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My obsession with time informs my poetry so completely
by John Barton

My obsession with time informs my poetry so completely
it is hard for me to summarize it.
We want time to pass, for new things to happen to us,
we want to hold on to certain moments,
we don't want our lives to end.
- John Barton

Sometimes poetry is inspired by the conversation entered
into by reading other poems.
- John Barton

No poem is easily grasped; so why should any reader expect fast results?
- John Barton

In the past, poetry came in the form of spells and
chants used to effect change.
- John Barton

 

To me many short poems read and write like beginnings
that simply whet my appetite;
I want to get over that.
- John Barton

I feel very connected to poets across the country.
- John Barton

I have always been very obsessed with time.
Time's passage makes us all very vulnerable and because
we all experience it in our own way,
it can make us feel very alone.
- John Barton

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You can never step into the same book twice,
because you are different each time you read it.
- John Barton

Writing can sometimes be exploitative.
I like to take a few steps of remove in order to respect
the privacy of the subject.
If readers make the link, they have engaged with the poem.
- John Barton

The poet must decide not to impose his feelings in
order to write without sentimentality.
- John Barton

Poetry is but another form of inquiry into the nature of phenomena,
using with its own unique procedures and tools.
- John Barton

Most victims of my autobiographical verse are either far too polite,
remarkably understanding unaware that I have written poems about them.
- John Barton

I consider a poem to be a kind of experiment where
a number of elements are brought together under test
conditions to see how they will interact to create meaning or relevance.
- John Barton

The reader's challenge is to replicate the experiment
by reading the poem and to draw their own conclusions.
- John Barton

The community of poets I belong to is not as close as it used to be,
if only for the fact that our lives have become busier:
jobs,
children, and the like.
- John Barton

I have been told by a member of the board of one of
Canada's most prominent literary magazines that a submission
of mine once caused a great deal of controversy.
- John Barton

The point of an experiment is not to arrive at a predetermined end point,
to prove or disprove anything, but to deliver a poem
that reveals much about the process taken.
- John Barton

An experienced reader uses the poem as an agent of inquiry.
This makes poetry very exciting, unstable,
and interactive.
- John Barton

Who is the ideal reader? God only knows.
- John Barton

Some readers allow their prejudices to blind them.
A good reader knows how to disregard inappropriate responses.
- John Barton

I became intrigued with colour theory.
The absurd pronouncements of the Colour Institute,
a group that decides what colours are hot each year or season,
amused me.
- John Barton

Poets can't resist the dramatic pull of their lives
and so inevitably write autobiographical verse.
- John Barton

I find it exhausting to administer a magazine without an office or paid staff.
- John Barton

I sometimes like to tinker with poems that have failed,
ones that I have sent aside.
Even years afterward, I will revisit them if there
is something about them that I cannot give up on.
- John Barton

I would not say I chose to write long poems on a conscious level.
The long poem has been a relative constant.
- John Barton

If poetry alters the way in which the reader views the world,
then it has had its desired effect.
- John Barton

I have become intrigued with the combining of seemingly
unrelated ideas or images,
or the drawing upon the many, sometimes dissimilar,
meanings a word might have.
- John Barton

A literary journal is intended to connect writer with reader;
the role of the editor is to mediate.
- John Barton

Reading should be a repeat performance.
- John Barton

Poets have to be sensitive to their audience,
but it does not mean that they censor themselves.
I realise my audience is diverse.
Some will read with empathy and curiosity while others will take offense.
- John Barton

We are comfortable with the fact that we cannot know
personally what happened in the world before we were born,
yet we are uncomfortable with the notion that we will
stop engaging with time at some point in the future.
- John Barton

The experiment of the poem is mostly intuitive.
I write the first draft, pulling in the various elements that interest me,
in the hope that their being combined will lead to some kind of insight.
- John Barton

If a warrior is to succeed at anything,
the success must come gently,
with a great deal of effort but with no stress or obsession.
- Carlos Castaneda

I've been called many names like perfectionist,
difficult and obsessive.
I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the
details for any artist to be good.
- Barbra Streisand

