Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Scott Bryson reviews Neil Flowers' TAXICAB VOICE (2016) in Broken Pencil

Scott Bryson was good enough to provide the first review of Neil Flowers' TAXICAB VOICE (2016) in Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
Taxicab Voice Chapbook, Neil Flowers, 12 pgs, above/ground press,, $5 
 The 5.5 x 8.5 inch format favoured by above/ground press was waived for this collection; Taxicab Voice is a comparably enormous 8.5 by 11. It was presumably the author’s preference, and while it could be owing to the length of a couple of these poems, Neil Flowers may also have been looking to make this resemble a song book. Most of this writing involve music, in one form or another, and it’s all dedicated to Bill Hawkins, a recently-deceased Canadian folk musician and poet.
Much of Taxicab Voice speaks from the perspective of Hawkins, and it’s possible that it’s entirely about him — a narration of the about-town and on-the-road life of a Canadian bard. If the two men weren’t friends, they were at least acquaintances — both inhabited the Ottawa poetry scene of the early ’70s, and Flowers included Hawkins’ writing in an anthology in 1973.

There’s a particular term that appears repeatedly throughout this collection, loosely tying its poems together: “starfuckers” (in multiple forms). In one instance, it refers to groupies, as seen from Hawkins’ perspective: the “Women with rainbows for eyes.” Later, the label is assigned to someone who picks up Hawkins after his car breaks down: “Who comes to your rescue? / Creeley. / Star Fucker!” (referencing poet Robert Creeley). Flowers’ carefree use of such language paints an amusing image of that fulsome circle of artists.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

new from above/ground press: CANCON, by nathan dueck

nathan dueck

Season One

I don’t think I can                                                              
confusing school.

I’d like to be president, but I can’t
control our fate as students.

I’d like to congratulate all candidates
concerned about youngsters in the third world.                                     


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

nathan dueck's middle name is russel, which means his initials spell “nrd.” His parents tell him that nobody knew that word when he was born, but dictionaries say otherwise. He is the author of king's(mère) (Turnstone Press, 2004) and he'll (Pedlar Press, 2014).

This is dueck's second chapbook with above/ground press, after @BillMurray in Purgatorio (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, June 16, 2017

The Factory Reading Series pre-small press book fair reading, June 23, 2017: Rubacha, MacDonell, Million + Christie,

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

The Factory Reading Series
pre-small press book fair reading

featuring readings by:
Elisha May Rubacha (Peterborough)
Sarah MacDonell (Ottawa)
Justin Million (Peterborough)
and Jason Christie (Ottawa)

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Friday, June 23, 2017;
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]

Elisha May Rubacha [pictured] lives, writes, and gardens in Peterborough, ON. She is the editor and designer of bird, buried press and the co-curator of the Show and Tell Poetry Series. Her work has been published by Bywords, Puddles of Sky Press, The Steel Chisel, and Skirt Quarterly, and she was shortlisted for the PRISM International Creative Non-fiction Contest in 2016.

If you work in the arts, Sarah MacDonell would like you to hire her. A 2017 Tree Reading Series Hot Ottawa Voice, AOE Young Artist Mentee, and youth board member of the OAG’s dépArt, Sarah has performed at Slackline Creative Series, Sawdust Reading Series, CSA rout/e, and the ottawater launch. Her first chapbook, The Lithium Body, came out in January with In/Words. You can find her poems online and posted outside of McCarthy Park.

Justin Million is a poet living, working, writing, and curating art happenings in downtown Peterborough, ON. Million has published 19 poetry chapbooks, with presses such as Apt. 9 Press, and bird, buried press, and has been featured in literary magazines such as Word and Colour, Poetry Is Dead, and ottawater. Million is also the curator of the Show and Tell Poetry Series in Peterborough, ON, is the Poetry Editor for bird, buried press, also located in Peterborough, ON, and features every month with his Smith-Corona Electra 110 at KEYBOARDS!, Peterborough’s only live-writing poetry show.

Jason Christie 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 five chapbooks from above/ground press: 8th Ave 15th Street NW (2004), GOVERNMENT (2013), Cursed Objects (2014), The Charm (2015), random_lines = random.choice (2017). He is currently writing poetry about (being) objects, and exaltation.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

new from above/ground press: SOMEWHERE THE / SHAKING, by Sarah Cook

Sarah Cook


where’s the person inside the thing? & when the thing starts over?

this house is full of people.

this head is full of things trying to be people.

(i place my small hand upwards in the palm of your hand, the gesture of holding without commitment)

take any individual street in the winter, small town, no commitments to décor or watering: just house after house after house of trying to be.

(i place my small fist)

this street is full of people or at least the houses suggest.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Sarah Cook’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, The Feminist Wire, Gaga Stigmata, and elsewhere. She writes at and works with homeless and runaway youth in Oregon.

See her 2016 Touch the Donkey interview 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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

Jordan Abel wins the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize!

Last night, above/ground press author Jordan Abel was announced as the Canadian winner of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize for his third trade collection, Injun (Talonbooks, 2016). Congratulations, Jordan! It was also an absolute pleasure to see you win the prize in person!

And, by the by, his two above/ground press chapbooks are still very much available: Scientia (2013) and TIMELESS AMERICAN CLASSIC (2017). And then, of course, there was his interview a while back in Touch the Donkey, as well...