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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 23, 2005

Poet Gillian Conoley, Former UI Writers' Workshop Faculty Member, Reads Oct. 6

Poet Gillian Conoley, a former visiting faculty member of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will be joined by poet Stefanie Marlis in a free reading at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Conoley will read from "Profane Halo," her exploration of a post-rapturous world, and Marlis will read from "cloudlife," an enigmatic collection that traces the alternate lives running straight alongside the one we think we're living.

Conoley's previous collections include "Lovers in the Used World," a finalist for the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award; "Tall Stranger," nominated for the National Book Critics' Circle Award; "Beckon"; and "Some Gangster Pain," co-winner of the Great Lakes Colleges New Writer Award.

Conoley, who now teaches at Sonoma State University, is a recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from the American Poetry Review as well as several Pushcart Prizes. Her work has been anthologized widely, most recently in "Best American Poetry" and "The Body Electric, America's Best Poetry from The American Poetry Review." She is the founder and editor of Volt.

"Gillian Conoley's work has something to offer every reader," said UI Writers' Workshop alumna Faith Barrett, who now teaches at Lawrence University. "Her early poems are narrative in structure and form but in her two most recent collections, she has pushed in an increasingly innovative direction, drawing on the discourses of film, television, philosophy and politics.

"Her most recent collection, 'Profane Halo,' is a kind of meditation on American identity in the aftermath of September 11th. In her syntactic and linguistic experiments, Conoley reaches for a language that can evoke the horrors of that event and the challenges of living with a burdened memory."

Marlis is the author of three previous collections of poetry, "Slow Joy," "rife" and "fine," which was nominated for a Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. The recipient of numerous awards, including an NEA fellowship, the Joseph Henry Jackson Award, and the Brittingham Prize, she works as a freelance copywriter. Her poems have appeared in Arshile, the Gettysburg Review, Vol and Zyzzyva.

C.D. Wright wrote of Marlis' new collection, "Aphoristic, enigmatic and startling, Stefanie Marlis' newest collection 'cloudlife' evinces her gift for pressing absence into presence though and while 'we turn daily/ from volumes/ to what we feel we know.' Part elegy for her father, and the brisance of his 20th century, part cautionary tale for this one, mediated by Southwestern clouds, mesquite, dung beetles, and 'bunchgrass decked with crystals/ on the one day of the year all the stores close.' Once more Marlis converts an intimate history into a distinctive, austere expression."

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.

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