Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ryan Pratt's Favourite Poetry of 2015 : Jason Christie

Ryan Pratt has posted his "Favourite Poetry of 2015" list, and was good enough to include Jason Christie's fourth above/ground press chapbook, The Charm (2015), as part of his ten-title list of books and chapbooks. Thanks so much! And of course, copies of Christie's title, as well as his prior two (here and here) are very much still available.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

the peter f yacht club regatta, 2015

Another year has come and nearly gone, which means we've held our annual Peter F. Yacht Club Christmas party/reading/regatta at Parkdale Market's Carleton Tavern (I seem to have reported on the event from two years ago, but not last year's, for some reason). Pearl Pirie was also good enough to post her own report as well.

Last night was a half-packed house with readings by PFYC regulars Cameron Anstee, Amanda Earl, Marilyn Irwin, Chris Johnson, Ben Ladouceur (pictured, above), Karen Massey, myself, Roland Prevost, Monty Reid (pictured, below), Peter Richardson and Janice Tokar. After an exhausting non-stop four days of Christmas travel and social, six-months-pregnant Christine McNair was exhausted, and sent her regrets, as did more than a couple of others, including at least one unable to appear for the sake of snowstorm concerns.

There were readings, books, chapbooks, cookies and cupcakes, all part of our casual mid-holiday holiday gathering. And drinks. And a few loaves of banana and zucchini bread floating around the room as well. Oh, and festive merriment. Yes, yes.
And: even though you missed the event, you can still pick up a copy of the new issue, here. Otherwise, the next events through The Factory Reading Series have yet to be scheduled, but there are already plans afoot for the launch of the next issue of ottawater, and readings by a variety of writers, including Gary Barwin and Julie Morrissy, as well as appearances by Anne Boyer and Ben Ladouceur as part of our slot at this year's VERSeFest; keep an eye out here for details, or keep checking (obviously). And you know about the above/ground press 2016 subscriptions?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

new from above/ground press: The Peter F. Yacht Club #23

The Peter F. Yacht Club #23
produced for The Peter F. Yacht Club regatta/reading/christmas party, December 28, 2015!
edited by rob mclennan
[see the link here for information on the previous issue]

[see the link here for a recent profile on The Peter F. Yacht Club]
[see the link here for a history of the publication]

With new writing [and artwork!] by a host of The Peter F. Yacht Club regulars and irregulars, including Cameron Anstee, Jason Christie, Anita Dolman, Amanda Earl, Claire Farley, Marilyn Irwin, Chris Johnson, Ben Ladouceur, N.W. Lea, Karen Massey, Gil McElroy, rob mclennan, James K. Moran, Dylan Moran-Dolman, Peter Norman, Pearl Pirie, Roland Prevost, Monty Reid, Peter Richardson, Janice Tokar and Chris Turnbull.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2015
a/g subscribers [2016 subscriptions still available!] receive a complimentary copy

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 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Amanda Earl : A Celebration of Canadian Visual / Concrete Poetry : Brick Books

Amanda Earl's expansive two-part post, A Celebration of Canadian Visual / Concrete Poetry, is now online [see part one here and part two here] as part of Brick Books' ongoing Celebration of Canadian Poetry. As part of her post, she features statements and work by an array of above/ground press authors (and not-yet-authors), including: Chris Turnbull, Jordan Abel, Gary Barwin, Derek Beaulieu, Michael e. Casteels, Judith Copithorne, Helen Hajnoczky, Donato Mancini, Billy Mavreas, kevin mcpherson eckhoff, gustave morin, michèle provost, a rawlings, Shane Rhodes, Eric Schmaltz [above: his “Desire — an extract from The Assembly Line Babel”] and Eric Zboya.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"poem" broadside #337 : from REMAINS, by Eric Schmaltz

by Eric Schmaltz
produced for the Lit Bang Pop-Up Shop: Chapbook Exchange, November 26 - December 20, 2015, Toronto, Ontario.
above/ground press broadside #337
This piece is excerpted from a suite of visual poems tentatively titled “REMAINS.” These poems were originally composed in 2013 when I contacted a poet from eastern Canada whom I found on Kajiji. They were offering to write poems on-demand for one dollar per poem. I sent him a series of prompts & requested fifteen. I intended to publish & perform the poems as my own. However, after reading them, I thought they would be better if they were burnt. I individually lit each poem aflame. I then scanned their ashes on a desktop scanner, which resulted in poems like the one included here.

