A bold experiment in autobiography, Lost Family: A Memoir is a book of sonnets that centres around the deaths of John Barton's mother and sister, but tracks much of the poet's early life in Alberta through to a conflicted, restless adulthood. Alongside tales of love, friends and mentors, intolerance, AIDS, and the struggle for equality, Barton's collection--his first in eight years--explores how being gay rewrites and expands one's sense of lineage, both inherited and chosen. A book of penetrating self-awareness and humility, marked by powerful image-making, Lost Family: A Memoir is a profound test of poetry's ability to give coherence to life. It is also a celebration of the sonnet form, that finely made reliquary that permits memory to take shape.
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 John Barton:
"Barton is simply too large and too prodigious and too protean a talent," --Journal of Canadian Poetry
"Barton's work is a brilliant example of grace on display," --Bay Area Reporter