Monday, February 27, 2017

Lady Aoife providing some essential production assistance

As you might have noticed, above/ground press has been producing a mound of items lately (and there's still time to subscribe for 2017! subscriptions can still and easily be backdated to January first). Here's Lady Aoife providing some essential production assistance on a new item by Sandra Moussempès, translated from the French by Eléna Rivera.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Factory Reading Series @ VERSeFest: Faizal Deen + Marilyn Irwin, March 25, 2017

The Factory Reading Series
as part of the seventh annual VERSeFest poetry festival presents:

The Factory Reading Series Lecture Series, two talks and readings by:

Marilyn Irwin (Ottawa)
Faizal Deen (Ottawa)

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Saturday, March 25, 2017
1pm at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St. Ottawa

check the VERSeFest link for the full schedule of events!
March 21-26, 2017

Shortlisted for the 2016 bpNichol Award, a 2014 Tree Reading Series Hot Ottawa Voice, and winner of the 2013 Diana Brebner Prize, Marilyn Irwin’s work has been published by above/ground press, Apt. 9 Press, Arc Magazine, and Matrix Magazine, among others. Her seventh chapbook, waving usufruct; a collaboration with David Emery and Samantha Lapierre, was published by The Steel Chisel last year, and she will be launching a brand new chapbook with above/ground press: north. She runs shreeking violet press in Ottawa. She'll be talking about the crosshairs of mental health and literature making.

Faizal Deen Forrester is a doctoral student in the Department of English Language & Literature at Carleton University. As a contributor to the Migration and Diaspora Studies initiative at Carleton, Faizal seeks to address the ways in which the cultural production of Caribbean populations in Canada—in particular, the work of poets—encourages us to rethink existing notions of diasporic identity. Faizal has studied at Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), McGill University; and, most recently, received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor. As Faizal Deen, he maintains—along with his scholarly endeavours—an acclaimed poetry practice, beginning in 2000 with the publication of Land Without Chocolate, a Memoir, Guyana’s first LGBTQI poetry collection. His most recent collection, The Greatest Films, which, in part, addresses Caribbean queer Islamic identities in the post-9/11 era, was published by Mawenzi House.

Friday, February 24, 2017

new from above/ground press: INVISIBLE WIFE, by Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

I tried to look. I carefully
talked to him whose form
dimmed, escaped its body,
superimposed over an imaginary
snake. Was I the dream?
Wasn’t the snake pretend?
He was a stone snake
that touched without touching,
kept burning his touch into
my mind until my mind
could not hold form. He
was a stone rising from the pit
of a fire, never not rising up.
My own mind became a ghost,
and everyone saw. He was blurred,
he unwound and unwound
and unwound. Did he become
my mind? I could not see
him when I looked at him.
He was rain. He was fire.
I squinted, he shapeshifted.
He had never touched me
with holiness. That was
a dream. Such a long dead
dream. I tried to talk. I
talked and talked and talked.
My talking unwound into
an aura he slid along
and through like a horse
that’s not a horse. Like
a snake through its own skin.
Through me, into me,
superimposed over my mind,
inside my organs. Colonizing
the very rhythm of my heart
beating in my chest while I slept
and he fondled me or himself.
I could not escape his unwinding.
My life blurred. “Some snakes
burn everything they touch.”

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Sarah Fox
lives in NE Minneapolis, and is the author of Because Why and The First Flag, both published by Coffee House Press. She is a teacher, astrologer, worker, writer, placenta encapsulator, artist, resister, and a grandmother.

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, February 23, 2017

The Factory Reading Series: O'Reilly, Johnson, Watts + Neilson, March 3, 2017

span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents:
The Factory Reading Series:

"Frog Hollow Leaps into Ottawa"

with readings by:

Patrick O'Reilly (NL)
Chris Johnson (Ottawa)
Carl Watts (Kingston)
+ Shane Neilson (Hamilton)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Friday, March 3, 2017
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)17

Patrick O'Reilly is a poet and critic from Renews, NL. He has written for untethered, The Walrus, and Numéro Cinq, where he is a masthead contributor. In 2017, he was featured in the In/Words 30 under 30 anthology.

Chris Johnson [pictured] lives and works in Ottawa where he is the co-ordinating editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. Some of his poems have previously appeared in In/Words Magazine, Ottawater, Matrix Magazine, The Steel Chisel, and (parenthetical). His new chapbook, Listen Partisan! And other stumbling Haibun, recently appeared with Frog Hollow Press.

Carl Watts is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Queen's University. His poetry has appeared in The Antigonish Review, CV2, Grain, and The Best Canadian Poetry 2014. Reissue is his debut chapbook.

