Friday, October 20, 2017

selected above/ground press titles now available at Toronto's knife | fork | book

Toronto's infamous poetry-only bookstore and reading venue, knife | fork | book, has been developing quite the selection of above/ground press titles! They even have a couple of issues of Touch the Donkey, as well. If you're in town, be sure to check them out at their new location as part of The Dark Side Studio, 244 Augusta Avenue, Second Floor (walk-up above Bunner's Bakery).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

new from above/ground press: upROUTE : The Language of Plates, Sacha Archer

upROUTE : The Language of Plates
Sacha Archer

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Sacha Archer is an ESL instructor, childcare provider, father, writer, and visual artist. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, NōD, Experiment-O, UTSANGA, and Matrix. Archer’s first full-length collection of poetry, Detour, a conceptual work with the Dao De Jing as the source text, was recently published by gradient books (2017). His most recent chapbooks are The Insistence of Momentum (The Blasted Tree, 2017), and Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders, 2017), with a chapbook forthcoming, TSK oomph (Inspiritus Press). A collection of broadsides from his work Ghost Writing is his latest publication from The Blasted Tree. One of his online manifestations is his blog at Archer lives in Burlington, Ontario.

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, October 17, 2017

above/ground press authors Renée Sarojini Saklikar's After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees— (2016) and Dana Claxton's THE PATIENT STORM (2016) are on the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award‏ shortlist!

It has just been announced! Congratulations to Renée Sarojini Saklikar and Dana Claxton for making the shortlist to the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award [and of course, both Renée Sarojini Saklikar's After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees— and Dana Claxton's THE PATIENT STORM are still in print]! I'm in the midst of chapbook making (that might even be a Sacha Archer title in the background I'm stapling...), so am taking but a small pause with wine to hoist to the shortlisted authors. Congratulations, all!

This is above/ground press' fifth appearance on the bpNichol Chapbook Award shortlist over the past six years, after Jason Christie's Cursed Objects (2014) and Ben Ladouceur's Lime Kiln Quay Road (2014) made the 2015 list, Christie's Government (2013) made the prior year's list and Fenn Stewart's An OK Organ Man (2012) made the list before that, and Hugh Thomas' Opening the Dictionary (2011) and Elizabeth Rainer and Michael Blouin's let lie/ (2012) were shortlisted the year prior to that. So many lists!

Looking forward to this year's Meet the Presses to hear the winner! You should totally come by and say hello and even pick up copies of these shortlisted titles? The press release for such is below (and at this link):
TORONTO – October 17, 2017 – Tonight, at a Toronto event paying tribute to the late poet bpNichol, the Meet the Presses collective announced the finalists for the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award. The prize, awarded annually since 1985, goes to the author of the best poetry chapbook – in the estimation of the judges – published in Canada in the previous year and submitted for consideration. It is named in honour of the late poet, novelist, mentor, and micropress publisher bpNichol (1944–1988).

The $4,000 prize purse, donated by an anonymous benefactor, makes this the richest annual literary award for a poetry chapbook, specified as a collection of no more than 48 pages. The publisher of the winning title also receives $500, thanks to an annual donation by Toronto writers Brian Dedora and Jim Smith.

Judges Helen Guri of Montréal, Québec, and Hoa Nguyen of Toronto, Ontario, chose the finalists from more than 60 submissions from across the country.

The finalists for the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award are:

Dana Claxton. The Patient Storm. above/ground press
Doris Fiszer. The Binders. Tree Press
Stevie Howell. Summer. Desert Pets Press
Sonnet L’Abbé. Anima Canadensis. Junction Books
Nanci Lee. Preparation. FreeFall Literary Society of Calgary
Renee Sarojini Saklikar. After the Battle of Kingsway, the bees. above/ground press

The winner will be announced at 2 p.m. on November 18, 2017, at the annual Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market, open from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, in Toronto. The Market introduces the public to independent literary publishers of books, chapbooks, magazines, ephemera, and recordings generally not available in bookstores. The free event is curated by Meet the Presses, a volunteer literary collective devoted to showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

More details can be found at

For more information and interview opportunities, contact the publicist for Meet the Presses: Zarmina Rafi at

Monday, October 16, 2017

above/ground press at Toronto's Indie Literary Market, November 18

above/ground press will once again be participating in the annual Indie Literary Market, organized by Toronto's Meet the Presses collective for Saturday, November 18, 2017! See here for the Facebook invitation, and their website here, both of which even contain further information! Hoping to see you there! above/ground press has been producing an absolute ton of stuff lately...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

rob mclennan reads in Kingston : Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre 40th Anniversary

rob mclennan reads in Kingston as part of the Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre 40th Anniversary.

Poetry Evening with an Open Mic

Common Market Café
136 Ontario St, Kingston, ON K7L 2Y4
7-9pm on 24 October 2017

On Tuesday, October 24 we are pleased to present an evening of poetry organized by Eric Folsom.

Featured poets will include Elizabeth Greene, rob mclennan and Susan McMaster.

