Walter Bargen

The Golden First Line: A writing workshop with Walter Bargen

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:00pm
  • Conference Room - Administration Wing

Following up on Walter Bargen's poetry reading and performance on Tuesday, June 7, join the first Poet Laureate of Missouri for a writing workshop at the Library.

Writing as process: How does a writer surprise one's self?

Writers are writing at the top of their skill when they write beyond what they know, into what they don't know, and know it for the first time. Walter Bargen will lead a workshop that looks at a writing technique that is based upon surprise. He will also address how reading and writing are essential to being an author.

Workshop attendees will embark on a writing exercise, and then analyze the first line of a poem, attempting to answer the question: "Can a poem find its readership if its first line is weak?" And, more broadly for poetry and prose writers alike, "What are some the characteristics of a good first line? What is the first line's influence on the rest of the work."

Sign up to join the Golden First Line writing workshop
There is a $20 fee for this workshop, payable by cash or check on the day of the event. Participants are asked to sign up in advance. Please contact Adult Programs Coordinator Jennie Lay by email or by calling 879-0240x317. Once your space is confirmed, further information will follow.

About the teacher
Walter Bargen was Missouri's first Poet Laureate. He has published 18 books of poetry, including two books of prose poems, and is the recipient of many awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Writing Fellowship. His most recent books are: Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems, Endearing Ruins, Trouble Behind Glass Doors, Quixotic and Gone West. His poems have been featured in over 300 magazines, including American Literary Review, American Letters & Commentary, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blue Mesa Review, Boulevard, Denver Quarterly, Georgia Review, International Quarterly, Iowa Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, New Novel Review, Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, Poetry Salzburg Review, River Styx, Seattle Review, Seneca Review, Sycamore Review and Witness.

Bargen was born at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. As a result of his father’s military career, he has lived in many places including, Germany, Switzerland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri. He wrote his first poem when he was a senior in high school. He taught himself how to write by two simple processes, reading and writing. He reads not only to enjoy what others write but to learn how others write, and he firmly believes that reading and writing teach writing. He has lived outside Ashland, Missouri, since he graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a BA in philosophy. He later earned a M.Ed in English education from the same institution and then became distracted — again.