MFA@FLA Newsletter, Spring 2003

The MFA@FLA Newsletter makes public various enterprises, literary and not, of our graduates and faculty. It seeks to connect our graduates and to inform students considering applying to MFA@FLA of our accomplishments. The headnote is written by Padgett Powell, current Director of the program. The balance of the Newsletter is written by graduates, current students, and faculty.

In the last couple of years the program has grown a bit, to fourteen poets and sixteen writers of fiction. We are offering four workshops per genre per year instead of two. These are smaller than before and allow a student to take more than one at a time and up to six for the degree.

Jill Ciment will join the fiction faculty in January 2003. On Jill Ciment’s books:

The Law of Falling Bodies is an American original, a lethal comedy about the simultaneous grandeur and cheesiness of our dreams, told in language precise and glittering as a spray of diamonds” – Michael Cunningham.

Half a Life strikes the right note from the beginning and never loses it. This is how contemporary memoir ought to be written with humor, poetry, insight, emotion, and no whining.” – Philip Lopate

Teeth of the Dog takes on nothing less than paradise. What Ciment has achieved so brilliantly in this beautifully written novel is the multilayered nature of such a predicament in such a place. In the end, the story speaks not only to the global effluent that has poisoned paradise, but to the sadness and cruelty of life itself.” – Lynn Freed.

The current faculty is in fiction Jill Ciment, David Leavitt, and Padgett Powell; in poetry Debora Greger, Michael Hofmann, William Logan, and Sidney Wade.

We are just beginning to consider a degree specialization in translation. We cannot say at this point if there will be a degree itself in translated work or a component of a degree, but it would appear that up to one workshop in translation a year may be offered. A very successful one was held by Sidney Wade in the fall of 2002. Applicants are showing some interest in this field, and Geoff Brock has just published a volume of Cesare Pavese’s collected poems in translation. Michael Hofmann continues to produce books from German to English that mark him as one of the premier translators from German today.

Imad Rahman has sold his first book to Farrar Straus & Giroux. Most of the stories were workshopped here and we had the wit not to destroy them.

The temper of the times, from the Florida Fish and Wildlife News: “On October 29th, 2002, a 35-year-old Lake Panasoffkee man admitted that he shot and killed a sandhill crane near the Jumper Creek Wildlife Management Area so he could eat it.”

We will bring to campus on January 24, 2003, poet and editor (The New Republic) Glyn Maxwell for a reading and editorial visit; three other editors/agents will visit in April (Willard Spiegelman, Southwest Review; Pat Strachan, Little Brown; Stella Connell, The Stella Connell Agency).

The Writers Festival this year (March 28–29, 2003) will include Deborah Eisenberg and Les Murray Friday the 28th and Tom Drury and Heather McHugh on the 29th. There will be informal talks on Saturday the 29th as well. Locations, schedule, and full bios are linked from the Department of English Calendar of Events.

News of Students & Faculty

Now, The Real News, in unadulterated testimonials, roughly alphabetized by author – from faculty, former faculty, alumni, current students. An email address with signature indicates the author’s willingness to receive mail from readers; if you know of addresses of missing alumni, please send them; if you know of parties interested in our Newsletter, please forward this URL to them.

Jay Atkinson (MA, 1982), <Jay_Atkinson@uml.edu>

Contrary to the predictions of Sid Homan, I’ve managed to hammer out a career as a writer. My books, Ice Time: A Tale of Fathers, Sons and Hometown Heroes (Three Rivers Press, 2002) and Caveman Politics (Breakaway Books, 2002), are out in paperback. Just a few days ago Random House bought my new narrative nonfiction book, a chronicle of the year I’ll spend as a private detective at McCain Investigations in Boston. And my agent, Peter McGuigan at Sanford Greenburger, has just begun shopping my latest novel, entitled City in Amber. Those of you who remember “Coach” Harry Crews might be interested to read my essay on the world’s greatest writing teacher, scheduled for Poets & Writers magazine, March/April 2003.

