Wednesday, October 30, 2013

new from above/ground press: tones employed as loss, by lary timewell

tones employed as loss
(a section from molecular hyperbole)
lary timewell

… and, as Ezra Pound’s eyebrows crept ever closer,
the outlaw reunion came to an abrupt end, the

I-vow-my-Troth recurring dream
hung on for dear laugh, went eventually

belly-dancing out of the room,
much to the dismay of

poets in their
heated nests

eating enchiladas, face up on the sofa like
flappers in repose. Now all that this

lights out in the bungalow means
is another possible brush with self-realization.

As the work goes on
a few perfect notes taking form within

the unshaven limits of formality,
an eternally Al Neil squeals across

the real room, the room itself
takes on the form of

a glassworks, a conversation.
May I have a word with you?

Poetry: the equivalence that licks
the baby-spoon, the scurry

of mnemonic mice, a mass of restless
piecemeal motives. The dumb

goat that bleats, that will eat
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2013
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

lary timewell
is a North Vancouver writer recently returned from 20 years in Fukushima. The co-founder and publisher of the late 1980s and early 90s Tsunami Editions, he has published a number of titles, including two recent chapbooks from Obvious Epiphanies.

The author would like to thank Pierre Coupey and Renee Saklikar for their encouragement in the writing of this piece.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 [NEW ADDRESS!] or paypal at

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Helen Hajnoczky's chapbook, The Double Bind Dictionary, is reviewed in Broken Pencil #61

Scott Bryson was good enough to review Helen Hajnoczky's chapbook, The Double Bind Dictionary (2013) in Broken Pencil #61 (despite mangling the book's title). Thanks, Scott! This is the second review of Helen's chapbook, after this one by our pal Ryan Pratt, and Broken Pencil was good enough to review the previous chapbook above/ground press produced of hers as well. Copies of The Double Bind Dictionary are still available, here.
The nine poems in this experimental collection are culled from a larger project -- called Magyarazni -- in which Helen Hajnocsky chose a Hungarian word to represent each letter of the Hungarian alphabet, then wrote a poem in English "about that word." In The Double Blind Dictionary, we get poems for all the multi-character letters: cs, dz, dzs, gy, ly, ny, sy, ty, and zs.
    Most of these poems are, fittingly, about language: the unpronouncable, the ixnexpressible and, understandably, frustration. Tongues go numb, throats are swollen, voices are "stuck in tar" and "clogged with muck." The Double Blind Dictionary thus functions like a literary quicksand pit, where deep-seated fears bubble to the surface -- like the physical manifestation of a recurring teeth-falling-out dream. There are a couple of poems about drinking, as well; it's the cure, perhaps -- the medicine that might loosen the tongue.
    It's inevitable that readers not fluent in Hungarian will be missing a piece of Hajnoczky's puzzle. That grievance aside, there are some clear successes here, most notably when Hajnoczky manipulates syllable count and near-rhyme to create the illusion of rhythmic real-rhyme. The result is a laid-back and effortless style; the words cascade down the page. There are, unfortunately, nearly as many instances where a complete absence of capitalization and frequent awkward pauses turn poems into clunky excursions.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Factory Reading Series : Jacobs, de Meijer + Francheteau, November 29, 2013;

with readings by:

JM Francheteau (Ottawa ON)
Danny Jacob (Riverview NB)
+ Sadiqa de Meijer (Kingston ON)

lovingly hosted by guest-host Brecken Hancock
Friday, November 29, 2013;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

JM Francheteau is a rural transplant based in Ottawa. In 2013 he released a chapbook, A pack of lies, and his writing has appeared in CV2, The Steel Chisel and Bywords. He has five wisdom teeth.

Danny Jacobs grew up in Riverview, NB. His poems have been published in a variety of journals across Canada, including ARC, Event, The Antigonish Review, Riddle Fence, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, Grain and CV2. After living in a number of cities and towns in the Maritimes, Danny is back in Riverview and works as the librarian in the village of Petitcodiac, NB. Songs That Remind Us of Factories is his first book.

Sadiqa de Meijer [pictured] [see her '12 or 20 questions' here] was born in Amsterdam and moved to Canada as a child. Her poetry, short stories and essays have been published in a range of journals and anthologies, including The Malahat Review, Geist, Riddle Fence and Poetry Magazine. Her first book of poems is Leaving Howe Island (Oolichan Books). A selection from the manuscript won the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

above/ground press author Fenn Stewart's An OK Organ Man (2012) on the bpNichol 2013 chapbook award shortlist!

Congratulations to Toronto poet Fenn Stewart, whose 2012 chapbook An OK Organ Man (copies are still available) is on the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award shortlist! This is above/ground press' second appearance on the shortlist, after two titles appeared on last year's list. Nice, also, to also see above/ground press authors Gil McElroy and Shannon Maguire on the list for other titles, and even one of our authors as a judge! (the press appears to be everywhere these days) Congratulations to the entire shortlist!

