Friday, March 5, 2021

new from above/ground press: Moonbathing in Al Faiyūm, by Brenda Iijima

Moonbathing in Al Faiyūm
Brenda Iijima
$5


Gradually my body gives over to the Sun
Mimics the Sun, becomes the Sun
For a time, there was borderline confusion
Blood recedes, dismisses lunation
Between syzygies is magma
Flowing in a braid of silver nerve energy

Flora and fauna translate atmosphere
Feeling the Sun is a primary need

Money grubbers without soul
What does the Sun know of them?

The Sun cares about flora
Flora interpret the Sun’s rays
Into a disposition of energy conducive
To earthly mattering
We are Sun’s abundance

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

Brenda Iijima
is a poet, playwright, choreographer and visual artist. She is the author of nine books of poetry. Her involvements occur at the intersections and mutations of genre, process, receptivity, and field of study. Her current work engages submerged and occluded histories, other-than-human modes of  expression and telluric awareness in all forms. Her most recent book, Bionic Communality, is just out from Roof Books. Her first play, Daily Life in China, will be published in spring, 2021 by elis press. Iijima is the founding editor-publisher of Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs. She lives in Brooklyn.

This is Iijima’s second chapbook with above/ground press, after SWAMP/SWAMP (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) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

new from above/ground press: Transmissions from the Crawdad Constellation, by Michael Sikkema

Transmissions from the Crawdad Constellation
Michael Sikkema
$5


< . . . now . . . >

        becoming noise

* & *                     ///
      * *                    ^
 *    *     *                \\\

     “   ,        branch and antler
        
           \|/                 /|\
        
                “   ,    > , , , ‘ ‘ ‘ <
                                                       * & *         
              *

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

Michael Sikkema
is interested in feral alphabets, bird-mushroom confluences, tree music, and the function of poetry for the human microbiome. His most recent book is You’ve Got a Pretty Hellmouth (Trembling Pillow Press), and consists of long poems that play with western, horror, and sci fi tropes. Caw Caw Phony is his next full length collection, which explores closed captions, foley art, listening maps, and other sound-related material as a conduit for poetry. It is forthcoming from Trembling Pillow Press in 2021. He lives in West Michigan.

This is Sikkema’s second chapbook with above/ground press, after Here on Huron (2019). A third is forthcoming.

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, March 2, 2021

above/ground press participates in the virtual SMOL Fair March 3-7, 2021

Yep, above/ground press is participating virtually in the SMOL Fair from March 3-7, 2021

WHAT IS THAT? Well, as their website offers:
SMOL Fair is an alternative, virtual book fair that will be 'live' from March 3-7, 2021. It is 100% free for presses to participate.

For readers, we are hosting a reading, a keynote address, and a mixer. We are coordinating an events calendar for that week featuring readings from participating presses as well as book give-aways and deals on work from your favorite authors.
That's pretty cool, yes? Reminiscent of last fall's Meet the Presses' Indie Lit Symposium, which virtually held a really interesting series of panels etcetera [all of which can still be found online, by the way]

Between now and March 7, 2021, above/ground press will be offering 50% off on any and all chapbook/issue orders (not including shipping). Just include the word SMOL when you send your order in (this runs out at midnight on Sunday, so if there's anything you were thinking of ordering, now just might be the time...)

above/ground press is also offering a handful of give-aways through the fair itself, including copies of the April 2021 issue of Touch the Donkey, katie o'brien's micro moonlight (2021), Jason Christie's Bridge and burn (2021), Amish Trivedi's The Universe in an Earth-Shaped Urn (2021) and Kristjana Gunnars' a moment in flight: essay on melancholy (2020), so check out their site to see how any of that stuff works. And they're even on twitter!

Friday, February 26, 2021

new from above/ground press: OFF THE RESTING SEA, by Al Kratz

OFF THE RESTING SEA
Al Kratz
$5


Sergio wakes on the beach where yesterday’s view offered so much promise. What time is it? He barely remembers falling asleep on the sand, the feeling of something slipping away. The sun hasn’t warmed the beach yet, which, as far as Sergio can see, he has to himself. The beach. Oh shit, they really did it. Jane had always asked him to keep driving south on the Jersey Turnpike and not stop until Cocoa Beach. Jane, Sweet Jane. The original Queen of Disaster. Where was she now?
      Maybe she went for seashells. He picks one of the ways she could have gone, trusting his luck while ignoring the equal chance he’s walking away from her. Trusting the ocean. Such an incredible thing. At six foot five, a rare moment of feeling small. Early morning waves limping, but he knows they’re lying. He knows their true power.  
      They really did it. The sand and the ocean? Jane had given them to him. He thought she was joking. “Skip our exit, baby. Take me to Florida.” She said it every day. He’d spend his daydreaming about escaping the concrete life that belonged to someone else, Sergio always the borrower. This time, Jane following up with: “I’m serious. Let's do it.”
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2021
as the sixth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Al Kratz
lives in Indianola, Iowa with his wife, Kristy. They have ridden out the 2020 storm with writing, painting, and watching every television show possible. His work has been in Smokelong, Hobart, Pithead Chapel, Bull, and others. In 2020, he was shortlisted in the Bath Short Story Award. In 2019, Off the Resting Sea was shortlisted in the Bath Novella-In-Flash Award. He is a Fiction Editor at New Flash Fiction Review and co-founder of the Flash Monsters!!! blog. His work can be followed at alkratz.com.   

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

new from above/ground press: THE OCEANDWELLER, by Saeed Tavanaee Marvi (translated by Khashayar Mohammadi


THE OCEANDWELLER
Saeed Tavanaee Marvi translated by Khashayar Mohammadi
$4

the sounds of the Ocean
all sounds crash into cliffs

I recite all my poems to the Ocean
 

soft music. we go inside the OceanCruiser. The OceanDweller walks among the white Poplars. We can hear the rustling of leaves. while walking on the dried leaves he speaks of the genesis of Song

a flower has bloomed
dried root       

           
lively crown
 

            some reprieve. the voice changes its timbre

Asuriq was the first flower on this planet; its pollen carried by the comet Indra to the depths of this planet’s oceans. Long roots and small leaves. Volcanic cycles made the flower surface 130 million years ago. Humanity had not yet come to earth.. It was the time of birds, alone with flowers on the surface. it was then that songs began to take form. the first song was a dialogue between the birds and Asuriq.

            the room. The television speaks in Farsi. No sound of birds.
    
the poem is recited with soft music in the background.

I dreamt of you
it was spring

we were walking

you cried

there were no flowers

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


further of his translations of Marvi's work appeared recently at periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics

cover image: Babak Tavanaee Marvi

Saeed Tavanaee Marvi is a poet and translator born in the city of Mashhad in 1983. His books include The Woman With Chlorophyllic eyes, Verses of Death: An Anthology of American Poetry and a translation of Richard Brautigan’s Tokyo Montana Express.

Khashayar Mohammadi is a queer, Iranian born, Toronto-based Poet, Writer, Translator and Photographer. He is the author of poetry chapbooks Moe’s Skin by ZED press 2018, Dear Kestrel by knife | fork | book 2019 and Solitude is an Acrobatic Act by above/ground press 2020. His debut poetry collection Me, You, Then Snow is forthcoming with Gordon Hill Press in Spring 2021

This is Mohammadi’s second chapbook with above/ground press, after Solitude is an Acrobatic Act (2020).

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, February 23, 2021

Cam Gordon reviews G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #11 (2020) in Broken Pencil

Cam Gordon was good enough to provide the first review of G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #11, edited by Elizabeth Robinson (2020) over at Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.

‘Guest #11’ feels like a final artifact of a time that is never coming back

Zine, Elizabeth Robinson (editor), 60 pgs, above/ground press, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON K1H 7M9

Short on words and high on concept, Guest 11 is a delicate collection of prose, poems and short stories. Each edition of this journal from above/ground press features a different guest editor. When Elizabeth Robinson took the wheel, she invited nine contributors, all of them recent contacts from her life and work.

Not unlike lovely silly stuff like the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the first four Led Zeppelin numbers, it’s a good collection in terms of variety. Interestingly, Robinson wrote the foreward for this collection in early, early March 2020 — mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic truly began to ravage the planet. Thus, the zine already feels like a final artifact of a time that is never coming back. Given that Robinson chose poets and pals with whom she had recently communicated to be the contributors, it’s both recent and distant, and there’s a sadness, a kind of warp to the experience of reading it. This might not have been planned. But this is straight poetry here, and its grace is that it isn’t trying to do too much, nor be overly smart or pulpy or of the moment.

This is a passion project to be sure, and given the breadth and scope that these works offer, there’s probably something for everyone here.


Monday, February 22, 2021

new from above/ground press: Bridge and Burn, by Jason Christie


Bridge and burn
Jason Christie
$4


A stereo falls in the forest, in HD, a radio falls
And nobody hears because they weren’t there,
Weren't wearing headphones, weren’t paying
The high cost of attention to their surroundings.
What I wanted to say got lost somewhere nearby.
A duck walks into the, um, lemonade store and
Uh, says could you put this Chapstick on my bill?
Could you bill me later for this stick, chap? Could
You stick me later with this bill for your chapbook?
Tossing and turning, whispering sweet nothings
To myself like: retreat or surrender, turning it over
And tossing it all away in the morning, like who knows
Better than some quack with a feather stuck in his cap?
I certainly don’t have a viable idea for our garbage
Other than to keep it in a locked bin in the alleyway.
As to when I might get paid for my unique
Sense of what colours should go together or
Which celebrity couple should next get caught
Making out in the moonlight, I don’t want to say.
Anyway, what I would say instead is that I don’t
Want to pretend to tell you how to read this
Poem, or what to make of your own boundaries.
Which is itself a kind of beginning and end. On
The one hand, I’ve invoked you now. And who
Will you become in the confines of this writing?
Who will you be tomorrow, or the next day, and
What side would you order, if you could, what
Kind of wine to accompany your main course? You
Are going to get it (hopefully) where it resembles
That whistling sound when the noises of day fade
Coming from the void inside every object. And now
I’ll show you out. That, my friends, in short defines
What it means to consolidate power by organizing
The things you can’t do yourself and making them
Recognize your sovereignty (even if you pay for it).
It is all part of the authorial illusion that I know
Of what I write, and you will eventually know too,
That we’ve made a kind of bargain to be here
Together in an act of understanding what it means
To write this all down, what it means to read it.
These words are the result of immense privilege,
They represent a kind of immaculate waste that
Burns at the cost of ignoring important, vital things
Occurring all around me, and possibly around you.
What price, to escape that awful limit that keeps
Binding me to the letters I’ve set down in this way?
What cost, to understand words without a care
That they mean anything to anyone, that they matter?

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

Jason Christie
lives and writes in Ottawa. He is the author of Canada Post (Invisible), i-ROBOT (Edge/Tesseract), Unknown Actor (Insomniac), and Cursed Objects (Coach House). He has just completed a new manuscript of poetry he wrote with the help of several Python scripts.

This is his seventh chapbook with above/ground press, after 8th Ave 15th St NW. (2004), Government (2013), Cursed Objects (2014), The Charm (2015), random_lines = random.choice (2017) and glass language (excerpt) (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

Friday, February 19, 2021

new from above/ground press: micro moonlights, by katie o'brien


micro moonlights
katie o'brien
$5


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

katie o’brien
is a poet, community worker, and Netflix enthusiast originally from St. John’s, Ktaqamkuk, on unceded Beothuk land. They currently live in Mohkínstsis, on Treaty 7 territory, and recently founded blood orange, an experimental poetry tarot. micro moonlights is their first above/ground chapbook. katie dislikes lying, sings a lot, and doesn’t kill bugs.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

new from above/ground press: Less Dream, by N.W. Lea


Less Dream
N.W. Lea
$5

Driver


No essential sentences
for this, um, essence.

Drove through the night,
harmonies barking.

I’ve always been afraid of,
or to, sleep. I’ve always

had to pay those attention tariffs,
had to wrestle specters.

The meaner memes.
No...no decentralizing force here.

No blowout combing twilight,
my eye’s lights. Drove

into new days, just a mess

of essences.

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

N.W. Lea
is a poet living in Whitehorse, Yukon (also, his birthplace) with his supernal partner and their wild and beautiful daughter. Find his books at invisiblepublishing.com.

This is Lea’s fifth above/ground press chapbook, after light years (2006), Present! (2014), Nervous System (2018) and Five Mothers (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

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Scott Bryson reviews Derek Beaulieu's CABARET (2020) in Broken Pencil

Scott Bryson was good enough to provide the first review of Derek Beaulieu's CABARET (2020) over at Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.

Chapbook, Derek Beaulieu, 14 pgs, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.com, $4

It doesn’t take long to grasp the technicality of what this is — in Derek Beaulieu’s words, “symmetrical visual poetry, all using the same typeface.” The stumper is why it’s so hard to turn away from it. Perhaps bewilderment breeds amusement.

Beaulieu’s latest collection of concrete poems begin from central, seemingly random letters or punctuation marks, with like letters radiating out in two directions. It creates something that’s not quite a mirrored image or an inkblot, but the opposite sort of reflection, if there’s a name for that.

After a short time communing with these images, you’ll likely give up trying to decipher what, if anything, the selection or arrangement of letters means. Your focus will turn instead to the method behind the symmetry, as you maddeningly turning the page around and around to see what it looks like from every direction. Satisfied that a symmetry of sorts does exist, you’ll move on to the shape and the typeface, Does it suggest anything? The text is certainly carnivalesque and whimsical, a marquee font if there is one — deserving of the title Cabaret. The smaller designs could be headlines from a performance poster.

In the end, this appears to be more a feast for the eyes than a puzzle to decode. It demands your engagement, which on its own is a desirable achievement.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Pearl Pirie's #95 Books : Amanda Earl + The Peter F. Yacht Club #29


Pearl Pirie
was good enough to include two above/ground press titles as part of her ongoing #95 Books list for 2021. You can catch her full (ongoing) list here.

17. Aftermath of scenes of a woman convalescing by Amanda Earl (above/ground, 2019) is a chapbook about health problems in language-y ways and more straight spoken vignettes. Both work to capture the feeling of incapacity.