Eve Adamson (MFA, 1992), <eadamson@mchsi.com>

I remain happily freelancing in Iowa City and am nowbeginning year five this second-time-around in my hometown. I’ve just started my 20th and 21st books, which I will be writing simultaneously this fall: Releasing the Mother Goddess Within and Empowering Your Life With Joy. No, I don’t come up with this stuff, my agent asks me if I want to do it, and far be it for me to turn down a paying gig. I wrote two dog books this summer, so this New-Agey turn will be a nice change. I also remain a contributing editor to Dog Fancy, for whom I write a monthly breed profile, and have become a somewhat and curiously distinguished dog writer of note, schmoozing it up in Manhattan every February for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which I have to admit is a whole lotta fun. I also continue to sing with my dad’s old standard jazz group, mainly at a darkly atmospheric lounge in Cedar Rapids attached to a restaurant with really good ribs and a killer Chilean Seabass with mango chutney… oh, that reminds me, I’ve been doing more food writing and am on the verge of a contract for my very own cookbook. Never a dull moment in this house… which I just bought this spring, proudly all on my own, so I may be here for awhile. Angus just started first grade and Emmett is happily studious in preschool. My dog Sally sits under my desk while I work and reminds me to keep writing industriously about the canine species. I actually started dating again, which is also weirdly fun, and oh, that whole literary thing… I had a poem in the Iowa Review this past winter, and have finally revised and completed a poetry manuscript which I plan to start sending out and about this fall. Now if I can just publish a poetry book, maybe Kevin Canty will quit calling me a hack… Oh no, wait, I think what he actually said was, “You’re going to hell. You know that, don’t you?”

Tamara Anderson (MFA, 2004), <tanderso@english.ufl.edu>

Recently in Gainesville a man tried to seduce me. He was a beggar selling pencils for pennies, nickels, and dimes. The pencils broke almost at once upon use. He parked himself in hideous poses on a broad barren street where the sun shone relentlessly. He hung himself up between crutches, curled his body into itself, let his mouth slacken, saliva trickle. I bought a pencil and hung around the hot street until the pencil broke. The man saw and tried to remedy the situation by telling me that he would get a new shipment of pencils next week, from Tallahassee. I didn’t care much. He sensed this, sensed a little cash, perhaps a meal, a bit of smoky Genoa Salami, bread, cheese in my basket. We sat on a grassy slope beside the road. He was amiable with everyone who passed, masculine and assertive with me. He told me that he had traveled the world and sampled every type of woman. I let him feed me fragrant salami. Later, I saw him in the same spot by the road begging for those nickels and dimes that would feed his own children who would feast on steamed bromeliads, boiled peanuts, young tannic wine; children loved for their bearing by any mother, by any father.

Chris Bachelder (MFA, 2002), <chrisb@nmsu.edu>

I got married in July and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I’m a Visiting Assistant Professor at New Mexico State. Ryan Meany (’02) no longer calls me in the middle of the night to call me names and so forth. I miss this without wishing it to recur. Bear v. Shark: The Novel (Scribner, 2001) was published in the UK in July, and is forthcoming in Germany and Italy.

Deborah Ager (MFA, 1997) and Bill Beverly(MFA, 1991), <beverlx@yahoo.com>

Bill Beverly and Deborah Ager are still married; they bought themselves a brick house north of Washington, D.C. Bill published a short essay on the World Cup in the Australian cultural studies journal M/C Reviews. His article on licorice stalled when he ate all his research findings in one rainy Sunday afternoon; the blood pressure spike lasted a week. His book on fugitives, On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover’s America, will finally be published next spring by Mississippi. He’s teaching novel writing to civil servants – your tax dollars are subsidizing this boondoggle. Deborah has new poems in La Petite Zine and forthcoming in Gargoyle; her review of Suzanne Cleary’s new book will appear in the Bloomsbury Review. She’ll give readings this fall in Takoma Park, Maryland, and in D.C. as part of the annual Art-o-Matic series. She’s headed back to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; during her residency there last year, she revised her manuscript, refined her ping-pong game, and sprained her ankle leaping fences.

William Bowers (MFA, 1999), <william@pitchforkmedia.com>

For money, I do reviews, interviews, and features for Pitchforkmedia.com, the web’s best independent rock site. Stalk me by searching for my sweet name in all three categories of the site’s engine. I’m your source for coverage of bad behavior at Public Enemy concerts, or of the masturbation motifs in Gremlins and Goonies. For money, I do reviews, interviews, and features for Magnet, the best independent rock magazine. For money, I did an article on the stupefying Jews-for-Jesus theme park in Orlando (The Holy Land Experience) for the amusement industry trade journal Fun World. As I was embarassed by this accomplishment, the piece is published under the name of former Florida workshopper Ryan Robbins. For money, I do music reviews for the Oxford American. For money, I’ve a huge sexy feature in the January 2003 “relaunch” issue of the Oxford American. They are currently calling it “Why Come We Reading This Freak?” and it’s about forcing Emily Dickinson on North Central Florida’s community collegians. The kind gold-spotters at the OA say they plan to nominate the piece for some national magazine awards; one editor promised I’d “blow up,” so my hair is more crucial than ever. I’ll also be in the OA’s following music-themed issue, etc. For love, my molten fiction about fast-food cults, black people beating up white people, and female sexual predators moving into the Duck Pond continues to meet only with “We are interested in your work and would like to see more” notes from such foxy periodicals as The Paris Review. My “more” never manages to capitalize on their “interest.”

If time still looms to amend the alumni cookbook, please add that my favorite NY hipster art-and-fiction mag OPEN CITY is going to publish a story by me (William “Papa Dontpreach” Bowers) called “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.” They published heroes of mine, heroin-boys like David Berman and Sam Lipsyte.

“O Most Distant Yet Truest of Fathers, could my hour be nigh? If so, why? The orgasm regimen? The gas cap that requires crowbarring?”

Wendy Brenner (MFA, 1991), < brennerw@uncw.edu>

In 2001 my second collection of stories, Phone Calls from the Dead, was published by Algonquin Books. Stories in the collection had appeared in Oxford American, Story, Seventeen, and other magazines, as well as the anthology New Stories From The South. The writing of this book was supported in part by a 2000 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. My first collection, Large Animals In Everyday Life, won the Flannery O’Connor Award and was published in 1996. Since 1997, I have taught at University of North Carolina-Wilmington – through the launch of our now-thriving MFA and BFA programs, the establishment of our independent Department of Creative Writing, and hurricanes Bonnie, Dennis, and Floyd.

Geoff Brock (MFA, 1998), <geoffbrock@yahoo.com> or go to www.geoffbrock.com

After a year in Dallas, during which I tasted briefly the joys (a word here used ironically) of being an actual Professor, albeit merely a Visiting and Assistant one, I received news that has made me, at the ripe age of 37, a student again, albeit a non-matriculating and ungraded one. I got a Stegner. I moved to San Francisco’s Mission District in August, and my arrival here coincided with the publication by Copper Canyon of my book of translations, Disaffections: Collected Poems 1930–1950, by Cesare Pavese. I have three poems in the winter issue of The Hudson Review, one forthcoming in the 6th edition of the college textbook Writing Poems, and a manuscript that’s almost (a word here used hopefully) ready.

David Caligiuri(MFA, 1991)

They aren’t no alligators on the Lake Superior shores, I don’t think. I miss them, the critters at Lake Alice. Every visitor Jessica (Roeder, 1992) and I received got dragged to watch those lizards lie (float? wade?) there, often showing only the crown of a head that resembled sex-ed. photos of genital warts. My fondest sentimental memories of Gainesville are images reptilian. These days I get to watch “my” lake whenever I want, barring fog, from the windows of our first and maybe only house, or we can walk, bicycle, or bus downhill and stand in it if we feel like. Jess and I observed our tenth wedding anniversary here, with my cancer-excised mother as month-long guest. Our second generation of rabbit familiars has the house entire to bound in; and a pretty good day for me comprises not a little watching them be themselves. This is endlessly fun. I can’t say I’m adept at being myself.

The writing. After eight months of veterinary nursing at UF’s vet school, and a fine job that was, for nearly a decade publishing has mostly been my milieu. Since 1997 I’ve freelance copyedited and proofread, from home, for small literary presses. Daily I work with books, though I’ve not published, let alone written, one. It occurs to me, just today, in the shower, soaping my hairy, tattooed back, that I’ve put a lot of energy into this provisional object, this idée fixe, my book(s). Perhaps I’m enslaved to it. I think now that I needn’t be; one faith I can aver is that things happen when it is time. So perhaps the book(s) will come. Meanwhile, I’m married to my best friend, who happens also to be a brilliant writer. I recommend to you her entry in this Newsletter, re. artistic travails. And you, my dear peer Gators, who are you? Statistically, I could recognize in a crowd (at, say, Turlington?) fewer than ten percent of the cadre now, and, no offense, I don’t care at all.

