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Release: Sept. 14, 2001

Pulitzer-winning poet Charles Wright to read at UI Sept. 27

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus and former faculty member Charles Wright, winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, in Lecture Room 2 of UI Van Allen Hall. The paperback edition of Wright's "Negative Blue : Selected Later Poems" was published in April.

In addition to the 1998 Pulitzer-winning "Black Zodiac," which also captured the National Book Critics Circle Award, Wright has published more than a dozen volumes of poetry, translations and non-fiction.

For the New York Times Book Review, Richard Tillinghast wrote, "freed from the stringencies of unity and closure demanded by the sort of poem most readers are used to, Mr. Wright is at liberty to spin out extended meditations that pick up, work with, lay aside and return again to landscapes, historical events and ideas . . . [Wright] continues to reveal himself as a poet of great purity and originality."

At the UI Wright was a student of Donald Justice, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 and is now retired in Iowa City. Justice commented on the awarding of the Pulitzer: "The prize should come as no surprise. Charles Wright is one of the true artists in poetry anywhere. A Wright poem is an expedition into the territory of the beautiful."

Workshop faculty member Galvin, who was one of Wright's students at the UI, added: "Charles has been a presence in American poetry for a long time, and it's about time he was awarded in this way. Over the years he has been an inspiration to those of us who study and teach here. He writes a courageous, visionary poetry that reminds us all of what the real work is. He taught me a lot -- and continues to."

A Fulbright scholar and lecturer, Wright has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Eunice Tietjens Award from Poetry Magazine, the Melville Cane Award from the Poetry Society of America, an Academy-Institute grant from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the PEN Translation Prize and the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Academy of American Poets.

In 1983 he was the co-winner of the National Book Award in poetry. His other recent honors include the 1993 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the 1993 Distinguished Contribution to Letters Award from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and a 1992 Award of Merit Medal from American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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