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Arts & Life

LISTEN: In An Open-Air Market, 'Everything's Fresh Fresh Fresh' For Poet Aliki Barnstone

Photo courtesy of Katherine Dumas

On June 30, Governor Jay Nixon appointed Aliki Barnstone as Missouri’s fourth Poet Laureate.

A creative writing professor at the University of Missouri–Columbia, her work has often appeared in UMKC’sNew Letters magazine.  

The daughter of Greek visual artist, Elli Tzalopoulou-Barnstone, and American writer, Willis Barnstone, Aliki Barnstone was destined for a life in the arts.

Her first book of poetry, Real Tin Flower, was published when she was only 12 years old, with a preface by Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Sexton. Since then, she has written six more books of poetry. Her eighth book, Dwelling, will be released this fall. 

Barnstone is currently in Greece, where MU has a summer abroad program. In this poem, "Market Song," she evokes the sights and sounds of the open air markets through the voice of a fictional character. It's from the series "Poems of an Imaginary Poet" included in the collection, Dear God, Dear Dr. Heartbreak: New and Selected Poems. 

You can hear the rest of this interview, which also includes Aliki Barnstone's father, the writer Willis Barnstone, at newletters.org. Follow the show on Twitter at @NewLettersRadio, or subscribe to the podcast

Angela Elam is the producer and host of New Letters on the Airthe audio program of New Letters magazine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

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