Book Wings 2012 (Poetry)

Performance date: March 9th, 2012 (Duration: 2.5 hours)
Location: Theatre B, University of Iowa Theatre Arts Building, Iowa City, IA / Moscow Art Theatre, Moscow, Russia
Genre: Poetry
Theme: Contact
Commissioned Writers:
United States: Quan Barry, Terrance Hayes, Dora Malech, Matthew Zapruder
Russia: Maxim Amelin, Linor Goralik, Inga Kuznetsova, Anna Russ

Book Wings 2012 marked the first year of a three-year partnership between the International Writing Program and the Moscow Art Theatre.

With the collaboration of the University of Iowa's Department of Theatre Arts, the Virtual Writing University, Information Technology Services, and UITV, the performance was staged in Iowa City and Moscow simultaneously on March 9th, 2012 (10 a.m. U.S. central time, 8 p.m. Moscow time), and featured poems commissioned from eight young, distinguished American and Russian poets.

Prior to the performance, both the American and the Russian poems were translated literally, then sent to a participating poet writing in the target language to be refined. In this way, each participating writer took part in the project both as an author and as a co-translator.

Contact, the central theme for the Book Wings Russia collaboration, emerged from the Culture Sub-Working Group of the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission, where the idea for Book Wings first took shape.

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The Performance

Using high definition videoconferencing technologies and projectors, the stages were digitally connected (in real time, across 5,000 miles and 10 time zones), allowing the audience in Iowa City to see and hear the Moscow stage and audience, and the Moscow audience to see and hear the Iowa City stage and audience, and creating a single dramatic space in which American and Russian actors worked side by side to present the commissioned works. Both stages also featured a local emcee and an interpreter. Audience members received bilingual programs containing both the original poems and the translations to follow along during the performance. A PDF of the program was made available to viewers online.

The event was free and open to the public in Iowa City and Moscow. Actors performed for packed houses in both locations (135 live audience members in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Arts Building in Iowa City, 150 at the Moscow Art Theatre). The performance was also made accessible to viewers around the globe via live video streams hosted by the Virtual Writing University at the University of Iowa and by the Moscow Art Theatre. There were 299 distinct virtual connections to the Virtual Writing University stream, from groups of viewers around the globe, including many at partner universities, such as Columbia College in Chicago, IL and Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as well as many others, from Maryland to India.

Audience members and viewers submitted questions for the live talk back session following the performance by tweeting to @UIIWP via the live Twitter feed embedded in the streaming site.

A 3-set DVD was made of the performances and video clips are available for viewing on IWP’s Youtube Channel.

Participating writers:

In the US:

Dora Malech was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1981 and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. She earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale College in 2003 and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2005. She is the author of two books of poems, Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser, 2009) and Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011). Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, Best New Poets, and Poetry London. She has been the recipient of fellowships and awards that include a Writer’s Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy and a 2010 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. In 2010, she was Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at Saint Mary's College of California, and in 2012 she'll be Visiting Faculty at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Iowa City, where coordinates the Iowa Youth Writing Project, an arts outreach program for children and teens.

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin 2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Hurston Wright award. His other poetry books are Wind in a Box, Muscular Music, and Hip Logic. His honors include two Pushcart Prizes, five Best American Poetry selections, a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon, 2010). His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Bomb, Slate, Poetry, Tin House, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Believer, Real Simple, and The Los Angeles Times. He has received a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He works as an editor for Wave Books, and teaches as a member of the core faculty of UCR-Palm Desert's Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing. He lives in San Francisco.

Born in Saigon and raised on Boston’s north shore, Quan Barry is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Barry has published three books of poetry (Asylum, Controvertibles, and Water Puppets) with the University of Pittsburgh Press, and her work has appeared in such journals as Ms. and the New Yorker. Among her awards are a 2003 NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her first two-act play titled The Mytilenian Debate was a 2010 finalist for both the Eugene O’Neill National Playwriting Conference and the Lark Development Center’s Playwrights’ Week. Currently she directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin.

In Russia:

PDF icon Book Wings Program - 2012.pdf3.91 MB

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