press, but again, he has been known to lie under oath on multiple occasions where dignified and upstanding witnesses, notaries and testimoniants were present. His work has been simultaneously prognosticated and threatened, by him and him alone, to will have had been published both within Canada and internationally, and to have eventually been found to have been anthologized in Concrete and Constraint (Penteract Press 2018) and Science Poems (Penteract Press 2020), but again, he is not to be trusted, nor admitted, nor indulged or by any means whatsoever entertained, and if you see him you are cordially advised that he has arms, is strangerous, and should not to be approached under any circumstances, and we urge you with sincerest bestwishes and regards to report the time, place and proximal whathaveyous under which you witnessed his garish and brazen presence to the toll-free hotline (212) 756-7032.

This is Fleetcrest-Seacobs’ first above/ground press chapbook, after uoiea (2019) and Bark Ode (2020).

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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

new from above/ground press: THE DEER HAVENS, by Geoffrey Olsen

Geoffrey Olsen

the fur is dream and gelatinous
I can’t speak or present can’t speak
life within mouth of leaves
dream mouth

arrayed around the bleak opening
I do not have ownership over blade and all the
things of a blade on the edge of
climactic or feral

and the edge reproducing the dream in
a now of disaster songs
after songs and I’m also
the cat and the imbued indirect
that waits, waiting

unordered, unwindowed

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

cover image: Brenda Iijima

Geoffrey Olsen is a poet living in Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of the chapbooks End Notebook and Not of Distends : Address Panicked. Recent poems are published in Deluge, Entropy, Vestiges and The Pi Review. His chapbook, Marrow, is forthcoming from These Signals.

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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Sunday, October 25, 2020

RM Vaughan (1965-2020)

There have been a number of reminiscences to already appear for RM Vaughan, from my own obituary to pieces by Nathaniel G. Moore in the Toronto Star, Alana Wilcox via the Coach House site and Stuart Ross at his blog. above/ground press was fortunate to publish Richard in a handful of places, from an issue of STANZAS, in Missing Jacket, a "poem" broadside and a chapbook, starting in 1996. Condolences to his family, and his extensive network of friends, publishers and admirers. He was the loveliest and most generous of people. We shall miss him.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Tom Sandborn reviews George Stanley's Love Is Not an Algorithm (2020) in the Vancouver Sun

Tom Sandborn was good enough to provide the first review of Vancouver poet George Stanley's Love Is Not an Algorithm (2020) over at the Vancouver Sun. Thanks so much! And of course, you can see the full article here.
Do you love lively language and rigorous thought? Try long-time Vancouver poet George Stanley, a too-little-known writer who can be a delightful discovery

Love is Not an Algorithm
By George Stanley, Above/Ground Press (Ottawa, 2020)

$5 | 24pp.

George Stanley is one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets.

For anyone who loves shapely language and rigorous thought, this too-little-known writer can be a delightful discovery. Stanley, an Irish-American poet from San Francisco, has been living and writing in B.C. since 1971, and much of his remarkable poetry reflects his Canadian experiences.

He writes in “Montmartre” that “I started out in Montmartre/in the bars and cafes. I drank/With Manet and Baudelaire/Now I drink at the Fringe Café/on West Broadway, in Vancouver. I’m one of the ‘regulars’.”

And he has indeed been a regular in the world of poetry for most of his adult life, and certainly all of his time in Canada, publishing collections, chapbooks and stand-alone poems. (Full disclosure: I have known Stanley since he arrived in Vancouver in the ’70s. I have also reviewed earlier volumes of his poetry, including a review in 2018 of Some End/West Broadway.)

Despite creating an impressive body of work over his Canadian decades, Stanley has never achieved the commercial success or notoriety that can come, even in these post-poetry years, to more emotionally and intellectually accessible writers, either in his home country or here in Canada.

