Wednesday, October 24, 2018
above/ground press 25th anniversary essay: Sacha Archer
This is the thirty-fourth in a series of short essays/reminiscences by a variety of authors and friends of the press to help mark the quarter century mark of above/ground. See links to the whole series here.
When I think of above/ground press it is not first and foremost the publications which come to mind, but rob himself. I have only met rob once in person, but, connected to him via social media and occasional emails, and of course through the above/ground publications themselves, an impression is shaped of this individual who is so devoted to the Canadian small press community.
While I myself am rather isolated in my (writing) life, and admittedly find it fairly difficult to make connections with the enviable ease of some others, rob’s unmistakable generosity is a point of optimism, I would think, to a great many writers who might otherwise never encounter each other’s work. It is this broadness of consideration which one finds in the non-stop flow of publications from across Canada and beyond that leads me back, every time I receive a stack of chapbooks, to imagining rob reading the solicited and unsolicited manuscripts that find their way to him. When I picture rob reading, I come to understand the value of an attitude (and I might be off the mark here, but I don’t think so) situated somewhere between an intense seriousness (after all, how could such a project as above/ground have continued without serious devotion?) and a casual faith in the potential of the writers and texts he encounters.
The publications are not made to be beautiful objects. They’re not meant to be. One reads in the mostly homogenous design of simple stapled booklet a priority: text in hand. Those who submit a manuscript to above/ground know exactly what they’re getting into in terms of production/result. Of course, what writers consistently like is—circulation. Isn’t it nice that somebody, and a few more, will read your work? But of course, we all know, it doesn’t end there. rob is always reaching out with opportunities, solicitations, interviews, mags… kind words and optimism (in succinct emails of one to two sentences that never lack in presence and the open ear). All that is the energy of one who knows how to embrace. Thank you rob, for that embrace which is above/ground—a social embrace which does not reveal a community, but creates it.
Sacha Archer is a writer that works in numerous mediums as well as being the editor of Simulacrum Press (simulacrumpress.ca). His work has been published internationally. Archer has two full-length collections of poetry, Detour (gradient books, 2017) and Zoning Cycle (Simulacrum Press, 2017), as well as a number of chapbooks, the most recent being TSK oomph (Inspiritus Press, 2018) and Contemporary Meat (The Blasted Tree, 2018). His visual poetry has been exhibited in the USA, Italy, and Canada. Some of that work, among other things, can be found on his website, sachaarcher.wordpress.com. Archer lives in Burlington, Ontario.
Sacha Archer is the author of two above/ground press chapbooks, including upROUTE : The Language of Plates (2017) and the forthcoming Autopsy Report (2018).