Monday, August 25, 2014

new from above/ground press: How the alphabet was made, [an instructional], by rob mclennan

How the alphabet was made,
[an instructional]
rob mclennan


Shocked, an appetite. A wispy mess of hair to cusp,
be master of. None,
            (apparent lack, the eldest people

,  Calcutta of key-strokes. Facts, unmentioned. Underneath
those tricky eyes,

bull by the horns, she said,

            sustaining evidence)
We, who are wondrously large
present no difficulty                to an empty room.

            Creation: made of facets, facts,
            an almanac, hill country, genitals,

Sidebar, notion; plants and seeds and trees from earth,
a suspect,                     carnage; a suspect vehicle,

            what you would wonder: we
            were not an end.

Pegasus, thy lusty Minotaur; some alphabets believe.

            A solitary air; this          lamb of dirt,

Let me tell you more about her,
about whom I know nothing.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
August 2014
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles include notes and dispatches: essays (Insomniac press, 2014) and The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014), as well as the forthcoming poetry collection If suppose we are a fragment (BuschekBooks, 2014). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (, Touch the Donkey ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( 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

Originally published by Apostrophe Press as a handout for a reading and classroom talk (or two) at St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo ON, March 5, 2014. Thanks much to Tristanne Connolly and Claire Tacon. Produced, in part, as a handout for PHILALALIA, the three-day small press/art fair, September 25-27, 2014 in Philadelphia PA. Thanks much to Kevin Varrone for his help and support.

See Pearl Pirie's generous review of the first edition, here.

rob mclennan is the author of a slew of above/ground press chapbooks, most recently from Hark: a journal (2014), The creeks (2013), The Laurentian Book of Movement (with Christine McNair; 2013), Trace, (2013), Poem beginning with a line by Pinder (2012), Notes, on the subject of marriage: (2012), Prelude: selections from a collaboration (with Christine McNair; 2012), This, circular tower (2012), The underside of the line, (2011), First you know, and then so ordinary, (2010) and Some Forty, (2010) (a variety of which may or may not still be in print).

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

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