Published on August 31, 2013 by Amy
Jim Weaver McKown Barnes, of Choctaw and Welsh descent, was born near Summerfield, Oklahoma (in LeFlore County). He received his BA from Southeastern State College in Durant, Oklahoma, where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity (now Southeastern Oklahoma State University), in 1964 and his MA (1965) and Ph.D. (1972) from the University of Arkansas. He taught at Truman State University from 1970 to 2003, where he was Professor of Comparative Literature and Writer-in-Residence. After retiring from Truman State, he was Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at Brigham Young University until 2006. On January 15, 2009, Barnes was named Oklahoma Poet Laureate for 2009-2010.
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Barnes is the founding editor of the Chariton Review Press, editor of The Chariton Review from 1975 through 2007, and contributing editor to the Pushcart Prize. He has published over 500 poems in more than 100 journals, as well as numerous translations. He has sat on several National Endowment for the Arts committees and is presently Poetry Editor for the Truman State University Press and first-round judge for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Barnes has given scores of readings at college and university campuses, and his work is widely anthologized.
Barnes received a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in 1978 and the Columbia University Translation Award for his translation of Dagmar Nick’s (de) Zeugnis und Zeichen (Summons and Signs) in 1980. In 1989, he was awarded the St. Louis Poetry Center’s Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Award; and, in 1990, he was awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation a Bellagio Residency Fellowship for the purpose of beginning his translations of Dagmar Nick’s poetry. He held a second Bellagio Residency Fellowship in 2003. In 1992 Jim was a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence for the University of Maryland Far East Division. In 1993 Barnes received the Oklahoma Book Award for The Sawdust War, and he was awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to Switzerland in 1993-94. In 1998, On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions was named a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award in non-fiction and also in the poetry category for Paris.
Barnes has been the Featured Poet at the Paris Writers Workshop and at the 13th Franco-Anglais Poetry Translation Festival. In 1995 he was the Munich Translator-in-Residence at Villa Walberta, Germany. In 1996 and 2001 he held two Carmargo Foundation Fellowships in Cassis, France, and also in 1996 was the U.S. Representative at the Prague Writer’s Festival. In 1998 and in 2000, Jim was awarded Academie Schloß Solitude Fellowships in Stuttgart, Germany and received an American Book Award for On Native Ground. In 2002, he was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award in the Poetry category for On a Wing of the Sun.