Thursday, October 29, 2015

new from above/ground press: The Charm, Jason Christie

The Charm
Jason Christie

we're no longer speaking

we are no longer speaking.
terms in which we might
continue speaking include:
a bundle of wool sweaters,
trees recently felled --
get specific they say,
and who, i say, is they,
they say i say, and so
we are no longer speaking
in terms that reflect
our disposable coffee
cups, plastic bottles, and
pink hair curlers, our dirty
diapers, curdled milk, and
mountains of cigarette
butts, our empty graves
with all that mud piled
beside, and our rotten
carrot mound, packages
and packages of blanched
almonds we never knew
what to do with, and
our GPS device, old
flip phone, VCR, and
cassette tapes, fruit
flies, Pac Man T-Shirts
we barely wore, down
we stumble as our words
catch in our throats and
we realize we're no longer
speaking to each other,
only to the virtual assistant
hanging on our every pause.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2015
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Jason Christie lives in Ottawa with his wife and toddler. He is the author of Canada Post (Snare), i ROBOT (Edge/Tesseract), Unknown Actor (Insomniac), and a co-editor of Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (Mercury). He has two other recent chapbooks from above/ground press, which were both nominated for the bpNichol Chapbook Award: GOVERNMENT (2013), and Cursed Objects (2014). He is currently writing poetry about objects.

This is his fourth chapbook with above/ground press, after 8th Ave 15th St NW. (2004), Government (2013) and Cursed Objects (2014) [currently shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award].

[Jason Christie will be launching The Charm as part of the pre-small press book fair reading at The Carleton Tavern on Friday, November 6, 2015, alongside Catina Noble, Michael e. Casteels, Claire Farley and Christian McPherson]

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, October 26, 2015

The Peter F. Yacht Club : a profile,

A short profile I put together on The Peter F. Yacht Club is now online at Open Book: Ontario, with input from Laurie Anne Fuhr, Anita Dolman, Vivian Vavassis, Peter Norman, Amanda Earl, Peter Richardson, Wes Smiderle, Janice Tokar, Pearl Pirie, Cameron Anstee, Ben Ladouceur and Marilyn Irwin.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Factory Reading Series pre-small press book fair reading, November 6, 2015: Noble, Casteels, Farley, McPherson + Christie,

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

The Factory Reading Series
pre-small press book fair reading
featuring readings by:

Catina Noble (Ottawa)
Michael e. Casteels (Kingston)
Claire Farley (Ottawa)
Christian McPherson (Ottawa)
+ Jason Christie (Ottawa)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Friday, November 6, 2015;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

[And don’t forget the ottawa small press book fair, held the following day at the Jack Purcell Community Centre]

Catina Noble: I have over 150 publications including Poetry, Short Stories, Articles/Interviews and Photography. My publications include: In/Words, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Byline Magazine, The Mindful Word, Curious: The Tourist Guide, Woman’s World, Riverview Park Review, Mainstreeter, PEN, Canadian Newcomer Magazine, Verse Afire, Y Travel Blog, Mojito Mother, Short-Story Me, Baby Post, CultivateTO, The Charlatan and Prairie Journal. I have 3 chapbooks of poetry out: Odds & Ends (Nov. 2014), Clean Up In Aisle 4 (May 2014) and Pussyfoot (May 2013). My new book is Katzenjammer, a collection of eclectic poems (Twig Works).

Michael Casteels has self-published over a dozen chapbooks of poetry and artwork. His poetry has recently appeared in: Arc, Filling Station, and BafterC. In 2012 he was nominated for the emerging artist award in The Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts. He lives in Kingston, where he runs Puddles of Sky Press. He will be launching a new chapbook with Ottawa's Apt. 9 Press.

Claire Farley [pictured] 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.

Christian McPherson
was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1970.  He is the author of seven books, Saving Her, Cube Squared, My Life in Pictures, The Sun Has Forgotten Where I Live, The Cube People (shortlisted for the 2011 ReLit Awards), Poems that swim from my brain like rats leaving a sinking ship, and Six Ways to Sunday (shortlisted for the 2008 ReLit Awards). He has a degree in philosophy from Carleton University and a computer programming diploma from Algonquin College. He is married to the beautiful Marty Carr. They have two kids, Molly and Henry. They all live together in Ottawa.

Jason Christie lives in Ottawa with his wife and toddler. He is the author of Canada Post (Snare), i ROBOT (Edge/Tesseract), Unknown Actor (Insomniac), and a co-editor of Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (Mercury). He has two other recent chapbooks from above/ground press, which were both nominated for the bpNichol Chapbook Award: GOVERNMENT (2013), and Cursed Objects (2014). He is currently writing poetry about objects. He will be launching his new chapbook, The Charm (above/ground press).

