Library Showcase Past Events

Thursday, November 18 at 7:00pm at the SWOSU Conference Center

Jim Barnes, Oklahoma's Poet Laureate

Jim Barnes, Oklahoma's Poet Laureate

Jim Weaver McKown Barnes, the 2009-2010 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate, will be reading his poetry and sharing personal stories at the SWOSU Conference Center on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University on November 18 at 7:00p.m. A book signing will be held immediately following the evening event in the lobby of the Conference Center. The evening presentation is free and open to the public.

Jim Barnes has published several works of poetry and one major work of non-fiction prose, On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions, which reflects Oklahoma and Native culture and won the American Book Award in 1998. Some of his published works of poetry include The Sawdust War: Poems; Paris: Poems which won the Oklahoma Book Award in 1993; On a Wing of the Sun: Three Volumes of Poetry; and his most recent work, Visiting Picasso (2007). Also, his poems appear in over 40 anthologies.

Jim Barnes was the founding editor of the The Chariton Review, an international literary journal focusing on short fiction, poetry and essays, and is currently poetry editor for Truman State University Press. He is also a contributing editor to the Pushcart Prize. He has published over 500 poems in more than 100 journals, including Poetry, Sewanee Review, Kenyon Review, The Nation, The Chicago Review, The American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, and Georgia Review.

Barnes has given readings of his work at many college campuses, both nationally and internationally. Jim, of Choctaw and Welsh ancestry, was born and grew up in Summerfield, Oklahoma. He received his B.A. degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arkansas. He was a Professor of Comparative Literature and Writer-in-Residence at Truman State University from 1970 to 2003. After retiring from Truman State, he was Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at Brigham Young University. He has held membership in many organizations, including the Associated Writing Programs, the National Association for Ethnic Studies, PEN American Center, and PEN Center USA West.

Barnes' honors include two Rockfeller Foundation Bellagio (Italy) Fellowships; a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in Switzerland (University of Lausanne); and two Camargo Foundation Fellowships (Cassis, France). Also, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry in 1978.

Having previously visited SWOSU in the Spring of 2008, Barnes returns as the 2009-2010 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate. The Oklahoma state poet laureate program is facilitated by the Oklahoma Humanities Council on behalf of the governor. It is an honorary position (usually a two-year term) that recognizes the accomplishments of an Oklahoma resident in the field of poetry.

For more information about this evening event, please contact Jason Dupree, Head of Public Services, SWOSU Libraries, at 774-3031 or email