Jan. 27, 2009
UI poets Powell and Mead share a free reading Feb. 9
The "Live from Prairie Lights" reading series, which is streamed live on the University of Iowa Writing University Web site, http://writinguniversity.uiowa.edu, will feature poets D.A. Powell and Jane Mead -- both graduates of the UI Writers' Workshop -- on Monday, Feb. 9. The readings will be free events at 7 p.m. in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.
Powell's new book is "Chronic: Poems," his first collection since his acclaimed trilogy of "Tea," "Lunch" and "Cocktails," which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has been a visiting faculty member at the Writers' Workshop, and he now teaches at the University of San Francisco.
A starred review in Publishers Weekly stated, "This fourth collection from Powell is simultaneously an accessible heartbreaker, a rare gem for connoisseurs, a genre-altering breakthrough and a long-anticipated follow-up."
J.D. McClatchy wrote, ""Whenever I change the channel to D.A. Powell's work, there beneath the screen's headlines runs the simultaneous quicksilver crawl of news from elsewhere: from underneath, behind the scenes, the half-secret places where love is brokered and power is spent. It all races to the heart, and keeps his poems there. 'Chronic' gives us the time of our lives in ways both ardent and exhilarating."
Mead's latest book, "The Usable Field," was published in May. Ira Sadoff wrote, "Jane Mead's our Emily Dickinson, our most ambitious solitary. Her austere poems are brilliant: endlessly inventive, syntactically, tonally and emotionally rich. Alternately ironic and undefended, she never sacrifices compassion, justice, her quest for pleasure. In their longing and their loneliness, tending to the otherness of nature, the beauty of expression, these poems honor the frailty that makes us most human."
Mead is the author of two previous collections of poetry, "House of Poured-Out Waters" and "The Lord and the General Din of the World." Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Completion Grant and a Whiting Writer's Award. For many years the poet-in-residence at Wake Forest University, she is now a co-owner of Prairie Lights.
Dora Malech wrote for CutBank Reviews, "In Jane Mead's latest collection of poems, 'The Usable Field,' the field in question is not theoretical (not 'open' nor 'unified') but physical and actual, a living and tangible landscape made of 'vines and poppies,' 'the dust and the grasses,' 'grit on the wind,' 'yellow thistle,' and 'the far shore/and the cliffs beyond it.' This is as much a literal place on earth as it is a metaphorical one. The poems don't concern themselves so much with theory, but with a more private kind of discourse, wrestling with selfhood, the dead, and the natural world that binds past and present generations together where 'the vineyard/and the grave are one.'"
The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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