Friday, July 30, 2021

new from above/ground press: DO YOU EVER THINK OF ME, by Summer Brenner


Do You Ever Think of Me?
Summer Brenner
$5


Traveling north on 49, it’s obvious there will be crowds wherever we go, as it’s midsummer and high season for vacationers. I’ve booked a room at a lodge near Sierra City, recommended by Dick Walker, a native Californian, professor emeritus of geography, and explorer of the state’s nooks and crannies, documented in his books on the subject. In other words, it’s a trustworthy recommendation.

The lodge is easy to find. It abuts the road across from a big field of mowed grass and beside the driveway is a small trout pond with a dispenser to buy fish food. Inside the main building are a bar and a restaurant with picture windows, and behind it under redwoods and fir, are cabins with kitchenettes. Farther along and down a steep hill are single rooms with long porticos in front and balconies perched on stilts on the backside that overlook the gurgling Yuba River.

Everything in our room is standard: dumpy bed, tiny bathroom, molded plastic shower, drippy faucet, two towels, two wash cloths, a dowel with four hangars, bedside tables and reading lamps, a Gideon’s Bible, and a small refrigerator that hums. Number 14, that’s where we’ve landed, thanks to Dick Walker.

The humming reminds me of my childhood terror of polio and iron lungs and my first visit to the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. It was more than sixty years later that I visited it again, on a driving tour of the state with you in the coldest January on record. We were separated then but understandably, you wanted to join me for Bessie’s ninetieth birthday, a gala with dozens of guests for dinner and dancing in Batesburg, the village where Bessie came as a bride and never left.

After the party the Little White House was our first stop. You and I travel well together, and even during our five-year separation, we traveled well. You don’t mind stopping, and I don’t mind pushing on, so whatever suits our mood is okay. Staring at the oversized pool, empty of water, where the crippled President swam and played with thousands of children, I cried. I guess I cried for Daddy who loved Roosevelt more than anyone on earth.
          (“DO YOU EVER THINK OF ME #1”)
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the tenth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Summer Brenner
is the author of a dozen publications that include noir fiction, short stories, award-winning novels for youth, poetry, and the occasional essay. Recent work can be found in Berkeley Noir (Akashic) and online at Hello Goodbye Apocalypse. Forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press is The Missing Lover, a collection of novellas.

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

new from above/ground press: Ordinary Annals, by Monica Mody

Ordinary Annals
Monica Mody
$5


Trees still burn

at edge of consciousness,

gray. Ash

crinkles in gust.

Ash-sky marked us.

We are tangled with living

Earth. I keep trying

to find the rhythm of this poem.

Asphyxiated, in anguish,

it urgently wants to come out.

I need to breathe

but paper-thin parchment

somewhere within my lungs—

sky laid waste.

Mind wants to find ways

to make it better

but I am tired. I rest

into air.

Spirit of air,

ever-changing,

turning nothing into something

through simple action.

Brush us with your feathers

that we may yet return to forests

friends of fire.
                (“Ordinary Annals”)

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image: “Heera,” Oil and powdered stone on Canvas, 2020
by Palija Shrestha https://palijashrestha.com

Monica Mody's poetry collection Bright Parallel is forthcoming from Copper Coin Press. She is the author of Kala Pani (1913 Press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies including Extinction Violin: The Penguin Book of Modern Indian Poets, What is Time: An Anthology of New Indian Writing, Hibiscus: Poems that Heal and Empower, and &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing. Her poetry also appears in Poetry International, Indian Quarterly, Almost Island, Boston Review, and other lit magazines. She has been a recipient of the Sparks Prize (University of Notre Dame), the Zora Neale Hurston Award (Naropa), and the Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing.

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, July 26, 2021

new from above/ground press: The End of Lake Superior, by Kōan Anne Brink

The End of Lake Superior
Kōan Anne Brink
$5

The End of Lake Superior

It was
    cool and dark,
azalea in bloom
at the edge

of the forest.
The raw silk of it
    peeking out
from its

heavily ironed
dress shirt.

Still more surface
    area than flowing
water, it was
hard to live by glacial

repose alone.
The visible saints
    drifting again

into imitation,
into the world’s late

afternoon.

We buried ourselves
at her bequest.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Kōan Anne Brink
was born and raised in Minnesota. They are the Art Writing Fellow at The Cooper Union and a lay ordained Sōtō Zen student. They live in Santa Fe.

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

Friday, July 23, 2021

new from above/ground press: TWETWE: an alt-text pandemoir, by Gregory Betts


TWETWE, an alt-text pandemoir
Gregory Betts
$5

Is experimental poetry accessible? After an image I posted of a strange Japanese letter experiment on Twitter went mini-Viral, a friend asked how they could access its alt-text, an accessibility tool for the vision-impaired. Twitter only began allowing alt-text additions to posts during the pandemic, but it is still only rarely used. In the end, I just described the image to that friend, realizing, of course, the wider insufficiency. As I post a lot of artwork, conceptual poetry, and avant-garde crossovers, I started thinking about alt-texts as the distillation of a concept of a work that are themselves often distillations of ideas of other works. I began composing alt-texts for all of my tweets.

My twitter stream is not about personal events or opinions, but as I worked backwards through the past year, I realized that I was, in fact, creating a map of my thinking, yearning, diverting, and learning through the 2020 (Twe’Twe) pandemic. The alt-text as poem, while highlighting the problem of access (especially in a quarantine), work backward through my compendium of mental supplements in a time of global emergency.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image by the author: “The Layers of Descent”

Gregory Betts
is a poet, professor, editor, and musician at Brock University. His most recent books include Foundry (Redfoxpress (Ireland), 2021), a collection of visual poems, and Sweet Forme (Apothecary Archive (Australia), 2020), a visualization of the sound patterns in Shakespeare’s sonnets. He is the curator of the bpNichol.ca Digital Archive and President of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. He lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.

This is Gregory Betts’ sixth above/ground press title, after The Cult of David Thompson (2005), The Curse of Canada (2008), Who Let the Mice in Brion Gysin (2014), Signs of Our Discontent (with Arnold McBay, 2018) and For a Poetry of Blot (2019). He also appeared in the four poet anthology READ YORK (2004).

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

Friday, July 16, 2021

new from above/ground press: HAWAIIAN SUNRISE, by Ken Norris


HAWAIIAN SUNRISE
Ken Norris
$5

HAWAIIAN SUNRISE

From your airplane window in the clouds
you couldn’t have imagined it.

Waves rolling in peacefully in the Hawaiian sunrise,
the depth of greenery.
All the usual dreams of coco-palms
and early morning beach volleyball.

And the sand that gets into everything

Clouds drifting idly, aimlessly,
collecting colour.

Empty hearts get happy.
And all the cameras come out.

Small white boats
bobbing and rolling in the blue.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Ken Norris
was born in New York City in 1951. He came to Canada in the early 1970s, to escape Nixon-era America and to pursue his graduate education. He completed an M.A. at Concordia University and a Ph.D. in Canadian Literature at McGill University. He became a Canadian citizen in 1985. For thirty-three years he taught Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Maine. He currently resides in Toronto.

This is Ken Norris’ seventh above/ground press chapbook, after Windward – St. Lucia Poems (1995), The Commentaries (1999), Songs For Isabella (2000), Green Wind (2010), Looking Into It (2011) and Hong Kong Blues (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