27 July 2011

Bist Du ein Schriftsteller?

Because of an article I was writing, I went digging on the shelves of publications to find the one copy I recalled still having of an ephemeral publication from the early 1990s …

"Many years later, after I had moved to Fredericton in 1990, a writer and professor of German at UNB Saint John, Rosi Jory, whom I met at Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick events, wanted to translate a tongue-in-cheek piece of mine, “Are You a Writer?”, into German. She got a colleague to translate it into French then produced both translations with the English version on folded 11” x 17” paper. It was my first piece of writing to be translated."
Are You a Writer? / Es-tu un écrivain ? / Bist Du ein Schrifteller? Joe Blades. Suzanne Pons-Ridler (trans. into French). Rosi Jory (trans. into German). Saint John, NB: Rosi Jory, publisher. 199?
“Are you a writer?” had previously been published in Poetry Halifax-Dartmouth. It, and Suzanne Pons-Ridler’s translation into French, were included in my How to do it chapbook, In the Dark—Poets & Publishing (Broken Jaw Press, 1997). I’ll not reproduce the whole broadside here but I will put up Rosi’s German translation.

26 July 2011

Brazilian launch of revue ellipse mag No. 84–85

"Literary translation in Canada is largely restricted to works in the two official languages. Despite the fact the country has become increasingly multicultural and multilingual, there is remarkably little cultural engagement with the world in languages other than French and English. Thus it comes as a most pleasant surprise that ellipse has decided to devote a double issue to contemporary Brazilian writing. No less significant, as befits a bilingual journal committed to promoting translation and cultural awareness, ellipse presents the Brazilian texts not only in the original Portuguese but also in either French or English translation, and sometimes in both."—Albert Braz, Interfaces, no 13
28 July 2011, Thursday, 6:30 pm. Brazilian launch of revue ellipse mag No. 84–85 "Literatura contemporânea brasileira em tradução / Contemporary Brazilian Writing in Translation /Littérature contemporaine brésilienne en traduction" with Guest Editors Eloína Prati dos Santos and Sonia Torres, and Coordinator Hugh Hazelton. Room 218 of Block C, on the Gragoatá campus of the Universidade Federal Fluminense.

Published in Fredericton, New Brunswick, under the direction of Jo-Anne Elder. I am on the Editorial Board and do the design/layout. This issue features comtemporary Brazilian poetry and short stories.

160 pp, 6 x 9 tpb
ISSN 0046-1830, No 84–85
ISBN 978-0-9737528-2-3, 20 $

Adresser toute correspondance à / Address all correspondence to:
J. Elder
180, rue Liverpool St
Fredericton NB E3B 4V5

ellipsemag @ gmail.com
blog: ellipsemaritimes.blogspot.com

24 July 2011

a round-to-it lunch

my finally got around to it lunch, brunch, whatever … ☺

No image

with ivanchuck mucking it up in TINYtown—possibly the favoured "lumberton" in province—with its railroad bridge o're a great-looking river, the mill yard with is horizontal felled-with-intent forest, legion hall, gas bar–liquor store with limited selection, strip mine ponds and tailings overgrown with scrub birch trees, the art shack, and cast of characters as wild as your imagination … is it any wonder that some days there's simply "no data, image not available" just when one wants to sit in the big chair in the panopticon and quietly, privately, perversely, observe a version of reality …

so what is really going on in a … in a town of watchers and gossips where the women won't talk to strangers where even some pentecosts are flamboyant as bejes but the eye on the sky is shut when needed or wanted wanton won ton dumpling fortune cookie with message inside TINYtown bulletin board by the door with notices for church suppers bake and yard sales knife and skate sharpening trucks and boats for sale and messages by god and jesus left for you yes you

15 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 16

hot tar project
at public library
was there all winter
and still there
this mid-july day
steam rising from flynn
but no workers in sight
—must be on the roof—
tarred mop and shovel
sculpture on the grass

above us in the barracks
building workers remove
stones from the wall
to get electrics through
from inside to balconies
emergency lighting wires
encased in metal tubes

the letter o punches
holes through the paper
as i type through
what we trust is testing
of the newly-installed
fire alarm system
but no … we have
fire trucks arriving
(and bagpipes)
army helicopter
flies above armoury

poetry in action

casemate poems (redux) 15

deerfly harasses poet
buzzes 'round his head
and typing poem hands
as i write onto the blog
the web presence live
the deerfly unharmed
just flew away
and me out the door
into evening

artist books
coming together
as roofing tar perfumes
the square's air
ongoing construction
renovates soldiers' barracks
building for craft college
occupation in september
administration offices

calm friday afternoon
some clouds some sun
sharing of found objects
from grandfather's sheds
convo stories and poems
in journals and notepad
inspired by these writings
this poem crafting public
and interactive giving

