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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 20, 2007

Rumsey and Swofford present Writers' Workshop reading Sept. 28

Poet Tessa Rumsey and fiction writer Anthony Swofford, University of Iowa alumni who are visiting faculty members in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, will present a free reading at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building on the UI campus.

Rumsey, who lives in San Francisco, is a graduate of the Writers' Workshop and of the visual criticism department at California College of the Arts. Her collection, "Assembling the Shepherd," won the 1998 Contemporary Poetry Series Competition, and "The Return Message" won the 2004 Barnard Women Poets Prize. Rumsey was awarded the 2004 Mary Tanenbaum Award for nonfiction from the San Francisco Foundation for "A Desert Alphabet," a work-in-progress.

She has managed Small Press Traffic, a Literary Arts Center in San Francisco, and has taught at the University of San Francisco and Stanford University. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The New Republic and many other publications.

Of "The Return Message," critic Cate Marvin wrote, "The foremost organizing principal of this fascinating second volume is the manner in which Rumsey pairs poems beneath shared titles and erects a dialogue between the shorter, pastoral poems that occupy the left pages and the longer, cityscape poems on the right. . . . Encoded in the complex and lush weave of language that characterizes these poems is a narrative of despair, loss, obsession and paradoxical blossoming."

Swofford is the author of the Gulf War memoir "Jarhead," which was adapted into a major feature film. His novel "Exit A" was published earlier this year. His writing has appeared in Harper's, the New York Times, Men's Journal, the Iowa Review, the New York Times Magazine, the Guardian, the Telegraph Magazine and other periodicals.

His awards include the PEN Art of the Memoir award for "Jarhead" and a James Michener/Copernicus Society Fiction Fellowship.

Writing in the New York Times, critic Michiko Kakutani described "Jarhead" as
"An irreverent but meditative voice that captures the juiced-up machismo of jarhead culture and the existential loneliness of combat" and "a searing contribution to the literature of combat."

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

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