Drawn from nine collections published over thirty years, the thirty-eight poems in this retrospective reveal the poetic accomplishments of John Barton. In this collection, which is introduced by R.M Vaughan, Barton explores the role of love in contemporary society, the complexity of gay experience, the persistence of homophobia, the reinvention of the idea of family, and the fear and courage that AIDS engendered and how it continues to shape the search and attainment of intimacy.
This selected embraces Barton's passions for art, literature, the city and nature, including his ongoing passion for Emily Carr with four poems drawn from West of Darkness. Other personages make cameo appearances, including Andy Warhol, Frank O'Hara, Joseph Brodsky, M.C. Escher and C. P. Cavafy. Adolf Hitler has a dialogue-free, walk-on part early on.
What Barton accomplishes in For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin is best described by Barry Dempster: "This book reminds us of John Barton's stature as a consummate social poet, a topnotch lyricist, and a risk-taker of sometimes breathtaking scale."
About the author
John Barton has published ten previous collections of poetry and six chapbooks, including, most recently, Balletomane: The Program Notes of Lincoln Kirstein and For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems, which were respectively published by JackPine Press and Nightwood Editions in 2012. Co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay-Male Poets, he has won three Archibald Lampman Awards, an Ottawa Book Award, a CBC Literary Award, and a National Magazine Award. Since 1980, his poems have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers across Canada and in the United States, Australia, China, India, and the U.K. Previously a writer-in-residence at the Saskatoon Public Library and at the University of New Brunswick, he has taught at the Sage Hill Writing Experience, the Banff Centre, and the University of Victoria. From 1985 to 2003, he worked as a librarian, a production manager, a publications coordinator, and an editor for five national museums in Ottawa, where he edited Vernissage: The Magazine of the National Gallery of Canada, and, in his spare time, Arc Poetry Magazine. He was the poetry editor for Signature Editions from 2005 to 2008 and has been a manuscript editor for Brick Books since 2010. He has lived in Victoria since 2004, where he edits The Malahat Review. Polari is his eleventh collection of poetry.
Praise for <i>For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin</i>