Those are good questions and I have no answers for them.

the indefatigable rob mclennan interviewed me as part of his ‘Ottawa small press fair at home.’ You can read the whole interview here.

This whole endeavour has all brought me back to my roots, photocopying and stapling black and white art together and just getting it out there. It feels great.

The Desert and The Flood

Horsebroke_2 Production previewProud to announce The Desert and The Flood, new poetry from Amanda Besserer, is now available for pre-order via Horsebroke Press.

The Desert and The Flood is the first collection of poetry from Amanda Besserer in nearly a decade. After a long hiatus, Amanda has made re-emerged with a voice both romantic and grounded. Her poems tour the wreckage of lunar accidents, hop Charybdis, and dangle their feet from the rings of Saturn. Most of all, this is the poetry of a survivor; of someone who has learned when to purr—and when to roar.

Amanda will be reading at the Factory Reading Series in Ottawa on Friday June 17 at the Carleton Tavern (FB link). The book will be available there and at the Ottawa Small Press Fair the next day, Saturday June 18, at the Jack Purcell Centre (FB link). Pre-orders via Etsy will ship on June 17.

Want a taste of Amanda’s work? Visit and follow Revolution From My Bed.

New publications, tour dates

A lot going on, such as a beloved work in print: the first poem I wrote about my son (for my wife) has been published in (parenthetical) magazine from words(on)pages in Toronto. You may read it online but I strongly suggest ordering a copy of the magazine—words(on)pages produces beautiful books.


New chap-poem: A cento after Cameron Anstee’s  chapbook ever the night goes beautiful has been published as a chap-poem by Puddles of Sky Press—it’s called “the night goes” and it’s free with an order of something awesome, like the graphic novel issue of illiterature issue v. the graphic novel or The Hopeful Barnacle: New & Selected Poems of Andrew Nurse.


Two upcoming tour dates: Tues. June 28 at the Tree Reading Series (Ottawa) with Talya Rubin & my friend, the incredible JM Francheteau, and Sat. July 2 at Artfest (Kingston) with tourmates Cameron Anstee and Justin Million, and the wonderful Frances Boyle. Both those shows are free, so please come out and buy some chapbooks if you can. Artfest is going to be just incredible, with sixty poets reading in Kingston’s City Park over the long weekend. Cannot wait.

2016 05 22 Blackman Jeff author photo for Tree Reading -  credit K Maxfield

New title from Horsebroke press: My little press is taking on its first poet (who isn’t me) with a collection from Amanda Besserer. It will launch Fri. June 17 at the Factory Reading Series (Ottawa) and be available at the Ottawa Small Press Fair the next day (Sat. June 18). If you can’t make it to Ottawa, you’ll be able to order it via our Etsy store at that time. More details on this project very soon.

Praise for “So Long As The People Are People,” me

(Updated 5 September ’13)

I can’t help but toot my horn, but Amanda Earl (editor-in-chief of, all-around local-lit goddess) wrote a brief review of my launch. Visit her blog to read about my co-launchers, Christine McNair and Stephen Brockwell, as well as a ton of books from the June 2013 Ottawa Small Press Fair.

Jeff began his reading with a song & ended with one. He has such a beautiful & strong voice. If he wanted to take up a career as a singer, he could certainly do so. Some of the poems in this collection are political, zany, sexual. There is a sweet poignancy to his work. “just one man / can be the man / who kills the villain // one john doe / or bullet bill / one pinball / the Creator chose // you must press hard / as if the star misses you” from “Single Player’s Revival.” Lots of serious stuff is contained in poems about video games or domestic routine. When introducing Jeff, [Apt. 9 Press Chief] Cameron [Anstee] said something to the effect that Jeff is one of the few poets whose work consistently makes him laugh out loud. Poems such as “Two Virgins Ago” or “How to Kiss the Prime Minister” which he read are exactly why.

And more recent praise care of Pearl Pirie’s 95 Books Series:

“like a tight rope walker in the park he makes it look easy… as much self-awareness and audience awareness and profundity as a stack of books to my right were reaching for but didn’t quite reach, let alone with clarity and economy”

And even more praise, most recently care of JM Francheteau – who writes the best poems you’ve ever read/heard about professional wreslters – who smartly strikes at ‘what it was I was trying to say,’ better than anyone else thus far:

Blackman’s is a social poetry, concerned with the idea that what exists between people is people. Throughout, he juxtaposes observations on navigating married life with the frustrations of political dialogue, how each involves “grappling with the truth” that the other “is no mere reply to my voice.” Empathy requires attention, a sort of work. Without it, those who are different from us cease in our eyes to be people, and if they are not people then we aren’t either.

To get yourself a copy of So Long As The People Are People, contact Cameron Anstee at Apt. 9 Press.

If you can’t get enough of me, read my “Writers as Readers” interview with Open Books: Ontario. I reveal what book I’d send back in time to humble my seventeen-year-old self and my increasingly inappropriate response to 1984.

An Apt. 9 Production

so long cover

For immediate release

My first publication since Back to My Old Self (2011, Odourless Press) drops in two weeks at Raw Sugar Cafe on Somerset. I’m honoured to read along such talents as Stephen Brockwell and Christine McNair, and we hope to read to a full house. Raw Sugar is the perfect blend of down-to-earth cafe and old K-Mart restaurant where you can drink.

Here’s what’s in the book:
So Long As The People Are People

because Kate said Yes

Single Player’s Revival
National Survey
Nuts & Bolts
So Far Untitled
Song for David Currie
Day Planner
Poem for C.D. Howe
The Nesting Stuff of Humanity
You Are Not A Winner
How to Kiss the Prime Minister
Two Virgins Ago

Early bird special at the Ottawa Small Press Fair (probably like buy 2, get 1 free). Pre-orders may be taken via the publisher. So Long As The People Are People wherever fine zines are sold.