Jim BarnesJim Barnes’ tenth volume of poetry, Sundown Explains Nothing: New and Selected Poems, was published in April 2019 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. An earlier volume, The Sawdust War, won the Oklahoma Book Award. His individual poems have garnered numerous awards, including a Pushcart Prize and a McGinnis Award from The Iowa Review. From the German he has translated the poetry of Dagmar Nick, including Numbered Days and Summons and Sign for which he received the Columbia University Translation Center Prize. He is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio, Italy), the Camargo Foundation (Cassis, France), and the München Kulturreferat (Germany). In 1993-94 he held a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to Switzerland. His On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions (University of Oklahoma Press) won an American Book Award in 1998. He was Oklahoma Poet Laureate for 2009/2010 and is a native of Summerfield and lives with his wife, the artist Cora McKown, on the Flying M Ranch in Atoka.

About Sundown Explains Nothing: New and Selected Poems

Sundown Explains Nothing: New and Selected PoemsIn his new and selected, Jim Barnes crafts bliss from the urgent and allusive with an enigmatic voice that is often mysterious.


We know he liked chock beer and watermelon
and raced sleek ponies in the dead of night.
We’ll give him that. We’ll have to open up
the valley to whites and those Chickasaws,
or it’s sure no go. But we’ll keep it pure. . .

A lot depends on image. Use your masks.
Don’t wear boots. Speak the language if you can. . .

Author website