Sunday, June 16, 2019

Michael Dennis reviews Emily Izsak's Twenty-Five (2018)

Our pal Michael Dennis (author of a couple of above/ground press titles himself) was good enough to provide the first review of Emily Izsak's Twenty-Five (2018) over at his blog. Thanks so much! You can see the full review here, but it includes:
Twenty-Five is one long poem and Today's book of poetry is just offering up snippets for your digestion.  Today's book of poetry believes Twenty-Five is a love poem for Ariel.  Today's book of poetry thinks Twenty-Five is taking the current cultural temperature from ground zero and with the patience of William Carlos Williams.  Today's book of poetry isn't exactly sure what is happening in Twenty-Five but we were constantly jolted, prodded, disassembled, shuffled, intrigued.

Maybe this is one long autobiographical confession delivered by a modern day hipster scat singer.  All Today's book of poetry knows is that "heaven's breadbox is empty."  Izsak has some wicked chops.

Friday, June 14, 2019

new from above/ground press: Apples and Roses, by Frances Boyle

Apples and Roses
Frances Boyle

You dissolved off the screen, Dot as child and young woman, mom to us,
I’d seek you hard in fairy tale quest, task the gaff-rigged Dorothy to spell

your name Dorothy, in the semaphore of her sails, (plant a rose for me)
launching from time-rocked ocean to tangled notion of wooden ship

and flying house whirlpooled in its funnel cloud, banging wind, the pull
of the tale, and the round table where Mrs. Parker drawled about girls

who wear glasses and Marie of Romania, her wit a charm to the circle of wits
vicious through they were, the round table of that New York moment,

while you were a girl in Toronto. Come night you vanished into the shapeless,
the ready intake of breath. Angels brought three apples, three roses, my purpose.

You planted roses on Angus St., between our house and the next. Driving
by after we’d moved away, you said the new people had uprooted them,

loss in your voice. Yet you dropped roses from your name—Dorothy
Rose to Dorothy Mary, excising your horrid aunt. Connecting

dots, you shed names. Like Dorothy Day, who said “don’t call me saint,”
you did not want to be dismissed so easily. Gift-wrapped, buds still furled.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2019
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

cover artwork by Manahil Bandukwala

Frances Boyle
is the author of one collection of poetry, Light-carved Passages (BuschekBooks 2014) and a novella, Tower (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). Her previous chapbook, Portal Stones, won the Tree Reading Series chapbook manuscript contest. Other awards for her work include the Diana Brebner Prize and The Great Canadian Literary Hunt. A second poetry collection, This White Nest, is forthcoming with Quattro Books in 2019. Raised on the prairies, Frances now lives in Ottawa, where she is part of the editorial team for Arc Poetry Magazine, and reviews for Canthius. For more, see her website:

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, June 13, 2019

the Vancouver launch of Rob Manery's SOME magazine, June 23, 2019 w Stephen Collis, Nicole Markotić etc

above/ground press authors Stephen Collis and Nicole Markotić read along with Michael Barnholden, Ted Byrne, Louis Cabri, Clint Burnham and Catriona Strang in Vancouver on Sunday, June 23, 2019 as part of the launch of the debut issue of Rob Manery's new poetry journal, SOME magazine. Further details on where and how to pick up an issue once that becomes available.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

new from above/ground press: Here on Huron, by Michael Sikkema

Here on Huron
Michael Sikkema

 &        &

|bi |bi |
|la |la
|rs |rs|

long shot w/secret hero & sky

enter craft with cloned secret hero

extended fight scene in woods /junkyard
includes all the trimmings, crowbar ending 

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2019
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Michael Sikkema
is interested in feral alphabets, bird-mushroom confluences, tree music, and the function of poetry for the human microbiome. His most recent book is You've Got a Pretty Hellmouth (Trembling Pillow Press), and consists of long poems that play with western, horror, and sci fi tropes. He lives in West Michigan.

