Thursday, September 17, 2020

new from above/ground press: Sessions from the DreamHouse Aria, by Amanda Earl

Sessions from the DreamHouse Aria
Amanda Earl


A loved the Catalyst but I became bored. Did I love him? We worked together. Was she bored? We grew up together. He didn’t grow up. I was stagnant. At the office, there was a woman. Younger than her. We laughed. I admired her fairy hair. She likened her to a sprite. It was then I woke up. Did she wake? Was I flirting? At home, she was depressed, confused, felt trapped. I slept around. men/women/women/ and one beauty who defied gender. The Catalyst insisted on couples’ therapy. Was there therapy?

The therapist’s office, was it an office? In her home. A walk from my own. Those August afternoons in the heat. Plants had entered their yellow phase. Everything was yellow. Gold. she was tarnished. Dandelion, I was invisible, wispy, ready to sail.

I used to wander. Did she wander as a child? We lived in the country for a while. In the red brick house with a half acre. Was it a half acre? I ran away. She packed a small case with dolls and toys. I hid behind the wall, near the wrought iron gate and the tiger lilies. Did she hide?

She ran in the wind, swirling and twirling. How I loved to run. In the apartment where we moved, she loathed the city unless I could get out to the creek, hide away from him. The Old Catalyst took her for rides in the car alone on weekdays when he lost his job. We went to Centre Island. His hand on her thigh, moving upwards. I moved out as soon as I could. 19. The man she met was kind, we were young. I was numb. A fairy tale princess sleeping through life. Did I sleep?

I wrote a letter to the Sprite. Confessing her … did I confess my love? The correspondence was corny as fuck. Sentimental. I wrote poetry, drew illustrations of flowers and fairies. The Sprite e-mailed me. No.

The Catalyst was hurt. He said she had betrayed him. By my confession of love for someone else? Was she in love? By the secrets. Of my childhood. She lay in bed, heavy as a stone. I wanted only to sleep.

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

Amanda Earl
(she/her) makes poetry, prose, visual poetry and whimsy. She lives with her husband, Charles. Her books are A World of Yes (DevilHouse, Ottawa, Ontario, 2015); Kiki (Chaudiere Books, Ottawa, Ontario, 2014 now available with Invisible Publishing), Coming Together Presents Amanda Earl (Coming Together, New York City, 2014).

Her latest chapbook is En Fer, A Long Poem About A Love Affair (Ghost City Press, 2020)

Amanda is the managing editor of and the fallen angel of AngelHousePress. She is the recipient of the 2017 Tree Reading Series Chapbook Award for Electric Garden. She was inducted into the VERSeOttawa Hall of Honour in 2014. Two of her manuscripts were shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award. Further information is available at Connect with Amanda on Twitter @KikiFolle.

This is Amanda Earl’s eighth chapbook with above/ground press, after Eleanor (2007), The Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman (2008), Sex First & Then A Sandwich (2012), A Book of Saints (2015), Lady Lazarus Redux (2017), The Book of Mark (2018) and Aftermath or Scenes of a Woman Convalescing (2019).

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, September 16, 2020

above/ground press launches a prose chapbook imprint: prose/naut

Leaning up to the press’ twenty-eighth year of production, Ottawa’s above/ground press launches a prose imprint, “prose/naut,” and announces its first four chapbook titles, which will each become available over the next few weeks:

Amanda Earl, Sessions from the DreamHouse Aria (September 2020)

Jane Eaton Hamilton, Would You Like a Little Gramma On Those? (September 2020)

rob mclennan, Twenty-one stories, (September 2020)

Keith Waldrop, from THE LOSS FOR WORDS (October 2020)

Why a prose imprint? With more than one thousand poetry-specific publications produced over the past nearly thirty years, why branch out into prose? I suppose the straightforward answer is that there appear to be fewer possibilities for publication for lyric prose than even there were five ago, despite the wealth of materials being produced. There is some incredible work being done, and my own frustrations as a reader has brought us, one might say, to this.

