Jason “Blackbird” Selman is a Montréal-born poet, trumpet player and community worker. He is the author The Freedom I Stole (2007, Cumulus Press), Africa As A Dream That Travels Through My Heart (2016, Howl) and co-editor of the poetry anthology Talking Book (2006, Cumulus Press), which chronicles the writings of Kalm Unity Vibe Collective (of which he is a founding member). He has done extensive poetry workshops across the Montréal area in schools and community groups. His work is grounded in the themes of ethno-musicology, surrealist expression, love and the intersection of masculinity and emotional vulnerability.
As a teen I enjoyed writing poetry in school but didn't read that much poetry outside of school until later. It was the lyrics of rappers of the golden age of rap that inspired me to write poetry. I wanted to be as informative, insightful, and clever as they were. At first I tried to write raps but I never accessed my authentic voice while doing so. Once I decided to write poems instead, my true voice came out and I was able to take flight.
I started writing poetry around 15-16 years old. I began to see myself as a poet somewhere in my early 20s after several years of performing and self-publising my work.
To speak on the important issues of the day. To remind people of their own humanity and the humanity of others. To express the beauty of the world and to give people hope. To express what the average person is feeling but does not have the capacity to say.
“Chicago,” by Carl Sandburg.
I am interested in his tone in the poem and his description of Chicago. As a poet born and raised in Montréal, I would like to write a poem inspired by Mr. Sandburg`s poem about Montréal.