Friday, December 2, 2022

Scott Bryson reviews MLA Chernoff's SCRIED FUNDAMENTS (2022) in Broken Pencil

Scott Bryson was good enough to provide the first review of MLA Chernoff's SCRIED FUNDAMENTS (2022) in Broken Pencil. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.

Chapbook, MLA Chernoff, 20 pgs, above/ground press, abovegroundpress.blogspot.com, $5

The poems in this collection defy conclusive interpretation, but they appear to record a reality that’s now very familiar to most of us: life in lockdown, trapped at home, adrift in thought.

As the “SCRIED” of the title suggests (future-telling via reflective surface), we get a distorted view of this narrative. It’s bent by the crystal ball we’re peering into as much as by the off-kilter discourse of the person who’s speaking. There are enough instances of “our,” “we” and allusions to sex in these poems to suggest that someone is there with Chernoff (assuming Chernoff is the speaking “I”), though we don’t hear from or about this other — only of their shared role in these circumstances.

Chernoff’s mood is somehow both manic and dour, sometimes feverish: “six long months of constant clickery… Every day rides the mucus of a snail… every night is Friday night and Monday / morning put together, burnt out and without end.” Compound words are regularly invented (“hornyscared,” “givingspread”) and a complex vocabulary is employed — you’ll find plenty of obscure terms to look up. A lone snippet of text is repeated here, in the first poem and the last: “I gotta make a decision / leave tonight or live and die this way.” It’s the plainest bit of speech Chernoff uses — a recurring moment of lucidity that never resolves.

SCRIED FUNDAMENTS is attention-grabbing, clever and regularly baffling. It’s sometimes recognizable and sometimes foreign, and though it often seems impossible to decipher, there’s never a dull moment.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

the joyous return of The Peter F. Yacht Club regatta/reading/christmas party!

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan;
The Peter F. Yacht Club annual regatta/christmas party/reading

at The Carleton Tavern (upstairs)
233 Armstrong Avenue (at Parkdale Market)
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
doors 7pm, reading 7:30pm


with readings from yacht club regulars and irregulars alike, including Frances Boyle, Jason Christie, AJ Dolman, Margo LaPierre, rob mclennan, James Moran, Stuart Ross, D.S. Stymeist and Grant Wilkins (and possibly others,

and might there be a new issue as part of the event? (i haven't decided yet, honestly); but remember the virtual issue we did last year?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

new from above/ground press: Teeth, by Douglas Glover

Teeth
Douglas Glover
$5


I went to see Hackenfeller, my dentist, on Thursday, not to see Hackenfeller himself, although I have nothing against him — he has been my dentist for half-a-dozen years without incident — but to have my teeth cleaned by Clara, his dental hygienist, a large, voluptuous, melancholy, white-blond woman of thirty-four whose husband left her eight months ago after an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease developed into an auto-immune disorder that causes her debilitating pain — she told me that at night, when she tries to sleep, it is as if her blood had turned to acid. She can barely keep her job as a dental hygienist let alone have a relationship with a man or any kind of social life and thinks constantly of suicide, has daily suicidal thoughts even when the pain abates and she can dream of happiness again. Of course, Hackenfeller won't dismiss her because of what happened that one time when his marriage was on the rocks, despite her inability to work regular hours, her tendency to leave the chair in the midst of a gum examination, her brown studies, and general inattentiveness (patients have complained) and her habit of turning normal dental hygienist chit-chat into a litany of existential woes and complaints, all in code, of course, nothing overt, when she says "my cat Nigel," she means her husband Brad, as in "My cat Nigel was overly sensitive to my condition, and when the pains became unbearable, he fled one night after I inadvertently left the back door open taking the trash out."
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the eighteenth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
November 2022
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Douglas Glover is the author of five story collections, four novels, four books of literary nonfiction. In 2007, he was given the Writers’ Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award for an author in mid-career. His novel Elle won the 2003 Governor-General’s Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Elle was adapted for the stage by the actress Severn Thompson and premiered at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille in 2016. Glover’s story collection A Guide to Animal Behaviour was a finalist for the 1991 Governor-General’s Award. His stories have been frequently anthologized, notably in The Best American Short Stories, Best Canadian Stories, and The New Oxford Book of Canadian Stories. He was the subject of a TV documentary in a series called The Writing Life and a collection of critical essays, The Art of Desire, The Fiction of Douglas Glover, edited by Bruce Stone. Glover was the publisher and editor of the monthly magazine Numéro Cinq from 2010 to 2017.  He edited the annual Best Canadian Stories from 1996 to 2006. His most recent book was The Erotics of Restraint: Essays on Literary Form (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

Monday, November 28, 2022

Helen Hajnoczky is on the 2022 shortlist for The Nelson Ball Prize!

Calgary poet Helen Hajnoczky is on the 2022 shortlist for The Nelson Ball Prize for her chapbook a grain of sand! Huzzah! And congrats to everyone else on the shortlist, including three other above/ground press authors! And a reminder, naturally, that copies of the recent festschrift celebrating her work, Report from the Hajnoczky Society Vol. 1 No. 1 are still very much available.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Robert Hogg (March 26, 1942 – November 13, 2022)

Stephen Brockwell and Robert Hogg at a Chaudiere Books launch, 2015
Mountain, Ontario poet, editor and mentor Robert Hogg (see my obituary for him here) has died. He was the author of, among other titles, three above/ground press chapbooks: from Lamentations (2012), from Lamentations (second (expanded) edition, 2016) and From Each Forthcoming (2021). The volume Report from the Hogg Society, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2022) landed in just enough time for him to see and respond to a digital copy. A retired Carleton University Professor and organic farmer, he was friend and mentor to generations of poets, both within and beyond the boundaries of his classroom. He will be dearly missed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Clare Latremouille (July 4, 1964 – November 16, 2022)

above/ground press and Chaudiere Books author Clare Latremouille (see my obituary for her here) has died, after an extended illness. A founding member of The Peter F Yacht Club writers group, she had work in the July 1993 FREE VERSE ANTHOLOGY (one of above/ground press' first publications), as well as the first issue of STANZAS magazine (1993), Missing Jacket #4 (1996) and The Peter F. Yacht Club #1 (2003) and #8 (2007) as well as more than half a dozen above/ground press broadsides across the 1990s. Her chapbook, I will write a poem for you. Now: appeared in 1995, which was reprinted in the anthology Groundswell: best of above/ground press, 1993-2003, edited by rob mclennan (Fredericton NB: cauldron books/Broken Jaw Press, 2003). Her novel, The Desmond Road Book of the Dead appeared with Chaudiere Books in 2006. She will be missed in this town by many.


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Report from the Society : half-price sale!

I've published a baker's dozen of these "Report from the Society" poet-festschrifts this year via above/ground press (Stuart Ross, Stephen Brockwell, Elizabeth Robinson, Pattie McCarthy, Sarah Mangold, Amanda Earl, Cameron Anstee, Gregory Betts, Robert Hogg, Helen Hajnoczky, Monty Reid, Kate Siklosi and Phil Hall), and want to keep making them, so maybe I should offer them for half-price (same shipping etc) until the end of December? Each volume is a mixture of new and previously published, critical pieces and poems-in-response, with maybe a previously-published interview or two, each volume prepared as a celebration of the literary work of each particular subject (and, to make it more fun, none of the subjects have been aware these are being built until copies of the final publication land on their doorstep). I'm currently working on a further six volumes; who could they be?

Volumes of these, also, are part of the above/ground press annual subscriptions (have you considered subscribing for 2023, the press' thirtieth year?).

Normally $7 each (the Siklosi title is in two separate volumes, fyi); each individual title will be $3.50; if you order more than three titles, check with me for potential postage costs.

