The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 1, 2005

Writers' Workshop Grads Bell, Anstett Read Their Poetry Sept. 15

Poets Josh Bell and Aaron Anstett, graduates of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from their recent work at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

In the free event, Bell will read from "No Planets Strike," of which John Ashbery wrote, "Edgy in both senses of the word, Josh Bell populates his daft American heartland with the runaway muse Ramona and her clones. The resulting landscapes are as dangerous, funny, and drop-dead gorgeous as those in a Road Runner cartoon."

Bell received his master's degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale before coming to the UI, where he was a Teaching-Writing Fellow and Paul Engle Fellow. He is currently the Diane Middlebrook Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. His poems have appeared in magazines including the Boston Review, the Colorado Review, Fence, Hotel Amerika, Verse and Volt.

Anstett will read from "No Accident," winner of the 2004 Backwaters Prize. Judge Philip Levine wrote, "I find Anstett's poetry in possession of two qualities that for me are essential to . . . most of the American poetry I admire -- humility and compassion. . . . (H)e is also in possession of a marvelous and zany sense of humor which may owe more to the Marx brothers than any poet who comes to mind.

"He is decidedly North American and of the present, and even with his epic disrespect and cosmic belly laughs he is ultimately a poet of great humanity and hope. . . . Aaron Anstett's 'No Accident' is here for anyone who needs to replenish the belief that American poetry is as healthy and useful as it ever was."

Anstett was also a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the UI, and later he was the Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing in Madison. His first collection, "Sustenance," was published by New Rivers Press in 1997 and was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award. Recently he has taught creative writing at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

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,