Monday, February 13, 2023

new from above/ground press: The Alta Vista Improvements, by rob mclennan

The Alta Vista Improvements
rob mclennan


To suffer detours:         this through-line
of patchwork housing, outcrop. A craft

of optimism, ignorance. The internet equally
bears each alphabet.

Our 1950s dream-house,        capacious backyard,
deep. Trees peak, and ripple. An

undefinable mental space.

Lower sheets. They postcard. Feet fade from the offset.


City ward named

for connecting tissue, thoroughfare. Did Thor invent lightning
or did lightning invent Thor?

Moments season, schedule

appreciations. The rumble of city bus, a firetruck.

suburban fractals. Bees forged hexagons, such
minimal density, and everything we construct

either collapse, or a half-life

of centuries. Poison the lake. It is possible
to exist without realizing. ("The Alta Vista Improvements")
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

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 titles include the poetry collection the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press, 2022), and a suite of pandemic essays, essays in the face of uncertainties (Mansfield 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

This is mclennan’s sixty-sixth above/ground press chapbook, following Autobiography (2022), 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) or the PayPal button at

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