Thursday, July 18, 2024

new from above/ground press: footnotes after Lorca, by Carlos A. Pittella

Carlos A. Pittella
footnotes after Lorca
$5


Voices of hollow-point bullets
resounded near Thames at three-
second intervals, tin laughter
ten times heard bonecrackingly.
Old fearful voices surrounding
brown voice of carnation seed.1







__________________________
1 The first time I saw Piccadilly Circus
daring its neons to burn our retinas
of course I thought of my sins
my cindery little sins—a peccadillo
circus—all of them performing
a surprise party like it’s judgment day.
But who’s overseeing the party/trial?
Who’s the lil devil, who’s the tunicked angel
& more importantly which one plays lawyer?
Am I judge, juror, innocent
till proven guilty or dead?
Save your sweaty taxpounds—I’m guilty
of every peccadillo. The only question:
who’ll punish
given their own circuses
given that “Piccadilly” means punctured.

(Menezes &/or Pittella, upon arrival)

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Cover art: detail from Lorca’s “Autorretrato en Nueva York,” c. 1930, public domain.

Carlos A. Pittella (he/him) is a Latinx poet & the recipient of a Frontier 2022 Global Poetry Prize. Born on traditional lands of the Tupi & Goitacá (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), he lives in Montréal/Tiohtià:ke. While completing his MA in English/Creative Writing at Concordia University, he co-edited Headlight Anthology with the team who won the 2023 Forces AVENIR award. His writing is haunted by borders, having appeared in places such as Shō, Jacket2, Glyphöria, & The Capilano Review. footnotes after Lorca is his first chapbook in English.

[Carlos A. Pittella will be launching footnotes after Lorca on August 10 as part of the above/ground press 31st anniversary reading, alongside Mahaila Smith, Gil McElroy, Chris Banks, Pearl Pirie and Shane Rhodes; tickets available here]

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, July 16, 2024

new from above/ground press: Rushing Dusk, by Pearl Pirie

Pearl Pirie
Rushing Dusk
$5

tromping

along cedar fence lines
the rails, punky, grey and mossed

against my mud-spattered boot
any pause is a footrest.

what stands bleak on the rise
of ground, against unsettled clouds?

crusted lines not quite
darkened into a silhouette,

tangled in long grasses—
a model of use and hope —

the rusted plow no longer turns soil
but didn't risk turning into a sword

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover illustration: Rose McLennan

Pearl Pirie lives slowly in rural Quebec. A queer, seemingly permanently concussed, settler on unceded land of the Anishnaabe, she is the author of footlights (Radiant Press, 2020) and a few other books and many chapbooks. This chapbook is a second published part of a full length collection that hopefully will be looking to move out soon. You can find her on a bunch of socials— Instagram, X, blueskies, Patreon, Substack and at www.pearlpirie.com.

This is Pirie’s sixth chapbook with above/ground press, after the oath in the boathouse (2008), vertigoheel for the dilly (2014), today’s woods (2014), sex in sevens (2016), and Eldon, letters (2019). Report from the Pirie Society, Vol. 1 No. 1, appeared in 2023.

[Pearl Pirie will be launching Rushing Dusk in Ottawa on August 10 as part of the above/ground press 31st anniversary reading, alongside Mahaila Smith, Gil McElroy, Chris Banks, Carlos A. Pittella and Shane Rhodes; tickets available here]

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, July 12, 2024

new from above/ground press: Tiny Grass Is Dreaming, by Chris Banks

Tiny Grass Is Dreaming
Chris Banks
$5

Tiny Grass Is Dreaming

says the sign on the lawn of the Buddhist temple,
in English, a few words lost in translation,
but something else found, a capacity for hope,
a little wonder, like saying another day, another holler
over the rooftops of the world. Yawp!
Come hither. No? I shall go thither, then.
I shall write my own sign and plant it on the lawn
of your house. It is meant to tell you
how much I envy you. The real you. The you you.
Not the Internet you. The you out there
posting selfies while the inner you just wants
what we all want: affirmation. My sign reads
Love me. I am dying. My teenage kids
are in the basement playing Truth or Dare?
Truth is a Dare in an age of neoliberal bullshit.
The Environmental Protection Act simply
another name for deforestation passed by a Senate
full of white, elderly men. The kind who hate
grandchildren. The future. Life occurs by accident.
In the midst of accidents. Penicillin was mold
in a petri dish. Coca-cola, a painkiller.
Matchsticks, an unexpected spark of ingenuity.
Like poetry, all things have stretch marks.
Something to make you think, and smile
as you lie in the warm sun— the green grass
dreaming the earth, dreaming life, dreaming even you,
and why, exactly? Because. The sign says so.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press

July 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Chris Banks
is an award-winning, Pushcart-nominated Canadian poet and author of seven collections of poems, most recently Alternator with Nightwood Editions (Fall 2023). His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors’ Association in 2004. Bonfires was also a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry in Canada.  His poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, Arc Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Event, The Malahat Review, The Walrus, American Poetry Journal, The Glacier, Best American Poetry (blog), Prism International, among other publications. Chris was an associate editor with The New Quarterly, and is Editor in Chief of The Woodlot – A Canadian Poetry Reviews & Essays website. He lives with dual disorders–chronic major depression and generalized anxiety disorder–and writes in Kitchener, Ontario.

