Monday, July 26, 2021

new from above/ground press: The End of Lake Superior, by Kōan Anne Brink

The End of Lake Superior
Kōan Anne Brink
$5

The End of Lake Superior

It was
    cool and dark,
azalea in bloom
at the edge

of the forest.
The raw silk of it
    peeking out
from its

heavily ironed
dress shirt.

Still more surface
    area than flowing
water, it was
hard to live by glacial

repose alone.
The visible saints
    drifting again

into imitation,
into the world’s late

afternoon.

We buried ourselves
at her bequest.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Kōan Anne Brink
was born and raised in Minnesota. They are the Art Writing Fellow at The Cooper Union and a lay ordained Sōtō Zen student. They live in Santa Fe.

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) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Friday, July 23, 2021

new from above/ground press: TWETWE: an alt-text pandemoir, by Gregory Betts


TWETWE, an alt-text pandemoir
Gregory Betts
$5

Is experimental poetry accessible? After an image I posted of a strange Japanese letter experiment on Twitter went mini-Viral, a friend asked how they could access its alt-text, an accessibility tool for the vision-impaired. Twitter only began allowing alt-text additions to posts during the pandemic, but it is still only rarely used. In the end, I just described the image to that friend, realizing, of course, the wider insufficiency. As I post a lot of artwork, conceptual poetry, and avant-garde crossovers, I started thinking about alt-texts as the distillation of a concept of a work that are themselves often distillations of ideas of other works. I began composing alt-texts for all of my tweets.

My twitter stream is not about personal events or opinions, but as I worked backwards through the past year, I realized that I was, in fact, creating a map of my thinking, yearning, diverting, and learning through the 2020 (Twe’Twe) pandemic. The alt-text as poem, while highlighting the problem of access (especially in a quarantine), work backward through my compendium of mental supplements in a time of global emergency.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image by the author: “The Layers of Descent”

Gregory Betts
is a poet, professor, editor, and musician at Brock University. His most recent books include Foundry (Redfoxpress (Ireland), 2021), a collection of visual poems, and Sweet Forme (Apothecary Archive (Australia), 2020), a visualization of the sound patterns in Shakespeare’s sonnets. He is the curator of the bpNichol.ca Digital Archive and President of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. He lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.

This is Gregory Betts’ sixth above/ground press title, after The Cult of David Thompson (2005), The Curse of Canada (2008), Who Let the Mice in Brion Gysin (2014), Signs of Our Discontent (with Arnold McBay, 2018) and For a Poetry of Blot (2019). He also appeared in the four poet anthology READ YORK (2004).

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) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Friday, July 16, 2021

new from above/ground press: HAWAIIAN SUNRISE, by Ken Norris


HAWAIIAN SUNRISE
Ken Norris
$5

HAWAIIAN SUNRISE

From your airplane window in the clouds
you couldn’t have imagined it.

Waves rolling in peacefully in the Hawaiian sunrise,
the depth of greenery.
All the usual dreams of coco-palms
and early morning beach volleyball.

And the sand that gets into everything

Clouds drifting idly, aimlessly,
collecting colour.

Empty hearts get happy.
And all the cameras come out.

Small white boats
bobbing and rolling in the blue.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Ken Norris
was born in New York City in 1951. He came to Canada in the early 1970s, to escape Nixon-era America and to pursue his graduate education. He completed an M.A. at Concordia University and a Ph.D. in Canadian Literature at McGill University. He became a Canadian citizen in 1985. For thirty-three years he taught Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Maine. He currently resides in Toronto.

This is Ken Norris’ seventh above/ground press chapbook, after Windward – St. Lucia Poems (1995), The Commentaries (1999), Songs For Isabella (2000), Green Wind (2010), Looking Into It (2011) and Hong Kong Blues (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 rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Friday, July 9, 2021

TODAY IS THE TWENTY-EIGHTH BIRTHDAY OF ABOVE/GROUND PRESS!

Oh, I know. What are anniversaries without big ridiculous parties? But we'll get there again. Remember the twenty-sixth anniversary? Or the twenty-fifth? The twenty-third? And the Toronto same? Or the nineteenth? Those sure were good times, yep. Amanda Earl even did a nice write-up for last year's anniversary, which was quite nice (and my birthday post for last year I thought was pretty good, also). And remember all those essays we posted by a variety of above/ground press authors etc for the twenty-fifth anniversary? But don't worry, just because we're all still home (but slowly emerging, it would seem), above/ground press is still working on the usual array of a million, billion things (see the sidebar for the growing names of authors with forthcoming chapbooks). Twenty-eight years; that seems nutty, doesn't it? And the press has produced (to date) some 1120 items (with a handful sitting at the printer even as we speak). And I've already started thinking about the thirtieth anniversary anthology (the third "decade" anthology), to be produced through Invisible Publishing (keep in mind you can purchase a copy of the twentieth anniversary volume through them as well, yes?).

Over here at above/ground press worldwide poetry solutions, we're working on multiple upcoming chapbooks, a few new broadsides and even the next two issues of G U E S T [a journal of guest editors], which will be edited by Melissa Eleftherion and Pearl Pirie! And you've been paying attention to Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] and periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics, yes? And I've even added a blog post to keep track of the above/ground press "prose/naut" prose chapbook series, so you can see what's forthcoming over that way. In the meantime, there will be other anniversaries (maybe we can celebrate twenty-eight and a half, or something). I'll be here, still, working away. I'm the one with the perpetual array of scotch tape and paper, clean scissors by the ready.



