Shortlisted for the 1997 Gerald Lampert Award
The poems in Calm Jazz Sea reveal a world forever becoming and disappearing, watched over and handled gently by the compassionate intelligence of Mike Barnes. In the everyday and the ephemeral meals, drinks, weather, work, moments of solitude or connection he finds ways to engage the secret matter of humanity: what horrifies, astonishes, or comforts us. Like the sea of the title, restless and receptive, the language of the poems moves through many levels of voice: from an easy vernacular to the strain of conversation, or from the precise record of sensual matter to the insubstantial gestures that constitute thought.
About the author
Mike Barnes is the author of the novels Catalogue Raisonn? and The Syllabus, the short fiction collections Aquarium -- winner of the 1999 Danuta Gleed Award -- and Contrary Angel, and two poetry collections, Calm Jazz Sea, shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial award, and a thaw foretold. His stories have appeared twice in Best Canadian Stories, three times in The Journey Prize Anthology, and won the Silver Medal for Fiction at the National Magazine Awards. He was the subject of a feature issue of The New Quarterly (Summer 2001) which included an interview and three new stories. In 2008 he released his first non-fiction title, The Lily Pond: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, Myth and Metamorphosis. Formerly a piano teacher, fishing guide, janitor, steelworker, dishwasher, clock salesman, security guard, English teacher, in recent years he has been working as a private tutor. He lives in Toronto.