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

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