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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
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Release: Immediate

UI CAMPUS NOTES -- IOWA CENTER FOR THE ARTS

ROBERT CREELEY WILL GIVE POETRY READING AT UI FEB. 14 -- Robert Creeley, one of America's most influential literary figures, will read from his poetry at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 in Shambaugh Auditorium of the University of Iowa Main Library. The reading, which is sponsored by the Iowa Writers' Workshop, is free and open to the public. Creeley's latest work is the collection "Life & Death."

Once known primarily for his association with the "Black Mountain Poets" -- a group of writers that included Denise Levertov, Ed Dorn and Fielding Dawson, colleagues of composer John Cage and painter Robert Rauschenberg at Black Mountain College in North Carolina -- Creeley has long been known in his own right for work of concision and emotional power as well as for influential essays on poetry.

Creeley has been credited with formulating one of the basic principles of a "new poetry" often called "projective verse" -- the idea that form is never more than an extension of content.

John Ashbery writes: "Creeley's poetry is as basic and necessary as the air we breathe; as hospitable, plain and open as our continent itself. He is about the best we have."

Allen Ginsberg wrote: "Robert Creeley has created a noble life-body of poetry that extends the work of his predecessors Pound, Williams, Zukofsky and Olson, and provides like them a method for his successors in exploring our new American Poetic consciousness."

Joyce Carol Oates writes in The New Republic: "Creeley is absolutely mesmerizing in his ability to suspend and to define the passage of thought, the process of experience in all its ironic, inexorable sadness. No poetic theories are required to support such art: It achieves its own permanence by relating at once to our own groping, semi-articulate wonder."

Creeley's many collections include "For Love," "Memory Gardens," "Windows," "Words," "Echoes" and several volumes of collected and selected poems. He also is the author of numerous collected essays on poetry as well as short stories and novels, including "The Island," "The Gold Diggers," "Mabel: A Story" and "Collected Prose."

Creeley is also a fiction writer and editor. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His many awards and honors include the Walt Whitman citation of merit, Guggenheim fellowships, a National Book Award nomination, Rockefeller Foundation grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant and the Frost Medal.

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POET BANG READS FEB. 15 -- Poet Mary Jo Bang will read from her work at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public.

Bang is the author of the acclaimed collection "Apology for Want," which received the Katharine Bakeless Nason Poetry Prize. She is the also recipient of a Discovery/Nation Award.

Edward Hirsch writes: " 'Who wouldn't have grown into longing?' Mary Jo Bang asks in her startling first book. In the country of these poems desire is the initiating subject and words are the coinage of the realm. . . . This poet has created her own stealthy syntax of the heart's expansions and contractions, its resistances and leave-takings. . . . It is dark, inventive and unabashed."

Lucie Brock-Broido writes of "Apology for Want": "This is a consuming poetry -- full of will and curiosity and hankering. Mary Jo Bang is a poet of exquisite distillation, of lavish distances, of comb and control. 'Apology for Want' is a consummate book."

Bang's poems have appeared in The Nation, the Paris Review, the Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Shenandoah, Southwest, the Colorado Review, the Partisan Review, and Salmagundi, among others.

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PERSPECTIVES FEB. 18 -- Robert Rorex, University of Iowa professor of Chinese and Japanese art history, will present a free lecture and gallery tour 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18 for the UI Museum of Art's Perspectives series. Rorex will discuss the Chinese jade objects from the permanent collection that were recently reinstalled in the East River Gallery of the museum.

Rorex plans to discuss the significance the Chinese have historically attached to jade artwork and artifacts. Since the Neolithic period, jade has been used in Chinese cultures for a variety of purposes. In ancient times, jade badges and talismans were used primarily to signify political rank, economic power and royalty. In recent centuries jade has served most frequently as raw material for precious statues, carvings and other works of art and decoration.

Rorex said, "For the Chinese jade had an almost magical significance and could be used for many purposes. It could indicate the nobility of the owner, or it could be used to create artwork, or it could be used to make practical things that you used around the house."

Objects in the UI Museum of Art's collection include statuettes, deity carvings, and intricate nature representations, as well as artifacts such as drinking vessels and badges of rank. While some of the pieces are up to 500 years old, most date from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The objects were donated in the 1960s as part of the Elliot collection and are being displayed now for the first time in seven years.

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NOVELIST LAZAR READS FEB. 19 -- Novelist Zachary Lazar, a University of Iowa alumnus, will read from his work at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, sponsored by the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Prairie Lights, is free and open to the public.

With his first novel, "Aaron Approximately," Lazar marked his debut as a refreshing and profoundly intelligent voice in American fiction.

Scott Heim, author of "In Awe," writes: " 'Aaron Approximately' is about loneliness and lust, mutiny and surrender, all the intimate and excruciatingly familiar disturbances of youth. Uncannily wise, Zachary Lazar has gotten all of it, every last beautiful word of it, right."

Margot Livesey, author of "Criminals," writes: "Zachary Lazar knows everything there is to know about the late 20th century and its many masks; he is a master of joy and sorrow, humor and despair. 'Aaron Approximately' introduces an irresistible hero and a scintillating new writer."

Lazar is a graduate of the Writers' Workshop. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. and the James Michener-Copernicus Society of America. He lives in New York City.

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UNIVERSITY THEATRES GALLERY PRESENTS 'SPEAK UPON THE ASHES' -- The University Theatres Gallery series will present "Speak Upon the Ashes," a new play written and directed by Iowa Playwrights Workshop student Amy Wheeler, at 8 p.m. Feb. 19-21 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

In this play, a painful homecoming provides a young African-American seminarian with answers to the mysteries of her family's past. On her journey back to the segregated South, she learns transforming truths that renew her faith in the healing power of love.

There she is confronted by a middle-aged white man dying of cancer, and their meeting conjures ghosts from the past as they struggle to reconcile their violent histories.

"People have asked me how this play came to me," Wheeler says. "I'm not black and I'm not from Mississippi. I did grow up the daughter and granddaughter of preachers, and I have a deep interest in issues of faith and forgiveness -- how our beliefs impact the way we encounter prejudice, whatever its face.

"I'm not sure that people can forgive each other for atrocities. I think THAT forgiveness comes from God. But maybe people can seek God's forgiveness in the struggle to understand each other."

Admission to "Speak Upon the Ashes" will be $4 ($2 for UI students, senior citizens and youth 17 and younger) at the door.

2/6/98