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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: March 20, 2000

UI CAMPUS NOTES -- IOWA CENTER FOR THE ARTS

NOTLEY READS MARCH 27 -- Poet Alice Notley, an alumna of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recent finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, will read at 8 p.m. Monday, March 27, in Room 321 of the Chemistry/Botany Building on the University of Iowa campus. The reading is free and open to the public.

Notley's latest book, "Mysteries of Small Houses," was published in 1998. The critic of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Alice Notley's inspired, challenging 'Mysteries of Small Houses' leaps out of the contemporary experimental-writing landscape with the arresting gleam of an opal in the outback. . . . At its strongest, Notley's verse seems illuminated with abiding, self-generative joy, offering a backdrop for even the most somber of shadowing personal sorrows. . . . [It is] difficult, visionary poetry, but well worth the trust it demands of us."

About her previous book, "The Descent of Alette," published in 1996, Booklist's reviewer wrote, "Working in an avant-garde mode, Notley seeks epic stature literally and figuratively in this new collage-like work . . . . This epic is a story of transformation and travel, a journey of imagination that is firmly rooted in the reality of urban, modern living.

"War veterans, the mentally disturbed, homeless people -- they are real witnesses and participants in our travel, and we deny or affirm their existence by passing or stopping for them when taking a train or bus. Notley uses this real experience to give strangers voice and to create exchanges so often feared in daily life. Using rhythmic units that resound like dialogue, Notley weaves a conversation of motion and mystery . . . . Throughout this epic are brief and perceptive comments that restate universal truths and reinforce the urge toward all that is right."

Alice Notley was born in 1945 in Bisbee, Arizona. She received a bachelor's degree from Barnard College in 1967, and a Master of Fine Arts from the UI in 1969. She married the writer Ted Berrigan in 1972. After Berrigan's death in 1983, she married British poet Doug Oliver and relocated to Paris, France.

Notley's writing and art responds to a broad spectrum of American culture. Her experiments with poetic forms and free verse owe as much to Gertrude Stein, Frank O'Hara, and Ted Berrigan as they do to William Carlos Williams. Like them, she believes that she is writing primarily to express her own personal tone of voice. She feels her speech is the voice of "the new wife, and the new mother" in her own time, but her first aim is to make a poem, rather than present a platform of social reform.

Among the numerous collections of verse that Notley has published are "Incidentals in the Day World" (1973), "When I Was Alive" (1980), "Waltzing Matilda" (1981), "Margaret and Dusty" (1985), and "How Spring Comes" (1981), which received a 1982 San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award. In addition to her poems, Notley wrote a short autobiography, "Tell Me Again" (1982).

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PEMBERTON READS MARCH 28 -- Essayist Gayle Pemberton, a faculty member at Wesleyan University, will read from her collection of personal essays, "The Hottest Water in Chicago: Notes of a Native Daughter," at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

Toni Morrison writes, "The warmth and wit of Gayle Pemberton's 'The Hottest Water in Chicago' are delightfully seductive. But the reader should make no mistake -- this is a profoundly serious book."

Pemberton, a professor of English and African-American Studies, received her master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.

This reading is co-sponsored by the UI Nonfiction Writing Program.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series' web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.

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COCKEY READS MARCH 29 – Mystery writer Tim Cockey will read from his first novel, "The Hearse You Came In On," at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, at the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

Janet Evanovich writes, "If you've never held your breath and laughed at the same time, get ready. 'The Hearse You Came In On' takes you on a fun and frantic ride."

Booklist's review explains, "Cockey's delightful first novel begins when a woman named Carolyn James wanders into a wake at Hitch's mortuary and wants to schedule a funeral -- for herself . . . .

"Cockey possesses a terrific comic touch, and his spot-on evocation of working-class Baltimore calls to mind a Barry Levinson film. Elmore Leonard fans are sure to like Cockey's dry wit, and the laidback Hitch, who would rather drink another beer than risk his life, will remind readers of Dallas Murphy's equally laconic Artie Deemer."

Cockey, who spent his formative years in Baltimore, has been a story analyst for many major film and television companies, including American Playhouse, ABC and Hallmark Entertainment.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series' web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.

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METZ READS MARCH 30 -- University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Robin Metz will read from his new collection of poetry, "Unbidden Angels," at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the UI radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public. "Unbidden Angels" is an elegy for Metz's wife, who died unexpectedly several years ago, not long after she and Metz were married. The collection forms a kind of narrative, a grief cycle, that speaks through the horror of that loss.

In the foreword, Sheryl St. Germain writes, "I turn to Metz's work when I want to remember again why it is we are here . . . and how we can transform our gutter-dark griefs into something useful, something beautiful."

Metz was born in Pittsburgh, Penn. He received his bachelor's degree at Princeton University before attending the UI, where he was a contemporary of Donald Justice and Robert Dana. He currently resides in Illinois and rural Wisconsin, teaching at Knox College, where he is Philip Sidney Post Professor of English.

His fiction and poetry have appeared in the Paris Review, International Poetry Review, Epoch, Visions, Calypso and many other periodicals. Metz has also worked on collaborative projects with numerous composers, musicians, visual artists and theatre companies, including Vitalist Theatre of Chicago. In 1998 he won the Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Prize.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series' web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.

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SAVAGE READS MARCH 31 -- Scott Savage, editor of Plain Magazine and "Plain Reader: Essays on Making a Simple Life," will read at 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, at the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading -- part of the "Live From Prairie Lights" series originating live on the University of Iowa radio station WSUI, 910 AM -- is free and open to the public.

In "Plain Reader," various writers search for a sense of home, intimacy and community through the act of simplification. Discussing everything from shared labor on a farm to reconnecting with children through home schooling, from the purging of radios and televisions to using midwives in place of obstetricians and medical technology, these essays seek to offer alternatives to corporate and electronic America.

Savage's new book is called "A Plain Life." It is about his week-long walk to officially return his driver's license to the state capitol. Through flashbacks and reflections, he evokes his Quaker community.

Savage is the cofounder of the Center for Plain Living. He organized the Second Luddite Congress in Barnesville, Ohio, where he now resides.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series' web page at http://www.prairielights.com/livefromplights.htm.