Chapbooks

One Dead Tree by David Menear — review by Mark McCawley

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One Dead Tree

by David Menear

 

review by Mark McCawley

 
 
One Dead Tree by David MenearOne Dead Tree
by David Menear
DevilHousePress, an imprint of AngelHousePress
ISBN: OneDeadTree
7×8.5, 28pp, $10.00 (CAD)
published, June 2014, Limited Edition

 
 
DevilHousePress is a new imprint of AngelHousePress — an Ottawa-based micro-press founded and published by poet and writer, Amanda Earl, in 2007 — that publishes transgressive literary works in the form of short story collections, novellas, novel excerpts, flash fiction, one-act plays and creative nonfiction in limited edition chapbooks. The DevilHousePress imprint’s inaugural publication is David Menear’s chapbook, One Dead Tree, consisting of eight individual works of short fiction, flash fiction, and prose poem/flash fiction hybrids. Read more

The Plastic Factory by Ron Kolm — review by Mark McCawley

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The Plastic Factory by Ron Kolm

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

Plastic-Factory-front-coverThe Plastic Factory
by Ron Kolm
ISBN: 978-1-57027-236-3
Autonomedia, $5.00 US
32 pp, 8.5 x 5.5, saddle-stitched
Fiction

“I try to remember in the course of my day-to-day life that there are people out there doing things that are not very healthy… I try to keep that in mind that there are people dying out there; that the very things that make our lives easier are making other people’s lives worse… I use to have this whole equation that for every so called “plus” there was a “minus” — if you were a well to do family that had all these things, that somebody somewhere was sacrificing something…” ~Ron Kolm, commenting on ‘The Plastic Factory’, The Idiom Magazine Podcast #2

Originally published in five parts and as a 1989 Red Dust Pamphlet — In The Plastic Factory, Ron Kolm draws from his own experiences working in a plastic factory in his work of post-realist fiction.
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Of Cartywheels & Autopsies: the poetry of Christine McNair & Catherine Owen

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Of Cartywheels & Autopsies:

the poetry of Christine McNair & Catherine Owen

Review by Mark McCawley

Notes From A Cartywheel,

by Christine McNair

AngelHousePress, 7×8.5, 24pp, $5.00 (CAN)

published, November 2011

AngelHousePress is an Ottawa-based micro-press founded and published by poet and writer, Amanda Earl, in 2007. Although Earl first began AHP as a vehicle to publish her own work, she soon discovered the “thrill in publishing raw talent, ragged edges, rule breakers.” Indeed, no two AHP titles or side projects of Earl’s — Bywords, Experiment-O (an annual PDF magazine that celebrates the art of risk) — are bound to share the same poetic trajectories. Which brings us to the two AngelHousePress chapbooks at hand.

In the seventeen poems which comprise Notes From A Cartywheel, Christine McNair functions primarily as an experimental language poet. In the suite of “Cartywheel” poems numbered simply “one”, “four” through to “twelve”, the poems act as spokes within a central language wheel. Not only are the poems cyclic allegorically, McNair plays upon the internal qualities of language to further this metaphor.
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3 above/ground press chapbooks from 2012

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let lie\ by Elizabeth Rainer and Michael Blouin
above/ground press, 8.5×5.5, 20pp, $4.00 (CAN)
published, January 2012

Excerpts from Impossible Books: The Crawdad Cantos
by Stephen Brockwell
above/ground press, 8.5×5.5, 20pp, $4.00 (CAN)
published, February 2012

Sextet: six poems from Songs for little sleep,
by rob mclennan
above/ground press, 8.5×5.5, 20pp, $4.00 (CAN)
published, January 2012

Reviewed by Mark McCawley

The quintessential poet’s micro-press, above/ground press — founded and published by poet, writer, and editor Rob McLennan out of Ottawa, Ontario — publishes chapbooks by both newly emerging and established poets alike. What makes above/ground press titles stand apart from other micro-press poetry chapbooks (besides their nondescript covers, that is) is that they offer the reader glimpses into collaborations as well as individual works in progress. It’s these glimpses which above/ground gives that makes their titles unique, revealing the process of the poet’s composition, their collaborations, as each waltz’s their muse along the thin razor’s edge of creation.

In let lie\, an excerpt from a collaborative work by Elizabeth Rainer and Michael Blouin, we are given glimpses into pieces which were written over a period of a year and a half and emailed back and forth:

to describe it\ I should not ask you when you touch yourself to think of me as I am there no probably this is the very type of thing I should keep to myself that and this is the failure of poetry to do you any kind of justice at all light tapping of my heart punching holes in the sky.

it would be\ nice for me if you were someone else for a change someone who didn’t know me so well my tremors hopes then when we were making love it would all be different once more your ankles up around and there wouldn’t be that look on your face him, again.

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Bill Bailey by Tony O’Neill

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Bill Bailey by Tony O’Neill
Black Bile’s One-off Chapbook Series 3
Black Bile Press, 16pp, $5.00 (CAN)

Review by Mark McCawley

Tony O’Neill is among the new vanguard of contemporary urban post-realist writers writing since the turn of the millennium. His fiction is raw, honest, unpretentious, unsympathetic and completely unapologetic in it’s use of sex and violence. O’Neill deftly explores and examines the underside of modern urban life with dark, sardonic humour and a mordant insight which only a past substance user and abuser can possess.

In Bill Bailey, O’Neill gives us a violence and lust-filled story which follows O’Neill’s unnamed narrator through a single alcohol-fueled day in Hollywood. As with much contemporary urban fiction, the setting functions almost as a character onto itself – Hollywood’s urban decay a microcosm for any urban center. O’Neill’s further use of post-apocalyptic imagery gives the story an almost cinematic feel akin to George A. Romero and John Carpenter, with a dash of David Cronenberg:

“…death was everywhere. It was in the air. It clung to my clothes like last night’s cigarettes. I stunk like a butcher’s window; I reeked of death from the inside out.” (p.5)

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