Love is an obsession.
It has that quality to it.
But there are healthy obsessions, and mine is one of them.
- Pamela Stephenson

The work is a calling.
It demands that type of obsession.
- John Pomfret

Without obsession, life is nothing.
- John Waters

My introduction to the Brady book was an attempt to
nail the exact same idea since Brady addressed the point.
And since I write pornography, naturally,
something of an obsession for me.
- Peter Sotos

Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity,
because with an obsession you keep coming back and
back and back to the same question and never get an answer.
- Norman Mailer

The discussion of ideas as opposed to the American
narcissistic obsession with what's going on with the self,
that's the general thing people are talking about.
- Stanley Crouch

I had an obsession that I was male characters from movies.
- Illeana Douglas

Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend,
very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon
a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.
- Napoleon Hill

Dancing is my obsession.
My life.
- Mikhail Baryshnikov

The painter's obsession with his subject is all that
he needs to drive him to work.
- Lucian Freud

What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas,
but their obsession with the idea that what has already
been said is still not enough.
- Eugene Delacroix

What can we say about a marketing culture that so openly
feeds and colludes with obsession? The Disney empire
has developed this to an unprecedented degree of professionalism.
- Rowan Williams

In America, sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it's a fact.
- Marlene Dietrich

My significant other right now is myself,
which is what happens when you suffer from multiple
personality disorder and self-obsession.
- Joaquin Phoenix

Obsession is an attractive thing.
People who are really, really interested and good at
one thing and smart are attractive,
if they're men.
- Meryl Streep

Sex.
In America an obsession.
In other parts of the world a fact.
- Marlene Dietrich

Our current obsession with creativity is the result
of our continued striving for immortality in an era
when most people no longer believe in an after-life.
- Arianna Huffington

I think life's an irrational obsession.
- Sean Penn

The obsession with performance left no room for the
development of the intuitive or spiritual impact of
space and form other than the aesthetic of the machine itself.
- Arthur Erickson

Obsession led me to write.
It's been that way with every book I've ever written.
I become completely consumed by a theme,
by characters, by a desire to meet a challenge.
- Anne Rice

The trade of authorship is a violent,
and indestructible obsession.
- George Sand

I believe that all my work explores the human desire
or obsession for utopias,
and the structure of all my works is the search for
utopias lost and rediscovered.
- Marguerite Young

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
- Claude Monet

The obsession with suicide is characteristic of the
man who can neither live nor die,
and whose attention never swerves from this double impossibility.
- Emile M. Cioran

Probably I chose immortality because mortality is a
universal human obsession.
- Joan D. Vinge

I get very caught up with things.
I used to be dominated by domestic things.
I had a lovely house in LA-and it became this growing,
mad obsession.
- Kyle MacLachlan

The creative habit is like a drug.
The particular obsession changes, but the excitement,
the thrill of your creation lasts.
- Henry Moore

I learn from thinking about the future,
what hasn't been done yet.
That's kind of my constant obsession.
- John Cale

I marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people.
Their best characteristic is their desire to remember.
No other people has such an obsession with memory.
- Elie Wiesel

Under popular culture's obsession with a naive inclusion,
everything is O.K.
- Stanley Crouch

Yes and our obsession with youth in our culture and how we,
women lie about their age after 35 obsessively and
no one wants to let anyone know they're getting older,
et cetera.
- Sela Ward

Yet another thing Canadians and Europeans have in common
is an obsession with the United States,
and with distinguishing themselves from it,
often by crude stereotyping.
- Timothy Garton Ash

Women have this obsession with shoes.
- Alexandra Paul

I do not think that obsession is funny or that not
being able to stop one's intensity is funny.
- Jim Dine

I'm a guy who just wanted to see his name in the lineup everyday.
To me, baseball was a passion to the point of obsession.
- Brooks Robinson

Time, in general, has always been a central obsession of mine -
what it does to people,
how it can constitute a plot all on its own.
So naturally, I am interested in old age.
- Anne Tyler

I have an intense obsession with making films.
I not only love to make films, I perhaps need to make films.
- Jacqueline Bisset


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