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University of Iowa News Release


April 13, 2007

Poets O'Brien And Lerner Read At Prairie Lights April 26

Poets Geoffrey O'Brien and Ben Lerner will read from their new collections at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen live via the University of Iowa Writing University Website:

O'Brien, an Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, will read from "Green and Gray," and Lerner will read from "Angle of Yaw," a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award.

O'Brien's collection was the subject of a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "O'Brien's much-loved debut, 'The Guns and Flags Project,' introduced a showy, meditative voice with a slippery edge and a certain standoffishness. O'Brien's follow-up tops that book and shows its author firmly at the controls of his poems, most of which are cast in even columns: life as the scrim of language permits us to live it, as 'an experience of experience.'

"Words themselves are always positioned in the foreground of these poems -- by limiting the vocabulary, repeating words or phrases or by drawing attention to the ways they don't add up -- and O'Brien finds in them the measure of our personal and political lives. . . . O'Brien shows himself to be capable of portraying the muddled traffic of life in the Internet age."

Lerner, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Brown University, co-founded No: a journal of the arts. He is a former Fulbright Scholar to Spain, and he wrote most of the new collection while living in Madrid.

His first book, "The Lichtenberg Figures," won the Hayden Carruth Award and was named one of the year's best books of poetry by Library Journal. Lerner teaches at the California College of the Arts.

The Writing University Web site provides a handy portal to the UI writing programs -- including the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the International Writing Program, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, the Translation Workshop, the UI Press and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The site also centralizes writing news, lists upcoming events and provides access to a wealth of writing materials -- texts, journals, lists of Iowa-connected writers and publications, historic videos and archived audio. Visitors to the site have the option of subscribing to an RSS feed.

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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;