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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 17, 2007

UI Nonfiction Writing Program student Spring Ulmer reads Oct. 30

Spring Ulmer, a graduate student in the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, will read from her debut poetry collection, "Benjamin's Spectacles," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Listen live via the Writing University Web site at The free event will also be recorded for broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio station WSUI-AM 910.

Hour-long Iowa Public Radio "Live from Prairie Lights" productions, hosted by Julie Englander, air at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays on WSUI-AM 910 in Iowa City, WOI-AM 640 in Ames and KRNI-AM 1010 in Cedar Falls.

"Benjamin's Spectacles" was selected by Sonia Sanchez as winner of the Kore Press First Book Award. The Benjamin of the title is Walter Benjamin, an early 20th-century German critic, Marxist philosopher, essayist and translator of Baudelaire and Proust. Benjamin died in exile in 1940 while fleeing the Nazis.

Kelsey Ahlmark wrote in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, "'Benjamin's Spectacles' seems to be about dealing with and understanding loss, as well as Walter Benjamin's philosophies, the present war on terror, identity and the constant search for meaning in a chaotic world."

David Levi Strauss wrote: "Walter Benjamin had the heart of a poet, and always served the imagination first. Spring Ulmer finds him there, in the imagination, and recognizes him as another being of language -- of angels and demons. This is poetry from the world Benjamin left behind, with all its unspeakable delights and terrors, conspiracies and heartbreaks."

Ulmer recently returned from Rwanda, where she helped build a school for orphans of the 1994 genocide. Her journal is online at her blog:

Ulmer attended the Cooper Union School of Art, worked as a photojournalist and reporter in eastern Kentucky, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Arizona. Her honors include grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council and the Andrea Frank Foundation. In 1998, she was an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

The Nonfiction Writing Program is part of the English Department 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

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