“God,” Simone Weil writes in Gravity and Grace, “gave me being in order that I should give it back to him. It is like one of those traps whereby the characters are tested in fairy stories and tales of initiation. If I accept this gift it is bad and fatal; its virtue becomes apparent through my refusal of it. God allows me to exist outside himself. It is for me to refuse this authorization.”
In my own work, I am endlessly wrapped up in the university, that nineteenth-century institution which was envisioned as a way of educating those who would have to continue the work of building a democratic state. The university was a place where the citizenry would gain cultural knowledge so they could become educated and would then be able to debate and argue and build consensus in order to try to build a better society. Beginning the third decade of the twenty-first century, it seems that mission may have failed, given way to corporate power, though perhaps we should not give up hope just yet. Regardless, there is something lost in the twentieth-century narrative that revolves only around institutions and organizations, a narrative thread that Mark Nowak brings us back to in Social Poetics.
The results are in: we are very excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Iowa Review Awards! The work of the winners will be published in our Winter 2020 issue. Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest, and a huge thank you to our contest judges: Stephanie Burt (poetry), Lan Samantha Chang (fiction), and Leslie Jamison (nonfiction). Meet our winners: