Saint Leo students and faculty at University Campus had the chance this month to hear faculty author Dr. Anne Barngrover give her first public reading from Brazen Creature, her newest book of poetry. The collection is available in paperback and can be ordered from the publisher, the University of Akron Press; it will be available April 23 from Amazon.
Dr. Barngrover is in her first full year at Saint Leo, and teaches students at the undergraduate level as well as those enrolled in the low-residency Master of Arts in creative writing program.
Her reading was part of a presentation she calls "Being, Writing, and Reading a Brazen Creature," and took place as part of an ongoing series, "Meet Your Faculty," held at the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library. In addition to reading some of her poems, Dr. Barngrover also spoke candidly and with humor about her early background and the sources of inspiration for poetry.
Her own moods and emotions can provide material. "My heart is a spilled glass of wine," she wrote in one line of the poem "Little Birds." Loneliness was another theme reflected through descriptions of cold wintry fields in a Midwest landscape.
Sightings of animals and insects can stir creative imaginings, too. Thoughts that came to her as she would run on a favorite recreational trail during her years as a PhD student provided content for Brazen Creature.
One day she saw a mother possum at the edge of the trail and, surprisingly, the animal did not recoil as she passed. The phrase "brazen creature" popped into the writer's head. A creature might not have the opportunity to control its fate or surrounding environment, she explained in the talk. So, one that exists in the open without fear or shame can be intriguing—and make for striking artwork as the books cover design shows.
Dr. Barngrover spoke also about the ideas of using animals, other beings, or landscapes, in writing to mirror human emotions, and how she reflected after seeing the possum that she, too, might be a brazen creature.
She told the audience that some of her favorite subjects to think, read, and write about are feminism, ecology, and sociology.
Her previous works include a collection of poetry called Yell Hound Blues, and a chapbook, Candy in Our Brains, that she and poet Avni Vyas co-authored. Dr. Barngrover will have another reading, open to the public and at no charge, at University Campus at 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, in TECO Hall, in the Tapia School of Business building.
Dr. Barngrover studied at the University of Missouri for her doctorate in English and creative writing and earned her Master of Fine Arts in writing at Florida State University. She is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and studied at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, for her Bachelor of Arts degree.