Friday, October 28, 2022

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

glass / language / untitled / exaltation
Jason Christie

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) or the PayPal button at

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

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

poems, critical writings
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) or the PayPal button at

Friday, October 21, 2022

new from above/ground press: Red Heads, by Adrienne Adams

Red Heads
Adrienne Adams

             scarlet [skahr-lit ]

My Dear Little Red,

Stop dancing with wolves.
Fall for deer, or
birds,  or
any other creature,

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

cover image by the author

Adrienne Adams (she/her) is a poet and artist dedicated to creating safer inter-sectional space to honour the feminine. She is published in filling Station, Antilang, New Forum, NōD, Lida Lit Mag, FreeFall, Deathcap, The Last Petal (Sword & Kettle Press), Politics/letterslive (Car Poems), Polyglot, Wax Poetry and Art, Rose Quartz, Mothering Anthology (Inanna Press), Artizein, YYC POP and others. She curates Woolf’s Voices (aka Virginia), joking that it’s an excuse to howl in public.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

new from above/ground press: some of the raccoon poems, by Chris Johnson

some of the raccoon poems
Chris Johnson

well intentioned

if we had been willing to put a mixture of eggs
and cracked pepper into the car’s broken radiator
we probably could have made the drive back
to Ottawa, according to the gentleman at the
Head Lake Trailer Park on the side of Monck Road.
we responded with pleasantries to the suggestion, then
my uncle turned to me and said “no fucking way.”
his Beemer sat there, grille and rad cracked by the
raccoon racing too slowly across the county road,
whose eyes glared in our headlights for a few seconds
before it was curtains, lights out. it was no competition.
it was no fair, but there is a lesson to be learned for
when you try to do something halfway
then try to turn back: it ends badly.
halfway to the other side, and in a moment
the raccoon went from being in the clear to another
“common causes of death” statistic. I only accept
some fault as passenger. as it always does, it all happened
so fast. behind the wheel, my uncle wished he had
braked or swerved instead of barrelling ahead.
between the raccoon, my uncle, and me,
all three of us will look back at that night with regrets.
if we could do it again, we wouldn’t.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2022
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Chris Johnson
(he/they) is a settler poet from Scarborough currently living on unceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory. He is the Managing Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine, a board member at the Ottawa Arts Council, and a member of the creative collective VII.

This is Johnson's second above/ground press title, after Gravenhurst, a failed record of a roadtrip in haibun (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) or the PayPal button at

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

2022 NELSON BALL PRIZE LONG LIST : Hajnoczky, Harder, McKinnon + Weaver!

It is exciting to see four above/ground press titles (and three further above/ground press authors) on this year's longlist for the Nelson Ball Prize! Congratulations to all! Oh, and be aware that all four above/ground press titles on this list are still totally in print, yes? As the press release offers:
We're pleased to announce the Long List for the 2022 Nelson Ball Prize, as selected by our dedicated judges, Beverley Daurio and James McDonald. The judges read about 100 submissions of books, chapbooks, and ephemera, looking for the best in "poetry of observation" by a Canadian poet.

Stay tuned for the Short List! The winner will receive $1,000, thanks to our generous donors.

Here is the Long List of 10 titles, in alphabetical order by the poets' names:

Lines – Cameron Anstee (St. Andrew Books)

Undoing Hours – Selina Boan (Nightwood Editions)

wind – Guy Ewing (Puddles of Sky Press)

a grain of sand – Helen Hajnoczky (above/ground press)

Zero Dawn – Shelly Harder (above/ground press)

A Number of Stunning Attacks – Jessi MacEachern (Invisible Publishing)

Gone South – Barry McKinnon (above/ground press)

Rain's Small Gestures – Pearl Pirie (Apt. 9 Press)

Ghosthawk – Matt Rader (Nightwood Editions)

So/I – Andy Weaver (above/ground press)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

above/ground press: 2023 (THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY) subscriptions now available!

THIRTY YEARS! The race to the half-century continues! And with more than TWELVE HUNDRED TITLES produced to date, there’s been a ton of above/ground press activity over the past year, including some THIRTY-FOUR CHAPBOOKS (so far) produced in 2022 alone (including poetry chapbooks by Geoffrey Nilson, Genevieve Kaplan, Melissa Spohr Weiss, Lori Anderson Moseman, Christopher Patton, Leigh Chadwick, Ken Norris, Grant Wilkins (with a further forthcoming!), N.W. Lea, Jed Munson, David Miller, Matthew Gwathmey, Michael Boughn, Laura Kelsey, Russell Carisse, Saba Pakdel, Jérôme Melançon, Marita Dachsel (with a further forthcoming!), Anne Tardos, Vivan Lewin, MLA Chernoff, Wade Bell, Joanna Arnott, Rob Manery, Lillian Nećakov, Amanda Earl, Karl Jirgens, df parizeau, Wanda Praamsma, Lydia Unsworth, Michael Schuffler, rob mclennan, Natalie Simpson and Nate Logan, all of which are still in print), as well as a chapbook anthology guest edited by Stephen Collis, Calling to the Sun: Poems for Isabella Wang, issues of the poetry journals Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal], G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] (with recent issues guest-edited by David Dowker, Kyle Flemmer and Castle Guestskull, edited by Micah Ballard and Garrett Caples, with an issue forthcoming guest-edited by Sara Lefsyk) and a virtual issue of The Peter F. Yacht Club (there hasn’t been as many print issues of this since pandemic began, but expect a new issue in early 2023, as the world begins to properly open up again). Usually I’m producing more individual chapbooks throughout the year, but 2022 also saw the introduction of the Report from the Society series, produced as individual festschrifts (as this period could use some more positive) celebrating the work of Stephen Brockwell, Amanda Earl, Stuart Ross, Kate Siklosi (two volumes!), Elizabeth Robinson, Monty Reid, Cameron Anstee, Phil Hall, Gregory Betts and Sarah Mangold. And there are plenty more coming! Part of the fun is that none of the subjects have a clue the projects are even happening until finished copies land on their doorstep.

The Factory Reading Series is gearing up for some events again soon (I have yet to get on that), 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). And at least we’ve the ottawa small press fair opening up again, with our next fair scheduled for Saturday, November 12.

Oh, and did you see that above/ground press announced a new prose chapbook series during the pandemic? 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, Gary Barwin, Sarah Rosenthal, Karl Jirgens, Wade Bell and David Miller; what else might come?

Forthcoming items through the press also include individual chapbooks by Julia Drescher, Robert van Vliet, Brad Vogler, Derek Beaulieu, Samuel Ace, Nathanael O'Reilly, George Bowering, Joseph Donato, Chris Johnson, Ben Jahn, Leesa Dean, Lindsey Webb, Jason Heroux, Nick Chhoeun, Grant Wilkins, Isabel Sobral Campos, Mark Scroggins, Laura Walker, Adrienne Adams, Jordan Davis, Jason Christie, Andrew Gorin, Marita Dachsel, Stuart Ross, Angela Caporaso and Isabella Wang, as well as a whole slew of publications that haven't even been decided on yet (probably a new one by myself as well, which shouldn’t shock anyone).

Anniversaries are the best. Remember that stack of essays by above/ground press authors to help celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary, or the anthology to help celebrate the twentieth? There’s already work underway on the third anthology, celebrating the third decade of the press, scheduled for next year with Invisible Publishing! (and I still have a couple of copies of the first anthology available, if anyone is interested)

2023 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 2023, 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 titles 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 2022, 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 #35 (scheduled to release on October 15), featuring new work by Garrett Caples, Sheila Murphy, Stuart Ross and Brenda Coultas, as well as a fantastic new collaboration between Chris Turnbull and Elee Kraljii Gardiner. Can you believe the journal turns nine 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!