Sunday, January 13, 2013

George Barker Centenary

The excellent and industrious Philip Rush, poet and poetry impresario in the lovely town of Stroud, has organised an evening in celebration of George Barker, one of the 20th century's most prolific and eccentric poets, now chiefly known to posterity through Robert Fraser's biography. A rebel, womaniser and serious drinker, Barker was a contemporary of Dylan Thomas, but had much longer to hone the lifestyle. Reading about all of that is great, voyeuristic fun, of course. That's how we like to imagine our poets - 'mad, bad and dangerous to know', like Byron.
But Barker was also an experimenter and a fine technician who took the vocation of poet passionately and seriously. His work is so multifarious that it will be intriguing to see which poems the readers taking part in this event will choose to perform alongside their own work. I am still in the process of deciding myself, but am discovering many good things along the way. Let's hope this event, and Barker's centenary more generally, lead to a reappraisal of the work, and a little less concentration on the personal life of the poet.


  1. Excellent - my father would have been very pleased and my mother is looking forward to joining you on the evening. We will be setting up / taking part in other events throughout Spring / Early Summer to mark his centenary, starting with Wells Festival.
    Best wishes,

    Lily Barker

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. Everyone involved is very much looking forward to the evening. I'd be happy to publicise the other centenary events for your father here if you let me have details.