In Memory of Publisher Joe Blades

"Joe fell into the mode of a true small-press enthusiast. As a writer, publisher and broadcaster, he was committed to the written word."

On Friday, April 22 the publishing world lost Joe Blades of Fredericton, the former publisher of Broken Jaw Press.

“Joe fell into the mode of a true small-press enthusiast,” said Susanne Alexander, publisher at Goose Lane Editions. “As a writer, publisher and broadcaster, he was committed to the written word.”

Colleagues remember Joe as eccentric, amiable, well read, well travelled and a joy to be around.

He served as former president of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association, one of many leadership roles he held in the arts community over the years.

Joe’s friend, Ottawa poet and novelist Rob Mclennan, noted on his blog that Blades was a hands-on mentor who took pains to acclimate him to New Brunswick’s literary landscape. “It is striking for me to realize that Joe was an early mentor to me and my activity—even acting at times as an older brother—in a hands-on way that so many others I would consider mentors and supporters during those early days of my writing life simply didn’t…”

Mclennan’s post is a beautiful and personal tribute, noting elements of the man most wouldn’t know: “There were things about Joe that were constant: his expansive notebook, where phone numbers, emails, appointments and first drafts of poems were collected…He collected ‘lost dog’ posters he pulled from telephone poles.”

This past week he was memorialized via social media by many writers from across Canada:


Written By

Chris Benjamin is the managing editor of Atlantic Books Today. He is also the author of Boy With A Problem; Indian School Road; Eco-Innovators and Drive-by Saviours; as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals.

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