An earlier, much smaller edition of casemate poems appeared as a
limited-edition book produced by Waterloo, Ontario publisher Widows and
orphans in 2004 as casemate poems, later translated and published in
Belgrade. As Blades himself wrote of that original edition:
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.
From: Pesme iz kazamata (Beograd: Rad, 2005)
To read Canadian poet and artist Joe Blades’ book of poetry casemate poems means to get knowledge about one very specific way of understanding poetry today. […] 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.
(translated from the Serbian by Dubravka Đurić.)
Joe Blades has been giving readings, performing and publishing his poetry since 1980.
Blades was born and raised in Nova Scotia. He's a graduate of NSCAD (BFA (Studio Major: Intermedia), 1988), and he recently completed a Film & Television Certificate Program through the NB Filmmakers' Cooperative. He is also an alumni of the Banff Centre, Maritime Writers Workshop, Sage Hill Writing Experience, and the Simon Fraser University Book Publishing Immersion Workshop.
His poetry and art have appeared in over 50 trade and chapbook anthologies and CDs, and in numerous periodicals. Blades has authored or edited 30 poetry chapbooks and limited edition artist books. His five full-length poetry books 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). Serbian translations of River Suite as Recna svita in the Slike iz kanade: Tri kanadska pesnika (SKC Nis), and Casemate Poems as Pesme iz kazamata (i.p. Rad), were published in 2005.