Monday, December 29, 2014

new from above/ground press: The Peter F Yacht Club #21!

The Peter F Yacht Club #21
edited by rob mclennan
[see the link here for information on the previous issue]
[see the link here for a history of the publication]

With new writing by a host of Peter F Yacht Club regulars and irregulars alike, including Cameron Anstee, Steve Artelle, Jason Christie, Anita Dolman, Amanda Earl and Tom Walmsley, Laurie Fuhr, Marilyn Irwin, Chris Johnson, Michael Lithgow, Karen Massey, rob mclennan, Pearl Pirie, Roland Prevost and Sandra Ridley.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2014
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy
[launching tonight at the peter f yacht club annual regatta/reading/christmas party!]

above/ground press 2015 subscriptions still available!

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cameron Anstee's 2014 Poetry Chapbook Round-up: Baker, Schmaltz, Pirie + Tokar,

Ottawa poet, publisher and blogger (and above/ground press author) Cameron Anstee was good enough to mention Jennifer Baker's Abject Lessons, Eric Schmaltz' Mitsumi Elec. Co. Ltd.: keyboard poems, Pearl Pirie's today's woods and Janice Tokar's Arrhythmia as part of his 2014 poetry chapbook round-up. Thanks much!

You can see his original post here, with far more titles than the ones excised.
Jennifer Baker. Abject Lessons (above/ground press). Debut chapbook! Smart, funny, thoughtful, steeped in Ontario (literary) history. Jennifer Baker is growing as a poet and you’ll want to have this earliest one on your shelf in another few years time.

Eric Schmaltz. Mitsumi Elec. Co. Ltd.: keyboard poems (above/ground press). Visual/concrete poems build “using a disassembled keyboard, black paint, black ink, and white cardstock.” Engaging visual work taking apart and reconstituting the mechanical means of production. Possibility and order (possibility of order?) set against decay, imprecision, and disorder.

Pearl Pirie. today’s woods (above/ground press). A hugely entertaining re-telling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears that thinks through the implications of each decision in the story, and what the conditions of their home says about their family dynamic.

Janice Tokar. Arrhythmia (above/ground press). Tokar’s first chapbook (I believe). A meditative lyric sequence in 12 parts. I was glad to encounter Tokar’s work for the first time this year, and look forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

Friday, December 19, 2014

"poem" broadside #330 : "Semantic Analysis: Ways" by Jennifer Kronovet


                                      alley     highway     path    street     trail      road

[way]                               +             +             +          +          +         +
[backs of buildings]         +              -            +/-         -           -           -
[government]                   -              +            +/-       +/-       +/-     +/-
[intersections]                 +/-           -              -           +          -         +/-
[wilderness]                      -            +/-          +/-         -          +        +/-
[made for cars]                +/-          +             -           +          -          +

[way]=the features these terms share: strips of land, width shorter than length, which one can travel upon.


English doesn’t like two words to mean the exact same thing. They become magnetized. Slowly repel each other across sentences in separate rooms in separate towns in the same tongue in different mouths. Then, they warp and alter—a fish growing to the size of its bowl. A fish changing sex when the local males have left. My path, my street, my road, my alley. I own nothing, and yet I own these sentences as traffic in my mind. They own themselves as separate via words’ talent for singularity. For being multiple as roads, alleys, highways, paths, streets, trails. This is how the language owns us: by being specific and general enough to trick us into choosing a way.

Semantic Analysis: Ways
by Jennifer Kronovet
above/ground press broadside #330

Jennifer Kronovet
is the author of the poetry collection Awayward. She co-translated The Acrobat, the selected poems of Yiddish writer Celia Dropkin. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, Aufgabe, Best Experimental Writing 2014 (Omnidawn), Bomb, Boston Review, Fence, the PEN Poetry Series, Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics (Black Ocean), and elsewhere. She has taught at Beijing Normal University, Columbia University, and Washington University in St. Louis. A native New Yorker, she currently lives in Guangzhou, China.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

new from above/ground press: The Doxologies, by Gil McElroy

The Doxologies
Gil McElroy

Some sort
of afternoon. The heat
will soon be
at home
in its touches. There will be
balanced ones, & other ones
resolved in flames, & then
the sky we will be awaiting like this
will become
really rather

Do not go
away. Do not go
heavy, tired
of something in
this moment that’s going one mile west
of somewhere one mile east. Simple
attentions call, you know, a
garden of days here
in the long now.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2014
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

and don't forget 2015 subscriptions; still available!

Poems from The Doxologies appeared in Touch the Donkey #1 and #3, and online. See a recent interview with him on the series on the Touch the Donkey blog.

