CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
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Release: Sept. 20, 2002
POET LAUREATE BELL OF UI WRITERS WORKSHOP READS AT PRAIRIE LIGHTS
from Prairie Lights, the series of free readings broadcast on University
of Iowa public radio station WSUI, AM 910, will present Iowa Poet Laureate
Marvin Bell, a faculty member in the UI Writers Workshop at 8 p.m. Monday,
Sept. 30. The reading, hosted by Julie Englander in the Prairie Lights bookstore
at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City, can be heard on the internet at
That week the free series will also feature:
-- award-winning BBC journalist David Edmunds reading from Wittgensteins
Poker, which he co-authored with John Eidinow, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct.
-- controversial Middle East scholar Norman Finkelstein at 8 p.m. Wednesday,
Oct. 2, in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library; and
-- poets Taha Muhammad Ali and Aharon Shabtai with translator Peter Cole
at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.
Bell, who is a graduate of the Writers Workshop, is the author of nearly
20 books of poetry and essays, including Ardor: The Book of the Dead
Man, Vol. 2, The Book of the Dead Man, Stars Which
See, Stars Which Do Not See, an Irish collection of poems entitled Wednesday,
and Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000.
His work appears in hundreds of anthologies of poetry and essays. His former
students include Rita Dove, James Tate, Jorie Graham, John Irving, James Galvin,
Norman Dubie, David St. John, Marcus McPeek Villatoro, Joy Harjo, Patricia
Hampel, Mary Swander, Lee Blessing and Marilyn Chin.
His numerous awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award
in Literature (1994), senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia,
an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Alfred University (1986), the American
Poetry Review Prize (1982). He was a National Book Award Finalist in 1977
for Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See.
Bell has been invited to read his poetry at the White House, the Guggenheim
Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress. He holds
a bachelors degree from Alfred University and a masters degree
from the University of Chicago in addition to his Master of Fine Arts degree
from the UI. He is now in his second term as Iowas Poet Laureate.
A Publishers Weekly review described the origin of Edmunds and Eidinows
Wittgensteins Poker: In October 1946, philosopher
Karl Popper arrived at Cambridge to lecture at a seminar hosted by his legendary
colleague Ludwig Wittgenstein. It did not go well: the men began arguing,
and eventually, Wittgenstein began waving a fire poker toward Popper.
It lasted scarcely 10 minutes, yet the debate has turned into perhaps
modern philosophys most contentious encounter, largely because none
of the eyewitnesses could agree on what happened. Did Wittgenstein physically
threaten Popper with the poker? Did Popper lie about it afterward? BBC journalists
Edmonds and Eidinow use the controversy as a springboard to probe the whys
and whats of these two great thinkers, weaving biography, journalism and philosophy
to produce one of the years most entertaining and intellectually rich
Finkelstein, who teaches political theory at the City College of New York,
is the author of books including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections
on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Image and Reality of
the Israel-Palestine Conflict and A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen
Thesis and Historical Truth.
Translator Peter Cole will appear with two of the Middle Eastern poets whole
work he has made available to readers of English: Taha Muhammad Ali and Aharon
Ali is one of the leading poets of contemporary Palestinian literature, and
his work is represented in English by Never Mind: Twenty Poems and a
Story, The proprietor of a souvenir shop in Nazareth, Ali is known for
free-verse poems that reflects the everyday life of Palestinian Arabs.
Shabtai, who lives in Tel Aviv, is the foremost Hebrew translator of Greek
drama, winning the Prime Ministers Prize for Translation in 1993, and
he is the author of numerous collections of poetry.
C.K. Williams wrote of Coles translation, Love & Selected
Poems: In his fusions of the sensual and the spiritual, the ordinary
and the exalted, the sexual in the suffering psyche and the intelligent consciousness
searching and spinning through history, myth and layers of language, Shabtai
is one of the most exciting poets writing anywhere, and certainly the most
audacious. The poems have a wonderful almost vertiginous energy, an enormous
erudition, and a startling, finally inspiring candor.
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