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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 21, 2003

UI Writers' Workshop Faculty Members Levine And Wilson Read Dec. 4.

Poets Mark Levine and Emily Wilson, faculty members and alumni of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, in the Prairie Lights book store at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Levine is the poet of the acclaimed collections "Debt" and "Enola Gay." Poet Johns Ashbery called "Enola Gay," "an unforgettable experience" and added, "Here things tend to be rusty, wet, subject to dry rot, incomplete, or just plain out of kilter."

Susan Wheeler, poet of "Smokes" and "Bag O' Diamonds," commented, "A man steps into an abandoned church, notes the debris at the altar, misses his mother, and starts to sing. Thus begins Mark Levine's astonishing second collection of poems, which meld wit with the profoundest gravity, peculiar narratives with linguistic precision, and hubris with sorrow. Read them."

A review in Salon observed, "even those of us who deny our fascination with the forces that push our lives ceaselessly toward death can't squelch our morbid curiosity entirely. As Levine rightly guesses, his book is attractive precisely because it provides evidence that everything, eventually, returns to ashes and dust."

Levine, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Outside has been honored with a Whiting Writers Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Emily Wilson lives in Maine, where she is the proprietor of the Spurwink Press, which publishes letterpress editions of poetry books.

Poet Carl Phillips responded to "The Keep," Wilson's debut collection, by writing, "Wilson's is a powerful, original, and long-necessary voice."

Writers' Workshop faculty member James Galvin offered this analysis: "Emily Wilson writes a poetry of exquisite balance. Generous in her spareness, clear in her complexity, matching wildness of diction with precision of sense, nervousness with nerve, her poems are not written for analysis, perhaps not even for approval.

"As we watch poetical heresies turn into orthodoxies, it becomes clear, especially in a poet like Wilson, that only originality, a signature style, remains steadfastly heretical. The more honest the asymptotic attempt at truth-telling, the more singular and lasting the art."

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