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University of Iowa News Release


April 5, 2011

Photo credit: Margo Jefferson image, Brent Murray

Writing University will feature two UI alumni in April 13-15 streams

Live streams on the University of Iowa's Writing University website -- -- April 13-15 will feature readings by two UI Writers' Workshop alumni, poet Michele Glazer and nonfiction writer Jerald Walker, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson (photo, left), a guest of the UI Nonfiction Writing Program. The streams will originate in free events in Prairie Lights Books.

--Jefferson will read from "On Michael Jackson," her provocative book just out in paperback, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13.
--At 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, Glazer will read from "On Tact, & the Made Up World," published last fall by the Kuhl House Poets series of the UI Press.
--And Walker will read from "Street Shadow: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption" at 7 p.m. Friday, April 15.

Reading between the lines of Jackson's 1998 autobiography as well as published accounts of his childhood, family and Motown, Jefferson examines media circus that was Jackson's 2005 trial for child molestation.

A former critic for the New York Times, Jefferson now teaches at the Eugene Lang College of the New School for Liberal Arts.

Glazer is also the author of the Iowa Poetry Prize-winning "Aggregate of Disturbances" and "It Is hard to Look at What Came to Think We'd Come to See." She directs the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at Portland State University.

Thomas Gardner, the author of "A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson," wrote, "These poems seem balanced on the edge of an enormity, desperate to be changed or 'stained' by what's unseen. Continually changing scale, stuttering and beginning again at the border where perspective suddenly turns 'abstract,' Michele Glazer's poems remind me of Elizabeth Bishop's in their dramatization of the human cost of our need to map and know and understand."

Learn more about the book at

Of "Street Shadow" Daniel Kraus wrote for Booklist, "Born poor on the South Side of Chicago, Walker became an honor student, which made him vulnerable; and in defense, he succumbed to the 'urban undertow.' A violent opening puts it all into play: drugs, sex, guns, gangs and chance.

"But this is a feint; Walker pulls back from the salacious parts of his past to focus on his university education in Iowa City, his growth as a writer, his beginnings as a teacher, and the fairly banal struggles of being the rare black English professor at an East Coast college.

"The chapters alternate between his crime-filled youth and his increasingly egalitarian life of sushi dinners and awkward Kwanzaa faculty events, with the latter taking prominence. This will frustrate those looking for a gritty urban drama, but that's the point —- as Walker realizes, his 'tale of black teenage delinquency seemed too clichéd.' This unique literary biography, however, is nothing of the sort."

Walker, who also earned a UI doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies, was an award-winning faculty member at Bridgewater State University before moving last year to Emerson College. His work has appeared in "The Best American Essays," "Best African American Essays," "Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry," the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Missouri Review, the Iowa Review and Mother Jones magazine.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

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