John Barnstead was born in Schenectady, New York — where all good science fiction ideas originate. His current research projects are:
- The Kuzmin Collection: an electronic bilingual multimedia presentation of the works of Russian poet, novelist, dramatist and composer Mikhail Kuzmin (1872-1936);
- Russian Imagery in Canadian Poetry: an exhaustive examination of all references to things Russian in Canadian poetry, both French and English, from its beginnings to the year 2000;
- Ekphrasis, Deixis, and the Chronotope: a theoretical examination of the interactions of categories of reference and ostension when art changes mode — what exactly happens to the pointing when somebody writes a poem about a picture depicting a pointing figure, for example?
He recently served as President of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (2010-2013).