14 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 14

blood trees in crevasses
of skin on my finger
from an accidental scrape
not another paper cut
while folding book pages

i hear a saxophone player
outside endeavours for art
supplies store and
walking drums from
nearby alleyway
thursday craft market

filled a request
for a photograph
of me for a new
brunswick authors
portal in development

then we were video'd
by charles leblanc
for one of his blogs
with the question
"what are you selling
in this store?" answered
"we're selling a way
of life—the creative

hot chocolate coffee
spilled on a journal
page with a piece
of guardhouse roofing
slate hot glued to it
and this poem

casemate poems (redux) 13

argile humide the medium
wet clay for a large jar
as i cut and fold kraft
paper for my real paperbag
book's pages—enough
for two book blocks
to drill tonight at home
and bind in the casemate
on friday friday—the last day
me leigh and me here

haven't been folding words
as much as i could have
no cutting words
or carving trimming
words the poems thinner
make them near invisible
like the noxt line

your space as coauthor
to read write engage
with this poem and make
of it what you will
otherwise i could/would
keep these words in my
head and finger muscles
or flush them from my
body like other toxins

this (redux) 13 written
this artist studio week
if i glaze my poems
like leigh will the silica
and zinc grow crystals
during the firing
or will the poems burn
to a crisp and crumble
into a fine grey ash?

casemate poems (redux) 12

encased like a caddisfly
splashin' in the pond song
full of dreams and fish
wishing for another nap

or a good story like dad's
last weekend about ralph
making a break in his wheelchair
from the hospital in middle
musqudoboit … hand-pulling
himself outside and downhill
to the bridge over the river
heading for home in chaswood

dad's oldest brother ralph
died on monday afternoon
in camp hill hospital
halifax where veteran's affairs
had moved him recently
for a few good final weeks
with roadtrips and concerts
for the resident patients

his funeral tomorrow …
i'll not be there … would
have had to leave this casemate
residency town this morning …

casemate poems (redux) 11

breathless from this spinning earth
and my almost half century upon it

claudine came by this week:
an actor to play her
in a play about her and alden
to pay her a visit soon
the play a found play
using nowlan's poems essays
and other such texts
claudine was his wife
(and widow since 27 june 1983)
alden 50 when he died
nine months older than me
right now ... 22 years older
than jim morrisson at his death
in paris the week after i
graduated from grade four
at age nine in dartmouth
i heard alden read
in collingwood ontario
in the great canadian
poetry weekend festival
and was first published
in the fiddlehead
at unb in 1983
now i'm a unb grad student
and alden nowlan house
is my on-campus local

breathless from my running
on this spinning earth

13 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 10

on the guardhouse porch
sleepy driver frontman
peter hicks with guitar
sings songs from steady now
original and extended cds
and from the forthcoming
with release before halloween

even the gravedigger's song
but not some of the darkest ones
not for daylight or children
—a different selection yes
but true to the band's work
a great lunchtime concert
residency bonus for artists

after peter leaves
for his other work job
summer banjo player emerges
from inside the guardhouse
and a wasp gets too close
and personal in the casemate
circling this poet's head

casemate poems (redux) 9

still in the case pen
thinking steamed mussels
garlic onion & white wine
thai green curry paste
to add heat and flavour

at the guardhouse lemonade
hooks victims for trauma
soldier recruitment tricks
for 104th reg. march to québec
199 years ago january

how about a reenactment
march with film crew:
january 2013—be bad enough
walking the trans canada
or up the saint john river

12 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 8

in my paper bag are samosas
grapes carrots and green beans
space for writing poems and
grocery lists notes to self
info on people met and
something of their stories
their trials and travels
even their secret dreams

in my paper bad are regrets
a partially-eaten sandwich
germs of theses questions
a guitar hook in search
of its bridge and/or song
maple seeds leaves acorns
cigarettes butts of strangers
yesterday's revised script

in my paper bag are nail
clippings and hair from
the bathroom floor wind
a risk of hail and tornadoes
lollypop sticks and a medley
of chewn gum moose knuckles
and blood from a pin's scratch

in the casemate

Leigh's pieces in progress ...

As befits a worker in the Fredericton Poetry Department, I remembered to bring my POET vest to the casemate today so that I have it handy in event of a poetic crisis or spill/incident.

In the mail, tea and the prototype for a Broken Jaw Press silver ring. This one, small, is a little loose on my baby finger. The other prototype I need stretched or otherwise enlarged as I can get it over the knuckle but it is without enough room for the muscle for me to bend my finger.