More information is promised soon, via their website:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

new from above/ground press: dark ecologies, by natalie hanna

dark ecologies
natalie hanna


by a fountain in a public square, in the heart of a city garden, in the downtown core was my heart first published on a bench under partial shade of a tree with hazenut shaped leaves and dark bark.  where sleek men in suits lay on the grass twenty feet from a half naked cyclist rubbing his belly as he sunned himself on another bench, bicycle resting behind his shoulders. i remember eating lunch here with you with one summer and how you admonished me for feeding the birds. dear god, i thought, am i friends with a man who does not feed birds? young boys lay face down on the fountain rim, laughing and dangling their arms into water. a young man passed and handed me a flyer of the country's 150th birthday as a pigeon in the branch overhead considered whether i was fit to steal from or be shat upon. a cloud of pot smoke settled lazy on my shoulders from the nearby drowsy grass-throned caterpillar considering the afternoon in his cut off jeans, forrested legs crossed before him. i felt the concern of these ants on my calves, wrong way, wrong way, this is womanly skin on womanly leg, out of place today, when will this expanse end?

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
October 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

natalie hanna
is a queer lawyer of middle eastern heritage whose writing focusses on feminist, political, and personal themes. she runs battleaxe (small) press, is the administrative director of the Sawdust Reading Series, and serves as board-member and newsletter editor for Arc Poetry Magazine.

This is her second chapbook with above/ground press, after “this evidence against you,” produced as STANZAS #21 (October 1999).

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

new from above/ground press: The Children, by Katy Lederer

The Children
Katy Lederer

Fetus Papyraceus
Sometimes, in the middle
of the night, our children will
insist that we tell them a story.
In the story, after heavy
rhyme and insistent inculcation
of our cultural mores,
our children will look down
at our apparent missing limbs,
which remind them
that they should not touch,
and, if they do decide to touch,
that absence can feel presence.
It can be difficult, this lesson,
and the children are defenseless
as we read to them this book.
They like to flap their hands
and look: at animals that long ago
died out. They roar and raise
their trunks. They lurk, alertly,
in their dens. We wonder
what has happened to their spirits
and discover, as an exercise,
such thinking is instructive.
Where is the presence
and the absence in this book?
The world is full of lulls
and shocks. To describe them all
would take a million lives.
What would it mean
to use up our one life like this?
And so we peel the pages back.
It is a treasure, this book.
It is a treasure beyond
the other treasures in the world
because the book is like
nothing. It is blank
with little colors, there.
Made from deciduous forest
and the end of time. We had once
walked along the boardwalks
very bored, in heavy weather,
under moonlit stars.
We had once held
our children in our arms.

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
September 2017
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Katy Lederer
is the author of the poetry collections Winter Sex (Verse/Wave Books), The Heaven-Sent Leaf (BOA Editions), and The bright red horse—and the blue— (Atelos), as well as the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown). She is the editor of The Collected Explosive Magazine (Spectacular Books).

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

above/ground press at Word on the Street, Toronto + Vancouver; September 24,

above/ground press will be represented at both the Toronto and Vancouver editions of this year's Word on the Street! Thanks much to WOTS, as well as The League of Canadian Poets, for their continued support:

Toronto: Head on over to The League of Canadian Poets booth, Writers Block Table 12, and pick up a copy of an above/ground press broadside! I really dug through the archives for this one, pulling out poems published throughout the past fifteen years, and there will be a whole mound of poems and authors to choose from, including poems old and new by derek beaulieu, Sandra Ridley, rob mclennan, Eric Schmaltz, Fred Wah, Gwendolyn Guth and a slew of others. Get them while supplies last!

Vancouver: Stephen Collis will be reading as part of the Vancouver launch of his chapbook FIRST SKETCH OF A POEM I WILL NOT HAVE WRITTEN! He, of course, will have copies of the chapbook on-hand for anyone interested.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

above/ground press: 2018 subscriptions now available!

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS! How the hell did I manage to get to a quarter century? And with nearly eight hundred and fifty titles produced so far, there's been a ton of above/ground press activity over the past year, including some thirty chapbooks (so far) produced in 2017 alone (including titles by rob mclennanAmanda EarlKristina DrakeStephanie BolsterAdele GrafBuck DownsSarah Dowlingnathan dueckSarah CookJessica SmithIan WhistleFaizal Deen, Marilyn IrwinLisa RobertsonJordan AbelStephen CollisSandra Moussempès (trans. Eléna Rivera)Sarah FoxBrenda IijimaJake SyersakHelen HajnoczkyDerek BeaulieuKyle Flemmerphilip mileticGeoffrey YoungJason ChristieCarrie Hunter and Sarah Swan, all of which are still in print), to The Factory Reading Series and the poetry journal Touch the Donkey (included as part of the above/ground press subscription!). Just what else might happen? Current and forthcoming items include works by natalie hanna, Katy Lederer, Valerie Coulton, Sacha Archer, Joe Blades, N.W. Lea, Matthew Johnstone, Eric Schmaltz, Geoffrey Nilson, Andrew Cantrell, Alyssa Bridgman and Anna Gurton-Wachter as well as a whole slew of publications that haven't even been decided on yet. 

And 20th anniversary reissues of titles by Gil McElroy and John Newlove are already scheduled for 2019! Gah!

2018 annual subscriptions (and resubscriptions) are now available: $65 (CAN; American subscribers, $65 US; $90 international) for everything above/ground press makes from the moment you subscribe through to the end of 2018, including chapbooks, broadsheets, The Peter F. Yacht Club and Touch the Donkey (have you been keeping track of the dozens of interviews posted to the Touch the Donkey site?).

Anyone who subscribes on or by November 1st will also receive the last above/ground press package (or two) of 2017, including those exciting new titles by all of those folk listed above, plus whatever else the press happens to produce before the turn of the new year, as well as Touch the Donkey #15 (scheduled to release on October 15)!

Why wait? You can either send a cheque (payable to rob mclennan) to 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 7M9, or send money via paypal to rob_mclennan (at)