Jason Selman

Jason Selman's picture
Photo credit: 
Melika Dez
Biography: 

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.

 

Micro-interview: 
Did you read poetry when you were in high school? Is there a particular poem that you loved when you were a teenager?: 

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.

When did you first start writing poetry? And then when did you start thinking of yourself as a poet?: 

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.

What do you think a poet’s “job” is?: 

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.

If you had to choose one poem to memorize from our anthology, which one would it be?: 

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.

Publications: 
Poem title(s): 
Ashanti Proverb, Machine Gun
Title: 
Talking Book
Publisher: 
Cumulus Press
Editors: 
Kaie Kellough & Jason Selman
Date: 
2007
Publication type: 
Anthology
Poem title(s): 
Sedgwick Ave
Title: 
Great Black North
Publisher: 
Frontenac House
Editors: 
Valerie Mason-John, Kevan Anthony Cameron, ed.
Date: 
2012
Publication type: 
Anthology