Thursday, June 30, 2016

new from above/ground press: Taxicab Voice, by Neil Flowers

Taxicab Voice
Neil Flowers


A government man
A regular cheque
A three-piece suit
Boots that shine
like Buddy's cornet

Those skinny arms
yellow bruises
skag lines moan
like Billie or Chet

       (Trumpet solo, then
       the singer vamps
       scatting the intro, then

O careless love,
look what careless love
has done to me

Not to mention
everyone else

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Neil Flowers
, aka Neil Whiteman, aka Monk Besserer, and likely several other aliases that he’s long forgotten, was born in Montreal and has lived in Italy, Mexico, the U.S., and on Saltspring Island, BC. In the late 60s and early 70s, he studied literature at Carleton University, including being a member of Robert Hogg’s seminar in modern and contemporary poetry. As well as being a poet, Neil has worked as an actor, director, and writer for radio, theatre, and film. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he works as a screenwriter and script doctor, and teaches screenwriting. A distant ancestor, Robert Flowers, a British soldier stationed at Lake Champlain who fled America for Canada when the Yanks more or less won their revolution, helped found the town of New Carlisle in the Gaspé.

Neil transcribed and edited the public poetry reading that effectively became the anthology Northern Comfort (Ottawa, ON: Commoners’ Press, 1973). See a recent interview with him, conducted by rob mclennan on the project, here.

Taxicab Voice was written over a period of several years in several places but chiefly in Ottawa, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles.

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, June 28, 2016

Anstee, Hogg, Folsom, Morton, Praamsma, Best etc at Kingston, Ontario's Artfest, July 1-3, 2016

above/ground press authors Cameron Anstee, Robert Hogg, Eric Folsom, Colin Morton, Wanda Praamsma and Ashley-Elizabeth Best, among a mound of others, perform as part of "Poets at Artfest II" at Kingston, Ontario's Artfest, from July 1 to 3, 2016. For more information, check out the Facebook event page, here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

new from above/ground press: NEW LIFE, by Stephen Collis

Stephen Collis

Fearful Symmetry

It’s the
fiercer ones
cub scout and
binocular girl
crow in a yard
all hooligan smoke
no clam shell peeps
gets it done in
piece by piece
algebra of
look I got up
again today
heart torn by
all the hooks in it
weights dangle from
leaders on
lines running deep
in dark seas
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Stephen Collis
is the author or editor of over a dozen books, the most recent of which, Once in Blockadia (Talon Books, September 2016), is a poetic documentary of climate justice activism as well as a rethinking of the long landscape poem for the Anthropocene. He lives in Tsawwassen BC, on unceded Coast Salish Territory.

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, June 22, 2016

lunch poets: Hogg, Anstee, Whiteman + Flowers,

Yesterday afternoon, a variety of poets descended upon our house for a lunch that turned into nearly five hours of lunch, conversation, gossip and wine: Bruce Whiteman, Robert Hogg [see information on his most recent above/ground press title here], Cameron Anstee [see information on his most recent above/ground press title here] and Neil Flowers.

Neil (also known as Neil Whiteman, brother of Bruce) was coming through town to pick up copies of his new above/ground press chapbook (watch for an announcement for such later this month), and thought it might be an opportunity for old and new friends to enjoy some time together. For those unaware, Neil Flowers had been a student of Robert Hogg's at Carleton University, and transcribed and edited the public poetry reading that effectively became the anthology Northern Comfort (Ottawa, ON: Commoners’ Press, 1973) [see my recent interview with him on the project here] before leaving town for a lengthy career in film in Los Angeles.

We had many drinks and much conversation. Bruce, whom I haven't actually seen since 1995 (a year after meeting him), has since relocated to Los Angeles and Ohio before finally returning to Toronto. Hogg, on the other hand, I discovered, might be one of the very few that attended both the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference as well as the 1965 Berkeley Conference. We spoke of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, of Ken Norris, Judith Fitzgerald, Raymond Souster and Stan Rogal, and other poetry odds and sundries, and even went through an old photo album that Hogg had thought to bring along (he regaled us with numerous stories throughout). We'd hoped to be able to include William Hawkins as part of the gathering as well, but he wasn't up for a visit this time around.

We, of course, thank Christine McNair's generous patience throughout the day, as she corralled our young ladies. Rose would float through occasionally, seeking strawberries, and Aoife sat with us now and then, barely saying a word.