Gil McElroy is a poet, independent curator, and visual arts critic. He is the author of four books of poetry, a non-fiction memoir, and a collection of essays on visual art. In 2013, he was co-winner of the bpNichol Chapbook Award. McElroy currently lives in Colborne, Ontario.

This is Gil McElroy’s sixth above/ground press chapbook, after “Echolocations” (½ of STANZAS #5, April 1995), Some Julian Days (March, 1999) “Meteor Showers” (STANZAS #31, 2002), (The Work of Art) In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (November, 2005) and Twentieth (February, 2013).

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Factory Reading Series : Babineau, Christie + Johnson, January 9, 2015;

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

The Factory Reading Series presents
three readings and chapbook launches by:

Kemeny Babineau (Brantford)
Jason Christie (Ottawa)
+ Chris Johnson (Ottawa)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Friday, January 9, 2015;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

Kemeny Babineau
[pictured] is a bookseller, micro-presser, and poet living in Brantford Ontario.

He will be launching THE BLACKBURN FILES (2014), his second above/ground press chapbook after AFTER PROGRESS (2012).

Jason Christie is the author of i Robot, Canada Post, and Unknown Actor. His chapbook, Government, published by above/ground press, was shortlisted for the 2014 bpNichol Chapbook Award. Jason lives in Ottawa with his wife and their one-year old son.

He will be launching Cursed Objects (2014), his third above/ground press chapbook, after 8th Ave 15th St NW. (2004) and Government (2013).

Chris Johnson is a has-been. He used to be an editor at In/Words Magazine & Press. He used to be a student at Carleton University. His poetry has previously appeared on, The Steel Chisel, The Peter F. Yacht Club and in a few nice little zines.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rebecca Anne Banks reviews Stephen Brockwell's Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films (2014)

Rebecca Anne Banks was good enough to review Stephen Brockwell's Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films (2014) over at Subterranean Blue Poetry. Thanks, Rebecca! See the original review here.
Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films: a brilliant read from Stephen Brockwell and above/ground press.

by: Subterranean Blue Poetry
Title: Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films
Author: Stephen Brockwell
Publisher: above/ground press
Date of Publication: 2014 
Page Count: 11

“The sound of silence” by Paul Simon plays quietly in the grey lilt of a winter afternoon. Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films is a brilliant read by Canadian Poet Stephen Brockwell, born in Montreal and living in Ottawa. He has 4 published Chapbooks with above/ground press and has written 5 books of poetry, including Fruitfly Geographic (2004) which won the Archibald Lampman Award. He runs a small information technology company.

As This Writer goes to pick up the Chapbook to read, the title, “Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films” I am reminded of the movie “Dr. Strangelove” and all the slapstick paranoia associated with the nuclear weapons age. The series of poems are presented in 3 parts, the first perhaps a series of files from someone’s impressions of old film reels of nuclear tests, the second is titled “Inaudible Dispatches from Radio News” and the third is titled “Wednesday Morning, 3 AM”.

The first poems begin, he is looking at a girl, perhaps a love interest and something is wrong. Then the poems move to an image of a burning tree and perhaps the image of a man before the catastrophe or was it a trick of the light of a photo? Images of desert flowers, the sun, stars and the idea of digging with a heavy water spade. The images unfold in intrigue, mysterious, of the desert, presenting post-apocalypse landscape, someone hovering and observing. As if questioning a presentation of violence that should not be, perhaps a response on a personal level as well as a response to geopolitics and nuclear warfare.
No Date,
“Let’s Face It”,

Her hair.
Say that – all the voices

What skin tone
adjustments, I can’t
imagine – who could?
No categories for that
declassification, too much
to see it.

And of the trees,
what survival?
Match stick does not
survival make
as beautiful as sunsets.

There are no creams
for alpha particles.”
February 18-May 15, 1955,
Operation Teapot

So many objectives:

desert flowers,
mountain sunset,
cup and horizon
at the moment
of creation.

Intimate art
of dust, sand
made glass,
heart lens

of the perishable
mood, desire,
its pitch and yaw,
an orientation

flexible, but its progeny
vivid, immediate,
The second presentation of “Inaudible Dispatches from Radio News” is a running presentation of “what if” in the news with counterpoints of dialogue as if a send up of the artefact of culture that is war.

The third presentation of “Wednesday Morning, 3 AM” is a series of sentences, as if playing on the theme of silence after a bomb has been dropped. The idea of silencing, an ending after devastation, the enforcement of a power paradigm, the idea of muzzling, the end of freedom, the idea of death.

“Nothing more silencing than loss of employment in the cathedral ceilings of the boxmall.”

“Nothing more silencing than the derisive laughter of intimate companions you have never met but who have eyes and ears.”

“Intoxication seldom begins with silence, frequently erupts into deafening slurs and always ends with silence.”

“Nothing more silencing than a hand over a mouth.”

