The Blog


Tod Marshall

“A book of poems is a damn serious affair,” says Wallace Stevens. If so, a book of one hundred seventy-seven pages is mighty serious. That’s the length of Richard Kenney’s newest book, a sprawling yet coherent collection in which he harmonizes serious chords with playful notes to make a metrically brilliant, tonally various, emotionally resonant, sometimes scathing, sometimes silly book that impresses as much with its technical virtuosity as with its intellectual and emotional power. Appreciate poems, admire lines, marvel at turns of phrase and acrobatic diction—fine: the great accomplishment is how everything comes together and it works as book.

Leslie Jamison's THE GIN CLOSET

Lucy Silag

Leslie Jamison’s first novel, The Gin Closet, is told from the alternating points of view of Stella—a thin-spired, quarter-life-crisis sufferer living unhappily in New York—and her fat, alcoholic Aunt Tilly, shunned by their family and spending the last of her miserable days in the Nevada desert. The two are brought together when Lucy, Stella’s grandmother and Tilly’s mother, dies after a long illness. Stella takes it upon herself, as one in a series of attempts to be a hero for the sake of being a hero, to drive to Nevada and inform her aunt of Lucy’s death. Compelled by deep pity, she hopes to make up for what she believes her family has done very cruelly: excluded Tilly from their folds since Tilly was a teenager.

A Lowly, Humble Bookworm: A Conversation with Michael Silverblatt

Sarah Fay

[This interview appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of The Iowa Review.]

On the surface, Bookworm is a nationally syndicated weekly radio show that hosts fiction writers and poets. But after listening to it once, anyone with an ear knows that it is an opportunity to learn how to read, listen, and engage with print culture via Michael Silverblatt, the show’s perspicacious and endearing host. Silverblatt created Bookworm in 1989 and has conducted what he calls “interview occasions” with thousands of writers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Carlos Fuentes, Maxine Hong Kingston, Salman Rushdie, Susan Sontag, Alice Walker, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Two of our own!

TIR staff

We want to issue a big Congratulations to two recent Best American award winners!

First, congratulations to Maggie McKnight. Her graphic memoir "Swingin,'" from our Winter 2008-09 issue, was chosen as a Notable Comic in the 2010 issue of Best American Comics. See an excerpt here.

And Anne Marie Rooney's poem "What my heart is turning," which appeared in our Winter 2009-10 issue, will appear in the 2011 issue of Best American Poetry. Anne Marie was the winner of the 2009 Iowa Review Award in poetry.


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