Interested in getting a Broken Jaw ring? Contact me.

spider case(mate) shell/skeleton on one of the lights.

casemate poems (redux) 7

kickwheel pottery slow-grow
dog-powered threshing machine
button accordion in the shade
no banjo or guitar today
poem-for-a-penny poet strolls
across the hot green square
naked soldiers and their wives
women workers in the barracks
all out of uniform and dress
into unknown clothes of today

brown glass jar of ale
wineskin of sweetness
flask of uisce beatha
& lemonade for the kids

light-fried spider still
attached by glowing thread
hunger for a beating heart
big feelin' body politic
survive the roman campaigns
and move on to the harvest
another changing of the garb
before the storm arrives
with rumbling lightning show
and sleep-cleansing rain

11 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 6

darkness approaches early
monday afternoon wind up
and no squirrel can prevent
what blows our way
hot heavy humid air
unsetted unaccounted

weather doesn't map
or negotiate its how
to manoeuvre with man
(hu- wo- or -kind)
or its effect
upon the earth

flags go limp
and people wilt
when the breeze dies
but bagpipe and drum
continue their simulation
of a situation past

garrison your home
votre solution tower
hour timer routine
stability in repetition
believed secure—
echoes hear themselves

casemate poems (redux) 5

after being gone
sunny sunday after
and it's almost time
to close the studio
for evening and night
at home not at war

after spring meltwaters
flood and recede the island
grass grows tall as people
blood trees rooted in their
toil burst into floodplain
leaf shade for the unaware

this land live on
by people—the people—
over 11,000 summers:
imagine life here then
imagine life in europe
the changes wrought

10 July 2011

paper and bookmaking

cover parts (found boards with canvas webbing, davey board, and handmade fair-trade paper), initial content, and paste for the "casemate poems (redux)" artist book

some of the content for claire's requested/ordered kraft paper-insides "book bag" artist book. needs more accordion fold inside pages before the japanese block binding (what Evanchuck calls "stab binding")

several book forms, ideas, and paper scraps in the casemate–studio that might become something this week

casemate poems (redux) 4

bod of squid
guard the mother
of little wiggles
of little birds
with feed me feed
open mouths
and heads hungry
for inspiration
—art and wonder
life explorers

to get away
into own space
broken pot shards
into the bottom
of another planter
in a balcony bird
floppy leaves
not waving grass
tail feathers

man struck by cod
in a boat's hold
—revenge from the depths
orange lobster found
in québec supermarket
—alive not cooked
politician in her
abuse-of-office trial
calls judge a "monster"
police probe stabbing

casemate visit/ors

Vile biker in white pants, biffmitchell.com of the BlackTop MotorCycle Gang, "raiding" a poem on the unprepared and the trapped in the barrack's casemates yesterday, Saturday afternoon. Leigh to the right guarding his latest creation upon the potter's wheel.

Alas, guarding was in vain as the vessel was collapsing on itself …

Escapees from Hottawa and Chipwagon, filmmaker and chef boy Peter Evanchuck and artist Hélèn Lacelle … publishers of Books Handmade whose book projects include:

Pages of Canada anthology:
"We asked creative Canadians, coast to coast to coast to contribute a page with something creative, personal, unique—perhaps a story, a poem or a picture. The responses were amazingly different and personal. The selections in this book represent dozens of Canadian voices presenting a really modern and unusual 'feel' of Canada."

They're also purveyors of the travelling GOOP mail art project … bringing GOOP to your town … and you'll know GOOP when you see GOOP.

FAA Casemate studio mate

Potter and poet in this week's case. Leigh has incredible work in Feel it: Diploma of Advanced Studies exhibition in the NBCCD Gallery across Barrack's Square from the casemates.

Should get a photo of Leigh here too … later today …

09 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 3

crowds and crowds waves
roll through barracks square
this overcast saturday afternoon
the potter's water and clay work
drawing close attention
and my typing laughter
memories of precomputer life
imagine if i had fountain
or nib pens and a jar of ink

asked what manner
was what i see is a bob
squirrel—tail likely
lost to a car tire
as it crossed
danger road
not a downtown
or woodchuck
loco local

bicycle tire necklaces
of other locals walking
with frames at home
non-artists friendly
to musicians and visuals
loving this green city
this wide river valley

casemate poems (redux) 2

in the art doghouse now
dawn's rainy garrison district
after farmers' market time
with visiting parents
chuckles and hélèn too
in from hottawa and tinytown
dan still lovin it
in wild t'under bay b'y
so an idea appeals:
poet in pure math

trapping boards
to hardcover bind
accordion-fold redux
as i go awarting
and the potter slaps
clay to shape it
before spinning
a jar on the wheel
flower petals in paper
wrap the davey board

08 July 2011

casemate poems (redux) 1

bagpipes (again) soon as i
start hitting the keys
to a poem or straw song
guitar and banjo at guardhouse
some ball-in-a-sock toss
a hummer of a friday
with an expedition pack
load of typewriter books
and a little something …
for everyone passing by

last friday was in west chezzetcook
friday before that in old government house
friday before that at brandenberg gate
friday before that at the league
of canadian poets in toronto
—quite the running life

i'm supposed to count
count visitors and encourage
them to sign the guest book
and to receive arts news
everything happening in
the arts in fredericton

concerts films carving
sanding burrs off pottery
a little embroidery
and poetry writing
… welcome to our studio