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Release: April 5, 1999

UI English department hosts symposium in honor of retiring professor

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa department of English is sponsoring a symposium titled "Writing Life & Land" April 8-9 in the Gerber Lounge of the English-Philosophy Building on the UI campus.

The symposium was organized in honor of longtime English professor Robert F. Sayre's retirement. It will run from 1:45-6 p.m. Thursday, April 8 and 2:15-4:30 p.m. Friday, April 9 with a cocktail reception to follow from 5-7 p.m. in the South Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Speakers at the symposium will address the four major research areas Sayre focused on during his 33-year career at the UI: American autobiography, Native American literature, Throeau, and the prairie landscape. Guest speakers include: Sidonie Smith, University of Michigan; Hertha Dawn Sweet Wong, University of California at Berkeley; William Howarth, Princeton University; and Joni Kinsey, University of Iowa. Sayre will also speak at the symposium, giving a presentation titled, "The Landscape of Capitalism."

Sayre has been a tireless advocate for historic preservation, recreational trails, and prairie restoration. Along with the numerous scholarly books and articles he published during his career, he also took the initiative in the 1980s to compile the first Iowa guidebook since the WPA Guide of the 1930s. He edited and wrote part of "Take This Exit," a collection of essays on the Iowa vernacular landscape, which was published by Iowa State University Press in 1989. A sequel, "Take the Next Exit," is planned for 2000.