ENG 356: Contemporary Canadian Poetry

Poets and People
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John Barlow

John Barlow of Canada has published eclectically and widely,

with Oversion Press, Homeworld books, and Oversion: The Post-Raphaelite Poetry

Magazine. He has published three books, all with Exile Editions:

Safe Telepathy, ASHINEoVSUN, and ASHINEoVSUN II.


In response to a request for a biography, John Barlow writes:

well i appreciated the inclusion of modes closer to my own
in those sought after. i'm mightily hesitant with interviews.
my basic discussion mode with my projects is practically
involuntarily ironic' pastiche' swivel' comedy
...if the last time someone asked i tilted it one way
the next time i'd tilt it totally the other 
..if i i was bored or distracted
i'd turn it into something else
and there's no one story anyway
Different periods of time different modes
all of which remain in progress in the present and future
and truly involuntary verbal behaviour that
relies on tonalities and blurred phases of sentences
veering around - i mean in the most basic sense
of while speaking sliding out of one topic
into another by leaving a few syllables
semi hearable as this or that.
process is better than result then we die.
With so many different magazines and projects and ways
of proceeding anything i say about it is almost meaningless,
whereas people like to try to nail something down
and pretend to understand it. --soundbyte culture is worse
but ultimately this effect functions the same.

All these things being unavoidably so,
i tend to try to urge that any interview be
done outdoors even in winter in a comfortable
patio circumstance with a pint in hand and at the ready
with a fair bit of show and tell.

....specially with the magazines, what nearly every one of them is
is an adjustment in structure or behaviour from the last

the best prop i have is photos of every magazine
from beginning to 97, and every home made book
from beginning to 98. Most things since then
are easily remembered and maybe even more
consciously planned. (thats 2 photos i'm talking about;
when i was boxing everything before leaving bathurst st
i photo'd them laid out on a big bedspread
in chronological order.

seems to me everything's that's done like that
interviews and all comes out inaccurate
and can't even hope not to do so.

Me and posterity live in two different worlds 

I do exist tho, so if a fine wintry kilgours patio
is amenable i could find those 2 photos
and tell all about it. (Part of the difficulties
is real life: my father's death in 97
and how that effected everything
really shatters any kind of continuity.
True literary fun is always on one wing
staring over an abyss. Specially the magazines since
are much more focused, much more clear minded,
while my own writing just about abandoned the finished product
closest to it maybe a backwards guitar low to the ground
kind of opinion forming and of course ship in a bottle

What are the chances many people ever know what i mean?

ive designed my life
so basic job labour thrives on it
and writing and magazine making exist without foundational
ties attached - they are mine like the light on unshorn corn in rows
or the enjoyment of music. it's hard to get that across
to the writing business people.



1. POET: either of his books, or the various other material he has published

2. PUBLISHER and EDITOR: Small Press Ephemera



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