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Listen. If

Douglas Barbour

Canadian Studies, Poetry

Paperback
Published: March 2017
ISBN: 9781772122541
Pages: 128 Size: 5.25x9

first snow falling slow
hangs in the air
a curtain drifting there
thickening sight
—"Winter"

In this new collection, Douglas Barbour experiments with what he calls "rhythmically intense open form." Listen. If presents technically innovative poetry that invites the reader to join in some serious play. Barbour’s vivid, ekphrastic poems engage an ongoing conversation among artworks—not only classic paintings but also popular music—while his lyric poems astutely, accessibly evoke places, moments, and feelings. This is poetry that takes up language both as the already-said and as a playground for brilliant technique. Leaping from love to landscapes, politics to jazz, Keats to Milne to Monk, these poems yearn to be spoken aloud for the pure joy of sound.

Douglas Barbour lives in Edmonton. The author of several books of poetry and criticism, he was inducted into the City of Edmonton Arts & Culture Hall of Fame in 2003.

In Barbour’s latest, there are some elements familiar through much of his work, from meditations to memorials, his ongoing engagements with world politics, and lines and narrative-threads composed with breaks of breath in and among.... There is a precision that Barbour writes out in each short breath-take, clipped and clear, even as the accumulation of those words and phrases come together to form a narrative both distinct and nebulous.

– rob mclennan