[Sacha Archer of Burlington, Ontario's Simulacrum Press and Michael e. Casteels of Kingston's Puddles of Sky Press]
Here’s another batch of items I picked up at the most recent ottawa small press book fair [see part one of this list here; see the list from the prior fair here]; and you saw I’m doing same recently as well from similar gatherings from the Toronto’s Meet the Presses [see my most recent post on such here]?
Ottawa ON: From coven editions comes the wee anthology CONJURATION (2018), a collection of “micropoems” by Terry Abrahams, Allison Armstrong, Manahil Bandukwala, Frances Boyle, Conyer Clayton, Alessia Di Cesare, Amanda Earl and Hollow River.
thinking of colour
into the clay of an eastern
river a stagnant relationship
a stomach turned a fast moving
train away from Paris the little
dogs the sandwiches I don’t remember
whether there were sugar cubes
drowning in wormwood (Amanda Earl)
I’m eager to see if coven furthers their exploration of the short poem, charmed by this small publication of curiosities, after seeing similar, ongoing offerings by presses such as Puddles of Sky, Proper Tales and Apt. 9 Press. Clearly, coven’s concerns are of an entirely different flavor (as different publishers should be), a perspective on the short, dense lyric I would like to see more of.
A Breach in the Circle
And imagine if
I could love someone else now?
If the fairy ring could break open,
and I could be genuine in my reach
for a realm without you.
I’d walk in holy,
having dipped you out of rosemary,
sharing a lesson in healing
with sweetness; Sweetness,
in this stretch, I am no longer his. (Alessia Di Cesare)
Guelph ON: From PS Guelph comes Candace De Taeye’s small book ROE (2015). I’m quite taken with the simplicity of the covers from PS Guelph, usually a single image that appears hand-stamped. ROE is named for, as the acknowledgments offers, Roenigk, the author’s first child, and the small collection explores travel, pregnancy, family and childbirth, working through those first few stages of newness through first-person lyric. As she writes in the poem “Matrotrophy ii”: “It’s an ache on the chest / and a leaking. A whole / new empathy nesting you / in this impossibly soft / dough. Kneaded by your / knees inside. / Shrinking / back as you eat me up.”
Fishtail mountain as seen from Annapurna Base Camp.
Get up every hour to breathe.
Get up every hour to pee.
Just to see the radiant sunrise light.
Pregnancy dreams are startingly similar to altitude dreams
on the mountain that used to be too sacred to be touched
My guide has walked up this mountain dozens of times.
One morning we talk sex and gender over kefir and biscuits.
Pause whenever men pass by.