by George J. Dance


Joe Rosenblatt in 2011. Courtesy Black Moss Press.

Joe Rosenblatt
Born Joseph Roseblatt
December 26, 1933
Toronto, Ontario
Occupation writer, artist
Nationality Canada Canadian
Education high school dropout
Alma mater Central Technical School
Notable work(s) Bumblebee Dithyramb, Top Soil, Poetry Hotel
Notable award(s) Governor General's Award, B.C. Book Prize

Joseph Rosenblatt (born December 26, 1933) is a Canadian poet who has won Canada's Governor-General's Award and British Columbia's B.C. Book Prize for Poetry.[1] He is also a talented artist, whose "line drawings, paintings, and sketches often illustrate his own and other poets' books of poetry."[2]


Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Rosenblatt grew up in the city's Kensington Market area and attended Lansdowne Public School.[2]

Later he went to Central Technical School, but dropped out and worked in a variety of blue-collar jobs.[3] In 1956 he became a laborer for the Canadian Pacific Railway.[4]

Rosenblatt began seriously writing poetry in the early 1960s. "He became interested in writing through his association with the worker poet Milton Acorn in the early sixties and the metaphysical poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen."[4] He "got his start with the help of other poets: Milton Acorn, Al Purdy and Earle Birney."[2]

His debut collection, The L.S.D. Leacock, was published in 1966. In the same year he received a Canada Council grant that allowed him to quit his railway job and write full-time.[4]

Since then, in his 40-year career, "Rosenblatt has written more than 20 books of poetry, several autobiographical works and his poems have appeared in over thirty anthologies of Canadian poetry.... He has traveled widely giving readings of his poems in Europe, Canada and the United States."[4]

Books in Canada wrote of him in 1988 that, "street smart, water wise, heaven bent, Joe Rosenblatt is a talented man, fisher of gods, and a school in himself. He makes you feel things that are hard to touch: bee fur, tadpoles, and the human heart."[2]

Rosenblatt sums up his philosophy of writing in this way:

I write to escape hyper reality – genocide of man, elephants and fish – the death of the ozone layer, the industrial degredation of the earth – My affordable opiate is my Muse. It allows me to float into a dream state and create an escapist literature. Let the prose-fanciers, the dog people as opposed to poetic feline fancier – indulge in grim reality. The very thought of reality gives me hives.[5]


A 1976 book of selected poems, Top Soil, won Rosenblatt the Governor General's Award for English language poetry or drama in 1976. [1]

A decade later, another book of selected poems, Poetry Hotel, won him the B.C. Book Prize for Poetry (now the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize) in 1986. [1]

"Rosenblatt has been writer in residence at several Canadian universities, as well as the University of Rome and the University of Bologna."[2] "Several bilingual volumes of his poetry have been published in Italian with translations by Prof. Alfredo Rizzardi of the University of Bologna, and Ada Donati of Rome"[4] (including a book of his sea sonnets, A Tentacled Mother).[2] "His poems have also been ... translated into French, Dutch, Swedish, and Spanish."[4]



  • Voyage of the Moon (chapbook). Heinrich Heine Press, 1963.[6]
  • The LSD Leacock. Toronto: Coach House, 1966.
  • Winter of the Luna Moth. Toronto: Anansi, 1968.
  • Bumblebee Dithyramb. Erin, ON: Press Porcepic, 1970.
  • Blind Photographer. Erin, ON: Press Porcepic, 1974.
  • Dream Craters. Erin, ON: Press Porcepic, 1975.
  • Virgins & Vampires. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1975.
  • Top Soil, Selected Poems (l962-1975). Erin: Press Porcepic, 1976.
  • Loosely Tied Hands. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1978.
  • Three Poet Artists (by Eldon Grier, P.K. Page, & Joe Rosenblatt). Burnaby, BC: The Gallery, 1978.[7]
  • The Sleeping Lady. Toronto: Exile Editions, 1980.
  • Brides of the Stream. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1983.
  • Poetry Hotel, Selected Poems (1963-1985). Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1985.
  • A Tentacled Mother. (in the original plus new sonnets). Toronto: Exile Editons, 1995.
  • The Voluptuous Gardener. (new poetry & selected drawings from Carleton University Art Gallery permanent collection) Vancouver, BC: Beach Holme Press, 1996.
  • Parrot fever (collages by Michel Christensen). Toronto: Exile Editions, 2002.
  • The lunatic muse, (edited by David Berry). Toronto: Exile Editions, 2007.
  • Dog, (by Joe Rosenblatt & Catherine Owen; photos by Karen Moe). Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2008.


  • Tommy Fry and the Ant Colony. Windsor: Black Moss, 1970.
  • Escape From the Glue Factory (autobiographical fiction). Toronto: Exile Editions, 1985.
  • The Kissing Goldfish of Siam (autobiographical fiction). Toronto: Exile Editions, 1989.
  • Beds & Consenting Dreamers (experimental novel). Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1994.

Collected editions Edit

  • The Rosenblatt Reader. (selected poems and prose, 1962-1995) Toronto: Exile Editions, 1995..
Conversation Between Mountain & Lake a poem by Joe Rosenblatt

Conversation Between Mountain & Lake a poem by Joe Rosenblatt

Except where noted, bibliographic information courtesy University of Toronto.[8]

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Joe Rosenblatt: Biography," Canadian Poetry Online. Web, Mar. 19, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Heather Pyrcz, "The Experimental Poets," A Digital History of Canadian Poetry,, Web, Apr. 22, 2011.
  3. Sharon Drache, "Rosenblatt, Joseph," Canadian Encyclopedia (Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988), 1887, Print.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Joe Rosenblatt,", Web, Apr. 22, 2011.
  5. "Joe Rosenblatt: Writing Philosophy," Canadian Poetry Online. Web, Mar. 22, 2011.
  6. Voyage of the Moon, AbeBooks Inc., Web, June 10, 2012. Note: The Canadian Encyclopedia mentions this book, but gives the title as Voyage of the Mood
  7. Search results = au:Eldon Grier, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Aug. 31, 2014.
  8. "Joe Rosenblatt: Publications," Canadian Poetry Online. Web, Mar. 22, 2011.

External LinksEdit

Audio / video
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).
This page uses content from Wikinfo . The original article was at Wikinfo:Joe Rosenblatt.
The list of authors can be seen in the (view authors). page history. The text of this Wikinfo article is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.
This is a signed article by User:George Dance. It may be edited for spelling errors or typos, but not for substantive content except by its author. If you have created a user name and verified your identity, provided you have set forth your credentials on your user page, you can add comments to the bottom of this article as peer review.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.