The Blog


Nate Kouri

Dennis Cooper’s hallucinatory blankness seems immune to context. When you read the best of his work, it clears your mind of everything else as completely as a dose of anesthesia or a brick to the head. Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper doesn't give you a good sense of what his books are like. The prose is dry and full of academic t-crossing, and it rarely deals with the emotional intensity that draws readers to the author. But the valuable idea behind Wrong is that, despite its visceral impact, the context of a number of subcultures is essential to understanding Cooper’s work.

Winners of the 2020 Veterans' Writing Contest

TIR Staff

The Iowa Review is thrilled to announce the winners of our fifth Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans writing contest, judged by Reginald McKnight (author of He Sleeps and White Boys and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps).

The pieces by our winners and runners-up will be published in our Spring 2021 issue.

Thank you to all the writers who submitted their work. Of serving as judge, Mr. McKnight commented: "This was tough. So many wonderful writers, such deep and honest emotion.... Thank you for this rare and meaningful and moving opportunity to hear from my fellow vets."

First Place:
James Janko, "Fallujah in a Mirror"

Second Place:
Jerri Bell, "He Said, She Said"

Amanda Michalopoulou's GOD'S WIFE

George Fragopoulos

“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.”


Amish Trivedi

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.

Winners of the 2020 Iowa Review Awards

Emily Ward

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:



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