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Reflecting On The Current Crisis With Christopher Merrill

Maya Alleruzzo
AP Photo
A protester speaks with a Park Police officer standing guard with a line of police closing off off the area around Lafayette Park near the White House after protesters tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson in the park in Washington, Tuesday, June 23.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with poet, essayist and author Christopher Merrill.

Merrill was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities in 2012 by President Obama, and his writings have been translated into nearly forty languages. He joins the program as part of an ongoing series of conversations with notable Iowans reflecting on the current crises.

Merrill describes the racial justice movement, layered on top of an economic downfall, as a "perfect storm."

“What’s happened during this pandemic has revealed, quite clearly, a number of ways of which we have to do better if we indeed, we can survive all of this.”


  • Christopher Merrill, director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program

Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River