Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MARY SWANDER: Video of her short story "How I Got My Dog"

Mary Swander is Poet Laureate of Iowa, and she has a dog. Don't mis her reading of this intercultural exchange between her (or someone who could be like her) and Amish neighbors. I first learned about Swander's work when I reviewed her classic long poem Driving the Body Back (Alfred Knopf) in the Kansas City Star when it was published in the 1980s.It was a compelling family drama in verse about taking a body back to the home farm for burial. She continues to reflect on the universal and particular experiences of rural people.  I met her through Thomas Fox Averill, a fiction writer from nearby Topeka. They attended the Iowa Wrtiers Workshop together. Swander's  memoirs are Desert Pilgrim (Viking) and Out of This World (Viking). Her awards are: Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for the Literary Arts, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, and the Nation-Discovery Award.Her recent books of poetry and prose are from Ice Cube Press and Turning Point. She is a radio commentator and teaches at Iowa State. I was lucky to meet up with her during summer travels recently, and here is a photo and link to the reading. Enjoy!