Tokyo's Burning: Voices of World War II in Music and Poetry

Mar 20, 2013 11:57 AM
Ann Ashmon

MEDIA ALERT                                                                   


Who:  Internationally-acclaimed poet Dr. Tony Barnstone, author of the award-winning poetry collection, Tongue of War. Musical duo Genuine Brandish. Sponsoring departments include School of Arts and Sciences, Core Curriculum, History, English, Music and "Sound of Mind" (student poetry club).

What:  Dr. Barnstone will perform his moving and historically-accurate WWII-era poem-stories, accompanied by musical duo Genuine Brandish. The performance is based on his poetry collection, Tongue of War.  

When: Saturday, April 13, 2013 – 4:00 pm

Where: Concordia University Irvine; Concordia University Amphitheater; 1530 Concordia West; Irvine, CA 92612

Tickets: Free and open to the public. Suitable for ages 13 and up due to war-related themes.

Additional Information: Dr. Barnstone began writing Tongue of War after a conversation with the pilot of the Enola Gay, Brigadier General Paul Tibbets. He then worked with musicians Arianna Hall and John Clinebell to transform the stories into haunting alt-country-folk rock songs.

“The songs presented in Tokyo’s Burning draw on the decade and a half I spent researching war letters, diaries, histories, oral histories, and interviews with American and Japanese soldiers, scientists such as Robert Oppenheimer, President Harry Truman, and citizens survivors of the Rape of Nanjing, of Hiroshima, and of Nagasaki," said Dr. Barnstone. "This is story we wish to tell: how historical pressures can make one into a monster or into a human being.  It is the story of the War in the Pacific told from the worm’s eye view, and it is a story that I hope will help listeners better understand our common humanity.”


Dr. Barnstone earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied with poets Robert Pinsky and Robert Hass. The author of numerous poetry collections, translations, and textbooks, and the recipient of a variety of literary awards, Dr. Barnstone is Albert Upton Professor and Chair of English at Whittier College.

See a sample of his work and Genuine Brandish's music: