Tony Barnstone

Albert Upton Professor of English Language and Literature
Department of English Language and Literature

562.907.4200 ext. 4335






Academic History

B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz
M.A., PhD. University of California, Berkeley

Academic Focus

  • Creative Writing
  • Literary Translation
  • Modern American Poetry
  • Twentieth Century American Literature
  • Asian American Literature

Tony Barnstone, Professor of English at Whittier College and the author of fifteen books. He is a prolific poet, author, essayist, and literary translator. In addition to his numerous published books, his work has appeared in dozens of American literary journals, from APR to Agni.

Barnstone's 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. In 2002, he authored a chapbook of poems, Naked Magic (Main Street Rag) and Sad Jazz: Sonnets, appeared in 2005 with Sheep Meadow Press. His subsequent 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. Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki, published in 2009, is a book of dramatic monologues set in the Pacific during the Second World War. Tongue of War won both the John Ciardi Prize and the Grand Prize in the Strokestown International Poetry Festival.  His most recent book of poetry, Beast in el Apartamento: Antología poética (1999-2012) appeared in a bilingual Spanish-English edition with Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia (Mexico City) in 2014, with translations by Mariano Zaro.

Barnstone’s 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), Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Selected Poems of Wang Wei (University Press of New England, 1991), and River Merchant’s Wife by Ming Di (translated from the Chinese by Tony Barnstone, Neil Aitken, Afaa Weaver, Katie Farris & Sylvia Burn with the author, Marick Press, 2013).

He is also the editor of several world literature textbooks.

Barnstone 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, among others. 

Recently, he has been doing multimedia work, working with artist Dorothy Tunnell to make a poetry graphic novel, with artist Alexandra Eldridge to make a poetry deck of cards, and with singer-songwriters John Clinebell and Ariana Hall to put out a CD of original music based on his book of WWII poems, Tongue of War (album titled Tokyo Burning). His anthology Monstrous Verse, edited with Michelle Mitchell-Foust, will appear in 2014 with Everyman Press. Barnstone's new manuscript of poems, Pulp Sonnets, is a collection based upon classic pulp fiction, comic books, and horror, film noir and sci-fi movies and it has been illustrated by the Iranian artist Amin Mansouri.

Barnstone was born in Middletown, Connecticut, raised in Indiana, and lived for years in Greece, Spain, Kenya, and China. He was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a PhD in English Literature.


Tongue of War by Tony Barnstone (BKMK Press, 2009).

Sad Jazz: Sonnets by Tony Barnstone (Sheep Meadow Press, 2005).

Naked Magic: Poems by Tony Barnstone (Main Street Rag Press, 20020.

Impure: Poems by Tony Barnstone (University Press of Florida, 1999).


Erotic Chinese Poems. Co-edited Chou Ping. (Everyman Press, 2007).

The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, edited by Tony and Chou Ping, (Anchor Books, 2005).

The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters. Co-edited with Chou Ping. (Shambhala, 1996).

Out of the Howling Storm. Edited by Tony Barnstone. (Wesleyan University Press, 1993).

Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei. Co-translated with Willis Barnstone and Xu Haixin.(University Press of New England, 1991).


The Literature of Asia. Edited by Tony Barnstone (Prentice Hall Publishers, 2002).

The Literatures of the Middle East. Co-edited with Willis Barnstone (Prentice Hall Publishers, 2002).

Literatures of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Co-edited with Willis Barnstone. ( Prentice Hall Publishers, 1999).