Poetry Pause x above/ground: Leesa Dean

Poetry Pause spotlight with above/ground press

Name: Leesa Dean Poem: In the desert of Itabira time gnaws ruined houses these walls know nothing of rain nor hail the size of pearls no grass no bromelias or ferns only sand more sand Of course Carlos would live here a village lost in time where servant girls patter like birds between market stalls He has two himself bloodshot beauties who call him master There is a party to welcome us— hens cuchaca meat cloaked in herbs from some other kingdom where soil allows life to flourish End of Poem. Credits: reprinted from The Desert of Itabira (above/ground press, 2020) Leesa Dean is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s MFA program and a creative writing instructor at Selkirk College. Her first book, Waiting for the Cyclone, was nominated for the 2017 Trillium and Relit Awards. Her poetry chapbook The Desert of Itabira was published in 2020 by above/ground press. She is currently working on a conceptual poetry project called 1972 in which she takes on the colonialism of National Geographic using the magazine itself and an experimental novel-in-stories on the universally beloved subject of fucked up people. She lives on an acreage in Krestova, BC.

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?