Saturday, May 1, 2010

NPM 50 State Tour: Iowa

Iowa -- 29th state, 12/28/1846 -- is a late-comer to the state poet laureate concept. The position was created in 1999.

Mary Swander has held the post since 2009. She's a graduate of the famed Iowa Writers Workshop. I love this description on her website, "She lives in an old Amish schoolhouse, raises geese, goats, and a large organic garden, and plays the banjo."

Swander's most recent book The Girls on the Roof  is "a Mississippi River flood narrative." Sounds interesting. Here is a description of the poems. You'll find a looong video of Swander on youtube, but it's worth it. She plays her banjo and reads from the book.

Swander is working with a puppet theater troupe to create a staged production of the story. Are our state poets laureate an impressive bunch, or what?

Here she is reading "Heaven" for the Dead Poets Video project -- which you have absolutely got to visit. Modern poets reading at dead poets gravesites. Wow -- another NPM Tour discovery.

"Heaven" By Mary Swander from ChiefFallingLeaf on Vimeo.

I'm going to go check out some more of those graveside readings. Have a great weekend! Next post is an interview with Wisconsin P.L. Marilyn L. Taylor.

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