Tuesday, July 9, 2024

today is the thirty-first anniversary of above/ground press, (and we're having a big sale,

Happy birthday, above/ground press! In case you hadn’t heard, today is the THIRTY-FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF above/ground press (with more than 1,325 publications to date) and to celebrate such, I thought, why not offer a huge summer sale?

$35 (plus shipping) for any eight 2023/2024 titles! Or, if you are feeling particularly brave, $40 for any ten 2023/2024 titles! (until August 31, 2024)! braver still? $80 for any twenty-five 2023/2024 titles!

with options including plenty of 2024 titles so far: I wanted to say something, : an elegy, for Barry McKinnon (1944-2023), by rob mclennan ; Unsovereign, by Kacper Bartczak, translated from the Polish by Mark Tardi ; Broken River, by Ken Norris ; Un-Composed, Poetry by Saba Pakdel ; Family Chronicles from Muffin Land, by Hope Anderson ; Perverse Density, by Sacha Archer ; BRADE LANDS, by Peter Myers ; Process, by Julia Polyck-O’Neill ; DAWN’S FOOL, by Kyla Houbolt ; Gnomics, by Dale Tracy ; The Green Rose, in collaboration, Steven Ross Smith + Phil Hall ; The Peter F Yacht Club #33/2024 VERSeFest Special, lovingly hand-crafted, folded, stapled, edited and carried around in bags of envelopes by rob mclennan ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #41 [TENTH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE] featuring new poems by Gil McElroy, ryan fitzpatrick, John Barlow, Amanda Earl, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Conyer Clayton, rob mclennan, Julie Carr and Pattie McCarthy ; abject sutures, melissa eleftherion ; From Desire Without Expectation, Jacob Wren ; HYSTERICAL PREGNANCY, Katie Ebbitt ; new york ironweed, Amanda Deutch ; Alternate histories, Kyle Flemmer ; Some Failed Eternity, Pete Smith ; In The Margins. . . . . .of french translations found and remixed by russell carisse, russell carisse ; BUSY SECRET, Micah Ballard ; The Old Man: new stories, Clint Burnham ; Wars, by Angela Caporaso ; Fifty-Two Lines About Henry, by Cary Fagan ; The Pig’s Valise, by BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #40 featuring new poems by Ryan Eckes, Dennis Cooley, Michael Harman, Terri Witek and Laynie Browne ; MY STRUGGLE WITH NOUNS, by Gary Barwin ; These Steady Bulbs, by Lydia Unsworth ;

