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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 5, 2003

Readings During Week Of Sept. 15-19 Include Poetry Debut By UI Alumnus McCann

"Live from Prairie Lights," the series of broadcast readings hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature University of Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus Anthony McCann, reading from his debut poetry collection, "Father of Noise," at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Other 8 p.m. broadcast readings that week include:
-- Lebanese poet Venus Khoury-Ghata, reading from "She Says" on Monday, Sept. 15; and
-- Frederick Turner, reading from "1929," his new novel about legendary Davenport jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

The scheduled reading by Annie Proulx on Sept. 17 has been canceled.

Listen to the readings -- America's only radio series of live readings -- on the internet at

Venus Khoury-Ghata has lived in Paris for the past 30 years, and she writes in French. Her work has been translated into Italian, Russian, Dutch, German and Arabic, but "She Said," translated by American poet Marilyn Hacker, is the first of her many books available in English.

Grace Schulman wrote, ""Venus Khoury-Ghata's poems are striking for their combined innocence and wisdom. In Marilyn Hacker's pristine translations, the poems are dreamlike and real, mysterious and utterly true. . . I am enchanted."

Frederick Turner's "1929" begins at the Bix Fest in the Quad Cities, but then travels back in time to present a fictionalized portrait of the self-destructive artist and the incendiary "jazz age."

In a starred review in the American Library Association's Booklist, Brad Hooper wrote, "If the primary 'function' of a historical novel is to completely transport readers back in time -- and the more accurate and natural the transportation the better, of course -- then this extraordinary first novel has to be accorded first-rate status within the genre. . . Al Capone and Bing Crosby make appearances here, as do many other actual figures, all of them anchoring Turner's beautifully styled narrative to real events. Bix's was a meteoric life, caught here in full flame."

Turner is the author of seven books of nonfiction and the editor of three others. His literary journalism has appeared in numerous national and international publications, and he has been the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

In "Father of Noise," Anthony McCann "seeks out the elusive Other with all the raucous self-loathing of a mad saint. Eroticized, debunked, adored and despised, the sayer of these incantations ventures, with appropriate fearfulness, into the unknown, buoyed only by the persistence of the body in its current manifestation. His penetrating, pervasive doubt lends a perverse clarity to the journey, and lends shape to the spirit world."

McCann's poems have appeared in many magazines as well as in a chapbook, "In Praise of Reason," published in Lithuania. In 2000-2001 he taught English at the National Agrarian University of Nicaragua on a Fulbright Teachers/Scholars Grant, and he has also lived and worked in the former Czechoslovakia and South Korea.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

OTHER INFORMATION: Garrison Keillor will also be featured on "Live from Prairie Lights" on Saturday, Sept. 6. Since this event is presented in the context of a WSUI fundraiser, it will be the subject of a separate news release.