Wednesday, November 15, 2023

new from above/ground press: river / estuaries, by Julie Carr and rob mclennan

river / estuaries
Julie Carr and rob mclennan

river : three

where girls test ice    tapping boot heels against fragile shine

where masked they swing

where long fronds bend toward the duckpond’s lip

as if to drink or kiss

I’d been reading about boys online in their secret spaces they

give each other hard-ons talking about raping fat Jews

I’d been thinking about my mother’s face when she was

by something she’d read or remembered made afraid.

when we walked into a crowd

of history’s predatory glances    we knew them    they were

as if our friends

they stood    held the ropes and rocked

until the swings jumped the air    their torsos nearly

horizontal   like hawks.

estuaries : three

boot heel, marks        a question; how this body

        through soil erosion, deforestation,

overgrazing, overfishing
, or the filling of wetlands,        such fury,

    curtailed by dirt,


I walk into a crowd        , an ocean
    of intimate glances, procrastinations

on the edge of; [estuaries: roped and rocked]

        how I did not know

how betrayal unfurls, congeals;
, the blue spark, torsos

how one unpacks speech: one lifts
            a stone,         inspects

and audits every fissure,    

what is this love?            had ever

    , such fundamental action

    , such raw, and outward

let’s go down, come on down

until the swings jumped air,


to surround yourself with water
does not portray you
                , land

we test the ice; and tether,


the assumption            of the rockface,
    scars, a transport
            with my mouth

, these horizontal wings; a spread of lilacs,
lilies, intemperate water-fowl,
                    the mallard’s
    green head like a handle,

I could scarcely bid

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
November 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Julie Carr’s most recent books are Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West, Real Life: An Installation and the essay collection, Someone Shot My Book. She lives in Denver where she helps to run Counterpath and teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

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, his most recent titles include the poetry collections the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press, 2022) and World’s End, (ARP Books, 2023), and a suite of pandemic essays, essays in the face of uncertainties (Mansfield Press, 2022). Fall 2023 also sees the publication of groundwork: The best of the third decade of above/ground press, 2003-2023 (Invisible Publishing). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics and Touch the Donkey. 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-eighth above/ground press chapbook, following edgeless : letters, (2023), The Alta Vista Improvements (2023), 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

No comments: