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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 14, 2009

Strand comes home to the UI Writers' Workshop for Oct. 22 reading

strandPulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Mark Strand, an alumnus and former faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will return to the UI as an Ida Beam Visiting Professor. As part of the visit Strand will give a free reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in Van Allen Hall Lecture Room II on the UI campus.

He will also offer a free question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23, in the Frank Conroy Reading Room of the Dey House.

strand-coverStrand's "New Selected Poems" was published earlier this year. His collection "The Blizzard of One" won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize. Responding to this collection, Deborah Garrison wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "There are a handful of contemporary poets whom we can consider only by gazing upward. ... Mark Strand is undeniably one of these luminaries."

Publishers Weekly described him as "one of our most deeply enjoyable poets," and critic Alfred Corn wrote of his work, "This is a poetry written, as it were, in the shadow of high mountains, and touched with their grandeur."

Strand has written 11 books of poems, which have brought him many honors and grants, including a MacArthur "genius grant." He is the author of a book of stories, as well as several volumes of translations, monographs on contemporary artists, books for children and "Weather of Words: Poetic Invention," a collection of writings about art and poetry. He has also been the editor of several anthologies.

His other honors include the Bollingen Prize, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Edgar Allen Poe Prize, and a Rockefeller Foundation award, as well as fellowships from The Academy of American Poets and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

He is a faculty member at Columbia University and is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 based on a bequest from the late Ida Beam of Vinton, Iowa, who willed her family farm to the UI Foundation. The proceeds from the farm's sale enabled the UI to establish a fund that brings top scholars in a variety of fields to the university for lectures and discussions.

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Connie Brothers,, 319-335-0416; Winston Barclay, UI News Services, 319-384-0073,