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

No comments: