28 December 2010

New book! Prison Songs and Storefront Poetry

Just in before the year end is my newest book, Prison Songs and Storefront Poetry with Ekstasis Editions in Victoria, BC. I received my first copies last week while on the Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia.

ISBN 978-1-897430-60-6

All of the poems in this book, except for three, were composed on the portable, manual typewriter in my cover photo. Writing, creating poems on a manual typewriter in this age of wireless laptop computers is a curiouly slower and more physical means of writing, and different again from writing longhand as I do in my journals. One “prison song” was was first written longhand and two “prison songs”, including the first one written, were written on the computer.

The idea for Prison Songs came to me from Marko Kristić, in Belgrade, Serbia. He told me while we were travelling in April 2006 on buses to and from a promotional reading in Kruševac for my book Pesme iz kazamata (Belgrade: i.p. Rad, 2005), that the book’s title translated from Serbian back into English not only as the original Casemate Poems book title but also as “prison songs”—a theme he explored in his review of the book. At the time he was a PhD candidate at the University of Belgrade. I felt I should try to write some prison songs.

Many of the Prison Songs I wrote in July 2006 during a one-week Fredericton Arts Alliance artist residency. The residencies happen in an open to the public space shared with another artist. During my week I shared with a potter, Ursula Sommerer, and we collaborated on a ceramic platter that she formed. When it was leather hard and the slip she applied had dried, I sat down for several hours and letter by letter stamped “prison song 05” into the clay. Ursula fired it in a kiln with iron powder in the letter forms to give them contrast. We exhibited the platter then sold it to the City of Fredericton for their art collection. Using the Fred-eZone free wireless network, I also blog posted each poem written as soon as I had retyped it into my laptop.

The poems “prison song 19” through “prison song 29” were written in a 24-hour period and they are both shaped and influenced by the posters gathered the morning of 21 July 2007 as the page layout of the 24-hour created issue of my New Muse of Contempt zine printed in a hand-sewn edition of 48 copies.

I believe that for some “prison songs” I put myself in the mindset of various people imprisoned or other wise trapped in a situation along with a few in which the writer in the one feeling trapped or locked up.

Storefront Poetry is the title given by The Rabbit Hole store staff to my one-week writing residency in September 2008. Much as in the early 1980s I had lived and worked several years in Banff and seem to make it back there every few years, this was my first time in Grande Prairie, northern Alberta, and nothern British Columbia. Because the storefront window would be too hot to sit in for hours at a time, I was set up with a small desk beside the store entrance with my manual typewriter, journal, and laptop computer. Security was surprised at the airport when they scanned my suitcase and found the typewriter. As with the FAA casemate residencies, I interacted with people who came by—sometimes having lively, extended conversations while I was writing.

If you would like an autographed copy of this book, send me $25 ($30 for copies to be shipped outside Canada):
Maritimes Arts Projects Productions
or get a copy in person by helping me tour the book by hosting a reading:
• Next Canada Poetry Tours Reading Program application deadline ($50 admin fee) at the League of Canadian Poets is only a month away: 31 January 2011.
• Next Literary Readings program at Canada Council for the Arts deadline is 1 March 2011.
• The Writers’ Union of Canada’s National Public Readings Program ($75 admin fee) doesn’t have a deadline (but the fund does dry up before year end). Applications for readings after 1 April 2011 are being accepted.

I expect to be launching this book in Victoria in early June, and mid-June in Ontario.

New „Putevi“ includes Džo Blejds fiction

The newest issue of „Putevi“ literary journal, number 10–11, in Banja Luka, RS (BiH), includes two pieces of Џо Блејдс/Džo Blejds/Joe Blades fiction, from a manuscript titled “Burying Ground”, in translation by Татјана Бијелић/Tatjana Bijelic. Below is the first page …

27 December 2010

early media coverage

After about a 10-minute (don’t believe the bogus precise “nine minutes and 41 seconds” (as if I was stopwatch timed when I wasn’t) four-leaf clover picking frenzy at my grandparents’ (Dad’s parents) family home–farm in (I believe) 1973. Photo article was in the Dartmouth Free Press weekly in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where I was living and going to Bell Ayr School (Elementary or Jr. High … or in between … I’m unsure … depends on when exactly that year).

unexpected coffee collection

My/Broken Jaw Press’ house coffee has been organic “Breaking the Silence” Guatemalan coffee (prepared by Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op in Wolfville, Nova Scotia), a fundraiser for Breaking the Silence (BTS) a voluntary network of people in the Maritimes who began to organize in 1988 to support the efforts of Guatemalans struggling for political, social, and economic justice: see the blog at breakingthesilencenet.blogspot.com.

I’ve also kept Grand coffee from Novi Beograd on hand since my travels in Serbia. It’s for those days I want something different—a little stovetop “domestic” coffee.

Earlier this year I was given some Kurukahveci, a real Turkish coffee, by a fellow grad student in an MEd course :-D

This morning, I had Wake Up Joe coffee gifted for my birthday. It’s an Arabica from Paramount Coffee in Lansing, Michigan bought because of its name.

This week, at Christmas, I was given three more whole bean coffees:

Sumatra Harimau Tiger from the tiny and new Puddle Jump Coffee Roasters on Causeway Road, Seaforth, Nova Scotia;

Another organic Arabica bean coffee, Harar Ethiopian, from Just Us!—a great small bean coffee that I’ve been given before;

and, most unexpectedly, a Jumping Bean Newfoundland Screech Rum Flavoured Coffee from St John’s on the Rock.

Must have a year’s supply of coffee in maison Broken Jaw!

19 December 2010

@ the UGSW Collective Agreement signing

Tuesday, 7 Dec 2010 in the Wu Centre, UNB Fredericton. Photo take, with my camera, by PSAC/AFPC Regional VP Jeannie Baldwin.

Seated (L–R): Peter McDougall (Associate Vice-President (Human
Resources),UNB), Tiffany Thornhill (Bargaining Team, UGSW President).
Standing (L–R): Donald Desserud (Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, UNB–SJ), Heather Sears (Human Resources, UNB), Pride Abownga (Bargaining Team, UGSW), Gail Lem (Chief Negotiator, PSAC), Greg Ericson (Bargaining Team, UGSW Treasurer), and Joe Blades (UGSW member).

I was there to photograph the signing for the union, the UGSW, because I figured (rightly so, it turned out) UNB would not have a photographer there to document the historic occasion: the signing of the first Collective Agreement between the Union of Graduate Student Workers at the University of New Brunswick (UGSW)–Public Service Alliance of Canada/Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada Local 60550 and the employer.

UGSW on Facebook

13 December 2010

Movies watched in recent weeks

Landed, a Stairwell Dwellers Production, 2010

Whale Music, 2003

Pink Floyd—The Wall, 1999

Werner Herzog's Stroszek, 2004

Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1976

Kinji Fukasaku's Batoru rowaiaru (Battle Royale), 2004

11 December 2010

Off the Hook

Off the Hook (detail)
by Joe Blades, 2010
mixed media installation piece
145 Marshall d'Avray Hall
University of New Brunswick
10 Mackay Dr
Fredericton, NB

qualitative methodologies
including arts-based research
grad students' office located
in a former custodians' room
three fire extinguishers behind the door
key cabinet on the wall

keys welcome!

08 December 2010

18 Dec. Fredericton Crafters Sale

18 Dec, Saturday, 9am to 4pm. Fredericton Crafters "Last Minute Christmas Shopping" show & sale @ St Andrews Church Hall, 512 Charlotte St, Fredericton, NB. Free admission!

Joe Blades/Maritimes Arts Projects Productions and Broken Jaw Press will be there with books, chapbooks, notecards, and handmade books.