Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pearl Pirie reviews Elizabeth Robinson's Simplified Holy Passage (2015)

Pearl Pirie was good enough to provide the first review for Elizabeth Robinson's Simplified Holy Passage (2015) as #100 in her "95 Books" list. Thanks so much! See the original review here.

And of course, her chapbook is still very much available! As she writes:
Got as part of my above/ground subscription, this was a pleasure to read and re-read. Teasing apart ideas, returning, squeezing and tugging again. Meditation/reflection over a couple dozen days. As a long thought, turned over and over, how to excerpt? Part of the beauty is in how it moves, doubles back, picks up some thoughts from before, re-examines and finds new things. It suggests walking along a beach looking for the best shell, assessing the pocketed ones, throwing some back, upgrading, and walking more.
day 5

The question is how can one pick up a process and continue it after an interruption. If that is even possible.

Interruption being, after all, the most holy passage.

If not the most simple.
A bit fey and may not make sense when feeling expedient yet with a bigger view and slower mood, it seems a question that’s reasonable. It’s similar to someone admonishing “you can’t do that” while it is in the process of being done— it’s rhetorical more than real inquiry. There is only interruption and continuing. What are the holy passages in life? Can we step outside any? Some seem more soft-box and Seeming to Signify. If we are rushing past the glorious and peeved at the beautiful it doesn’t erase the beauty, just eclipse it for us by our gestures. In the garage, day 7
The man says that he thinks they can repair the leak soon.

I am not sure where I want to go, except away from here
(and that’s a metaphysical issue). Sitting beside an
as for a car battery called “Power Pro”
Being aware of the moment we are in with peripheral vision of what’s coming in, where we’ve been and self-aware enough to distinguish between inward and outward, that’s doing good work in poetry.

Monday, July 27, 2015

new from above/ground press: ins & outs, by Nicole Markotić

ins & outs
Nicole Markotić

dulge me
eh [?]

(ex)it stage

how to habit one more clinic for curables
wind about the adequacy of going
cognito. ahem

ponential posure leads
(out-there) to here

stigate (again and again) any volution
that luges and lutes, that bites, chews, wraps-around
as festations flects to the left
transigent telligensia: add a twirl, toe another footnote

she advertently paged through the bingo vincibles
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2015
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Nicole Markotić’s
books include Bent at the Spine and Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot. She has published in numerous literary journals in Canada, the USA, Australia, and Europe. She edits the chapbook series, Wrinkle Press, has worked as a freelance editor, and is on the NeWest Press board. She teaches Literature, Creative Writing, and Disability Studies at the University of Windsor, and is editing a collection of essays (for Guernica Press) on Robert Kroetsch.

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, July 21, 2015

new from above/ground press: Simplified Holy Passage, by Elizabeth Robinson

Simplified Holy Passage
Elizabeth Robinson

It seems possible that one could hate one’s place but still
love the world around it.

Image: there’s a bowl that has some spoiled food in it, but the bowl
itself represents the possibility of spilling out what

it holds—old, inedible food, the spray of a sneeze. 

The exercise
would be to know (let me work this out—)

if the place is in the world,
and the food is in the bowl,

there is, by implication, something beyond world and bowl.

Something ready to be poured, sneezed upon, a place it
is acceptable to spill what we don’t want or just

spill by accident.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2015
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Elizabeth Robinson
is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Counterpart (Ahsahta) and Blue Heron (Center for Literary Publishing). Her mixed genre meditation, On Ghosts, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award. She co-edits the literary journal Pallaksch.Pallaksch with Steve Seidenberg. With Laura Sims, Beth Anderson, and Susanne Dyckman, she co-edits Instance Press.

An earlier fragment appeared in the fifth issue of Touch the Donkey.

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, July 20, 2015

Framework: Words on the Land. Public reading and conversation w/ Hall, Blouin, Holmes, etc

Framework: Words on the Land. Public reading and conversation with 10 writers writing in-situ at Fieldwork. Sunday, August 23. 3 pm.

Fieldwork is excited to be partnering with the Ottawa International Writers Festival/Perth Chapter this year to present a new event called Framework: Words on the Land coming up on August 23 at 3pm. This event will include readings and conversations with ten writers (including a couple of past and present above/ground press authors) who will have just finished a weekend of writing in-situ at Fieldwork.

