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University of Iowa News Release


April 13, 2009

UI Press releases two new volumes of literary scholarship April 15

The University of Iowa press will release two new volumes of literary scholarship -- "12 x 12: Conversations in 21st-Century Poetry and Poetics" and "History Matters: Contemporary Poetry on the Margins of American Culture" -- on April 15.

The books will be available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

"12 x 12," edited by Christina Mengert and Joshua Marie Wilkinson, assembles the views of 24 poets through their one-on-one pairings.

UI Writers' Workshop faculty member Cole Swensen wrote, "'12 x 12' is truly representative of the best in early 21st-century poetry. Because the poets, both younger and older, are particularly socially and intellectually dynamic, Mengert and Wilkinson's volume presents poetry as socially and politically relevant and underscores the potential for poets to be important thinkers in society. The conversations show that poets think about much more than poetry itself and that their work is crucially informed by contemporary events, philosophy, and the realities of daily life."

Mengert's "As We Are Sung" is forthcoming. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Web Conjunctions, the Denver Quarterly, Aufgabe, the New Review of Literature and other periodicals. In 2004 she won the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award for Poetry and was selected for the "Best New Poets 2006" anthology. She currently teaches writing and literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in UCLA's Writers' Extension Program.

Wilkinson's "Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk" won the Iowa Poetry Prize in 2006. His poetry collections include "Figures for a Darkroom Voice" "Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms" and "The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth." He teaches at Loyola University Chicago.

Ira Sadoff's "History Matters" argues that poets live and write within history, and that our artistic values always reflect attitudes about both literary history and culture at large. By tracking key contemporary poets -- including John Ashbery, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Louise Glück, Czeslaw Milosz, Frank O'Hara and C. K. Williams -- as well as musing on jazz and other creative enterprises, he investigates the lively poetic art of those who have grappled with late 20th-century attitudes about history, subjectivity, contingency, flux and modernity.

Poet Charles Simic commented, "Even when I disagree with Sadoff, I admire him. He's a close reader, smart, wide-ranging, and he writes well. I'd rather read his essays on poetry than anyone else's, because he never fails to say many interesting and provocative things."

Sadoff is the Arthur Jeremiah Roberts Professor of English at Colby College. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, criticism and essays, including "Barter," "Grazing, An Ira Sadoff Reader," "Emotional Traffic" and the novel "Uncoupling." His poetry has been widely anthologized, most recently in "Best Poems of 2008."

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,