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Widows & Orphans

Casemate Poems
Joe Blades

full-size book cover

Release: June 2004 / poetry & photographs (BISAC: POE011000)
68 pp / 5 x 8 / trade paper
Waterloo ON: Widows & Orphans
Serbian rights: i.p. RAD, Belgrade
ISBN 0-9734130-1-8, Out of Print

“Blades sets up typewriter in barracks; grows poetic . . . these unrhymed couplets gather together impressions, ideas, images.”
—George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Sunday Herald

“Short, sharp sound bites . . . neat little poetry collection . . . Joe Blades is the author, and he definitely has an irreverent style, leaning heavily on weird segues and candour . . . considering he wrote these on an actual typewriter, Casemate Poems should be considered a victory for proponents of the anti-tech, if nothing else.”
Broken Pencil, No. 27

“Joe Blades’ casemate poems is probably the best work of his I’ve seen. Hopefully, his work will now get the attention it deserves.”
—rob mclennan

“Blades’ poetry is written by activating different layers of human knowledge and by articulation of this knowledge, for example, in narrations of history and geography. He moves in time (historical perspective) and in space (for example, actual events in the world at the time, such as the attack on the World Trade Center, or pointing to the contemporary racist attitudes of specific countercultures). Poetry is not a separate sacred sphere (although this point of view is not negated), but a sphere where it is possible to articulate a critical approach to the past and contemporaneity. I would like to mention the consciousness of contemporary multicultural world, and of its tendency to acknowledge the significance of marginalized cultures. Blades’ poetry participates in the construction of social everyday activities . . .”
—Dubravka Đuric, „O ovoj knjizi“, from Pesme iz kazamata (Beograd: Rad, 2005)

The two suites of “casemate poems” were written during two one-week artist-in-residence stints in 2003 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. These were public, interactive, residencies with visitors passing though the casemate workspace with two concurrent artists-in-residence scheduled for any given week.
During his residency, Blades had a typewriter set up on a table facing the open doorway of the casemate. It was always primed with a sheet of paper. In the tradition of writers in storefronts, as Blades finished composing each poem, it was attached to the casemate wall. Blades also took photographs inside and from within the casemate looking outward: images of the casemate itself, of his art in progress, photographs of the weaving looms, of the potter and pottery turned.
In this volume, Blades’ poems and photographs are combined to produce a work that reflects the immediacy of their composition while enabling the reader to experience Blades' writing at their own pace.

About the Author
Joe Blades is not just a poet. He is Publisher of Broken Jaw Press Inc., and on the editorial board of ellipse magazine. Blades has been based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, since 1990. He is the editor of six books including Jive Talk: George Fetherling in Interviews & Documents and the chapbook some stuff on canadian spoken word & indie publishing (NCRA/ANREC, 2004). He was curator of Videopoems: A Screening for the Tidal Wave Film Festival 2003. Since 1995, he has been a community radio producer/host at CHSR 97.9 FM with the weekly Ashes, Paper & Beans: Fredericton’s Writing & Art Show. Blades, the author of over a score of chapbooks and artist books, has contributed to numerous anthologies and periodicals. His full-length poetry collections are Cover Makes a Set (SpareTime Editions, 1990), River Suite (Insomniac Press, 1998), Open Road West (Broken Jaw Press, 2000, 2001), and casemate poems (Widows & Orphans, 2004).

• media and review copy mailout

Individuals may order directly from the author. Please add $2 for postage and $0.98 GST.
Joe Blades / Maritimes Arts Projects Productions
Box 5696 Stn A
Fredericton NB E3B 5A6

Selected Readings/Activities
• 19 Sept. 2004: The Word on the Street Halifax, Pier 20, Halifax, NS
• 17 Oct. 2004: inaugeral Odd Sundays Reading Series, Fredreicton, NB
• 22 Oct. 2004: Belgrade International Book Fair, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro
• 20 Jan. 2005, Mother Tongue Books, Ottawa, ON
• 9 March 2005, Read an eBook Week, Fredericton Public Library, Fredericton, NB
• 26 April 2005, 11 am–2 pm: Independents’ Day at Westminster Books, 445 King St, Fredericton, NB

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© copyright Joe Blades/Broken Jaw Press Inc. 2004-2007.