Here's the press release that Toronto's Meet the Presses Collective sent out today:

Congratulations: Meet The Presses Collective and the bpNichol Chapbook Award Committee are pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award.

thirteen poems for releasing love by joanne thorwaldson (leaf press)
An OK Organ Man by Fenn Stewart (above/ground)
Ordinary Time: The Merton Lake Propers by Gil McElroy (baseline press)
fruit machine by Shannon Maguire (Ferno House)
21st century monsters by ryan fitzpatrick (Red Nettle Press)
naturally speaking by Sandra Alland (espresso [paperplates press])

The winner will be announced at 2PM on Saturday 16 November 2013 at the Indie Literary Market, Tranzac Club, Toronto. A cheque for $2,000 goes to the winning poet and $500 to the winning publisher. Donors for the prizes include Anonymous ($2,000 prize), Jim Smith and Brian Dedora ($500 prize).

Judges this year are Sandra Ridley (Ottawa) & kevin mcpherson eckhoff (Armstrong, BC), who received 90 chapbooks from which they made this year's shortlist selection.

                                        ❧ ❧
In the spirit of the original Phoenix Chapbook Award, which was adjudicated for its first two years by Frank Davey and bpNichol, and continued as the bpNichol Chapbook Award for 23 years by Phoenix Community Works Foundation, the award recognizes excellence in Canadian poetry published in chapbook form. With the demise of Phoenix Community Works Foundation, the Meet the Presses collective was pleased to assume management of the award. Meet the Presses is a Toronto-based collective devoted to promoting micro, small and independent literary presses. This collective has come together in the spirit of the original Meet the Presses event begun in Toronto in the mid-1980s by Nicholas Power and Stuart Ross. Members of Meet the Presses have organized a variety of curated public events, and all the events focus on independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Meet the Presses – an unfunded and non-profit collective – consists of members Gary Barwin, Paul Dutton, Beth Follett, Hazel Millar, Leigh Nash, Nicholas Power and Stuart Ross.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Reading Series Presents Cameron Anstee, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

above/ground press author and Apt. 9 Press editor/publisher Cameron Anstee (photo by Pearl Pirie) reads this month as the feature at The Reading Series (the reading series of In/Words), hosted by Chris Johnson. Anstee has published a small handful of chapbooks, including two with above/ground press: Frank St. (2010) and Regarding Renewal (2012), both of which are still available. And who knows? He may even have a new small item for this reading as well (he usually produces some kind of small handout for readings).

The Reading Series Presents: Cameron Anstee
Wednesday, October 30 at 9:00pm
Clock Tower Brew Pub (basement), 575 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

new from above/ground press: An Overture in the Key of F, by Carrie Olivia Adams

An Overture in the Key of F
Carrie Olivia Adams

To hold in trust. It is intimate and financial. Between fidelity and fudicial is a nervous, fussy movement of your hands and a coined error. Field quickly becomes battle, which is not something my mother told me when we moved to the farm. The visible space, the space on which something is drawn or projected, the place where this information goes. Your fidgeting mitt, you’re ready to field it.

A day of maneuvers and a day of pleasure. This demon, addict, excessive fiend. Given to fighting, to flame. Once I was fifteen, like all of you, a similar coupling between tractor and trail, burdensome trifle, an often repetitive pattern, a series of movements in name only.

Made incandescent by the passage of an electrical current—to feed, satiate, make out, make whole—to fill those shoes, I cannot go back. On the course, by the wind, the fillip of your thumb. Filmland and filmdom, both gauzy in my sleep, corrupts.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2013
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Carrie Olivia Adams née Ferguson sometimes misses her old initial. She lives in Chicago, where she edits poetry for Black Ocean, publicizes books for the University of Chicago Press, and bakes biscuits to a post-metal soundtrack. She is the author of Intervening Absence (Ahsahta Press 2009) and Forty-One Jane Doe’s (book and DVD, Ahsahta 2013).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 [NEW ADDRESS!] or paypal at

Monday, October 7, 2013

JM Francheteau reviews Brecken Hancock's The Art of Plumbing (2013)

Our pal JM Francheteau was good enough to review Brecken Hancock's The Art of Plumbing (2013) over at his blog. This is actually the third review for her chapbook, after Michael Dennis [see his review here] and Ryan Pratt [see his review here]. Thanks, JM! See the original review here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

new from above/ground press: The State In Which, by Hailey Higdon

The State In Which
Hailey Higdon


The damn directions--the fact of hills, curves, can’t quite be mapped. In the blackest minutes I grow more sterile while everyone else is starting to wake up, shaking branches, bugs stick. If this were a situation with a hostage the police would be pointing their guns giving the motion calm down without the action to accompany it. There is a wild rose called lady banks which opens colors patchy but explicit on the fences around.

I woke up to a mirror. It was already March, things were in bloom, I could hear them. I wanted their motion to be bidirectional to me just like when someone says happy birthday to me my instinct is to always want it to be bidirectional, to say, “Happy birthday to you too!”

My professor would call me one of the late bloomers and not because of my small boobs because making progress in a human takes longer than a season. Sometimes producing the overall sound of excitement involves periods of bootless duty to the idea of mortality.

I’ll stop there and describe my reflection. “Wake up,” it says.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2013
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Hailey Higdon is from Nashville. She is the author of Packing (Bloof Books, 2012) and How To Grow Almost Everything (Agnes Fox, 2011).  She is friends with everyone and loves everywhere. She currently resides in Snohomish, Washington.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 [NEW ADDRESS!] or paypal at