Friday, January 29, 2016

The Factory Reading Series: Simpson, Brockwell + Peerbaye, February 20, 2016

span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents:
The Factory Reading Series:

Rachael Simpson (Ottawa)
Stephen Brockwell (Ottawa)
+ Soraya Peerbaye (Toronto)

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan

Saturday, February 20, 2016;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

Rachael Simpson's
poetry has been published in Canada and the United States. She lives in Ottawa.

Stephen Brockwell is an Ottawa poet and small business owner. He is currently cultivating two very slow growing manuscripts of poetry and two seedling novellas.

Soraya Peerbaye’s first collection, Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Her poems have previously appeared in Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets (Mansfield Press, 2004), edited by Priscila Uppal and Rishma Dunlop, as well as various literary journals; she has also contributed to the chapbook anthology Translating Horses (Baseline Press). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Peerbaye also works with dance and theatre organizations in Toronto as a dramaturge and curator.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

new from above/ground press: A Precarious Life on the Sea, Sarah Burgoyne

A Precarious Life on the Sea
Sarah Burgoyne


White omens in the sky making shapes of us. I decide to wear all my medallions at once. Found a snout in the basil plant. Who can blame. You, in the small frame. Glasses and longsuffering. I sent you a letter on the subject of broccoli. What’s another word for sacrament?

Summer séances spent welcoming a new ice age in hospital gowns. No one visits, and if they do, we stick ‘em. Having not been coordinated enough to find a new castle. Always the first to go. No sons or daughters come to sing hymns around. Unmothered in the off season.

A strange hand under a young chin. Most times, your dreamer is the enemy. I spend the night writing Westerns, answering yes and yes to true or false. I guess I need to live up to fatherhood. Grow my summer antlers. See how far the voodoo lily will stretch.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2016
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Sarah Burgoyne
was born and raised on Canada’s West Coast. Her first manuscript, Saint Twin, is being published with Mansfield Press in 2016 and is gigantic.

[Sarah Burgoyne launches A Precarious Life on the Sea in Ottawa alongside Julie Morrissy and Claire Farley as part of The Factory Reading Series, March 26, 2016]

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Factory Reading Series: Hanson-Finger, Barwin + Hogg, February 27, 2016

span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents:
The Factory Reading Series:
Jeremy Hanson-Finger (Ottawa)
Gary Barwin (Hamilton)
+ Robert Hogg (Mountain)
lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Saturday, February 27, 2016;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

Jeremy Hanson-Finger's
[pictured] first novel, a mystery/black comedy set in the Ottawa Civic Hospital, will be published by Invisible Publishing in April 2017. Born in Victoria, he attended Carleton University, where he was an editor of Ottawa's only literary erotica magazine, The Moose & Pussy (now defunct). After moving to Toronto to work in publishing, he co-founded the literary magazine Dragnet (currently on hiatus). He moved back to Ottawa in January after five years away. His website is

Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, multidisciplinary artist, and the author of 20 books of poetry, fiction, and books for kids as well as numerous chapbooks. His most recent books are the short fiction collection, I, Dr Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457 (Anvil) and the poetry collection, Moon Baboon Canoe (Mansfield) which won the Hamilton Literary Award for Poetry. His novel, Yiddish for Pirates, will appear in April 2016 from Random House Canada. A PhD in music, Barwin was 2014-2015 Writer-in-Residence at Western University. He has taught creative writing at a number of colleges and universities and lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Robert Hogg was born in Edmonton, Alberta on March 26, 1942. When the child was nine, his father bought a ranch in the Cariboo region in the interior of British Columbia, where the family spent three years; from there they moved to Burnaby, and later Abbotsford and Langley in the Fraser Valley where Hogg finished high school in 1960. He spent the next four years in the English and Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia where he came into contact with the Black Mountain poets and their poetics and participated in the Tish poetry movement. After graduating in the spring of 1964 Hogg hitch-hiked to Toronto, visited the poet, Charles Olson, in Buffalo, and applied to study under him in the graduate program of the English Department of the State University of New York. Hogg later wrote his doctoral dissertation on Olson under the supervision of Robert Creeley. He completed the course work for the PhD in the spring of 1968 and accepted a position at Carleton University in Ottawa where he taught Modern and Post-Modern American and Canadian Poetry and Poetic Theory until his retirement in 2005.

He is the author of the poetry collections The Connexions (Berkeley CA: Oyez Press, 1966), Standing Back (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1972), Of Light (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1978), Heat Lightning (Windsor ON: Black Moss Press, 1986) and There Is No Falling (Toronto: ECW Press, 1993). In 2012, above/ground press produced his chapbook from Lamentations. A new edition of the chapbook with updated materials will be launching at this event.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Factory Reading Series: Morrissy, Burgoyne + Farley, March 26, 2016

span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents:

The Factory Reading Series:

Julie Morrissy (Dublin)
Sarah Burgoyne (Montreal)
+ Claire Farley (Ottawa)

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Saturday, March 26, 2016;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)

Julie Morrissy
is a poet from Dublin currently living in her home city after spending a number of years living in Canada and the USA. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in the UK, and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Her work has published widely in Ireland, the UK, and Canada. Morrissy has performed readings at the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, the International Literature Festival Dublin, and on national radio. Her debut poetry pamphlet I Am Where is published by Eyewear Press in the UK.

