NeWest continues to publish some of the most innovative poetry in Canada…. The 'agile leaps across the gaps & synapses of language,' for which Di Brandt has praised Barbour, flourish undiminished in Fragmenting Body etc, in both the 'Fragments from Fragments' of the title sequence and the 're-memberings' of his elegy to bpNichol. The latter work diffuses the traditional elegy's closural sense of transcendence through the entire poem, embodying the joyful sense of physical discovery that is characteristic of Nichol's handling of language - as in these lines where the poem captures and images the essential features of its own process:
rifts & thru
ways contours drift athwart
a ramp at angles
to a roiling tower
hills & valleys swell
& fall away
there is a strange
vegetation everywhere growing a trange
of possibility as usual
—('For bpNichol: These rememberings')
Julia Reibetanz University of Toronto Quarterly
[In Fragmenting Body etc] Barbour continues in his own particular deployment of verse, presenting a series of sequential poems derived from what he terms 'imaginative collaborations' - poems inspired by a variety of different sources.
Unlike traditional lyric poetry, Barbour's verse demands that the reader bring as much to the table as the text itself does, nurturing a full engagement between intellectually and emotionally layered text and reader.
As with all of Barbour's previous collections, Fragmenting Body etc stands in testament to the esciting collaboration via poetic language in which collective readers and collective writers consensually construct and reconstruct the reality of the cultured world.
—Gilbert Bouchard Legacy
Who will announce the poetics for the new millennium to us, an
imaginative practice we can live by? Here’s a contender: Barbour’s
agile leaps across the gaps & synapses of language propose the
reparative power of serious play. His fragments of fragments open
into a quantum field of multitudinous possibilities, shot through
with surprise moments of joy & worry & delight.