5th year students had a real treat today, in the form of a poetry reading and talk with Mary Swander. Mary is the Poet Laureate for the State of Iowa and is a Professor of English and Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts at Iowa State University. Mary read two of her poems for us and described how they came into being. She spoke about her life – she lives in an old Amish schoolhouse – and about her Irish roots.
Mary’s most recent publication is a book of poetry, The Girls on the Roof. This is a Mississippi flood narrative. She is also currently touring her play Farmscape. This is a docudrama capturing the changing rural environment.
Cathal asked Mary about how she came to be a poet and in response she described her early writing in Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Duncan asked her who her own favourite poets were and Mary spoke about her love of the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, but her absolute favourite was Elizabeth Bishop.
Matthew asked her about her role as Poet Laureate and Mary spoke further about the work that she does today.
Overall, it was wonderful to hear her entertaining anecdotes and early life stories.
If you would like to find out more information about Mary Swander then you should visit her website. Here you will find out details about her publications and areas of interest. You will also find details of her Twitter account and Facebook page. The website is www.maryswander.com