Pride and delight animated Elli Tzalopoulou-Barnstone as she talked about her daughter the poet.
“She is very sociable. We always have guests for dinner. We always dance in our house. We enjoy life,” Tzalopoulou-Barnstone said in a FaceTime interview on July 1 from Greece, where they live every summer.
A few minutes later, Aliki Barnstone walked in from the kitchen and handed her mother a bowl of white peaches.
“The best peaches in the world,” Tzalopoulou-Barnstone said. “Here, have some.” With a laugh, she held the bowl closer to the phone screen.
“It’s like eating the smell of roses,” her daughter said from behind her.
Language is a life force for Aliki Barnstone. Through poetry, she shows compassion and empathy. Her sense of wonder, close observation of the natural world and a drive to create new work have opened up opportunities and friendships.
“She has the ability to bring in the vastness of the world and do it well,” her friend and fellow poet, Cornelius Eady, said.
On June 30, Barnstone, an MU professor of English, was named Missouri’s fourth poet laureate by Gov. Jay Nixon. When Barnstone found out, she announced it on her Facebook page and said she could not stop smiling.
“I was really happy. I was giddy,” she said from Greece. “I was just totally elated.”