Thursday, March 26, 2020

new from above/ground press: Love Is not An Algorithm, by George Stanley

Love Is Not an Algorithm
George Stanley

West Broadway

Foreshortened the street
in my damaged eye
the crowd seems pressing
closer & faster.

In the eyes, mouths,
faces coming nearer
my good eye recognizes
what we all know.

Yet every eye in its personal dark
looks off in a different direction
out of space into time
realms of light or deeper darkness.

With eyes lowered, we pass each other.
A guy on a bike comes up from behind,
passes me, soundless.
Oh, I am one of you.

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

A native of San Francisco, George Stanley has lived in BC since 1971, and has published ten books of poetry, including Vancouver: A Poem, After Desire, North of California St., and West Broadway (with George Bowering’s Some End) all from Vancouver's New Star Books.

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, March 19, 2020

Jessica Thomas-Drake reviews Isabel Sobral Campos' Autobiographical Ecology (2019)

Jessica Drake-Thomas was good enough to provide the first review of Isabel Sobral Campos' Autobiographical Ecology (2019). Thanks so much! You can see the original review here. As Drake-Thomas writes:
“Notebook/is language peel, summary of misunderstanding in the wastebasket where/crumpled pages sleep,” the speaker says in Isabel Sobral Campos’s chapbook of poems, Autobiographical Ecology.

The book has the feel of reading a diary. It’s equal parts confessional and listing of observations, which evoke the chaos of life in the modern world.

“I have mused over my poverty as a writer. I have mused while taking my/ clothes off & slipping into a bathtub. I have thought of Sylva Plath in her/nightgown with a flashlight pointing at a word on a wall,// ‘Beware.'” References to Plath, Ashbery and Brainard are sprinkled throughout, situating the poet within the realms of confessional poetry, Postmodernism, and collage, which is exhibited throughout Autobiographical Ecology.

Each poem feels like a new entry, building upon the narrative of the confessional poet, writing in the notebook.

“Lemons, lemon peel, sweet potatoes (as if touching pearls) and avoiding mirrors especially in the/postpartum belly//”Oh there once was//:/a woman ‘//an animal ‘//a person ‘//inside an Ashbery poem'”

The entries reveal struggles with postpartum depression, how cataloging lists and observations and poetry brings a sense of order to the speaker. It’s how she begins to make sense of what’s happening to her and around her.

Sobral Campos’s poetry is teeming with raw emotion and particularly stunning images that are redolent with sensory details. I highly recommend Autobiographical Ecology, which is available through above/ground press.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

periodicities : a journal of poetry and poetics

announcing: periodicities : a journal of poetry and poetics 
edited and lovingly maintained by rob mclennan

periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics was founded in March 2020 by rob mclennan as a curious extension of above/ground press, as well as an extension of some of the work of the twelve issues of the online seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics, edited by rob mclennan (2008-2018), and the six issues of, edited by rob mclennan and Stephen Brockwell (2003-2007). Both journals have dropped off the internet due to issues with the web host, which prompted the creation of a new online journal.

periodicities is open to submissions of previously unpublished poetry-related reviews, interviews and essays. Please send submissions as .doc with author biography to

For the time being, submissions of previously unpublished poetry will be by solicitation-only, with the exception of translated works (which you should very much send along).

The first posts are already scheduled for April 1, 2020! Please consider submitting a poetry-related book or chapbook review or essay, or a poetry-related interview. Or follow us on Twitter to keep track! There is a lot of exciting action afoot!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

“poem” broadside #349 : “Four poems for my fiftieth birthday” by rob mclennan


In the details, bedeviled. Am I half-way finished, or begun? Too soon,
by half. A ladybird, floats. My bare hand. Homestead,

sunsets. If I did complain. Characters in snow and shadow,

ghosts of every childhood
that blossomed: my father’s, my sister’s, mine. Familiar sounds

so simple, they amplify. Echo.


Since the beginning, when I found
my mouth, a mumble, let alone

a voice.


From almost any angle. Busted a toe, and then a second.
These inaugural fractures, after nearly five unbroken decades

of carefree indifference. Almost every day,
I stood. I stood up. Imagination, bristles. I

remember, like it was. Margins, where
I lay this ancient peak.


of a distant, faded thing.

For poems for my fiftieth birthday
by rob mclennan
on the eve of his fiftieth, March 14, 2020
above/ground press broadside #349

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. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Touch the Donkey ( and the newly-launched periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics ( He is “Interviews Editor” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at