8. Peter F Yacht Club #29 (above/ground, 2020) is in a new smaller format, which is great because the full 8 1/2 x 11 don’t fit my shelves. Great poems by Monty Reid and Amanda Earl. A new one by me in there. I have extras if you want a copy. I believe it is part of an above/ground subscription. It’s like a mystery poetry party gift every few weeks.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Stefanie Ucci reviews Dani Spinosa's Civilization (2020) in Broken Pencil


Stefanie Ucci
was good enough to provide the first review of Dani Spinosa's Civilization (2020) over at Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.

‘Civilization’ will blow you right through the classroom wall

Chapbook, Dani Spinosa, 7 pgs, above/ground press, genericpronoun.com, @genericpronoun, $4

It’s the first day of school, class is in session, and today’s subject is history — or something like it. Oh, and hopefully your desk has a seatbelt, because Civilization will blow you right through the classroom wall. Dani Spinosa, an experimental poet, typesetter, and co-founder of the experimental feminist outfit Gap Riot Press, lives up to her reputation as a proven poetry punk as she takes you on lurching and disorienting tour of domination across oceans and centuries.

The chapbook’s voice is a practice in momentum, and each page brings a different colonization and a new opponent. It visits Victorian England and the fall of Rome, speaking as Moctezuma, but a unique version of the conqueror, one who is hellbent on capturing Charleston. Spinosa’s references spin and spill forth with such confidence that you’ll regret not paying attention in history class more so than you’ll question what you know or don’t about eons long past.

This chapbook’s shape-shifting time-traveling speaker might actually be power itself, personified. Collapsing space and time with such weight and gusto, able to justify anything in the name of expansion and control. Empire is the protagonist, but in the grand scheme of things, isn’t it always?

“It’s 1690. I’m in the Modern era. I declare war on the Spanish and start to move south,” Spinosa writes. “First, I take Rouen, which the Spanish conquered from the French. Later I’ll take Paris, too. The French have lost so much before I even arrive.”

I enjoy the barrage of early civilizations and, as the poet likely intends, I feel confused and challenged by the personality these eras are given. The text’s considerable nonchalance around defeating countries is paired with a fear that eventually they will be the one to get defeated, and I felt the same way about the chapbook — I get it, I’m in on it, or maybe I don’t, I’m not? Of course, defeat is not an option for you, nor for civilization. Wild.

Friday, January 8, 2021

new from above/ground press: Geometric Mantra, by Andrew Brenza


Geometric Mantra
Andrew Brenza
$5


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

Andrew Brenza’s
recent chapbooks include Poems in C (Viktlösheten Press), Bitter Almonds & Mown Grass (Shirt Pocket Press), and Waterlight (Simulacrum Press). He is also the author of four full-length collections of visual poetry, Automatic Souls (Timglaset), Alphabeticon & Other Poems (Redfoxpress), Gossamer Lid (Trembling Pillow Press) and Album, in Concrete (Alien Buddha Press).

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, January 7, 2021

Bryce Warnes reviews Dennis Cooley's i see i said (2020) at The Pamphleteer


Bryce Warnes was good enough to provide a first review for Dennis Cooley's i see i said (2020) over at his brand-new site, The Pamphleteer. Thanks so much! You can see his original review here. As he writes:

Dennis Cooley | above/ground press | Ottawa, 2020

Staple bound, 20 pages | Purchase


Keep your eye on the ball—changeups abound: Between you and I, sight and sound, left field experiments and lyrical crowd pleasers. Centrepiece “take me out to the ball game” prosily puns upon a dugout lexicon—”I’m a bit wild on the mound, it’s true,” admits the speaker—to deliver an ars knuckleball. Elsewhere, the titular poem belongs to a suite of stuttering dialogues, woven throughout, that unstitch subjectivity. And the playful “chimera” picks apart our urge “to say what we would / say if we knew / what we thought / or what we thought / we could say / to one another.” Who’s on first?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

new from above/ground press: The Universe in an Earth-Shaped Urn, by Amish Trivedi


The Universe in an Earth-Shaped Urn
Amish Trivedi
$5


There is a moon in the window and it’s burning even if we can’t see it. When it was overcast before, there was an indelicateness. What was meant has never mattered— what we call ourselves, how defined the boundaries of the self, matters more to everyone I am not. But do not generalize: maybe there is a me I have never seen because there is nothing anyways.

 

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

Amish Trivedi
wrote Sound/Chest (Coven 2015) and Your Relationship to Motion Has Changed (Shearsman 2019). He has an MFA and PhD and lives in Maryland.

This is Trivedi’s third above/ground press chapbook, after The Destructions (2015) and What We Remembered Before the Fire (2018). A fourth is forthcoming.

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