John Barton (poet)

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John Barton
Born1957 (age 64–65)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

John Barton (born 1957) is a Canadian poet.

Early life[edit]

Barton was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1957 but was raised in Calgary.[1]


Barton studied at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Quebec, Victoria University, and Columbia University in New York.

He originally wanted to study architecture but did poorly in calculus and was enrolled in English courses in the Faculté Saint-Jean at the University of Alberta. He became a poet upon realization that there were fewer factors affecting his ability to excel in his chosen vocation.[2][better source needed] In 1986, he graduated from the University of Western Ontario, with a Master of Library and Information Science.[3] Also, Barton studied Book Editing at the Banff Publishing Centre in 1994.[4]

Barton studied poetry with Eli Mandel, Gary Geddes, Robin Skelton, Joseph Brodsky, and Daniel Halpern.


Barton has written ten books of poetry.

Since 1980 his poems have appeared in seventy-five magazines and thirty anthologies in North America, the United Kingdom, India, and Australia.[5]

Barton was co-editor of Arc Poetry Magazine from 1990 to 2003. He edits The Malahat Review[6] and was poetry editor for Winnipeg's Signature Editions from 2006 5 to 2008. He co-founded the Poem of the Year Contest in 1996. He was writer-in-residence at the Saskatoon Public Library from September 2008 to May 2008.[7] During the 2010/11 academic year, he was writer-in-residence at University of New Brunswick and in the fall 2015 term, at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Additionally he worked as a librarian and editor for five museums in Ottawa between 1986 and 2003.[8] He has lived in Victoria, British Columbia since 2004.

He and Billeh Nickerson co-edited the anthology Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets, published in 2007 by Arsenal Pulp Press. In 2012 his Selected Poems were published by Nightwood.




  • 1981: A Poor Photographer. Sono Nis Press
  • 1984: Hidden Structure'. Ekstasis Editions
  • 1987: West of Darkness: Emily Carr, a Self-Portrait. Penumbra Press
  • 1993: Notes Toward a Family Tree. Quarry Press. 1993. ISBN 978-1-55082-066-9.
  • 1994: Designs from the Interior. Anansi. 1994. ISBN 978-0-88784-558-1.
  • 1998: Sweet Ellipsis. ECW Press. 1998. ISBN 978-1-55022-354-5.
  • 1999: West of Darkness: Emily Carr, a self-portrait 2nd ed edition. Dundurn Press Ltd. 1999. ISBN 978-0-88878-402-5.
  • 2001: Hypothesis. House of Anansi Press. 2001. ISBN 978-0-88784-659-5.
  • 2009: Hymn. Brick Books
  • 2012: For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems. Nightwood Editions
  • 2014: Polari. Goose Lane Editions


  • 1995: Destinations, Leaving the Map, above/ground press
  • 1999: Oxygen, above/ground press
  • 1999: Shroud. Viola Leaflets. 1999. ISBN 978-0-9684308-0-4.
  • 2003: Runoff. Viola Leaflets. 2003. ISBN 978-0-9684308-1-1.
  • 2004 Asymmetries, Frog Hollow Press Book One: House of the Present; Book Two: The Strata.
  • 2012: Balletomane: The Program Notes of Lincoln Kirstein. JackPine
  • 2016: Reframing Paul Cadmus: Pictures from an Exhibition. above/ground press


  • "Trends in Canadian Poetry", Educational Insights, 11(1)



External links[edit]