Interview, Open Book

It was very kind of Ben Ladouceur to ask me some questions about Apt. 9 and small press things, and to let me ramble on in my answers. Thanks Ben, and thanks Open Book for publishing it!

The Same Aspirations Persist: An Interview with Cameron Anstee, editor of Apt. 9 Press

“In 2016, three of the five chapbooks nominated for the bpNichol Chapbook Award came from the same press, Ottawa’s Apt. 9 Press. One of those Apt. 9 Press nominees, Nelson Ball’s Small Waterways, ultimately took the 2016 prize. This is Game of Thrones-level nomination-domination, a formidable accomplishment for a single publisher. But are things like awards very important to Apt. 9 Press editor Cameron Anstee? In the interview below, Cameron lays out why he does what he does.”

bpNichol Chapbook Award on CBC “All in a Day”

Thanks to Alan Neal for having me on the show to speak about Nelson Ball and Small Waterways. Listen back to the whole show here.


Nelson Ball wins the 2016 bpNichol Chapbook Award!

Apt. 9 Press is thrilled to be able to say that Nelson Ball has won the 2016 bpNichol Chapbook Award for his chapbook Small Waterways, published by Apt. 9 Press in 2015. Read the full press release here. Congratulations, Nelson!

Small Waterways cover_0001

Beyond our excitement at Nelson winning, the award feels especially resonant given Nelson’s long relationship to bpNichol as a fellow poet, peer, and publisher, and his longstanding specialization in bpNichol as a bookseller (as well as the long relationship between Nelson’s late wife Barbara Caruso and bpNichol as collaborators and publishers). We couldn’t be happier for Nelson–we love Small Waterways, and are thrilled that it received this tremendous honour. Our thanks to Meet the Presses, the anonymous donor of the prize money ($4000.00!), judges Alice Burdick and Hoa Nguyen, and Brian Dedora and Jim Smith for donating the publisher prize.

Sadly, Nelson’s chapbook sold out last year. That being said, nearly all of the poems in the book are available in Nelson’s most recent trade collection, Chewing Water, from Mansfield Press. Go buy the book if you haven’t already!

As well, two more of the titles on the shortlist this year were published by Apt. 9 Press: Marilyn Irwin’s the blue, blue there and Lillian Nećakov’s The Lake Contains an Emergency Room. Congratulations also to Klara Du Plessis and Anstruther Press, and Christine Stewart and Nomados Literary Publishers for their books on the shortlist, too. We are proud to be listed in such fine company.

Nelson is now Apt. 9’s second winner of the award, following Claudia Coutu Radmore’s win in 2011 for Accidentals. We love all the books that we publish, and it is wonderful when the writers receive a recognition of this sort. We made the trip to Meet the Presses to accept the award on Nelson’s behalf, and it is humbling and inspiring to see the exciting work being done by chapbook presses across the country. We’ll be back from our hiatus in 2017, and have some exciting projects lined up. Stay tuned.

Small Press Book Fair, Reviews

Apt. 9 Press will be present at the upcoming Ottawa Small Press Book Fair on Saturday, June 18th. Sadly, I will not be personally present (though for exciting reasons; I’ll be speaking at this conference in Montreal). Jeff Blackman (poet, friend, father, neighbour, gardener, and publisher of Horsebroke Press), will be running a half-Apt. 9, half-Horsebroke table. Come out to see his new exciting things, and be sure to pick up Apt. 9’s latest chapbook, Lea Graham’s This End of the World: Notes to Robert Kroetsch. We will also have backlist from Lillian Necakov, Michael Casteels, Christine McNair, and of course, copies of Five.

Packed up for the Book Fair.

Speaking of Lea Graham’s chapbook, it has received three separate reviews since it was published last month. We’re very happy that people are responding to it so positively! You can also find a new review of Marilyn Irwin’s the blue, blue there here, and Michael Casteels’s solar-powered light bulb here.

If you’re looking for older Apt. 9 backlist, you can search at Apollinaire’s Bookshoppe. The fine folks running the store have been purchasing Apt. 9 titles for quite a while now, and have copies of things that I am long since sold out of. There is also a new store opening in Dundas, Ontario called The Printed Word that has a number of Apt. 9 titles in stock. Be sure to visit if you’re in that neck of the woods.

Enjoy the book fair! Buy me anything cool if you’re got money to burn!

2015 Reviews

I have been quietly updating individual book pages with reviews and notes as they appear, but haven’t been promoting those reviews here on the main page. Below you’ll find notes on our 2015 books. Thanks to everyone that took the time to read and think about our publications this year. If you said something somewhere about any of our chapbooks and we’ve missed it, let us know!

On Nelson Ball’s Small Waterways:

Small Waterways cover_0001

29 December 2015 | Ryan Pratt: “With each recent title from the prolific, Paris, Ontario based author, we’ve been gifted stunningly clairvoyant poems in Ball’s minimal style. And Small Waterways is perhaps the sharpest, accenting stark vistas with almost imperceptible, existential flourishes that balance his explicit sadness with a renewed acceptance.”

18 November 2015 | Pearl Pirie: “Beautiful encapsulations. Simple but not simplistic. Thought over not to make clever but to make clear as if drawing a line around one awareness. Not around an object or a story or an image but a small eureka, not tied up with a ribbon of form but the size it needs to be.”

17 November 2015 | rob mclennan: “And at thirty pages, Small Waterways reads as a substantial collection (in chapbook terms, at least) of powerful poems, some of which read like sketched out notes, some as deep meditations and others as small thoughts stretched to beyond their outer limits.”

On Michael e. Casteels’s solar-powered light bulb and the lake’s achy tooth:

lakes achy tooth

15 December 2015 | Amanda Earl: “What I love about them and what will make me return to them is their elegance and their shape. White space and the shape taken up by each poem is part of the beauty of this chapbook.”

17 November 2015 | rob mclennan: “There is such a quality of meditative calm in Casteels’ poems, set down with incredible density, but a remarkable amount of silence and breath.”

On Lillian Nećakov’s The Lake Contains an Emergency Room:


1 July 2015 | Christopher McCarthy at Flat Singles Press: “There is a surrealist timbre to the eighteen poems featured in the new sequence; however, this effect is well balanced, emotional, and immediate.”

19 June 2015 | rob mclennan says there is “an odd humour and compelling candor to the surrealism of Lillian Nećakov, one that seems very human in nature.”

And on Marilyn Irwin’s the blue, blue there:


29 December 2015 | Ryan Pratt: “Grounded and gut-punching poems like “murder, old ottawa south” and the stratosphere-ricocheting “transmigration of the soul and other no-no’s” stake opposite ends of Irwin’s yardstick, respectively. But the vast middle tackles the likes of Kim Jong Un, a dead deer in the woods and the FLNJ (le Front pour le Liberation des Nains de Jardin) with a flexible curiosity that accepts the chaos of life, and demands revisiting.”

22 December 2015 | rob mclennan includes the blue, blue there in his 2015 roundup at Queens Mob Teahouse.

22 July 2015 | Pearl Pirie: “Good? Hands down. Hands up. We are not worthy. Jeez. Making the rest look bad.”

15 June 2015 | rob mclennan says that the poems in the blue, blue there are “quiet and sharp, insistently present and remarkably calm.”


Did you say something about one of these books and it isn’t included above? Let me know!