[Chris Banks will be launching Tiny Grass is Dreaming in Ottawa on August 10 as part of the above/ground press 31st anniversary reading, alongside Mahaila Smith, Gil McElroy, Pearl Pirie, Carlos A. Pittella and Shane Rhodes; tickets available here]

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

De Villo Sloan reviews Angela Caporaso's Wars (2024) at Asemic Front 2

Visual poet De Villo Sloan was good enough to provide the first review for Angela Caporaso's Wars (2024) over at Asemic Front 2. Thanks so much! You can read the original post here (with a bunch of accompanying visuals, also).
Visual artist Angela Caporaso (Caserta, Italy) has been exploring visual poetry. rob mclennan’s above/ground press in Ottawa, Canada, has given us a chapbook of this recent work.

I am set at ease when exploring Wars by the no-frills approach of above/ground press that highlights the work and makes a soft allusion to the gritty, underground visual poetry that took shape in the formerly industrial Great Lakes cities of the USA and Canada.

Caporaso’s emphasis on language materiality, dimensionality and cut-up makes her text an ideal match for mclennan’s editorial eye.  

In Wars, Caporaso tells us the visual poems in the edition are inspired by "some short poems by Wystan Hugh Auden." Contemporary visual poets seem to enjoy anchoring their new work to older literary tradition.

The repetition of cut-up/concrete forms, shifting in constructs of opposing dark and light, suggests to me various configurations of battling armies, military maps. I find myself considering the phenomenon of binary opposition in nature and the human compulsion to warfare. Wars can be read as a visual-linguistic anti-war sequence. The book has much more to offer as well.

Recently John Richard McConnochie, the Australian visual poet and asemic writer, well-known for his diligent admin work at the great Facebook Post-literate group, has been using the term "neo-glyphic" to identify certain asemic forms that he is observing. This brings me to explain why I chose to place my review of Angela's book on Asemic Front2.

Aspects of asemic writing are merging with the new concrete (or neo-concrete). In Angela Caporaso's War is a series of evolving neo-glyphs that move from binary oppositional structures to pieces that are far more non-binary.

Congratulation to Angela Caporaso and to rob mclennan for his keen editorial eye recognizing this great book.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

today is the thirty-first anniversary of above/ground press, (and we're having a big sale,

Happy birthday, above/ground press! In case you hadn’t heard, today is the THIRTY-FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF above/ground press (with more than 1,325 publications to date) and to celebrate such, I thought, why not offer a huge summer sale?

$35 (plus shipping) for any eight 2023/2024 titles! Or, if you are feeling particularly brave, $40 for any ten 2023/2024 titles! (until August 31, 2024)! braver still? $80 for any twenty-five 2023/2024 titles!

with options including plenty of 2024 titles so far: I wanted to say something, : an elegy, for Barry McKinnon (1944-2023), by rob mclennan ; Unsovereign, by Kacper Bartczak, translated from the Polish by Mark Tardi ; Broken River, by Ken Norris ; Un-Composed, Poetry by Saba Pakdel ; Family Chronicles from Muffin Land, by Hope Anderson ; Perverse Density, by Sacha Archer ; BRADE LANDS, by Peter Myers ; Process, by Julia Polyck-O’Neill ; DAWN’S FOOL, by Kyla Houbolt ; Gnomics, by Dale Tracy ; The Green Rose, in collaboration, Steven Ross Smith + Phil Hall ; The Peter F Yacht Club #33/2024 VERSeFest Special, lovingly hand-crafted, folded, stapled, edited and carried around in bags of envelopes by rob mclennan ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #41 [TENTH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE] featuring new poems by Gil McElroy, ryan fitzpatrick, John Barlow, Amanda Earl, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Conyer Clayton, rob mclennan, Julie Carr and Pattie McCarthy ; abject sutures, melissa eleftherion ; From Desire Without Expectation, Jacob Wren ; HYSTERICAL PREGNANCY, Katie Ebbitt ; new york ironweed, Amanda Deutch ; Alternate histories, Kyle Flemmer ; Some Failed Eternity, Pete Smith ; In The Margins. . . . . .of french translations found and remixed by russell carisse, russell carisse ; BUSY SECRET, Micah Ballard ; The Old Man: new stories, Clint Burnham ; Wars, by Angela Caporaso ; Fifty-Two Lines About Henry, by Cary Fagan ; The Pig’s Valise, by BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #40 featuring new poems by Ryan Eckes, Dennis Cooley, Michael Harman, Terri Witek and Laynie Browne ; MY STRUGGLE WITH NOUNS, by Gary Barwin ; These Steady Bulbs, by Lydia Unsworth ;

