Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Water, Window, Mirror -- A Happy Launch Despite a Few Cracked Ribs

A good time was had by all at Gloria Barkley's launch of her new book, Water, Window, Mirroron Saturday at the Arts Council of New Westminster. Gloria herself was a little pained by her tumble down a flight of stairs only a few days before, but as the photos will tell you she was in her element, nevertheless.

Thanks to all who attended, and to everyone who pulled together to bring Gloria's work to fruition. And thank you, Gloria, for Water, Window, Mirror, and for your grace and goodwill!

Local author and longtime supporter of BC writers, Eileen Kernaghan introduced Gloria with the following address:

How does a poet describe a state in which her senses can’t be trusted, when everything she sees and hears may be unreal?”

That was how I started a blurb for the back of Gloria’s book. But the much larger question is:  in that fractured, hallucinatory state, how could anyone carry on a normal life – and do it for twenty years?

I’ve known Gloria for a very long time.  I heard and marvelled at her story when she first came to the Kyle writing group. It was an extraordinary story of survival – there’ve been  many stories of survival shared in our writing group, but Gloria’s had to be the strangest.

For two decades she raised a family, ran a household, gained an art degree, led a richly creative life  – and was never sure if she, her children, or anything in the world around her could be trusted to be real. 

She told us of the hair-raising adventures in altered reality that could come not from a drug trip, but from eating a hot dog. She told us of the mystery that eluded doctors for all those years, and how the mystery was finally solved.

We said, “Gloria, you have to write about this. You need to publish it. People need to know.” And because she is a poet, Gloria decided to tell her story in poetry.  And it’s poetry that faithfully reflects those twenty years of a bizarre, fragmented existence.

If you need further evidence of Gloria’s extraordinary talent for survival, a couple of weeks ago she tumbled down twenty-one steps of a tiled staircase. And here she is today.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Book Launch: Water Window Mirror by Gloria Barkley

Wattle and Daub Books proudly announces a new collection of poetry by Tri-City Author and Sculptor

Gloria Barkley
Water Window Mirror

Book launch and art display at the Arts Council of New Westminster*
Queens Park, New Westminster, BC 
Saturday, 26 October 2013
1-3 PM

How does a poet describe a state in which her senses can’t be trusted, when everything she sees and hears may be unreal? In these spare, unsettling poems, moving seamlessly between terror and unexpected beauty, Gloria Barkley draws us into that fractured, hallucinatory world. Line by line in stark, fragmented imagery she strips the experience to the bone.
                                                                      —Eileen Kernaghan
                                                                      Tales from the Holograph Woods

Water Window Mirror has been a delight to produce. Gloria Barkley is a talented, good-humoured, wise woman whose writing it is a privilege to bring to the world.

For twenty-two years, Gloria lived with allergy-induced hallucinations, with all the fear, uncertainty, and confusion they produced. Tables came to life, her own children seemed unreal, and yet she carried on, living life with her trademark humour and grace.

She raised three children, cared for husband and home, obtained a degree in art, and, luckily for us, discovered and developed her talent for writing.

These beautifully sculpted poems take us along with Gloria through apparent mental illness through to a new, food additive- and hallucination-free life.

Join us at the Arts Council of New Westminster gallery for the launch of Gloria’s new book. A number of her additive-inspired sculptures will be in attendance.

Look for Gloria's full art show this spring at the Arts Council gallery.

Mom of Mulch

Table whispers
admire my ambience

caress curves
 laughing leaves
buckled bark



Born in 1926, Gloria Barkley spent her early years on her family's fruit and vegetable farm near Penticton, BC. She attended Vancouver School of Art, now Emily Carr University of Art and Design, from 1964 to 1968, and subsequently studied creative writing in various west coast colleges and universities.

Her poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Event and Canadian Bookman. Her chapbook Stemwinder, featuring poetry, art, and anecdotes celebrating life in the mining town of Hedley, BC in the late 1930s, was published in 1995 by Wet Sickle Press.

Today, Gloria hand-builds clay spiders in her Coquitlam, BC studio. Each spider is named after a food additive.

Advance Praise for Water Window Mirror

These poems disturb and delight with their synesthetic surprise; quietly remind that the writing of a well-crafted little poem requires a long, arduous journey. Imagists’ poetry and Neruda’s Book of Questions come to mind. Thought provoking and invigorating, Barkley moves beyond arresting metaphor to visceral conflation. The sheer physicality, brutality, ironic beauty of Barkley’s language is her own.
                                      —Betsy Warland
                                       Breathing the Page – Reading the Act of Writing

As a person who supports many individuals with mental health issues, I very much appreciate how well Gloria is able to describe her breaks with reality. Her struggles and subsequent solution show there can be many reasons for mental disorder...Her life has a lot to teach us. She’s an inspiration.
                                      —Marja Bergen
                          and founder, Living Room faith-based mood disorder support

 Water Window Mirror
Poems by Gloria Barkley
ISBN 978-0-9810658-4-7

Published by
Wattle and Daub Books
West Vancouver, BC
4890 The Dale, West Vancouver, B.C., Canada V7W 1K3

*The Arts Council Gallery is located in Queen’s Park, annexed to the Centennial Lodge.
Entrance at 1st Street and 3rd Avenue or McBride Boulevard at 6th Avenue. (604) 525-3244