“As Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate, Jim Barnes has the task of broadening understanding and appreciation of poetry,” Henry said. “His work is a testament to the strong cultural fabric of Oklahoma and an inspiration for others to follow.”
Jim Barnes’ remarks upon learning of this esteemed appointment, “I am indeed honored and delighted to accept the Poet Laureateship of Oklahoma. I am honored to serve my home state in the cause of literacy and literature, and I am delighted to think, with the appointment as Poet Laureate, that perhaps all my years of living in the realm of poetry have not been outside the boundaries of understanding. No art is more important to me than poetry, for poetry makes everything happen.”
Go to this site for a nice soundbite from the author before his recent acclaim.
The Oklahoma Humanities Council facilitates the poet laureate selection committee, which reviews statewide nominations on behalf of the governor, and coordinates the activities and appearances of the poet laureate throughout his/her term.
For Poetry, Picture and a Biography of Jim Barnes, go to http://www.thehypertexts.com/Jim%20Barnes%20Poetry%20Picture%20and%20Bio.htm.
His newest collection, is Visiting Picasso. His other works include the non-fiction prose book, On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions, which won the American Book Award in 1998. He has also authored several volumes of poetry, including The Sawdust War: Poems ; Paris: Poems; and On a Wing of the Sun: Three Volumes of Poetry.
So I’ll end with one of his poems, from On a Wing of the Sun,
Contemporary Native American Poetry
‘For one thing, you can believe it:
the skin chewed soft enought to wear,
the bones hewn hard as a totem
from hemlock. It’s a kind of scare-
crow that will follow you home nights.
You’ve seen it ragged against a field,
but you seldom think, at the time,
to get there it had to walk through hell.’