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Iowa Writers’ House hosts workshop with Iowa Poet Laureate


Writing from Start to Finish, with Mary Swander

Iowa Writers’ House — Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. – Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3:30 p.m.

Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander — still from the ‘Map of My Kingdom’ trailer

This weekend, the Iowa Writers’ House welcomes Iowa’s own poet laureate, Mary Swander, for a two-day workshop titled Writing from Start to Finish. The workshop is $245 for the two days; it runs 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with breaks at noon for lunch.

The workshop marks Swander’s first collaboration with the Iowa Writers’ House.

“We are absolutely honored to be offering the writers in our community an opportunity to work with a Poet Laureate,” said Abbie Schneider, Iowa Writers’ House volunteer coordinator. “This workshop is a great example of the reason the Iowa Writer’s House was started — to offer an open door to the literary community, enabling writers of all levels to connect with Iowa’s literary legacy and tradition of excellence.”

Swander was first appointed as Iowa’s poet laureate in 2009. The role of poet laureate is a two-year, renewable appointment sponsored by the Humanities Iowa. Swander is third to hold the appointment, following Robert Dana (2004-2008) and Marvin Bell (2002-2004).

In addition to several books of non-fiction and poetry, Swander has recently been touring two plays dealing with farming and the land: Map of My Kingdom and Vang. The latter focuses on the immigrant farmer experience, and was recently performed as a fundraiser for the Iowa Valley Global Food Project.

This weekend’s workshop is open to writers of all genres. According to the letter provided to workshop participants, it will help writers to “cultivate the ground between … the beginning of the piece and the closure.” Swander writes that, “Often we become stuck, or simply don’t know how to develop a piece or think that we need to write toward a neat little ending.”

Organizers expect this weekend’s workshop to be at capacity.

Upcoming Iowa Writers’ House workshops:

Edible Essays: Adventures in Food Writing with Jennifer Cognard-Black; March 10-12, $235
The Love Story with Vu Tran; March 17-19, $245
The Foundational Elements of Storytelling with Kali VanBaale; March 31-April 2, $235


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