Monday, November 30, 2020

new from above/ground press: i see i said, by Dennis Cooley

i see i said
Dennis Cooley



où he said

là she said

oh you mean
oui she said la la

oohhh he said

ah non she said là 

yes that’s what
i was saying he said

ooh la la he said

voilá that’s all

c’est tout

tout de suite
she said but
she said she didn’t

he only said she said
how sweet it is

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

Dennis Cooley
was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and has lived most of his life in Winnipeg, where he has been active in many parts of its literary life. Latest books include departures, the muse sings, the bestiary, and coldpress moon.

This is Cooley’s third above/ground press chapbook, after “two poems” (STANZAS #45, April 2006) and have you learned / nothing kroetsch (2011).

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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Monday, November 23, 2020

above/ground press at the Meet the Presses Indie Lit Symposium : this weekend!

Please join us this weekend for the virtual Meet the Presses Indie Lit Symposium! We're all hoping that next year we can do the fair (as well as the semi-annual ottawa small press book fair) in person again, but until then, the Meet the Presses collective has organized a whole slew of readings and talks from participants all across the country.

You can register at the link for the event here.

All events are free, with the option to donate if you wish. Please note that you only need to register once and we will send out a Zoom link to each event one hour before it begins. If you don't receive an email in your inbox, please check your spam and junk folders.

Meet the Presses is an all-volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events that showcase books, chapbooks, magazines, recordings, broadsheets, and ephemera produced by independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The collective continues in the spirit of the original Meet the Presses events begun 30 years ago in Toronto by Stuart Ross and Nicholas Power. The collective consists of Gary Barwin, Paul Dutton, Beth Follett, Stuart Ross, Aaron Tucker, Jacqueline Valencia, and Tali Voron. The Founding Members Emeritus are Maria Erskine, Ally Fleming, Maggie Helwig, Leigh Nash, and Nicholas Power. You can learn more about the collective here.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

bpNichol Chapbook Award Shortlist reading and Winner Announcement, 7-8pm EST
shorlisted titles:
Tolu Oloruntoba, Manubrium (Anstruther Press)
Oubah Osman, Hereditary Blue (Anstruther Press)
Emily Lu, Night Leaves Nothing New (Baseline Press)
Nisa Malli, Remitting (Baseline Press)

Friday, November 27, 2020
The Roots of Small Press, 7-8pm EST
with above/ground press, Proper Tales Press, Book*Hug Press and Coach House Books

Saturday, November 28, 2020
The Future of Small Press, 12-1pm EST
with Metatron Press, Gap Riot Press, Anstruther Press and Knife Fork Book

Outlaw Presses: Pushing the Boundaries of Small Press, 2-3pm EST
with No Press, Noir Z, The Blasted Tree, Simulacrum Press, AngelHouse Press and Room 3o2 Books

Sunday, November 29, 2020
Magazines and Journals, 12-1pm EST
with CAROUSEL Magazine, Filling Station, These Days and Augur Magazine

Small Press and the Craft of Bookmaking, 2-3pm EST
with Baseline Press, Puddles of Sky Press and In Print Collective

Friday, November 20, 2020

new from above/ground press: SOME LEAVES, by rob mclennan and Gary Barwin

rob mclennan and Gary Barwin


One takes one’s computer into the woods and types “bird."
Birdsong; prerecorded, playback loops.
One takes out a photocopy of a leaf.  
One harvests the sentence. One pulls at weeds.  
One removes one’s tongue and plants it where the weeds once were
against an architecture of trees. Against the underbrush of syntax.
This long screen-capture of the sun; a sense of shade, and thistle.
Honestly, say the birds. You humans. It’s not about language.
One wishes not to speak of birds, their extraordinary example.
One takes out a photocopy of a bird.
Some leaves improvise. To reflect complexity.
Trees look on, doting parents examining macaroni drawings.
A backstage declaration of migration patterns, inkjet streaks.
Everything is connected to everything. “Everything” to “Everything.”
This blue sky repeats, flickers, holds. This blue sky trends.
We speak of birds.

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

artwork by Gary Barwin

Gary Barwin
is a writer, composer, musician, and multidisciplinary artist and has published 25 books of fiction, poetry and work for children. His latest books include For It is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe: New and Selected Poems, ed. Alessandro Porco, Ampers&thropocene (visuals) and A Cemetery for Holes (with Tom Prime). A new novel, Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy will appear from Random House in 2021. He is a prolific collaborator having regularly worked with writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, and dancers. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario and at where he holds the David W. McFadden Chair in Diffuse but Earnest Luminosity at the National Rhyme Institute of Canada.

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. He is the author of three works of fiction, two collections of literary essays, a tourist guide to Ottawa and more than two dozen full-length poetry titles, including A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019) and Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019), with the book of smaller forthcoming in 2022 from University of Calgary Press. 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.

This is Barwins’s sixth above/ground press chapbook, after “SYNONYMS FOR FISH,” STANZAS #26 (March, 2001), Seedpod, Microfiche (2013) and Dust of the Wren: poems and translations (2019), and the collaborative PLEASURE BRISTLES (with Alice Burdick; 2018) and gravitynipplemilk anthroposcenesters (with Tom Prime; 2018).

