Early Civilization by Dani Spinosa

Poetry Pause spotlight with above/ground press

Name: Early Civilization by Dani Spinosa Poem: I play as the Aztecs under Montezuma. I settle Tenochtitlan. The land around me is a mixture of mountain ranges and lush rainforests. This is a good spot to start. Defensive spaces, fresh water for growth, unique luxury resources.  There are barbarians around me that try to attack my scouts, my Eagle Warriors, but I destroy settlement after settlement. I can turn some of these opponents into workers for my civilization. I make it all work for me.  The first other civilization I meet is America under Teddy Roosevelt and it’s only a few years before they settle Boston to the south, right near Tenochtitlan. It’s frustrating.  As I explore, I meet the Romans under Trajan Caesar and they settle Rome to the west.  I build up my army, learn what I can of science, and am able to take Boston from the Americans quite quickly. My people settle there. I build Aztec monuments and progress.  In 20 BCE I capture a US settler who I use to found the city of Cempoala.  I try but fail twice to take over Charleston, manage only to capture a worker who I send to Teotihuacán to farm and harvest pearls from the sea.  In 300 CE I formally denounce the Americans. The Romans know about this, but I can’t be sure if anyone else hears my denouncing. I know nothing yet of another continent hiding somewhere in the darkness of the map.  Because I have denounced the Americans, I am able to declare a casus belli and receive minimal warmongering penalties for declaring war, yet again, on the Americans.  And I finally take Charleston. End of poem.  Credits: Copyright © Dani Spinosa Originally from Civilization (above/ground press, 2020). Dani Spinosa is a poet and a scholar and an adjunct professor. She's a co-founding editor of Gap Riot Press, the Managing Editor of the Electronic Literature Directory, and the author of two books: OO: Typewriter Poems (Invisible Publishing, 2020) and Anarchists in the Academy (U of Alberta Press, 2018). You can find her online at www.genericpronoun.com.

above/ground press is an Ottawa-based poetry chapbook press edited/published by rob mclennan, now celebrating twenty-seven years of continuous operation, having launched its first titles way back on July 9, 1993. above/ground press has produced more than one thousand publications-to-date, including some four hundred-plus single-author poetry chapbooks and three hundred and fifty single-poem broadsides, and currently produces the quarterly journal Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal], and occasional journals The Peter F. Yacht Club and G U E S T [a journal of guest editors]. Over the past decade or so, the press has been managing some seventy single-author chapbooks a year, providing an exciting mix of Canadian and international authors, emerging and established poets, and experimental and visual works alongside the more traditional lyric, mailing irregular packages as part of both a subscription base and as individual orders. There have been two full-length decade roundups produced-to-date as trade editions—Groundswell: the best of above/ground press: 1993-2003 (Broken Jaw Press, 2003) and Ground Rules: the best of above/ground press: 2003-2013 (Chaudiere Books, 2013)—with a third anthology scheduled for 2023 with Invisible Publishing. The host of The Factory Reading Series, founded January 1993, above/ground recently extended its reach into a new online venture: periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics and ‘virtual reading series’: https://periodicityjournal.blogspot.com/. The press moves where the editor/publisher’s interest move, as well as where his energies might allow. Where might we go next?