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

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Factory Reading Series pre-small press book fair reading, June 21: Kirby, de Belle, Walsh, Thomas, Rogal, Flack. Bartram, Hetherington + Mohammadi

span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents:

The Factory Reading Series
pre-small press book fair reading
featuring readings by:

Kirby (Toronto ON)
Julie de Belle (QC)
Matthew Walsh (Toronto ON)
Hugh Thomas (Montreal QC)
Stan Rogal (Toronto ON)
Brian L. Flack (Prince Edward County ON)
Victoria Hetherington (Toronto ON)
Jessica Bromley Bartram (Ottawa ON)
Khashayar Mohammadi (Toronto ON) (cancelled)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Friday, June 21, 2019;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

[And don’t forget the ottawa small press book fair, held the following day at the Jack Purcell Community Centre]

Kirby's earlier chapbooks include Simple Enough, Cock & Soul, Bob’s boy, The world is fucked and sometimes beautiful, She’s Having a Doris Day (knife | fork | book, 2017), and their full-length debut, This Is Where I Get Off (Permanent Sleep Press, 2019). Kirby is the owner/publisher of knife | fork | book

Born in Ottawa Ontario, but living in Quebec, Julie de Belle has been writing poetry in both official languages since her early teens. She was a member of the Literary Translators of Canada where she first trying her hand at translation with Words on the Move. In 2013, she published her first collection of poetry in both French and English (not in translation but rather as two separate minds) called 2FACES with Broken Rules Press. Julie performs regularly at Twigs & Leaves in Ste. Anne de Bellevue and at Kafe Poe in Pincourt. She has given poetry workshops and performances in local libraries and cultural centres. Julie de Belle is a retired ESL teacher, has taught in China and in James Bay, and now works freelance from home, both writing and translating.

Matthew Walsh is a queer writer from Nova Scotia whose work has appeared in Matrix, The Malahat Review, and Pulp Literature among others. His first book of poems was published with Goose Lane/ Ice House and is titled: These are not the potatoes of my youth.

Hugh Thomas is a poet and translator living in Montréal, where he teaches mathematics at UQAM.  Maze, his debut poetry collection, was published by Invisible Publishing in June 2019. His poetry has appeared in chapbooks published by Bookthug, Paper Kite Press, above/ground, and, most recently, shreeking violet press (in a collaboration with Stuart Ross and Dag Straumsvåg).

Stan Rogal is the author of more books of poetry and fiction than one can reasonably count. He didn't send an author biography, but I know he has a new book of fiction out this spring with Insomniac Press, and a handful of poetry chapbooks with above/ground.

Brian L. Flack is the author of three novels … In Seed Time, With A Sudden & Terrible Clarity, and When Madmen Lead the Blind, and a collection of poems … 36 … Poems. He has contributed literary & social criticism to books, periodicals, and academic journals, and written many reviews for newspapers. For several years, he was the host of a weekly radio programme, “Bookviews”, on Q-107, in Toronto. In another life that he enjoyed for almost 40 years, he was a Professor of English Literature. He lives with the painter Susan Straiton ... by the lake, in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Jessica Bromley Bartram is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer who lives in Ottawa with her partner Ian and beagle-esque dog Eleanor. Ghost Water Kiss is her first short story collection. She has also illustrated two picture books for Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Charles by S.E. Hume, which was published in 2018, and Summer North Coming by Dorothy Bentley, which will be released in spring 2019. Her work is included in 4PANEL 2, appears on the cover of Bird House by Ben Ladouceur, and she has published illustrations in Room Magazine (issue 42.1), CAROUSEL (issue 39), and The Globe and Mail.

Victoria Hetherington [pictured] is a Toronto-based writer, visual artist and the author of I Have to Tell You (0s&1s, 2014). Her debut novel Mooncalves appeared in April 2019 with Now or Never Publishing.

Khashayar Mohammadi is an Iranian-born writer/translator based in Toronto. He is the host of knife | fork | book’s Chapbook Club and the author of the chapbooks Moe’s Skin with ZED PRESS (2018) and Poetry as Omission forthcoming with Anstruther Press. His poems have also appeared in Poetry is Dead, Bad Nudes, Half a Grapefruit Magazine, Bad Dog Review and elsewhere across Turtle Island. He is currently working on a translation anthology of contemporary female Iranian poets.