Wednesday, October 13, 2021

new from above/ground press: Hotels, by George Bowering

George Bowering


At the Swiss American Hotel
in San Francisco there weren't any

There wasn't any
lock on the door, either, just
a little loop that slipped over
a nail.

The smoke I smelled did not
resemble plankton, maybe the night breeze
through sagebrush outside
Oliver, B.C., coyotes drifting by.

No two girls on the hallway rugs, no
rugs in the hallway. No phone ringing,
in fact, no phone. What was outside
the window? I don't know, I didn't
look out the window.

They told me Lenny Bruce
was out there; wasn't he
supposed to be in here?

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

George Bowering: I have been working all year on the unpublished book Romantic Words by the late Artie Gold. I have just finished a response book, poem by poem. My 13-section “Hotels” is in response to his “Hotel Victoria.”

Hotels is George Bowering’s fifth above/ground press chapbook, after STANZAS #12 (“BLONDES ON BIKES: 1-20,” April 1997), A, You’re Adorable (as “Ellen Field,” October, 1998; reissued October 2004), Tocking Heads (ALBERTA SERIES #2, October, 2007) and That Toddlin’ Town / Baby, don’ ya wanna go? (2016).

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

Friday, October 8, 2021

new from above/ground press: STRAY DOG CAFÉ, by Ken Norris

Ken Norris


Stray dogs, stray cats—
poets, of course.

Rummaging in the knocked over
garbage cans for something

to eat. Louis liked
irking the landlady

(that feeble figure of authority)
by feeding the stray cats

and encouraging their rascality,
and all those Russian poets

down at the Stray Dog Café
were baying and howling

at the bright above-the-steppes
lunatic moon.

Don’t tell me about how
the strays that don’t belong to anyone

copulate in the back alleys
or any alleys they might find.

History happens, the mass graves
get dug and filled,

the unwanted disenfranchised
are always slaughtered.

Sometimes they live again,
momentarily, in my stray lines.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 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’ eighth above/ground press chapbook, after Windward – St. Lucia Poems (1995), The Commentaries (1999), Songs For Isabella (2000), Green Wind (2010), Looking Into It (2011), Hong Kong Blues (2019) and Hawaiian Sunrise (2021). A further chapbook appears later this month.

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

Friday, October 1, 2021

above/ground press: 2022 subscriptions now available!

TWENTY-NINE YEARS! The race to the half-century continues! And with more than ONE THOUSAND TITLES produced to date, there’s been a ton of above/ground press activity over the past year, including some FORTY-FIVE CHAPBOOKS (so far) produced in 2021 alone (including poetry chapbooks by Franklin Bruno, Gary Barwin, Emily Izsak, Jen Tynes, Valerie Witte, Robert Hogg, Ken Sparling, Jessi MacEachern, Nathan Alexander Moore, Katie Naughton, Summer Brenner, Monica Mody, Kōan Anne Brink, Gregory Betts, Ken Norris, Michael Sikkema, M.A.C. Farrant, Jamie Townsend, Conor Mc Donnell, Adam Thomlison, Alyssa Bridgman, James Lindsay, David Miller, Amish Trivedi, Ava Hofmann, JoAnna Novak, Sandra Moussempès (trans. Eléna Rivera), Franklin Bruno, Helen Hajnoczky, Edward Smallfield, Valerie Coulton, James Hawes, Anik See, David Dowker, Shelly Harder, Alexander Joseph, Amanda Earl, Joseph Mosconi, Brenda Iijima, Al Kratz, Saeed Tavanaee Marvi (trans. Khashayar Mohammadi), Jason Christie, katie o'brien, N.W. Lea, Andrew Brenza, all of which are still in print), as well as issues of the poetry journals Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal], G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] (with issues guest-edited by Pearl Pirie, Melissa Eleftherion, Melanie Dennis Unrau and Kirby, with forthcoming issues guest-edited by Edric Mesmer and Yellow Edenwald Field) and The Peter F. Yacht Club (there hasn’t been as many of these since pandemic began, but expect a new issue in early 2022, as the world begins to properly open up again). Obviously The Factory Reading Series is on hold for the time being (until I have the time and energy to begin to try to figure out something else, I suppose), but have you seen the virtual reading series over at periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics (with new monthly online content, by the way; the pandemic-era extension of above/ground press).

Oh, and did you see that above/ground press announced a new prose chapbook series last fall? With titles by Amanda Earl, Jane Eaton Hamilton, rob mclennan, Keith Waldrop, Kristjana Gunnars, Al Kratz, Anik See, Adam Thomlison, M.A.C. Farrant, Summer Brenner, Ken Sparling and Gary Barwin, and a forthcoming title by Sarah Rosenthal!

Just what else might happen? Forthcoming items also include works by Natalie Simpson, George Bowering, Kevin Varrone, MLA Chernoff, Wanda Praamsma, df parizeau, Sarah Rosenthal, Mayan Godmaire, Vivian Lewin, Michael Schuffler, Karl Jirgens, James Yeary, Nate Logan, Sean Braune and Émilie Dionne, Simon Brown, Andy Weaver, Stan Rogal, Matthew Owen Gwathmey, Benjamin Niespodziany, Phil Hall and Madhur Anand, Ken Norris (two new chapbooks this October!), Amaranth Borsuk and Barry McKinnon as well as a whole slew of publications that haven't even been decided on yet.

2022 annual subscriptions (and resubscriptions) are now available: $75 (CAN; American subscribers, $75 US; $100 international) for everything above/ground press makes from the moment you subscribe through to the end of 2022, including chapbooks, broadsheets, The Peter F. Yacht Club and G U E S T and quarterly poetry journal Touch the Donkey (have you been keeping track of the dozens of interviews posted to the Touch the Donkey site?). Honestly: if I’m making sixty or seventy chapbooks per calendar year, wouldn’t you call that a good deal? I mean, it all does seem ridiculous.

Anyone who subscribes on or by November 1st will also receive the last above/ground press package (or two or three) of 2021, including those exciting new titles by all of those folk listed above, plus whatever else the press happens to produce before the turn of the new year, as well as Touch the Donkey #31 (scheduled to release on October 15), a journal that turns eight years old next spring!

Why wait? You can either send a cheque (payable to rob mclennan) to 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 7M9, or send money via PayPal or e-transfer to rob_mclennan (at) (or through the PayPal button at

Stay safe! Stay home! Wear a mask! Wash your damned hands!