Bartholomew Barker is a computer programmer, so it makes perfect sense his debut book of poetry is a collection of erotic poems. That’s not this North Carolina poet’s only surprise. He’s been known to read Klingon poetry upon request, and recently Writer’s Digest’s Robert Lee Brewer interviewed him after one of Barker’s poems made the Top 25 nationally in the 2013 Poem-a-Day Challenge. He has written poetry that has appeared in publications such as Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Three Line Poetry, and the anthology Point Mass.
Along with myself, Angelika Teuber, and Pamela Taylor, Barker is one of the co-organizers of Living Poetry, the largest group of poets in the greater Raleigh-area. He is constantly finding interesting ways to bring poetry into the community. Earlier this year, Barker spearheaded an open mic at a chocolate shop in Hillsborough, the quaint town where he lives and works. In addition to writing poems on demand with poetrySPARK, he also organizes the erotic poetry reading Spark After Dark alongside burlesque dancers at the annual SPARKcon fest in Raleigh. Like him on Facebook, add him to your circles on G+ and follow him on Twitter @bartbarkerpoet.
His first book of poems is Wednesday Night Regular. The book is full of intimate desires and imagery inspired by visits at a topless dance club. The cover art is strictly black-and-white—poetic itself—but his verse is anything but—describing dancers “like a pale cello between my legs” with “unmapped bodies” and “clockwork hips.” This week Barker celebrates the launch of Wednesday Night Regular with a reading on (fittingly) Wednesday. The event takes place at the source of the book’s inspiration: Teasers Men’s Club located at 156 Ramseur Street in Durham and starts at 7PM. The reading will be followed by an evening of topless dancing. With respect to the venue, all who attend must be over the age of 21. Please stop by if you are in the area!
200 Words with Poet Bartholomew Barker
Write Naked: Now that your first book is published, was the process anything like you expected?
Bartholomew Barker: It was more difficult than I expected. There was a lot to learn technically to get my expectations onto paper.
WN: You are not only a poet and a computer programmer, but a major football (read: soccer) fan, stargazer, and you visit dead presidents’ graves. What other themes do you see carrying over from your personal life and surfacing in a future poetry collection?
BB: I’ve been asking myself that very same question. While I’m focused now on promoting Wednesday Night Regular, I’m also looking around for the next book. I’m feeling a little rudderless. Astronomy will always be my go-to source for metaphors, but I’m not sure it could be considered a theme. It’s more an undercurrent.
WN: I know you spent a lot of time revising and trimming your
manuscript. How many poems did you cut and what were your
choices for excluding them?
BB: There are eight finished poems that did not make the first edition of Wednesday Night Regular, plus another dozen fragments. The vast majority of the poems were written over the course of two years and some of the early poems just weren’t as good as the more recent ones. Which is a good thing, I think!
WN: For my traditional James Lipton question: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
BB: I’d love to be a librarian.
Here is an excerpt from Wednesday Night Regular:
Like the ocean
Her hips sway
Rhythm of waves
Tugged by the moon
From her skin
Reflect stars unseen
From the stage
Where she dances
Like the ocean