The series hopes to include single-author chapbooks of prose, from fiction to other forms, all of which will be included as part of the regular above/ground press annual subscription package. Review/media copies will also be available upon request (while supplies last).

If you wish to pre-order all four titles, I would be open to that: $20 for all four (add $3 postage for American orders; add $10 for international).

If you would rather, you could simply subscribe to above/ground press RIGHT NOW and all four would be included: 2021 annual subscriptions (and resubscriptions) to above/ground press are available: $75 (CAN; American subscribers, $75 US; $100 international) for everything above/ground press makes from the moment you subscribe through to the end of 2021, including chapbooks, broadsheets, The Peter F. Yacht Club and G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] and quarterly poetry journal Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal].

Just what else might happen? Currently and forthcoming items also include new poetry chapbooks by Julia Drescher (two this year!), Billy Mavreas, ryan fitzpatrick, Sarah Burgoyne and Susan Burgoyne, Paul Perry, Jérôme Melançon, Ava Hofmann, Alexander Joseph, David Miller, Sa’eed Tavana’ee Marvi (trans. Khashayar Mohammadi), katie o'brien, Nathanael O’Reilly, Amelia Does, Andrew Brenza, Genevieve Kaplan, Geoffrey Olsen, Franco Cortese (four over the next few months), Zane Koss, Dennis Cooley, Barry McKinnon and Cecilia Tamburri Stuart as well as a whole slew of publications that haven't even been decided on yet.

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 or e-transfer to rob_mclennan (at) (or through the PayPal button at

For further information, email publisher/editor rob mclennan at rob_mclennan (at), or follow the myriad of links at

Stay safe! Stay home! Wear a mask! Wash your damned hands!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

new from above/ground press: drop, by Billy Mavreas

Billy Mavreas

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

Billy Mavreas
(he/him) is an interdisciplinary artist working with text, image, found materials.

This is Billy Mavreas’ third above/ground press title, after A MERCY OF SIGNS (2018) and B V A (2019).

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

Thursday, September 10, 2020

new from above/ground press: Dang Me, by ryan fitzpatrick

Dang Me
ryan fitzpatrick

Shouldn’t We Liquidate Poetics?

What do I do when someone holds up a mirror
and it’s just a picture of Irving Layton wearing
sunglasses stolen from the “Deal With It” dog?

It’s Brechtian, you know, the way the sun careens
off the glass enclosures of this Toronto tech
hub directly off this screen and into my eyes.

Everywhere I look, it’s a funhouse where light
serializes experience into a million sources
and I’m left to fumble with the cables behind.

But that’s a metaphor, isn’t it, and here I am
with my reflection. No, what I mean is I’m
here reflecting as if my life depended on it.

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

cover illustration by Rose McLennan

ryan fitzpatrick is the author of two books and fifteen chapbooks, including Fortified Castles (Talon, 2014) and Fake Math (Snare/Invisible, 2007). Right now, he lives in Toronto/Tkaronto, but might be between cities soon.

This is fitzpatrick’s fourth above/ground press title, after STANZAS #25 (“further revisions,” July 2001), Adolesce (2005) and dealingwithit.gif (2015).

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

new from above/ground press: WHERE FORTH ART THOUGH, by S. Burgoyne and S. Burgoyne

S. Burgoyne and S. Burgoyne


The market lemons were too perfect. Almost plastic surge. Your latest urge to go the distance was far too much effort. I couldn't know if I'd stay the same, or if I'd hold it all for you.

Don't forget it, sweetchops.

You feel the distance and yet you know the squids still approach nightly. How was I to know that you can't always have the last peanut?

She was my little peanut. And then your annoying photos from Germany. Why can't I find peace? What is the last time you ever did?

Jump. It's never too high or too scary when
you're not alone.


