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Drawn from nine collections published over thirty years, the thirty-eight poems in this retrospective reveal the poetic accomplishments of John Barton. In this collection, which is introduced by R.M Vaughan, Barton explores the role of love in contemporary society, the complexity of gay experience, the persistence of homophobia, the reinvention of the idea of family, and the fear and courage that AIDS engendered and how it continues to shape the search and attainment of intimacy. This selected embraces Barton's passions for art, literature, the city and nature, including his ongoing passion for Emily Carr with four poems drawn from West of Darkness. Other personages make cameo appearances, including Andy Warhol, Frank O'Hara, Joseph Brodsky, M.C. Escher and C. P. Cavafy. Adolf Hitler has a dialogue-free, walk-on part early on. What Barton accomplishes in For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin is best described by Barry Dempster: "This book reminds us of John Barton's stature as a consummate social poet, a topnotch lyricist, and a risk-taker of sometimes breathtaking scale."
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