as well as the plethora of 2023 chapbook titles: But Then I Thought, by Kyla Houbolt ; A PANDEMIC INVENTORY, SPRING-SUMMER 2020, BROOKLYN NY, by Zane Koss ; Between the Lakes, by Ben Robinson ; with the lakes, by Colin Dardis ; The Last Horse / Prologue, by Aaron Tucker ; Misremembered Proverbs, by Adriana Oniță ; river / estuaries, by Julie Carr and rob mclennan ; Gardens in Motion, by Stephen Collis ; STORY LINE, by Rae Armantrout ; glass / language / untitled / exaltation (second printing; bpNichol Chapbook Award Winner, by Jason Christie ; Dinosaurs of Glory, by Nikki Reimer ; Send $19.99 for Supplements and Freedom, Collages and Uncreative Writing, by Noah Berlatsky ; Unconsciousness Raising, by Miranda Mellis ; ESTRO FLUNKY: FIELD NOTES, by MLA Chernoff ; ashes, by Marita Dachsel ; Report from the [ryan] fitzpatrick Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; AGALMA, by Kevin Stebner ; THINGS TO BUY IN NEW BRUNSWICK, by Meghan Kemp-Gee ; Cartesian Wells, by Gil McElroy ; This Folded Path, by Robert van Vliet ; Mayday, by Stephen Cain ; LIVID REMAINDERS, by Geoffrey Olsen ; How to, by Heather Cadsby ; An Extremely Well-Funded Study of Doors, by Evan Williams ; Poetic Constructions: Poems written for the Enriched Bread Artists’ 2020 Open Studio, by Grant Wilkins ; missing matrilineal, by nina jane drystek ; Girl gives long-fingered self-portrait, by Sophia Magliocca ; The Baroness and her Ex Read Orgasmic Toast: To Whom It May Concern, by Grant Wilkins ; Groundling: On Apology, by Jennifer Baker ; SONGS FROM THE DEMENTIA SUITCASE, Karen Massey ; edgeless : letters, by rob mclennan ; Bridges under the Water, by Jérôme Melançon ; Where there's smoke, by Monty Reid ; {NANCY} [an essay on Nancy Shaw], by Jamie Hilder ; LALIQUE, by George Bowering and Artie Gold ; Bits and Bobs, two stories by Ryan Stearne ; Report from the (Pearl) Pirie Society, Vol. 1 No. 1 ; errand : towards, by Brad Vogler ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #38 ; Simple Location, by Andrew Gorin ; “Almost Alive” by Julia Drescher ; ECHOES, by Ken Norris ; Toothache, by Joseph Donato ; What started / this mess, Samuel Ace ; BIRD SNOW ON HARD TRACKS, Stuart Ross ; Apogee/Perigee, Leesa Dean ; Report from the (Nikki) Reimer Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; When a Folk, When a Sprawl, Jessi MacEachern ; Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #37, with new poems by Micah Ballard, Robert Hogg, Ben Meyerson, Leigh Chadwick, Junie Désil, Devon Rae, kevin mcpherson eckhoff and Kimberly Dyck, Benjamin Niespodziany and Barbara Tomash ; G U E S T [a journal of guest editors] #26, guest-edited by Adam Katz, with new work by alex benedict, Marc E. Christmas, Adam Katz and Ron Silliman ; NOISE, Jordan Davis ; Report from the (Jessica) Smith Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; LEARNING HOW TO TALK, Nick Chhoeun ; Night Protest, Ben Jahn ; Poor Rutebeuf, Translated by William Vallières ; tattered sails (after un coup de des), second printing, Derek Beaulieu ; WAVE 1.0, Isabel Sobral Campos ; P E S T / (Zion Offramp 65-70), Mark Scroggins ; The Alta Vista Improvements, rob mclennan ; Report from the (Brenda) Iijima Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; genesis, Laura Walker ; In Which Archibald Lampman / Translates Arthur Rimbaud, Grant Wilkins ; Report from the (Amish) Trivedi Society, Vol 1. No. 1, edited by rob mclennan ; DEAR NOSTALGIA, Nathanael O’Reilly ; Perfumer’s Organ, by Lindsey Webb ; Something or Other, by Jason Heroux ; TAKE IT DOWN, by Barbara Henning ; G U E S T #25, edited by Laurie Anne Fuhr ; Touch the Donkey #36 ; The Peter F Yacht Club #31 "The Factory Reading Series 30th anniversary" issue / edited by rob mclennan ; ONTARIO HYDRO, by Derek Beaulieu ;

That’s more than one hundred titles! This list obviously includes issues of the quarterly Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal], the occasional and guest-edited G U E S T [a journal of guest editors], the Report from the Society festschrift titles, and chapbooks in the above/ground press prose/naut series; all titles available while supplies last (obviously), although everything listed above is (at this point of writing, at least) all still very much in print; and you know I’m also completely open to backdating a 2024 above/ground press subscription, yes? I mean, that's a pretty remarkable deal.

