Aliki Barnstone came to Iowa City for UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day in 2011. Barnstone, a poet, translator, critic, and editor joined poet Robert Pinsky and a panel of scholars for two days of activities. While she was in Iowa City, she sat down for this On the Fly interview.
Barnstone decries the use of absolutes—e.g. always, never, forever, everyone, no one—in poetry, suggesting they are a way of “catastrophizing or…making apocalypse where there maybe doesn’t need to be.” She also discusses her interest in combining poetry with other media, as well as the role of the spiritual in both her life and her work.
Barnstone’s first book, The Real Tin Flower: Poems about the World at Nine, was published when she was 12 years old. Her collection Wild With It was a National Book Critics Circle Notable Book. Her most recent collection is 2011’s Bright Body.