Iowa Writes

The Devil in Arcadia, Iowa

When the school cracks open the children pour in.
A poster above the door reads, "Free knowledge offered
Monday through Friday." Today, while the last patch of snow
settles apprehensively into a cornfield, they will learn
"the Biology of the Anthropoid." And it's true, as the Principal says,
that the children, like lab-frogs about to be pinned through the chest,
are growing agitated. If you listen carefully you can hear their small hearts
chirping away like nail clippers, you can feel their anxiety hover
like a murder of crows above the cornfield. Next to the school yard
a redheaded teenager leans out of a pickup,
makes shadow-puppets along the asphalt. Down the road,
inside an abandoned barn, a girl of twelve is losing her virginity
while, on the other side of town, a young boy smiles
as he catches a glass butterfly  in his bare hands.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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Henry Israeli's books include New Messiahs (Four Way Books, 2002) and Fresco: The Selected Poetry of Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions, 2002)—which he edited and co-translated. He has been awarded fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Canada Council on the Arts, and elsewhere. Henry Israeli is also the founder of Saturnalia Books.

"The Devil in Arcadia, Iowa" is from New Messiahs and is reprinted with permission from Four Way Books.

Four Way Books site

Saturnalia Books

This page was first displayed
on September 23, 2008

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