Sunglasses — John Barnie
Another outstanding collection from John Barnie, Sunglasses distils the work of a distinctive and accessible voice. The language is precise and accessible, yet each poem always says more than appears on first reading. Rooted in landscape and character, Barnie’s poetry shines an uncomfortable light onto issues of ecological degradation, mass extinction and mortality, yet remains lyrical and wry. He shakes a fist at the aging process, at the disappearance of species and at the insanities of modern politics and consumerist society, yet there is no note of bitterness. Acerbic? Sometimes. Cold? Never.
Praise for John Barnie;
Barnie’s poetry is girt with apprehension of time, including how it makes war on his body yet sharpens his mind. … His readers, a modest band of bluesologists, poetry freaks and beachcombers, are brought together on the edge of time’s abyss and encouraged to look down. To each of us, Barnie’s poems deliver a sly nudge. … Barnie for me is what R.S. Thomas was for earlier critics in the 1980s. I find his preoccupation with time far more attractive and yes, humane, than the older poet’s god-bothering. And crucially, Barnie’s ability to coin memorable images has grown in recent years, commensurate with his ability to pare his poetry to the essence. … Serious? Hugely. Ironic? Perhaps less than a practiced reader might expect. Yet his writing is packed with bittersweet humour. (Or is that where his real ironic gift lies?).
Robert Minhinnick, reviewing Departure Lounge in Wales Arts Review
John Barnie is a poet and essayist from Abergavenny, Gwent. John lived in Denmark from 1969-1982 and was the editor of Planet, The Welsh Internationalist from 1990-2006. He has published several collections of poems, mixed poems and fiction, and two collections of essays, one of which, The King of Ashes, won a Welsh Arts Council Prize for Literature in 1990. His collection Trouble in Heaven (Gomer, 2007) was on the Wales Book of the Year 2008 Long List. Cinnamon Press has published several previous collections:The Forest Under the Sea, The Roaring Boys, Wind Playing with a Man’s Hat, Departure Lounge, and Sunglasses as well as his latest collections, the richly illustrated Afterlives and A Report to Alpha Centauri. Cinnamon also published the memoir, Footfalls in the Silence and an anthology of poetry and prose in honour of John Barnie, Wired to the Dynamo, edited by Matt Jarvis.
John plays guitar in the blues and poetry group Hollow Log. He is a Fellow of Yr Academi.