Detroit-based poet David Blair has passed away

I’m hoping that it’s not true, but I just heard that my friend, the celebrated poet David Blair has died… I’m at a loss for what to say, except that my thoughts are with his loved ones tonight, and that I’m sorry that I didn’t make more of an effort to see him when he was alive… In a world where very few have such insight and kindness, he will be sorely missed. Fortunately, though, I’m sure he will live on in the lives and work of all of those he touched over the years. That, I keep telling myself tonight, is something to be thankful for… Here, for those of you who never knew the pleasure of talking with David, or seeing him perform, is footage of him on stage in 2009.

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  1. Posted July 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Here he is, performing his Poem for Detroit.

  2. Ms. Pacman's Lover
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    With all the tradgedy in Norway, is David Blair’s death really newsworthy?

  3. Anonymatt
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    This is a horrible start to the week.

  4. Rhodes
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I find your comment extremely offensive, Ms. Pacman’s Lover. This isn’t gratuitous voyeurism. This is a personal friend who has died. You should be ashamed.

  5. Edward
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    According to reports, they’re thinking it was heat stroke. He was apparently also traveling at the time, as it says that his body was found by a hotel maid. This is a tragic loss for Detroit.

  6. Anonymatt
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    For the record, this is someone whom Mark and I went to high school with. I knew him in grade school as well, he was a year older.

  7. Mr. X
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    A sad day indeed.

    Here’s another performance video from 2009:

  8. gary
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    i will never be able to forgive him over his plagiarism scandal at the new york times.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I think you’re confusing him with Jayson Blair.

  10. Sad
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Let this be a reminder to everyone to reach out and reconnect with people who they love, admire and respect, and not to put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Hopefully David’s death, and the way people are responding to online and in the real flesh and blood world, also illustrates just how much of an impact that one good-hearted man can have in this crazy world of ours. Seeing all of these people come forward and sharing their memories of David is making me reconsider how I interact with others and what I contribute toward making the world a better place.

  11. Chairman Meow
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Also makes you want to get of Facebook for a moment and actually love people.

  12. Katie Sue
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    David was truly a rare talent and an amazing human being. I truly encourage people to watch his videos and hear his words. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. One has to wonder if not having health insurance kept David from seeking medical assistance when he started feeling sick. My understanding is that he went to a hotel to cool down, as his place did not have air. Tragic,tragic loss….

  13. Anonymatt
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t have seen David perform in NYC last year if we hadn’t reconnected in Facebook.

  14. Mr. X
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    If this really comes down to David not having health insurance, I’m going to take it out on our elected officials in a BIG FUCKING WAY. It’s bad enough if it was a sudden ailment that there was no planning for. It’s something different altogether of if he knew that he was ill and had nowhere to go.

  15. Mr. X
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I know that the hipsters want their statue of Robocop, but wouldn’t a statue of David be more fitting for Detroit?

  16. Mr. X
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    A new website and a David Blair Memorial Fund have been established.

  17. Mr. X
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Here he is doing a sadly appropriate rendition of Emily Dickinson’s “Farewell”.

  18. Mr. X
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The Metro Times has an article about his memorial service in Detroit, which includes photos.

    Last Sunday, at the corner of Cass Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Detroit, musicians, poets, artists, politicos and friends by the hundreds convened under the very hot sun, to mourn their recently departed compadre David Blair — or, more often, just Blair. They carried instruments of all sorts: tambourines, kazoos, various hand drums, guitars, one accordion. A New Orleans-style brass section was on hand and helped dampen the weeping, which was contagious. It had been a week to the day since we’d learned that Blair, 43 (though you’d never guess his age), had died.

    On Saturday, July 23, Blair’s body was discovered by a maid at the Corktown Inn, where he’d often go for the A/C during summer’s hottest days. Detroit was under an advisory, with a heat index of 98 degrees, and Blair had mentioned to more than one friend the day before that he hadn’t been feeling well. A medical examiner’s report is pending.

    A week and a day later, some of those dearest to Blair held up a banner that read “Detroit Loves Blair.” See, the social activist, poet and singer-songwriter David Blair was, in his words, “Made in Detroit,” even if he was born in New Jersey. He loved this city and that love was reciprocated. They had claimed each other more than a decade ago.

    When news of his passing hit the Internet, Blair’s Facebook page became a moving, real-time memorial. A blog written by Brett Callwood posted on MT’s website quickly became one of the most viewed articles in our site’s history. Then on Sunday, an incredibly diverse array of Detroiters collected to march behind the banner: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, straight, gay, transgendered, whole families and lone mourners.

  19. Posted December 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    We host a free tribute to Blair every year at SPirit SPit (Spirit of Hope Church) in Detroit at 1519 MLK Boulevard and Trumbull. It’s an open mic format that goes from 5 PM until friends and fans finish speaking and performing. Last year’s saw participation by members of his band, The Boyfriends, as well as several other local luminaries. This event is held on the 3rd Sunday of July. A link to the facebook page is below. We love, respect and celebrate Blair. Always. -w.!/events/341848125895224/

One Trackback

  1. By Being reminded of David Blair at POP-X on September 28, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    […] the kind of man that David was, and the poetry that he’d produced during his lifetime, that we’d continue to be reminded of him through the lives and work of others. Well, I saw evidence of that very ting this afternoon, as I was making my way through Liberty […]

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