Friday, December 2, 2022
Chapbook, MLA Chernoff, 20 pgs, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.com, $5
The poems in this collection defy conclusive interpretation, but they appear to record a reality that’s now very familiar to most of us: life in lockdown, trapped at home, adrift in thought.
As the “SCRIED” of the title suggests (future-telling via reflective surface), we get a distorted view of this narrative. It’s bent by the crystal ball we’re peering into as much as by the off-kilter discourse of the person who’s speaking. There are enough instances of “our,” “we” and allusions to sex in these poems to suggest that someone is there with Chernoff (assuming Chernoff is the speaking “I”), though we don’t hear from or about this other — only of their shared role in these circumstances.
Chernoff’s mood is somehow both manic and dour, sometimes feverish: “six long months of constant clickery… Every day rides the mucus of a snail… every night is Friday night and Monday / morning put together, burnt out and without end.” Compound words are regularly invented (“hornyscared,” “givingspread”) and a complex vocabulary is employed — you’ll find plenty of obscure terms to look up. A lone snippet of text is repeated here, in the first poem and the last: “I gotta make a decision / leave tonight or live and die this way.” It’s the plainest bit of speech Chernoff uses — a recurring moment of lucidity that never resolves.
SCRIED FUNDAMENTS is attention-grabbing, clever and regularly baffling. It’s sometimes recognizable and sometimes foreign, and though it often seems impossible to decipher, there’s never a dull moment.
Thursday, December 1, 2022
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan;
The Peter F. Yacht Club annual regatta/christmas party/reading
at The Carleton Tavern (upstairs)
233 Armstrong Avenue (at Parkdale Market)
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
doors 7pm, reading 7:30pm
with readings from yacht club regulars and irregulars alike, including Frances Boyle, Jason Christie, AJ Dolman, Margo LaPierre, rob mclennan, James Moran, Stuart Ross, D.S. Stymeist and Grant Wilkins (and possibly others,
and might there be a new issue as part of the event? (i haven't decided yet, honestly); but remember the virtual issue we did last year?
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
I went to see Hackenfeller, my dentist, on Thursday, not to see Hackenfeller himself, although I have nothing against him — he has been my dentist for half-a-dozen years without incident — but to have my teeth cleaned by Clara, his dental hygienist, a large, voluptuous, melancholy, white-blond woman of thirty-four whose husband left her eight months ago after an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease developed into an auto-immune disorder that causes her debilitating pain — she told me that at night, when she tries to sleep, it is as if her blood had turned to acid. She can barely keep her job as a dental hygienist let alone have a relationship with a man or any kind of social life and thinks constantly of suicide, has daily suicidal thoughts even when the pain abates and she can dream of happiness again. Of course, Hackenfeller won't dismiss her because of what happened that one time when his marriage was on the rocks, despite her inability to work regular hours, her tendency to leave the chair in the midst of a gum examination, her brown studies, and general inattentiveness (patients have complained) and her habit of turning normal dental hygienist chit-chat into a litany of existential woes and complaints, all in code, of course, nothing overt, when she says "my cat Nigel," she means her husband Brad, as in "My cat Nigel was overly sensitive to my condition, and when the pains became unbearable, he fled one night after I inadvertently left the back door open taking the trash out."published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the eighteenth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
Douglas Glover is the author of five story collections, four novels, four books of literary nonfiction. In 2007, he was given the Writers’ Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award for an author in mid-career. His novel Elle won the 2003 Governor-General’s Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Elle was adapted for the stage by the actress Severn Thompson and premiered at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille in 2016. Glover’s story collection A Guide to Animal Behaviour was a finalist for the 1991 Governor-General’s Award. His stories have been frequently anthologized, notably in The Best American Short Stories, Best Canadian Stories, and The New Oxford Book of Canadian Stories. He was the subject of a TV documentary in a series called The Writing Life and a collection of critical essays, The Art of Desire, The Fiction of Douglas Glover, edited by Bruce Stone. Glover was the publisher and editor of the monthly magazine Numéro Cinq from 2010 to 2017. He edited the annual Best Canadian Stories from 1996 to 2006. His most recent book was The Erotics of Restraint: Essays on Literary Form (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 rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com
Monday, November 28, 2022
Calgary poet Helen Hajnoczky is on the 2022 shortlist for The Nelson Ball Prize for her chapbook a grain of sand! Huzzah! And congrats to everyone else on the shortlist, including three other above/ground press authors! And a reminder, naturally, that copies of the recent festschrift celebrating her work, Report from the Hajnoczky Society Vol. 1 No. 1 are still very much available.
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Sarah Mangold has new work up at 128 Lit; Renée Sarojini Saklikar has a poem up in the poetry pause series via The League of Canadian Poets; and Robert Hogg has a poem up at Pamenar Press; and did I mention I now have a substack that focuses on in-progress prose?
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Mountain, Ontario poet, editor and mentor Robert Hogg (see my obituary for him here) has died. He was the author of, among other titles, three above/ground press chapbooks: from Lamentations (2012), from Lamentations (second (expanded) edition, 2016) and From Each Forthcoming (2021). The volume Report from the Hogg Society, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2022) landed in just enough time for him to see and respond to a digital copy. A retired Carleton University Professor and organic farmer, he was friend and mentor to generations of poets, both within and beyond the boundaries of his classroom. He will be dearly missed.
Stephen Brockwell and Robert Hogg at a Chaudiere Books launch, 2015
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
above/ground press and Chaudiere Books author Clare Latremouille (see my obituary for her here) has died, after an extended illness. A founding member of The Peter F Yacht Club writers group, she had work in the July 1993 FREE VERSE ANTHOLOGY (one of above/ground press' first publications), as well as the first issue of STANZAS magazine (1993), Missing Jacket #4 (1996) and The Peter F. Yacht Club #1 (2003) and #8 (2007) as well as more than half a dozen above/ground press broadsides across the 1990s. Her chapbook, I will write a poem for you. Now: appeared in 1995, which was reprinted in the anthology Groundswell: best of above/ground press, 1993-2003, edited by rob mclennan (Fredericton NB: cauldron books/Broken Jaw Press, 2003). Her novel, The Desmond Road Book of the Dead appeared with Chaudiere Books in 2006. She will be missed in this town by many.