Because Stanley seems to have read and digested almost everything ever published, his work is intellectually dense; and yet his keen-eyed observations of the fine grain particulars of his city and his mind invite the reader in and reward careful attention. His book-length Vancouver: A Poem (2008) and his jointly authored (with George Bowering in 2018) Some End/West Broadway are both master classes in poetic observation, reflection and distillation. A George Stanley poem can deliver the potent kick and long lasting after-pleasure of a glass of single-malt scotch.

While Stanley is not likely to ever be a mass-market poet, he has been recognized by the Poetry Society of America with that body’s Shelley Award in 2006, and in 2011

The Capilano Review devoted an entire issue to printing both his original work and poems and essays of appreciation from many powerful voices within the world of current poetry. Clearly, he is a poet’s poet.

But don’t let that scare you off. Love is Not an Algorithm will reward any careful reader with its lyrical reflections on love, desire, the beautiful, the mind and the city.

Highly recommended.

Friday, October 9, 2020

new from above/ground press: HOUNDS, by Cecilia Stuart

Cecilia Stuart


When parts of you receded I began to chew in threes. I lit candles, bound books filled with housing, burned them in a pile and filmed it. I would grab the white-hot tines with my uncalloused hands, feign a rancid vision and vision myself blessed. More vigorous than ever, I’d pull the curtains back and weep. Add splinters. Add plastic. Add clumps of ash and heat.
Parts of you receded. Parts of me were caught up in the lees. Hawking popcorn tins filled with scraps of ragged denim, bones from flightless birds. Out of all these tiny fragments, I cobbled up some plan. In a small house on a small street, I had hands that tapped reserves of yellow dye. I had a photograph of gophers and I swallowed it. Felt shrill and often evil, far from home without a friend.
I set out to make a palace. I brought forth a kitsch. I made lists, lazed at broken harps. Desperate for a genre or for something to belong to. Perhaps I belonged to you but your hands would always sweat. Then came the first blue light through my window, right where I had left it all along. Every surface had an appetite, and in the glow I stacked a shoddy stack. The sun came slow or maybe bloody. What was left I sold for cheap.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Cecilia Stuart’s
first chapbook Mudroom, a collaborative project with photography by Adrian Kiva, was published by Anchorage Press in 2018. Her poems have appeared in PRISM international, The Antigonish Review, Plenitude and elsewhere. She lives in Toronto.

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) or the PayPal button at

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

new from above/ground press: from THE LOSS FOR WORDS, by Keith Waldrop

Keith Waldrop

“I couldn’t live,” she tells me. “If I really believed you die and that, that’s the end...  Well I just couldn’t live if I believed that.”

    I believe...  actually, I can think of nothing I believe.

    And find it hard to see what difference it would make, my believing or not.  Difference, that is, to a possible object of belief. What is, I suppose, is, whether I think so or not.


    No doubt I—believing some notion, likely or unlikely—would be different from myself disbelieving the same notion. Or myself undecided. Or unconcerned.

    I’m told I deceive myself. I’m told I do believe, believe that—for instance—the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Well, certainly it seems likely.

    If that’s all believing means, I’ll admit to a sort of scale. I’m fairly positive the sun will come up tomorrow, whether or not it becomes visible. That it will rain tomorrow I think, but not with anything like the same approach to certainty. An earthquake is unlikely. I see no reason to doubt that night will fall and the dead will not rise. (“INTERVAL”)

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as part of above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
October 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Cover image by the author

Keith Waldrop is the author of more than a dozen books of poems, including Transcendental Studies (U of California Press) which won the National Book Award in 2009, and, from Omnidawn Publishing, Selected Poems (2016), The Not Forever, and The Real Subject. He has also published a novel, Light While There Is Light (Dalkey Archive) and translated Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil and Paris Spleen: Little Poems in Prose as well as contemporary French authors like Anne-Marie Albiach, Claude Royet-Journoud, Paol Keineg.

He is retired from Brown University and lives in Providence, RI where he edited, with Rosmarie Waldrop, Burning Deck Press.

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) or the PayPal button at