Tony Barnstone

Tony Barnstone, a poet, essayist, and translator, was born in Middletown, Connecticut, and raised in Indiana. He earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and both his MA and PhD in English and creative writing from the University of California, Berkeley.

Barnstone has authored twenty-one books, including poetry collections and chapbooks, and has produced multimedia work, including both a compact disc of music based on his poetry and a tarot deck, The Radiant Tarot: Pathway to Creativity, which draws upon the neuroscience of creativity to turn the tarot into a tool for creativity both in the arts and in reinventing one’s life. He is currently working on a libretto for an opera. 

Barnstone’s poetry collections include Pulp Sonnets (Tupelo Press, 2015), illustrated by fellow poet and professor Amin Mansouri; Beast in the Apartment (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014); Tongue of War (BKMK Press, 2009); The Golem of Los Angeles (Red Hen Press, 2008); Sad Jazz: Sonnets (Sheep Meadow Press, 2005); and Impure: Poems (University Press of Florida, 1999). His selected poetry collection, Buda en Llamas: Antología Poética [Buddha in Flames: Poetry Anthology] (1999–2012) appeared in a bilingual Spanish-English edition published by Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia in 2014, with translations by Mariano Zaro.

Barnstone has edited and coedited the following anthologies: Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges: New Eco-Poetry from China and the United States (University of Hawaii Press, 2019), coedited with Frank Stewart and Ming Di; as well as Human and Inhuman Monster Poems (2015) and Poems Dead and Undead (2014), both coedited with Michelle Mitchell-Foust and published by Everyman Pocket Library. He has published seven works of translation, including Faces Hidden in the Dust: Selected Ghazals of Ghalib (White Pine Press, 2021), co-translated with Bilal Shaw; Erotic Chinese Poems (Everyman Press, 2007) and The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry (Anchor Books, 2005), both of which were coedited with Chou Ping.

Barnstone has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the California Arts Council. He has also been awarded the Poets’ Prize, the Grand Prize of the Strokestown International Poetry Festival in Ireland, the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry, and the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry.   

Barnstone is a professor of literature and creative writing at Whittier College.