John Barton is the author of six award-winning collections of poetry including Notes Toward a Family Tree (co-winner of the 1995 Ottawa-Carleton Book Award), Designs from the Interior (winner of the 1995 Archibald Lampman Award) and Sweet Ellipsis. He is the co-editor of Arc: Canada's National Poetry Magazine and has been published in literary magazines in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. He lives in Ottawa.
West of Darkness
Here, in a new edition reprint of John Barton’s Archibald Lampman Award-winning classic, is a portrait in verse of the venerable and eccentric Emily Carr. Barton explores the West Coast landscape that was her inspiration with its cathedrals of cedars and the swirling skies of her own imagining. With an introduction by Kate Braid, author of To This Cedar Fountain, Barton’s own artistry is made available to the host of fans it garnered on its original printing and to those legions which have followed his career for the last fifteen years.
Emily Carr wrote in her journal in the early thirties: "Avoid outrageousness and monstrosity. Be vital, intense, sincere. Distort if it is necessary to carry your point but not for the sake of being outlandish. Seek ever to lift the painting above the paint." Barton heeds her words, penning a fine literary work which is representational rather than documentary, impressionistic rather than exact, creating art that betrays the artist intact in spirit, fortitude and legacy.