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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)

Heisenberg

We interfere with what we know by knowing it.
We interfere with what we do by doing it.
We interfere with what we love by loving it.

I guess you could say we’re the causes of our own loneliness.

We interfere with what we watch by watching it.
We interfere with what we write by writing it.
We interfere with what we think by thinking it.
We interfere with where we go by going there.

We are like Midas, or Medusa.

We interfere with life by living it.

In fact, one definition of perfection is simply
the way things are when we are not around.
Or might have been if I hadn’t said so.

One question, though: is all this actually true?
We interfere with what we ask by asking it.

If there is a God we will
surely ruin him by believing in him.

And yet we must exist, correct?

Don’t answer that!  You
who remain you only by your absence.

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

Down the driveway, standing on the Russell Farm Road,
nothing but stars over my neighbor’s field
and over my neighbor’s house which crouches
under them with its lit windows,
cozy and distant as a research station.
Between the bare branches left hanging
like threads on cut shirt sleeves

poem

            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

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