Gov. Brad Henry has appointed author Jim Weaver McKown Barnes as state poet laureate for 2009 through 2010. The Oklahoma Humanities Council reviews statewide nominations on behalf of the governor, and coordinates the activities and appearances of the poet laureate throughout his term.
Barnes, of Choctaw and Welsh ancestry, grew up in Summerfield. His nonfiction prose book, "On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions,” reflects Oklahoma and native cultures and won the American Book Award in 1998. He has authored several volumes of poetry. "As Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate, Jim Barnes has the task of broadening understanding and appreciation of poetry,” Henry said. "His work is a testament to the strong cultural fabric of Oklahoma and an inspiration for others to follow.”