as well as the plethora of 2023 chapbook titles: But Then I Thought, by Kyla Houbolt ; A PANDEMIC INVENTORY, SPRING-SUMMER 2020, BROOKLYN NY, by Zane Koss ; Between the Lakes, by Ben Robinson ; with the lakes, by Colin Dardis ; The Last Horse / Prologue, by Aaron Tucker ; Misremembered Proverbs, by Adriana Oniță ; river / estuaries, by Julie Carr and rob mclennan ; Gardens in Motion, by Stephen Collis ; STORY LINE, by Rae Armantrout ; glass / language / untitled / exaltation (second printing; bpNichol Chapbook Award Winner, by Jason Christie ; Dinosaurs of Glory, by Nikki Reimer ; Send $19.99 for Supplements and Freedom, Collages and Uncreative Writing, by Noah Berlatsky ; Unconsciousness Raising, by Miranda Mellis ; ESTRO FLUNKY: FIELD NOTES, by MLA Chernoff ; ashes, by Marita Dachsel ; Report from the [ryan] fitzpatrick Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; AGALMA, by Kevin Stebner ; THINGS TO BUY IN NEW BRUNSWICK, by Meghan Kemp-Gee ; Cartesian Wells, by Gil McElroy ; This Folded Path, by Robert van Vliet ; Mayday, by Stephen Cain ; LIVID REMAINDERS, by Geoffrey Olsen ; How to, by Heather Cadsby ; An Extremely Well-Funded Study of Doors, by Evan Williams ; Poetic Constructions: Poems written for the Enriched Bread Artists’ 2020 Open Studio, by Grant Wilkins ; missing matrilineal, by nina jane drystek ; Girl gives long-fingered self-portrait, by Sophia Magliocca ; The Baroness and her Ex Read Orgasmic Toast: To Whom It May Concern, by Grant Wilkins ; Groundling: On Apology, by Jennifer Baker ; SONGS FROM THE DEMENTIA SUITCASE, Karen Massey ; edgeless : letters, by rob mclennan ; Bridges under the Water, by Jérôme Melançon ; Where there's smoke, by Monty Reid ; {NANCY} [an essay on Nancy Shaw], by Jamie Hilder ; LALIQUE, by George Bowering and Artie Gold ; Bits and Bobs, two stories by Ryan Stearne ; Report from the (Pearl) Pirie Society, Vol. 1 No. 1 ; errand : towards, by Brad Vogler ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #38 ; Simple Location, by Andrew Gorin ; “Almost Alive” by Julia Drescher ; ECHOES, by Ken Norris ; Toothache, by Joseph Donato ; What started / this mess, Samuel Ace ; BIRD SNOW ON HARD TRACKS, Stuart Ross ; Apogee/Perigee, Leesa Dean ; Report from the (Nikki) Reimer Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; When a Folk, When a Sprawl, Jessi MacEachern ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #37, with new poems by Micah Ballard, Robert Hogg, Ben Meyerson, Leigh Chadwick, Junie Désil, Devon Rae, kevin mcpherson eckhoff and Kimberly Dyck, Benjamin Niespodziany and Barbara Tomash ; G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #26, guest-edited by Adam Katz, with new work by alex benedict, Marc E. Christmas, Adam Katz and Ron Silliman ; NOISE, Jordan Davis ; Report from the (Jessica) Smith Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; LEARNING HOW TO TALK, Nick Chhoeun ; Night Protest, Ben Jahn ; Poor Rutebeuf, Translated by William Vallières ; tattered sails (after un coup de des), second printing, Derek Beaulieu ; WAVE 1.0, Isabel Sobral Campos ; P E S T / (Zion Offramp 65-70), Mark Scroggins ; The Alta Vista Improvements, rob mclennan ; Report from the (Brenda) Iijima Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; genesis, Laura Walker ; In Which Archibald Lampman / Translates Arthur Rimbaud, Grant Wilkins ; Report from the (Amish) Trivedi Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; DEAR NOSTALGIA, Nathanael O’Reilly ; Perfumer’s Organ, by Lindsey Webb ; Something or Other, by Jason Heroux ; TAKE IT DOWN, by Barbara Henning ; G U E S T #25, edited by Laurie Anne Fuhr ; Touch the Donkey #36 ; The Peter F Yacht Club #31 "The Factory Reading Series 30th anniversary" issue / edited by rob mclennan ; ONTARIO HYDRO, by Derek Beaulieu ;

That’s more than one hundred titles! This list obviously includes issues of the quarterly Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal], the occasional and guest-edited G U E S T [a journal of guest editors], the Report from the Society festschrift titles, and chapbooks in the above/ground press prose/naut series; all titles available while supplies last (obviously), although everything listed above is (at this point of writing, at least) all still very much in print; and you know I’m also completely open to backdating a 2024 above/ground press subscription, yes? I mean, that's a pretty remarkable deal.

