Walter Bargen was appointed Missouri’s first poet laureate in 2008. He received a BA in philosophy and an MA in English education from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Bargen is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, including Days Like This Are Necessary: New and Selected Poems (2009). At the Poet Laureate Awards ceremony, poet Kevin Prufer described Bargen as a “brilliant communicator about poetry” whose own work is “subtle, skillful and wise.” Bargen has commented that creativity happens “where one’s imagination and memory collide with events.”
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"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"