- Poetry Mentor
- Former Missouri Poet Laureate
- MFA in Writing
A former Poet Laureate of Missouri, WILLIAM TROWBRIDGE holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M. A. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University. His poetry publications include eight full collections: Oldguy: Superhero—The Complete Collection; Vanishing Point; Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems; Ship of Fool; The Complete Book of Kong; Flickers; O Paradise; and Enter Dark Stranger, plus four chapbooks: Oldguy: Superhero, The Packing House Cantata, The Four Seasons, and The Book of Kong. His poems have appeared in more than 35 anthologies and textbooks, as well as on The Writer’s Almanac, in American Life in Poetry, and in such periodicals as Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, River Styx, Rattle, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and New Letters. He has given readings and workshops at schools, colleges, bookstores, and literary conferences throughout the United States. His awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarship, a Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Yaddo, and The Anderson Center. He is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University, where he was an editor of The Laurel Review/GreenTower Press from 1986 to 2004. He currently lives in the Kanas City area.
“I tend to be a nuts-and-bolts mentor, a ‘poetry home repair’ guy, not fond of theory, especially the post-modernist variety. I try to assess my students’ strengths and weaknesses and go from there, always being as supportive I can. I tell them to think of me as a friendly advisor rather than an ‘Instructor.’ Though I must assign a grade, they have the ultimate word on what goes into their poems. I give a paragraph of general comments on each poem in their packets, in addition to line-by-line notations. I consider the beginning-of-semester reading list subject to change as the semester progresses and each student’s needs and interests become clearer. As a writer and reader, I favor reader-friendly poems, of the kind many of America’s best poets are writing. As singer Lucinda Williams said recently, ‘Above all, the listener should be able to understand the poem or the song, not be forced to unravel a complicated, self-indulgent puzzle. Offer up art up to the whole world, not just an elite few.’ Even so, I try to help my students develop their own voice.”