CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 1, 2002
Poets Roberts and Leader share March 12 reading
Poets Beth Roberts, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Mary Leader,
winner of the 2000 Iowa Poetry Prize, will share a free reading at 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 12, in Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown
Iowa City. The reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights"
series, originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. The
program can be accessed on the internet at < http://wsui.uiowa.edu/
As the winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, Leader's "The Penultimate Suitor"
was published by the UI Press. Roberts collection, "Brief Moral
History in Blue: Poems," was published last year.
Poet Mark Levine wrote of "Brief Moral History in Blue," "Roberts
faith in the renovating powers of lyric tradition is as anxious as it is necessary."
Lia Purpura wrote that Roberts' poems are: "en route and restless, glimpsing,
as they do, 'what it is the century requires.' Such glimpses take hard work
with a steadying lens and the willingness to stop abruptly, to implicate oneself
in the brief, severe clarity that a lens frames. . . . Roberts fights to keep
the fine synaptical snap of perception alive amidst the world's relentless
desire for 'a long attenuating history.' Of course, to count the cost of true
sight and the worth of our hours requires a stubborn belief in language, that
'spectrum of decision' she calls it. It is her original and serious play with
this spectrum's wide swerves, its echoes and vortices, seductions and groundings,
that compels readers to believe as well."
Roberts received a bachelor's degree in English from Western Michigan University
before attending the UI Writers' Workshop. Her poems have been published in
periodicals including the Black Warrior Review, the Gettysburg Review, the
Indiana Review, the Iowa Review, and the New England Review.
Leader, formerly an Oklahoma assistant attorney general, teaches at the
University of Memphis and in the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her first
book, "Red Signature," was selected for the National Poetry Series.
A New York Times Review of Books critique of "The Penultimate Suitor"
observed, "Leader is a searching writer who has her craft down cold.
Her poems . . . struggle to make sense of the difficulties in living the artist's
life -- as well as making sense of sexual desire."
Edward Hirsch wrote, "Mary Leader brings a lovely music, a nearly limitless
sense of invention, a ruthless taste for games, and a fantastic imagination
to her signature second book -- a work of high craftsmanship, of equally high
desires and longings, of twin avidities, art and love."
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