Iowa’s Ring of Fire

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“One day,” he said, “you’re going to have a bad time in workshop. A really bad time. Maybe Frank is in a foul mood and you’ve pissed off a few people around the table for whatever reason—your insufficient love of Richard Ford. Some comment you made in workshop about their use of water imagery. I don’t know. They decide to go after you in workshop, and Frank sits back and lets it all happen with that little grin of his. It feels awful. I mean, really awful. You stew about it for a couple of days. You skip a class or two and keep a low profile. Then when you decide you’re over it, you come into the Fox Head. It’s the same. It’s always the same in here. Frank is playing pool, there’s a breakup in progress going on outside, someone got published in The Kenyon Review and they brought in a copy to show it off. You know the deal.”

Over at the LitHub, Benjamin Anastas reminisces of his days at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the ‘90s, long before social media frenzy.


Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →