Saturday, January 22, 2022

new from above/ground press: Calling to the Sun: Poems for Isabella Wang

Calling to the Sun: Poems for Isabella Wang
edited by Stephen Collis
$5

with contributions by:
Manahil Bandukwala
Otoniya J. Okot Bitek
Yvonne Blomer
Stephen Collis
Zoe Dagneault
Diana Hayes
Erica Hiroko Isomura
Fiona Tinwei Lam
Jen Sookfong Lee
Natalie Lim
Tanis MacDonald
rob mclennan
Hasan Namir
Chimedum Ohaegbu
Tolu Oloruntoba
Arleen Paré
Rob Taylor

Towards the end of 2021 many of us in the Canadian poetry community learned of Isabella Wang’s illness. In a short period of time, this young poet’s generosity and enthusiasm has touched and moved so many—I joke sometimes, that I’ve yet to find a poet who doesn’t already know Isabella. What can we do for our sick friend? This little collection is one thing—poets singing out to encourage, to let her know we are here, that we love her, that we need her remarkable poetic voice, and that we will keep her in our thoughts and hearts until she is well again. Dear Isabella, we hope you find something here to pick you up and fortify you for the journey you are on. At the very least, remember: this is where you belong, amongst the poets, in the long conversation poetry entails. From your beautiful Pebble Swing to all the books you still have to write, we are waiting to continue this conversation.
—Stephen Collis

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

Contributors:

Manahil Bandukwala
is a writer and artist. She loves love poems.

Otoniya J. Okot Bitek is a poet. She lives on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Anishnabe and Haudensaunee people in Kingston.

Yvonne Blomer (she/her) lives in Victoria, BC on Lək̓ʷəŋən territory. The Last Show on Earth, her fifth book of poetry, is forthcoming with Caitlin Press in 2022. She was Victoria’s poet laureate from 2015-2018. www.yvonneblomer.com

Stephen Collis is the author, most recently, of A History of the Theories of Rain (Talonbooks 2021).

Zoe Dagneault is a poet completing her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia. She Lives with her family on the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ.

Diana Hayes was born in Toronto and has lived on both coasts of Canada. She received her BA (UVIC and MFA (UBC) in creative writing and has six published books of poetry, most recently Gold in the Shadow: Twenty-Two Ghazals and a Cento for Phyllis Webb. www.dianahayes.com

Erica Hiroko Isomura is an essayist, poet, cultural producer, and a Scorpio.

Fiona Tinwei Lam has published three poetry collections and a children’s book, co-edited two nonfiction anthologies and edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer. Isabella was the youngest student to attend a poetry course at SFU Continuing Studies co-taught by Fiona and Evelyn Lau. Isabella’s enthusiasm and devotion to poetry made an indelible impression on everyone.

Jen Sookfong Lee is the author of The Conjoined, nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. She is an acquiring editor for ECW Press and co-hosts the literary podcast Can’t Lit.

Natalie Lim is a Chinese-Canadian poet living on the unceded, traditional territories of the Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples (Vancouver, BC). She is the winner of the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize and her debut chapbook, arrhythmia, is forthcoming from Rahila's Ghost Press in early 2022.

Tanis MacDonald is the author of seven books and a free-range literary animal. She lives in Waterloo, Ontario, and first met Isabella at a reading for The New Quarterly.

rob mclennan lives in Ottawa, despite being born there. His latest collection is the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press 2022). He has not actually met Isabella Wang in person yet, but a chapbook of hers is forthcoming through his above/ground press.

Hasan Namir is an Iraqi-Canadian author and poet.

Chimedum Ohaegbu
is an editor with Uncanny Magazine, a poet, and a writer of speculative fiction. As far as she can recall—though her memory’s fuzzy—she met Isabella at her (Chimedum’s) very first reading, and felt encouraged immediately.

Tolu Oloruntoba is a writer from Nigeria that now lives and works in the metro area of Coast Salish lands known as Vancouver. His new poetry collection, Each One a Furnace, is forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart in Spring 2022.

Arleen Paré is a Victoria writer with eight collections of poetry, including a recent chapbook.  She has been short-listed for the BC Dorothy Livesay BC Award for Poetry and has won the American Golden Crown Award for Poetry, the Victoria Butler Book Prize, a CBC Bookie Award, and a Governor Generals’ Award for Poetry.

Rob Taylor taught Isabella Wang in her first creative writing class. He thought, “That person is very talented and possesses a frightening level of enthusiasm. They will go far,” and he’s very pleased to see that’s proven true.

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

Friday, January 21, 2022

new from above/ground press: Autobiography, by rob mclennan

Autobiography
rob mclennan
$5

Autobiography of green

1.

Each poem, at a particular time. A line of versets,
iambic feet. The children        , dither: compass

the backyard. Their summer playhouse, builds.

They wait, they wait.

Their perpendicular step.


2.

To speak of origins: the homestead,

iambic clay, the creek’s

interminable motion. Striating fields, the fallow. Ice age
carving smith out of the ground.

Fluted points: such tenuous association. A drop
of glacial lakes.


3.

Precambrian shield. The first impulse, is
to sit. My         morning desk, at first light,

coffee. Too wide, to reach silence,

speechless reserve. If there     remain gods
to smite, to smother. How much might

that cost me? Where

my children patter, stray. Such danger, as far
as they might run.


4.

Parenting: helicopter, helicopter,

submarine. This glacial, rain. In order to write,

I write             this line

of thermal bridge.

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


cover artwork: Rose McLennan, summer 2021

Notes: Autobiography is excerpted from the in-progress manuscript “the book of sentences,” a thread that continues back into the as-yet-unpublished “Book of Magazine Verse” and further, into the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press, spring 2022). The poem “Burning the dead grass” folds in a line or two of Monty Reid’s poem “Burning the Back Issues,” lifted from his flat side (Red Deer Press, 1998). “The Garden” is one of a trio of responses to equally-titled poems by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews, from her debut collection, A Brief History of Fruit (University of Akron Press, 2020), and is dedicated to her and Alex, and their summer 2021 relocation to Ottawa.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. His most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019), Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019) and the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press, 2022). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics and Touch the Donkey. He is editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. In spring 2020, he won ‘best pandemic beard’ from Coach House Books via Twitter, of which he is extremely proud (and mentions constantly). He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com

This is mclennan’s sixty-fifth above/ground press chapbook, following the collaborative SOME LEAVES (with Gary Barwin; 2020), Twenty-one stories, (2020), Poems for Lunch Poems for SFU (2020), Somewhere in-between / cloud (2019), Study of a fox (2018), snow day (2018) and It’s still winter (2017).

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

Thursday, January 13, 2022

new from above/ground press: Small Print, by Natalie Simpson

Small Print
Natalie Simpson
$5


Would you shape your future in profit-sharing? In slices and dices?

Could you count out slowly and exhale a meaningful product? We

would not predict, and yet success is bursting from every lip. Every

line you write improves your chances of gems and shining light.

Worship your pennies and the dollars just glitter. Just farther, there,

you can see another life, that one you led in your wildest dreams, a car

in the sun, it’s fun, your car at the beach, no care in the world, that life

comes from firm outputs, healthy royalties, press releases, trust.


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

Natalie Simpson
is the author of accrete or crumble (LINEbooks, 2006) and Thrum (Talonbooks 2014). Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English, and many chapbooks, most recently Anonymous (Widow) Anonymous (Wife) (The Blasted Tree 2020). She practices pro bono law in Calgary.

This is Simpson’s third above/ground press title, after The writing that should enter into conversation (2005) and Dirty Work (2007).

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, January 11, 2022

new from above/ground press: Apricot, by Nate Logan

Apricot
Nate Logan
$5

Any Major Dude Will Tell You

“The crossover episode is never a bad idea. Meredith got sent to jail for lopping off Dave’s head. I don’t think that word properly denotes the severity of the action. Lop. I’ve got a bar of silver at home collecting dust. After the first day, I knew a philosophy major wasn’t for me (the ethics of revenge). 3-D is overrated and everyone loves it. Believing in nonsense is the same as believing in a car bomb. A workout headband says a lot about a person. Lawnmowers are properly rated. Clu Gulager invented the backflip and demolition derby. Foreshadowing never works out in real life. This ham is too salty.”


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


cover art: Joanna C. Valente

Nate Logan
is the author of Inside the Golden Days of Missing You (Magic Helicopter Press, 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