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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 13, 2004

Ashbery Gives Sept. 27 Reading As Part Of UI Ida Beam Residency

Poet John Ashbery will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27 in Lecture Room 2 of Van Allen Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

The reading is part of Ashbery's return to the UI as an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Ashbery, a winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, last read and met with students at the UI during the 1998-99 academic year.

In addition to the reading, Ashbery will meet with students from the workshop, the School of Art and Art History and other departments, as well as participants in the International Writing Program.

Ashbery is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, including "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award; and Some Trees (1956), which was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series.

He has also published art criticism, plays, and a novel. Ashbery is the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College.

Ashbery has said of his work, "I don't look on poetry as closed works. I feel they're going on all the time in my head and I occasionally snip off a length."

Critic Donna Seaman wrote for Booklist, "Ashbery, prolific, incisive and bewitching, is not only a great poet, he's a philosopher and a tease. His balletic leaps from the abstract to the concrete, the inanimate to the animate, the intimate to the elusive provoke and unsettle until the reader surrenders to his elegant charm and wise humor, his sly toying with the oddities and hidden significance of colloquialisms and social convention, and his offhanded yet wistful inquiries into the nature of time and the hunger for meaning that drives our dream-drenched lives."

The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program was established in 1978-79 with the income from a bequest to the UI by Ida Cordelia Beam of Vinton, Ia.

The Writers' Workshop is an academic unit in 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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