Eric Schmaltz is a writer, reviewer, curator, and editor. His work has appeared in various places online and in print including Open Letter, Rampike, Poetry is Dead, dead (g)end(er), and ditch. Eric lives in Toronto where he co-curates the AvantGarden reading series. In 2014, above/ground press produced his chapbook MITSUMI ELEC. CO. LTD.: keyboard poems.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

new from above/ground press: The Rose Concordance, by rob mclennan

The Rose Concordance
rob mclennan

Wednesday’s child is full of whoa

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2015
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Originally published in Ottawa by Apostrophe Press as a handout for a reading as part of The Sawdust Reading Series, August 19, 2015. Thanks much to Jennifer Pederson and Liam Burke.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of nearly thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles include notes and dispatches: essays (Insomniac press, 2014), The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014) and the poetry collection If suppose we are a fragment (BuschekBooks, 2014). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (, Touch the Donkey ( 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

This is rob mclennan’s millionth above/ground press chapbook, including, most recently, Texture: Louisiana, (2015), How the alphabet was made, [an instructional] (2014), from Hark: a journal (2014),  The creeks, (2013), The Laurentian Book of Movement (with Christine McNair; 2013), Trace, (2013), Poem beginning with a line by Pinder (2012), goldfish: studies in fine thread, (2012), Notes, on the subject of marriage (2012), Prelude: selections from a collaboration (with Christine McNair; 2012), This, circular tower (2012), Sextex: six poems from Songs for little sleep, (2012), The underside of the line, (2011), metric: a collaboration (with Lea Graham; 2011) and First you know, and then so ordinary (2010).

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

micro-presses in Canada : above/ground press as part of Brick Books' ongoing Celebration of Canadian Poetry

above/ground press has a short write-up (with plenty of links) as part of a list of micro-presses in Canada, compiled by Kitty Lewis as part of Brick Books' ongoing Celebration of Canadian Poetry. Thanks so much! Other presses on the list also include presses by a number of former and current above/ground press authors, including Amanda Earl's AngelHousePress, Cameron Anstee's Apt. 9 Press, derek beaulieu's NO Press, Kemeny Babineau's Laurel Reed Books, Pearl Pirie's phafours, Stuart Ross' Proper Tales Press, Meredith and Peter Quartermain's Nomados Literary Publishers, Gary Barwin's serif of nottingham and Nicole Markotić's Wrinkle Press.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

new from above/ground press: assignment: zero

assignment: zero

a series of responses to Crosscut Universe:  Writing on Writing from France, ed. & trans. Norma Cole
with poems by:
Frances Boyle
Amanda Earl
Claire Farley
Rosemarie Krausz
Barbara Myers
Dawn Steiner
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2015
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Frances Boyle is the author of Light-carved Passages (BushchekBooks, 2014) and Portal Stones (Tree Press, 2014), which won the Tree Reading Series chapbook contest. Her poetry and fiction appear, among other place, in The New Quarterly, Vallum, ottawater, Prairie Fire, CV2, Fiddlehead, Room, Moonset and anthologies on such topics as form poetry, Hitchcock, and daughters remembering their mothers. Prizes she’s received include This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt, and Arc’s Diana Brebner Prize.

Amanda Earl is a feisty bitch who refuses to do things in half measures. See Kiki (Chaudiere Books, 2014) and Coming Together Presents Amanda Earl (Coming Together, 2014). Also A Book of Saints (above/ground press, 2015). She’s taken several of rob’s workshops and always benefits, thanks to rob’s philosophy of exposing students to unconventional contemporary writing, and also to the comments and work of each poet, always quite different from her own. Read about Amanda’s myriad shenanigans at or find her on Twitter @KikiFolle.

Claire Farley is from Québec's Outaouais region. She is the co-founder and editor of Canthius, a feminist literary journal. She has writing forthcoming in some mark made, a limited edition publication considering hybrid, material literary practices.

Rosemarie Krausz is a psychologist and psychoanalyst living in Ottawa, who is dedicating her retirement to writing poetry.  She is also a child of Holocaust survivors, which informs many of her poems.

