"In THE SLIDING BOAT OUR BODIES MADE, we see the ecology of compassion and hopefulness, a fragile latticework made of the concern for how all things might fall away in a world seeming to be too full of loss. With a meticulousness like the Zen of poets in ancient China, Barber takes us to a place where we can believe there will always be a chance to breathe, even as we feel the terror of life in the beauty of its most minute details. These are finely crafted poems with turns on the torso of history and the times in which we live as if those things are a single tree of life, and they are. Barber teaches us how to know subtlety, how it can bring a fullness to us, a light without limits." — Afaa M. Weaver
“'No one’s being watched/though watchfulness remains' in Barber’s most accomplished collection, because an intimate watchfulness births these exquisite poems. Their omniscient power blazons any corner of consciousness so that 'A tree rubs a cloud between its fingers,' 'a seedpod answers a questionnaire,' a creation myth breathes anew, and a museum goer’s intent gaze at a painting’s three oranges causes them to 'glow like coals in you.' Her elegant, steely, and elegiac prowess brings to the present a 1412 Spanish court order to segregate the Jews from the Christians as well as a memory of her daughter—at present heading out to her boyfriend’s—as a toddler first standing 'at the center of the world.' Ultimately watchful of love’s relationship to both loss and beauty, Barber’s concomitant revelations remain aglow in us." —Jessica Greenbaum
Poetry. Jewish Studies. Women’s Studies.
Barber's previous poetry collections are WORKS ON PAPER (winner of the 2015 Tenth Gate Prize); Given Away; and RIGGING THE WIND (winner of the Kore Press 2002 First Book Award). She founded the literary journal Salamander in 1992 and served as its editor in chief at Suffolk University in Boston through 2018. Recent poems have appeared in Consequence, Paris Review, Poetry, Tiferet (2019 Poetry Prize), and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and is the current poet laureate of Brookline, MA.