Distinguished Oklahoma author Jim Weaver McKown Barnes was appointed State Poet Laureate for 2009 through 2010 by Governor Brad Henry. It was announced in a news release on Friday, January 16, 2008. As Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate, Jim Barnes has the task of broadening an understanding and appreciation of poetry in Oklahoma.
His non-fiction prose book, On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions, winner of the American Book Award in 1998, reflects Oklahoma and Native cultures. He has authored several volumes of poetry, including The Sawdust War: Poems, winner of the Oklahoma Book Award in 1993; Paris: Poems; On a Wing of the Sun: Three Volumes of Poetry; and his most recent work, Visiting Picasso.
Jim Barnes gave a poetry reading at the Al Harris Library on April 17, 2008.