Departure Lounge - John Barnie

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Departure Lounge returns to the theme of mortality with characteristic insight and honesty. Concerned not only with how we characterise and cope with death, but with a sense of urgency for all that is being lost, culturally or ecologically, this is deeply intelligent collection. Accessible, yet exacting; lyrical, but without a wasted word, these poems unspool in single, unassailable sentences that ring with truth.

… these small, specific celebrations which make ‘Departure Lounge’ less like a dirge than a jazz album. There is something of the book of Ecclesiastes in the overall tone: eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Yet Barnie’s poetry does not advocate hedonism. Rather, he suggests we care for the earth, watch out for our neighbors, and seek out beauty, as he himself has done. ‘Poets,’ he writes, seek ‘a handful of words they hope will shine.’

Maria Apichella, New Welsh Review, Review 19, February, 2019



I like their funeral director style,
their smart can-do with a touch of violence
as they swoop to the lawn for crusts

scattering sparrows;
they only know what they need to know
and were you dead they'd fly down, too,

sizing you up, folding themselves
like black umbrellas
while they strode around.

Author biography