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Award-winning St. Louis poet Mary Jo Bang latest poetry collection draws influence from the Bauhaus

St. Louis poet Mary Jo Bang discusses her latest poetry work, "A Doll for Throwing."
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis poet Mary Jo Bang discusses her latest poetry work, "A Doll for Throwing."

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with author and Washington University professor Mary Jo Bang about her work and new poetry collection, “A Doll for Throwing.”

Bang said the unusual title comes from several sources of inspiration. She liked the concept of German designer Alma Siedhoff-Buscher’s “throw dolls” – dolls that no matter how they are thrown, always land with grace.

“I was rather charmed by that idea because in fact, we’re all human dolls and we’re often thrown, and the idea of always landing with grace would be quite consoling,” Bang said. The other meaning for “A Doll for Throwing” is the concept of a ventriloquist adding a voice to a doll.

Her latest book is a collection of prose poems – poems that don’t break lines. She said prose poetry is often used when poems have a narrative. While her work is not a direct autobiography, she does include some details of her personal life.

“I blend them. I take things in this book from László Moholy’s [a professor at the Bauhaus] life, my life and then from things that I know but may not have experienced first-hand,” Bang said. “And that’s invention. That’s imagination.”

Bang said the Bauhaus influenced much of her work. The Bauhaus movement was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts.


St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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