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John Barton quotes (32)

A literary journal is intended to connect writer with reader; the role of the editor is to mediate.
John Barton   Category:

An experienced reader uses the poem as an agent of inquiry. This makes poetry very exciting, unstable, and interactive.
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I became intrigued with colour theory. The absurd pronouncements of the Colour Institute, a group that decides what colours are hot each year or season, amused me.
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I consider a poem to be a kind of experiment where a number of elements are brought together under test conditions to see how they will interact to create meaning or relevance.
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I feel very connected to poets across the country.
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I find it exhausting to administer a magazine without an office or paid staff.
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I have always been very obsessed with time. Time's passage makes us all very vulnerable and because we all experience it in our own way, it can make us feel very alone.
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I have become intrigued with the combining of seemingly unrelated ideas or images, or the drawing upon the many, sometimes dissimilar, meanings a word might have.
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I have been told by a member of the board of one of Canada's most prominent literary magazines that a submission of mine once caused a great deal of controversy.
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I sometimes like to tinker with poems that have failed, ones that I have sent aside. Even years afterward, I will revisit them if there is something about them that I cannot give up on.
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I would not say I chose to write long poems on a conscious level. The long poem has been a relative constant.
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If poetry alters the way in which the reader views the world, then it has had its desired effect.
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In the past, poetry came in the form of spells and chants used to effect change.
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Most victims of my autobiographical verse are either far too polite, remarkably understanding unaware that I have written poems about them.
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My obsession with time informs my poetry so completely it is hard for me to summarize it. We want time to pass, for new things to happen to us, we want to hold on to certain moments, we don't want our lives to end.
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No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?
John Barton   Category: Poetry

Poetry is but another form of inquiry into the nature of phenomena, using with its own unique procedures and tools.
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Poets can't resist the dramatic pull of their lives and so inevitably write autobiographical verse.
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Poets have to be sensitive to their audience, but it does not mean that they censor themselves. I realise my audience is diverse. Some will read with empathy and curiosity while others will take offense.
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Reading should be a repeat performance.
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Some readers allow their prejudices to blind them. A good reader knows how to disregard inappropriate responses.
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Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered into by reading other poems.
John Barton   Category: Poetry

The community of poets I belong to is not as close as it used to be, if only for the fact that our lives have become busier: jobs, children, and the like.
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The experiment of the poem is mostly intuitive. I write the first draft, pulling in the various elements that interest me, in the hope that their being combined will lead to some kind of insight.
John Barton   Category:

The poet must decide not to impose his feelings in order to write without sentimentality.
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The point of an experiment is not to arrive at a predetermined end point, to prove or disprove anything, but to deliver a poem that reveals much about the process taken.
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The reader's challenge is to replicate the experiment by reading the poem and to draw their own conclusions.
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To me many short poems read and write like beginnings that simply whet my appetite; I want to get over that.
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We are comfortable with the fact that we cannot know personally what happened in the world before we were born, yet we are uncomfortable with the notion that we will stop engaging with time at some point in the future.
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Who is the ideal reader? God only knows.
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Writing can sometimes be exploitative. I like to take a few steps of remove in order to respect the privacy of the subject. If readers make the link, they have engaged with the poem.
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You can never step into the same book twice, because you are different each time you read it.
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