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University of Iowa News Release

March 30, 2006

Current And Past Non-Fiction Writing Faculty Read On WSUI April 3 And 4

Poet Susanne Antonetta, a former faculty member of the University of Iowa Non-Fiction Writing Program, and current non-fiction faculty member Donald Morrill will present readings on "Live From Prairie Lights" on UI radio station WSUI-AM 910, April 3 and 4. Antonetta will read from her new non-fiction book, "A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World," at 7 p.m. Monday, April 3, and Morrill will read from his second poetry collection, "With Your Back to Half the Day" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4.

Julie Englander will host the broadcasts, which will originate in free events in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

"A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World," a meditation on the varieties of human consciousness often thought of as defects but for which she begs a second more tolerant interpretation. Colorado State faculty member Temple Grandin, whose autism did not prevent her from scholarly achievements, wrote "A glimpse into another kind of mind, Antonetta's beautiful prose slips in and out of reality in an associational stream of consciousness."

In a starred review in Booklist, critic Donna Seaman wrote, "Antonetta's galvanizing first book, 'Body Toxic' (2001), marked the emergence of a poetic and frank chronicler of life lived in a polluted world. She now offers a kinetic, impressionistic, and philosophical inquiry into neurodiversity, a term for 'people hardwired to think differently from the norm.'

"This is a vital subject for Antonetta, who wryly describes the 'circus' she carries in her head because of bipolar disorder. As inventive and full of mischief and deep feeling as Diane Ackerman, as adept at translating experience into life lessons as Anne Lamott, and an excellent adjunct to Oliver Sacks, Antonetta fashions an intriguingly meandering narrative as she describes her atypical neurological experiences, portrays a 'many-headed' friend -- a man who harbors multiple female personalities -- reports on the murder trial of a disturbed teen, wonders about the fate of atypical neurology in a future in which genetic engineering is commonplace, and offers startling theories about the phenomenal increase in autism.

"Once again, Antonetta alters our perception of ourselves and our place in the biosphere as she makes unexpected connections, articulates provocative observations, and leaves readers pondering a startling question: Is neurodiversity as essential to life as biodiversity?"

Antonetta is the author of three collections of poems, including "Bardo," a Brittingham Prize winner.

Morrill, a native of Des Moines, is also the author of the experimental memoirs "The Untouchable Minutes" and "Sounding for Cool." Enid Shomer wrote that his new poems produce "moments as bright as the blaze on the waves at noon."

His previous poetry collection was "At the Bottom of the Sky."

At the University of Florida, his dissertation on the poetry of James Wright was directed by Donald Justice, a alumnus and long-time faculty member of the Writers' Workshop. From 1985 to 1987, Morrill taught at Jilin University, Changchun, China, and was a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Lodz, Poland. In 1996, Morrill won the Emerging Writers in Creative Nonfiction Award from Duquesne University Press, which published his winning manuscript, "A Stranger's Neighborhood," in 1997.

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