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Release: Immediate

1996 Iowa Poetry Prize co-winner published by UI Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A collection of poems that was awarded a 1996 Iowa Poetry Prize has been published by the University of Iowa Press.

"The Gates of the Elect Kingdom," by John Wood, is a collection of narrative and lyrical poetry that showcases Wood's adeptness with lyricism as well as the short form. The collected poems were also noted for their ability to sustain a sequence and for evoking a sensuous feel for contemporary life and the life of the past.

In the title work, Wood uses a series of lyrical poems to describe the attempt by German-born Wilhelm Johannes Hoade to found and maintain a utopian community on the Kansas prairie of the 1850s. The 17 poems of the cycle and the introductory "proem" weave historical accounts and imaginative narration to re-create the spiritual hopes and the physical and psychic ordeals of Hoade and his disciples.

Said psychologist Robert Coles: "For the many who have wanted to know more about the moral and intellectual roots of the Hoadeite movement and, too, its complex social development, this extended lyrical narrative will prove to be a godsend."

The collection also includes a free but artistically faithful translation of some of the poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym, one of the great poets of medieval Wales, and two sections of original poetry by Wood.

John Wood is professor of art and English and director of the creative writing program at McNeese State University. He lives in Lake Charles, La.

"Gates of the Elect Kingdom" is available at bookstores nationwide for $10.95 as a paperback original. The book can also be ordered from UI Press by calling

(319) 384-3807 (for calls within Johnson County) or 1-800-235-2665 (outside Johnson County).

Information is also available at the UI Press website: