Starting with ways of remembering the dead, Next in Line goes on to explore ways
of living. Sometimes the poems describe everyday experiences: at the post office
or theatre, at a clothing sale, or watching a tree being pollarded. Sometimes we’re
taken to places: Istanbul, Paris, Cape Cod. Often we meet people or animals, and
in the background the larger world looms: the statue of a young boy stands at a place
where young boys were once transported to places they did not want to go, people
use buses when the underground is bombed, girls drink wine looted during a riot.
“Annette Barnes’ subject in these lapidary poems is the ruthless passage of time.
‘Why does hair / grow from his ears, why aren’t his trousers clean,’ asks the poem,
as though from within the mind that time has begun to erode. ‘Exactly. A world where
beauty no longer counts.’ Except that, figure by figure and line by line, these poems
make an impassioned case on behalf of beauty: the beauty of form, the beauty of concision,
the beauty of unblinking apprehension. Barnes has no patience, indeed she has no
time, for easy consolation or euphemizing focus. Which means the consolation here
is real.”—LINDA GREGERSON
Annette Barnes, a former professor of Philosophy, has published two books of philosophy, Seeing Through Self-Deception and On Interpretation. Her poems have appeared in several journals, but Next In Line is her first book of poems. She lives in England.
“In eighty pages of poetry Barnes succeeds in creating direct expressions of profound truths, wisdom that flashes like polished gems. Artistry and amusement entwine throughout this volume.” Read the Review