To order, send cheques (as well as your list of preferred titles; add $3 for postage; in US, add $5; outside North America, add $11) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

and don't forget to order copies of groundwork: The best of the third decade of above/ground press: 2013–2023 (Invisible Publishing, 2023)! and tickets are already available for the 31st anniversary reading/launch/party at RedBird on August 10, 2024! a full list of readers will be announced soon!


with further forthcoming 2024 titles by Carter Mckenzie, Maxwell Gontarek, Carlos A. Pittella, Conal Smiley, Ian FitzGerald, Nate Logan, Peter Jaeger, Noah Berlatsky, ryan fitzpatrick, russell carisse, JoAnna Novak, Chris Banks, Julia Cohen, Carlos A. Pittella, Mahaila Smith, Andrew Brenza, Mckenzie Strath, John Levy, alex benedict, Helen Hajnoczky, Ryan Skrabalak, MAC Farrant, Terri Witek and David Phillips! Oh, and Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #42 lands soon as well! Gadzooks! that is very exciting, yes?

Monday, July 8, 2024

new from above/ground press: The Literary Cow Festival, by M.A.C. Farrant

The Literary Cow Festival
M.A.C. Farrant
$5

1.    Cow Satori

We believe cows experience eternity by living in a perpetual now.  Doing so, they achieve a kind of grace, an unintended cow satori.  
           And they are so unlike ourselves today, driving through rain to get the weekly eggs while worrying about Barbara.  Will she invite us to her annual party, which is catered and includes live music and clowns on stilts?  Or will we, once again, be left off the list?  
           We know it is remiss of us to dwell on Barbara and allow our well being to be tied to her in this way. We know there is the whole of life to inhabit, one that includes people who are not Barbara, and also the “myriad things” that are rumoured to be out there—blades of grass, tree bark, small bugs, worms, clouds, and the like.
           But if by some miracle we are invited to Barbara’s party, I will wear my sequined dress and matching neon red lipstick.  You, your pink and yellow dancing shoes.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
as the twenty-fifth title in above/ground’s prose/naut imprint
July 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

M.A.C. Farrant
is the author of over twenty books (fiction, non-fiction, prose miniatures, memoirs), chapbooks and plays. She has published nine books with Talon; the tenth, the Expanded 20th Anniversary Edition of her memoir, My Turquoise Years, will appear in the late summer of 2024. She lives on Vancouver Island.

https://talonbooks.com/authors/mac-farrant

This is Farrant's second title with above/ground press, after SOME OF THE PUZZLES (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

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Cary Fagan reviews Lydia Unsworth's These Steady Bulbs (2024) at Word Music


Toronto writer (and above/ground press author) Cary Fagan was good enough to provide the first review for Lydia Unsworth's These Steady Bulbs (2024) over at his Word Music blog. Thanks so much! You can read the original post here.
When I was a kid, so long ago now, we played unsupervised from evening into dark. We hid in back yards, ran from garden to garden, picked up fallen pears from a neighbour’s tree and hurled them at the rare passing car. That time came back to me as I read These Steady Bulbs, a text that both offers and withholds meaning–somewhat in the manner of childhood itself.

The English poet Lydia Unsworth (above/ground is a rare Canadian chapbook press to have an international list of authors) has an interesting premise here. Her book, as she explains in a note, is a response to Ian Waite’s Middlefield: A postwar council estate in time, which I gather is a sociological/cultural study of British subsidized housing. She tells us that “the concerns and nostalgia are in part abstracted,” although I admit to being uncertain as to what exactly this means. The sequence of prose poemns is presented as a looking backwards into childhood, as a visit to places once intimately known, as an attempt to find and understand the past. It is certainly nostalgic, if not warmly so. It is as much exhumation as recollection.

Can anyone else see these streets, their buried gods, the blood from our shins like shadows in gravel, these graves?

Somewhere out-of-focus were the adults, uninterested in such spaces as the empty lot that drew them:

And the adults, they didn’t disobey the signage or peek over walls designed expressly to keep them out. Nothing for them to see but their imagination, creased and left to rot. Wild fear, rumour, grey flowing capes half-seen and blinked away. We lied and camped wherever it looked soft enough. Metal bridges, leftover streams, fat wet furniture, mossy and bright. We wanted rain in our shoes, we wanted to smell damp like the soil of the planet.

This is rather overwrought language, appropriate for an adult reliving the intensity of collective childhood experience. These were places were the dangers were felt, if vague and unnamed, making them all the more exciting. When the poet says “We didn’t want to go home (we never wanted to go home)” it isn’t hard to wonder whether home is now, for the adult looking back, a place that simply can’t be entered anymore.

The voice of these poems is oddly passionate and alienated at the same time. It isn’t always easy to say why one sentences follows another. Near the end we are told that “Everything is here for the taking” but this feels more like a past, a memory, a fiction that has us in its grip whether we like it or not.


Friday, July 5, 2024

new from above/ground press: By the Shores of Issyk-Kul, by Helen Hajnoczky

By the Shores of Issyk-Kul
Helen Hajnoczky
$5


What use is faith
for a faithful woman?
What use is belief
for the believer?

Taken from the valley
where they last laid down their heads—

Taken from the valley
where the pestilence consumed them—

Where they took their final breaths.



In the shadow of the foothills—
exhumed from their graves—

With what regard
for their mourners,
their friends, their kin?

With what regard for
whoever it was who so carefully
carved their names?

With what regard for
whoever carved
their last confession of faith?
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
July 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image: Holbein d. J.; Danse Macabre. XXXII. The Count

Helen Hajnoczky is the author of the poetry books Frost & Pollen, Magyarázni, and Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising. She can be found on Instagram @ateacozyisasometimes and online at ateacozyisasometimes.com.

This is Hajnoczky’s fifth chapbook with above/ground press, after A history of button collecting (2010), The Double Bind Dictionary (2013), No Right on Red (2017) and a grain of sand (2021). Report from the Hajnoczky Society, Vol 1. No. 1, appeared in 2022.

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, July 4, 2024

The Factory Reading Series, July 22, 2024: Clint Burnham + Chris Turnbull,

The Factory Reading Series Presents:
readings by:
Clint Burnham (Vancouver)
+
Chris Turnbull (Kemptville)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Monday, July 22, 2024
Doors 6:30pm / Reading 7:00pm

Ten Toes Coffee House and Laundry
837 Somerset Street West (at Rochester Street,


Clint Burnham was born in Comox and lives in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territories. Recent books include The Goldberg Variations (New Star, 2024), White Lie (Anvil, 2021), and Pound @ Guantánamo (Talon, 2016). He teaches at Simon Fraser University and just got back from a hike. above/ground press recently published The Old Man: new stories (2024) in the "prose/naut" series.

Chris Turnbull is the author of cipher (Beautiful Outlaw Press 2024), [ untitled ] in o w n (CUE Books 2014), and Continua (Chaudiere Books 2015). Her poetry chapbooks, collaborations, and installation pieces are in print, online, and within landscapes. She curates a footpress, rout/e, whereby poetry can be found on trails (www.etuor.wordpress.com).

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Catherine Marcotte reviews Cary Fagan's Fifty-Two Lines About Henry (2024) at The Miramichi Reader

Kingston, Ontario-based reader, editor and writer Catherine Marcotte was good enough to provide the first review for Cary Fagan's Fifty-Two Lines About Henry (2024) over at The Miramichi Reader. Thanks so much! You can read the original post here.
Mourning favourite colours, cooking for dachshunds, and feeding birds gummi-worms: these are the kind of adventures that animate Cary Fagan’s charming new chapbook, Fifty-Two Lines About Henry.

Faithful to its title, this fifty-two-line collection is a fragmented look into the strange and whimsical life of a man named Henry. His is a tale of misplaced energies, unlikely luck, and lasting anxieties about anything from flag-raising and hat-wearing to door-slamming.

And as these small, out of context stories multiply and expand, clarifying our sense of our protagonist, the book ultimately reminds that no one line can aptly convey the absurdity of human life.

Although Henry contemplates dancing to calm an enraged bear, orders enough sardines to fill two bedrooms – I hope they’re canned – and writes an 861-page chapter to a novel, his unlikely battles remain rooted in a world well-recognized where neighbours are suspicious, dinner parties are taxing, and things learned at school are revealed to be alternately fateful (the sousaphone, surprisingly) and superfluous (trigonometry).

Punctuated by unexpected guests like a thorn-ridden lion and existential questions about littering, Fagan’s work engages the surreal and the hyperreal to lay bare the unknowability of life’s many moments. And as these small, out of context stories multiply and expand, clarifying our sense of our protagonist, the book ultimately reminds that no one line can aptly convey the absurdity of human life: “My life, he said into the dark, can’t be reduced to a single line.” A funny, heartfelt ride, Fifty-Two Lines About Henry is a fast-paced, witty, and undeniably charming meditation on the many thoughts and feelings that populate our strange, unknowable days.

Monday, June 24, 2024

newly posted at periodicities : a journal of poetry and poetics: folio : Barry McKinnon (1944-2023)

folio : Barry McKinnon (1944-2023)
, edited by Jeremy Stewart and Donna Kane : see the expansive folio here

above/ground press has produced a couple of chapbooks by Barry McKinnon over the years--Into the Blind World (2012) and G o n e S o u t h (2021)--as well as include work by him in an issue of Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] in 2022, with follow-up interview, which is very much worth reading.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

new from above/ground press: i wanted to say something, an elegy, by rob mclennan

I wanted to say something,
: an elegy,
, for Barry McKinnon (1944-2023)
rob mclennan
$5




published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2024
published simultaneously online as part of the tribute folio Barry McKinnon (1944-2023), eds. Jeremy Stewart and Donna Kane, at periodicites: a journal of poetry and poetics
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover photo: Rae Armantrout and Barry McKinnon at VERSeFest: Ottawa’s International Poetry Festival, March 2012.
photo credit: rob mclennan

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 World’s End, (ARP Books, 2023), a suite of pandemic essays, essays in the face of uncertainties (Mansfield Press, 2022) and the anthology groundwork: the best of the third decade of above/ground press 2013-2023 (Invisible Publishing, 2023), as well as a recent chapbook through Montreal’s Turret Press, and a further forthcoming with Toronto publisher Gap Riot Press. His collection of short stories, On Beauty (University of Alberta Press) is scheduled to appear in August 2024, and a further poetry title, the book of sentences, is forthcoming with University of Calgary Press.

