Documenting Barbara Presnell

The RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU

By Kelsey Block

Last week, the RCAH Center for Poetry was delighted to welcome North Carolina native Barbara Presnell to East Lansing. During her brief visit, Presnell conducted a workshop on documentary poetry and gave readings of her work.

Presnell said she began writing when she was a child. As the youngest of three children, she said her older siblings often left her to invent her own fun. She said she read her first stories to her parents, who were very supportive throughout her life.

“When I had my first book published, I really felt like, ‘I don’t have to do anything else,’” Presnell said, adding that she felt she had accomplished what she set out to do. “It felt that good. It just felt right.”

Presnell said that her favorite part about writing poetry is striving to be accurate.

“I usually write about people and real life situations, and…

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