Friday, February 14, 2020

new from above/ground press: Poems for Lunch Poems at SFU, by rob mclennan

Poems for Lunch Poems at SFU
rob mclennan
$5

Four poems for Kathleen Fraser

1.

If I were to pin my favourite quotes,
this wall might collapse.

Stitched from fragments, and held,
for an instant.

Everything destroyed, Spicer wrote,
must be tossed.

There is always a truth, you wrote,
to such restlessness.


2.

The elegy speaks to an absence
both unexpected

and abrupt. Applies
lyric pressure. She speaks to me

in sentences. Solitude

as capital. Echo, across
these crystalline structures. Poem

as carved diamond, or
a certain uneven panic.


3.

The heart, in whatever language, wants, or
does not care. Incorporate this into what

we have already learned. The water heater
sound like a bird. The furnace

sound like a bird. Everything
sounds like a bird.


published in Ottawa by above/ground press, in part for a reading with Christine McNair in Vancouver on February 19, 2020 as part of Lunch Poems at SFU, with special thanks to Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Simon Fraser University and The League of Canadian Poets.
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. His most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019) and the perpetually-forthcoming Household items (Salmon Publishing). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Touch the Donkey (touchthedonkey.blogspot.com) and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater (ottawater.com). He is “Interviews Editor” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com

This is mclennan’s sixty-second above/ground press chapbook, following Somewhere in-between / cloud (2019), Study of a fox (2018), snow day (2018) and It’s still winter (2017).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

new from above/ground press: Thaumaturgy, by Anthony Etherin

Thaumaturgy
Anthony Etherin
$5

WINTER SOLSTICE



Anagrammed Lines


Winter Solstice:
Written close is
woe. Strict lines
wrestle in stoic
selections, writ
low in its secret.



Homonolic Lines

Winter Solstice:
Silver shimmers
needle darkness.
Gilded lanterns
gently splinter
leaden evenings....



Homovocalic Lines

Winter Solstice:
Nights echo, wide.
In the cosmic web,
lives collide.
In the low light, we
find the old rites.


Many of the poems in this collection are palindromes — either by letter, by pairs of letters, by triples of letters, or by word. One poem is an aelindrome, which means it palindromically parses its letters in accordance with a premeditated sequence — for example, the phrase “trap no rat” is aelindromic “in 123”, since its letters are parsed according to the associated palindromic sequence 12321: [t]1[ra]2[p no]3[ra]2[t]1.

Of the non-palindromic poems, some are composed of perfectly anagrammed lines. One piece (“Barely Time”) comprises three anagrammed haiku.

Some poems are minimalist sonnets — three Petrarchan, one Shakespearean and one Spenserian. The Shakespearean sonnet (a tetragram-sonnet) uses only four-letter words.

The other constraints are:

Triolet: A traditional form, of rhyme scheme ABaAabAB (where uppercase letters indicate repeated lines). Uniconsonantal Haiku: A haiku using only one consonant. Homonolic lines: Lines using words with the same letter-lengths. Homovocalic lines: Lines using the same vowels, in the same order, while varying consonants. Beaux Présents: Lines using only the letters found in their first word. Univocalic Haiku: A haiku using only one vowel. Beau Présent: A poem using only the letters found in its title.

Another poem uses only words that contain the consecutive letters “the”.

Cover: “An Incantation” by John Collier (1887).

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Anthony Etherin
is an experimental formalist poet, a publisher, and a sometime musician. For more of his poetry, find him on Twitter, @Anthony_Etherin, and via anthonyetherin.wordpress.com

This is Etherin's second chapbook with above/ground press, after Danse Macabre (2018).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 2, 2020

John C. Goodman reviews Mary Kasimor's disrobing iris (2019)

John C. Goodman was good enough to provide the first review of Mary Kasimor's disrobing iris (2019) over at Otoliths; thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
In disrobing iris, Mary Kasimor engages us in a continuing dance of connection and alienation combined in a dazzling balance of control and abandon. The book is intensely personal, exploring a sense of “the ownership of loss”, lost beauty (“she was once beautiful”), lost opportunity (“possibility/doesn’t know what it is missing”), and struggling to find an inner place in a world of fragments and memories, searching for a fearless grace in a fractured reality.

