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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 20, 2004

Poet Powell And Fiction Writer Carey Give Joint Reading Oct. 1

Poet D.A. Powell and British fiction writer/illustrator Edward Carey, faculty members of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 in the auditorium of the Becker Communication Studies Building on the UI campus.

Powell, who now teaches at the University of San Francisco, is an alumnus of the workshop, and Carey first came to the UI as a participant in the International Writing Program.

Powell has published three enthusiastically received volumes -- "Tea," "Lunch" and, most recently, "Cocktails" -- that reflect growing up gay in the age of AIDS and dealing personally with HIV.

Critic Adam L. Dressler wrote for Perihelion, "Through a mesmerizing mesh of pop-culture references, biblical allusions and intimate confessions, D.A. Powell's 'Cocktails,' his third and latest collection, continues his exploration of the AIDS epidemic in a style that such a broad subject demands -- one both intimate and public, specific and universal. Whether describing the chalk outline outside a gay nightclub or the calyxes of poppies, Powell's restrained, complex voice records a landscape of lust and loss with such accuracy and honesty, such music and wit, that one is almost forced (or should I say seduced?) into reading the poems several times over, with pleasure.

"Not only is Powell a master, but he is also an innovator, managing, through strange punctuation (and lack thereof), sudden bursts of lyricism, and a certain fractured formalism, to create works that, for all their readily apparent craftsmanship, feel utterly natural and unforced."

A critique in the New York Times Book Review concluded, "No accessible poet of his generation is half as original, and no poet as original is this accessible. With his open-secret sexiness, his confident collage effects and his grave subjects, Powell could reach far beyond the segmented audiences most poets now expect: poems like his can open up new fields, where fascinated readers might roam or graze."

Carey has quickly gained international recognition as a multitalented artist. He has had five plays produced, most recently an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers." His first novel, "Observatory Mansions," was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Prize. His latest novel is "Alva & Irva," which also features his original artwork.

Carey Harrison wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "Entralla, the fictitious metropolis of Edward Carey's second novel, exists not only in our imaginations and in the pages of 'Alva & Irva' (which serves as Entralla's one and only guidebook) but in the form of tiny plasticine models of its streets and houses, seen in appealingly smudgy photographs that punctuate the novel. . . .

"What kind of city is Entralla? Like the photographs, it's smudgy and elusive. . . . To evoke Europe's part and simultaneously to elude it is a tricky project, especially in these haunted times. But Carey writes with persuasive authority, and we are inclined to believe him."

And critic Jeff VanderMeer wrote for Locus, "'Observatory Mansions,' published in 2001, is simply the best Gothic fantasy of the new century."

Carey's next book is an historical novel set in Paris.

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