Monday, June 20, 2016

new from above/ground press: Partial List of Things I’m Responsible For, by Lesley Yalen

Partial List of Things I’m Responsible For
Lesley Yalen

For the birth of my children

For the way they came out

The way they came screaming out

For the moment of conception

The state of the world at that moment

The violence of the world

The way it came screaming

Writhing, horrifying itself

I am responsible for my own birth

The way I curled up against change

Offended by light

The way I changed and changed

But ached and arched

For protection and received it

Until life crashed my face

Lungs heaving

Mouth taking over for tube

Intestines ready to make waste
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Lesley Yalen’s
poetry collection The Hearts of Vikings was published by Natural History Press in 2015. She is also the author of two chapbooks, This Elizabeth and The Beginning In. She lives in Western Massachusetts and works at the Yiddish Book Center.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Greg Bem reviews Sarah Mangold's A Copyist, an Astronomer, and a Calendar Expert (2016)

Greg Bem reviews four Sarah Mangold titles, including her A Copyist, an Astronomer, and a Calendar Expert (above/ground press, 2016), a chapbook still very much available, over at Queen Mob's Teahouse. Thanks so much! This is the first review of Mangold's latest, and you can see his full review here.
Within the chapbook in front of you is a realm of logic. This realm provides ifs and subsequently thens. There are statements. There are truths. This sturdy poetics may appear as sturdy poetics, as straightforward, but Mangold’s image craft here is potent and affects bluntness elementally. The image, then, is additive and though the truth and the beauty within often reach excessive heights, an apparently intentional concentration on image is hardly decorative. Mangold’s utilization of the image is a space to channel feeling. Pools of emotions. Laborious. The laboratory. The nearly alchemical in a very subtle but very harmonious (a la sober meets drunk, to use an analogy the book inspired within me as the reader) experimental process of discovery and offerings.
Makes us feel weight of mountains/ / Float of a cloud/ (3)
This is not the medieval experimentation of dragon’s breath and spider’s silk. Mangold provides in this chapbook the hallucinogenic expression of the pastoral. A 21st century nod to a transcendental escape of exploration: clouds and mountains reoccurring. The imagery a phantasmagoria, a sequence of sets of spaces and descriptions. And that which can be seen: how do we see it? Less tension and more conjoining, more bridge, is present in the metalogic Mangold uses as fixative, as binding agent, as lubricant for her condensed collection of works: “There is in it no place for / individuality     Prevalent emotion    progressive tints    horizon” (4).

As a supplement to the grand and the total that can be seen in her other works, this book has its place as an incision, as a compass, as a guide. It offers insights into how Mangold’s work as a poet is combinatory, serialized. Writing as ethereal and whispering as Robin Blaser, to use an example poet whose tones find their own mirrors here, in ways, sets itself out in front of the reader and is gentle, meditative, open to be found, open to be applied. Mangold has provided us with a treasure here. How much it will glisten in the firelight going forward is yet to be seen, known, understood, acknowledged.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sharon H. Nelson (January 2, 1948 - June 12, 2016)

Sad news from Montreal. Sharon H. Nelson was one of the earliest above/ground press authors. Her chapbook Book Ends appeared with the press on April 25, 1995 (the first above/ground press item to hold an ISBN #) to correspond with her reading at The TREE Reading Series. She was forceful and opinionated, but always supportive. She was an important early author in the press' history, and will be missed.

From the Montreal Gazette:
NELSON, Sharon
1948 - 2016
Sharon H. Nelson
was born on January 2, 1948 and died peacefully at home on June 12, 2016 after a short illness. She will be sadly missed by her husband of 44 years, Peter Grogono, and her family and friends. Professionally, Sharon was an author of poems, plays, essays, political analyses, and literary reviews; an editor, teacher, and journalist; and an active feminist who co- founded the Women's Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets. Personally, she was generous hostess, peerless cook, meticulous gardener and, above all, a real mensch. We are grateful to Dr Goffredo Arena, Dr Golda Tradounsky, and many nurses and orderlies, for their skills, compassion and support during the final phase of her life. The funeral service will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2016 at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex, 1297 Chemin de la Foret, Outremont, QC, H2V 2P9, 514-279-6540. Instead of flowers, please send donations to the NDG Food Depot.

Friday, June 10, 2016

new from above/ground press: ERASURE: A Short Story, by Braydon Beaulieu

ERASURE: A Short Story
Braydon Beaulieu

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Braydon Beaulieu
is a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary, where he studies creative writing, poetics, science fiction, and digital games. His most recent chapbook, Thin and Pure, was published by Chromium Dioxide Press for inclusion in the special edition of Christian Bök's The Xenotext, Book 1. He recently relocated from Calgary to Toronto.

ERASURE: A Short Story erases content from pages of Batwoman: Elegy (DC Comics, 2010) to create a new narrative from the remains.

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

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Factory Reading Series pre-small press book fair reading, June 17, 2016: Besserer, Rogal, Fitzgerald, Harness, Black, Carlucci, Johnstone + Laliberte,

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

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

Amanda Besserer (Ottawa ON)
Stan Rogal (Toronto ON)
Fitz Fitzgerald (Baltimore MD)
Kyp Harness (Toronto ON)
and, as the first stop on the CAROUSEL Paper Roadshow:
Meagan Black (Ottawa ON)
Paul Carlucci (Ottawa ON)
Jim Johnstone (Toronto ON)
Mark Laliberte (Toronto ON)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Friday, June 17, 2016;
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]

author bios:

Amanda Besserer
[pictured] is from North Bay, Ontario, and now lives in Ottawa. She received her BA and MA in English Language and Literature from Carleton University. While there, she was a contributing editor for In/Words Magazine, and creator and editor-in-chief of Vagina Dentata, a feminist arts journal. Aside from poems, broadsides and a chapbook with In/Words & VD, Amanda's poetry has also appeared in the Loamshire Review (UK), the Steel Chisel (Canada), and The Machinery (India). Her work will be included an upcoming "best of" volume from The Machinery this summer. In the meantime, visit for poetry and prose. She is also the author of a new title from Jeff Blackman's Horsebroke Press.

Stan Rogal has been described by Stuart Ross as a bon vivant and man about town. Judith Fitzgerald referred to him as an intellectual redneck. Hedonist, harsh humourist, philatelist, fatalist, devoted oenophile, punster... whatever... his work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US and Europe. He is the author of 20 books, the latest being a novel titled Dog The Moon, from Insomniac Press, spring 2016. He is also produced playwright. He resides in Toronto.

Though his name appeared on Josef Kaplan’s kill list, Fitz Fitzgerald still lives, often uncomfortable in his own skin. His poetry has appeared in Apartment, Octopus, Open Letters Monthly, Hidden City Quarterly, Dusie, Boog City and elsewhere. Furniture Press published Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. 17 Reasons is forthcoming from AngelHouse Press. He has read as part of the Worms series in Baltimore, the Ruthless Grip in Washington D.C., the La Tazza series in Philadelphia and Welcome to Boog City Festival in Brooklyn. He attended New College of California in the late 1990s where he studying with Lyn Hejinian and David Meltzer and participated in “A Night in the Life of San Francisco Writing” at New Langton Arts and read at Canessa Park. He has edited theoretical works by Benjamin Friedlander, Brian Reed, Peter Quartermain, Steve McCaffery, Harryette Mullen among others as part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetics series curated by Charles Bernstein and Hank Lazer. He has published poetry reviews in Rain Taxi, First Intensity, Real Pants, Fanzine and elsewhere. He lives on Quaker Hill in Baltimore.

Kyp Harness is a singer-songwriter known for the poetry of his lyrics. He has released twelve independent recordings.  He is also the author of two books: The Art of Laurel and Hardy (2006) and The Art of Charlie Chaplin (2007), both published by McFarland in the US. In March 2016, he released his thirteenth album, Stoplight Moon. In May, his novel, Wigford Rememberies was published by Nightwood Editions.

Meagan Black starts her MFA in Creative Writing this fall and is freaking out. Outside of school, her interests include working for Arc Poetry Magazine and never finishing the edits on her first YA novel. She’s won a couple of awards and been published in a couple of place, including Carousel Magazine and the internet. Visit her on her website at

Paul Carlucci's sophomore collection, A Plea for Constant Motion, will be published by House of Anansi in January 2017. The Secret Life of Fission, his debut, won the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Individually, his stories are forthcoming or have been published in Carousel, filling Station, The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, The Puritan, Little Fiction, subTerrain, The Malahat and others. He lives in Ottawa.

Jim Johnstone is a Canadian poet, editor, and critic. He’s the author of four books of poetry: Dog Ear (Véhicule Press, 2014), Sunday, the locusts (Tightrope Books, 2011), Patternicity (Nightwood Editions, 2010) and The Velocity of Escape (Guernica Editions, 2008), and the subject of the critical monograph Proofs & Equational Love: The Poetry of Jim Johnstone by Shane Neilson and Jason Guriel. He’s the winner of several awards including a CBC Literary Award, The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, Matrix Magazine’s LitPop Award and This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Johnstone is the poetry editor at Palimpsest Press, and an associate editor at Representative Poetry Online. He lives in Toronto.

Mark Laliberte is a Toronto-based artist-writer-designer-curator with an MFA from the University of Guelph. He has exhibited extensively in galleries across Canada and the USA, curates the online experimental comics site, and edits the hybrid art/lit mag CAROUSEL. Laliberte was recently awarded a 2016 'Comic Arts — Works-in-Progress' grant from the Ontario Arts Council; he is currently working on two full-sized comic-poetry manuscripts, BalloonCloudBubble and BLKBK. In 2016, he is releasing 3 books: 4PANEL 1 in May (through his own Popnoir Editions imprint); Free For the Taking in August, a collaborative book project with artist Micah Lexier (this is one part of a 3 book series being published by Warby Parker); and, asemanticasymmetry in October (a riso-printed remixing of selected derek beaulieu's letraset works, published by Anstruther Press).