Barbara Myers: I grew up in Halifax but have lived most of my adult life in Ottawa. I first got paid for writing as a girl reporter for The Halifax Mail-Star in the era of typewriters and linotype hot metal composition. More recently—over the past couple of decades—I added a laptop or two in order to contribute poetry, essays and book reviews to many journals and anthologies. Slide, a full-length poetry collection, was a finalist for the Archibald Lampman award (2010). For eight years an active member of Arc Poetry Magazine’s board of directors, I also facilitated the Wellington Street Poets collective and produced frequent collections of the group’s work (as Firegrass Press), including a memorial chapbook of the work of late Ottawa poet Maureen Glaude. The work these days is to put together a new book of poems.

Dawn Steiner began writing poetry under the guidance of Stephanie Bolster in 1997. She has produced three chapbooks The Ties that Bind (1999), Freeze Frame (2000) and Reflections (2001). She was a member of The Wellington Street Poets. The Wellington Street Poets collaborated on five chapbooks: A Capella (1998), Bouquet (1999), Black Leather (2001), All in the Waiting (2002), A Closer Look (2004) and The Temperature of Dreams (2005) and have produced a collection in book form called Oblique Strokes (2007). Her poems have appeared in The Algonquin Roundtable Review, The Voice, Local Lines and Bywords. She is currently working on a collection of her poems.

assignment: zero emerges from rob mclennan’s fall 2015 poetry workshop, in which participants were asked to ‘respond’ to a work of their choice from the anthology Crosscut Universe:  Writing on Writing from France, ed. & trans. Norma Cole (Providence RI: Burning Deck, 2000).

For information on the next workshop conducted by rob mclennan, click here.

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

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 #23: edited/produced by rob mclennan

at The Carleton Tavern (upstairs)
233 Armstrong Avenue (at Parkdale Market)
Monday, December 28, 2015
doors 7pm, reading 7:30pm

with readings from yacht club regulars and irregulars alike, including Karen Massey, Monty Reid, Chris Johnson, Brecken Hancock, Janice Tokar, Marilyn Irwin, Cameron Anstee, Ben Ladouceur, Roland Prevost and Amanda Earl etc.

Monday, November 30, 2015

"poem" broadside #336 : from these actual lines (for William Hawkins), by Cameron Anstee

from these actual lines (for William Hawkins)
by Cameron Antee
above/ground press broadside #336
Cameron Anstee lives and writes in Ottawa ON where he runs Apt. 9 Press and is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Ottawa. He has published chapbooks with Baseline Press (London ON), above/ground press (Ottawa ON), The Emergency Response Unit (Marmora ON), and In/Words (Ottawa ON). He is the editor of The Collected Poems of William Hawkins (Chaudiere Books, 2015).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lyndsay Kirkham reviews Kate Schapira’s The Motions (2014) in Broken Pencil #69

Lyndsay Kirkham reviews Kate Schapira’s The Motions (2014) in Broken Pencil #69. Thanks so much! This is actually the first review of Schapira’s second above/ground press chapbook.

The 23 poems of The Motions are untitled, and all sit with a similar stubborn complacency against the edge of the white page. Similar in length and space-taking, these poems, on first glance, are interchangeable, when really, they tell a story when read as a collective tale of home, geography and minutiae.
            Despite a dedication to the verisimilitude of our lives, big themes waves to the reader when reflecting on the collection as a whole. These themes are then expertly whittled down to sharper points within the smaller and more nuanced pieces. The cohesion of Schapira’s work is one of its greatest features and calls one back inside the interior of these small glimpses of reflection.
            A reader is invited into the poet’s imagined spaces, to touch the “white comforters of her place” and linger in the crevices between the “local history” and the ephemera of a life-lived. Attention is paid to exacting an image, of creating perfect dioramas within each and every poem that fill The Motions. These precise snapshots are carried and crafted with a precise use of language that is without pretention or pomposity. They are words; they are doing work.
            Shapira’s collection repeatedly asks questions we are invited to use in disrupting the organized rooms of poetry offered throughout The Motions. It is in the questions – a patterned and obvious motif of the collection – where one detects a quiet but persistent rage; the questions swirl around the rest of the words, filling up the deliberately large white space. Readers feel magically observant, wanting to point toward the slipping mask of the landscapes that come to us as masked quiet and calm. This bubbling disquiet becomes a theme of its own with geographical, political and micro implications.
            The final poem in the 2014 collection doesn’t sew anything up for readers. The questions haven’t been answered and they are left with you in all their petite and crafted beauty: “I who wait/ on the rock hide my/ gravity, fail to remember/ filling with names. Caught/ as the stems of signs, pickets catch/ and resist”.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

