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University of Iowa News Release


June 12, 2009

June 20-25 Prairie Lights schedule includes Summer Writing Festival faculty

The June 20-25 schedule of live literary events at the Prairie Lights bookstore includes several faculty members from the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and a rare Saturday evening event. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Web site:

The free readings, at 7 p.m. in the store at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City will be:

--Shannon Olson and Morgan Grayce Willow on Saturday, June 20.
--Michael Dennis Browne, on Monday, June 22.
--Poet Robert Wachal on Tuesday, June 23.
--Poets John Graber and Bruce Bond on Thursday, June 25.

The events will also be archived, and will soon be accessible through the Writing University site.

Olson and Willow will read from "Shotgun" a new anthology in which a group of America's celebrated literary women have come together to tackle a topic close to their hearts: Mom.

Olson is at the UI to teach a Summer Writing Festival course on "The Art of the Anecdote." She is the author of the novels 'Welcome to My Planet: Where English Is Sometimes Spoken" and "Children of God Go Bowling," and she recently co-taught a humor-writing course with Garrison Keillor.

Willow, a poet and essayist who teaches at the Loft Literary Center in the Twin Cities, has won awards including Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships and a Witter Bynner translation project award. Her poetry collection "Interstitial" will be published in fall 2009.

Browne, another Iowa Summer Writing Festival faculty member and an alumnus of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his new collection of essays, "What the Poem Wants," a record of his lifelong love affair with poetry. In "What the Poem Wants," he reflects on his career and experiences writing, publishing and learning about poetry.

Wachal, a UI emeritus faculty member in linguistics, will read from his new collection of poems, "Novembering: Poems from Late in Life." Iowa Review editor David Hamilton commented, "These spare poems lift like kites off the page to stroll the upper atmosphere of late life and its hard won understandings."

Bond, also at the UI to teach this summer, is the author of several collections of poetry, including "Blind Rain," "Cinder," "The Throats of Narcissus," and "Radiography," winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Best Book of Poetry Award. He is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas and poetry editor for the American Literary Review.

Graber, a graduate of the UI Writers' Workshop is the author of "Thanksgiving Dawn: Poems 1970-2008." Butch Thompson commented, "A reading by John Graber now there is an event. He opens up like a great operatic tenor, or maybe a fine gospel singer, and lets fly with poetry for the people, out in the real world and in no need of explication, because he's got you along for the ride and you know he's being profoundly generous with you and with the whole world."

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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: Jan Weissmiller, Prairie Lights,, 319-337-2681; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office) 319-430-1013 (cell),