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University of Iowa News Release

April 5, 2004

Writers' Workshop Faculty Members Hillman, Robinson Read April 12

Poet Brenda Hillman and prose writer Marilynne Robinson, faculty members in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will present a free joint reading at 8 p.m. Monday, April 12 in Lecture Room 2 of UI Van Allen Hall.

Hillman, who is also an alumna of the workshop, is the author of seven books of poetry. Her most recent is "Cascadia," published in 2001, described as "a study of geologic as well as internal space, and the seismic shifts that occur in time through each."

Barbara Guest wrote of Hillman's, "Loose Sugar," published in 1997, "Time in Brenda Hillman's poetry resembles loose sugar ground from the cane of Brazil, a vivid detail of her Brazilian childhood."

Hillman's previous books include "Bright Existence," "Death Tractates," "Fortress," "White Dress" and "Coffee 3 A.M."

A reviewer in Choice wrote of "Bright Existence," "The range of images in Hillman's work is astounding. . . . Hillman's ability to perceive the universal in the minute, the strange in the familiar, transforms everyday activities . . . into moments of spiritually charged healing. . . . A fine collection of poems."

In response to "Death Tractates," the critic of Poetry Flash wrote, "Hillman takes poetry quite seriously both because she's a brilliant young mainline poet and because here, trying to cope with the death of a key friend, poetry is all she has."

Hillman's work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including "The Wesleyan Tradition" and "Best American Poetry, 1990." She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Her other honors include the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry and the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Prize.

Marilyn Robinson's books are the novel "Housekeeping," the critical "Mother Country" and "The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought." Her next book, "Gilead," will be published in November.

Writer Robert D. Richardson, Jr. says of "The Death of Adam," Robinson's most recent book, "This is a grand, sweeping, blazing, brilliant, life-changing book. One turns the last page shaken, but also believing that if a voice such as Robinson's can be raised in our time, then a new reformation might be on its way."

Charles Baxter said Robinson's latest book "is distinguished by fierce moral and intellectual passions that make it entirely absorbing. [Her] thinking is all in the service of humanity's survival, spiritually and environmentally. There is not a frivolous or casual sentence here. To say it is brilliant is almost beside the point, but of course, it IS brilliant."

"Mother Country" was a finalist for the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1989. In 1998 Robinson received a Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Writers' Workshop is an academic unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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

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