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

Four poems for Kathleen Fraser


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.


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.


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 ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( 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

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) or the PayPal button at

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