Tuesday, April 29, 2014

new from above/ground press: ARRHYTHMIA, by Janice Tokar

Janice Tokar


The forest breathes north
for a thousand miles

a slow, deep exhale
of patient resuscitation

We fill our lungs
saturate each pulse

April 2014
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

“Tonight / we watch a saucy moon / jig in the crater's pool.” Janice Tokar’s spare, pulsing poems beat with the irregular rhythms of life, death, love and loss, searching for balance in a world where everything always seems slower or faster than it feels.
    -- Jason Heroux, 2012 Tree Press Chapbook Contest judge

Janice Tokar’s poetry has been published in Arc Poetry Magazine, the Bywords Quarterly Journal, The Peter F. Yacht Club, ottawater and Experiment-O.  An earlier manuscript of Arrhythmia placed second in the 2012 Tree Press Chapbook Contest.  Originally from Manitoba, Janice resides and works in Ottawa.

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, April 28, 2014

derek beaulieu named new Calgary poet laureate!

As announced today, above/ground press author, Calgary poet, editor, teacher and critic derek beaulieu has been named Calgary Poet Laureate for 2014-2016. Congratulations, derek! Very very well deserved. 

Over the years, above/ground press has been fortunate enough to produce eight publications by beaulieu (with his work appearing in a handful of other items), including three above/ground press "poem" broadsides (“IV.08/13/97 (“her fear of the silence after she spoke”),” #70, “portrait 4,” #101 and “wild rose country,” #285), an issue of the long poem magazine STANZAS (“calcite gours 1-19,” issue no. 38), the interview chapbook ECONOMIES OF SCALE: rob mclennan interviews derek beaulieu on NO PRESS / derek beaulieu interviews rob mclennan on above/ground press (2012) and single-author chapbooks “A? any questions? (1998), [Dear Fred] (2004) and HOW TO EDIT, Chapter A. (ALBERTA SERIES #8; 2008). As the press release (found online at artrubicon: visual arts magazine) writes:
derek beaulieu Named Calgary Poet Laureate

Local poet will serve as an artistic ambassador for Calgary from 2014-2016

(Calgary AB) – Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Poet Laureate Selection Committee are pleased to announce the appointment of derek beaulieu as the 2014-16 Calgary Poet Laureate. The position was formally announced in Council Chambers at Calgary City Hall this morning, with outgoing laureate Kris Demeanor speaking about his experience as Poet Laureate. Demeanor also presented his legacy anthology, The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual, to city councillors, and youth poet Emily Xu, who contributed to the volume, performed some of her poetry.

To celebrate beaulieu’s appointment, his concrete poem “Prose of the Trans-Canada” will be projected onto the Calgary Tower during the evenings of April 28 and 29. The 20-metre projection was adapted into an “illuminated light sculpture” by Wordfest in 2011.

A longtime resident of Calgary, beaulieu is the author of eight books of poetry, three volumes of fiction and one volume of literary criticism. For 17 years he has been developing poetic communities; he has mentored and promoted young and established writers as publisher/editor of housepress and No Press, and as a former editor of Calgarian magazines filling Station, dANDelion and Speechless. beaulieu has taught students from grade school to the post-graduate level and has won awards for his current teaching at the Alberta College of Art + Design. In 2013 Wilfrid Laurier University Press published Please, no more poetry, please: the poetry of derek beaulieu. He has performed and discussed poetry in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, the UK and across North America. beaulieu’s poetry is internationally renowned as challenging, generative and dedicated to conversation.

As Calgary Poet Laureate, beaulieu will serve as an artistic ambassador for the citizens of Calgary from 2014-2016. A $10,000 honorarium is paid per year for the position, funded by six Calgary Poet Laureate Ambassadors (The Calgary Foundation, the Calgary Chamber, First Calgary Financial, FirstEnergy Capital, Transcanada and one anonymous donor).

“Calgary is world-renowned for having a thriving literary community and history. I am proud to be the the 2014-2016 Poet Laureate and to represent our city locally, nationally and internationally,” says derek beaulieu. “Poetry is the active, thoughtful engagement of language to describe and respond to our experience — I look forward to working with Calgary’s literary communities to share that engagement.”

“The enthusiasm we’ve seen for the Calgary Poet Laureate has been astonishing, from the support of Calgary’s private sector to the widespread interest in the capacity for poetry to inspire and build community,“ says Patti Pon, President & CEO of Calgary Arts Development. “On behalf of Calgary Arts Development and the citizens of Calgary, I would like to thank Kris for his service to the city during his time as Calgary Poet Laureate, and welcome derek beaulieu to the role. I look forward to witnessing how derek’s artistry will enrich our civic landscape over the next two years.”

A celebration to welcome the new Poet Laureate called “Parting Words/Starting Words” will be held at 7:00pm on April 29 at TELUS Spark (220 St. George’s Dr. NE). The event will feature presentations from both outgoing Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor as well as **derek beaulieu, as well as other performers that will highlight the diversity within Calgary’s poetic community. Tickets are free and be reserved at YYCPoet.Eventbrite.com.

Photos are available at gallery.calgaryartsdevelopment.com (please note photo credits).

About the Calgary Poet Laureate
On July 26, 2011, City Council approved a motion to establish a Calgary Poet Laureate position, funded by six Calgary Poet Laureate Ambassadors (The Calgary Foundation, the Calgary Chamber, First Calgary Financial, FirstEnergy Capital, Transcanada and one anonymous donor). Calgary Arts Development administers the program in conjunction with a volunteer Selection Committee, which appoints each Calgary Poet Laureate for a two-year term. The Calgary Poet Laureate is intended to be an artistic ambassador for Calgary, presenting at civic events and producing literary work that reflects our city and its citizens.

About Calgary Arts Development
Calgary Arts Development plays a leadership role to promote, foster and direct investments that develop the capacity of Calgary’s arts sector to achieve public and artistic impact. As the city’s designated arts development authority, we are a central hub that learns about, promotes, connects, advocates for, and leads strategic initiatives in the arts to animate Calgary as a vibrant cultural centre. Calgary Arts Development allocates municipal funding for the arts provided by The City of Calgary through granting programs that support operations and innovation for more than 190 arts organizations in Calgary.

Further Information
Cadence Mandybura
Communications Liaison, Calgary Arts Development
Phone: 403.264.5330 ext. 201 (office); 403.585.5390
Email: cadence.mandybura@calgaryartsdevelopment.com

Friday, April 25, 2014

new from above/ground press: Fifteen Problems, by Noah Eli Gordon (Images by Sommer Browning

Fifteen Problems
Noah Eli Gordon
Images by Sommer Browning

The Problem

The first person the social networking website suggests you befriend is the one most responsible for your obsessive compulsion to check for friend suggestions. This is the problem with the first person: the first person is too selfish; the second person, too accusatory; the third person—just plain distant. It’s like a train whistle without a train, this barbaric act of writing poetry after the internet.

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

Noah Eli Gordon and Sommer Browning live together in Denver, Colorado. Gordon’s latest book is The Year of the Rooster. Browning’s latest book is Backup Singers. Their recent collaborations include a human titled Georgia Eli Browning. The work here originally appeared in Dreginald and originally before that in Fence or maybe Lana Turner

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Helen Hajnoczky : On Poetry: Publish However Much You Want

above/ground press author Helen Hajnoczky has posted a wonderful response and rebuttal to Michael Lista's "On Poetry: Publish Less" National Post column on her increasingly clever blog. We salute you, Helen!

Although it seems baffling to me that Lista holds himself up as an example of restraint for publishing a second collection five years after his first. Isn't that the average for poetry?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"poem" broadsheet #327: Birthday: forty-four, by rob mclennan

    Disturbed. My body follows
    me around.
        Rosmarie Waldrop, Love, Like Pronouns

Endless, numbered. An accidental thought. Geometry of calendars, reflect. We interrupt. Collapse punctuation, sulphur, deoxygenated blood. Intention. Were we not traffic, clipped. Misplaced, adjacent. As prepositions. Endless, snow. The very thing. I refuse. I take my distance. Forty-four years, equally distributed. Uncertainty of facts, persist. These grainy pronouns. Mother, may I. Tilt, a noise, distracts. Narratives, out of details. Question: falsehoods. To be born. Who are you, comma. Consequences, approach. Make a point of. I have less to say.

Birthday: forty-four,
rob mclennan
March 15, 2014
above/ground press broadside #327

rob mclennan’s
most recent titles include numerous chapbooks, as well as the trade books 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).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"poem" broadsheet #326: On Water (from Elizabeth to Jenny), by Elizabeth Robinson

It touches its own body to measure ambiguity.

Where do I go, asks the hand of the touch:

gas, liquid, solid.

I am not who I am.

What was once blue, was green, white, black, translucent.

And is so again. 

Water mates with itself, a lover falling hard through

soft,  betraying through trustworthy,  torrent through


All that we knew of each other in our form,

where do I go, blunt and insinuating.

The touch paired with itself.  A humid air.

The point of contact as it bathes and thirsts.

A hand on a real body, its mutable fact.

On Water (from Elizabeth to Jenny)
by Elizabeth Robinson
above/ground press broadside #326
Elizabeth Robinson’s must recent books are the hybrid essay On Ghosts and the poetry collections Counterpart and Blue Heron.  Robinson is a co-editor of Instance Press and the literary periodical pallaksch.pallaksch.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Poetry Month at the Ottawa Public Library: Pirie, Young, Jennings + Ridley;

Ottawa Public Library National Poetry Month Reading Main Branch

Monday, April 14, 2014 - 7:00pm
Celebrate National Poetry Month with readings by above/ground press authors Pearl Pirie and Deanna Young alongside Chris Jennings and Sandra Ridley. Offered in partnership with VERSeFest.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Factory Reading Series: Pirie, Spenst + Madhavan-Reese

The Factory Reading presents:
a night of readings and chapbook launches

with readings by:

Pearl Pirie (Ottawa)
Kevin Spenst (Vancouver)
+ Sneha Madhavan-Reese (Ottawa)

lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
Wednesday, April 23, 2014;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
Raw Sugar Cafe
692 Somerset Street West (1 block west of Bronson)

author bios:

Pearl Pirie
has a few chapbooks, a micro press, several blogs, a gig as literary radio host and irregular gigs to teach poetry. She has two poetry collections, and a third forthcoming with BookThug in 2015. None of these poems are in them so you have to buy them both.

She will be launching the chapbook vertigoheel for the dilly (2013), her fourth above/ground press publication and second chapbook, after oath in the boathouse (2008).

In addition to the UK, the United States, Austria and India, Kevin Spenst’s [pictured, above] poetry has appeared in over a dozen Canadian literary publications such as Freefall, Prairie Fire, CV2, Dandelion, filling Station, qwerty, and Poetry is Dead. His work has been shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and his manuscript Ignite has come in as a finalist for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize. In 2011, he won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry. In 2014 he is going to do a 100-venue reading tour across Canada with his chapbooks Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press, 2013), Retractable (the serif of nottingham, 2013), Happy Hollow and the Surrey Suite (self-published, 2012), What the Frag Meant (100 tetes press, 2014) and Surrey Sonnets (JackPine press, 2014). Follow the chapbook tour at kevinspenst.com

Born in Detroit, Sneha Madhavan-Reese calls Ottawa home. Her poetry has appeared in Arc, Descant, and The Antigonish Review. Her debut poetry collection is forthcoming in 2016 from Hagios Press.