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Release: Oct. 11, 2002


Poets Robyn Schiff and Lisa Lubasch, alumnae of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading will be broadcast on the “Live from Prairie Lights’ series hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. The program can be heard on the internet at :

Schiff’s “Worth” was published last month by the UI Press, with the support of a Greenwall Fund Grant from the Academy of American Poets, which enables the publishing of promising poets’ first books.

Poet Mark Levine wrote, “Robyn Schiff's ‘Worth’ restores originality to its proper and meaningful function: This is a book of new beginnings, of self-creations and re-creations. These poems offer pleasure and disturbance in equal measure and at all times; they are as dazzlingly constructed as a Chanel gown and as breathless as a hovering finch, both of which are among the elements of Schiff's densely populated imagination. This work manages to strike me as unlike anything I’ve seen before, while feeling perfectly inevitable. ‘Worth’ is a marvel.”

Lubasch’s first book of poems, “How Many More of Them Are You?” received the 2000 Norma Farber First Book Award. Poet Lyn Hejinian wrote, “‘How Many More Of Them Are You’ is quizzical. It is riveted to paradox. It is philosophically sophisticated. It is a brilliant and thrilling book.”

When her second book, “Vicinities,” appeared last fall, Laura Sims commented in the Boston Review, “. . . lovely precision and lyricism that enables Lubasch’s poetry to extend in every direction.”

UI Writers’ Workshop faculty member Cole Swenson observed, “Lubasch has an astonishing agility with words -- they become gymnastic, making contortions that are not only stunning but also very beautiful. As she searches out new shapes and a new pace for poetry to operate within, she’s also stretching outward, extending the territory of what can be thought, felt, and said -- and changing the value of the fragment, too, making it something whole in itself, creating wholeness in midair.”

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