Jill Ciment

A friend once likened the writing of a novel to sailing an uncharted ocean while building your boat at the same time. Another friend confided that the act of novel writing made him feel like Lucille Ball at the Chocolate Factory. I, myself, find it commensurate with trying to construct a suspension bridge out of rubber bands.I’m about three quarters (on a bad day), nine-tenths (on a good day) into my fifth book, a novel tentatively titled, Skin Deep. I’ve been at this one for three years. Three and a half if you count the first six months of staring at a blank computer screen. I’m hoping to make it the first book I finish in Gainesville.

Gary Corseri(BA, 1967)

I graduated with a BA from U.F. in 1967. There was no Creative Writing Dept. then. Just Smith Kirkpatrick teaching an evening course once a week! I taught at U.F. between 1971-74. I taught Creative Writing, among other things. Harry Crews had joined Smith by that time. This past year, my verse-drama, Frost at Midnight: The Lost Poem, was published in Chattahoochee Review. My poem, “Budapest,” was published in Left Curve. My novels, A Fine Excess: An Australian Odyssey and Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West, were nominated for the Townsend Prize. I was a featured reader at Atlanta’s Java Monkey coffee house, the Callanwolde Arts Center, and the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park. Some of my poems were reprinted at MadisonReview.org, Niederngasse.com and IbbetsonReview.com, the last of which also reviewed my chapbook, Too Soon, As Always. I was profiled in Who’s Who In U.S. Poets, Writers AND Editors. Dekalb Neighbor ran a feature on my work. I helped kick off the Atlanta Literary Festival with a reading at Atlanta’s central library. I began my 6th year as Literary Editor of “d’Arts,” and am working on bringing out a 2003 anthology of the work that has appeared there. I published a letter on “The Reagan Revulsion” in Harper’s. My second novel was reviewed by Creative Loafing, Atlanta’s big, “alternative” magazine. The reviewer wrote, in part “Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West is a powerful novel with all the characteristics of a cult classic... Gary Corseri forges a literary alchemy to describe the timeless terror and grace of the human condition – our bungled and brilliant search for the ever-elusive truth.” Both of my novels are available at bookstores and at Amazon.com. They should be purchased and cherished.

Michael W. Cox (1988)

Michael W. Cox has had short stories appear recently in Salt Hill 10 and Aethlon 19.1; another story will be appearing in Salt Hill 13. He had an essay on the Indian poet A.K. Ramanujan appear in South Asian Review 22. He gave a paper at this year’s NEMLA conference in Toronto on Catherine Williams’s early 19th-century work of nonfiction, Fall River, and another paper on three plays by Tennessee Williams at this year’s PCEA conference in Philadelphia. He continues to teach creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown while pursuing a PhD in American Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Ivy Garlitz (MA, 1987)

In 1987, after completing my MA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing, I taught English as a Foreign Language in Germany and at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan, Poland. I gained my doctorate in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia in England where I now teach American and British literature and creative writing. I have been a featured poet in Thumbscrew and my poems have appeared in Poetry Review, The Rialto, and other magazines. “The Writer’s Beginning,” a portrayal of Cynthia Ozick, won the Woman’s Hour sonnet competition and was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. I was shortlisted for the 2000 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for the best young poet of the year. My first pamphlet, A Better Life, is published by the Bay Press. I have also published articles on portrayals of immigration in popular culture. I have a keen interest in writing for the Internet; my webcam project was one of the winners of the Showcase competition for innovative World Wide Web sites featured on the BBC 2 programme “The Net.” I live in Suffolk with my husband.

Debora Greger

Debora Greger spent Fall semester as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Cal State-Fresno. She has poems in or forthcoming in Paris Review, Yale Review, Triquarterly, Salmagundi, New England Review, Antioch Review, and Sewanee Review. One of her collages will appear on the cover of Desperate Measures, William Logan’s cheerily named new collection of criticism, out soon.

Stephanie Harrison

Not much to say. Working on a novel. A chapter will be published this winter in South Dakota Review.

Lawrence Hetrick (BA, 1962; faculty 1966–86), <lhetrick@gpc.edu>

Lawrence Hetrick is a graduate of the first UF writing program under Andrew Lytle. In 1967 he taught the first undergraduate poetry writing course offered at UF. He is now in his fifth year of editing The Chattahoochee Review, the most distinguished unread literary quarterly in the U.S. It publishes new writers including recent graduates of the UF program such as Suzzanne Carlton, Jennifer Falvey, and Larry Hill, as well those with associations with the Lytle program such as Joanne Childers, Merrill Joan Gerber, Madison Jones, Shaillah McEvilley Jones, and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall. The Review’s standards in fiction are set by such writers as Madison Smartt Bell, Larry Brown, Tracy Daugherty, Lewis Nordan, and Padgett Powell, and in poetry by such as Turner Cassity, Bob Hicok, A.E. Stallings, Sidney Wade, and Frederick Zydek. Hetrick remembers Ralph and Carter Stanley singing from the back of a flatbed truck on the square in Gainesville, and forty odd years later he continues to play the banjo and sing “Hot Corn Cold Corn” in spite of the success of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. He welcomes submissions from all associates of the UF writing program. Please check the Chattahoochee website at www.chattahoochee-review.org for address, guidelines, and other information.

Anton Janulis (MFA, 2002)

I have as yet published nothing. When asked about this I say that I find the example of Henri Vaillancourt a useful and instructive model. Vaillancourt is perhaps one of the best birch-bark canoe builders in the world, and John McPhee wrote a book about him. In this book it is explained that Vaillancourt wanted, at fifteen, a canoe of his own, but was too poor to buy one, and so had to make one himself, out of the only materials available to him – the bark from the birch trees in the woods around his town. When he was finished he put this canoe in the water and took a few paddle strokes, and found the canoe was so smooth, so stable, and so beautiful, that he knew that he wanted to make birch-bark canoes for the rest of his life. As soon as he returned to shore, he cut the canoe to pieces with his hatchet. He did this, he explained to McPhee, because he knew that, as much as he liked that canoe, the canoes he would build from then on were going to be the best in the world, and he didn’t want his first canoe sticking around and ruining his reputation.

Dave Johnson, <djohnson@clas.ufl.edu>

I am still at the University of Florida, where I am finishing a Ph. D. in Film Studies. Currently, I am applying for jobs and working on my dissertation. I placed a poem in a journal called Asphodel this past spring.

David Leavitt

In October 2002, Food of Love, a Spanish film based on my novel The Page Turner, will open nationally on an extremely tiny scale. I published a short book about Florence in the spring, part of Bloomsbury’s series The Writer and the City. An essay on coincidence in fiction is forthcoming in the British magazine Focus and a brief appreciation of Forster’s Maurice in the thirty-fifth anniversary issue of The Advocate. Still working on new novel, the title of which keeps changing – now Florizona Avenue.

William Logan

William Logan spent last year in England, traveling to Amsterdam, Delft, Paris, and Venice when he wasn’t distracted. His poems have appeared in DoubleTake, Kenyon Review, New Criterion, New England Review, Notre Dame Review, Poetry, and TLS. He had long essays on Sylvia Plath’s journals in Salmagundi and on Milton’s sonnets in Green Thoughts, Green Shades, responses by contemporary poets to poetry of the seventeenth century. Last summer he was interviewed for the web site Contemporary Poetry Review. His verse chronicles appeared, as usual, in New Criterion in December and June. He read this fall at the Auraria Poetry Festival in Denver. His new book of criticism, Desperate Measures, will be published by Florida in December and his new book of poems, Macbeth in Venice, by Penguin next June.

Margaret Luongo

I have a few stories coming out in 2003:

That’s it! Sorry I didn’t have anything enticing/convincing to say to your prospect. I’m not good at coming up with enticements at the spur of the moment. Will you be around Wednesday? I’ll bring by some marmalade for you.

Krissy Madrid

I can’t think of anything to say. How about I moved to New York where I still live, with another MFA (he shall remain anonymous) who never shampoos his hair, and though I’ve continued to write I’ve basically accomplished little except work a string of sh*t jobs that leave me wanting to pull my roommate’s hair out, if it weren’t so damn slick from lack of washing. If that doesn’t suit, make up a lie and pass it off as mine, as long as it’s a good one and I sound glamorous and successful and like I would never live in a tenement that has occasional heat and leaks rainwater. If anybody asks I’ll back it up.

Mike Magnuson (MFA, 1997), <magnusmj@siu.edu>

Mike Magnuson’s third book, Lummox: The Evolution of a Man, has been reissued in paperback and with a new title that is too long for Mike to remember. His shorter stuff has been published recently in Gentleman’s Quarterly and Pindeldyboz, and he has numerous essays forthcoming in Bicycling Magazine. He lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where he directs the creative writing program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He’s got tenure, too.

