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Iowa Review to host annual reading

BY ISAAC HAMLET | OCTOBER 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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When University of Iowa student and staff editors select pieces of writing to publish in The Iowa Review, almost anything goes.

“Something [The IowaReview] offered that was really nice was flexibility, letting me run my poetry landscape style and being willing to experiment with the layout,” said Maragret Reges whose poetry is featured in the latest issue of The Iowa Review.

This week, the Review’s eclectic selection of words will not only appear in print, but be read aloud as well. Authors James Galvan and Lia Purpura will present their featured pieces at Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque, at 7 p.m. Friday as part of the University of Iowa publication’sannual reading.

“We get hundreds of unsolicited submissions each semester,” said Lynne Nugent, the acting managing editor for the past 11 years. “We have teams of readers led by editors who are in grad school for that specific field of writing. Eventually, the work trickles up to [Harilaos Stecopoulos], who makes the final call about what appears in the issue.”

Between the open submissions and those sought by the publisher, the journal has the opportunity to print nearly any brand of writing one could hope for.

“We can publish literary work without worrying about turning a profit or appealing to a mass audience,” said Stecopoulos, the editor of the issue and host of the reading. “We have the freedom to publish long poems — consider Nate Mackey’s contribution in this issue — and funky interview, for example, Marjorie Perloff’s dialogue with Vanessa Place in the last issue.”

The most recent issue uses this ability. It both extends itself beyond the three main genres of poetry, fiction, and essays and includes reviews and criticism.

“We’re a university publication based in an English Department, so I feel obligated to engage with more academic perspectives on contemporary literature,” Stecopoulos said. “Publishing critical essays and serious interviews allows me to do this.”

The issue also wades into multimedia writings. “The Working Order” is a poem written by Dora Malech; it was produced as an animated “motionpoem” by Motionpoems and Gentleman Scholar. While the journal has obvious limitations in its ability to feature film, it exhibits frames used in the video alongside the poem.

“Our reliance on genre can make us less sensitive to intra-textual diversity and to how a particular work might cross or confound formal boundaries,” Stecopoulos stated in his editor’s note for the issue.

Though Iowa Review only publishes three times a year and hosts only one reading, Stecopoulos said each issue has an impact.

“I feel honored to have published amazing young writers like Margaret Reges and Jessica Laser, and literary lions like Nate Mackey and Jayne Anne Phillips,” Stecopolous said. “I also love the fact that we have a chicken-car on the cover.”


The Iowa Review annual reading, Issue 44 Volume 2
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque
Admission: Free


Lia Purpura

Lia Purpra's essay "Study with Crape Myrtle" is among this issue's pieces. The work describes the author's encounter with "a spectacular crape myrtle," an encounter that is surprisingly provocative.

The essay is structured much like a letter written to whoever is reading, using lengthy sentences that occasionally read with the rhythm of a poem. This provides a piece that feels almost stream-of-
consciousness, yet still moves toward an clearly calculated end.

All of it is done in service of attempting to identify, or at least come to terms with, the unnamed spectacle of the crape myrtle and other such things.

James Galvin

Five of James Galvin's poems appear in The Iowa Review. All of them employ free verse, and nearly all of them root themselves comfortably on recurring images of nature. While the set has no narrative thread rendering them inseparable, they all huddle around the shared motif of time. It's the repeated nature images that give the poems much of their flavor. In many cases, nature deepens the motif of time, making many otherwise ordinary aspects seem ancient or relentless in their existence.

The images evoked by the poems are vivid without introducing too flowery language, making the work relatively easy to read.


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In today's issue:





 
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