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About this poet

Christian Barter was born and raised in Maine. He received a BA in music composition from Bates College in 1990 and an MFA in poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 1997. In 2008, he received a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University.

Barter is the author of Bye-bye Land, winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2017; In Someone Else’s House (BkMk Press, 2013), winner of the 2014 Maine Literary Award for Poetry; and The Singers I Prefer (CavanKerry Press, 2005), which was a finalist for the 2006 Lenore Marshall Prize given by the Academy of American Poets.

The poet Tony Hoagland writes, “What a good poet Christian Barter is, whose poems make you believe—a difficult artistic feat—that poetry is an utterly natural act.  Reading them is like being handed a set of x-rays in the doctor’s office; you look at them, dumbfounded at how familiar these blurry shapes are—‘Oh yes,’ you think, ‘that is my youth, that is my brain, those are my dreams, that is my heart—’”    

In 2016, Barter was named poet laureate of Acadia National Park in Mount Desert, Maine. He lives in Bar Harbor, Maine.


Bibliography

Bye-bye Land (BOA Editions, 2017)
In Someone Else’s House (BkMk Press, 2013)
The Singers I Prefer (CavanKerry Press, 2005)

The Final Movement of a Late Quartet

            on Beethoven’s Opus 131 in C-sharp minor

Until the last three hammer strokes batter
through its dense walls with the light of C-sharp major, this

is the darkest music we know and yet
there is no struggle here, no pain,

just death strolling around in some city it made
within us long ago, death’s version of joy,

and even the lilting, major-key second theme
is not some hope flowering over the grave or even

a long last look from our sweetest love,
but rather, death smelling the air in some

garden it planted within us long ago.
Until the last three hammer strokes

batter through with the life of C-sharp major,
no wonder we’re inclined to think

these places are not that important to us—though strange,
and undeniably beautiful—we who sit

with our ipods in the thicknesseses
of late March sun, our lovers creaking the floor downstairs,

deep in the citadel of our years.

From In Someone Else’s House (BkMK Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Christian Barter. Used with the permission of the author.

From In Someone Else’s House (BkMK Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Christian Barter. Used with the permission of the author.

Christian Barter

Christian Barter is the author of In Someone Else’s House (BkMk Press, 2013), winner of the 2014 Maine Literary Award for Poetry. He lives in Bar Harbor, Maine.

by this poet

poem

It is very high, and notched in places, so that there is the appearance to one at sea, as of seven or eight mountains extending along near each other. The summit of most of them is destitute of trees… I named it Île des Monts Déserts. 
—Samuel de Champlain, 1604

 

When Samuel de Champlain

poem

When he got there, a ring of us
were leaned on cars outside Terry’s garage—
guys around forty and me, twenty-seven—
when he got there in that little pickup
frail with rust, an aquarium of tools
through the truck cap window. It was
Terry who told him—for once in weeks
no anger in

poem

I know a woman who calls me
every week or so when she has something
on her mind and starts by saying,
"I have something to talk about
but let's start by talking about
something else." It helps her get it out.
So I ask her how she is and she says
okay and tells me about some poet