To order, send cheques (as well as your list of preferred titles; add $3 for postage; in US, add $5; outside North America, add $11) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at at rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com or the PayPal button at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com

and don't forget to order copies of groundwork: The best of the third decade of above/ground press: 2013–2023 (Invisible Publishing, 2023)! and tickets are already available for the 31st anniversary reading/launch/party at RedBird on August 10, 2024! a full list of readers will be announced soon!

with further forthcoming 2024 titles by Carter Mckenzie, Maxwell Gontarek, Carlos A. Pittella, Conal Smiley, Ian FitzGerald, Nate Logan, Peter Jaeger, Noah Berlatsky, ryan fitzpatrick, russell carisse, JoAnna Novak, Chris Banks, Julia Cohen, Carlos A. Pittella, Mahaila Smith, Andrew Brenza, Mckenzie Strath, John Levy, alex benedict, Helen Hajnoczky, Ryan Skrabalak, MAC Farrant, Terri Witek and David Phillips! Oh, and Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal] #42 lands soon as well! Gadzooks! that is very exciting, yes?

Friday, July 5, 2024

Christian Gullette : Process Notes #42

The 'process notes' pieces were originally solicited by Maw Shein Win as addendum to her teaching particular poems and poetry collections for various workshops and classes. This process note and these poems by Christian Gullette are part of her curriculum for Maker, Mentor, Muse and her poetry classes at the University of San Francisco. Thanks for reading.



Process Note for Coachella Elegy (July 1, Trio House Press, 2024)


One sound has been with me all the way from the beginning of this first book journey, all the way to the final poem in my collection, Coachella Elegy. It’s the buzzing of bees. Sometimes it’s a sting. Sometimes it’s absence, as in environmental loss. Sometimes it’s ecstasy, as in the bees drunk on red syrup in the collection’s final poem “Bees in the Maraschino Cherry Factory.” And sometimes it’s a state, Utah, named after hives, where bees transform pollen into gold. This book’s journey to publication actually began as a manuscript titled “Beehive State.” It feels strange to put that title in quotation marks since it was the manuscript’s title for about three of the five years that I’ve truly had a collection of poems that I was actively revising and submitting. Strange because I always thought that’s what the title would be. That the collection would resonate out from the high desert of the Beehive State, where my younger brother Jeremy went to boarding school before his death in a car accident. All the echoes, the buzzing, seemed to be located in that valley between the mountains and the Great Salt Lake, despite the fact that I have lived in California for over fifteen years now. But my mind returned to the desert and mountainous landscapes of Utah to try and understand something about my grief.

And it felt like a place I could also explore my husband’s cancer survival. Also many years in the past, we nevertheless lived in three- or six-month installments decided by scans and tests. It’s another type of grief, that unknowing. Add to that grief environmental and political precarities, and the poems really yearned for beauty and pleasure and hope in the face of many challenges.

During the pandemic lockdown, that yearning became a desire to write a poem that gave me a sense of escape. I decided to sit down and write about a place we feel very drawn to and that fills us with rest, Eros, queerness, and closeness to the natural world. Nearness to architecture, pools, hummingbirds, and date palms. A place that also gives me a way to consider environmental catastrophe, drought, fire, displacement, and the destructive myths of California. When I completed that draft of the poem “Coachella Elegy,” I never foresaw that these Palm Springs poems would start pouring out of me. “Coachella Elegy” sparked a new way of writing into my manuscript, one that holds intimacy and survival in tension with melancholy and loss.

In the poem “Coachella Elegy,” I set out to write an homage to the Coachella Valley, which it still is. But a feeling surfaced about an actual event: the time my husband and I went to see the Salton Sea and I forgot it was the anniversary of my brother’s death until I received a push notification on my phone. The poem is about that complicated mix of emotions, but from the wider perspective of recognizing a signal that it was ok to start letting go. That maybe instead of needing to fully understand grief, I could be with it however it was in the present moment, even if that meant moving on. The same with the specter of cancer; it would be there, but there could be pleasure, too.

A mentor encouraged me to focus on the poems that felt more like where I wanted to go. So, one evening, I took a breath, deleted the entire “Beehive State” half of the manuscript, and titled it “Coachella Elegy.” After the momentary terror and ruthlessness of such an editorial choice, the poems felt freer. The new manuscript found a home 8 months later, winning a prize from Trio House Press. During the editorial process, I received the gift of working with two editors who not only supported the book but encouraged me to re-include several poems about my brother that I had cut. I decided to retitle them “elegies” to be a series along with “Coachella Elegy.” There are echoes of loss from the past, but the book is now very much in the present, searching for beauty and the erotic and hope despite all the loss in the world. The bees are disappearing, but they haven’t disappeared completely. Or some are transformed, even just for a moment, before we’re left to seek them out again.


Airbnb Art


Under a Sputnik-shaped lamp,
a Picasso with three eyes.

My husband’s prosthetic eye
is as blue as the other.

After the surgery,
we had sex,

his eye under a gauze tent.

I injected lidocaine through a tube that
coiled behind the bandage.

I wiped his armpits
with a washcloth.

There were still traces
of a purple arrow

drawn by the nervous surgeon.

The ocularist hand-painted his pupil.
It looks like the eye I always loved.


Originally appeared in Los Angeles Review.



Coachella Elegy


Somewhere there’s music.
We drive by Coachella

to the Salton Sea.
A sea as dead as Salt Lake.

My phone buzzes.
It’s the anniversary

of my brother’s death.
There are no reeds

as there are at Cana
and this water will not

become wine.
Shorebirds drink it,

not because they love
the world

but because
there’s a magnet in it.

Is that freedom,
this wandering?

There’s a forgotten
swing set submerged

in this sea. Young people who
once swayed on it still exist.

Salt, I float on it.





Christian Gullette is the author of the debut poetry collection Coachella Elegy, winner of the 2023 Trio House Press Trio Award and included in 2024 must-read lists by LitHub, Electric Lit, and Debutiful. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New RepublicThe American Poetry ReviewKenyon Review, the Poem-a-Day (Academy of American Poets), and The Yale Review. Christian completed his Ph.D. in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley, and when not serving as the editor-in-chief of The Cortland Review, he works as a lecturer and translator. He lives in San Francisco.





Maw Shein Win’s most recent poetry collection is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn) which was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry, longlisted for the PEN America Open Book Award, and shortlisted for CALIBA's Golden Poppy Award for Poetry. She is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito, CA. Win's previous books include full-length poetry collection Invisible Gifts and two chapbooks, Ruins of a glittering palace and Score and Bone. Win often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers and her Process Note Series features poets on their process. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco. Along with Dawn Angelicca Barcelona and Mary Volmer, she is a co-founder of Maker, Mentor, Muse, a new literary community. Win’s full-length collection Percussing the Thinking Jar (Omnidawn) is forthcoming in Fall 2024. mawsheinwin.com

Tracy Quan : Two poems




Trek, pour.



Ancient updates

barrels. Taken
barefoot, lasting.


The Annotated Bee Gees


Saviors are so yesterday.
Scapegoats wield
the sickle, make socialites
of MFAs who never wore

Balenciaga to the gala,
multicarat rock to municipal
votes, or the real thing when
it was wrong. Had their five

minutes in high school, saviors
—not their moment.
Bludgeoning bent thumbtack,
scapegoat thing. Hammer

hitting nail until collaborator
springs. Scapegoats have
the metrics to succeed, mandate
to govern. Saviors stoke

invented need. But you, chevalier,
earned my damsel loyalty
in a kosher cafeteria—
Hudson River sunlight.





Tracy Quan is the author of three novels, including Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, published by HarperCollins. Her poems have appeared in Love’s Executive Order, Los Angeles Review of Books, Newest York, Poets Reading the News, Addanomadd and Topical Poetry. She’s a contributor to Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers’ Poetry (Arsenal Pulp Press). A regular guest on Hong Kong’s RTHK Radio 3, she currently serves as a juror for the New York City Book Awards. A new essay was recently published in Radical History Review. (Portrait of the author by Stanley Moss)


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