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Release: Oct. 4, 2002

PRAIRIE LIGHTS READINGS OCT. 14-17 INCLUDE RETURN OF POET WEISSBORT

Poet Daniel Weissbort, a University of Iowa emeritus professor who directed the Translation Workshop, will return to read from his newly published “Letters to Ted” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The other readings at Prairie Lights that week will be broadcast on the “Live from Prairie Lights” series hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. These readings can be heard on the internet at http://wsui.uiowa.edu :

-- Wyoming writer Mark Spragg reading from “Fruit of Stone” at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14;

-- fiction writer Michael Faber at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, following Weissbort’s reading;

-- Cuban fiction writer Antonio Jose Ponte, in residence with the UI International Writing Program, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16; and

-- a “Harvest Lecture Prairie Poets” event at 8 p.m. Oct. 17, featuring Robert Dana reading from Paul Engle, the Cedar Rapids native who led the Writers’ Workshop to prominence and co-founded the International Writing Program; Denise Low reading from UI alumnus and Pulitzer Prize winner William Stafford; and Scott Cawelti reading from “farmer poet” James Hearst, whose definitive collection was published by the UI Press.

“Letters to Ted” reflects Weissbort’s friendship with British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, who was the husband of Sylvia Plath. Weissbort met Hughes early in his studies at Cambridge University, and in 1965 they founded the journal Modern Poetry in Translation. Hughes died in 1998.

In addition to his work at the UI, Weissbort has been advisory director of English Poetry International in London, and he was a member of the PEN American Center Translation Committee.

Weissbort is widely known for his translations and anthologies of Russian and East European poetry, and his volumes of original work include “The Leaseholder,” “In an emergency,” “Soundings,” “Fathers,” “Inscription” and “Lake -- New and Selected Poems.” Hughes said of Weissbort’s work, “It’s hard to imagine how anything could be more natural, relaxed and true to the writer’s self, true to his secret, personal life, than Daniel Weissbort’s poems.”

Mark Spragg’s first novel, ”Fruit of Stone,” is a ranch-land love triangle about which critic Bill Ott wrote, “Nothing happens as we expect it to happen, but every note Spragg hits seems right”

Spragg’s screenplay “Everything That Rises,” was produced on TNT cable in 1998, and his essay collection “Where Rivers Change Direction” won the 1999 Mountain and Plains Booksellers Award. Spragg has also edited a Sierra Club anthology, “Thunder of the Mustangs.”

Antonio Jose Ponte studied at the University of Havana, worked as an engineer and then as a screenwriter. He has published prize-winning collections of poetry and essays and a book of short fiction in English translation, “In the Cold of the Malecon and other Stories.” A second collection, “Tales from the Cuban Empire,” will appear this fall. Ponte is participating in the IWP courtesy of the William B. Quarton International Writing Program Scholarship.

For UI arts information, visit www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu.