Tag Archives: rob mclennan

Fall roundup: new publications

  • December 8, 2018 – New poem “Riposte” is an above/ground press broadside, published to mark my taking part in the Arc Walk in Ottawa’s Byward Market. It was in the market building that Ottawa’s Tree reading series sponsored the first WordFest poetry festival back in the summer of 1982. I edited a chapbook of work by the featured writers for that festival and afterward went home and wrote a “Poem without Shame,” which I soon published as a broadside, the first of my Ouroboros editions. By chance, I found a few copies of the original broadside in my basement and handed them out to the poetry lovers who came out on a cold day to tour poetry sites in Ottawa.

above/ground publisher rob mclennan also handed out a new broadside with this poem, which commemorates some memorable murders on the streets of usually peaceful Ottawa:

http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.com/2018/12/poem-broadside-346-riposte-by-colin.html

 

  • November 30, 2018 – “Crepuscule,” a villanelle that takes a good-humoured look at an old couple’s physical decay, is a new poetry selection at Ascent magazine.

https://readthebestwriting.com/crepuscule-colin-morton/

 

  • November 8, 2018 – “Tree Planting” makes an appearance in the League of Canadian Poets’ anthology Heartland.

Editors Lesley Strutt and Claudia Coutu Radmore staged an Ottawa launch where several of the poets read their work and viewed the award-winning film Call of the Forest.

 

  • October 23, 2018 – Ottawa’s Poets’ Pathway has completed its objective of placing bronze poetry plaques on stones along the city’s walking trail from Britannia Beach to Beechwood Cemetery. To cap the project, the organizers invited the region’s poets to respond to a 19th century poem by Archibald Lampman. The “winning” poems, selected by Sarnia poet James Deahl, came together in a chapbook launched at the old firehall in Old Ottawa South. My poem in the chapbook recalls Ontario’s and Quebec’s great ice storm of January 1998:

Ice Storm

That was the winter of our disconnect,

when towering trees, weighed down,

fell through our powers lines, and ice

paved the roads, if clear, with peril.

 

Neighbours sawed up fallen trees

and kept fires going for some who fled

to shelters when the lights went out.

The rest kept busy to keep warm

 

Nothing in the freezer spoiled

though it became instead and ice-box

as we ate our way through summer’s

surplus tomatoes and stews.

 

Blankets, Afghans, quilts our grandmas

sewed for us when we were born

all found love again as we

huddled under them by the fire.

 

At night the streets were dark,

silent as in Lampman’s time.

Over gleaming fields of snow

the stars looked near, and cold.

 

All this and some anthology publications yet to be launched. It looks like I’ve been busy. But I’m merely slow to collect the news. More later.

 

 

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Staying above/ground

Ottawa publisher rob mclennan celbrates 25 years of above/ground press. Here’s my tribute, one of many

http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.ca/2018/03/aboveground-press-25th-anniversary_23.html

Around 1993, the books editor of the Citizenphoned me to ask, for an article, who were to most promising Ottawa poets under 25. I waffled a minute, saying that 25 is young to be judging a poet, it takes years to develop, then named the most active young poet I knew, rob mclennan. “But isn’t he mainly an impresario?” replied the editor, who had been talking to others before me. I admitted that may be true, but rob got his own back a few years later, winning a national award as most promising under 30. He has not slowed down since, showing what I’ve always said: that persistence, stubbornness, is half of what it takes to be any kind of artist.

I don’t remember at what Ottawa reading or literary event I first met rob, but first he wasn’t there, and then he was everywhere, organizing readings, handing out poems on single sheets of folded coloured paper, publishing magazines and chapbooks, often of his own lines and verses, but including everyone from the established and the iconic (George Bowering) to the newly arrived (Stephanie Bolster) and the aspiring student at Canterbury high school.

On the tenth anniversary of above/ground press, rob organized a reading and asked those of us reading to write a poem for an instant anthology. My poem was called “Ten Reasons for Staying Above Ground” and included, among the ten, “to see what rob gets up to next.” He hasn’t disappointed. There’s always something new, and the Internet has only amplified the range of his hyperactivity.

Mainly an impresario? It’s hard to maintain that about a writer with such a bibliography, but even if so, isn’t that great for the many he has helped? I’m still curious about what he’ll do next.

Ottawater launches

http://www.ottawater.com/

Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:30 at Ottawa’s Carlton Tavern, several contributors to rob mclennan’s annual poetic and artistic showcase of national capital-related talent,  http://www.ottawater.com/

I’ll be among the readers. Ottawater’s always-elegant design isn’t quite ready yet, but a whole decades’ archive of previous volumes can still be read at the site.