Monday, November 25, 2013

"poem" broadside #322: The Key of N, by rob mclennan

Dividends, bewildered powers. Stretch-marks, nursery. Secondary heart-beat. Listen: blood pools, pulse, the powdered structure. Spilling forth. Grammatic, slowness. Slowness of the ground, the passage, seasons’ fall. Belonging to. Fragments, disappear. The sun sometimes divides, a music. Pressure points. Take pleasure in, a run-on, run-off. Sentenced. Is the theme of voice. Montage, a vessel. What, you hold her. Listen, pulse. Attention, all. As if to recognize.

The Key of N
from Glossary of Musical Terms
by rob mclennan
above/ground press broadside #322
produced as above/ground press’
700th publication, October 2013
Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan’s most recent titles include the forthcoming notes and dispatches: essays (Insomniac press, 2014) and The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014), as well as the poetry collection Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies, 2012), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). 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, November 22, 2013

The Reading Series Presents Amanda Earl, Wednesday, November 27, 2013

above/ground press author and AngelHousePress (as well as editor/publisher Amanda Earl [to be inducted into the 2014 VERSeFest Hall of Honour] (photo credit: Charles Earl) reads this month as the feature at The Reading Series (the reading series of In/Words), hosted by Chris Johnson. Earl has published a small handful of chapbooks, including three with above/ground press: E l e a n o r (2007), The Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman (2008), and Sex First & Then A Sandwich (2012), all of which are possibly (most likely) still available. She may even have a new small item for this reading as well (sometimes she produces small publications for readings).

The Reading Series Presents: Amanda Earl
Wednesday, November 27 at 9:00pm
Clock Tower Brew Pub (basement), 575 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario

See the facebook event here:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

book launch! Ground rules: the best of the second decade of above/ground press 2003-2013

Produced to begin the re-launch of Ottawa literary publisher Chaudiere Books, co-publishers rob mclennan and Christine McNair invite you to the launch of Ground Rules: the best of the second decade of above/ground press 2003-2013.

Co-sponsored by our friends at the Ottawa International Writers Festival and The Manx Pub, the event will feature readings by three of the book’s contributors: Sharon Harris (Toronto), Marilyn Irwin (Ottawa) and Stephen Brockwell (Ottawa). The event will be (lovingly) hosted by Chaudiere Books co-founder, editor and co-publisher rob mclennan.

5pm, Saturday, December 7, 2013
The Manx Pub
370 Elgin Street, Ottawa

Sharon Harris is a Toronto artist/writer whose poems have been anthologized in The Broadview Introduction to Literature, The Last Vispo, and Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry. She is the author of chapbooks from bookthug, In Case of Emergency Press, and above/ground, and her first full-length collection, Avatar, was published by The Mercury Press. She has written articles for Geist, The Globe & Mail, and Open Book Toronto;  is a past contributor to Torontoist and Word Magazine; and her work has been published in The National Post, dANDelion, The Capilano Review, Drunken Boat, The Volta, broken pencil, and Vallum. I Love You Toronto, her exhibition of photographs, appeared in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television across Canada.

Marilyn Irwin’s work has been published by above/ground press, Arc, Bywords, and New American Writing. A graduate of Algonquin College’s Creative Writing program, she has three chapbooks: for when you pick daisies (2010), flicker (2012), and little nothings (2012). She won Arc Poetry Magazine’s Diana Brebner Prize this year.

Stephen Brockwell cut his writing teeth in the eighties in Montreal, appearing on French and English CBC Radio and in the anthologies Cross/cut: Contemporary English Quebec Poetry and The Insecurity of Art (both VéhiculePress, 1982). George Woodcock described Brockwell's first book, The Wire in Fences (Balmuir, 1987) as having an extraordinary range of empathies and perceptions. Harold Bloom wrote that Brockwell's second book, Cometology (ECW Press, 2001), held rare and authentic promise. Fruitfly Geographic won the Archibald Lampman award for best book of poetry in Ottawa in 2005. His Complete Surprising Fragments of Improbable Books is newly out from Mansfield Press. Brockwell currently operates a small IT consulting company from the 7th floor of the Chateau Laurier and lives in a house perpetually under construction.

Working out of Ottawa, poet and publisher rob mclennan’s baby, above/ground press, marks a second decade of the production of broadsheets, chapbooks, magazines, and anthologies that trace out the best shapes of the best of contemporary Canadian (and, increasingly, international) poetry. From the span of that second ten of years, he has compiled this book of traceries: a selection of work by writers ranging from the likes of the late Artie Gold, and Robert Kroetsch, to the living derek beaulieu, Rachel Zolf, Eric Folsom, Natalie Simpson, etc., all collected here as representative of a decade’s aesthetic count.
                        from Gil McElroy’s “Introduction: An Integral”

Edited by rob mclennan, with an introduction by Gil McElroy, Ground Rules features writing from the second decade of one of the most active micro publishers in Canada, selected from a series of hundreds of publications lovingly edited, produced and distributed by editor/publisher rob mclennan. A follow-up to Groundswell: best of above/ground press, 1993-2003 (Broken Jaw Press, 2003), Ground Rules includes a wide range of work by Artie Gold, Mark Cochrane, Suzanne Zelazo, derek beaulieu, Stephanie Bolster, Amanda Earl, Nathanaël, Lisa Samuels, Rachel Zolf, Sharon Harris, D. G. Jones, Julia Williams, Eric Folsom, Gregory Betts, Natalie Simpson, Aaron Tucker, Monty Reid, William Hawkins, Emily Carr, Cameron Anstee, Helen Hajnoczky, Marilyn Irwin, Stephen Brockwell, Robert Kroetsch and rob mclennan.

Copies of the book will be available at the event. See the OIWF link to the event here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

new from above/ground press: @BillMurray in Purgatorio, by nathan dueck

@BillMurray in Purgatorio
nathan dueck

Dante Alighieri @DanteAlighieri

May these hashtags thy tune accompany:
#nicktheloungesinger croons show whilst I troll
#toddthenerd with mockery virtual.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2013
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Produced, in part, as a handout for Meet the Presses, November 16, 2013 in Toronto (while supplies last). Thanks much to Gary Barwin for his help and support.

The last two letters of nathan dueck’s first name & the first letter of his last spell “and.” only, he prefers writing it “&.” He is the author of king’smère (Turnstone Press, 2004) and he’ll (Pedlar Press, forthcoming).

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, November 4, 2013

Jordan Abel's chapbook, Scientia, is reviewed in Broken Pencil #61

Alma Talbot was good enough to review Jordan Abel's chapbook, Scientia (2013) in Broken Pencil #61. Thanks, Alma! Although why is the reviewer obsessed with calling such a small publication a 'zine? As though there is no other lens through which to consider small publishing. This is the second review of Abel's chapbook, after our pal Ryan Pratt discussed such, here. Copies of Scientia are still available, here.
Jordan Abel's Scientia had me thinking for a long time before I actually sat down to write this review. The eight poems and their corresponding images work together in dealing with negative space and absent language. This zine seemed to rely more on what was missing than what was given. For example, each of the images is the white block figure of an insect--the insect for whih the corresponding poem is titled--against the scattered text of the poem. "The author", who appears sporadically within the poetry, is hidden amongst the scientific language of the words. The mind-tangling author/subject/poem relationship is almost like a code, and had me succumbing to the powers of Google as I hit a brick wall at names like, "Pterophylla atlanta". This is one of the more complex zines I've read recently, with a lot to mull over in the language of this zine.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Amanda Earl to be inducted into the 2014 VerseOttawa Hall of Honour!

above/ground press author Amanda Earl (see information on her three above/ground press titles here and here and here) is one of two inductees in the 2014 VerseOttawa Hall of Honour, following the announcement of William Hawkins (another above/ground press author) and Greg "Ritalin" Frankson for 2013. Congratulations, Amanda!

The VERSeOttawa Hall of Honour is an independent body with close to ties to VERSeOttawa and VERSeFest. It was formed to recognize the important contributions of individuals to the Ottawa poetry community.

An induction ceremony will be held on March 30th, 2014 – the final day of VERSeFest ’14.

As the press release begins:

It is with great pleasure that the VERSeOttawa Hall of Honour announces the two inductees for 2014: Amanda Earl and Danielle K.L. Gregoire.

Amanda Earl is a fearless and supportive promoter of poetry and poets in Ottawa, and she is a long-time poet herself. She is a very visible and active member of the community. Through her organizational work, she promotes and encourages poets — emerging and established, and of diverse styles. The Ottawa poetry community would not be what it is without Amanda’s contributions through Bywords and her many other important contributions. In these activities, Amanda Earl is vital in keeping the poetic arts alive and thriving in the Capital.
See the entire press release here.

Amanda Earl will also be doing a lecture as part of The Factory Reading Series' VERSeFest fundraiser later this month!