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Release: Feb. 13, 2003

Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell Reads Feb. 25 on WSUI

Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell, the Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910.

Bell's "Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000" is out in paperback this month. He will read from that book, as well as "Ashes Poetica," a fine-print edition of previously unpublished poems produced by Tim Krcmarik of West Wall Press. The book includes drawings by Writers' Workshop graduate Parker Smathers.

He will also read from a manuscript of new poems, scheduled for publication in 2004.

Bell, who is in his second term as Iowa's Poet Laureate, has been called "a maverick" and "an insider who thinks like an outsider." He is the author of nearly 20 books of poetry and essays.

Of "Nightworks," Judith Kitchen wrote, "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 addition to his many years as a faculty member of the Writers' Workshop faculty, he has taught at Goddard College and the Universities of Hawaii and Washington. Bell has served both as a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writing Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, which involve teaching at other campuses, and he has also recently taught in Prague and Paris.

His former students include Rita Dove, James Tate, Sandra Cisneros, John Irving, Denis Johnson, Joy Harjo, Larry Levis, Patricia Hampl, David St. John and current workshop faculty member James Galvin.

Last fall, Bell led a 10-day Urban Teachers Workshop for the after-school program America Scores, and this spring he will join with Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan and other prominent writers in a West-Coast fund-raising tour for the program. Next summer he will teach for the Foothills Writers Conference in California and the Lost Horse Writers' Conference in Idaho.

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, Bell also holds a bachelor's degree (and an honorary doctorate) from Alfred University and a master's degree from the University of Chicago.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, To contact Marvin Bell,

PHOTOS are available at .