Shane Neilson is a writer from New Brunswick. He edited two collections involving the work of the poet M. Travis Lane last year (The Witch of the Inner Wood, GLE & Heart on Fist, Palimpsest Press). His Dysphoria is soon to be released from PQL. Shane won the Robin Blaser Award in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Seattle Review Chapbook Contest by Claudia Rankine in 2016. Shane is also a physician and a Vanier Scholar at McMaster University where he is researching the representations of pain in Canadian Literature. He is the editor of Frog Hollow Press.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

❡ Call for submissions to the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award ❡

Call for submissions to the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award

The bpNichol Chapbook Award recognizes excellence in Canadian poetry in English published in chapbook form within Canada. The prize is awarded to a poetry chapbook judged to be the best submitted. The author receives $4,000 and the publisher receives $500. Awarded continuously since 1986, the bpNichol Chapbook Award is currently administered by the Meet the Presses collective.
Chapbooks should be not less than 10 pages and not more than 48 pages. The chapbooks must have been published between January 1st and December 31st of the previous year (2016), and the poet must be Canadian.

Interested authors or publishers should submit three copies of eligible chapbooks. Translations into English from other languages are eligible.

Submissions must be sent by Canada Post or courier (and not hand-delivered to a Meet The Presses collective member) and include a completed submission form or accurate facsimile (download the 2017 Submission Form), a brief C.V. of the author, including address, telephone number, and email address. Publisher contact information (contact person, mailing address, email address, and telephone contact) must also be included. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

The closing date for the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award is May 31, 2017. Submissions must be received by this date. If submission confirmation has not been received by email by June 30, 2017, please send a query to Beth Follett at:

Send submissions to:
Meet the Presses / bpNichol Chapbook Award
113 Bond Street, St John’s NL A1C 1T6

Chapbooks written by members of the Meet the Presses collective are ineligible for the award. Authors of chapbooks published by members of the collective remain eligible for the award.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

new from above/ground press: SWAMP / SWAMP, by Brenda Iijima

Brenda Iijima

Just walk in a straight line.

I think—I think I am, but thank you. Tall grasses overwhelm the viewfinder and we press along through the swamp, a space of nonexistent contours. You could be a scarce plant and grow according to the precarious circumstances of your immediate ecosystem or controlled and manipulated in a laboratory—a genetically modified organism designed to carry out very specific functions when reintroduced outdoors. A profusion of alternative modalities… My house was Tudoresque—a brick and stucco edifice. And the formative years, carefree—blithely unaware of what privilege consisted of besides the tree lined streets of the neighborhood where I would play unrestrained. How straight a line! How straight can I enter—logic to do with the body often foregrounds mechanistic functions, meanwhile hormonal impulses steer corporeal mass, meter motor control. Occasionally there is a sense of severe restriction—pumped chemicals and chain reactions cause a lockdown of muscle tissue. A confluence of biomorphic responses compels language and human systems as all relational actions correspond with a flood of meaning rushing to the gesticulating brain. Fatty exchanges generate syntax—subtitle actions. The constant compulsion to explain phenomena furthers the reliance on conventional language and pumps up the justification of human otherness—this feels outmoded, communicative cues abound in myriad forms. Navigating reality involves intuition, a form of perception that doesn’t necessarily participate in language structures because intuition can function beyond image, outside of object-oriented thinking. This affects Bob a lot, processing thoughts that have to do with commanding presence. Below the root systems are soggy rotten teeming microbial forms. Tangled coordinates. He bolts ahead, stumbles, gains equilibrium.

Straight in, to that clump.
It is ok now; you are on fairly solid ground. Straight in, just go right in.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Brenda Iijima’s
involvements occur at the intersections and mutations of poetry, research movement, animal studies, ecological sociology and submerged histories. She is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry and numerous chapbooks and artist’s books. Her most recent book, Remembering Animals was published by Nightboat Books in 2016. She is also the editor of the eco language reader (Nightboat Books and PP@YYL). She is the editor of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, located in Brooklyn, NY (

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, February 15, 2017

new from above/ground press: These Ghosts / This Compost: An Aubadeclogue, by Jake Syersak

These Ghosts / This Compost: An Aubadeclogue
Jake Syersak


in as much as I am valentine, also am I culled from its pinch. of two cricket-crushed skulls,

a wilderness in which

++       +         ++       +         ++       +         ++

incomplete is
what we are. though I know also

we are what we incomplete: a straw-

man, for instance,
is hardly a finish-line. unless

a scarecrow:

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Jake Syersak
is the author of Yield Architecture (Burnside Books), as well as 2 other chapbooks: Notes to Wed No Toward (Plan B Press) and Impressions in the Language of a Lantern’s Wick (Ghost Proposal). He lives in Athens, GA where he is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. He edits Cloud Rodeo and serves as a contributing editor for Letter Machine Editions.

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, February 9, 2017

new from above/ground press: No Right on Red, by Helen Hajnoczky

No Right on Red
Helen Hajnoczky

We are waiting at a red light to turn right. We are glad we don’t live in a city where people our age have their own houses and careers and cars and kids. We are remembering the time we saw Leather Face at Fouf’s. We are remembering the time we threw up in Fouf’s. We are getting drunk at Blue Sunshine watching A Christmas Story and Black Christmas. We are buying Pall Mall 20 packs because we can't afford 25. We are lying in the grass at Jeanne-Mance. We are taking the 80 past the mountain and thinking we’ll definitely go up there this fall to see the red leaves, this winter to skate on the lake, this spring to see the first buds, this summer to wander in the green. We are never going up the mountain. We are going to work on three hours sleep. We are going to work hung-over. We are going to work still a little drunk, to be honest. We are going to Orange Julep because we still have the rental car. We are letting our heartbroken friends sleep on our couch. We are taping up the cracks in the floor to stop the neighbour's smoke from drifting into the apartment. We are half-heartedly fighting the mould growing in the corners of the bedroom, the office. We are looking for a better job.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Helen Hajnoczky
is the author of Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising (Snare/Invisible Publishing 2010) and Magyarázni (Coach House Books 2016). Helen’s chapbook Bloom and Martyr won the Kalamalka Press’ 2015 John Lent Poetry Prose Award. The poem “Other Observations” has previously appeared in a chapbook of the same name (No Press 2010) and on the Dusie blog as “Tuesday Poem #109” (2015). Her poetry has also appeared in the anthologies Why Poetry Sucks (Insomniac Press 2014), Ground Rules (Chaudiere Books 2013) and The Calgary Renaissance (Chaudiere Books 2016), as well as in a variety of magazines and chapbooks.

This is her third chapbook with above/ground press, after A history of button collecting (2010) and The Double Bind Dictionary (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

Friday, February 3, 2017

new from above/ground press: a a novel 1-20, by Derek Beaulieu

a a novel 1-20
Derek Beaulieu

Published in the autumn of 1968, Andy Warhol’s a a novel consists solely of the transcribed conversations of factory denizen Ondine (Robert Olivo). Ondine’s amphetamine-addled conversations were captured on audiotape as he haunted the factory, hailed cabs to late-night parties and traded gossip with Warhol and his coterie. The tapes were quickly transcribed by a quartet of stenography students (including The Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker); rife with typographic errors, censored sections—and a chorus of voices—the 451 pages of transcriptions became, unedited, “a new kind of pop artefact.”

Warhol’s a a novel favours faithful transcription over plot, chance over predicted composition, and a novel’s ideas over its actual content. Building upon my previous novels flatland: a romance of many dimensions (2005) and Local Colour (2008), my a a novel, an erasure-based translative response to Warhol’s controversial masterpiece. On each page of Warhol’s original, I erase all of the text leaving only the punctuation marks and onomatopoeic words. Theodor Adorno, in his essay “Punctuation Marks” argues that punctuation marks are the “traffic signals” of literature and that there is “no element in which language resembles music more than in the punctuation marks.”

The resultant text is a novelistic ballet mécanique; an orchestration of the traffic signals and street noise of the 1960’s New York City, an eruption of traffic and tires, overheard music and construction noise. a a novel mines writing for the musicality of the urban environment, the complex of non-narrative sounds embedded within our conversations.

a a novel is forthcoming from Jean Boite Editions, Summer 2017.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2017
for his participation in the Universities Canada – Converge 2017 conference, Feb 6-7, 2017, at the Shaw Convention Centre, Ottawa.
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Derek Beaulieu is the author of the collections of poetry with wax, fractal economies, chains, silence, ascender / descender, kern, frogments from the frag pool (co-written with Gary Barwin) and Please no more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu (Ed. Kit Dobson). He has also written 4 collections of conceptual fiction: a a novel, flatland, Local Colour and How To Write (Nominated for the W.O. Mitchell Award). He is the author of two collections of essays: Seen of the Crime and The Unbearable Contact with Poets. Beaulieu co-edited bill bissett’s RUSH: what fuckan theory (with Gregory Betts), Writing Surfaces: fiction of John Riddell (with Lori Emerson) and The Calgary Renaissance (with rob mclennan). 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 is an award-winning instructor. Derek Beaulieu was the 2014–2016 Poet Laureate of Calgary, Canada.

This is derek beaulieu’s seventh 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), HOW TO EDIT, Chapter A. (ALBERTA SERIES #8; 2008) and transcend transcribe transfigure transform transgress (2014).

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