John Barnie is a poet and essayist from Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. He taught for a number of years at Copenhagen University before returning to Wales to work for the political and cultural magazine Planet: The Welsh Internationalist, as assistant editor (1985-90) and editor (1990-2006).
He is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and essays, many of which are concerned with the environment and the natural world. His work has been translated into Italian, Danish and Estonian. A collection of essays, The King of Ashes, was awarded a Welsh Books Council Prize for Literature.
A blues guitarist, he has performed in a number of blues & poetry bands, including the bilingual Y Bechgyn Drwg/The Bad Boys, and the trio Hollow Log.
His latest book is a memoir, Footfalls in the Silence (Cinnamon Press). A new collection of poems, Wind Playing with a Man’s Hat, will appear in October 2016 (also from Cinnamon).
In 2016 he was one of three poets in residence at the Natural History Museum, Oxford:
LET’S DO IT
Recreate a dodo from its DNA
so it could waddle in an aviary
or among the legs of tourists on Mauritius;
call it the resurrection bird;
isn’t it ugly, what do you feed it on,
people might say
strolling to the beach café
where a blue sky meets a blue sea
dreaming of paradise
until they die.
- John Barnie, 2016