Friday, July 2, 2021

new from above/ground press: Boing, Extinction VS Wow! Signal, by Michael Sikkema

Boing, Extinction VS Wow! Signal
Michael Sikkema
$5

Kenning is shadowy paragraphs illicit

    Bernadette adjusts
    the pitch of
    the headtake

Mahalia is rotary asteroid barnacles
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Michael Sikkema
is a poet who draws on western, sci fi and horror elements, and is more interested in Big Tent Poetry, rather than the life of the individual poem. He has written chapbooks and books, which you can learn more about via search engines. He has work forthcoming with Trembling Pillow Press, and Low Frequency Press. He enjoys correspondence at michael.sikkema@gmail.com.

This is Sikkema’s third chapbook with above/ground press after Here on Huron (2019) and Transmissions from the Crawdad Constellation (2021).

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) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

new from above/ground press: SOME OF THE PUZZLES, by M.A.C. Farrant

SOME OF THE PUZZLES
M.A.C. Farrant
$5

Puzzle of Nothing

Two painters become bored with their subjects—daffodils, dogs, marinas.
        Then by chance they read a quote by artist Mary Pratt that appeared in her obituary. “My only strength is finding something where most people would find nothing.”
        Right then they decide to spend the rest of their lives looking closely at nothing, believing they have found the doorway into the sublime.   
        So far there is nothing of interest in this puzzle. It’s mainly Rolf working doggedly on a painting of his bathtub, Rita studying trash at the top of the driveway, some beige shading in the background.
        But then the puzzle begins to shimmer.  This is because Rita looks up and sees something where before she had always seen nothing of interest—the sky—and in particular, a towering cumulous cloud backlit by the sun.  The cloud sears her sensations.
        “The real secret of the arts,” said Zen master Shunryu Suzuki.  “is to always be a beginner.”
        When you finish this puzzle there will be nothing there.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the ninth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
June 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

M.A.C. Farrant
is the award-winning author of seventeen works of fiction, memoirs, and two plays. She has published eight books with Talonbooks, the most recent being her trio of miniature fiction: The World Afloat (2014), The Days (2016), and The Great Happiness (2019) and the current One Good Thing—A Living Memoir (2021), a BC Bestseller. She lives in North Saanich, British Columbia. https://talonbooks.com/authors/mac-farrant

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) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 24, 2021

new from above/ground press: WORM HOLES, After Cao Fei’s La Town, by Jamie Townsend

WORM     HOLES
After Cao Fei’s La Town
Jamie Townsend
$5


Five years ago I stumbled into Cao Fei’s La Town installation while wandering PS1, MOMA's satellite location in Queens. The exhibit seemed to glow in the too bright light of day after a seamless nocturnal slip into extinction, reemerging into a city that spat me out just a few months previous. Cao’s nightmare models scattered around the gallery—crumbling cityscapes, pastoral wastes, vast yet claustrophobic galleries, airline hangers packed with featureless crowds and escaped zoo animals—equal parts Through the Looking Glass and Escape from New York. Dozens of display cases featuring tiny railway figurines, distressed by hand, fluxes of hardened gel obscuring flames or plasticine waterlines rising to envelope train platforms—a wormhole metropolis, a city on fire, a night museum, a biblical deluge.

Having lived in at least a dozen apartments over the last decade, guided in part by economic and emotional ground zero, death, illness, depersonalization and creeping debt, Cao’s looped film with it’s Hiroshima Mon Amor narration panning over motionless, apocalyptic stagesets matched a pervasive, libidinal fear I had carried with me out of a strict evangelic childhood. A non-linear continuum blossomed in my mind like the germ of Satanic panic, globally gone to seed. Or a sudden point of connection—reading Dhalgren on a fainting couch in another city, another relationship I escaped from almost too late. No rapture at the end of my portrait of an artist but something new, inscrutable, dangerous, liberating.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image: Sunbathing on the Edge, Pier 52, (Matta-Clark's
Day's End), ca. 1977 Shelley Seccombe

Jamie Townsend is a genderqueer/transfemme poet and editor living in Oakland, CA. They are the author of 6 chapbooks as well as 2 longer collections Shade (Elis Press) and Sex Machines (speCt!). They are also the editor of Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader (Nightboat) and Libertines in the Ante-Room of Love: Poets on Punk (Jet Tone). With Nick DeBoer they curate Elderly.

This is Townsend's second above/ground press chapbook, after Pyramid Song (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 rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

new from above/ground press: In the Museum, by Conor Mc Donnell

In the Museum
Conor Mc Donnell
$5

In the Museum             Capgras’ Exhibit

[Reference 3]

(1) These people were for teaching purposes only. (2) The compromise grew subject to stories of air electricity & oils. (3) Began with smudges on portraits  stains on a face lazy words waiting for sound to be made. (4) Their hearts sweat & swell like coronal silhouettes. (5) They split and float to the surface switching off ancient death signals on the way smoothing rough edges and sanitizing variant geometries. (6) There are no textures when it is done. (7) The museum knows the difference. (8) Nothing is moving now. (9) Paintings sculptures tapestries all replaced with perfect soulless copies. (10) Nothing behind the eyes. (11)

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover illustration / Ogham translation by the author

Conor Mc Donnell is a physician & poet. His debut poetry collection, Recovery Community, is now available on Mansfield Press. This is his 3rd chapbook. His next full poetry collection is titled This Insistent List.

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) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com