Sunday, September 19, 2021

Lantern Review includes Monica Mody's Ordinary Annals (2021) in An Asian American Poetry Companion: Fresh Books for Fall 2021

Lantern Review was good enough to include Monica Mody's above/ground press chapbook debut, Ordinary Annals (August, 2021), in their list of "An Asian American Poetry Companion: Fresh Books for Fall 2021." Thanks so much! As they write to introduce the post: "Even we find ourselves at the close of another challenging summer, Asian American voices continue to shine in print. Earlier this year, we celebrated the proliferation of spring Asian American poetry releases. Today, we’re excited to highlight just a small portion of the new and forthcoming works coming out of the AsAm poetry community this fall." Be sure to check out their full list! As they wrote of Mody's chapbook:
Monica Mody, Ordinary Annals (above/ground, August 2021)

Contributor (and past staff writer) Monica Mody’s newest chapbook, written over the course of the last year, reflects on the tumultuous events of 2020 and 2021 as the poet herself contended with the US’s notoriously thorny visa system. In her signature resonant and deeply grounded poetic style, Mody examines the limits of the body in all its many senses—as creative work, as organism, as site of protest, as political subject, as resident (of community, of nation, of habitat, of ecosystem, of Earth)—resulting in a prescient work that, in the poet’s own words, “falter(s) towards a ripple, a ground of healing.” A beautiful artifact of these difficult times, this lovely little handmade chap is not one to miss.

Friday, September 17, 2021

new from above/ground press: Never Have I Ever, by Emily Izsak

Never Have I Ever
Emily Izsak
$5


Gone Skinny Dipping


        Water striders
        promised    
                   immovable family
        rose gold charms
        for each third time

        but   leftover flood
        lusts after reproductive
        achievement

                It’s survival
                of the fishes

        if they scripted   
        a biblical litmus    for naked shapes
        and blue-green algae

        Pessimists cry
                                out   it’s a buoy  
                at the mikveh
                in the middle   of the highlands

I am neither rock
                nor island

        though flagrant waves
        flush Garfunklian noise  wasted
        on next year’s negative
                                              dip

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

Emily Izsak’s
poetry has been published in Arc Poetry Magazine, The Puritan, House Organ, Cough, The Steel Chisel, The Doris, and The Hart House Review. In 2014 she was selected as PEN Canada’s New Voices Award nominee. Her chapbook, Stickup, was published in 2015, and her first full-length collection, Whistle Stops: A Locomotive Serial Poem, was published by Signature Editions in April 2017. She also has an earlier above/ground press chapbook in the archive called Twenty-Five (2018). You should check it out. It’s pretty cool.

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, September 14, 2021

new from above/ground press: Mushrooms Yearly Planner, by Jen Tynes

Mushrooms Yearly Planner
Jen Tynes
$5


Running late because the moon has been
invisible—it’s easy to cut out some

greens and lower the chest
into others; the feeling of sensors

dead-headed so the brain can tilt
slightly down, express a joy aureole.

Receptive kinks and receptive rain fall,
in the garden only half the rockets put down roots

and on the trail the lower belly of the mustard-
colored amphibian reacts earlier in time

than limbs or oxygen. Even the sky turns baby
blue when the body is ovulating. It’s Memorial

Day, three more months of surplus
firecrackers in the stuck dark.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Jen Tynes
is the author of several books and chapbooks, most recently Hunter Monies (Black Radish Books). She edits The Magnificent Field and Horse Less Press, and she teaches and walks in Michigan.

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

Monday, September 13, 2021

Karen Massey wins the 2020 Diana Brebner Prize

Clearly, I'm behind on my information, having discovered only today through reading Arc Poetry Magazine #95 (summer 2021) that Ottawa poet and above/ground press author Karen Massey won the annual Diana Brebner Prize last October (I'm completely willing to blame Covid-distractions on all of this) for the "best poem written by a National Capital Region poet, who has not yet published in book form." The prize was judged by BC writer Susan Musgrave. A belated congratulations! Musgrave selected Karen's “Mary Oliver in the Hereafter” for the $500 grand prize; Dessa Bayrock’s “What Do You See” was named the honourable mention for this year’s prize.

Here’s what Susan Musgrave had to say about “Mary Oliver in the Hereafter”:
First of all, I loved the title. And then I loved the first line. And then…anon. I like the Big Philosophical Questions the poem asks but doesn’t answer. That’s what a good poem will do. It doesn’t give you any answers, just unanswerable questions. I also love the way the poem uses abstractions — hope, joy — but renders them concrete. By the time I get to the last line, I feel lighter, the grass smells sweeter.
Karen Massey's poetry has been published online and in anthologies and journals in Canada, the United States and the UK, including Aesthetica, Arc, subTerrain and experiment-o. She has two chapbooks-to-date with above/ground press, Bullet (1999) and STRANGE FITS OF BEAUTY & LIGHT: Erasure Poems from Archibald Lampman’s Sonnets (2014), and she was part of the anthology Decalogue: Ten Ottawa Poets (Chaudiere Books, 2006). And Karen isn't the first above/ground press author to win such, as Marilyn Irwin won the same prize back in 2013, and natalie hanna had an honourable mention in 2019!

And if such prompts, they are currently taking poems for this year's competition! Pay attention!