A journey in search of love through the contemporary homoerotic male body.
Improvising on a variety of poetic forms and traversing disparate landscapes -- from Belfast to the clear-cuts of Vancouver Island, from the subterranean heat of Jules Verne's Iceland to the ventriloquism of the Alberta Rockies' echoing eastern slopes -- John Barton documents the path of the male body in the search for love in an increasingly unstable, supposedly tolerant contemporary world. Hymn, stokes the fires of homoerotic romantic love with its polar extremes of intimacy and solitude.
. .. though he files all forethought of the unknown life now going
on without him, a life he confuses with his own, his life promiscuous
however rearranged his surfaces or clean his drawers, the unclarifying
distractions of the body portentous in his downfall, the downfall
of his own body a matter of time, but thinking of the man who left
the accidental man come between them, the man he may yet become
it is impossible for him not to sing them unwashed hymns of praise.
-- from "Hymn"
John Barton has published nine previous collections of awardwinning poetry, six chapbooks, and two anthologies, including Hidden Structure; West of Darkness: Emily Carr, A Self-Portrait; Sweet Ellipsis; Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay-Male Poets and Hymn. He has won three Archibald Lampman Awards, a Patricia Hackett, an Ottawa Book Award, a CBC Literary Award and a National Magazine Award. Born and raised in Alberta, he worked as a librarian and editor for five national museums in Ottawa, where he also co-edited Arc Poetry Magazine and Vernissage: The Magazine of the National Gallery of Canada. John Barton lives in Victoria, where he edits The Malahat Review. For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin is his tenth book.
"A touch of the enterprising scientist informs John Barton's Hymn. .. his work is passionate and probing, filled with vivid turns of phrase. "--Barbara Carey, Toronto Star
"Hymn is heavy with loneliness and loss; with sex and glimmers of love . .. perfect poetry for the tired, fragile, lonely and hopeful. " --E. G. Anderson, Monday Magazine
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