John Barton (poet)

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John Barton
Born 1957
Edmonton, Alberta
Occupation Poet
Language English
Nationality Canadian

John Barton (born 1957) is a Canadian poet.


Barton was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1957 but was raised in Calgary.[1] He studied at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Quebec, Victoria University, and Columbia University in New York.

Barton has written ten books of poetry.

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] 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. 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.





  • 1995: Destinations, Leaving the Map, above/ground press
  • 1999: Oxygen, above/ground press
  • 1999: Shroud. Viola Leaflets. ISBN 978-0-9684308-0-4. 
  • 2003: Runoff. Viola Leaflets. 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)


  • John Barton, ed. (1998). We all begin in a little magazine: Arc and the promise of Canada's poets, 1978-1998. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. ISBN 978-0-88629-325-3. 
  • John Barton, Billeh Nickerson, ed. (June 1, 2007). Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets. Arsenal Pulp Press. ISBN 978-1-55152-217-3. 


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