Randall Mann (1997), <randallmann62@yahoo.com>

I recently published poems in The Gay & Lesbian Review, Lodestar Quarterly, The Paris Review, Poetry, and Salmagundi; and a review in Contemporary Poetry Review. I have poems forthcoming in The Paris Review, Quarterly West, and Salmagundi. The poem published in Poetry, “Fiduciary,” was featured on the Poetry Daily website and selected for inclusion in the textbook Writing Poems. I also edit for Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly. What else? I live and work out in San Francisco, with my partner, George O. Kolombatovich, with whom I am crazy in love.

Manny Martinez (1993), <Manuel.Martinez@sfcc.edu

I had my story “On the Bus” published in the inaugural issue of the online journal Blackbird (www.blackbird.vcu.edu) and my story “I Believe in Paris Flood” was published in Bridge. I read the latter story at Housing Works Bookstore in NYC and beforehand had a few beers with Mike Newirth(1994) who also read. I’m still teaching at Santa Fe Community College with many other MFA alums (we’re slowly taking over).

Arthur McMaster (MFA Poetry, 2004), <mcmaster@english.ufl.edu>

Arthur McMaster, late of “government service,” came to the UF Creative Writing Program to disprove the fatuous notion that one’s best writing is done before age 50. If so, I am well past the “sell by date,” but more so that our adult children might wear an orange sweatshirt boasting “My Dad is a Gator!” I have published poems in the U.S. and Ireland; stories, reviews, and short travel pieces in small magazines and journals; and I won a (humiliatingly small) prize for an original stage play that was performed in Tampa in 2001. When not writing I mow the lawn a lot asking myself, “What can I write about?”

Shamrock McShane

America’s New War Strikes Back! is the latest play by Shamrock McShane. This summer the musical played the Hipp, Common Grounds, Full Circle, and nearly caused a riot on 9/11/02 at the Palace, in a performance the Satellite called reminiscent of the opening of The Rite of Spring, although how the hell would they know? His cyberzine, The New Moon Rising, a journal of arts and politics, is seeking submissions at http://thenewmoonrising.com/.

Christopher Merkner (2001)

I am teaching four classes of composition and two classes of business writing as an adjunct, though they call me a Lecturer and Honorarium, respectively, at the two institutions employing my services. I have health benefits for the first time in years, and I make decent wages, and the writing suffers only when I don’t sit down to do it, and I look forward to the seven paid weeks of the forthcoming holiday break. I had a story published in The New Delta Review last winter.

Mike Newirth (1995), <MDNewirth@aol.com>

This year I published fiction in the Chicago Reader. Various essays are forthcoming in The Baffler, Matte, and Hyde Park Review of Books. I am now Fiction Editor for Bridge, a Chicago based arts journal (print and online) and affiliated event space. My first such issue with them, a 240-page monster, will be distributed shortly. In September I read in support of Bridge at Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan, along with Thomas Beller, Jonathan Ames, and Manuel Martinez(1994). UF affiliated writers who are interested in submitting fiction to Bridge, or possibly scheduling a reading in Chicago, are invited to get in touch via www.bridgemagazine.org. In my spare time, I haunt the local thrift stores in search of vintage cutlery and AirGuide weather stations, and the local rock’n’roll gin mills alongside John L. Sheppard (1994), whose recent novel Small Town Punk has garnered appreciative reviews and enthusiastic grass-roots readership.

Christine Niles (formerly Christine Le, 1997)

As requested, here is an update on my latest. I have a legal article that will be published in the Spring 2003 issue of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. It is titled, “Epistemological Nonsense? The Religious/Secular Distinction” (in First Amendment Jurisprudence). I graduated from UF in 1997, and am now currently in my third and last year at Notre Dame Law School.

Martha Otis

My book was in a great process of revision this summer and felt really near readiness. I had to write Sewannee folks to tell them it wasn’t done by August. No action here, therefore. In fact, I haven’t been writing since starting work. I got really sick for three weeks and am just crawling out from that. I wish I had better things to report.

