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University of Iowa News Release


April 11, 2007

UI Press Releases Iowa Poetry Prize Winners April 16

"Sunday Houses the Sunday House" by Elizabeth Hughey and "American Spikenard" by Sarah Vap, winners of the 2006 Iowa Poetry Prize, will become available from the University of Iowa Press on Monday, April 16. In addition to availability from bookstores and online book retailers, the books may be ordered directly from the UI Press.

Iowa Poetry Prize judge Ira Sadoff commented, "Elizabeth Hughey's a master of metaphor and restraint. While she shares some of (Elizabeth) Bishop's powers of observation and often makes surprising connections with a playful wit reminiscent of Apollinaire, James Tate and Frank O'Hara, a reader will find striking originality and authority in 'Sunday Houses the Sunday House.'"

Dara Wier, author of "Remnants of Hannah," sees that "intense domesticity rivals fugitive invention in bands of a parallel universe Liz Hughey documents, discovers and delivers. It's a reading experience that's surprising, sure-footed and affecting. You feel you're being let in on secrets you'll need to recall for the rest of your life. Her craft is subtle; her logic unflinchingly original; her language energetic, acute and agile."

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate adds, "Elizabeth Hughey's poems leap forward, backward, and sideways, always giving us a fresh perspective. The poems are made of the daily objects of our lives, but thrown into a kaleidoscope so what we are left with is a vital vision of the world. The kinetic energy of each of her poems at first dazzles, then resolves in clarity. I love these poems."

Hughey attended Hollins College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree. Her poems have appeared in Shampoo, Hat and the Southern Poetry Review, and are forthcoming in La Petite Zine.

Arielle Greenberg, author of "My Kafka Country," writes of Vap's volume: "For those ready to explore the glitter and scars of girlhood, Sarah Vap's first book is 'saying, for the sake of integrity, the dearest things.' Here, in poems in which the ancestors are often made of glass, we find shattered, luminous bedtime stories steeped in vulnerability. At turns sly and direct, 'American Spikenard' summons ghosts and dolls, dogs and ponies, the snotty baby Jesus and holy birthday parties. A beautiful, weird collection that holds the promise of intimacy and the provocation of mystery."

Sadoff calls Vap's poems "stunningly voiced, bristling with drive and energy. Her rich and inhabited landscapes thrive on her tough, relentlessly probing, questioning and wide-ranging diction. 'American Spikenard' is like one long poem, a poet's coming to terms with identity and history in a quest to be acknowledged for exactly who she is."

Vap received her Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Arizona State University in 2005 and now teaches creative writing at Phoenix College and in the Phoenix public schools for ASU's Young Writers Program. Her work has been published in Field, the Denver Quarterly, the Colorado Review and Natural Bridge.

Another collection of Vap's poetry, "Dummy Fire," was published earlier this year.

The Iowa Poetry Prize, open to new as well as established poets, is awarded for book-length collections of poems written originally in English.

"Sunday Houses the Sunday House" and "American Spikenard" are available from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at In the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, contact Eurospan, 3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8LU, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1767 604972, or online at

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations,