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Release: Immediate

Iowa Poetry Prize winners announced

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three accomplished poets are winners of the Iowa Poetry Prize, an annual honor awarded by the University of Iowa Press.

Cole Swensen, director of the University of Denver's creative writing program, penned "Try," a collection of poetry that explores the intersection of writing with the visual arts, particularly medieval and early Renaissance paintings. Swensen is the author of five collections of poems, including "Noon," which won a New American Writing Award.

Bin Ramke, editor of the "Denver Quarterly," also teaches at the university's creative writing program. His award-winning collection "Wake" uses the recurring elements of birds and boyhood, betrayal and longings that careen between flesh and faith. He has written five collections of poetry which includes "Massacre of the Innocents," published by the UI Press in 1995.

Kathleen Peirce, a master of fine arts teacher at Southwest Texas State, won this year's prize with "The Oval Hour," where she addresses the vulnerability of language. Central to the book is its series of "Confessions," 20 formally similar poems that contend with the "Confessions of Saint Augustine." Peirce's first book, "Mercy" won the Associated Writing Programs Award for poetry in 1990.

Typically the UI Press awards two prizes of $1,000 each plus publication for poetry manuscripts. In response to the unusually high quality of submissions this year, the judges selected three poets for the prestigious national poetry prize.

The three poets' works will be published next spring by the UI Press. To request a review copy, call Tom Olofson at (319) 335-2008 or e-mail,