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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ish Klein responds to both questions... 

I was at the Iowa Writer's Workshop for Poetry (95-97) and my teachers
during that time were: Marvin Bell, Jorie Graham, C.D. Wright, and James
Galvin. I have many friends that I made during my time there and have been
really interested in seeing there work appear in the world.

The thing about Iowa that may be unique is that they have a lot of money
for giving to the poets and fiction writers in the program. For instance, I
got a Maytag Grant the first year and a Teacher's Writing Fellowship the
second year. Before my time there I had no money but by the time I was
graduated, I had money to travel and explore a little bit before going back
to work.

I should say that I am not a competitive person. I sometimes feel jealous
of people who have achieved more or who hit the jackpot somehow but I try to
keep that under control because I think I'm on my own path. I too was wary
of a competitive environment before I went away but I kept
reminding myself that I have two years to work on Poetry without worrying
about money and how to get it.

The other participants were really thoughtful and constructive in their
comments. You have the opportunities to read the work of everyone in the
workshop every week because they do mass photocopying so someone who is not
in your workshop may be reading your work and they may ask you about it
which I found really exciting and it was new to me because I did not think
the fiction people would care for the Poetry or take the time or whatever
but some of them do and this got me interested in the work of my peers which
was also new for me.

There were many great poets who came to Iowa City to read and this was
sometimes a great thing because sometimes you meet up with them later in the
bars for instance. They are a mixed bag, personality-wise (the famous
Poets) probably like everyone.

I think that is all for question one.

Question Two.
What a great idea for Walt Whitman to write his own review for "Leaves of
Grass". Is the "Song of Myself " poem in that collection? Because if it
is, it's not so shocking that... you know... he'd promote himself in any
possible way. I have not read the reviews but someday I will and then
maybe I will review myself favorably if I can find a venue.

Have a beautiful day.

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