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Poetry Canadian

West of Darkness

by (author) John Barton

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Sep 1999
Canadian, General, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1999
    List Price

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Here, in a new edition reprint of John Barton’s Archibald Lampman Award-winning classic, is a portrait in verse of the venerable and eccentric Emily Carr. Barton explores the West Coast landscape that was her inspiration with its cathedrals of cedars and the swirling skies of her own imagining. With an introduction by Kate Braid, author of To This Cedar Fountain, Barton’s own artistry is made available to the host of fans it garnered on its original printing and to those legions which have followed his career for the last fifteen years.

Emily Carr wrote in her journal in the early thirties: "Avoid outrageousness and monstrosity. Be vital, intense, sincere. Distort if it is necessary to carry your point but not for the sake of being outlandish. Seek ever to lift the painting above the paint." Barton heeds her words, penning a fine literary work which is representational rather than documentary, impressionistic rather than exact, creating art that betrays the artist intact in spirit, fortitude and legacy.

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.

John Barton's profile page

Other titles by John Barton