This is mclennan’s sixty-ninth above/ground press chapbook, following the recent river / estuaries (with Julie Carr; 2023), edgeless : letters, (2023), The Alta Vista Improvements (2023), Autobiography (2022), 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), etcetera.

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, June 6, 2024

new from above/ground press: Unsovereign, by Kacper Bartczak (trans. Mark Tardi

Unsovereign
Kacper Bartczak
translated from the Polish by Mark Tardi
$5

Hybrid engine triptych


1.

in singing the song all freight

migrates synthesizing a mineral loss

imparts the viscosity of light



2.

biometric sculpture a direct inject

vacuum emission in a unit

a buoyant mouth squishes a piston

spewing a party of grease light



3.

listen on the fora for all sorts of crash

see the algaesphere ionizing

expediting a party of sinking light

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
June 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


cover image: Agnieszka Kowalska-Owczarek
A watercolor from the series Wibracje – Linie z Niekończoności [Vibrations – Infinity Lines]

KACPER BARTCZAK is a Polish poet, scholar, and translator. Recent volumes include Czas Kompost [Time Compost] (2023), Widoki wymazy (2021), Naworadiowa [Radionaves] (2019), Pokarm suweren [Food Sovereign] (2017), and Wiersze organiczne [Organic Poems] (2015), which was nominated for two major awards in Poland. He has translated and published volumes of selected poems by Rae Armantrout, Charles Bernstein, and Peter Gizzi. as well as the work of many other poets into Polish. In English translation, recent poetry of his has appeared in Poetry, ANMLY, Denver Quarterly, Interim, MAYDAY, and Berlin Quarterly. His awards include two Fulbrights––at Stanford and Princeton, respectively––and a fellowship from the Kościuszko Foundation at Florida Atlantic University. He is an associate professor and department chair at the University of Łódź.

MARK TARDI is a writer and translator whose recent awards include a 2023 PEN/Heim Translation Grant and a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Translation fellowship. He is the author of three books, most recently, The Circus of Trust (Dalkey Archive Press, 2017), and his translations of The Squatters’ Gift by Robert Rybicki (Dalkey Archive Press) and Faith in Strangers by Katarzyna Szaulińska (Toad Press/Veliz Books) were published in 2021. Recent writing and translations have appeared in Poetry, Conjunctions, Guernica, ANMLY, Full-Stop, Interim, Cagibi, Denver Quarterly, and in the anthology The Experiment Will Not Be Bound (Unbound Edition Press, 2023). Viscera: Eight Voices from Poland will appear with Litmus Press in September 2024. He is on faculty at the University of Łódź.

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, June 4, 2024

an above/ground press (zoom) launch, May 19, 2024: Ballard, Eleftherion Carr, Deutch, Ebbitt + Polyck-O'Neill : video now online,

In case you missed it, the video for the above/ground press (zoom) launch from May 19, 2024 is now online, posted to the same YouTube channel that also hosts the ongoing  virtual reading series via periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics. With readings and launches by five different above/ground press authors: Micah Ballard (San Francisco CA), Melissa Eleftherion Carr (Ukiah CA), Amanda Deutch (Brooklyn NY), Katie Ebbitt (New York NY) + Julia Polyck O'Neill (Toronto ON). lovingly hosted by rob mclennan,

 


Thursday, May 30, 2024

new from above/ground press: Broken River, by Ken Norris

Broken River
Ken Norris
$5

POEM

A thousand years from now
you’ll still find me here,
telling the difference.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
May 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Ken Norris was born in New York City in 1951. He came to Canada in the early 1970s, to escape Nixon-era America and to pursue his graduate education. He completed an M.A. at Concordia University and a Ph.D. in Canadian Literature at McGill University. He became a Canadian citizen in 1985. Norris is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maine, where he taught Canadian Literature and Creative Writing for thirty-three years. He currently resides in Toronto.

This is Ken Norris’ twelfth above/ground press chapbook, after Windward – St. Lucia Poems (1995), The Commentaries (1999), Songs For Isabella (2000), Green Wind (2010), Looking Into It (2011), Hong Kong Blues (2019), Hawaiian Sunrise (2021), Stray Dog Café (2021), The Traveling Wilburys Collection (2021), False Narratives (2022) and Echoes (2023).

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, May 16, 2024

new from above/ground press: Un-Composed, Poetry by Saba Pakdel

Un-Composed
Poetry by Saba Pakdel
$5

Roots
                  —For Woman, Life, Freedom

an inability
an unwillingness
to forget
                cannot up-roots
that I exist
resist
cannot un-remember
my pain-bodied mother(land)

her hair

              every morning
              fall over my shoulders
that I carry
continue her being
the being
be
             (mother)land

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
May 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Saba Pakdel
is a poet, migration literature scholar, and PhD candidate in the English department at the University of Victoria. She specializes in migration studies and climate refugees with a focus on contemporary literature, exploring the experience of mobility, displacement, and climate crises. www.sabapakdel.com

This is Pakdel's second above/ground press title, after In-Between (2022)

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, May 10, 2024

new from above/ground press: Family Chronicles from Muffin Land, by Hope Anderson

Family Chronicles from Muffin Land
Hope Anderson
$5

For Kobi, my son

We released fighter kites into clouds
Shimmying tails disguised dangerous blades
Beat the air, unleashed against real
Not so real goliaths.
Downcast Bigfoot sleepily retreats
Into deep, deep foam
Saddened to be uncovered
Neither man nor beast
This is how we discover the secrets
Of Muffin Land,
Father and son sometimes vainly
Troll upstream, still relentless
Propelled perhaps, by ancestral dream
Around go cart tracks, once more you ask
As if no clock nor meter
In this promised universe
And we spies, weightless astronauts
Insistent on a good report
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
May 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy


Cover Image generated by Deja Anderson using AI tool, ChatGPT-4, 20 February 2024.

Hope Anderson is a writer and editor based in Victoria, BC. In the Fall 2023, The Capilano Review published an extensive folio featuring an interview with Wayde Compton and a selection of poems, both previously published and new. Hope is the author of the poetry collection Slips From Grace (Coach House Press, 1987), and with David Phillips, a co-editor of the anthology of BC poets, The Body (Tatlow House, 1979). He is currently working on two book-length projects.

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] : world donkey day 2024 : one day subscription offer,

Did you know there was such a thing as World Donkey Day? Naturally, over here at Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal], we simply must get in on the action, so we're offering a subscription sale for one day only:  anyone who subscribes (or resubscribes) anytime TODAY has the bonus option of three (3) items: three Touch the Donkey back issues of your choice, OR three above/ground press (2023 or 2024) titles of your choice (while supplies last) OR any combination thereof.

OR: copies of ten (10) different back issues for $50 / copies of five (5) different back issues for $25 / copies of twenty different back issues for $100 / while supplies last on individual issues, naturally / add $5 for US orders ; add $10 for international orders,

Issue #41 of Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] (a slightly larger issue than usual) is currently available, with new work by Julie Carr, rob mclennan, Pattie McCarthy, ryan fitzpatrick, Conyer Clayton, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Amanda Earl, Gil McElroy and John Barlow.

2023-2024 above/ground press titles include chapbooks by: Sacha Archer, Hope Anderson, Dale Tracy, Melissa Eleftherion, Kyle Flemmer, Saba Pakdel, Katie Ebbitt, Amanda Deutch, Phil Hall + Steven Ross Smith, Peter Myers, Terri Witek, Pete Smith, russell carisse, Micah Ballard, Clint Burnham, Angela Caporaso, Cary Fagan, Blunt Research Group, Gary Barwin, Lydia Unsworth, Kyla Houbolt, Zane Koss, Ben Robinson, Colin Dardis, Aaron Tucker, Adriana Oniță, Julie Carr + rob mclennan, Stephen Collis, Rae Armantrout, Jason Christie, Nikki Reimer, Noah Berlatsky, Miranda Mellis, MLA Chernoff, Marita Dachsel, Report from the fitzpatrick Society, Kevin Stebner, Meghan Kemp-Gee, Gil McElroy, Robert van Vliet, Stephen Cain, Geoffrey Olsen, Heather Cadsby, Evan Williams, Grant Wilkins, nina jane drystek, Sophia Magliocca, Jennifer Baker, Karen Massey, rob mclennan, Jérôme Melançon, Monty Reid, Jamie Hilder, George Bowering + Artie Gold, Ryan Stearne, Brad Vogler, Andrew Gorin, Report from the Pirie Society, Julia Drescher, Ken Norris, Joseph Donato, Samuel Ace, Stuart Ross, Leesa Dean, Report from the Reimer Society, Jessi MacEachern, G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #26, Jordan Davis, The Peter F Yacht Club #32 : 2023 VERSeFest Special, Report from the Smith Society, Nick Chhoeun, Ben Jahn, William Vallières, Report from the Iijima Society, Derek Beaulieu, Isabel Sobral Campos, Mark Scroggins, Laura Walker, Report from the Trivedi Society, Nathanael O'Reilly, Lindsey Webb, Jason Heroux and Barbara Henning.

Touch the Donkey: Canadian subscriptions $35 for five issues / American subscriptions $40 / International subscriptions $50 / All prices in Canadian dollars /

To order, e-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com or www.touchthedonkey.blogspot.com

Issues are also available as part of the above/ground press annual subscription. [which I am totally willing to backdate, in case anyone so inclined,

Because everybody loves a holiday. Who doesn't love a holiday?

