Tyler Barton

Tyler Barton is the author of Eternal Night at the Nature Museum (Sarabande) and The Quiet Part Loud (Split/Lip). His fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, The Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, and has been twice listed as “Distinguished” by Best American Short Stories. With the artist Erin Dorney he co-curates the ongoing literary art installation, “The Hidden Museum,” currently on view at the Susquehanna Museum of Art. He lives in Saranac Lake, NY where he works for the Adirondack Center for Writing. Find him @tylerbartonlol or tsbarton.com


Gutters reads America’s remaining local print newspapers to create a found poetry of lost housing. All text is found spanning the gap (‘gutter’) between two or more adjacent columns of newsprint in articles pertaining to the housing crisis, land conservation, and climate catastrophe.

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TO TEACH by Tyler Barton

Whenever she passes a picture she’s in, Jewell closes her eyes. She laughs. Jewell’s earlobes are drippingly long, and her granddaughter Tanny would like to see them pierced nine, maybe ten times. This makes Jewell laugh. Jewell has been convinced by friends to join the poetry club, because, they say, Jewell is always finishing their sentences with a slant rhyme, and damnit they want the real thing! Jewell laughs at them. The poetry teacher is a bear of a man at a pottery wheel until Jewell is told he is the pottery teacher. Jewell laughs through her apology. The poetry teacher is twirling with joy at something Lucille Clifton said. “That woman is a loon,” a poet in a wheelchair whispers. Laughing, Jewell watches the poetry teacher teach, but then she sees that the poetry teacher walked out of her apartment that morning and screamed a mean thing because she saw a ticket on her windshield, but then—and this is what tickles Jewell—when she saw that it was only a papery yellow ginkgo leaf, the poetry teacher screamed an even meaner thing. Jewell discovers this moment in the poetry teacher like a crumb in a man’s beard. As the poetry teacher speaks of inspiration and fearlessness and squeezing the muse’s two cheeks, Jewell sees through to the room where both screams started, small as pepper seeds. Jewell’s hand is up. The poetry teacher says, “Yes, you?” Jewell slides down out of her chair and crawls across the carpet toward her. “Here,” she says. “It’s a haiku.” Jewell doesn’t listen to her classmates’ gasps as she peels a leaf from the woman’s shoe. The yellowness turns to orange in her mouth. Then, blue. She can’t laugh while she chews or she’ll puke.  

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