This is mclennan’s sixty-fourth above/ground press chapbook, following Twenty-one stories, (2020), Poems for Lunch Poems for SFU (2020), 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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Monday, November 16, 2020

Russell Carisse reviews Amanda Deutch’s Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (2020) in antilang

Russell Carisse was good enough to provide the first review for Amanda Deutch’s Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (2020) in antilang #8. Thanks so much! You can see his original review here. As he writes:



Rummaging around Brooklyn’s streetscape with Amanda Deutch’s Bodega Night Pigeon Riot, from above/gound press, one is drawn along and through the accoutrements and fashions of late-capital’s urban millieux. This chap of haiku rattles off with arhythmic comparisons made by the witness in the window of a moving train with words that embark on the dichotomous unrest of jarring the traditional fair of petals, lurching suddenly against the ossified detritus of economic growth - the final excrements of replicative production. There’s a moment hanging on a bridge reaching for itself, but the lul of progress, the lul of onomatopoeic security, of the flashing signs, the monetary venture to work arrives fully stationed for a fresh departure from tradition, again, but with touch of that temporal inflexibility and constraint incorporated in conjunction with the police state - America's cultural soul, as approved religiously over and over again. A soul that is expressed by civil iconographics and neon churches posing in stolen clothes. Pulling into a solipsism that is triggered by the act of naming, a feigned escape materializes from personal reminiscence but tempered with its assurances of willful forgetting and itemized appropriations - the valorized garb of existential valuation. And then it’s off again, with the cycle of storefront-church-mural, uninterupted and augmented by humanity’s popular refrain singing its tune of wealth appreciation. The destination arrives with the traditional fair now blooming and employed with a future naturally littering itself for an immanent return, as one will keep coming back to these poems. Oh, and FUCK the POL(ICE)!


Monday, November 9, 2020

new from above/ground press: a moment in flight: essay on melancholy, by Kristjana Gunnars

a moment in flight
essay on melancholy
Kristjana Gunnars

In the garden there is a bower for melancholy, a hidden garden where I can stay with sadness. Wisteria hangs overhead, lilacs emit their scent and birds wing past at extraordinary speed.

There are fragments of eternity in all passing things.

Saturn is still in the universe with all its moons, Artemis, goddess of the forest, still has green thoughts in a green space.

Tall pines lean slightly in the grey mist of distance, branches tangle with branches against a backdrop of haze, water, sky, overhanging rock.  

I now think love is a story that has failure in it, complexity, something foreign—a story I tell myself when I am at a loss for words.

When the smooth surface of sentiment cracks, love itself enters, through small openings that formed when things broke down into parts until I no longer recognize myself.  He says love took you away from your plans—you lost more than you can bring back.

That is the time you need to be willing to go under.

What you expect to happen is not what will happen. If you need to withdraw, he says, love is telling you, withdraw—

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the fifth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
November 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Kristana Gunnars
is a B.C. based writer and painter, author of several books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. She was formerly Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Alberta and is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Iceland. Her last chapbook of poems was At Home in the Mountains from Junction Press, Ontario, 2018, and her last poetry chapbook with above/ground was Snake Charmers, 2016. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

new from above/ground press: BLUE, by Nathanael O’Reilly

Nathanael O’Reilly

Pure Adrenalin Sound

The raw sound of rock & roll,
the crack, rattle and roll of snares,
the wail, roar and moan of singers,
the simulated orgasm of guitar solos,
the hypnotic pulse of bass,
the rhythms of hi-hats and riffs,
foot-stompin,’ blood-pumpin,’
pure adrenalin sound
makes me want to speed down
desert highways with one arm
hangin’ out the window,
one hand beatin’ on the wheel,
the wind tearin’ through my hair,
expressing the inexpressible.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2020
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Nathanael O’Reilly
is an Irish-Australian residing in Texas. His books include (Un)belonging (Recent Work Press, 2020); Preparations for Departure (UWAP, 2017), named one of the Books of the Year in Australian Book Review; Cult (Ginninderra Press, 2016); Distance (Ginninderra Press, 2015); Suburban Exile (Picaro Press, 2011); and Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010). More than 200 of his poems have appeared in journals and anthologies published in twelve countries, including Antipodes, Anthropocene, Australian Love Poems, Cordite, fourW, FourXFour, Headstuff, Marathon, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Skylight 47, Snorkel, Transnational Literature and The Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 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 rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Monday, November 2, 2020

Gary Barwin : Recommended Reading : Simina Banu + Margaret Christakos

Our pal (and above/ground press author) Gary Barwin was good enough to mention a couple of above/ground press titles--Simina Banu's Tomorrow, adagio (2019) and Margaret Christakos' Retreat Diary 2019 (2019)--as part of a list of "Recommended Reading" over at The Fiddlehead; thanks so much! You can see his original post and list here (including titles by Derek Beaulieu, Anthony Etherin, Gregory Betts, Mark Laba and Tanis MacDonald). As he writes:

Simina Banu: Tomorrow, adagio (above/ground press)

Mesmerizingly preternatural, strange and in the uncanny valley between senselessness music and touchingly lyric, Banu’s chapbook is a series of phonic, visual, and sometimes literal translations of Mihai Eminescu’s poetry. Set in the present and in an oblique literary past, these poems are resonant, surprising, and inventive.

Margaret Christakos: Retreat Diary 2019 (above/ground press)

This suite of poems pulsates with the vibrant intelligence, music, tactility and sense of being-in-the-world that is characteristic Christakos. The lines are energized and self-aware. We are always/already writing/reading/poeming, retreating and advancing through language. And we communicate and wrestle and dance with communication and the problem/possibility of communication through (social) media, language, received notions of self, our culture and the world.