Photographers Unknown, The Whole forest Goes Silent
In the evenings, Sam performs exercises to prepare his body for love-making with Franz. He practices kissing (something he’d once hated) by smooching deer lips, antelope ears, frog anuses, and the great, whiskered muzzles of sleeping bison. He improves his petting skills by necking with juniper bushes and pine tree trunks with such passion that the bark snaps and sap runs, or with such tenderness that the whole forest goes silent and swallows nest in his hair.
Barry Webster, The Lava in My Bones, 2012, Arsenal Pulp Press
Born in Toronto in 1961, Barry Webster is a Canadian musician, translator, and writer of fiction, short stories, and non-fiction. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at the University of Toronto and his Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal. Webster is a classically trained pianist with two Associate Diplomas, ARCTs, from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Fluent in French, English and some German, he has translated some of his novels into French.
Webster’s first book of stories, “The Sound of All Flesh”, published by Porcupine’s Quill, won the 2005 ReLit Award for the best collection of Canadian short fiction; it was also a finalist for that year’s Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction presented by the Quebec Writers’ Foundation. This magic-realist collection of stories follows the lives of such people as a hydrophobic competitive swimmer, an opera singer who bathes in tubs of margarine for inspiration, and a travel writer whose terrified of having his photo taken. Webster’s stories from “The Sound of All Flesh” were short-listed for the National Magazine Award and the Canadian Broadcast Company-Quebec Prize.
Barry Webster’s 2012 novel entitled “The Lava in My Bones” is an ecologically-based novel, written in a magic-realist style, that is narrated from various perspectives. The storyline, divided into elemental sections such as rock, air, and water, follows Sam, a Canadian geologist, who attends an academic conference in Switzerland. There he meets the young, sexually active Franz, a swinger who awakens Sam’s nascent homosexuality. “The Lava in My Bones” is a fantasy story through which the connection between lovers, the dysfunction of families, and personal links to the planet we inhabit are examined. Webster’s novel was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the Ferro-Grumley Foundation and Publishing Triangle’s annual Literary Award, and the 2013 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LBGTQ Emerging Writers presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.
Barry Webster has participated at numerous literary series, among which were the Saints and Sinners Festival in New Orleans, Berlin’s Takl Galerie Series, the National Gallery of Ottawa, Vancouver’s Raw Exchange, and muliple literary programs on CBC Radio. Webster’s work has appeared in various publications including The Toronto Star Event, The Washington Post, Fiddlehead Magazine, and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s foremost news media company. After periods in various European cities, Barry Webster currently resides in East Montreal.
“I once attended a panel discussion where the topic was ‘Canadian Literature: Quiet Writing for a Quiet Nation.’ Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers is anything but quiet. It rants, seethes, and uses humor as a machete. The hyper-sensual language and extravagant fantasy of the erotic trysts between the narrator, his lover ‘F,’ and the ghost of saint Catherine Tekakwitha changed my understanding of fiction. I realized that thinking outside traditional heterosexual binaries requires a new template and so-called ‘realism’ can simply reinforce the status quo. Beautiful Losers showed me that literature could re-imagine what sexuality can be rather than merely slavishly reproducing the surface of life.”
—-Barry Webster, Montreal, The Query Project, September 2015, Plenitude Magazine
Note: Barry Webster’s website, which include a list of his published work, can be found at: http://www.barrywebster.ca/index.html
Plenitude Magazine is Canada’s only queer literary magazine. It promotes the development and growth of LGBTQ+ literature through online publication. The magazine can be found at: https://plenitudemagazine.ca
Top Insert Image: Camille Martin, “Barry Webster”, 2018, Color Print, Rogue Embryo Website
Header Photo Set: Fifth Image: Francesco Merlini, “Hua Hin”, The Farang Series, Gelatin Silver Print