S. Burgoyne and S. Burgoyne, mother and daughter, have been flouting their attempted mastery of all the proper auxiliary verbs and English nouns since S. Burgoyne (the elder) imbued her offspring toward lexicography on many long road trips across our great nation where said offspring were held captive by infant carseats and seatbelts in the enclosed space of the vehicle, unable to escape this attempt to mould them into vocabularists.  Choosing to bypass such infantile games as “Count the Cows” as they traversed the miles, S.Burgoyne (the elder) incorporated light-hearted merriment into a game she invented and creatively entitled “Dictionary” utilizing an approximately 30 pound tome which also served as a booster seat or step stool for her wee children.  This raucous car game involved compelling her young daughters (one a mere babe) into the realm of polysyllabism by reading the dictionary aloud to them and providing examples of usage for future reference (eg. “I was pleased to see your post-jentacular effort to brush your teeth this morning although that tittynope of Cheerios did not go unnoticed on your plate, Sweetie!” or “I expect full impignoration to participate in this car game - ignore those bovines!”  S. Burgoyne, (the elder) was apparently successful in inspiring S.Burgoyne (the second) to follow her bibliophilic tendencies for as it turned out, S. Burgoyne (the second) felt loathe to yield her future to any other professional realm than that of logophile. She thus followed her destiny to become, none other than a delightful amalgam of poetess, librettist, dramaturgist and rhapsodist - which one can easily discern from her manner of speech and the unique intonations with which she speaks, constantly uttering a veritable plethora of gymnastic linguistic phraseologies to the delight of all her compatriats.

Over the years, S. Burgoyne and S. Burgoyne have fully indulged their passionate lingoisms and have spewed forth countless written and spoken words, even to the point of inventing an unusual S.Burgoyne-esque vernacular (perhaps a podcast will be forthcoming - stay tuned!) Although they each reside across a vast geographic expanse, they always manage to indulge their passion for repartee and serendipitously string together nonsensical narratives through wordplay and occasional mild tipsyness (which thereby absolves them of any serious literary accountability or subjectivity to literary criticism of any kind).  And so therefore, most capital and esteemed captives, this is a rare exposure of meaningful, unforgettable and riveting drivel submitted in the spirit of extreme kakorrhaphiophobia.  Please do not hold them responsible for surrendering the time you are about to spend pondering this ludicrous collection.

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

Susan Burgoyne
has created many extensive publications in her mind over the years. This is her first publication on paper.

Sarah Burgoyne’s first collection Saint Twin (Mansfield Press: 2016) was nominated for the A.M. Klein prize. Her second manuscript is coming out with Coach House Press in 2021.

This is Sarah Burgoyne’s third above/ground press title, after A Precarious Life on the Sea (2016) and TENTACULUM SONNETS (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 at rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Friday, September 4, 2020

Scott Bryson reviews rob mclennan’s Poems for Lunch Poems at SFU (2020) in Broken Pencil #88

Scott Bryson was good enough to provide the first review of rob mclennan’s Poems for Lunch Poems at SFU (2020) over at Broken Pencil (although he seems not to have actually enjoyed the experience). Thanks so much!

A recent TVO documentary, Tripping the Rideau Canal, is a four-hour, real-time voyage down 27 kilometres of the titular waterway, with historical factoids sprinkled throughout. The vicarious ride is not dissimilar to enjoying a batch of rob mclennan’s poetry – but not because reading his chapbooks feel like four hours.
            The poems in this book were produced for various outlets over the years, compiled here, presumably, for the Lunch Poems reading series at SFU in Vancouver. But they don’t drift too far apart from each other, all tethered to landscape. Location is the paramount concern and there are few people present. “This human activity” is mentioned only distantly, as if it were a foreign concept.
            The phrases in the poems are typically brief and enigmatic. In the collection’s opening poem, mclennan lays out an apt warning (and perhaps a challenge) prefacing the surprising work of inspecting one’s environment: “To break this open, / is to understand the weather.”