Prairie Lights

Live From Prairie Lights

Archive“Live from Prairie Lights” is an internationally known readings series, which features some of the best up-and-coming and well-established authors & poets from all over the globe. Presented before a live audience and streamed over the world wide web, this long running series brings the spoken word from the bookstore to the masses.
Most readings begin @ 7:00 p.m. Arrive early to assure yourself a seat.

The Writing University live streams many of our readings here.
The Live from Prairie Lights audio archive is available here.
Iowa City PATV has a video archive of readings located here.
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    April 23, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Zach Savich and Hannah Brooks-Motl will read from their new books of poetry.

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Zach Savich will read from his fourth book of poetry, Century Swept Brutal. Savich is the author of Full Catastrophe Living, Annulments, The Firestorm, The Man Who Lost His Head, and a book of prose, Events Film Cannot Withstand. He teaches at the University of Arts in Philadelphia and co-edits Rescue Press's Open Prose Series.

    Hannah Brooks-Motl will read from her new book from Rescue Press, The New Years. "Hannah Brooks-Motl can write a killer line and her stunning voice is alive turning every which way… This brilliant book, her first book, is a gem." —Peter Gizzi

    Brooks-Motl holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and is the author of a chapbook, The Montaigne Result.  She lives in Chicago.


    April 24, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop Faculty poets Robyn Schiff and Mark Levine will read from their work. 

    Robyn Schiff, director of undergraduate writing at the University of Iowa is the author of Revolver and Worth. Her work has been published in the anthologies Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century, Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections, and 
Transatlantic Verse. She coedits The Canary and Canarium Books. “Wild with imagination, unafraid, ambitious, inventive, stitched to perfection by a formal genius that recalls the quirkily perfect forms (and tones) of Marianne Moore…” — Jorie Graham

    Mark Levine teaches poetry at the Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of Debt, Enola Gay, and The Wilds, and a book of nonfiction, F5. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award and an NEA fellowship. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Outside, and The New Yorker. "Mark Levine's poems meld wit with the profoundest gravity, peculiar narratives with linguistic precision, and hubris with sorrow. Read them." — Susan Wheeler


    April 25, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Patrick Hicks will read from his new novel, The Commandant of Lubizec. Filled with footnotes and quotes from future fictional documentaries, Commandant explores the atmosphere of a Holocaust death camp with the knowledge of an historian and the emotional power of a novelist.

    “Patrick Hicks has accomplished a very difficult literary task. He has a given a believable and fresh and original face to barbarism. What a fine book this is." —Tim O'Brien

    Hicks is the author of several poetry collections, and his work has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. He is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana College and works in the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College. He lives in Sioux Falls, SD.


    April 27, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    UIHC Professor of Neurology Lud Gutmann will read from his memoir, Richard Road: Journey from Hate. Richard Road tells of Gutmann’s family’s American experience as chicken farmers in New Jersey, after fleeing the Nazi threat (and leaving their professions) in Germany. Gutmann recently came to the UIHC from West Virginia University, where he chaired the Department of Neurology for 28 years. He is the author of The Immobile Man and has published stories featuring his patients in various magazines and journals. 


    April 29, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexandria Peary will read from her third book of poetry, Control Bird Alt Delete, selected by Emily Wilson for the 2013 Iowa Poetry Prize. Peary is the author of Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers and Lid to the Shadow, which was selected for the 2010 Slope Editions Book Prize. She is Associate Professor and First-Year Writing Coordinator of the English Department at Salem State University.

    "'Go play!' advises Peary in her third collection, and we do, with 'a tassel of rain, ' with 'dove-colored sounds' and 'starter castles.' The topos is New England archaeology; it's Colorforms and Legos; Charley Harper landscapes become interiors; we are delighted to already find ourselves where we couldn't possibly get to." —Caroline Knox


    April 30, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Jane Mead, Larissa Szporluk, and Heidi Johannesen Poon will read from their poetry. 

    Jane Mead, co-owner of Prairie Lights, will read from her new book, Money Money Money   Water Water Water: A Trilogy.  Mead is the author of three previous collections of poetry, and her poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals. She is Poet-in-Residence at Wake Forest University, and teaches in the Drew University low-residency MFA program. She lives on a ranch in California.

    Larissa Szporluk is the author of Dark Sky Question, which won the Barnard Poetry Prize; Isolato, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; The Wind, Master Cherry, The Wind; Embryos and Idiots; and Traffic with Macbeth. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently teaches at Bowling Green State University.

    Heidi Johannesen Poon’s writing has been supported by Fellowships from Brown, Iowa, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She had the gift of an Irish Residency with Carlow University through the Patricia Dobler Award and published her first chapbook, The Good News of the Ground, with the Poetry Society of America. She lives in Charlottesville with her husband and son. 


    May 1, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Kirkwood Professor Scott Samuelson will read from his new book, The Deepest Human Life. 

    "The Deepest Human Life is charming and upbeat, but it's also very poignant in places. Samuelson weaves his personal story of teaching at a community college into the philosophical adventure and shows how philosophy is an approach to life — a practice of self-knowing and self-forgetting — rather than a professional career." — Stephen T. Asma

    Scott Samuelson teaches philosophy at Kirkwood Community College. He writes movie reviews for Little Village, hosts Ethical Perspectives on the News, a Sunday-morning talk show on KCRG, and has worked as an occasional sous-chef at Simone's Plain and Simple. He lives with his family in Iowa City.


    May 2, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special program co-sponsored by the UI Spanish Department, Manuel Vilas will read from his fiction and poetry. Vilas is the author of Gran Vilas, Amor, Calor, El Luminoso Regalo, Espana, Los Inmortales, and Aire Nuestro. The reading will be in Spanish.


    May 3, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Bruce Mills will read from his book, An Archaeology of Yearning. Mills's remarkable memoir maps the artifacts of life as a father of a boy with autism, and as a boy himself growing up in rural Iowa. An Archaeology of Yearning is not ultimately about autism; instead it reaches into the world of human connection and illuminates how storytelling and an understanding of language keep that connection alive.

    Bruce Mills is a graduate of the University of Iowa, and was born and raised in Storm Lake. He has published scholarly books and articles on nineteenth-century American writings and co-edited a collection of essays by siblings of those on the autism spectrum. He teaches in the English Department at Kalamazoo College.


    May 4, 2014 - 7:00pm

    First United Methodist Church

    GARRISON KEILLOR – First United Methodist Church – Ticketed Event

    Garrison Keillor will read from and talk about his new book, The Keillor Reader.  Two tickets to the event will be given with the purchase of each copy of The Keillor Reader  from Prairie Lights Bookstore while supplies last. The Keillor Reader will be on sale starting May 1st, and we are taking orders now.

    The Keillor Reader brings together the full range of Keillor’s work: monologues from "A Prairie Home Companion," stories from "The New Yorker" and "The Atlantic," excerpts from novels, and newspaper columns. The Keillor Reader also presents pieces never before published, including the essays "Cheerfulness" and "What We Have Learned So Far."  The event will be held at The First United Methodist Church, 214 E Jefferson Street, Iowa City. Iowa Public Radio’s Charity Nebbe will moderate the event.