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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 12, 2006

Pulitzer-Winning Poet James Tate Presents Ida Beam Lecture At UI Oct. 26

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate, a distinguished alumnus of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will present a free Ida Beam lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in Lecture Room 2 of UI Van Allen Hall.

Tate, one of the major voices in the American poetry of the last half-century, is the author of numerous books of poetry, including most recently "Return to the City of White Donkeys" (2004) and "Memoir of the Hawk (2001).

His "Worshipful Company of Fletchers" (1994) won the National Book Award and  "Selected Poems" (1991) won not only the Pulitzer Prize but also the William Carlos Williams Award. Tate won the Yale Younger Poets competition in 1967, while he was still a student at the Writers' Workshop, for "The Lost Pilot."

His other honors include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Tanning Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Philadelphia City Pages called Tate "something of an anomaly -- a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet with a non-Pulitzer Prize-winning style. To say that his absurdist, paratactic poems are out of place in the conservative world of big prize poetry is something of an understatement." And a BBC review once referred to him as "the perpetual enfant terrible of American poetry ... Tate still seems like an outsider -- a brilliant, troubled youth who has never settled down."

The UI established the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program in 1978-79 based on a bequest from the late Ida Beam of Vinton, Iowa, who willed her family farm to the UI Foundation. The proceeds from the farm's sale enabled the UI to establish a fund that brings top scholars in a variety of fields to the university for lectures and discussions.

The event is co-sponsored by the workshop, the Department of Theatre Arts, the English Department and the International Writing Program

The Writers' Workshop, the Department of Theatre Arts and the English Department are academic programs in 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; cell: 310-430-1013;