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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 30, 2004

Feb. 9-12 'Live From Prairie Lights' Features Iowa City Poets

The week of Feb. 9-12, broadcasts of the "Live from Prairie Lights," readings series hosted by Julie Englander on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910, will feature two prize-winning Iowa City poets -- Dan Lechay (left) and Graham Foust (right).

The broadcasts from the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City will be:
-- young Australian novelist Max Barry, reading from "Jennifer Government" at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9:
-- Lechay, reading from "The Quarry" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11; and
-- Foust, reading from the recent volumes "As in Every Deafness" and "Leave the Room to Itself" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12.

Listen to the readings on the internet at

"Jennifer Government" is a near-future satire in which American corporations literally rule the world, and everyone's last name has come to identify their employer.

Critic Cythia Ward praised Barry for "a lively imagination and a sharp eye for the absurdities and offenses of hyper-corporate capitalism," and a Publishers Weekly preview commented, "Barry tosses off his anti-corporate zingers with relish; his send-up of 'capitalizm' -- a world where fraud is endemic and nearly everyone (except the French) is a cog in vast wealth-creation machines -- has some ingenious touches."

Lechay's "The Quarry" was chosen by Alan Shapiro as the winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize from Ohio University Press.

Shapiro commented, "If Dan Lechay's poems often begin with the ordinary details and circumstances of life in a small Midwestern town or city, they always end by reminding us that no moment of life is ever ordinary, that 'Nothing is more mysterious than the way things are.'"

Lechay has taught literature at the San Francisco Art Institute, the UI, and elsewhere. For 10 years, he directed health and hospital investigations for the New York City Council president. His poems have appeared in journals including the Iowa Review, the Southwest Review and Agni.

Foust lives in Iowa City and teaches at Drake University. "Leave the Room to Itself " was the winner of the 2003 Sawtooth Prize in poetry. Foust earned graduate degrees from George Mason University and SUNY Buffalo.

Joe Wenderoth wrote in the book's introduction, "There are many ways to hear 'it takes off the top of my head.' For me, the most important way to hear it is: it makes me suddenly and oddly aware that I am alive -- aware that I am simultaneously at the end and the beginning of my power, which is simply to be there and say so. Foust's poems do this for me; I feel akin to the mute struggler that lurks all around these poems -- that eludes so many attempts at saying that and where and how he is. The struggle is, in my view, dignified -- never self-congratulatory, never self-pitying -- and it has produced sounds for us to come back to -- sounds for us to set out from."

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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,