BkMk Press to release new collection by Missouri’s first Poet Laureate

“Days Like This Are Necessary” explores patterns of creation and destruction

BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) announces the Sept. 30 release of “Days Like This Are Necessary: New and Selected Poems” by Walter Bargen, Missouri’s first Poet Laureate. In addition to new work, this book includes key poems from Bargen’s dozen previous books – many of which are rare and out-of-print.

“His work is technically sophisticated, rhythmically subtle, and emotionally complex, but – and here’s the trick – it’s also the kind of poetry that one might offer to someone who says he doesn’t like poetry much, someone who says he doesn’t ‘get’ poetry, someone who prefers mysteries or history books or biographies,” said Kevin Prufer, professor of English at the University of Central Missouri, in the book’s foreword.

“Days Like This Are Necessary” deals largely with patterns of creation and destruction: the cycles of prosperity and desolation throughout history from Ancient Egypt to modern Iraq, the ruinous nature of humanity and the resilience of hope that keeps the cycle going. Bargen said he remains fascinated with peoples’ destructive sides, because extremities of behavior reveal a lot about people.

Duality is a common theme in the book, as well.

“Robert Hass has said that all good poems contain their opposite… ‘Days Like This Are Necessary’ uses a variation of that strategy,” Bargen said, referring to the book’s title poem.

That duality creates a complexity that permeates every page.

“In a perfect world,” Prufer said, “this book will go a long way toward bringing Walter Bargen’s poetry to the much wider audience it deserves.”

Over the past three decades, Walter Bargen has published 13 books. His writing has appeared in more than 100 magazines. His awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship (1991), the Quarter After Eight Prose Prize (1996), the Hanks Prize (1996), the Chester H. Jones Foundation Poetry Prize (1997) and the 2005 William Rockhill Nelson Award for Best Poetry Book by a Missouri writer.

Founded in 1971, BkMk Press became part of UMKC in 1983. Financial assistance for BkMk Press is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; UMKC; and private donations.

For more information about this book, please contact BkMk Press at (816) 235-2558 or bkmk@umkc.edu. “Days Like This Are Necessary” (ISBN 978-1-886157-70-5) is 222 pages in trade paper, and the retail price is $15.95.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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