Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Missouri's Poet Laureate

On Saturday, January 31, Walter Bargen, Missouri's first Poet Laureate spoke at the monthly Saturday Writers meeting. Bargen read from his sometimes humorous, always compelling poetry. The group loved hearing his work. But perhaps most important was the advice he offered.

He stressed that writers must write every day. It doesn't matter if it's good or not good. Just get words down on paper. Write freely and don't worry about punctuation or spelling. Just get words down on paper. The more you write, the better your writing will become. So just get words down on paper. (Do you sense a theme, here?) Revision can come later, after you "just get words down on paper".

According to Bargen, "Don't be afraid of silence. For out of silence, comes the first line, the opening line. The line that will break the silence". Whether poetry or prose, that first line must intrigue the reader and make the reader want to know more.

Bargen had many words of wisdom for Saturday Writers. Check out his website,
or his blog, for more information on the man, the poetry, and some of the amazing experiences he's had since being named Missouri's first poet laureate.

You may wonder why I chose to write about Walter Bargen on Critter Alley. Well, it just so happens that Mr. Bargen is a cat lover. I won't tell you how many felines are part of his family. Let's just say that he and his wife must be kept very busy with critter care.

Walter Bargen has been Bogey approved.


Anonymous said...

I have to say I absolutely agree with Mr. Bargen. I have learned to soldier on even when I am not too happy with what I am writing. That way you have something to work with and can return to edit it when you feel fresher. Often, on re-reading you find it wasn't as bad as you thought anyway. Even if it was as bad as you feared, you can work on it, which is more than you can do with a blank page.

The Word Place said...

Yes, his advice is right on the mark--to keep on writing!

And if he has been Bogey-approved, so muuch the better!

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks for the re-cap. I'm sorry I missed the meeting.