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Topic: John Barton

Inside the Blind: On Editing Poetry

Click here for Barton’s working papers on a Maureen Hynes poem. The editing process of this poem is discussed in detail in this article.

The Changed Meaning of Love: John Barton's For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin

With nine previous trade collections and a number of significant awards in his rear-view, John Barton is well within selected-poems territory. But as perhaps the first career retrospective by a Canadian openly gay male poet, For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin also charts the broad strokes of a 30-year sea change. In […]

Arc 73: Canada's Up-and-At-You Poetry Magazine

Emerging talents, ones-to-watch, and debuts. You’ll find them all in Arc’s up-and-comers issue, now on newsstands.

Lost and Found Poet #10: Douglas LePan

Douglas LePan: Queer Poet, GG Winner and WWII Veteran
Rediscovered by John Barton, co-editor of the recently published [_Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets_], which includes works by LePan.
Douglas LePan was born in Toronto in 1914 and died in 1998. He studied at the University of Toronto and Oxford before serving with the Canadian Army in Italy, an experience that informs his second book, _The Net and the Sword_ (1953). After the Second World War, he joined the foreign service, then left to teach at Queen’s University, Kingston becoming Principal of University College, University of Toronto. A man with a lifelong talent for hero worship, soon after his retirement, he published a memoir, _Bright Glass of Memory_, in 1979. It recounts his relationships with significant figures of his time, including Wyndham Lewis, General Andrew McNaughton, T. S. Eliot, and John Maynard Keynes. In 1990, at age 76, he published [_Far Voyages_], a landmark book of poetry in Canadian queer studies that also broke personal ground in its frank exploration of his relationship with a man almost thirty-five years his junior. A writer who won Governor General’s Awards for both poetry (in 1953) and fiction (in 1964), who was singled out for praise by Northrop Frye, and published many iconic poems about the Canadian experience, LePan is unjustly forgotten by today’s readers and critics. The essay in _Arc Poetry Magazine_ is the first ever published on his work and explores the telling ways in which he evokes ideas of the heroic in some of the most luminous poetry ever written by a Canadian.

John Barton on Sandra Kasturi's "Old Men, Smoking"

(How Poems Work, December 2005)
Like the title of a realist painting–say a work by Edward Hopper, who gave apt shorthand titles to his canvases (“Drug Store,” for example, or “A Woman in the Sun”) that summarized the landscapes or cityscapes, people, or moments he wished to frame–the throwaway evocative power of Sandra Kasturi’s title anchors her poem. Its power is reechoed throughout in phrases like “these old men who smoke” and “these men,” even in “they”–smaller and smaller skipping stones from which meaning devolves. And yet, like the old men she describes, Kasturi’s title is reticent. It betrays little or nothing of her themes….