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University of Iowa News Release


June 29, 2011

Book about UI poet Donald Justice is included in July 11-14 live streams

After a hiatus for Independence Day week, the "Live from Prairie Lights" live streams on the University of Iowa's Writing University website -- -- will resume July 11-14, including Jerry Harp's book about Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Donald Justice, who graduated from the UI Writers' Workshop and then taught a whole generation of poets.

The streams will originate in free events at 7 p.m. in Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City:
--Welsh fiction writer Simon Van Booy will return to read from his novel "Everything Beautiful Began After" on Monday, July 11.
--Writers' Workshop alumnus and 2011 Iowa Summer Writing Festival faculty member John Dalton will read from "The Inverted Forest," his new novel, on Tuesday, July 12.
--On Wednesday, July 13, Harp will fead from and discuss "For Us, What Music? The Life and Poetry of Donald Justice."
--And New England fiction writer Edith Pearlman will read from her latest short-story collection, "Binocular Visions: New & Selected Stories," on Thursday, July 14.

Van Booy is the Frank O'Connor Award-winning author of "Love Begins in Winter" and "The Secret Lives of People in Love," as well as the children's book "Pobble's Way" and three philosophy books. His new novel of longing and discovery is set amidst the ruins of Athens.

Andre Dubus II called the book, "A powerful meditation on the undying nature of love and the often cruel beauty of one's own fate." And Roger Rosenblatt wrote, "Simon Van Booy's stories have the power and resonance of poems. They stay with you like significant memory."

Dalton's "The Inverted Forest" opens as the director of Kinderman Forest Camp has just fired all his counselors when he discovers them swimming naked together. Among the new counselors he hastily hires is Wyatt Huddy, sweet but disfigured, who is astonished to discover that the campers he will be attending are not children but developmentally disabled adults.

Kirkus Reviews summarized that the book "distinguishes crucial degrees of humanity and affliction among the community at a Missouri summer camp where a convergence of staff and campers leads to tragedy." Visit

Dalton's novel "Heaven Lake" won the Barnes and Noble 2004 Discover Award in fiction and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Harp was among the students of Justice, who directed the poetry workshop at the UI for many years and was the recipient of some of poetry's highest laurels, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Bollingen Prize and the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry.

Harp's personal knowledge of his subject -- combined with his deep understanding of Justice's work -- informs his new book. He ties the narrative of Justice's life -- including his music and painting -- together with the poems in order to grant readers an understanding of one of America's greatest poets.

Poet Srikanth Reddy commented, "If it is sometimes hard to tell whether art imitates life or vice versa, the quiet life and art of Donald Justice pose a challenge to the literary biographer, who must place us on intimate terms with both the art and the life of his unassuming subject. In For Us, What Music? Jerry Harp gives us a critical biography that deftly negotiates the dialectic between life and art, balancing detailed scholarly readings of Justice's poems with illuminating anecdotes from the author's works and days. As a result, our understanding of this modest yet extraordinary writer is both complicated and enriched."

Harp teaches in the English department at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. His books include the poetry collections "Creature," "Gatherings" and "Urban Flowers, Concrete Plains."

Pearlman's "Binocular Visions" -- which features an introduction by Writers' Workshop alumna Ann Patchett -- is collected from four decades and three prize-winning collections, plus 13 new stories, taking readers from Jerusalem to Central America, from Tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to a fictional suburb of Boston.

Ellen Loughran recommended in Booklist, "Give this wonderful collection to fans of such classic short story writers as Andre Dubus and Alice Munro and novelists like Nicole Krauss. They will thank you."

Pearlman's first collection of stories, "Vaquita," won the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, and her second, "Love Among The Greats," won the Spokane Annual Fiction Prize. Her short essays have appeared in the the Atlantic Monthly, the Smithsonian Magazine and Preservation Magazine.

The Writers' Workshop, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary as a revolutionary force in literature, is a unit in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Graduate College.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to click on "Subscribe or Unsubscribe" then follow the instructions.

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

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