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University of Iowa News Release

July 16, 2004

Urban Teachers' Poetry Workshop Returns To UI For Third Year

For the third consecutive year, America SCORES, a nationwide community-service program that combines soccer and creative writing, will bring educators from cities across the country to the University of Iowa for a specially designed workshop for writing teachers. The 2004 workshops will be held on the UI campus July 25-Aug. 5.

Internationally known for its writing programs, the UI provides an ideal environment for the third annual America SCORES/University of Iowa Urban Teachers' Poetry Workshop. The workshop will be taught by Marvin Bell, (left) the Iowa Poet Laureate and the Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters at the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop. Bell will be assisted by teacher, writer and activist Cecile Goding.

Through a series of visits by guest authors, poetry workshops and best-practices sessions, teachers attending the workshop gain tools to use in some of the nation's most challenged public schools. In return for the chance to attend, teachers are asked to take what they have learned and share their knowledge with the other teachers in their schools.

"America Scores, its sponsors, and its teachers are all on the side of the angels," Bell said. "The America Scores blend of after-school soccer and poetry promotes confidence and language skills in students who may have a difficult row to hoe. It fosters imagination and self-expression in young people who may not speak easily of what is in their hearts. The imagination is a survival skill, and the meaning of a workshop is that we are all in this together."

"Through America SCORES' partnership with the University of Iowa, we have found an ideal way to develop poetry as a teaching tool," says Paul Caccamo, president of America SCORES. "The University of Iowa has had unparalleled success in teaching writing to older students. We believe the America SCORES/University of Iowa Urban Teachers' Poetry Workshop effectively translates this success to the nation's youngest and neediest kids."

America SCORES is an urban youth development program serving public elementary school children. America SCORES uses creative writing, soccer and community service to instill in children a lifelong dedication to education, healthy living and citizenship. America SCORES offers after-school workshops to girls and boys in urban neighborhoods in the Bay Area, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New England, New York, and Seattle.

Bell, who has been called "a maverick" and "an insider who thinks like an outsider," is the author of 17 books of poetry and essays. Of Bell's newest collection Judith Kitchen says, "Bell has redefined poetry as it is practiced today." According to the Harvard Review, "It's tough to come away from ("Nightworks") not believing that Bell has the largest heart since Walt Whitman."

Bell has received the Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia.

"Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See" was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1977. In March 2000 Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack named Bell the state's first poet laureate, an appointment that was recently renewed.

Bell is a long-time member of the Writers' Workshop faculty. He has also taught at Goddard College and the Universities of Hawaii and Washington. His former students include Rita Dove, James Tate, Jorie Graham, John Irving and current workshop faculty member James Galvin.

Bell has been invited to read his poetry at the White House, the Guggenheim Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress. A graduate of the Writers' Workshop, he also holds a bachelor's degree from Alfred University and a master's degree from the University of Chicago.

The 2004 America SCORES/University of Iowa Urban Teachers' Poetry Workshop has been made possible through the generous support of the University of Iowa, the Starbucks Foundation and the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation.

For more information on American SCORES, visit http://www.americascores.org.

The Writers Workshop is part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.