These poems are about interconnectedness, especially the interconnectedness of the natural world contrasted with our alienation from it. There is a tension between fragmentation and connection reflected in the interplay between words and emotions. Kasimor uses the techniques of post-modernism to create a deeply emotional landscape, similar to the way Sylvia Plath used the techniques of Modernism to express her inner world. These poems fill out the relentless intellectualism of post-modernism with searing emotion. Although criticized for lack of feeling (“I am intellectual and cold”), Kasimor’s insensitive external persona is a cover for a chasm of emotional depth too painful to acknowledge (“I left my loss in the room/with gray walls – it slept with the rain”).

In disrobing iris, we haven’t created a human world so much as deconstructed the natural world, which makes us question ourselves and search for the meaning in what we have done (“forcing/the eye/to find itself”). Nature tries to heal through ancient and eternal patterns, but finds the world too disfigured (“trembling     without a radius/in the     diagram     of broken lines”).

Sewing, a traditionally feminine occupation, is a recurring theme as a way of threading things together (“ants restring broken air”), but also as a way of making boundaries (“of stitched culture”) and as a means of repression (“she knew all the stitches to close her mouth”). The feminine is lost in mirrors, make-up, dresses of spun sugar and fractured reflections (“girl babies in the window/the de-feminization of them”). The feminine is prevented from healing the world because women are culturally reduced to commodities (“the mass of little men/digging up my fingers—two for a dollar”, “to market love and atmosphere/for the impulses of men”).

Sewing both connects us to and alienates us from meaning (“God’s life sewn shut”). The act of sewing becomes a means of revolt, making connections in a new way (“a new language of dropped stitches”) that disrupts the cultural rhetoric of oppression (“secrets/of cross stitch draw blood”), a revolution accomplished through small acts of reconnection with the natural world, achieved, not by the flamboyant ego (“I have an intuitive self-importance), but by the quiet small “i” persona (“i Sew/together the edges/to keep the Broken air/restrung”).

disrobing iris shows how our emotional identity is bound to the physical and that alienation from the natural world (“I cannot locate myself/outside”) brings alienation from the self resulting in objectification (“a thing/shaped image. a talking device”). In the end, we need to listen to the natural world and participate the endless cycle of life (“logic grips the ceaseless”), for new beginnings always start with the mundane (life squatted giving birth./I wiped off the blood,/spent the evening watching television.”).


Friday, January 24, 2020

new from above/ground press: The Desert of Itabira, by Leesa Dean

The Desert of Itabira
Leesa Dean
$5


In the desert of Itabira
time gnaws ruined houses
these walls know nothing of rain
nor hail the size of pearls
       no grass
no bromelias or ferns
      only sand
more sand

Of course Carlos would live here
a village lost in time
where servant girls patter
like birds between market stalls

He has two himself
bloodshot beauties
who call him master

There is a party to welcome us—
      hens
            cuchaca
meat cloaked in herbs
from some other kingdom
where soil allows life
           to flourish

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover art: Matty Kakes

Leesa Dean is a graduate of the University of Guelph's MFA program and a creative writing instructor at Selkirk College. Her first book, Waiting for the Cyclone (Brindle and Glass) was nominated for the 2017 Trillium and Relit Awards and her fiction, essays, poetry and interviews have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is a co-founder of the literary journal Black Bear Review and has served as the interviews editor of the Humber Literary Review in the past. She lives on an acreage in Krestova, BC with her artist husband Matty Kakes and daughter Scarlett Heart, surrounded by crashed cars and fruit trees.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

new from above/ground press: Euphorbia, by Eric Baus

Euphorbia
Eric Baus
$5
 


Commandeered mirror

In the afterlife of pumas, in the green hovering slightly above a branch, in the antique wings of an ostrich covering your mouth, the film of a woman framing a fading tree between her hands is not a mindless river, knowable as the lowest cloud, but the top of a small hill between pages wounded by a spool of blue thread, patiently printing fire beyond the door. When I am finally lifted over the bed, the branch, the quiet, the absent cats, the little cloud, the fire’s involuntary embroidery, two or three figures, at least, hold hands beneath my back. But who has placed my arms like this, misspelled, where I am suddenly a swimmer near the ceiling, learning to rain in a room, on a book?


published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Eric Baus
is the author of five books of poetry: How I Became a Hum (Octopus 2019), The Tranquilized Tongue (City Lights 2014), Scared Text (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011), Tuned Droves (Octopus Books, 2009), and The To Sound (Wave Books, 2004). He teaches literature and creative writing at Regis University’s Mile High MFA program in Denver, where he is assistant director and core faculty in poetry.

This is Baus’ second chapbook with above/ground press chapbooks, after THE RAIN OF THE ICE (2014).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Monday, January 20, 2020

new from above/ground press: Certain Humans, by Ian McCulloch

Certain Humans
Ian McCulloch
$5

Epilogue

When I remember us, it is always in parameters of disaster.
A constant of tumult and pandemonium
like those bedlam days out west
when a spring storm spun the horizon
to red dust and driven snow.
Hundreds of power poles snapped off
and in the morning ice lay on everything
like a consecration bled out of the screaming wind.
Even the houses looked stunned
the light blown out from under
their certain roofs and the dispassionate heat
sucked from their arrogant walls.
For three days we huddled in the kitchen
around a battery-powered radio like refugees.
Clinging to staticky music and listening to stories
of catastrophe and survival.

We were always this way, thrown together
by circumstance and dubious rumour.
Intimate against whatever maelstrom
heaved its blunt fury our way,
like fistfuls of gravel pelting our sorry heads.
We shuddered close under a dark and improvident power,
the world going cold in every direction.
Hunkering down under something
we had no choice but to call love,
embarrassed when the sky cleared
and sunlight fell to catch us in the act.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Ian McCulloch
(April 18, 1957 – September 23, 2019) was born in Comox, B.C. and raised in Northern Ontario. He was the author of three books of poetry: The Moon of Hunger (Penumbra, 1982), The Efficiency of Killers (Penumbra, 1988) and Parables and Rain (Penumbra, 1993), and a chapbook, Balsam To Ease All Pains (Alburnum Press, 1998). He was also the author of the novel Childforever (Mercury, 1996). A founding member of Northern Ontario’s longest-running reading series, “The Conspiracy of 3,” he read twice at Toronto’s prestigious Harbourfront series. More recently two of his poems were included in the anthology Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century (LUMMOX Press, 2018). His writing was deeply influenced by family and his indigenous heritage. Ian was the father of three and lived with his wife and dog in Redbridge, Ontario.

This is McCulloch’s second above/ground press chapbook, after A Box of Light (2019).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 19, 2020

new from above/ground press: G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #8 : guest-edited by Kate Siklosi and Dani Spinosa

NOW AVAILABLE: G U E S T #8
edited by Kate Siklosi and Dani Spinosa

see here for Kate and Dani’s introduction
the eighth issue features new work by:


Clara Daneri
Dessa Bayrock
Brian Dedora
Marilyn R. Rosenberg
Hart Broudy
Amanda Earl
Logan K. Young
Genevieve Kaplan
K.S. Ernst
Sacha Archer
M. NourbeSe Philip
Katherine Heigh
Catherine Bennett
psw
Angela Caporaso


$6 + postage / + $1 for Canadian orders; + $2 for US; + $6 outside of North America


Canadian/American/International rates (including shipping

kate & dani, in all their gap-toothed, riotous ferocity, have been making things and situations weird since, like, forever.

Brian Dedora, a grown man playing with pen&ink, bits of paper, photos and the odd word in the playground that is Toronto… Oh no, not that...