Sarah Burgoyne [pictured] is from Canada's West Coast and currently lives in Montreal. Her first book of poetry, Saint Twin, is being published with Mansfield Press in the spring of 2016. She will be launching a new chapbook with above/ground press.

Claire Farley lives and works in Ottawa where she is the co-founder and editor of Canthius, a feminist literary journal. Her poetry has been published in The Apeiron Review, The Minetta Review, ottawater, The Peter F. Yacht Club and in the workshop anthology assignment: zero (above/ground press, 2015). She has writing forthcoming in some mark made, a publication considering hybrid, material literary practices.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

the launch of ottawater #12: Ottawa's annual poetry pdf journal‏

Ottawa’s annual pdf poetry journal
edited by rob mclennan

Come out to the launch of the twelfth issue of ottawater, featuring new writing by Sylvia Adams, Susan J. Atkinson, John Barton, Frances Boyle, Stephen Brockwell, Carellin Brooks, Sara Cassidy, George Elliott Clarke, Anita Dolman, nina jane drystek, Claire Farley, Mark Frutkin, jesslyn gagno, Shoshannah Ganz, Jenna Jarvis, Ben Ladouceur, Sneha Madhavan-Reese, Karen Massey, Robin McLachlen, Colin Morton, Peter Norman, Julia Polyck-O’Neill, Roland Prevost, Tim Mook Sang, Lesley Strutt, D.S. Stymeist, Anne Marie Todkill, Deanna Young and Changming Yuan.

The launch, featuring readings by a number of this issue’s contributors, will be held on Saturday, February 6, upstairs at The Carleton Tavern, Parkdale at Armstrong; doors 7pm, reading 7:30pm.

Lovingly hosted by editor/publisher rob mclennan.

Founded to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the City of Ottawa, Canada's glorious capital city, "ottawater," and its chemical formula/logo "O2(H2O)," is a poetry annual produced exclusively on-line, in both readable and printable pdf formats, and found at An anthology focusing on Ottawa poets and poetics, its first issue appeared in January 2005, 150 years after old Bytown became the City of Ottawa.

The issue itself won't be online for another few weeks, but all previous issues remain archived on the site. Thanks to designer Tanya Sprowl, the ottawa international writers festival, and Randy Woods at non-linear creations for their continuing support.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

George Elliott Clarke named 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Congratulations to George Elliott Clarke [photo credit: Carmelita Linta], who was named yesterday as the 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate!

above/ground press was fortunate enough to produce two of Clarke's chapbooks: Selected Canticles (2012) and Provencal Songs [II] (1997).

As the press release on the Parliamentary Poet Laureate website reads:
On January 5, 2016, the Speaker of the Senate, the Hon. George J. Furey, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Hon. Geoff Regan, announced the appointment of George Elliott Clarke as Canada’s next Parliamentary Poet Laureate. On January 1st, Mr. Clarke became Canada’s seventh Poet Laureate, succeeding Mr. Michel Pleau, whose term ended December 31, 2015.

A revered poet, George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, near the Black Loyalist community of Three Mile Plains, in 1960. A graduate of the University of Waterloo (B.A., Hons., 1984), Dalhousie University (M.A., 1989) and Queen's University (Ph.D., 1993), he is now the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. An Assistant Professor of English and Canadian Studies at Duke University, North Carolina (1994-99), Clarke also served as the Seagrams Visiting Chair in Canadian Studies at McGill University (1998-99), and as a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia (2002) and as a Visiting Scholar at Mount Allison University (2005), and as the William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor in Canadian Studies at Harvard University (2013-14). He has also worked as a research, editor, social worker, parliamentary aide, and newspaper columnist. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, but he also owns land in Nova Scotia.

His many honours include the Portia White Prize for Artistic Achievement (1998), Governor-General's Award for Poetry (2001), the National Magazine Gold Medal for Poetry (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2005), the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction (2006), the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Poetry (2009), appointment to the Order of Nova Scotia (2006), appointment to the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer (2008), and eight honorary doctorates. He has recently completed his three year term as the City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pearl Pirie reviews Hailey Higdon’s The State in Which (2013)

Pearl Pirie was good enough to discuss Hailey Higdon’s The State in Which (2013) in her “95books” project over at her blog. Thanks much! Although it is a bit disappointing to realize one of the pages got flipped (I’ll have to get her a replacement copy). This is actually the third review of Higdon’s chapbook, after Edric Mesmer discussed such over at Yellow Field, and Ryan Pratt discussed it over at the ottawa poetry newsletter.

211. The State in Which by Hailey Higdon (above/ground, 2013)
This was a project to write one poem per month. My copy of the chapbook was assembled wrong somehow so continuity was mussed in June and July. It was kind of diary and self-conscious of writing as writing. It fell in and out of focus. For example, the first half of December,

so many people are ok
with not being the best
versions of themselves
it was a million domestic
situations that made me
choose from one thing to the next
rebel, this is what I did
I stopped the idle, saying
yes, so much more often, so much more, storing up, collecting yeses,
risk, but the inverse
of take it and move on, I used to
keep repeating the same mistake–
quitting days, I know better now

The first three lines sound promising. Then its structured as stream of consciousness. Why not take the time to untangle. Part of it is the chaotic surge forward of life “I am looking for jobs, trying to locate the future perfect. How poinsettias arrive in the grocery story each year, looking so consistently identical, you can’t help staring.”