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University of Iowa News Release

April 8, 2004

Writers' Workshop Poet Cole Swensen Reads April 20

Poet Cole Swensen, a faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from "Goest," her new collection, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The reading, during National Poetry Month, is free and open to the public.

The reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, hosted by Julie Englander on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the internet at

Critic Anne Waldman wrote, "'Goest,' sonorous with a hovering 'ghost' which shimmers at the root of all things, is a stunning meditation -- even initiation -- on the act of seeing, proprioception, and the alchemical properties of light as it exists naturally and inside the human realm of history, lore, invention and the 'whites' of painting. Light becomes the true mistress and possibly the underlying language of all invention. Swensen's poetry documents a penetrating 'intellectus' -- light of the mind -- by turns fragile, incandescent, transcendent."

And poet Lyn Hejinian wrote, "Delicately speculative, as if forced to take in the myriad conditions surrounding and evinced by things, Cole Swensen in this new book undertakes meticulous descriptions. But the poems, while subtle, are also blazing. Swensen is unafraid of what's happening. There is enormous grace in these poems, there is also serious daring. The pleasure of reading them is intense."

Swensen, who directed the creative writing program at the University of Denver before she came to the UI, is both a poet and a translator of contemporary French poetry.

Her other work includes "Try," winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; "Such Rich Hour," which was also published by the UI Press and won the Poetry Center Book Award; "Noon," winner of the New American Poetry Series Award"; and "New Math," winner of the National Poetry Series award.

Her published translations include "Natural Gaits" by Pierre Alferi, "Art Poetic" by Olivier Cadiot and Pascalle Monnier's "Bayart: Spring."

Poet Forrest Gander wrote, "Quite honestly, I think Cole Swensen is a genius and her work, among that of my immediate contemporaries, is absolutely vital to me."

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

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