Sunday, June 30, 2013

Marilyn Irwin wins the 2013 Diana Brebner Prize

above/ground press author Marilyn Irwin has won the 2013 Diana Brebner Prize for her poem “this is a silent”! Administered by Arc Poetry Magazine, this year's award was judged by Sue Sinclair, and Irwin's prize-winning poem will be featured in Arc #71, due on newsstands any day now. As the press release states:

With “its rich and unusual word combinations, this... complex short poem" was selected for the best poem written by an emerging National Capital poet in 2013.

A graduate of Algonquin College’s Creative Writing program, Marilyn Irwin has three chapbooks: for when you pick daisies (above/ground press, 2010), flicker (above/ground press, 2012), and little nothings (2012). Her work has been published by above/ground press, Bywords, ottawater, Peter F. Yacht Club, among others; and most recently, the Canadian section of New American Writing #31.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rae Armantrout to judge Lemon Hound's First Poetry Contest

For Immediate Release

June 28, 2013

wants to create better opportunities for critical writing, and one sure way to support critical writing is paying for it.  In an effort to do so, Lemon Hound announces its first poetry contest. The contest is part of a fundraising endeavor and all proceeds will go towards generating financial support for its reviewers.

LEMON HOUND is offering a $750 cash prize as well as online publication for one unpublished poem written in English. Entry deadline is November 15th, 2013. To enter visit our submittable page. Only entries submitted through our online server will be considered. Entry fee is $10 per poem. Multiple submissions are welcome, but each poem must be entered individually.

We are pleased to announce that Guggenheim Fellow (2008) and Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout will be this year’s judge. Armantrout is the widely anthologized poet whose most recent publications include: Just Saying (Wesleyan UP, 2013), Money Shot (Wesleyan UP, 2011), and Versed (Wesleyan UP, 2009), for which she won the Pulitzer in 2010 as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, San Diego.

Armantrout is also the author of the chapbook Custom (above/ground press, 2012). A second chapbook is forthcoming in fall 2013.

Monday, June 17, 2013

“poem” broadside #319: Conditions of the shudder, by rob mclennan


Bent over, everything.

The reasons for the words
were plenty, numerous

and latent.


Don’t forget to vote.

Black ants trickle
in, below



There is a fear

of writing, such
an urge

to crash.


Am like a living tomb,
so very messy.

Understating every mouth,

a girl.

Conditions of the shudder
rob mclennan
above/ground press broadside #319

The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, rob mclennan won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2011, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles is the poetry collections Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies, 2012), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater. He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

Friday, June 14, 2013

David W. McFadden wins the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize!

Last night, Christine McNair and I were fortunate enough to witness Toronto poet David W. McFadden [photo by Christine McNair of rob mclennan, David W. McFadden and David O'Meara] win the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize for his poetry collection, What's the Score? (Toronto ON: Mansfield Press, 2012). Congratulations to David, editor Stuart Ross, and publisher Denis de Klerck! 

above/ground press has been fortunate enough to publish three of his poetry chapbooks over the years -- The Death of Greg Curnoe (1995), Last Chance to Hit Balls (Six Tanka and Six Haiki) (as Genmai, 1996), and A Little Kindness (starring Jean and Jane (2002). He was also good enough to contribute "THREE DUBIOUS SONNETS" to the "Tuesday Poem" feature over at the dusie blog.

Monday, June 10, 2013

rob mclennan's The underside of the line, (2011) is reviewed online at The League of Canadian Poets' review site

Ottawa poet and editor Susan McMaster reviews The underside of the line, (2011), over at the new reviews site as part of The League of Canadian Poets website. See the original review here. There was even a previous review of the same chapbook, by Megan Burns in Rain Taxi, here.
rob mclennan, The underside of the line, (above/ground press, 2011)

reviewed by Susan McMaster

One of a series from rob mclennan’s above/ground press, this chapbook opens with a quote from Cara Benson that start, “the story goes like this: I made a poem….”We can count on rob mclennan to read and mine texts from many sources as guideposts to his own explorations — and clues for us. underside features three poems punctuated only by section numbers and commas, on his father”‘s cancer:

    have tried to understand death

    a step

    dying isn’t

on a 41st birthday:

What stays a marvel

and for the birthday of “C”:

    lived, a day


    wet pools of paper

    soft vehicles of travel,

The comma, that appears sometimes in odd places such as at the beginning of a line, acts as a soft exhale, a lyrical pause and gesture forward.

I like these poems. mclennan’s language is assonant, rhythmic, full of unexpected word conjunctions that carry readers around the idea of an emotion without forcing it on us. Although sometimes his allusions are too obscure, too self-referential — my mind drifts — when rob steps closer, he writes very well.

Monday, June 3, 2013

above/ground press author Amanda Earl with Dawn Kresan @ TREE, June 11, 2013


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

8:00 p.m. Readings – Open Mic and Featured Readers

Note LOCATION: ONE NIGHT ONLY Tree revisits The Royal Oak

On June 11 Tree will be held in the downstairs room of the Royal Oak at 161 Laurier Ave. E., Ottawa

Amanda Earl + Dawn Kresan

Amanda Earl is an Ottawa poet and blogger, author of numerous poetry chapbooks (including three with above/ground press) and managing editor of Amanda is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks published in Canada, the USA and the UK, most recently Sex First & Then A Sandwich (above/ground press, 2012). Two manuscripts, "Sessions from the Dream House Aria" and "Eve, a mere roar," a collaborative work with Sandra Ridley, have been shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Innovative Poetry Award. The managing editor of, Amanda holds an Honours BA and an MA in French Language, Literature and Translation from the University of Waterloo, and Honours BA in Translation from the School of Translators and Interpreters at the University of Ottawa.

Dawn Kresan’s poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals, including The Dalhousie Review, Carousel, Vallum, Lichen, The Windsor Review, Prairie Journal, CV2, The Antigonish Review and Event. Her first full-length poetry collection will be published by Tightrope in 2013. She lives in Kingsville, Ontario, with her husband and their daughter.

More information at: