Harry Leeds had expected students to be shy about writing poetry in English, the way any student might be nervous about writing and sharing personal work in a second language. When it came to the 20 Kazakh students in his poetry workshop, however, he was wrong: “Some people didn’t want to share with the group,” Leeds says, “but everyone wrote.”
Nearly 20 female participants in Manama, Bahrain, and Amman, Jordan, took part in a distance-learning course offered this past spring by the UI's International Writing Program. The course focused on issues of artistic identity while fostering the participants’ authorial voices and building a community of women writers through weekly live video sessions.
Beatrice Smigasiewicz has received a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to write a book of essays titled Recovered Futures, which will investigate the representation of post-Soviet Polish identity in the cultural capital of Krakow. Smigasiewicz graduated with an M.F.A. in literary translation from the University of Iowa in May 2014 and will earn a second M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from the UI this May. As a Polish-American who lived in the country until the age of eleven, Beatrice seeks to understand modern-day Poland through interviews, museum research, and study of Polish literature and architecture.
Students on the six-week summer Irish Writing Program program have the extraordinary opportunity not only to study the history and culture of Ireland through its literature, but also to begin the discovery of their own identities as writers. It’s an experience with transformative results for many. This is one of many short-term and faculty led programs that will be represented at this spring's Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, Jan 29.
My idea was to create the best study abroad creative writing program in the world. That sounds immodest but that was the goal, and I think we do offer an outstanding study abroad experience. It’s an undergraduate program with graduate level expectations. My secret (out now) was to always treat undergraduate students as if they were graduates. They have always done the job. I knew that the University of Iowa was considered number one in America for the writers’ workshop, and I knew we in Ireland had exceptionally talented literature and drama professors. Bringing together the best of both places made the program an instant success.
For the past seven summers, the University of Iowa's Between the Lines programs has been bringing high school-age writers from Russia and Arabic-speaking nations to Iowa City for a two-week, summertime residency.This year's program — which is hosted by the International Writing Program — will be offering a special summer session that will include about two dozen 17-to-20-year-old writers from two nations that have had been at odds for for generations: Turkey and Armenia. The international writers will be joined by a smaller cohort of similarly aged writers from the U.S.
This past summer, I studied in Dublin, Ireland, attending the Irish Writing Program with several other UI students. Between the intensive writing workshops, literature courses, and program-sponsored events, it was a wonderful experience.