Thursday, February 22, 2018

new from above/ground press: rib and instep : honey, by Rachel Mindell

rib and instep: honey
Rachel Mindell
$5

I am Zsa Zsa Gabor Says Monkey

And you're my one in seven billion,
quiet as a hummingbird.

Out where crafts hover,
where the triangles blip

and depart, I was certain
a ship might land so stealth

we could serve it lunch.
Potted meat on two truths,

toast points. Plates edged
by tabloid wallpaper and

an airbase. I catch glimpses
only to release them,

blinking. You've decided
on levels beyond which

you won’t so I've decided to
give you a haircut. One hot buzz,

tight enough to level my fictitious
with your decent. Photography

behind the counter, doctored
yes but exhibiting kin crop marks

and light strips, oracle gone
sky highward. You don't have to

know much to know something.
Sometimes the only sane answer

to a senseless world is paranoia.
New clothes, mascara. A wig maybe.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Rachel Mindell
lives in Tucson, Arizona. She is the author of Like a Teardrop and a Bullet (Dancing Girl Press), and her poems have appeared (or will) in Pool, DIAGRAM, Bombay Gin, BOAAT, Forklift, Ohio, Glass Poetry, The Journal, Sundog Lit, Tammy, and elsewhere. Rachel holds an MFA and MA from the University of Montana. She manages content and promotions for Submittable, and teaches poetry to young people.

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 or paypal at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

above/ground press 25th anniversary essay: Amanda Earl



This is the fifth in a series of short essays/reminiscences by a variety of authors and friends of the press to help mark the quarter century mark of above/ground. See links to the whole series here.

I have above/ground press chapbooks and broadsides on my bookshelves from the early aughts, but I don’t know when I became a subscriber. I suspect around 2006 or so. Through their publication I have learned of writers that were new to me. These writers made me aware of the possibility of play, of prose poems, of the sentence as line, of fragments and of playing with narrative.

above/ground press has been a model for my own AngelHousePress/DevilHouse, not just because of the myriad styles of writing the chapbooks have introduced me to, but also because of all the different things done as part of above/ground press by the seemingly indefatigable rob mclennan.

Chapbooks alone would have been sufficient enough for any press and we all know that this press publishes a lot of chapbooks in any given year, but here’s a list of above/ground press activity over the past twenty-five years in addition to the chapbooks:













I don’t know of any more active and far-reaching press in Canada. I am grateful that above/ground press is here and I’m happy to celebrate its 25th year. I am fortunate to have had five chapbooks, three broadsides published by the press, and numerous other poems published in Ottawater, PFYC, to have read at the Factory Reading Series, and also to have done several interviews with rob through the various series. Here’s to another 25 plus!


Amanda Earl is a writer, publisher, editor and visual poet from Ottawa. above/ground press chapbooks include Eleanor (2007), The Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman (2008), Sex First and Then A Sandwich (2012), A Book of Saints (2015) and Lady Lazarus Redux (2017). Her first (and only) poetry book, Kiki, was published by Chaudiere Books in 2014. Amanda is the managing editor of Bywords.ca and the (fallen) angel of AngelHousePress. For more information, visit AmandaEarl.com or connect with Amanda on Twitter @KikiFolle.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

new from above/ground press: SEARCHING FOR A SPECIES, by Eleni Zisimatos

SEARCHING FOR A SPECIES
Eleni Zisimatos
$4

In looking for a species, we search
Dimensions, like April or noon, and
Then we don’t find the certain
Ectoplasm or little being who looks like us
And we hate with such sincerity

That the fall from Eden looks like child’s play
That snake, so certain of itself, the monkey that
Came after from the loins of Adam

A mistake. We are small creatures, after all,
We only needed the wine, the dance
Of nightshade
Or Dionysus with the spear he stole
From Poseidon, what a mass of nothingness
The grapes, the tenor of craziness
In this, our planet

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
February 2018
celebrating twenty-five years of above/ground press
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Eleni Zisimatos
, born and raised in Montreal, writes about loss and injustice when she is not editing Vallum Magazine. She has been short-listed for several awards, including a National Magazine Award. www.vallummag.com

This is Zisimatos’ second above/ground press title after summations : travels through Italy, produced as STANZAS magazine, volume 1, issue #27 (April 2001).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; outside Canada, add $2) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9 or paypal at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

Monday, February 19, 2018

Greg Bem reviews Stephen Collis’ NEW LIFE (2016)

Our pal Greg Bem was good enough to provide the first review for Stephen Collis’ NEW LIFE (2016) at Goodreads. Thanks so much! You can see the original review here.
Stephen Collis, known for an activation of activism among and beyond the Canadian paradigm, brings forth a handful of new ideas and frames for approaching and appreciating the process of social life in the contemporary discourse/discord. Collis's poems here meet the standard and expectations of the majority of his work, but fall slightly flat in their compactness. The poems are certainly enjoyable and provocative, but fail to resonate with the louder bang+crunch of works that find appropriate space and context within a larger work. Still, as a brief glimpse, a shortened assortment, the book does stand on its own and deserves a read despite the want for it to be supplemental to a definite, greater significance (proven elsewhere and beyond by Collis himself).