As usual, Marilyn R. Rosenberg works are actual and virtual images made with pens, inks and gouache scanned into the computer to change and merge to become visual and asemic poems. MRR's works are on/in 2018-19 exhibitions, blogs and web publications  and print edition pages. Her two latest individual artists' books are FADE TO BLACK, Part three of Otoliths issue forty-eight, published by Otoliths, Australia, March 2018 and FALSE FICTION FRACTURED FACT ALTERED, Post-Asemic Press #008, USA, 2019.

Hart Broudy is a writer & graphic designer/visual poet living in Toronto. His visual poetry has been exhibited nationally and internationally in the US, UK and EU. His first novella was published in 1976 and his latest in 2016. His work is concerned primarily with uncertainty and the ephemeral nature of meanings and language forms in space.

Amanda Earl is an Ottawa writer, visual poet, editor and publisher. She's the managing editor of Bywords.ca and the fallen angel of AngelHousePress.  Her goals are whimsy, connection, and exploration. She came late to feminism in her fifties, which is a regret, but she will no longer let herself be prevented from expressing her full on roar, and showing solidarity and support to women and gender nonconforming kindreds. Amanda loves vispo and vizpo. For more information, please visit AmandaEarl.com or connect with her on Twitter @KikiFolle.

Dessa Bayrock lives in Ottawa with two cats and a variety of succulents, one of which occasionally blooms. She used to unfold paper for a living at Library and Archives Canada, and is currently a PhD student in English, where she continues to fold and unfold paper. Her work has appeared in Funicular, PRISM, and Poetry Is Dead, among others, and her work was recently shortlisted for the Metatron Prize for Rising Authors. She is the editor of post ghost press. You can find her, or at least more about her, at dessabayrock.com, or on Twitter at @yodessa.

Logan K. Young’s factorial chapbook, I(<3 i="">, is out now. A summer student of Thurston Moore at Naropa’s Kerouac School, he's since been published everywhere from UPenn's Jacket2 to Taper 3 at MIT and anthologized as far flung as ToCall (PSW Gallery) and the forthcoming collection, Erase the Patriarchy (University of Hell Press). Recent exhibitions include Day de Dada Art Nurses in Boston and at WFMU's Monty Hall.

Genevieve Kaplan is the author of (aviary) (Veliz Books, forthcoming 2020); In the ice house (Red Hen Press), winner of the A Room of Her Own Foundation‘s poetry publication prize; and three chapbooks. Her poems have recently appeared in South Dakota Review, Poetry Northwest, and Thrush. She edits the Toad Press International chapbook series, publishing contemporary translations of poetry and prose.

Much of K.S. (Kathy) Ernst’s work is painted, collaged, or digital, and she uses three-dimensional letters to create freestanding sculptures. In addition to literary magazines her pieces are often exhibited in galleries and museums. Recent books include Drop Caps and Sequencing: (both from Xexoxial Editions) and The Last Vispo Anthology (Fantagraphics). Books with Sheila E. Murphy are Permutoria (Luna Bisonte Prods) and 2 Juries + 2 Storeys = 4 Stories Toujours (Xexoxial Editions).  Sites housing substantial collections of Ernst’s work are Ohio State University Avant Garde and Experimental Writing Collection; The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo; and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. www.ksernst.com.

Sacha Archer is a writer who works in numerous mediums as well as being the editor of Simulacrum Press. Archer’s most recent publications include An Event Poem (Noir:Z, 2019), TSK oomph (Inspiritus Press, 2018), Contemporary Meat (The Blasted Tree, 2018) and Autopsy Report (above/ground press, 2018). His chapbooks Houses (No Press) and Framing Poems (Timglaset) are forthcoming. Archer lives in Burlington, Ontario with his wife and two daughters. His website is sachaarcher.wordpress.com.


M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, and former lawyer who lives in the space-time of the city of Toronto. She is a Guggenheim Fellow (USA) and the recipient of many awards including the Casa de las Americas prize (Cuba). Among her best-known published works are She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks, Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence, and Harriet’s Daughter, a young adult novel. Philip’s last work of poetry, Zong!, is a genre-breaking poem, which engages with the law, history, and memory as they relate to the transatlantic slave trade. Bla_K, a collection of essays, is her most recent work.

