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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 5, 2011

UI emeritus faculty member Bell, Iowa's first poet laureate, reads Oct. 20

Poet Marvin Bell, emeritus faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and Iowa's first poet laureate, will read from his new collection, Vertigo: The Living Dead Man Poems at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in Prairie Lights Books, streamed live at

Other 7 p.m. live streams will be:
--Poet Rick Ryan on Monday, Oct. 17.
--Cornell College writer-in-residence Wendy Call and Midge Raymond on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
--Fiction writer/ art critic Lynn Crawford on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Bell, who the Harvard Review described as having "the largest heart since Walt Whitman," is known for inventing the startling poetic form called the Dead Man poems. The Dead Man is alive and dead at once -- not a persona, but an overarching consciousness, embedded in poetics and philosophy.

Bell, one of America's leading poets, has published 17 books of poetry and has received numerous honors, including the Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia. He taught for 40 years at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Ryan, who is also a lyricist for a California band after a long career in business, will read from Vaudeville in the Dark, about which a New York Times review observed, "Like the best poets, (Ryan) writes at the juncture of rapture and rupture."

He is the author of Goldilocks in Later Life, another book of poems, and of The Golden Rules, a novel. He is currently writing the screenplay of The Golden Rules with film director Ron Daniels. Ryan has won an Academy of American Poets Prize, and his visual work was shown at the New Works Gallery in Chicago.

Call is author of No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy and co-editor of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. She is also associated with the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park of Vermont and the Studios of Key West. She writes and edits nonfiction and translates Mexican poetry and short fiction. Before turning to full-time word-working in 2000, she devoted a decade to work for social change organizations in Boston and Seattle.

Raymond's story collection, Forgetting English, received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. The book has been reissued recently in an expanded edition. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, Redivider, the Bellingham Review, the American Literary Review, the Indiana Review, the North American Review, the Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, and many other publications. Her work has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, and her work is showcased in the recent short-story e-books Beyond the Kopjes, The Ecstatic Cry, Translation Memory and Never Turn Your Back on the Ocean.

Crawford's new book is Simply Separate People, 2. Her art criticism has appeared in Art in America, the Metro Times, Tema Celeste, Modern Painters, the Brooklyn Rail, and Parkett. Her books include Solow, Blow, Simply Separate People, and Fortification Resort.

Eugene Kim calls her new book "a magical machine whose innards are in plain view but whose operating principles remain profoundly mysterious. A dazzling feat of collage and reverse-engineering…" and Peter Markus observes, "This novel is more than just a story, more than just a book; it is a world entire unto itself, and the people in it become more like real people, like made out of flesh neighbors, than simply characters made out of ink."

The Writers' Workshop is an academic program 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

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Weismiller, Prairie Lights,; Winston Barclay, UI News Services,