Jayson Iwen appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Simply Superior to discuss his poetry collection Roze & Blud, which won the 2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and was published by the University of Arkansas Press in March 2020. His work was selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, editor of the Miller Williams Poetry Series since 2015 and whose first book, The Apple that Astonished Paris, was published by the University of Arkansas Press in 1988.
In the long poem that makes up Roze & Blud—almost a novel-in-verse—Jayson Iwen examines the intimate thoughts and feelings of two would-be poets: Roze Mertha, a teenage girl growing up in a trailer park, and William Blud, a veteran navigating age and loneliness in an apartment he shares with an Afghan refugee. Deftly crafting distinct voices for these characters in the upper midwestern terrain they inhabit, Iwen explores the quiet heartbreak and tenderly treasured experiences of two apparently unremarkable people using poetry to understand a world that doesn’t make much space for them.
Simply Superior is a public affairs program focused on events and issues in Northwestern Wisconsin hosted by award-winning journalist Robin Washington.
Listen to Iwen’s appearance: