Madeleine Barnes is a writer, visual artist, and Doctoral Fellow in English Literature at The Graduate Center, CUNY from Pittsburgh, PA. She serves as Poetry Editor at Cordella Magazine, and co-curates the Lunar Walk Poetry Series.

She is the recipient of a John Woods Scholarship to study poetry in the Czech Republic, a New York State Summer Writers Institute Fellowship, two Academy of American Poets Poetry Prizes, the Princeton Poetry Prize (judged by Paul Muldoon and C.K. Williams), the Gertrude Gordon Journalism Prize, and the Three Rivers Review Poetry Prize (see publications).

She earned a BHA from Carnegie Mellon University, a Masters of Philosophy in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin, and an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she taught two undergraduate creative writing classes. Her second chapbook, Light Experiments, is forthcoming from Porkbelly Press in 2019.

chapbooks in print

The Mark My Body Draws In Light


TERRANCE HAYES: “The Mark My Body Draws In Light often speaks directly to you. ‘You are speaking with your fingertips,’ ‘Your tired brain floats above you,’ ‘you have quarters for a song…’ The wonderful poems of Madeleine Barnes are lyrics, epistles, and prayers that, in addressing you, welcome you into her capacious heart. You become a lover, an eavesdropper, a friend, you become both the wounded and the one who wounds.  These poems display miraculous intimacy and compassion. ‘Throw your voice into this valley and it comes back a mountain,’ Barnes writes. ‘You’ve done nothing unforgivable, say it. Transform many times.’”

JIM DANIELS: “This debut collection exudes the confidence and nuance–the craft–of a veteran poet.  The quiet passion and intimate grace of these poems plant us firmly in the physical world as one remarkable image after another blossoms around us.  Exquisite.  Lush.  Big poems about smallness–everything we don’t notice, but should.  Their evocative furious dreaming flashes across the pages liked the arced lightning of the heart.”

Light Experiments


Light Experiments is Porkbelly Press’ first ever zine-style photo chapbook.

DEBORAH LANDAU: "Light Experiments is an extraordinary work of art —stunning, eerie, and powerfully evocative. Madeleine Barnes is a singular talent.”

CATHERINE BARNETT: “Given that nothing can travel faster than light, these arresting images are also meditations on time, full of beauty and disquiet, full of stories not yet fully illuminated but discovered and expressed in Madeleine Barnes’s radiant poetic intuition.”

BARBARA HENRY, Proprietor, Harsimus Press; Master Printer, Center for Book Arts: “Light Experiments joins the structure of the book, as a journey in time, with the photograph, as a record of light, to illuminate the mysteries of the human condition.”