John Poch

I began work last year in Lubbock as assistant professor in the English Department (Creative Writing) at Texas Tech University. I have been to one rodeo at which I saw a man kicked in the chest by a terrific bull the size of a large truck; the cowboy got back up and rode again. I have a poem called “Jorie Graham” appearing in the literary journal, Rivendell. This poem, now that I think of it, reminds me of that cowboy mentioned earlier. Dazed and maybe not so smart, I somehow got up and rode again. I have recent poems in Colorado Review, Paris Review, Salmagundi, and a few other fancy magazines. I now eat red meat. I’m working on a fiction collection, too, having published short stories in Carolina Quarterly and Cimarron Review.

Imad Rahman (2001), <imadrahman@yahoo.com>

I have been living in Madison, WI for the last year and a half; I was a Fiction Fellow with the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the U of W, and am now a Visiting Something (I think the exact term might be “Scholar,” but I do not think (a) that I know what that means, and (b) that it could possibly apply to me) at the University. There has recently been an influx of good news. I sold my book to FSG (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). A tentative publication date has been set for either Fall 2003 or Jan/Feb 2004, depending on the speed with which I can manufacture revisions. I also have stories coming out in forthcoming issues of One Stor’ and The Madison Review. All this is the sort of news best celebrated with beer and bratwurst, and if anyone happens to be passing by Wisconsin, I know just the place(s) – including one specializing in bar-room polka, boot-shaped steins, and lederhosen. Now all I got to do is get me a dog and a job.

Dan Rifenburgh

The first review of my book, Advent, in a British journal:

“The second Waywiser book, Advent ... presents the work of another American, Daniel Rifenburgh. The volume, a first collection, includes an Introduction by Richard Wilbur who rightly praises Rifenburgh’s work for ‘the way its variety of voices makes for a striking texture of dictions’ and notes how ‘what governs the movement of his poems is a genius for the speaking voice – its keys, rhythms, and modulations, its dialects and echoes’. Rifenburgh writes vividly and forcefully on a wide range of subjects. ‘Andean Music’ is a fascinating sequence of eight poems, colourful and intelligent. ‘Lycidas’ is a moving elegy on the poet’s brother; ‘Donald Justice before a Soft-Drink Vending Machine’ is gently humorous. Rifenburgh’s range is considerable, his technical control impressively assured, without ever being pedantic.” – From “Poetry Comment,” Acumen, 43, May 2002.

I gave a reading at the Brazos last week; I sold 15 copies.

Jessica Roeder (1992)

Now, really. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of tales of high times and glass-clinking, but from me, merely a wail.

Josh Russell

I bought a shotgun single on Milan Street (“my-lynn” in New Orleans). The streets in my neighborhood are near Napoleon Avenue and named for cities Napoleon sacked – Constantinople, Austerlitz, Merengo, Cadiz (“kay-dizz”), etc. I’m a month or so from finishing a novel that for the moment I’m calling A Map of America. The coffee here sure is good.

Marjorie Sandor, <msandor@orst.edu>

Former faculty member Marjorie Sandor’s third book, a volume of linked short stories, Portrait of My Mother, Who Posed Nude in Wartime, will be published by Sarabande Books in May 2003. Her previous book, The Night Gardener, won the 2000 Oregon Book Award for Literary Nonfiction. She teaches at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where, after 13 years, the writers have at last succeeded in pushing through an MFA program. Be careful what you wish for. P.S. Daughter Hannah, whom some of you will remember, is now 11.5 years old, and a mad unicyclist.

Richard Schmitt(BA 1995), <schmitt@wvwc.edu>

A Reply, to the unmistakable non-nougaty voice of Padgett “Don’t ask me I’m not the director” Powell soliciting self-serving information, to wit I’ve snared a tenure-track job in West Virginia. The Aerialist is now in paperback from Harcourt. My new novel, The Beachcomber, is entering final stages I hope.

Gail Shepherd (1985)

Gail Shepherd is the editor of Closer magazine (Miami/Palm Beach, soon launching in New York City), a hipper-than-thou monthly urban arts and culture magazine targeting the coveted 18–34 market. She has long since relinquished any lingering fantasies of financial security, glamour, or free concert tickets – all publishing goodies go to the Closer fashion models and interns, who wear Betsey Johnson dresses and interview Perry Farrell, while their editor is kept busy changing “it’s” to “its” and sending passive-aggressive emails to Gen-X columnists for whom the word “deadline” denotes only the possible name of an obscure Swedish Heavy-Metal band. To make ends meet, she also writes about food and wine (for Epicurious.com, among others), and produces the occasional cheesy supermarket checkout booklet (“Get Free Money From the Government!!!!”) for American Media, home of Anthrax and other tabloid scandals. [BTW Closer is looking for urban/experimental short fiction, under 2,000 words, preferably from Florida authors. Email gail@closermagazine.com– we pay a little ($50)].

