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About Barry

Born in Toronto, Canada, Barry Dempster is an award-winning poet, author, editor, educator and mentor. He studied child psychology, graduating in 1974.His non-writing work history includes the Children's Aid, the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, and 15 years as a member of the emergency crisis team at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

His writing career had a strong beginning with a 1982 Governor General's Award nomination for his first book, Fables for Isolated Men.In 2005, he was again short-listed for the Governor General's Award for Poetry for The Burning Alphabet which won the Canadian Authors Association Chalmers Award. In 2010, he was a finalist for the Ontario Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts

In the last 30 years, Dempster has published 14 volumes of poetry, two collections of short fiction, a children's book, and a two novels. He is also the editor of the anthology, Tributaries: Writer to Writer.

Dempster's prose was first noticed by renowned editor and writer, John Metcalf, for his anthology Third Impressions (Oberon Press) in which Metcalf showcased three promising young authors. A contract from Oberon Press soon followed for the publication of two collections of highly praised short stories.Quarry Press came forward with an offer to publish his first novel, The Ascension of Jesse Rapture, which also received excellent reviews.

Dempster's editing career began as one of the founding editors of Poetry Canada Review which quickly became one of Canada's most esteemed literary magazines. For over 10 years, he was the mainstay of the publication in the role of Reviews Editor and then Poetry and Reviews Editor, as it changed ownership and staff.During this time, Dempster became known for his helpful, supportive letters to submitting writers, his astute book reviews and his "New Voice" discoveries of some of Canada's finest poets. In 1999, he was invited by poet and co-founder, Don McKay, to join the prestigious Brick Books as an Editor.Since then, he has edited 20 books, two of which garnered a Griffin Prize nomination and win, a Governor General's Award and another which won the 2005 Trillium Book Award. In addition to working with upcoming and established authors, Dempster is the Senior Acquisitions Editor for Brick.

Equally comfortable with poetry and prose, Dempster also has extensive experience as a creative writing instructor, having run hundreds of workshops in Ontario elementary schools and high schools, stints at the Upper Canada Writers' Workshop in Kingston, Ontario, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Sage Hill Saskatchewan, Master classes in Santiago, Chile, Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Victoria and as writer in residence at the Richmond Hill Public Library twice.

Dempster currently lives in York Region where he runs a very popular film series "Southlake Cinemania" which has raised over $100,000 to support literacy through the arts, presents an annual poetry gala for National Poetry Month and runs two book discussion groups.


Tributaries: Writer to Writer (poetry, editor, 112 pages).Mosaic Press, Oakville 1978
Fables for Isolated Men
(poetry, 82 pages).Guernica Editions, Montreal 1982
Globe Doubts (poetry, 55 pages).Quarry Press, Kingston 1983
Positions To Pray In (poetry, 94 pages).Guernica Editions, Montreal 1989
The Unavoidable Man (poetry, 75 pages).Quarry Press, Kingston 1990
Letters from a Long Illness with the World, the D.H. Lawrence Poems (poetry, 56 pages).Brick Books, London, Ontario 1993
Fire and Brimstone (poetry, 78 pages).Empyreal Press, Montreal 1997
The Salvation of Desire (poetry, 48 pages).St. Thomas Press, Toronto 2000
The Words Wanting Out, Selected & New Poems (poetry, 168 pages).Nightwood Editions, Roberts Creek 2003
The Burning Alphabet (poetry).Brick Books, London, Ontario 2005
Love Outlandish (poetry).Brick Books, London, Ontario 2009
Ivan's Birches (poetry).Pedlar Press, Toronto, 2009
Blue Wherever (poetry, Signature Editions, 2010
Dying a Little (poetry), Wolsak and Wynn 2011
Invisible Dogs (poetry), Brick Books, London, Ontario 2013
Disturbing the Buddha (poetry), Brick Books, London, Ontario 2016 

Real Places and Imaginary Men (short stories, 174 pages).Oberon Press, Ottawa 1984
Writing Home
(short stories, 191 pages).Oberon Press, Ottawa 1989
The Ascension of Jesse Rapture (novel, 258 pages).Quarry Press, Kingston 1993
The Outside World (novel) Pedlar Press, November 2013 

Children's Books
David and the Daydreams
(children's fiction, 143 pages).Guernica Editions, Montreal 1985

Tributaries: Writer to Writer
(poetry).Mosaic Press, Oakville 1978
80: Best Canadian Stories (short stories).Oberon Press, 1980
Third Impressions (short stories).Oberon Press 1982
Canadian Poetry Now:20 Poets of the 80s (poetry).Anansi, 1984
And Other Travels (poetry).Moonstone Press, 1988
Christian Poetry in Canada (poetry).ECW Press, 1989
More Garden Varieties Two (poetry).The Mercury Press, 1990
The Oberon Reader (short stories).HarperCollins, 1991
Vintage 95 (poetry).Quarry Press, 1996
We All Begin in a Little Magazine, Arc and the Promise of Canada's Poets 1978-1998 (poetry).Carleton/Arc, 1998
A Matter of Spirit, Recovery of the Sacred in Contemporary Canadian Poetry (poetry).Ekstasis Editions, 1998
Literatura na swiecie Canada (poetry). Poland
I Want to Be the Poet of Your Kneecaps, Poems of Quirky Romance (poetry).Black Moss Press, 1999
New Life in Dark Seas:Brick Books 25 (poetry).Brick Books, 2000
Henry's Creature, Poems and Stories on the automobile (poetry).Black Moss Press, 2000
Why I Sing the Blues, Lyrics and Poems (poetry).Smoking Lung Press, 2001
Smaller Than God, Words of Spiritual Longing (poetry).Black Moss Press, 2001
Best Canadian Poetry in English (poetry). Tightrope Books, 2008
How the Light Gets In…Anthology of Poetry from Canada (poetry). University College, Dublin, 2009
Best Canadian Poetry in English (poetry), Tightrope Books, 2009
A Verdant Green (poetry), The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2010
Best Canadian Poetry in English (poetry) (fall 2010), Tightrope Books, 2010
Best Canadian Poetry in English (poetry)(fall 2011), Tightrope Books, 2011
Best Canadian Poetry in English (poetry) fall 2015, Tightrope Books, 2015 

Governor General's Award for Poetry, Shortlist (Fables for Isolated Men), 1982
League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Contest, Honorable Mention, 1990
Confederation Poets Prize, Honorable Mention, 1994
Confederation Poets Prize, Winner, 1995
League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Contest, Honorable Mention, 1995
Scarborough Bi-Centennial Award of Merit, 1996
Canadian Literary Awards, Finalist, 2002
The National Magazine Awards, Shortlist, 2002
Petra Kenney Poetry Competition, England, 2nd Prize, 2002
Governor General's Award for Poetry, Shortlist (The Burning Alphabet), 2005
Canadian Authors Association Jack Chalmers Award for Poetry, 2006
Prairie Fire Poetry Contest, 3rd Prize, 2009
Premiere's Award for Excellence in the Arts finalist, 2010
Ontario Trillium Award Best Book finalist (The Outside World), 2013
Premiere's Award for Excellence in the Arts finalist  2015 

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