Writers:  Amanda West Lewis, Amanda Jernigan, Phil Hall, Michael Blouin, Matthew Holmes, Wayne Grady, Merilyn Simonds, Christine Pountney, Jeff Warren, Troy MacClure. For further information, including ticket information, click here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

above/ground press twenty-second anniversary reading and launch: Best, Earl + Thomas,

above/ground press twenty-second anniversary reading and launch
with readings by:

Ashley-Elizabeth Best (Kingston)
Amanda Earl (Ottawa)
+ Hugh Thomas (Montreal)
Thursday, August 27, 2014
7pm door / 7:30pm reading
Raw Sugar Cafe
692 Somerset St W, Ottawa
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
$5 at the door / includes a copy of a recent above/ground press chapbook, or a copy of Touch the Donkey!

Ashley-Elizabeth Best [pictured] is from Cobourg, ON. Her work has been published in Fjords, CV2, Berfrois, Grist and Ambit Magazine, among other publications. Recently she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her first collection of poems, Slow States of Collapse is forthcoming with ECW Press. She lives and writes in Kingston.

She will be launching her chapbook, Now You Have Many Legs To Stand On. This is her first chapbook and second publication with above/ground press, after the "poem" broadside "from Algonquin" (#315, 2012).

Amanda Earl is a troublemaker who haunts the streets & watering holes of Ottawa for inspiration. She is still in love with Kiki (Chaudiere Books, 2014), her poetry book celebrating the spirit of Montparnasse & hopes that you will be too. Find  her on Twitter @KikiFolle or read about her in secret at

She will be launching her chapbook, A BOOK OF SAINTS, an excerpt from Saint Ursula’s Commonplace Book. This is Earl’s fourth chapbook with above/ground press, after Sex First & Then A Sandwich (2012), The Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman (2008) and Eleanor (2007).

Hugh Thomas is a poet and translator who has just moved to Montreal, where he will be teaching mathematics at UQAM.  His most recent chapbook, Albanian Suite, was published by above/ground press in 2014.  His previous chapbook, Opening the Dictionary, also published by above/ground press, was shortlisted for the 2012 bpNichol chapbook award.

He will be launching a chapbook of "naive translations," Six Swedish Poets. This is his third chapbook with above/ground press, after Albanian Suite (2014) and Opening the Dictionary (2011).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"poem" broadside #334: "hymn to a fellow dark daughter" by Amanda Earl

You’re afraid of unsafe
pagan daylight. Listen—
            Amy Dennis,
The Complement and Antagonist of Black
(Or, the Definition of All Visible Wavelengths)

i. lost vodka songs

invisible light, dust mite
imp(s) of the perverse/persevere/severe
we clamour
sin(g) with the boys
beauty: our voracious appetites

ii. music like a hymnographer’s dark daughter

unsung between peaks
of colour
grace notes, French horn
& oboe
for mornings of transgressions

iii. praise in the name of the lark

black feathers
take their pleasure
in the winds of a storm
of another
fallen angel

                           * italics for the brilliant phrases of Amy Dennis in above.

hymn to a fellow dark daughter
by Amanda Earl
above/ground press broadside #334

Amanda Earl’s
first poetry book, Kiki, came out in 2014 with Chaudiere Books. She has three above/ground press chapbooks & this is her third above/ground press broadside. She’s an above/ground press subscriber & as such, had the pleasure of reading & being influenced by Amy Dennis’ chapbook. You should subscribe too.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pearl Pirie reviews Jennifer Kronovet's CASE STUDY: WITH in Arc Poetry Magazine #77

Ottawa poet Pearl Pirie was good enough to review Jennifer Kronovet's CASE STUDY: WITH (2015) as part of a group chapbook review over in Arc Poetry Magazine #77. Thanks much! This is actually the second review of Kronovet's chapbook, after Rebecca Anne Banks' review over at Subterranean Blue Poetry.
[CASE STUDY: WITH] with Jennifer Kronovet (above/ground, 2015) comes at mommy poems from a linguistics background to examine the language engine. It is communicative deep level in the way non-anecdotal poems excel. She relates we map mommy eats, mime eating, an unnatural speech to bridge to fluid speech. To endless but why? how to explain? "Why assumes because is an equal sign. Cause and effect. Before and after. Conservation of energy. No. The why that addresses me makes me in in because, a place where every answer has an equal but opposite error."