A celebratory anthology of poetry and prose edited by writer, critic and poet, Matthew Jarvis, Wired to the Dynamo offers a response to the work and career of John Barnie, one of Wales’s most important contemporary writers: ‘freethinker, editor, poet, guitarist, essayist, and author of some of the best memoirs I’ve read’ (Peter Finch, from his own contribution to this volume).
Collecting analysis, recollection and creative reflections on Barnie’s ongoing literary output, Wired to the Dynamo‘s line-up—from Gwyneth Lewis and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch to Peter Lord and Robert Minhinnick—is testament to the esteem in which Barnie’s work is held.
MJ: […] How important to you is this sense of singing irrespective of our own, human temporariness?
JB: Well, faced with a material universe of which you are an infinitesimally small part, you might as well “sing” as not. Singing in the knowledge of mortality is a form of stoicism which poets have always
understood ą look at Y Gododdin, look at Beowulf. I like the Swedish poet Harry
Martinson’s definition of poetry as the ‘soul’s play with the soul of language’, taking ‘soul’ metaphorically, of course. If a poem does not have this sense of play — if it does not sing — it is just words on the page.
from the chapter ‘A kind of celebration’: John Barnie Interviewed by Matthew Jarvis