Tony Barnstone is Professor of English at Whittier College.  Born in Middletown, Connecticut, and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Barnstone lived for years  in Greece, Spain, Kenya and China before taking his Masters in English and Creative Writing and Ph.D. in English Literature at U.C. Berkeley. His poetry, translations, essays on poetics, and fiction have appeared in dozens of American literary journals, from APR to Agni. He has won fellowships and poetry awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Pushcart Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award, the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, The Sow's Ear Poetry Contest, the Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize, the National Poetry Competition (Chester H. Jones Foundation), the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry, the Cecil Hemley Award, and the Poetry Society of America.  In 2006 he won the Benjamin Saltman Award in Poetry for his manuscript The Golem of Los Angeles, which was published by Red Hen Press in 2007.  He won the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry in 2008 for Tongue of War (forthcoming, BKMK Press) and won the grand prize in the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, in Strokestown, Ireland, in 2008.

His first book of poetry, Impure, a finalist for the Walt Whitman Prize of the Academy of American Poets, the National Poetry Series Prize, and other national literary competitions, appeared with the University Press of Florida in June of 1999. He is also the author of a chapbook of poems, Naked Magic, (Main Street Rag, 2002).  His second book of poems, Sad Jazz: Sonnets, appeared in 2005 with Sheep Meadow Press.  His most recent book of poems, The Golem of Los Angeles, won the Benjamin Saltman Award in Poetry and was published in late 2007 by Red Hen Press.  His new projects are Tongue of War, a book of dramatic monologues set in the Pacific during the Second World War and Pulp Sonnets, a collection of poems based upon classic pulp fiction, comic books, and horror, film noir and sci-fi movies.  Tongue of War won the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry in 2008, and will be published by BKMK Press in 2009.

His books of translation include Chinese Erotic Poems (Everyman Press, 2007),  The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry (Anchor Books, 2005), The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters (Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1996), Out of the Howling Storm: The New Chinese Poetry (Wesleyan University Press, 1993), and Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Selected Poems of Wang Wei (University Press of New England, 1991).

His other books include the textbooks Literatures of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Literatures of Asia, and Literatures of the Middle East.


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"I admire Tony Barnstone's Impure because of the collection's unrelenting believability and lyrical certainty. Plain-spoken and magical, this poet knows how to make imagination and the real world collide softly. There is a clarity in Impure that reaches beyond the formlessness of modern life. Borders are crossed in the psyche and the flesh, and this collection seems like an elongated song that embraces the most elusive moments buried in language and nuance through the pure naming of things - a mantra of what is and what is dreamt - that takes into the sacred territory what no ordinary compass can plot or unplot."
--- Yusef Komunyakaa

"Tony Barnstone has no walls. He is alive moment to moment at the naked center. In his shrewd double vision, the animal self and the outside self mingle in ecstasy and grief of flesh. He is so surprising and fearless and cuts right to it, and yet so delicate and lyrical. The pure Impure! Bravo!"
---Ruth Stone

"Tony Barnstone unabashedly celebrates bodily joy and pokes the backside of everything prudish and puritanical. He is a poet of profound amusement, a spirit accountant, an heir to Whitman, Basho and Neruda. He works in many styles, but his hallmark is a deep and truculent honesty, a desire to bring secrets into the open. "Impure" is a first book to revere."
---Rodney Jones


Sad Jazz: Sonnets, by Tony Barnstone. Published by the Sheep Meadow Press in 2005.

Naked Magic: Poems by Tony Barnstone. Tony Barnstone. Published by Main Street Rag Press in 2002.
main street rag press
sample poems

Impure: Poems by Tony Barnstone. Published by University Press of Florida in 1999. amazon.com


Erotic Chinese Poems Co-edited with Chou Ping.  Forthcoming from Everyman Press in October, 2007.

The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, edited by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping, published by Anchor Books in 2005.

The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters. Co-edited with Chou Ping.  Published by Shambhala in 1996. amazon.com

Out of the Howling Storm. Edited by Tony Barnstone. Published by Wesleyan University Press in 1993. amazon.com

Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei. Co-translated with Willis Barnstone and Xu Haixin.  Published by University Press of New England in 1991. amazon.com


The Literatures of Asia.  Edited by Tony Barnstone.  Published by Prentice Hall Publishers in 2002. amazon.com

The Literatures of the Middle East.  Co-edited with Willis Barnstone.  Published by Prentice Hall Publishers in 2002. amazon.com

Literatures of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Co-edited with Willis Barnstone.  Published by Prentice Hall in 1999. amazon.com




Interviews on the Web:

Podcast of Interview with Tony by Belinda Subraman

Read an interview with him at The Drunken Boat

Find out what he has to say about his work in an interview with him at amazon.com


Tony's Text Poetry on the Web:

"Psalm of Snow" at Verse Daily

"Spider Woman" at Verse Daily

"On Found Objects"  at Verse Daily

"India Rubber Man's Credo" at Verse Daily

Three poems at Moonday Poetry

from Sad Jazz, Tony's new book of sonnets, at The Drunken Boat

sample poems from The World in Pieces: The Pacific War from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima

"Commandments," from his book Impure

Poems at Exquisite Corpse

"Aftermath" at The Blue Moon Review

Experimental Poetry featured at The Drunken Boat

Three Poems at Diagram

"Time Is the One Essential Mystery..." at Diagram

"The Cave"  at The Cortland Review

"The Forge" at the NEA Writers Corner

Translations and Transformations at Cipher Journal

Sonnets and a Preface at Poemeleon

"Blue Nightmare" at Poemeleon

"Blue Angel" at Poemeleon

"Parable of the Gifts" at In Posse Review

"Oh, Great, He Gets to Go on Vacation," at Valparaiso Review


Tony's Flash Animation Poetry on the Web:

"Hospital Tent" at Born Magazine

"Captain Fantastic in 'The Planet of Women'!" at the Cruzio Cafe

"Commandments"  at the Cruzio Cafe

"The Cave"  at the Cruzio Cafe


Tony's Audio Recordings of Poetry on the Web

Ten poems at The Fishouse

Poetry Reading at Series A in Chicago, with Tony Trigilio and Gabe Gudding


Tony Chinese Translations on the Web

Translations of Chinese poetry featured at The Drunken Boat

Seven Poems by Han Shan at Guernica

Erotic Chinese Poems at Guernica

"The Sun Singers" by Bei Ling, at Agni


Tony's Articles on the Web

A Manifesto on the Contemporary Sonnet: A Personal Esthetics at The Cortland Review

Han Shan Isnít Dead, Heís Just Turned into the Mountain: Some Notes on Translation at the Cipher Journal.

"Letters from Dead Friends" at Perihelion.

The Cannibal at Work: Five Discourses on Translation, Transformation, Imitation, and Transmutation at Jacket

"Technology as Addiction" at Technology and Culture (only works for those with Project Muse access)

"The Poem Behind the Poem: Literary Translation as American Poetry" at Manoa (only works for those with Project Muse access)


Tony's Fiction on the Web

Read a piece of Tony's verse fiction published at The Pedestal Magazine


Other Web Links:

Read Tony's interview with former Poet Laureate of the United States Robert Pinsky at Poetry Flash.

Also check out Tony's review of Arthur Sze's The Redshifting Web.

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