The Blog

An NEA grant!

TIR staff

Congratulations to managing editor Lynne Nugent, who—between calling tough shots as TIR's interim editor and wrangling the world's cutest two-year-old performance artist—wrote a winning application for an NEA Art Works grant! The $15,000 award will help support The Iowa Review's Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans writing contest.  

The official press release:

Aries Sipping at a Ruby Pool: John Gosslee's 12 SONNETS FOR THE ZODIAC

Erik Martiny

As prevalent as it has been in popular culture since Babylonian times, the zodiac has inspired but a dearth of recent visual art, and even fewer texts. Lord Byron is one of the few notable poets who paid it any attention at all. The vast bulk of alluringly story-bolstered mainstream myths is probably the reason why so few writers have turned to the wheel of the zodiac as a wellspring of poetry.

"Our Christmas Carol" from the archives

TIR staff

Our Christmas Carol
by Michael C. Smith
[The Iowa Review, Fall 1978]

We know the story:
How ghosts cluttered his night,
Then later,
Scrooge Community College.

You resent giving
As much as I,
But we aren't the Macbeths yet.
After all, we appreciate
The humanity
Of accidentally shopping
For ourselves.

So he sells his iron lung
To buy her a Mazda;
So she foregoes her mastectomy
To buy him a place
By her heart.
What is that to us?

What is the meaning of normal?
A man running down 
Hospital halls,
Clutching yellow feathers,
Yelling Ramona, Ramona?

Grief Dolls and God Dolls: Allison Benis White's SMALL PORCELAIN HEAD

Claudia Cortese

A child gives her doll a spirit, a personality, a story. She constructs a narrative for her doll, filling an inanimate object with life. This imaginative process is one we often associate with girlhood. A constellation of images orbits the word “doll”: wooden dollhouses and porcelain girls in lace dresses and dolls that pee and dolls that cry and dolls that girls push in strollers. However, dolls—which are believed to be the first toys—have not always been so narrowly gendered, so limited to childhood play. Haitian Voodoo dolls are said to embody the spirit of a living person, and ancient Egyptians buried their dead with dolls, believing they would assist the deceased in the afterlife.

From CAY-roh to MAD-rid

Rachel Arndt

I drove home to Chicago from Iowa City last weekend. Along the way I passed a bunch of cows, some flat raccoons, many semi trucks, and more French-named towns and doubles of foreign cities (Cairo, Rome) than you can shake a map at.

Here's how we say them in the middle of the country:

Athens: AY-thens
Berlin: BER-lin
Bourbonnais: burh-BOHN-nis
Buena Vista: BOON-a-vista
Cairo: CAY-roh
Delhi: DEL-high
Des Plaines: des-PLAYnz
Hidalgo: heye-DAL-goh
La Moille: luh-MOYL
Madrid: MAD-rid
Marseilles: mar-SAYLZ
Milan: MY-lan
Monticello: mon-ti-SEL-oh
Peru: PEE-roo
Renault: REE-nawlt
Tripoli: tri-PO-la
Versailles: ver-SAYLZ


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