ISU English Professor's Fifth Collection of Poetry Released

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
August 28, 2009

Indiana State University Professor Matthew Brennan has completed work on his fifth book of poetry.

It was published in late July by Backwaters Press.

Brennan began work a decade ago on his 84-page collection titled "The House with the Mansard Roof." It includes poems that have appeared individually in other publications throughout the last several years.

Some of this collection of Brennan's work was influenced by artwork created in the 1930s and 40s by American artists commissioned by the U.S. Works Progress Administration.

Prints of those Works Progress Administration paintings hang on the walls outside Brennan's office in an upstairs hallway of Root Hall on the ISU campus.

But because Brennan is a poet whose creativity is spurred by his own personal experience, much of this work has a more personal connection for him. For example, the poem after which the book was named was inspired by a neighbor's house that Brennan views from one of his own upstairs windows.

The release of this collection marks Brennan's second book in as many years, but the publications couldn't be more different. His last major offering, titled "The Sea-Crossing of Saint Brendan," is a verse version of an eighth century poem that was written originally in Latin prose. It details St. Brendan the Navigator's seven-year search for the "Land of Saints."

This new work offers a glimpse of Brennan's more vulnerable side, he says. And because he discarded a number of previously published poems to assemble the best of his personal best, he likes to think "The House with the Mansard Roof" is a book that "holds up."

It is a collection that captures the essence of why Brennan writes.

"When I'm writing a poem that works, I feel more fully myself then than at any other time," he said.

Brennan, who completed his undergraduate work at Grinnell College, earned his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Minnesota. He is a distinguished honorary member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars whose works have appeared in more than 60 publications.

"The House with the Mansard Roof," published by The Backwaters Press, is available through the publisher or at barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com.

Writer: Rachel Wedding McClelland, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-3790 or rachel.mcclelland@indstate.edu