In We Are Not the Avatars, renowned poet and editor John Barton collects his most provocative essays, public lectures, and reviews produced over the past twenty-five years. Though Canadians still have some way to go, Barton began publishing in an era much less attentive to queer voices. In this special book, Barton grafts his own memoir about finding his voice as a poet and feet as an editor to astute takes on Margaret Avison, Emily Carr, Pat Lowther, Maureen Hynes, Anne Szumigalski, and many others. Making this book even more essential reading is the larger cultural context Barton brings to bear by writing about the historical production evolution and reception of queer writing in the lengthening shadow of equity.
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.