Report on the Society logo by C. McNair, editor’s devil (retired)

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 robmclennan.blogspot.com

Friday, November 18, 2022

new from above/ground press: Report from the Hogg Society. Vol. 1 No. 1


Report from the Hogg Society
Vol 1. No. 1
edited by rob mclennan
$7


an assemblage of writing in response
to the work of Robert Hogg

including
poems, critical writings
and
philosophical transactions

with contributions by:
Cameron Anstee
Jennifer Baker
Gary Barwin
Michael Blouin
George Bowering
Stephen Collis
David Epstein
Lionel Kearns
Rob Manery
Daphne Marlatt
rob mclennan
Renee Rodin
Aaron Tucker
Chris Turnbull
Andy Weaver
Thomas Whyte
Grant Wilkins
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2022
full list of published reports here
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Report on the Society logo by C. McNair, editor’s devil (retired)

Robert Hogg has published three chapbooks with above/ground press: from Lamentations (2012), from Lamentations (second edition) (2016) and From Each Forthcoming (2021). He also appeared online in The Peter F Yacht Club #30 : the virtual issue (December 2021).

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 robmclennan.blogspot.com

Friday, November 11, 2022

new from above/ground press: G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #24 : guest-edited by Sara Lefsyk

NOW AVAILABLE: G U E S T #24
edited by Sara Lefsyk

see here for Sara Lefsyk’s introduction and biography

the new issue features new work by: 

Danika Stegeman LeMay
Issam Zineh
Tamara J. Madison

Douglas Piccinnini
Joanna Penn Cooper

Alexandre Ferrere
Archana Sridhar

Isaac Harris
[sarah] Cavar

David Agyei-Yeboah
Todd Colby
 

$5 + postage / + $1 for Canadian orders; + $2 for US; + $6 outside of North America

Canadian/American/International rates (including shipping

Author biographies: 

David Agyei–Yeboah is a young creative from Accra, Ghana that loves to create. His prose-poems, hybrids and verse poems are published/forthcoming on Ta Adesa, Tampered Press, Contemporary Ghanaian Writers Series (CGWS), The Kalahari Review, African Writer magazine, Journal of the Writers Project of Ghana (JWPG), Icefloe Press, Ethel Journal of Writing and Art, Praxis Magazine for Arts and Literature & elsewhere. An alumnus of the Tampered Press poetry workshop facilitated by Ladan Osman and Koleka Putuma, he was longlisted for the Totally Free Best of the Bottom Drawer Global Writing Prize 2021. His work explores the trauma and angst of marginalized characters as he believes empathy is a lost art. Through presenting authentic narratives that readers can engage with, he projects a world of communion, hope and positivity. Also a singer and songwriter, he croons about the complexities of romantic love and the nuances of trauma. He tweets @david_shaddai and posts mini covers on Instagram @davidshaddai.

[ɥɐɹɐs] Cavar is a PhD student, writer, and transgender-about-town, and serves as managing editor at Stone of Madness Press and founding editor at swallow::tale press. Author of two chapbooks, A HOLE WALKED IN (Sword & Kettle Press) and THE DREAM JOURNALS (giallo lit), they have also had work in Electric Literature, The Offing, Bitch Magazine, and elsewhere. Cavar navel-gazes at cavar.club and tweets @cavarsarah.

Todd Colby is an artist and poet. His writing and art have recently appeared in Iterant Magazine, The Believer, Bomb Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, Dizzy Magazine, Hyperallergic, and Poetry Magazine. He is the author of six books of poetry, his most recent book, Splash State, was published by The Song Cave.

Joanna Penn Cooper is the author of The Itinerant Girl's Guide to Self-Hypnosis (Brooklyn Arts Press), What Is a Domicile (Noctuary Press), and Crown (Ravenna Press), as well as several chapbooks. Joanna’s recent chapbooks are When We Were Fearsome and Wild Apples: A Flash Memoir Collection with Writing Prompts, both from Ethel. She is currently working on a full-length collection of flash memoir pieces dealing with motherhood, origins, and power, tentatively titled A Wilderness of Her Own. She lives in Durham, NC. She teaches writing classes and provides editorial and coaching support to writers through her business Muse Writing & Creative Support.

Alexandre Ferrere is 32 and lives in Cherbourg, France. After a Master’s degree in Library Sciences and a Master’s degree in Anglophone Literature, he is now working on a Ph.D. on American poetry and little magazines. His fictions, interviews, essays and poems appeared in dozens of journals online and in print. He is editor at Trio House Press and for The Banyan Review, and has published two poetry chapbooks: mono / stitches, designed and handmade by artist Sara Lefsyk (Ethel, 2020) and Mechanical Ode to a Snake (Between the Highway Press, 2022).

Isaac Harris issa Black queer currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Occasionally attractive n always dysphoric dey make stories bout Negro livin!! Previous work can be found in the fantastic and ever lovely @daughterhoodziner in Instagram.

Danika Stegeman LeMay’s work has appeared in 32 Poems, Afternoon Visitor, APARTMENT, Blue Arrangements, CLOAK, Concision, Leavings, The Woodward Review and Word for/ Word, among other places, and is forthcoming in Ethel Zine. Her video poem, “Then Betelgeuse Reappears” was an official selection for the 2021 Midwest Video Poetry Festival. Danika’s debut collection of poems, Pilot (2020), was published by Spork Press. Her website is danikastegemanlemay.com.

Poet, writer, editor, Tamara J. Madison, is the author of Threed, This Road Not Damascus (Trio House Press); Kentucky Curdled and Sistuh’s Sermon on the Mount (all poetry), and Collard County (fiction). Her writing is inspired by her ancestry and relations. She is the creator and host of BREAKDOWN: The Poet & The Poems, a YouTube poetry conversation series, promoting poets and their poetry as inspiration for everyday life. She is an MFA graduate of New England College and an Anaphora Arts Fellow (2021). She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Valencia College in Central Florida.

Douglas Piccinnini’s work has appeared or will soon appear with American Poetry Review, Brooklyn Rail, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Dream Pop, Dreginald, Fence, Hot Pink, Lana Turner, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prelude, and Volt.

Recently, he is the author of the chapbooks, The Grave Itself (Ethel, 2021), A Western Sky (Greying Ghost, 2022) and previously, two full-length collections: Blood Oboe (Omnidawn, 2015) and Story Book: a novella (The Cultural Society, 2015).

Archana Sridhar is a South Asian poet and university administrator living in Toronto, Canada. Archana focuses on themes of meditation, race, motherhood, and diaspora in her poetry and flash writing. Her work has been featured in The Puritan, The Hellebore, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Renderings is available through 845 Press, and her chapbook Our Initials Were U.S.A. is available through Ethel micro-press. Archana’s writing can be found at www.archanasridhar.com.

Issam Zineh is the author of the poetry collection Unceded Land (Trio House Press, 2022) and the chapbook The Moment of Greatest Alienation (Ethel, 2021). His work appears in AGNI, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Tahoma Literary Review, The Rumpus and elsewhere. Find him at www.issamzineh.com.

 

Friday, November 4, 2022

new from above/ground press: The Goose, by Melanie Dennis Unrau

The Goose
Melanie Dennis Unrau
$5


published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2022
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Melanie Dennis Unrau
respectfully acknowledges the original caretakers of the land known as Treaty 1 territory/Winnipeg, where she lives as a guest of mixed European ancestry on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples and the homeland of the Métis Nation. Melanie is a Research Affiliate at the University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities and a Visiting Fellow at St. John’s College (U of Manitoba). She is the author of Happiness Threads: The Unborn Poems (Muses’ Company, 2013), a former editor and poetry editor at Geez magazine, and a former co-editor of The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada.

This is Melanie Dennis Unrau’s second above/ground press title, after guest-editing G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #17 (June, 2021).

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, November 1, 2022

new from above/ground press: Report from the McCarthy Society. Vol. 1 No. 1


Report from the McCarthy Society
Vol 1. No. 1
edited by rob mclennan
$7


an assemblage of writing in response
to the work of Pattie McCarthy

including
poems, critical writings
and
philosophical transactions

with contributions by:
Laynie Browne
Barbara Cole
Sarah Dowling
Jenny Drai
Al Filreis
Sarah Heady
rob mclennan
Elizabeth Robinson
Edward Smallfield
Han VanderHart
Kevin Varrone
Divya Victor
Elizabeth Willis
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2022
full list of published reports here
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Report on the Society logo by C. McNair, editor’s devil (retired)

Pattie McCarthy is the author of seven books of poetry—six from Apogee Press, Wifthing (2021), Quiet Book (2015), Marybones (2012), Table Alphabetical of Hard Words (2010), Verso (2004), and bk of (h)rs (2002); and one from Horse Less Press, Nulls (2014). She was interviewed as part of her appearance in the debut issue of Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal].

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 robmclennan.blogspot.com

Friday, October 28, 2022

new from above/ground press: glass / language / untitled / exaltation, by Jason Christie

glass / language / untitled / exaltation
Jason Christie
$5

a small song

            For Andrea

If I struggle to arrive like a union of treated pianos,
then I’ll bind to that sound some vitamin D and toast
if I'm a hot Monday wavering, then, look,
what a way to start writing without myself.
If I'm somewhat public in the public’s mind, I’ll listen.
If your body says walls are a problem
where forests mean otherwise than being
is it a fine memory itself becoming afraid to village?
Either way, if I've held you close enough in that moment
when the aesthetic clicks, then I'm expansive in the way
I've used the word relentless to describe reading,
quiet mornings in letters or a tantrum, a roundabout
or in a round, a resounding ballad of dissonances plays
and a coffee machine beeps: sound in a box.

* * * *

I wrote the poems in this chapbook during a period of years where my language and memory were shattered by sleep deprivation. In order to keep myself connected to poetry, I started writing in a file about our life with young kids. I didn't think much about what I was writing. The point was to do it. I amassed a large repository of content, but I stopped adding to it as life found a new level.

While reflecting on how hard it was to remember anything as a result of years of disrupted sleep, I realized that what I had in the original file was literally stored in memory on my computer. I wondered if I could treat that original material with processes that would be similar to what was happening to my mind during sleep deprivation?

To replicate some of the effects of memory loss and the difficulty of thinking, I wrote Python scripts that cut up, recombined, and selected random lines from that source material. The results were a mess, but I edited them to try to make sense of the jumble that had once been rational.

Much like how memories are stories, how we gloss over the messy, difficult, or impossible to recall details, how we invent the connecting pieces to attribute to our memory a sense of completeness, I worked on the poems to attempt to let them become something new, an active remembering. Memory, as I now think of it, is not entirely an act of recall with varying degrees of fidelity, but also an act of creation. We look at the glossy or glossless images of our past and glue them together into a whole new collage.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2022
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image by the author

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). His most recent chapbooks are: Bridge and Burn (above / ground) and Heavy Metal Litany (Model press). He is looking for a home for a new manuscript of poetry he wrote with the help of several Python scripts, some of which appear in this chapbook.

This is Christie’s eighth 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), glass language (excerpt) (2018) and Bridge and Burn (2021).

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, October 24, 2022

new from above/ground press: Report from the Hajnoczky Society. Vol. 1 No. 1


Report from the Hajnoczky Society
Vol 1. No. 1
edited by rob mclennan
$7


an assemblage of writing in response
to the work of Helen Hajnoczky

including
poems, critical writings
and
philosophical transactions

with contributions by:
Gary Barwin
Derek Beaulieu
Christian Bök
Caroline Boreham
Kit Dobson
Kyle Flemmer
Julya Hajnoczky
rob mclennan
Ryan Pratt
Eric Schmaltz
Kate Siklosi
Dani Spinosa
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2022
full list of published reports here
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Report on the Society logo by C. McNair, editor’s devil (retired)

Helen Hajnoczky has published four chapbooks with above/ground press: A history of button collecting (2010), The Double Bind Dictionary (2013), No Right on Red (2017) and a grain of sand (2021).

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 robmclennan.blogspot.com