Two poems by Robert Dana to be used in dedication ceremonies

MOUNT VERNON – Two poems by Robert Dana, poet-in-residence and English professor emeritus as well as Iowa’s Poet Laureate, will be part of dedication ceremonies taking place in Des Moines and Coralville on May 30 and 31.

Robert DanaDana’s poem “In Praise” is scheduled to be read at the dedication of the Iowa Workers Monument in Des Moines on Friday, May 30. The poem will be one of several bronze plaques attached to the monument honoring Iowa laborers.

The following day, the Coralville Public Library will hold its dedication ceremony, where Dana’s poem “Library” is scheduled to be read and displayed in bronze in the foyer.

“I’m honored to be asked to write poems for these two important occasions,” said Dana, who was named Iowa’s Poet Laureate in September 2004.

For more information on the Coralville dedication, visit:

For more information on the Iowa Workers Monument dedication, visit:

Dana taught at Cornell from 1954-94. He received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships for Poetry in 1985 and 1993 and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry in 1989. He has written 13 books of poetry, the most recent, “The Morning of the Red Admirals,” published in 2004, and “The Other” which will also be published by Anhinga Press later this year.

A Massachusetts native, Dana discovered his love for writing poetry during his time as a U.S. Navy radio operator at the end of World War II. Back in Holyoke, Mass., he sold his watch and raincoat for one-way bus fare to Des Moines, where he became the first in his family to attend college. He enrolled at Drake University on the GI Bill and supported himself as a sportswriter for the Des Moines Register. Later, he honed his art at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, graduating with a master’s degree in 1954. When he joined Cornell, he was the youngest (age 25) tenure-track professor hired by the college at the time. He has served as distinguished visiting writer at five American universities and Stockholm University.