The Blog

Cate Peebles's THICKET

Elizabeth Hoover

In his 1987 painting “While There Is Still Time Let’s Go Out and Feel Everything,” Paul Thek scrawls those words in looping light blue script over a darker blue punctuated by wavy lines. Because the words and the marks share an improvisational, finger-painted quality, they blend together and into the only slightly darker background. From a distance, the work looks like an abstract color-field of molted blue. Poet Cate Peebles uses the title of Thek’s painting as the epigraph to her debut collection, Thicket. It serves as a fitting introduction. Like the painting, these capacious poems are permeable, full of images of one self dissolving into another while immersing readers in a vibrant, sensual world.



Neil Roberts

Toward the end of Erik Martiny's The Pleasures of Queuing its narrator writes, “There should really be a literary prize for the best novel ever written by a writer afflicted with ADD who has radios broadcasting from every room in the house, every area of the brain, an exponential, incremental number of siblings, a hawk-watchful mother, and an increasingly eccentric and money-stinting father.” This sentence describes some of the most appealing qualities of the novel. It can hardly be said to have a sequential plot; nor can it, despite one chapter being devoted to each of its narrator’s first twenty-four years, exactly be described as a Bildungsroman.

Shira Dentz's HOW DO I NET THEE

Ralph Pennel

The essential idea behind string theory is this: all fundamental particles of the Standard Model (which describes both the building blocks out of which the world is made and the forces through which these blocks interact) are really just different vibrating, oscillating strings. And, in many ways, this is also the shape that any work of art’s meaning takes inside us. This meaning vibrates within us at such a frequency that we are provided with ways to see how consciousness is also a consistent and fundamental component of the structure of the universe. how do i net thee, the latest collection of poetry by Shira Dentz, works to attempt just that.

Winners of the fourth Veterans’ Writing Contest

TIR Staff

The Iowa Review is excited to announce the winners and runners-up of our fourth Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans writing contest, judged by Brian Turner. The work of all winners and runners-up will be published in the Spring 2019 edition of the magazine. Thank you to all those who entered the contest, and thank you all for your service. Included below are the winners, Turner’s comments on the winning work, and a brief bio about each writer.

First Place:

Sarah Viren's MINE

Jess Smith

A futon, a house, a lover, a dog, a child, a country. These are all things Sarah Viren has, or has had, and lost. It is the exploration of that possession and subsequent absence that she explores in her essay collection Mine, winner of the 2016 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize. Each essay is titled with the possessive my—”My Catch,” “My Choice,” “My Ballad for You”—but ultimately, Viren is exploring and working to accept the inevitability of loss. “Everything I owned,” she writes on the final page, “has since been lost. Even my memories are not the same.”



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