Salt Fires

Salt Fires was an Editor’s Pick in Atlantic Books Today, Fall 2018. Here’s what Chris Benjamin says: “Barkhouse’s seasoned poems are Nova Scotia–evocative of the land, sea and culture. Her work evokes the peninsula and its islands, forests and farms. She slices out a small piece of the planet, representative of the whole, a microcosm of the Earth.”

I think that’s true, and is in great part why I sent the MS. to Lesley Choyce of Pottersfield Press in Lawrencetown Beach. As he says on the back cover, “Salt Fires is a volume of poems that embrace and reflect our human consciousness: our awareness, our blindness, our Shadow, our mythologies. They invite us to look at ourselves in ways that often are disconcerting, sometimes startling. Love of land infuses Salt Fires. Intimately inhabited and passionately shared, Nova Scotia’s farms, woods, and shores reveal themselves to be our Earth in microcosm.

A suite of Sable Island poems closes the book and affirms this notion—Sable Island, a strip of sand in a vast ocean, impossible, yet somehow here, like our planet, rich in life and beauty. This is the work of a mature poet who examines moral blindness and human frailties by inhabiting the experiences of the poems’ speakers with vulnerability and honesty. Accessible, clear, and alive with music, the poems inform and incite.”

Because Pottersfield Press published this book, I joined the League of Canadian Poets, and the League generously funded readings in Yarmouth and Lockeport, N.S. which took place in October 2018. See the past events at the bottom of my events page if you’re curious to know more.

As a final note, the Authorized Learning Resources (ALR) list for Nova Scotia has included Salt Fires as a resource for Grade 12 students. As a former English teacher, I’m moved deeply to think young people will be reading my poems.