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Swander, Mary L.

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Comments from the author about writing: I'm a fourth generation Iowan with an interest in place-based writing--a deep exploration of the land, natural history, culture and people of a specific environment. I have explored the Iowan landscape in several of my books and plays, the most notable Driving the Body Back (poetry), Out of this World (non-fiction), Dear Iowa (drama) and Farmscape (drama). I explore the Iowa homesteading experience in my early books based on the immigrant stories of my Irish ancestors. In the later work I move through time to look at our current environmental situation.

Literary awards received and date received:

  • 2009: Appointed the Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa by Governor Chet Culver
  • 2006: Iowa Author Award
  • 2004: Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection (The Desert Pilgrim)
  • 1994: Whiting Award
  • 1986: National Endowment for the Arts Grant
  • 1986: Ingram Merrill Award
  • 1980: Ingram Merrill Award
  • 1976: National Discovery Award

Book Types: Nonfiction, Poetry Collection

Audience Types: Adult, Young Adult

Genre: Essays, Poetry Drama

Are you willing to do programs for schools, libraries, or other groups? Yes

If you are willing to do programs, will you charge a fee? Yes

Author Web site URL:



Books By This Author

  • Succession, University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, 1979
  • Driving the Body Back Driving the Body Back, Alfred Knopf, New York, NY, 1986
  • Parsnips in the Snow, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, IA, 1990
  • Dear Iowa, [Mary Swander, Chris Frank, Michael Sokoloff, Michael A. Carey], Ames, IA, 1991.
  • Heaven-and-Earth House: Poems, Alfred Knopf, New York, NY, 1994
  • The Land of the Fragile Giants, [Cornelia Fleischer Mutel, Mary Swander, Lynette Pohlman], University of Iowa Press, 1994
  • Out of this World, Viking Penguin, New York, NY, 1995
  • Bloom and Blossom, Ecco, New York, NY, 1997
  • The Healing Circle, Plume, New York NY, 1998
  • The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles, Viking/Penguin, 2003
  • The Girls on the Roof, Word Tech, 2009
  • Farmscape: The Changing Rural Environment, with Gene Logsdon, Anna Lappe, Fred Kirschenmann, and Harley McIlrath. Ice Cube Press, 2012.

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