The writing immediately draws you in, the style minimalist, blunt and spare in the first presentation morphing into poetic prose with a staccato delivery. As if borrowing from the Beat Poets and the war misery of the legacy of T.S. Eliot (The Wasteland), the disconnected thought forms build a picture of emotional and perhaps actual violence. As if a reminder of the devastation of nuclear warfare and the out of control cursehold, the stranglehold of love lives and geopolitics in North America. Images from Declassified Nuclear Test Films is a study in truth and violence, a classic rendering that addresses the issues of the post-modern world as it morphs into the New Age.

Available @ above/ground press.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

new from above/ground press: transcend transcribe transfigure transform transgress, by derek beaulieu

transcend transcribe transfigure transform transgress
an essay by derek beaulieu

if poetry is going to reclaim even a shred of relevancy for a contemporary audience then poets must become competitive for your readership and viewership    as graphic design  advertising and contemporary design culture expand to redefine and rewrite how we understand communication  poetry has become ruefully ensconced in the traditional    if  as brion gysin argued  writing is fifty years behind painting then poetry is even further behind contemporary design    the vast majority of poets are trapped in the 20th (if not the 19th) century  hopelessly reiterating tired tropes    mcdonalds golden arches  the nike swoosh and the apple logo best represent the contemporary descendants of the modernist poem    poet lew welch famously wrote raids ubiquitous advertising slogan raid kills bugs dead as a copywriter at advertising firm foote  cone and belding in 1966    los angeles-based poet vanessa place argues that
today we are of an age that understands corporations are people too and poetry is the stuff of placards. or vice versa.   

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2014
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

and don't forget 2015 subscriptions; still available!

cover image by amaranth borsuk

derek beaulieu is the author or editor of 15 books, the most recent of which are Please, No more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013) and kern (Les Figues press, 2014). He is the publisher of the acclaimed no press and is the visual poetry editor at UBUWeb. Beaulieu has exhibited his work across Canada, the United States and Europe and currently teaches at the Alberta College of Art + Design. He is the 2014-2016 Poet Laureate of Calgary, Canada.

This is derek beaulieu’s sixth above/ground press chapbook, after an issue of the long poem magazine STANZAS (“calcite gours 1-19,” issue no. 38), the interview chapbook ECONOMIES OF SCALE: rob mclennan interviews derek beaulieu on NO PRESS / derek beaulieu interviews rob mclennan on above/ground press (2012) and single-author chapbooks “A? any questions? (1998), [Dear Fred] (2004) and HOW TO EDIT, Chapter A. (ALBERTA SERIES #8; 2008).

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

the return of The Peter F. Yacht Club regatta/reading/christmas party!

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan;

The Peter F. Yacht Club annual regatta/christmas party & issue launch for The Peter F Yacht Club #21: edited/produced by rob mclennan

at The Carleton Tavern (upstairs)
233 Armstrong Avenue (at Parkdale Market)
Monday, December 29, 2014
doors 7pm, reading 7:30pm

with readings from yacht club regulars and irregulars alike;

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

new from above/ground press: Strange Fits of Beauty & Light, by Karen Massey

Strange Fits of Beauty & Light
Karen Massey

Sting Me

The bees are
Busy murmurous birds, are
Pure mead, are
Tiny emerald flames, are
Small red hats or parasols, are
Jocund sunshine laughing, are
Shimmers in the wind;
Tough little lacquered summer wings
Source: “April Time” or “Nesting Time” or “When
the Bobolink Comes”  May 4, 1894

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2014
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

and don't forget 2015 subscriptions; still available!

Karen Massey lives in Ottawa, between the canal and the river. Her poetry has won numerous prizes and been published in literary journals and anthologies including Decalogue: Ten Ottawa Poets (Chaudiere Books). Her erasure poetry has appeared in anthologies including Bukowski Erasure Poetry Anthology (Silver Birch Press, 2014) and online at the Chaudiere Books blog,, ottawater, Bukowski on Wry, and in Là Bloom, the special Bloomsday issue of the Found Poetry Review featuring poetry sourced from James Joyce’s Ulysses.

The source for these erasure poems is Lampman’s Sonnets 1884-1899: Complete Sonnets of Archibald Lampman. Edited and with an introduction by Margaret Coulby Whitridge. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1976.

Archibald Lampman was born in Morpeth, Ontario in 1861, came to Ottawa in 1883, and died here in 1899. Whitridge called him “Canada’s most outstanding lyrical poet and exponent of the sonnet.”

[Karen Massey launches Strange Fits of Beauty & Light in Ottawa as part of The Factory Reading Series, December 12, 2014, alongside Pearl Pirie and Marilyn Irwin]

This is Karen Massey’s second above/ground press chapbook, after Bullet (1999).

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