Smalltown, Ohio (USA) Preacher Kid County, the 1970’s: bell bottom jeans, rotary telephones, black & white TV antennae and no seat belts or bicycle helmets.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I felt like all the adults knew who I was and instead of feeling monitored and oppressed by this, I felt safe, like I could talk to anyone if I needed help. I now realize this was more the result of my white male privilege and being a damn cute little boy didn’t hurt.
What turns you on creatively?
The night sky. My grandfather gave me his three inch Newtonian reflector telescope when I was in third grade. There was practically no light pollution back there so seeing the milky way was no big deal and shooting stars were common place. I remember the first time I saw the Galilean moons of Jupiter and that Venus had phases just like our moon which people were still walking on back then. Find me on a clear night, if you want a guided tour of the sky. I know where the planets live and the homes of the stars. If we’re lucky I might even be able to show you a distant galaxy with your naked eyes.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
“Tintinnabulation” and no, at least not as well as Poe did in The Bells:
“Keeping time, time, time, in a sort of Runic rhyme, to the tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells.”
What is your pet peeve?
When I’m in a poetry workshop and a fellow poet won’t make any suggestions on how I could improve my poem. None of us write perfect poetry and everyone’s opinion is good information even if I don’t take their suggestion. There’s only one poet per generation (see Emily Dickinson) who can write masterpieces in effective isolation. The rest of us have to work together.
What defines Bartholomew Barker?
I am the Son of Ptolemy, the Tanner of Leather. I am the dead pixel on your screen that you mistake for a mote. I am the jerk when you’re tilting in a chair and begin to fall backwards but catch yourself at the last gasp.
Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry readers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written in and about strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food inspired poetry was served in 2017. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.