Jennifer Strange (2001), <jstrange@centenary.edu>

I’m glad to still be teaching all sorts of writing at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, recently taking office space next to another UF grad (though from the MA program), Erich Nunn. My current non-poetry project regards the narrative of hope in fiction and film, while my college-funded summer trip to Duke began research on poetic techniques in early American advertising. And just last week the department hosted poet Eavan Boland, so the job perks are good. In other news, the Stranges became home owners last spring when we acquired a carport and hardwood floors 2.2 bikeable miles from the college; good exercise in this crisp weather.

Gordon Thompson (2000), <gthompso43@yahoo.com>

After sojourning in New Jersey for a while, I travelled to Chile to teach ESL in a tiny private school for a year. I lived in Temuco, which until recently was the fastest-growing city in Latin America if not the world. No colonial buildings, but plenty of horse-drawn Mapuche carts. Being in the lush southern farmlands and forests, it is farther from the equator than Gainesville. I spent my vacations filling in the gaps on my personal map of South America. I’ve now been to every country except Colombia and the three little guys. Now I’m teaching 9th and 10th grade English at Cranbrook, a swank and artsy boarding school in suburban Detroit. It’s considered a “hippie” place – whatever that means in the context of prep schools – but not enough so to keep my abundance of hair from standing out.

David Todd (2003)

I had a story in the 2001 Fiction International and in February moderated a panel talk on the film In the Bedroom at the Bethesda Writer’s Center. I had two short essays in Crossing Troublesome: 25 Years of the Appalachian Writers Workshop (2002).

Chris Tusa (2000), <cmtusa@lsu.edu>

Since graduation, my work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Passages North, New York Quarterly, Tar River, Louisville Review, Spoon River, The Southeast Review, Story South, and others. With the help of a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, I was able to complete my first chapbook of poems, Inventing an End, which was published in May of 2002 by Lone Willow Press. I am presently searching for a publisher for my first full-length collection of poems (entitled The Drowned Light).

Sidney Wade

Sidney Wade’s fourth collection of poems, Celestial Bodies, was published in November by the LSU Press. Her poems have appeared most recently in The Paris Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and Atlanta Review. She sat on a panel devoted to the translation of Turkish Literature at the American Literary Translators’ Association’s annual conference in Chicago, whose excellent program was chaired and organized by our own Geoff Brock. She also particpated as a panel member, again on Turkish Literature, at the Biennial Conference on Translation at Stephens Institute in early November. She is moderating a panel on the Pedagogy of Translation at the upcoming AWP Conference in Baltimore. Her review of Dogan Kuban’s “The Miracle of Divrigi” was translated into Turkish and published in “Aksamlik.” She had her “day” on Poetry Daily on July 22. And she will be the featured “Poet of the Month” on the website of PoetryNet (http//members.aol.com/poetrynet/month/) in the spring.

Lauren Wilcox

The news is brief – I got a job at the Oxford American and moved to Little Rock, AR. (send proposals for stories). I have an upcoming poem in the Paris Review. I won St. Louis poetry prize (yeah, you’ve never heard of it – but I think it was legit. Louise Gluck judged it. MARGIE magazine published it (which you’ve never heard of either).

Chad Woody (2000), <floppycrow@aol.com

I am nearing two years as a full-time maintenance man, and nearing two months as a part-time English teacher at Southwest Missouri State U. This year I’ve had poems in Arsenic Lobster, Parting Gifts, and Mid-American Review (whose editors call me an Editor’s Choice, but then what do you call the others whom the editors chose?) I also had poems chosen by Concrete Wolf and Dream International Quarterly, two journals that seem to specialize in never coming out. Best of all, Josh Trotter finished his short film, Ride with the Devil, based on one of my poems. In pet-related news, I found a cat in a parking lot and named it Contagion; I found an injured raccoon in a trash can and let it limp away; I watched a whimsical baby crow get crushed by a car; and my best pondfish, Floppy, came back from the assumed-dead after three months of hiding in mud, and I think he spawned with somebody – lucky bastard.

toptop