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Release: Feb. 2, 2001

Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell Will Read Feb. 12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop faculty member Marvin Bell, the State of Iowa’s first poet laureate, will read from "Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000" at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12 in Room 101, Biology Building East on the UI campus. The reading, part of the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on the UI radio station WSUI, 910 AM, is free and open to the public.

Bell, who has been called "a maverick" and "an insider who thinks like an outsider," is the author of 17 books of poetry and essays. Of Bell’s newest collection Judith Kitchen says, "Bell has redefined poetry as it is practiced today." According to the Harvard Review, "It’s tough to come away from ("Nightworks") not believing that Bell has the largest heart since Walt Whitman."

Bell has received the Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia.

"Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See" was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1977. In March 2000 Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack named Bell the state’s first poet laureate.

The Flannery O’Conner Professor of Letters, Bell is a longtime member of the Writers’ Workshop faculty. He has also taught at Goddard College and the Universities of Hawaii and Washington. His former students include Rita Dove, James Tate, Jorie Graham, John Irving and current workshop faculty member James Galvin.

Bell has been invited to read his poetry at the White House, the Guggenheim Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress. A graduate of the Writers’ Workshop, he also holds a bachelor’s degree from Alfred University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.