In 1999, Iowa established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Mary Swander, who was appointed in 2009. Swander is the author of many collections of poetry, including Driving the Body Back (University of Iowa Press, 1998).

recent & featured listings

type name statesort ascending
Writing Program Iowa State University MFA Program Iowa
Writing Program University of Northern Iowa Creative Writing Iowa
Writing Program Cornell College Department of English Iowa
Literary Organization Humanities Iowa Iowa
Literary Organization Iowa Arts Council Iowa
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore Beaverdale Books Iowa
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore The Book Vine Iowa
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore Paper Moon Books Iowa
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore Prairie Lights Bookstore Iowa
Writing Program The Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa Iowa




Before there was the time we see
there was the time we saw through,
when the biggest bear lied down,
exhaled the boundary of herself—
woof!—and rolled onto her side.

Her family followed in a line,
bending like an oxbow lake,
crocheting holes in the land

A few hours after Des Moines
the toilet overflowed.
This wasn't the adventure it sounds.

I sat with a man whose tattoos
weighed more than I did.
He played Hendrix on mouth guitar.
His Electric Ladyland lips
weren't fast enough
and if pitch and melody
are the rudiments of music,
this was just
memory, a body
All night I flew the dark recess of God's mind.
It was arranged like Iowa fields--

not a damn thing missing.
You ask how I survived.

I lived on a message, broad light
at the end of the world.

Words, they have so much in common with departure,

the clouds elliptical & nervous.
Why translate? It's just a