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Release: Nov. 1, 2001

Faculty poets from UI Writers' Workshop present joint reading Nov. 14

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Poets on the faculty of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop -- Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell, James Galvin, Calvin Bedient and Mark Levine -- will read from their work at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 in Room 101 of Biology Building East on the UI campus. The free reading is presented by the Writers' Workshop.

Bell, who is also an alumnus of the Writers' Workshop, became Iowa's first poet laureate last year. Described as "a maverick" and "an insider who thinks like an outsider," is the author of 17 books of poetry and essays, most recently "Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000."

A Booklist review of "Nightworks" described Bell as a "master of plain but finely crafted and resonant language." He is Flannery O'Conner Professor of Letters at the UI.

Galvin's poetry collections "Lethal Frequencies," "Elements," "God's Mistress" and "Imaginary Timber" were re-published in 1997 in "Resurrection Update: New and Collected Poems." A UI alumnus, he is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction work "The Meadow," about the people and land of high country Wyoming, and the novel "Fencing the Sky."

Critic Donna Seaman wrote, "Galvin sets the transcendentalism of Thoreau to the music of the lonely, magnificent, and taunting expanses of the West, where scouring winds shred all pretense and frivolity, leaving only that which endures behind, and it is these stones, these bones, these burnished bits of hoarded wisdom that Galvin has been quietly celebrating over the course of two decades of writing… Galvin's deeply respectful poetry reflects the lessons of sky and mountain, winter and spring, river and grass."

Bedient was well established as a literary critic before he published his first volume of poetry, "Candy Necklace," in 1997. Carol Muske reviewed the book in the New York Times Book Review: "'Candy Necklace' is a remarkable first volume of poems by the literary critic Cal Bedient, stringing surprise after surprise on a flashing line of poetic argument. Bedient's sparkling syntactical linkages can be admired like spun-sugar jewels that glitter and catch the eye--but they also sustain the hungry imagination."

Bedient's other books include "In the Heart's Last Kingdom: Robert Penn Warren's Major Poetry," "Architects of the self: George Eliot, D.H. Lawrence and E.M. Forster," "He Do the Police in Different Voices: The Waste Land and Its Protagonist" and "Eight Contemporary Poets: Charles Tomlinson, Donald Davie, R.S. Thomas, Phillip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Thomas Kinsella, Stevie Smith, W.S. Graham."

Levine's growing reputation rests on two volumes of poetry, "Debt" and "Enola Gay," which was published last year. Jorie Graham selected "Debt" for publication in the National Poetry Series in 1993. Levine has also received a Whiting Writers Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.

A Kirkus Reviews critique of "Enola Gay" observed, "As a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and Outside, he has reported on environmental, social, and cultural concerns. Early on in this work, Levine presents several interesting excursions into the nebulous time of the 'Great War,' when disease and disaster have ravaged the land and the gods were otherwise engaged 'pondering the sky from which they long ago fell.' One is reminded of the dreamlike, post-apocalyptic world of Walter Van Tilburg Clark's short story 'The Portable Phonograph': Levine certainly seems to share Clark's conviction that mankind is fated to self-destruction and that, in a spiritual sense, it has already happened."