launch of ryan fitzpatrick's dealingwithit.gif, November 28 (Vancouver,

Vancouver poet ryan fitzpatrick launches his latest above/ground press chapbook, dealingwithit.gif (2015) in Vancouver! See the facebook invitation here, where they say:
Saturday, November 28
at 7:30pm in PST
The Paper Hound Bookshop
344 West Pender St., Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 1T1

Come by The Paper Hound Bookshop Sat. Nov 28 at 7:30 for the launch of ryan fitzpatrick's dealingwithit.gif, with readings from Danielle LaFrance and Jordan Abel. There'll be free wine!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Michael Lake reviews Roland Prevost’s Parapagus (2012) in Broken Pencil #69

Michael Lake reviews Roland Prevost’s Parapagus (2012) in Broken Pencil #69. Thanks so much! This is actually the first review of Prevost’s second last above/ground press chap (this one has appeared since).

“A backfield dig unearths two gleaming pre-human / Skulls.”
            So begins Roland Prevost’s suite of short poems about an encounter between some archaeologists and the remains of an ancient two-headed woman, the parapagus of the title. The woman’s story emerges delicately through meditations on the life of her anomalous body: “Female adult remains. Survival to maturity / Suggests an acceptance of strangeness.” We catch glimpses of her sex life and the struggle between her two selves, but rather than focus much on the particular deviances of this body, Prevost plays with notions of otherness, exploring how and why it is perpetuated: “Assorted reactions of gawkers, reverencers. / A notoriety: across families, tribes. Across to us, / Three species down evolution’s stream.”
            The perception of otherness goes both ways as Prevost imagines what the two-headed woman would think of us: “They wouldn’t recognize us as kin.” All of this unfolds succinctly in ten swift poems, the titles of which are, at first, frustratingly oblique – [ magical beliefs ] + { meats rendered } or [ passive aggressive ] + { bound } are two such title examples—but upon a second read, they become helpful thematic markers, like an archaeological site, if you will. Parapagus is a short read, but one that will reward an attentive audience.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Michael Lake reviews Gil McElroy’s Twentieth (2013) in Broken Pencil #69

Michael Lake reviews Gil McElroy’s Twentieth (2013) in Broken Pencil #69. Thanks so much! This is actually the first review of McElroy’s second last above/ground press chap (this one has appeared since). And, while we might think that the reviewer might need to read a bit more (why do so many reviewers from Broken Pencil say things like “I don’t get it, therefore the author needs to do more work”?), we very much appreciate his attention.
The eight poems in Gil McElroy’s latest chapbook are each a hazy snapshot of an early-twentieth century French poet or artist. We get Tzara, Picabia, Breton, Apollinaire, and some perhaps less familiar names like Desnos, Eluard, and Aragon. The poems’ titles indicate their subject, but any other reference [to] the artist’s life or work will likely have no entry point for the average reader.
            In “Aragon,” McElroy writes: “Wednesday it happened./ Cushy foreskins, suddenly./ Her breasts/ His marriage/ Broom broom”. Or from “Picabia”: “A dream/ should cure me, a sock in/ one’s pocket that turns/ into salmon outfits”. The writing is always vivid, but the specificity of McElroy’s allusions is lost without a larger conceptual framework in which to understand them. We are left without any indication as to where these poems are rooted: is it biography, interpretation of the artist’s work, or McElroy himself?
            Each poem is in two parts, the second of which is presented as footnotes of sorts. The writing in these sections have a feverish intensity gained through repetition and surreal imagery and is the most compelling part of the collection. From “Breton”: “In my sleep I see Breton in the trees./ Breton will be everything I’ve ever lost./ Breton will be drawing a crowd, Breton all alone./ Breton you notice./ Breton is passing by.”
            Twentieth could have benefitted from an author’s note to better position readers in this unfamiliar terrain. As it is, the handling of a very niche subject will leave many readers feeling on the outside of McElroy’s vision.