Paul Engle

(October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991)

Paul Engle
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Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991), noted American poet, editor, teacher, literary critic, novelist, and playwright. He is perhaps best remembered as the long-time director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and as founder of the International Writing Program (IWP), both at the University of Iowa.

Engle is often mistakenly credited with having founded the Iowa Writers' Workshop (an honor that more appropriately belongs to his predecessor, Wilbur Schramm). Nonetheless, perhaps no one helped to better establish the reputation of the venerable writing program than Engle. During his tenure as director (1941–1965), he was responsible for luring some of the finest writers of the ... more »

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Best Poem of Paul Engle

Venus and the Lute Player

(Tiziano Vecellio, 1477- 1576)


Far in the background a blue mountain waits
To echo back the song
The note-necked swan, while it reverberates,
Paddles the tune along.

The player is a young man richly dressed.
His hand is never mute.
But quick in motion as if it caressed
Both lady and the lute.

Nude as the sunlit air the lady rests.
She does not listen with her dainty ear,
But trembles at the love song as her breasts
Turn pink to hear.

She does not rise up at his voice's fall,
But takes that music in,
By pointed leg and searching ...

Read the full of Venus and the Lute Player

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