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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 24, 2003

UI Center For Book To Publish New Seamus Heaney Works

The University of Iowa Center for the Book's (UICB) finepress will publish two special edition, previously unpublished poems by Seamus Heaney in honor of his receiving the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism.

The poems, titled "Testimonies" and "Stern," will be published as an 11 x 16 inch broadside and as a French Fold. UICB professor of calligraphy Glen Epstein will draw the title of the poems. The printing will be overseen by Sharon DeGraw, who has been the UICB's finepress print director since 1999.

The UICB is publishing 100 copies of each poem, which Heaney will sign. "Testimonies" will be available for purchase for a $10 contribution towards production costs at the award ceremony; after that, they can be purchased at Prairie Lights Bookstore for $25.

"Stern" will be available for purchase later in the semester.

Heaney will accept the Capote Award and read from his work during a free event at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. Robert Lowell dubbed Heaney "the most important Irish poet since Yeats." Heaney received the Nobel Prize in 1995, and in 1997 he was appointed Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence at Harvard University. He is an Honorary Fellow at England's Oxford University, where he was a professor of poetry through 1994.

"When we heard that Seamus Heaney would be receiving this award, I wrote him and asked if he would submit a work that the Center for the Book finepress could print to commemorate the event," said DeGraw. "He generously sent us these two unpublished poems."

DeGraw said she expects the printings will become collector's items.

"It's a reflection of the exceptional print quality of the piece combined with the words of one of the greatest poets writing in English today," she said.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,