The International Writing Program was started by Hualing and Paul Engle 35 years ago: the www avant la lettre, a charged and crackling network laying out links and cables of connections along any and all latitudes and longitudes.

Yes, it is essential—is indeed the genius of the program—that writers from all over the world meet here in Iowa City—daily, randomly, face-to-face over river water, coffee, fallen leaves, books, beer, movies, American faculty and students, with newspapers and cigarettes, with ideas, preferences, references, tastes, dislikes, and banter. The sediment of this talk is what thinking is, and sometimes it finds its way to writing.

After the 10-week residency the writers disperse. But the words remain. This is where iwp.uiowa.edu comes in. Extending their stay in such words, they continue to hover across space and (as soon as our archives are up) across time. They continue to talk to each other, translate each other, find each other, influence each other, and hopefully contribute to the vast polylogue now made possible by the World Wide Web. Against the backdrop of the infinite and impersonal global, as well as the exclusionary national, the IWP, on the university's server, in Iowa, on the 91st meridian, hopes to be the site of an ongoing imagined community.