Wednesday, September 22, 2021

new from above/ground press: SAYING “BOY” IN A WILDERNESS OF SONG, by Gary Barwin

Gary Barwin


Saying “Boy” in a Wilderness of Song was written sometime in the 1980s (I was in my 20s) and was unearthed as part of a project with Alessandro Porco of assembling a collection of my selected short fiction. Alex did amazing work editing my selected poems and since we both bought ourselves yachts with the spoils of that project, we’re mad keen to create another one. This time we’re getting matching castles. Really, it is a remarkable experience revisiting past work, both published and unpublished (like this story, until now) noticing the development of one’s work and the perennial themes and techniques, if only in nascent form, not to mention an entire history of personal computing technology. This story was printed on a dot matrix printer on an Atari 520ST.

Half Monty Python and half postcolonial hijinks, it satirizes a number of different cliches, tropes and genres in its exploration of tone and convention. For example, its parody of the Eurocentric exoticism of Tarzan. I’m delighted to have rescued this story from the bottom of a water-stained banker’s box which moved with me through many different basement storage situations and floods. I’m quite charmed by its soggy, youthful exuberance.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the twelfth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
September 2021
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Gary Barwin
is a writer, composer, musician, and multidisciplinary artist and has published 25 books of fiction, poetry and numerous chapbooks. 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 new novel, Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy. His albums are available at His latest chapbook is Punctum, (Gap Riot Press) a collaboration with Dona Mayoora. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario and at

This is Barwins’s seventh 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), gravitynipplemilk anthroposcenesters (with Tom Prime; 2018) and SOME LEAVES (with rob mclennan; 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) or the PayPal button at

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