The Blog

Anne Marie Rooney's SPITSHINE

Rebecca van Laer

If you’ve read the back of a poetry book recently, you’ve probably learned that many contemporary poets are “reimagining the possibilities of lyric poetry,” “challenging the conventional boundaries of poetic form,” or otherwise transgressing and subverting the supposedly rigid limits of the lyric poem. This sort of rhetoric has been applied to prose poetry, to narrative poetry, and to professedly political poetry. The language of subversion has also become increasingly common in discussions of poetry that does not defy our expectations in any obvious way. Now, it is readily applied to first books of poetry as a form of high praise.

2012 Contest Winner Announcement

TIR staff

The winner of The Iowa Review's 2012 Jeff Sharlet Memorial Prize for Veterans is Iraq War veteran Hugh Martin. An Ohio-born poet, Martin is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Martin’s work was selected from 265 contest entries in all genres.

Judge Robert Olen Butler noted that he was “keenly moved by the depth of feeling and high quality of writing by these veterans. Hugh Martin's poetry represents this body of work at its finest, evoking wartime's moment-to-moment experience with brilliantly observed clarity while illuminating its manifestation of our shared human condition with wisdom and compassion. The best of what I read was not, in its essence, the work of veterans; it was the work of artists."

(Sort of) a Lonely Jew in Iowa: An Interview with Daniel Khalastchi

Sevy Perez

Daniel Khalastchi is an American poet. He is a professor and assistant director of the new Undergraduate Certificate in Writing program at the University of Iowa, where he obtained his MFA in poetry from the Writers' Workshop. His first collection of poems, Manoleria, debuted last year and was awarded the Tupelo Press/Crazyhorse First Book Prize. He is also the managing editor at Rescue Press. His latest poem, "Notes from an Adjunct Professor at a Major American University," is featured in the Fall 2012 issue of The Iowa Review.

I sat down with Daniel to discuss his new poem, rap music, and why the chicken man blew up in Philly last night.

SP: I see you a lot with your iPod, walking around Iowa City. What kind of music are you listening to?

Carolyne Wright's MANIA KLEPTO

Robert McNamara

Carolyne Wright’s Mania Klepto: The Book of Eulene records the adventures of a doppelganger. Wright, who has published five books of poetry, including Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire, winner of the Blue Lynx Prize and the American Book Award, as well as three volumes of translation from Bengali and Spanish, describes Eulene in the essay “Disquieting Muse: The Eulene Series” as having arrived as a “nameless, amorphous” figure “cropping up on otherwise well-behaved poetic exercises” when Wright was in Syracuse University’s writing program. Despite her genesis in a writing program, Eulene has no near literary relations. Berryman’s Henry Pussycat may be an uncle thrice-removed, but no closer—Eulene gets along fine without guilt.

Norma Farber's YEAR OF REVERSIBLE LOSS

Karen An-hwei Lee

Illuminating the inner life of a remarkable Bostonian woman of arts and letters, Norma Farber’s slender collection was gathered and published posthumously by her son, the Berkeley poet Thomas Farber. Married forty years to Sidney Farber, the oncologist pioneer of chemotherapy, Norma Farber (1909-1984) was a poet, concert vocalist, and translator. Year of Reversible Loss is the year-long journal composed in the months after her husband’s demise. Now available nearly three decades after her passing, this elegant book presents a record of Farber’s lyric meditations from April, the month of her late husband’s death, through March of the following year. 

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