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Mary Barnet Review

Mary Barnet Review

Mary Elizabeth Barnet is one of the famous modern American poets who published many books of poetry, editor of on the Internet which has been publishing for 20 years. 

Her poems has  appeared in many magazines ( Crossroads, New Worlds  Unlimited, The Greenwich Village Gazette, The  Pittsburgh Review, etc.), as well as in Jersey Poetry Society Anthology and 2010 Anthology Christmas Word Gifts. She won The New Jersey Poetry’s Society Prize and she was nominated in for the Nobel Prize for Literature (The New American Selected poems, Gilford Press, 2006). In 2015 her book “86 Sonnets for the 21st Century” was published. This book is among two nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

Many people from the United States as well as from other countries like poetry of Mary Barnet.  Adam Donaldson Powell said that her poetry is “carefully tailored pearls”, Janet Brennan (Review of “The New American”) calls Mary Barnet’s poetry “intelligent and stunning”. Salvatore Buttaci says about her book “Arrival”: “Mary Barnet works magic into her poetry”. Dr. Krishna Shrinivas (India) said: “Mary is a poet by inclination and artist temperament”. And again, modern poet from India Syed Ameeruddin said that “Mary’s poetry is rich with verbal ecstasy, confessional exuberance, visual beauty and imagistic delicacy”. Wonderful words! 

I became acquainted for the first time with the poetry of Mary Barnet 10 years ago when I read her wonderful book of poems "The New American" with illustrations by Richard E. Schiff. I really enjoyed this book, in which the whole range of human emotions are reflected. But these are not abstract categories of concepts such as love, friendship, dignity and compassion. This is an attempt to recognize that man is a part of our total being, to some extent we are all the messengers of everything that was, is and will be in this world. This idea is well reflected in a number of her poems as “We are the Messengers, Silent Triumph, I Sit and Wait, The Meaningless of Words, Song of the Mute Horseman, Our Kingdom of Heaven, Endless Panorama”. 

Endless Panorama 

Over lake after lake
The panorama of beauty is endless.
But I am caught in nothingness
While life whirls all about.
At last I see my world
Reaching for me.
I find peace

In the reality of joy.
Life is mine;
I am the land, and the water.
I am real, singing
A continuous hymn to Creation;
Hurtling in my awakening
Past crowds of pine
In my small canoe.
The dragonflies twitter
In waves of heat.
Flat green leaf-pads
Drape themselves over the water beneath the sun:
Water lilies gather
To celebrate the birth of light.

Mary Barnet creates a magical world of unity of man and nature, allowing the reader to experience in her poetic form of the eternal kaleidoscope: all its diversity between life and death. After reading this book, I decided to translate into Russian some of her poems that I particularly enjoyed.

For a few years, I have further engaged in other scientific and literary projects. But recently I encountered a wonderful new book "86 Sonnets for the 21st Century", again with illustrations by Richard E. Schiff. In her sonnets Mary Barnet again shows the beauty of the unity of man and nature. But on the other hand she cannot understand how a person who thinks he is the king of nature is capable of destroying everything around him. In fact leading humanity to suicide. This disturbing idea sounds especially acute in her sonnets “Are We Madmen, Between Leader and Lord, Up and Down”. Nevertheless, Mary Barnet said that despite all the Ups and Downs there always remains hope for each person to understand life’s purpose, and to find their right place in space and time. This idea is well expressed in her sonnet “Pomposity”:

Another mountain to climb?

Or is it a hill?

Do I know the way still?

What's at the top of this time?


Her importance as a human being, Mary Barnet expresses well in the sonnet "Am !?":


The invisible human in space:

I dream, therefore I am.


I think that poetry lovers will find gems for the mind and heart by reading the sonnets of this remarkable poet. Of course, to translate poetry into another language is very difficult, and sometimes impossible. I tried to make the transfer of several sonnets Mary Barnet into the Russian language. At the same time I understand that this is just a pale shadow of the original. Nevertheless, I would like to see Russian-speaking reader who does not know English have at least some idea of ​​the wonderful modern American poet Mary Barnet.  Producer/Host of “The Poet and The Poem from The Library of Congress,” as well as, National Public Radio Grace Cavalieri said these remarkable words: 

What could be better than a blend of golden lyricism and stainless steel images. Mary Barnet's sonnets carry the grace of the ages; while artist Richard Schiff illuminates the book with sharp futuristic images. Art and poetry meld into contrasts of startling beauty. This is a verbal and visual treasure. A keepsake. ".


Dr. Adolf P. Shvedchikov, PhD, LittD

International Poet of Merit

Los Angeles, California