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Release: Oct. 9, 2000

UI Press awards 2000 Iowa Poetry Prize

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Press has announced that Mary Leader, author of "The Penultimate Suitor," has won the 2000 Iowa Poetry Prize, awarded annually by the UI Press in a competition open to writers who have previously published at least one book of poetry.

In "The Penultimate Suitor," Leader delves into relationships between learning to love and learning to create art. Leader looks at the results of casting the role of the beloved and questions issues of beauty.

By capturing the uncertainty and fluidity of human emotion and perception, Leader weaves together poems that turn upon and return to the correlation between love and art with passionate exploration, says Megan Scott, UI Press publicist.

"The Penultimate Suitor" received praise from Mark Levine, writer of "Enola Gay," who said Leader's book is "terrifically fresh and engaging.

"This is a book that never allows the reader to catch his or her breath, one in which the speed of thinking is matched by the urgency of feeling. The speaker is lovelorn, grieving, bawdy, pleading, but never, never self-pitying. Mary Leader reminds us that there's much to be said for simply beautiful writing."

Mary Leader is a former Oklahoma assistant attorney general and earned a master of fine arts degree from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She earned a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University where she now teaches in the Warren Wilson Program and is an assistant professor at the University of Memphis. Her first book of poems, "Red Signature," was selected for the National Poetry Series.

"The Penultimate Suitor" will be published by the UI Press in spring 2001.

For more information, call Megan Scott at (319) 335-2008 or e-mail or visit the UI Press Web site at