I was born in 1944 in Calgary, Alberta where I grew up. In 1965, after two years of college, I went to Sir George Williams University in Montreal and took poetry courses with Irving Layton. I graduated in 1967 with a B.A. I graduated in 1969 with an M.A. from U.B.C.(Vancouver), and was hired that same year to teach English at The College of New Caledonia in Prince George where I've lived ever since.
I write, primarily, the long poem/serial sequence, a form that gives me the necessary range in which to articulate the poem's central truth from various & variable angles & perspectives. I see the long poem, also, as a way to log my experience & to record what I value most in a context of forces, subtle or not, that threaten those values. As D.H. Lawrence writes: "We've got to live no matter how many skies have fallen." I believe the poem helps us build up "new little habitats"
Media Release, February 28, 2005
Founding CNC instructor retires February 28 after 37 years
Prince George, BC – CNC English instructor Barry McKinnon retires February 28. He is the last original instructor still with CNC. What this means is that for the first time in its 37-year history, CNC will be operating without Barry as a faculty member.
Barry moved to Prince George from Vancouver in 1969 to teach English and creative writing at CNC. From the beginning he made his presence felt in Prince George, organizing conferences and poetry readings, teaching literature and writing, and working with his students to produce books and other publications.
Barry has taught literature, writing, and research to Prince George students for three and a half decades. He also developed many of the courses which the CNC English department currently offers. His students have gone on to university, to graduate school, and to employment in Prince George and across Canada. Many have become published writers.
As a writer and publisher, Barry has achieved national recognition. In 1991 he won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award for Pulp Log. In 1994 he won the BP Nichol Chapbook Award for Arrythmia and in 2004 for Bolivia/Peru. In 1981 he was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry for publication with the unusual and creative title of The the. In recognition of his many accomplishments, he will receive an honorary degree this spring from UNBC.
Barry’s many friends at CNC will miss his quiet wisdom and his faith in the arts. We wish him luck and happiness in the future.