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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 21, 2007

Pulitzer-winning poet Jorie Graham returns to the UI for Oct. 4 reading

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop who was also a workshop faculty member for many years, will return to Iowa to present a free reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Lecture Room 2 of UI Van Allen Hall.

Graham has published nine books of poetry -- most recently "Overload" in 2006 -- and she was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1997. She won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for "The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994." It includes selections from her earlier books "Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts," "The End of Beauty," "Region of Unlikeness" and "Materialism." She has also edited two anthologies, "Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language" and "The Best American Poetry 1990."

Poet James Tate says of Graham's work, "Her poems are constantly on the attack. She assays nothing less than the whole body of our history, reshaping myth in ways that risk new knowledge, fresh understanding of all that we might hope to be."

"Ferociously scorning the comforts of the conventional personal lyric," April Bernard wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "Graham addresses fundamental questions: Is there a God? What is human will? What does it mean to be mortal?"  J.D. McClatchy commented that, "Graham writes with metaphysical flair and emotional power. . . . here is depth, not just the sensation of depth."

In response to "The Dream of the Unified Field," the Times Literary Supplement called Graham "one of the best, and most intelligent, poets in the language. . . . She is like no one else, neither in her rhythms nor in her insistence on opening up, scrutinizing and even reversing our experience of time and space."

Graham was born in New York, grew up in Italy, studied in French schools and attended the Sorbonne, New York University and Columbia University, in addition to the UI -- a multi-lingual and multi-cultural background that informs her poetic language. She has received a MacArthur "genius grant" Fellowship and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is now Boylston Professor at Harvard University.

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program of 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, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,