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Factory Reading Series @ VERSeFest: Hoa Nguyen + Klara du Plessis, March 24, 2018!

The Factory Reading Series
as part of the eighth annual VERSeFest poetry festival presents:

The Factory Reading Series Lecture Series, two talks and readings by:

Hoa Nguyen (Toronto)
Klara du Plessis (Montreal)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Saturday, March 24, 2018
1pm at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St. Ottawa
$10 at the door / check link for info on passes: http://versefest.ca/year/2018/tickets/
and check the VERSeFest link for the full schedule of readers and events!
http://versefest.ca/year/2018/
March 20-25, 2018


Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Hoa Nguyen [pictured] lives in Toronto where she teaches creative writing in multiple settings. Her books include As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008, and Violet Energy Ingots, nominated for a 2017 Griffin Prize for poetry.
http://versefest.ca/year/2018/poet/?id=257

Klara du Plessis is a poet and critic residing in Montreal. Her debut collection, Ekke, has just been released from Palimpsest Press; and her chapbook, Wax Lyrical—shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award—was published by Anstruther Press, 2015. Klara curates the Resonance Reading Series, and is the editor for carte blanche. Follow her @ToMakePoesis
http://versefest.ca/year/2018/poet/?id=231


Friday, February 16, 2018

above/ground press 25th anniversary essay: Stan Rogal



This is the fourth in a series of short essays/reminiscences by a variety of authors and friends of the press to help mark the quarter century mark of above/ground. See links to the whole series here.

I have known rob since before Jesus was a boy scout. I’ve always wanted to use that phrase and find it somewhat apropos in this situation, noting a certain physical resemblance in comparison to several of the iconic portraits available, as well as the religious zeal with which rob has pursued the elusive muse of poetry. We’ll leave out the (metaphorical) crown of thorns and stigmata for the time. After all, this is meant to be a celebration of above/ground press, right?

How many years ago did we meet? I don’t remember exactly. I do know I was still writing with an electric computer and the Internet was someone’s wet pipe dream.

I met rob when he was an editor for the Carleton Arts Review magazine. I’d make the odd jaunt from Toronto to Ottawa and take part in a launch at the university, raise a few glasses (more than a few) and crash for the night on some student’s couch (or floor) – lots of fun and very Bohemian. At some point rob started (or helped start) a reading series as well as began putting out poetry magazines of his own, and then he was somehow editing and/or judging work in other established lit mags, and being writer-in-res around the country, and blogging, and somewhere along the line there was above/ground press and, lo and behold! he was become a big wheel in the poetry biz, earning himself fame and fortune and…

Sorry, I got a bit carried away for second. Cancel the fame and fortune bit, this is poetry we’re talking about, after all (which brings me back to the crown of thorns, et al…). At any rate, we kept in touch (still keep in touch) and he has been kind enough to print/publish my work – and many, many others -- as well as promote it through invitations to readings, and so on, in his various capacities, for which I am deeply thankful. The man is a force and, more remarkably, has managed to maintain a sense of humour through it all.

Due to him and the press, I have also made the acquaintance of other Ottawa movers and shakers, such as Pearl Pirie and Amanda Earl, who give generously of themselves and their time (and likely their finances) to continue to bang a gong for poetry, even when most of the world doesn’t give a rat’s ass.

That said, I’d like to raise a toast to rob and those other stalwarts who – in the words of Samuel Beckett -- continue to “kick against the pricks” and provide a forum for those of us who rabidly believe that, in a society that is more and more run by bean counters, poetry somehow matters.          



Stan Rogal lives and writes in Toronto. He is the author of 23 books, including 12 poetry collections. He is left-handed and has never owned a cell phone, placing him among the less than 8% of the North American population. Is this final fact either interesting, meaningful or relevant? No, which is precisely why he mentions it.    

Rogal is the author of four above/ground press chapbooks, including In Search of the Emerald City (1997), “THE CELEBRITY RAG: Opá” (STANZAS #44, March 2006) and All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (2004), as well as the forthcoming muscle memory (2018).