The author of eight books, six of which are poetry, Blaine’s most recent books are Aperature (poems, prose and photos of Afghanistan, 2008), and The Craving of Knives (2009), both of which were nominated for the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry. A young adult novel, African Adventure (translated as Aventure africaine) was published in 1990. His work has been published in Canadian and American literary journals.
He was co-founder of Sparks, Anthos, Ottawa Independent Writers and the Ottawa Valley Book Festival. He was President of the League of Canadian Poets, 1992-94.
He is working on a new manuscript of short stories (entitled Nomads), a series of poetry and on a work drawing upon his journal entries while living in Islamabad, Pakistan (August 2008-2010). He has just co-edited a collection of Pakistani poetry in English by 24 poets from Pakistan, the UK, US and Canada for Vallum Poetry Magazine, which will appear this coming December/January.
These men’s faces give back the somber mountains
rising high above this plain, the force of weather
gouging deep divides, barren folds and crevices,
the sun’s onslaught steeping soil to the pitch of tea.
These men and their families tenacious, scrub brush
wedged between layers of shale, eking out lives
precarious as their goats dangling over edges,
necks craned to tear at limp leaves as they find them.
These elders sitting cross-legged in council, the beaten earth
below them plush with rugs textured by tradition,
designs of their homeland, ever present memories
of what they have fled, of what has been left.
Dervishes of fine powder coat everything.
Mouths and throats are intense with dust. Yet
one man invokes Allah, the guidance of his wisdom,
his voice moist with hope, a spring of water.
The stories that pour forth are of terror and oppression
harder than the rocks among which they scratch,
coaxing what nourishment they can to feed their children,
who stand at a remove, ravenous for the words of their fathers.
Don’t forget us, the camp poet pleads. Listen to the wind.
Its howl is our voice. It has seized our pain and throws it
back at us. We are the dust it scatters here and there,
hurting our eyes like the torture that has scarred our bodies.