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Release: Jan. 28, 2002

UI launches new, improved, expanded, global, multimedia Iowa Review Web on Feb. 1

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa will launch Version 5 of the Iowa Review Web, the on-line analogue to the Iowa Review literary journal, on Friday, Feb. 1. at < >.

The updated website will feature several improvements and expansions. In addition to electronic literature, interviews and essays, the Iowa Review Web will provide greater exposure for New Media artists and innovative styles of writing enabled by cyberspace and digital technology.

The site will also provide a home for an expanded World Wide Web presence of the International Writing Program (IWP). The new IWP website/journal is titled Meridian 91, reflecting the UI's longitudinal position on the globe. Each "issue" of the Iowa Review Web will include both Iowa Review and Meridian 91 material. David Hamilton of the Iowa Review and Christopher Merrill of the IWP will be contributing editors.

Iowa Review Web editor Thom Swiss, a poet who graduated from the UI Writers' Workshop, explains that the new web presence will be "both a venue and a portal" that will include on-site files and links to Iowa Review and IWP writers at other web locations:

"It's still a home -- one of the best-known in the world -- for emergent digital literary and art forms," Swiss says. "But starting with this first issue, it is also a place that tries to bring the best 'experimental' writing into conversation with the best international writing and writers -- those connected with the IWP -- and some of the best writing from the well-known Iowa Review."

Swiss says one of the concepts motivating the update was to bring what many consider different kinds of writing together to show that they are not, indeed, so "different" at all.

"I think for some writers and readers there is a tendency to vilify 'technology' -- including computer-based digital technologies -- as a corrupting force on literature," he observes. "But alternatively, among those who champion the use of technology in the creation of literature, the tendency has been to glorify it as some kind of liberation for both writers and audiences alike.

"Among writers and readers in both camps, these narratives embody profound desires, hopes, and anxieties. We're hoping by bringing digital writing into the same venue as print writing and into the same sphere as international writing and translation to show -- by the work itself and in critical writing about the work -- the connections between different modes, styles, approaches and mediums of writing. All of them very much in evidence here at the UI!"

Nearly a thousand writers from more than 115 countries have completed residencies in the IWP during the last three and a half decades, and Meridian 91 is intended to serve as an evolving gathering point for IWP veterans and supporters, as well as readers everywhere who are interested in the world of literature at all meridians.

Swiss recently returned to the UI as a faculty member in English and Rhetoric of Inquiry. He is the author of several collections of poems, and he is the editor of several books on contemporary theory and digital culture. His own digital work includes collaborative New Media poems that appear online in venues including the Electronic Book Review and Rhizomes, as well as in two current art exhibits at the New York Digital Salon at the School of Visual Arts and the Interactive Gallery in Austin, Tex.

The old Iowa Review Web received 8-10,000 visits each month, and Swiss anticipates that the expanded vision of the re-launch will increase those numbers substantially.

For additional information about the Iowa Review Web, contact Swiss at < >. Visit his personal site at < >.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit < >. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact < >.