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Press Articles and Comments on Keith Barnes' Poetic Works

Keith Barnes, Œuvre poétique / Collected Poems. éditions d'écarts, 2003
Born to Flying Glass. Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967

On "The Thick Skin"

William Burroughs
(in a personal letter)

"I did like your work. It is finished, professional, and distinctive. 'Mediterranean' is a poem I like particularly."

On Born to Flying Glass

Edmund Fuller
(Wall Street Journal, June 13, 1967)

"A début of impressive qualities… There is original vision here, and he will surely be heard from further".

Elio Vittorini
(in a personal letter)

"Your poems about wartime London are particularly touching".

Bernard Valéry
(UK Press Gazette, 29 mai 1967)

"A more moving sing-song of a child's impressions of war I have never seen".

Louis Untermayer
(on the cover of the book)

"Keith Barnes accomplishes a rather extraordinary union : a blend of the beautiful and the bizarre. I can't decide which I like better : the bitter protests or the playful ironies. In any case, it's a welcome début."

Louis Untermayer
(in a personal letter)

"Your poem 'Sharper than my eyes' is one of the most erotic poems I have read. "

Laurie Lee
(in a personal letter)

"Your book is a genuine star in a sky of reflections."

On his poetic work as a whole

Virginia Haggard-Leirens
(personal note, January 1998)

I have a deep respect for the poetry of Keith Barnes.

He makes no concessions of any kind, he sings the songs so few dare to sing, and I feel grateful.

There is a mad joy in some of his poems, a rhapsody, like  a cool mountain rill, fresh and vibrant, but without pity.

Keith Barnes is strong in his terrible fragility. He is always careening in the firmament and his poems are left suspended between earth and sky. They have to be caught in a silver net.


Jean-Baptiste Para
(France Culture, Poésie sur Parole, December 2003)

Les éditions d’écarts recently published the Complete Poetic Work of the English poet Keith Barnes who died in 1969, swept away by an acute leukaemia at age 34. This bilingual edition will be a revelation for a number of readers because Keith Barnes’s work has long remained in a semi-obscurity and, above all, because his poetry is full of an energy, a life-force and a strong emotion which time has not blunted.


Jacques Rancourt
(La Traductière n°22, 2004)

We’ll remember…in Keith Barnes’s poetry the fighting spirit of the Sixties, his surprised attitude before the world while he kept following a personal path in his writing – when one could have expected – considering his themes – a closer tie to the Beat Generation. Jacqueline Starer has accomplished a remarkable task for his work, gathering his poems, and the éditions d’écarts offered a very neat presentation such as one would wish to find it more often with translated poetry.

Marie-Hélène Fanton d’Andon
(Le Journal des Poètes n°2, 2004)

This book is a tour de force: presenting exceptional texts in English as well as in French. The poet, who considered Jacqueline Starer as his literary heir, left her complete freedom to translate his poetry. If the translator makes a free use of this agreement, she does not misuse it. The result is conclusive.

Gerald England
(New Hope International Review on-line, April 2004)

Barnes was a versatile writer who wrote with much freshness. Very little of his writing is stale or sounds stilted. This volume is an excellent edition.

Michèle Duclos
(Poésie/première n°35, 2006)

The energy of the themes and the style is striking – an elliptic writing heavy with a strong consonantic power. The contemplative depth of the images reminds of metaphysical poets and their intellectual irony of John Donne. The love poems refuse all effusion and elegiac epithet.