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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 26, 2006

2006 Iowa Poetry Prize Winners Announced

Poets Elizabeth Hughey of Montague, Mass., and Sarah Vap of Phoenix, Ariz., have been named 2006 recipients of the prestigious Iowa Poetry Prize by the University of Iowa Press. Hughey is being honored for her debut collection "Sunday Houses the Sunday House." Vap's award-winning collection, "American Spikenard," is also a debut.

Both collections will be published in April 2007 by the University of Iowa Press.

"In 'Sunday Houses the Sunday House' Hughey embraces the possibility that we can learn as much from objects as we can from other people, from the inanimate as much as the animate," said Holly Carver, UI Press director.

"Each poem descends upon a place and a time, takes a few notes, then leaves quietly without slamming any doors. 'Sunday Houses the Sunday House' reveals what the world is like when your attention is focused elsewhere, when your head is turned the other way," Carver said. "In ineffably beautiful verse, Hughey captures moments in time and place with confidence but without being judgmental.

"Although it may seem that the scope of these poems is rather small -- a good party, a couple of eggs, a housekeeper's daydream -- they reveal both a deep intelligence and a spirit of whimsy. Gertrude Stein wrote that she wanted to be 'drunk with nouns,' and in a sense that is what Hughey has accomplished here."

A native of Alabama, Hughey attended Hollins University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree. Her poems have appeared in Shampoo, the Hat and the Southern Poetry Review. She lives and teaches in western Massachusetts.

"If everyone decided to call themselves a girl / that word would stop," writes Vap. Jim McCoy, marketing manager for UI Press, commented: "In this award-winning volume of authoritative and assertive poems, Vap embarks on an emotional journey to the land of America's female children. Questioning, contradicting, radically and restlessly demanding acceptance, she searches for a way to move from serious girlhood to womanly love."

Sarah Vap grew up in Missoula, Mont. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Arizona State University in 2005 and currently teaches creative writing at Phoenix College and in the Phoenix public schools for ASU's Young Writers Program. Her work has been published in Field, the Denver Quarterly, the Colorado Review and Natural Bridge. She is currently a poetry editor for the online journal 42opus.

Awarded annually by the University of Iowa Press, the Iowa Poetry Prize is one of the leading national poetry awards. The acclaimed competition is open to new as well as established poets. Recent winners of the prize include "Raw Goods Inventory" by Emily Rosko, "Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk" by Joshua Marie Wilkinson, "Ledger" by Susan Wheeler, "The Waiting" by Megan Johnson and "Aggregate of Disturbances" by Michele Glazer.

For additional information, contact Allison Thomas by phone at 319-335-2015 or e-mail Visit the UI Press web site at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Thomas, 319-335-2015, and George McCrory, 319-384-0012,