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Poetry General

What Fox Knew

And Others

by (author) Mary Barnes

At Bay Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2019
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price

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With poems that both calm and awaken, Mary Barnes brings her Ojibwe roots to the fore and elegantly coaxes out the seemingly quiet world we often take for granted in What Fox Knew. In this masterful first collection, Barnes reveals this world anew, with tempered grace.

About the author

Mary Barnes is of Ojibwa descent. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and a winner of the Tom York Award for short fiction. She has written book reviews for The Antigonish Review and currently writes for Prairiefire. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as the Prairie Journal, Tower Poetry Society, and Voicings. Inspirations for her writing come from the landscape of her youth and everyday encounters. Her first collection of poetry What Fox Knew was released 2019 by At Bay Press and received two award nominations; The League of Canadian Poets Pat Lowther Award and the Manuela Dias Award. Born in Parry Sound, she now lives in Wasaga Beach with her husband Bob and writes, gardens, and talks to the birds.

Mary Barnes' profile page


  • Long-listed, Manuela Dias Award Award for Best Book Design

Editorial Reviews

”A beautifully designed book housing a strong set of sometimes-furious, sometimes-shy poems, What Fox Knew is a well-rounded debut collection.”
The Winnipeg Free Press

What Fox Knew, is a fascinating journey. It is epic in scope, delightfully composed, and rich in detail.”
Prairie Fire Magazine

What the Fox Knew is a beautiful collection of poems that lead us to reflect on the essential spaces of beauty, justice, love, home and nation. Barnes' poems are, to quote her, "thick as resin" and also gorgeously clear as amber in the light.”
— Juliane Okot Bitek, author of 100 Days, shortlisted for 2017 Pat Lowther Award and won the 2017 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Poetry

“Mary Barnes’ poetry collection, What Fox Knew, is epic in scope, delightfully composed, and so rich in
detail, reading it is a fascinating journey. Set in the Southern Georgian Bay area, the characters and their
chronicles reveal a deep past of First Nations peoples which shapes the poet’s vision and her narrative. Barnes
vividly layers existential questions and quests within her Ojibwa ancestry, drawn from family history and
meditations on the human condition. Ranging from reflective to tragic, from witty to spiritual to sensual, the
poems inhabit that volatile place between the public and the private, making the poems a must read for anyone
contemplating the world we live in, and most of all the matters of the heart envisaged in this thoroughly
engaging debut collection.”
— Bianca Lakoseljac is a novelist, poet, short story writer and essayist. Her latest novel, Stone Woman, (Guernica Editions) won the Book Excellence Award 2017 for Fiction. She is the recipient of the Matthew Ahern Memorial Award in literature at York University.

“Mary Barnes is a fresh new voice in Canadian poetry. Her words flow with grace and certainty, creating
images and evoking memories - some ancestral and others as familiar as home.”
— Judith Plaxton, author of Morning Star, nominated for Shining Willow award

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