Monday, October 19, 2009

Hands on: John Barton

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Given that THIN AIR is over - and I didn't have the handy excuse of the bloggy blog with its monstrous need for content - John Barton wanted to know what I was going to do with his hands before he would plunk his tastefully adorned fingers down on the signing table at McNally's.

I'm not sure if it helped or hurt that I'd just finished reading in support of his trip to Winnipeg. (Heh.)

All of that notwithstanding, I think Barton OWNS that pinkie ring.

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John Barton has published nine books of poetry and five chapbooks, including Designs from the Interior, Sweet Ellipsis, Hypothesis, and Hymn, which was released by Brick Books in August. A third and bilingual edition of West of Darkness: Emily Carr, a self-portrait, his third book, was published by Buschek Books in 2006. Co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay-Male Poets, he has won three Archibald Lampman Awards, an Ottawa Book Award, a 2003 CBC Literary Award, and a 2006 National Magazine Award. He lives in Victoria where he is the editor of The Malahat Review.

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I think I'm going to keep on doing what I'm calling the Hands On Project.

Partly because I'd much rather have a picture of a writer's hands than their autograph in a book but mostly I'm curious about what different writers' hands look like and the intersection of function and aesthetic.

Also, taking a picture of hands at rest is similar to taking pictures of mushrooms. Everyone knows what a mushroom is, but it's only when you examine them up close that you get to see the exquisite details...

Finally, I'm curious about the different intimacy of shooting someone's hands, of observing what the writers say about their hands as I'm shooting them.

Except John Barton. And Margaret Sweatman. Both kept their silence.

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