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University of Iowa News Release

March 15, 2005

Chinese-American Poet Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge Reads At UI March 29

Chinese-American poet Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge will read at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in Room 101 of Biology Building East on the University of Iowa campus. The reading, sponsored by the UI Writers' Workshop, is free and open to the public.

Berssenbrugge's most recent collection, "Nest," won the Seventh Annual Asian American Literary Prize. W. B. Keckler wrote in Rain Taxi that the book is filled with "group portraits that astound. . . . It is a great pleasure to find a book so stubbornly against the literary grain."

Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing in 1947 and grew up in Massachusetts. In the early 1970s she was active in women's rights and multicultural movements, and she was the first contemporary Chinese woman to publish poetry in the United States.

Her numerous books of poetry include "Empathy," which received a PEN West Award; "The Heat Bird" and "Random Possession," winners of the American Book Award; "Endocrinology" in collaboration with Kiki Smith, which also won the Asian American Literary Award in 1997; and "Four Year Old Girl," which was awarded the Western States Book Award in 1998. She has collaborated with visual, theater and dance artists.

A contributing editor for Conjunctions magazine for more than 25 years, Berssenbrugge has taught at Brown University, Naropa and the Institute of American Indian Art. Once an associate of Georgia O'Keefe, she is active in both Native and Asian American cultural movements, and has read at the United Nations.

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.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,