Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Cameron Anstee's Apt. 9 Press: Ottawa

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By rob mclennan

On August 24, 2011, when Apt. 9 Press publisher/editor Cameron Anstee hosted a launch of his two most recent Apt. 9 Press titles — Leah Mol's And I?ve Been Thinking Dangerously and Justin Million's HADRON — he mentioned the possibility of the press taking a temporary break. He expands on this in a recent email, saying: ?I've just started a PhD in English Literature and want to get settled into that before returning to publishing. In the longer view, I'd like Apt. 9 to be around for many years (you're coming up on twenty with above/ground, right?). The books are demanding of my time, energy and focus. I don't want to give them half of what they deserve because my attentions are elsewhere. A few months or a year being quiet will not seem such a long time ten years from now.?

Over the past two years, Ottawa poet Anstee has produced nearly two dozen titles in a series of limited-edition chapbooks and broadsides of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Each of hand-sewn and numbered in editions of 50 copies, Apt. 9 Press has published single-author collections by writers such as Sandra Ridley, Stuart Ross, Michael Blouin, Michael Dennis, Leigh Nash, William Hawkins, Ben Ladouceur and Monty Reid, distributing copies at events such as the ottawa small press book fair, Toronto's Meet the Presses, Ottawa's VERSEfest, and reading series including The TREE Reading Series and the In/Words Reading Series, as well as through Apt. 9 Press' own launches throughout the city.

It has been interesting to watch the development of small press in Ottawa over the past decade or two, with publications over the years from Amanda Earl's AngelHousePress, Christine McNair's cartywheel, Steve Zytveld's Dusty Owl, jwcurry's 1cent/Room 302 Books, Adam Thomlison's 40-Watt Spotlight, Grant Wilkin's The Grunge Papers and Rod Pederson and Rona Shaffran's The TREE Reading Series, among others. In his ?12 or 20 (small press) interview,? Anstee talked about being at Carleton, and his introduction to small press:

My introduction to small press publishing came during a Canadian Literature survey taught by Prof. Collett Tracey during the second year of my undergrad. She gave a lecture on Souster, Dudek, Layton and their Contact Press that absolutely floored me. I'd never heard anything like it and couldn't understand why they didn't teach THAT in high school. From there, I became involved in the student-run campus little mag and chapbook press (In/Words at Carleton University).

When my time at Carleton was drawing to a close, I was hooked and needed to start something of my own to keep myself in that world.

An Ottawa native, he recently completed a MA in English Literature at Carleton University, writing a history of the infamous Contact Poetry Readings, which is considered the first poetry reading series in Canada (?Because it brought the world to us? : A History of the Contact Poetry Readings (1957) 1959-1962). While at Carleton University, he became involved with In/Words Magazine and Press, getting his own work published, and later editing publications by newer writers, including jesslyn delia smith. According to their website, founded through the English Department in the fall of 2001, In/Words ?...began as a reaction to a first year seminar course taught by founder Professor Collett Tracey in which students were encouraged to write.? They now produce an ongoing journal, and a small stack of chapbooks of poetry and fiction, all distributed for free, as well as various incarnations of regular readings and writing workshops. In many ways, Antee's work with Apt. 9 Press could be considered a continuation of the work started at In/Words, furthering and maturing the lessons begun through Carleton University's English Department, and his own published writing, none of which has appeared with Apt. 9 Press, includes the poetry chapbooks Remember Our Young Bones (Ottawa ON: In/Words Magazine & Press, 2008), Water Upsets Stone (Toronto ON: The Emergency Response Unit, 2009), Frank St. (Ottawa ON: above/ground press, 2010), She May Be Weary (Ottawa ON: St. Andrew Books, 2011) and The Turning of Pages Should Not Be Audible (Ottawa ON: St. Andrew Books, 2011).

As he says of the upcoming break, ?I'll be in course work until next summer. I'd love to come back with a new project or two in time for the summer small press fair(s). That being said, I don't have anything firmly set in my mind. When I have the time, and more importantly the right project, Apt. 9 will be active again.? He continues, saying,

I've been thinking about different ways of binding, longer projects, shorter projects, more broadsides, more non-fiction, and on and on. I've also got an always growing list of people I would love the privilege of publishing, local and wider. Thinking again about a longer view, I'd like variety and depth over the lifetime of the press. These first two years have been wonderful, with sixteen books, two broadsides, and a non-fiction folio. I'm actually amazed that so much was produced, and I remain proud of each title. I want to maintain that feeling of pride in each project, and also keep the process interesting and challenging for myself.

Apt. 9 Press | Bibliography

Million, Justin. Guzzles. ISBN 978-0-9811761-0-9. /50. August 2009.
Reid, Monty. A Poem That Ends With Murder. ISBN 978-0-9811761-1-6. /50. August 2009.
Ridley, Sandra. Rest Cure. ISBN 978-0-9811761-3-0. /50. August 2009.
Ladouceur, Ben. The Argossey. ISBN 978-0-9811761-4-7. /50. October 2009.
Blouin, Michael. TWO BOYS carrying a box through a field .going somewhere. ISBN 978-0-9811761-5-4. /50. November 2009.

Dennis, Michael. how are you she innocently asked. ISBN 978-0-9811761-6-14. /50. February 2010.
Ross, Stuart. I Have Come To Talk About Manners. ISBN 978-0-9811761-7-8. /50. February 2010.
Nash, Leigh. Landforms. ISBN 978-0-9811761-8-5. /50. May 2010.
Gibbon, Peter. eating thistles. ISBN 978-1-926889-01-9. /50. September 2010.
Hawkins, William. Sweet & Sour Nothings. ISBN 978-0-9811761-9-2. /50. October 2010.
Wm Hawkins. Folio. ISBN 978-1-926889-00-9. /50. October 2010.

Ladouceur, Ben. Tuktoyuktuk. Broadside. /50. March 2011.
Dennis, Michael. there was a man who loved to murder. Broadside. /50. March 2011.
Hanson-Finger, Jeremy. The Delicious Fields. ISBN 978-1-926889-02-3. /50. March 2011.
Reid, Monty. Site Conditions. ISBN 978-1-926889-03-0. /50. March 2011.
Radmore, Claudia Coutu. Accidentals. ISBN 978-1-926889-04-7. /50. March 2011.
Smith, Jim. Exit Interviews. ISBN 978-1-926889-05-4. /50. June 2011.
Mol, Leah. And I?ve Been Thinking Dangerously. ISBN 978-1-926889-06-1. /50. August 2011.
Million, Justin. HADRON. ISBN 978-1-926889-07-8. /50. August 2011.

Born in Ottawa, Canada?s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than 20 trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, his most recent titles are the poetry collections 52 flowers (or, a perth edge) (Japan: Obvious Epiphanies, 2010), kate street (Chicago: Moira, 2010), Glengarry (Vancouver: Talon, 2011) and wild horses (Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2010) and a second novel, missing persons (2009), An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books (with Jennifer Mulligan), The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

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