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Mark Your Calendars!

Can a poem be obedient? This is just one of the questions renowned gender historian and University of Iowa Professor Emerita Linda Kerber posed to IWP writers while moderating last Friday’s panel on “Spectral Gender.” The question arose after panelist Pandora (Burma) observed that Burmese women who comply with societal norms are likely to produce “obedient poems.” 

“Gender lurks under the visible. It has been very hard for people to name its meaning. It is our historians, our philosophers, our writers, and our poets who are helping us to name it,” Professor Kerber, former President of the American Historical Association, said in her introduction to Friday’s panel, which included reflections on the transgendered community in Singapore, opposition to feminism in Uzbekistan, gender and creativity in Iraq, and the plight of women in Afghanistan. The panel drew a large public audience and the writers fielded questions about everything from the reality of power dynamics within households to how rap music is received in their home countries. In the future, papers presented at the Friday panels will be available in the archives section of the IWP website. Stay tuned.

Now, get ready, because we’re kicking off another full week of IWP events, including:

Tonight: Federico Falco (Argentina), one of Granta’s 2010 Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, will be one of several readers presenting works from the anthology The Future Is Not Ours: New Latin American Fiction (Open Letters Press), Prairie Lights, 7-8pm.

Then, on Tuesday, join us for IWP Cinemathèque and a discussion with Barlen Pyamootoo (Mauritius), who will present The Chess Players (India, dir. Satyajit Roy, 115 min.), E105 Adler Journalism Building, 7:30pm.

On Thursday, participate in a live chat with 2010 resident Hinemoana Baker (New Zealand), who will discuss the interaction between Maori and mainstream literature with University of Iowa Professor Mary J Campbell. The live video connection will enable the audience in Iowa City to interact with an audience in Wellington, New Zealand. Old Capitol Mall, room 2520-C (upstairs), 6:30-7:30pm.                                       

On Friday, don’t miss this week’s panel: “Writing in a Country at War,” which will exceptionally be held in the Gerber Lounge (room 304, English-Philosophy Building). Presenters include Yaghoub Yadali (Iran), Bilal Tanweer (Pakistan), Mohib Zegham (Afghanistan), and Alisa Ganieva (Russia); join us for conversation/Q&A, and pizza, noon-1pm.

After the panel, head over to the Shambaugh House for a reading by Luis Bravo (Uruguay) and Milagros Socorro (Venezuela), 5-6pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Finally, join us at Prairie Lights on Sunday for a reading by Barlen Pyamootoo (Mauritius) and Chan Chi Tak (Hong Kong), who will be joined by Writers' Workshop student Aamina Ahmad, 4-5pm.

Look forward to seeing you at this week’s events. In the meantime, visit our Facebook page to see photos of last week’s trip to the 65th Annual Tri-State Rodeo and follow us on Twitter for daily news and updates!

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