UD Receives Grant from Iowa Arts Council

Nov 4, 2011 | University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

The University of Dubuque has received a $1000 grant, provided, in part, by the Iowa Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, to fund the University's Poet-in-Residence Fall Reading Series. 

The University of Dubuque Poet-in-Residence Fall Reading Series aims to broaden and enrich the cultural scope of both the campus and the wider Dubuque community by hosting readings in which writers of diverse backgrounds and literary traditions will be invited to share their work.  This fall, two authors will be hosted on the University campus.  The first reading was held on Tuesday, October 18 by David Mura, author of Turning Japanese, Angels for the Burning, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, and Where Body Meets Memory.  The second reading, by Gunda Davis, author of Pumpkin Soup and Shrapnel: Growing Up Under the Third Reich, will by held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30 in the Couchman Reading Room of the Charles C. Myers Library. 

Lauren Alleyne, assistant professor of English and UD poet-in-residence commented, "We are very grateful to the Iowa Arts Council for their grant support.  Being able to bring authors such as Mura and Davis to campus helps to bridge gaps of culture, history, and perspective."  

David Mura is a third generation Japanese American.  He is a writer, performer, and teacher, whose work focuses on what it means to be a man, a man of color, and an American.  His award-winning collections of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and literary criticism mine these markers of identity, exploring their challenges, their meanings, and their possibilities for empowerment. 

Gunda Davis is a German immigrant who has lived the better half of her life in Bettendorf, Iowa.  Her memoir, Pumpkin Soup and Shrapnel, revisits her girlhood and youth growing up in Germany under the Third Reich, and in a family of Nazi sympathizers.  Her story, richly authenticated by photographs and art, portrays the many tensions found at the intersections of family and politics, innocence and ignorance, choice and chance.

The University of Dubuque English Department believes that the literary arts offer us an opportunity for exchange between authors and readers.  Poetry and book readings, then, offer a dimension in which the reader is able to engage with the writer as they give voice to their work.  Readers have the opportunity to ask questions - and have them answered - by the author; the author becomes real.