Clara Daneri is an artist and illustrator, exploring the relationship between digital and analogue media. In 2016, she cofounded Penteract Press, as a venue for international structure-based experimental poetry. She tweets @claradaneri.

Katherine Heigh has written two chapbooks, PTBO NSA (bird buried press) and To The People Who Used to Live Here (Gap Riot Press). She was the 2015 recipient of the P.K. Page Poetry Prize. Appearing in various print and online publications, her work is inspired by the mystical in the mundane, the corporeality of consciousness, and a lot of nostalgic nonsense.

C. Mehrl Bennett is an artist living in Columbus OH with poet spouse, John M. Bennett, whom she met via the mailart network. Her media includes junk assemblings, digital art, collage/drawing/painting, poetry, visual poetry, short songs, performance event scores, mailart (handmade books, artistamp sheets, rubberstamp carving, flux related ephemera, archiving, network activities), video and audio recordings. She is book designer/ associate editor (with JMB) of publishing imprint Luna Bisonte Prods.
Her blog is at: http://cmehrlbennett.wordpress.com/

psw is a Germany-based discoverer in outdated printmaking techniques. She creates abstract typographics on typewriters and with dry transfer letters, prints metal type graphics on the proofing press, and duplicates her work with mimeographs - making books from her work. She is also creator of the ongoing mimeo printed magazine ToCall.

Angela Caporaso is an Italian artist and women book artist. Angela Caporaso's art has always been characterized by a constant research and experimentation. Since her first exhibitions, which date back to the eighties, she has revealed a constant strain towards new expressive languages. This constant research led Angela to contaminate sign with colour, font with image, literature with painting, as though one single medium was not sufficient to express her complex imaginative world.
http://www.angelacaporaso.com

Friday, January 10, 2020

new from above/ground press: The Mystery of Ornament, by Dale Tracy

The Mystery of Ornament
Dale Tracy
$4

Signature Piece

The cousins name the centre of their plan
Captain Quilt’s Wet Stitch:
Martha swims, they sail,
an awl through the weave,
a trawl through the water.
The fish are the cover story
and the symbol of the dive:
Fish, another bird observer,
because we all watch our shadow.
The cousins know Martha saw
curved wings to fall so straight.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Dale Tracy
is the author of the chapbook Celebration Machine (Proper Tales Press, 2018), the four-poem chapoem What It Satisfies (Puddles of Sky Press, 2016), and the monograph With the Witnesses: Poetry, Compassion, and Claimed Experience (McGill-Queen’s, 2017). She teaches in the Department of English, Culture, and Communication and is currently the associate chair of the Writing Centre at the Royal Military College of Canada.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Jessica Drake-Thomas reviews Allyson Paty’s Five O’Clock on the Shore (2019)

Jessica Drake-Thomas was good enough to provide the first review of Allyson Paty’s Five O’Clock on the Shore (2019); thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
This week, I read Allyson Paty’s chapbook, Five O’Clock on the Shore, a collection of poems which explore temporal and causality. I found this book to be really intriguing. It has the feel of a confessional.

In her long poem, entitled “Millennial,” the speaker says, “Anything I did or had could be given a name and a value.” She then goes on to show how actions and exchanges shaped her life. How exchanges were made, so that she had the things that she did or does.

There are several such exchanges, for example:

“People with tumors lay down on a table for my father. My father cut the tumors out./ The people with tumors paid a hospital, the hospital paid my dad, and he paid for me.”

The series of statements show cause and effect throughout her life. How she came to be who she is and where she is. One would think that these would take the poetry and — out of the speaker’s life, however, these pieces become deeply meaningful and artfully spoken.

“Everything I did or had could be given a name and a value. It was a violent translation./Nothing it could not touch.”

“Millennial” evokes a certain sense of longing. For a simpler life with less of the “violent translation.” It’s a longing for life to mean something more than just these exchanges. There’s something deeply human and aching about the piece. Simply put, it’s stunning.

I highly recommend Five O’Clock on the Shore. Paty’s work is phenomenal. You can find Five O’Clock on the Shore through above/ground press.