Robert Dana, Robert Lowell in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Robert Dana, Robert Lowell in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop



Poet Robert Dana describes his experience in the Iowa Iowa Writers’ Workshop, including his class with Robert Lowell, and eating at the Iowa Memorial Union:

In addition to Lowell’s workshop class, there was the more or less impromptu one we ourselves convened around the lunch table once or twice a week in the dingy and steaming cafeteria in the basement of the old Student Union: a kind of expanding and contracting court of complaint, a floating seminar in practical criticism, a rump parliament in literary theory, where we fed on each other’s praise and harkened to each other’s criticisms. Poems were handed around, sometimes scribbled on, lamented over. The talk was free-wheeling, unfettered, sometimes even preposterous. No telling how many bad lines and bad poems perished in those sessions. Probably not enough. But our little seminar brought us together in knowledge and ignorance and friendship.


Dana, Robert. “Far from the Ocean: Robert Lowell at Iowa, 1953.” The North American Review 282.5 (1997): 48-52. Web.