Poets Walter Bargen and Clarence Wolfshohl will read some of their work and discuss ways poets influence and inspire each other Tuesday, Jan. 26, at William Woods University. Their program, which is free and open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. in Woody’s on the lower level of Tucker Dining Hall.
Bargen, Missouri’s first poet-laureate, and Wolfshohl, WWU professor emeritus of English, poet, and publisher, will join Matt Dube, associate professor of English, in a program they’re calling the Three-Corner Catch Book Talk.
“Three Corner Catch” is the title of a short volume of poems Bargen and Wolfshohl put out. They each read the same book of poems and then each wrote a poem as a response. Then, they did the same with another book and another pair of poems.
Bargen held the position of Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2008 to 2010. Born to an American father and a German mother, his childhood was spent traveling back and forth between Germany and the United States. In the 1960s, he settled in Missouri, working as a construction foreman, writing poetry on the side as a way of exploring the confusion caused by World War II.
He wrote his first poem in high school, and has since been published in approximately 100 magazines. His first book, “Fields of Thenar,” was published in 1980. In the 1990s, he wrote several works about Missouri, including one focused on the Missouri River.
Judges selected Bargen’s “The Feast” for the 2005 William Rockhill Nelson Award for poetry, an award that recognizes literary excellence by Kansas and Missouri authors. He also was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship and winner of the Quarter After Eight Prose Prize, the Hanks Prize and the Chester H. Jones Foundation poetry prize.
Wolfshohl’s poetry and creative non-fiction have appeared in many small press journals, both in print and online. His work includes a chapbook of poems about Brazil, “Season of Mangos,” as well as “The First Three” and “Down Highway 281.” “In Harm’s Way: Poems of Childhood” was written in collaboration with Mark Vinz and published in 2013.
A native Texan, Wolfshohl now lives in a nine-acre woods outside of Fulton, Missouri. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Sul Ross State College, his Master of Arts degree from the University of Idaho and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He founded Timberline Press in 1975 and for 35 years he was the owner, editor and letterpress printer. He taught at William Woods from 1981 until his retirement in 2005.