Friday, October 23, 2015

new from above/ground press: Sickly, by Katie L. Price

Katie L. Price

Dead Tissue / Living Ideas
            for Charles Bernstein

Think of dead tissue as deposited in language and writing, as the compost heap in which present language and writing grows. Suppose dead tissue as comprising an historical unconscious lived out as perception, as smell and taste, as speech. Imagine consciousness resounding with an inexhaustible repository of tissue, as a cave to be mined. And consider poetry as that mining, so the incorporation of dead tissue (call them prior texts) into a work is not simply collage or a familiar, almost comforting, defamiliarization technique, but the spiritual domain of poetry, its subject (subject-ness) percolating through.
            Tissue not dead then, though their origin is past. Or tissue dead only in the way a culture may die, be lost, its people vanish without records or monuments or memories. Tissue, then, not so much dead as submerged, melted, transubstantiated, absorbed; everywhere informing but no where fully explicable. Yet such tissue are neither solace, as a past to which we can turn, nor tools to represent the present. In this sense, dead tissue are not the stars but the heaven in which the stars gleam, not tools but tolls.
            This sense of “dead tissue” turns the phrase into an oxymoron; for tissue cannot die though we may seek to kill them. Kill them in rage that we are the mortal but they are not (“the body dies, the body’s beauty lives”). Or kill them in that perverse homage we call display: hod up, inspect, collect (as the father kills the moth for his son in Stein’s The Making of Americans: “caught him and killed him and pinned him”). Here is the root of what, ungraciously, I call tissue-ational mimesis: that tissue are static objects that can be accurately portrayed. The controlling impulse to “catch and pin” collects much more that the putative tissue; the desire to represent overwhelms the tissue represented. Thinking, which is the living idea of tissues, their flesh, consists no in representations of concepts but in a fabric or nexus of relations. Tissues are always syntactic and prosodic, constituted by the interaction of different kinds of elements—scenic, associational, historical, economic, tonal—and as such are never reducible to one type of image.
            So a second sense of “dead tissues”, suggesting a rule of always-already formulated concepts, habits of agreement running roughshod over newly formulating vistas. Call it a necroidiocracy, ideas stiffened by rigor mortis wounding flesh with their rigidity and tenchorationality: the arrogance of logic and the perniciousness of the “common sense” stereotype, each disguising its biases in the shadows of its neutrality.
            Language is the first technology, the extension of the body outward toward an articulation, forging, of the world, which is immediately transformed by this act, hence a forgery. As Stein so majestically shows in How to Write, tissues are to be enacted not entombed. Words, that is, do not signify tissues; rather, ideas are forged in the ovens of historical language practice, which means as visual representations and as sound.

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

Katie L. Price’s
writing—critical, creative, and other—has appeared in such venues as Fence, The Journal of Medical Humanities, Canadian Literature, and Jacket2, and with such presses as No Press, above/ground press, and Manchester UP. She currently directs the Academics department at a college access and success nonprofit, serves as Interviews Editor for Jacket2, and co-directs the Philadelphia Avant-Garde Studies Consortium.

This is Price's second chapbook with above/ground press, after BRCA: Birth of a Patient (2015).

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, October 21, 2015

above/ground press author Jason Christie's Cursed Objects (2014) and Ben Ladouceur's Lime Kiln Quay Road (2014) on the 2015 bpNichol Chapbook Award‏ shortlist!

Congratulations to Jason Christie (second year in a row!) and Ben Ladouceur for making the shortlist to the 2015 bpNichol Chapbook Award! Thrilled to see, also, two other above/ground press authors--Nelson Ball and Phil Hall--on the shortlist for further titles. Congratulations, all!

This is above/ground press' fourth and fourth annual appearance on the bpNichol Chapbook Award shortlist, after Jason Christie's Government (2013) made last year's list, Fenn Stewart's An OK Organ Man (2012) made the previous year's list, and Hugh Thomas' Opening the Dictionary (2011) and Elizabeth Rainer and Michael Blouin's let lie/ (2012) were shortlisted the year prior to that.

Looking forward to this year's Meet the Presses (our second annual appearance) to hear the winner! The press release for such is below (and at this link):
TORONTO – October 21, 2015 – The Meet the Presses collective is excited to announce the finalists for the 2015 bpNichol Chapbook Award. The prize, awarded annually since its establishment in 1985, goes to the author of the best poetry chapbook published in Canada in the previous year. It is named in honour of the late poet, novelist, and micropress publisher bpNichol.

Thanks to an anonymous benefactor, the purse doubled to $4,000 in 2014, making it the richest annual literary award for a poetry chapbook — a collection of no more than 48 pages. The publisher of the winning title also receives $500, thanks to an annual donation by Toronto writers Brian Dedora and Jim Smith, both of whom were friends of bpNichol.

Judges Alice Burdick of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, and Karl Jirgens of Windsor, Ontario, chose the finalists from 68 submissions from across the country. The judges felt this year’s entries included many excellent works and some remarkable book designs, commenting: “It was difficult to choose from this wealth of literary riches.”

The finalists for the 2015 bpNichol Chapbook Award are:

Nelson Ball, A Gathering (BookThug)

Jason Christie, Cursed Objects (above/ground press)

Phil Hall, Notes from Gethsemani
(Nomados Press)

Ben Ladouceur, Lime Kiln Quay Road (above/ground press)

Matt Rader, I Don’t Want to Die Like Frank O’Hara (baseline press)

Lissa Wolsak, Of Beings Alone: The Eigenface (Nomados Press)

The winner will be announced at 2 pm on November 14, 2015, at the annual Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market, which runs from 11:30 am to 5 pm at the Tranzac Club, at 292 Brunswick Avenue, in Toronto. The Market introduces the public to independent literary publishers and authors of books, chapbooks, magazines, broadsheets, and recordings that are largely not available in bookstores. The event is curated by Meet the Presses, a volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

“This award is particularly important now, three decades after its inception,” says collective member Stuart Ross. “In an era when everyone seems constantly online, it’s exciting that there is still such vital passion for poetry on the printed page, especially in such an esoteric and utterly non-commercial form as the chapbook. And that the pioneering spirit of bpNichol continues to be such an influence on writers, including many born after his death.”

More information can be found at and