Douglas Barbour, poet, professor, critic, publisher (b at Winnipeg 21 Mar 1940). Douglas Barbour moved to Edmonton in 1969, where he later joined the english department at the University of Alberta. Barbour has read and performed his poetry across Canada and around the world. He is also a lecturer and important critic of contemporary Canadian poetry.
Minimalist, unmetaphoric, Douglas Barbour's work since Land Fall (1971) aims for precise linguistic equivalence to the poet's relation to what his eye sees, a theme worked out most fully in Visions of My Grandfather (1977). In Songbook (1973), Shore Lines (1979) and The Harbingers (1984), writing itself becomes the landscape: the poems create meaning largely through phonemic, often contrapuntal, sound patterns. This phase of Barbour's work finds its most radical development in his collaboration with Stephen SCOBIE in the "homolinguistic translations" of The Pirates of Pen's Chance (1981) and in their performance duo re:sounding.
Douglas Barbour's selected poems, Visible Visions (1984), concludes with "breath ghazals" which conjoin sound poetry and colloquialism in a new exploration of lyric. In Stories for a Saskatchewan Night (1990) Barbour's love of the contrapuntal rhythms of jazz is conjoined to his interest in intertextual literary forms: this lyrical collection includes variant homolinguistic translations and poems that proceed from and speak to other poets' lines.
Barbour's collection Fragmenting Body etc. (2000) includes the elegy "For bpNichol: These rememberings." He pays homage to another poet in his 2002 A Flame on the Spanish Stairs, in which the speaker is the dying Romantic poet John Keats. Continuations (2006) is a collaborative long poem, which Barbour created via email with Arizona poet Sheila E. Murphy. His work Wednesdays' was published in 2008 as part of above/ground press' limited edition ALBERTA SERIES #7.
Douglas Barbour is a member of NeWest Press (from 1978) and a former president of its board and a co-founder (with Shirley Neuman and Stephen Scobie) of Longspoon Press (1980-87). His literary criticism includes books and monographs on science-fiction writer Samuel Delany (1979) and on Canadian poets and novelists John NEWLOVE (1992), Daphne MARLATT (1992), bp NICHOL (1992) and Michael ONDAATJE (1993). His work Lyric/Anti-lyric: Essays on Contemporary Poetry was published in 2002. In 2005 Barbour's Transformations of Contemporary Canadian Poetry in English was published in Poland.