Touch the Donkey. Everywhere you want to be.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

new from above/ground press: Perverse Density, by Sacha Archer

Perverse Density
Sacha Archer
$5

Snow Drift

If it doesn’t stop snowing can you bear to hear
I told you so? The sled shifted, they were too eager, too
quick, look at us, look at us, and yesterday
becomes today, the sled shifts and turns, the girls
tumble, the screen goes blank. When it’s bright again,
who is sitting on a bench pouting with a cookie,
and who is it that will pass with ease on her skates?
Yesterday was just the same. Snow so heavy
we found a thousand different things to do
done a thousand different times before
we invented them, which mattered nothing to us.
We slept soundly. The second quivered in its spot.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
May 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Sacha Archer
is a Canadian writer and concrete poet. His most recent publication is cellsea, published by Timglaset. Some of Archer’s other publications include Empty Building (Penteract Press), Mother’s Milk (Timglaset), which was included on CBC’s best poetry books of 2020 list, KIM (knife|fork|book), Hydes (nOIR:Z), as well as a collaborative sound poetry album with nina jane drystek, Years Between Rooms which can be found on Bandcamp. His book Havana Syndrome is forthcoming from The Blasted Tree. Find him on Facebook and Instagram @sachaarcher.

This is Archer’s third above/ground press chapbook, after upROUTE : The Language of Plates (2017) and Autopsy Report (2018).

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

Sunday, May 5, 2024

an above/ground press (zoom) launch, May 19: Micah Ballard, Melissa Eleftherion Carr, Amanda Deutch, Katie Ebbitt + Julia Polyck-O'Neill,

Micah Ballard (San Francisco CA)
Melissa Eleftherion Carr (Ukiah CA)
Amanda Deutch (Brooklyn NY)
Katie Ebbitt (New York NY)
+
Julia Polyck O'Neill (Toronto ON)
lovingly hosted by publisher/editor rob mclennan
Sunday, May 19 2024: 3pm PST/6pm EST ZOOM

please contact host or readers for zoom link:
rob mclennan : rob_mclennan (at) hotmail (dot) com or Melissa Eleftherion Carr : melissa.eleftherion (at) gmail (dot) com

Micah Ballard is the author of over a dozen books of poetry including Waifs and Strays (City Lights Books), Afterlives (Bootstrap Press), The Michaux Notebook (FMSBW), Krewes (Bootstrap Press), Selected Prose, 2008-19 (Blue Press), Evangeline Downs (Ugly Duckling Presse), Daily Vigs (Bird & Beckett Books), Vesper Chimes (Gas Meter), Muddy Waters (State Champs), and Negative Capability in the Verse of John Wieners (Bootstrap Press). He lives in San Francisco with poet Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, their daughter Lorca, and co-edits Auguste Press and Lew Gallery Editions.

He will be launching BUSY SECRET (2024), his first chapbook with above/ground press, although he did co-edit G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #21, "Castle Greyskull," with Garrett Caples (above/ground press, 2022).

Melissa Eleftherion (she/they) is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. Born & raised in Brooklyn, she holds degrees from Brooklyn College, Mills College, and San Jose State University. They are the author of the full-length poetry collections, field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & gutter rainbows (Querencia Press, 2024), as well as twelve chapbooks including trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020), & sunflower spell (poems-for-all, 2022).  Her work has been widely published & featured in venues like Quarter after Eight, Sixth Finch, Entropy, & Barren Magazine. Melissa now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Branch Library, curates the LOBA Reading Series, and serves as Poet Laureate Emeritus of the City of Ukiah. Recent work is available at www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

She will be launching abject sutures (2024), her third chapbook with above/ground press, after little ditch (2018) and trauma suture (2020).

Amanda Deutch is a poet born and raised in New York City. She is the author of several chapbooks including Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (above/ground press, 2020), and Surf Avenue & 29th Street, Coney Island (Least Weasel Press, 2018). Deutch’s poetry has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Times, Oversound, The Rumpus, Cimarron Review and in many other journals and magazines. An artist book collaboration with Sarah Nicholls, wild anemone, is forthcoming in 2024. She lives in Brooklyn where she is the founder of Parachute Literary Arts.

She will be launching new york ironweed (2024), her second above/ground press title, after bodega night pigeon riot (2020).

Katie Ebbitt is a poet/psycho-behavioralist living in NYC. She is the author of the chapbooks ANOTHER LIFE (Counterpath, 2016), Para Ana (Inpatient, 2019), and Air Sign (Creative Writing Department, 2024). Fecund, her first full-length book, will be released by Keith LLC.

She will be launching HYSTERICAL PREGNANCY (2024), her first title with above/ground press.

Julia Polyck-O’Neill (they/she) is an artist, curator, critic, poet, and writer. They are currently the Michael Ridley Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Guelph and a former SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at York University’s Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology. Starting in July 2024, they will be an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Memorial University in Newfoundland. Her research explores feminist, digital approaches to interdisciplinary artists’ archives and intersections between archives and creative praxis. Her publications appear in Amodern, Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft (The Journal for Aesthetics and General Art History), English Studies in Canada, BC Studies, Canadian Literature, and other places.

She will be launching Process (2024), her fourth above/ground press title, after femme (2016), Everything will be taken away (2018) and poem | image | self (2019).