MFA@FLA Newsletter, Spring 2004

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.


The testimonials below, which constitute the heart of the MFA@FLA Newsletter, if you go through them with a loosely held abacus, reveal that our program people in this last year have published or contracted to publish at least 32 books, 13 stories, 30 articles, and 14 poets are publishing a poem or poems in 86 non-exclusive sites. Our program people, or one program person, has also issued triplets, 4 months premature weighing 2 pounds apiece. Other news follows, before the testimonials, but it is inessential.


This year MFA@FLA is making a move on money. We need some, we want some, we want to have some, we want to have and use some, and we are talking unreasonably about getting some. We have decided that to hold our position in the top twenty programs in the nation (U.S. News & World Report) we just need $10 million. We will apply this money, as we get it, to eight areas of self improvement.

If anyone finds money that could be laid on these hurting zones like bag balm, or finds persons agreeable to giving us salve applicable to these areas, please send it or them our way. After arriving at the ten-million-dollar figure, by adding up the discrete estimates the eight zones of endeavor might cost, we discovered that Arizona State University’s MFA program was recently given precisely $10 million. Thus, unless that ten million was supposed to be our ten million, ours is arguably still out there and still to be had. We want it.


We are proud to announce the addition of Mary Robison to our fiction faculty. This will bring the faculty total (currently in fiction Jill Ciment, David Leavitt, and Padgett Powell; in poetry Debora Greger, Michael Hofmann, William Logan, and Sidney Wade) to eight for fall 2004.

Mary Robison received her MA from The Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with John Barth. She is the author of the story collections Days, An Amateur’s Guide to the Night, Believe Them, and Tell Me: Thirty Stories; and the novels Oh!, Subtraction, and Why Did I Ever, which was the winner of the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. The recipient of a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, she has taught at Harvard University, Oberlin College, Ohio University, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of Houston, and is currently Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she is on the faculty of the Center for Writers. Most of her stories were published originally in The New Yorker; others in The Paris Review, Esquire, GQ, and Harvard Magazine, among other magazines. She has also worked as a screenwriter (her credits include an as yet unproduced rewrite of the classic The Women) and script doctor, and is currently writing a new novel, 1 DOA, 1 on the Way.

Translation Initiative

Our interest in offering a translation component within our MFA degree has settled into the offering of a translation workshop once a year by Sidney Wade or Michael Hofmann. One reason we are excited about this initiative is the conference by the MLA of its third biennial Lois Roth Award for a Translation of a Literary Work upon Geoffrey Brock (MFA, 1998), for his translation of Cesare Pavese’s Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930–1950, published by Copper Canyon Press. From the judges’ citation: “One of the marks of a good translation is the ability of the translator to create a silence where the author’s voice can be heard. One listens, rather than reads. And it is this silence that allows the reader-turned-listener to hear the assimilation, the incorporation, the metabolization of Pavese’s world in Geoffrey Brock’s translations. One can easily discern and admire the measured transformation of Pavese’s Italian into the English of American writers that helped shape Pavese’s poetry, especially Edgar Lee Masters, whose verse Pavese brought into Italian. Brock succeeds in re-creating the power of storytelling as a centrifugal force that propels the reader into other lives. His translations facilitate a touching of the other in such a way that what was once foreign becomes something perfectly familiar.” We are also enjoying a new affiliation with the France-Florida Research Institute, and will soon collaborate in bringing French and French-concerned writers to campus.

Festival 2004

The Florida Writers Festival 2004 (February 20–21) will feature Marie Ponsot, Norman Rush, Lisa Zeidner, Paul Muldoon (Pulitzer Prize in poetry last year), and Grace Paley. There will be informal talks as well as readings. Locations, schedule, and full bios are available at the Department of English Calendar of Events.

Editors 2004

Our annual editors visits this year, April 9–10, will include David Baker of The Kenyon Review, James Lasdun of Grand Street, Rob Spillman and Ellissa Chappell of Tin House, and Carin Besser (MFA, 1996) of The New Yorker. All will hold conferences with MFA students. Baker and Lasdun will read from their work Friday, April 9. See the Department of English Calendar of Events.


Imad Rahman’s (MFA, 2001) novel I Dream of Microwaves (FS&G) is due out in April. (Click on the title to see its description at

“From its hangover-remedy first paragraph to its literally life affirming last, Imad Rahman’s I Dream of Microwaves etches itself on the reader’s memory. Of course the title echoes Whitman! This book, narrated by a Pakistani born actor who can only get roles playing thugs on true crime reenactment shows, is a paean to the sharp, exuberant surfaces – as well as the heartbroken heart – of American life.” – David Leavitt


From The Gainesville Sun, Dec. 1, 2003: “Concerned citizens calling a publicized toll-free number to report injured and dead manatees or boating violations have instead been given offers to chat with ‘fantasy girls’ in exchange for a credit card number.” Historically, manatees were mistaken for mermaids.


The Oxford American is down for the count again. This disturbs, because we had come to inhabit it even more than we do the New England Review: Paul Reyes was senior editor, Lauren Wilcox was associate editor, William Bowers and Wendy Brenner were contributing writers, and appearing in the renascent two issues (alas, the last) were Padgett Powell, Preston Merchant, CIM Jones, Benjamin Pryor, and Kevin Canty. It was a home for us. If it rises from the dead, we aim to rise with it.

Real Death

The program is saddened to learn of the death of Robert Shoop, our friend on Cumberland Island, scene of our annual spring retreat. Bob was a retired herpetologist from the Univesity of Rhode Island who lived on Cumberland doing turtle work. He invited us to camp up at the north end of the island. He said that rain was “anaesthetic on a tent.” With Carol Ruckdeschel, Bob put together the amazing Cumberland Island Museum, a high-tech barn containing everything that ever lived and died on Cumberland and beyond. We will miss him.


The Ploughshares Emerging Writers Issue (#92, Vol. 29/4, Winter 2003–4) presents ten emerging fiction writers, two of whom, Rebecca Soppe (MFA, 2003) and Kevin Wilson (MFA, 2004) are MFA@FLA grads, and one of whom, Jeff Parker, took undergrad creative-writing courses here.

Identity Theft

The Powell fall grad workshop, which had taken to calling itself the advanced workshop, for its penultimate meeting met at Palm Lanes behind Sonny’s Barbecue on Waldo Road. We convened on the stoop outside. A fellow came out and asked, “Is this the group from Taco Charley?” Tacachale is the mental hospital across Waldo road from the lanes. Powell said, “They are retarded but not that retarded.” This poor joke did not go over well.

News of Students & Faculty

Now, The Real News, in unadulterated testimonials, roughly alphabetized by author – from faculty, former faculty, MFA alumni, BA alumni, current students, and fellow travelers. 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.

Jeff Abernathy (PhD, 1991), <>

I moved to West Virginia Wesleyan College last summer, where I’ve turned coat and find myself an administrator. I was pleased to find another Gator on the faculty here at Wesleyan, Richard Schmitt, whose novel, The Aerialist, has done very well indeed. We’re looking forward to visits from Padgett Powell and Kevin Canty this April. Bill Beverly will be here that month, as well, speaking on the topic of his recent book, On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover’s America.

We’re always looking for writers coming through, and I’d love to hear from Florida folk who have new books from which to read. My book, To Hell and Back: Race and Betrayal in the Southern Novel, will be out in December, which some may note is about twelve years late. But it has grown up from the dissertation it once was.

It features a chapter on Edisto complete with quotations from the original MS., thanks to Mr. Powell. Rebecca Wee (whose collection of poems Uncertain Grace was published by Copper Canyon in 2000) and I are expecting a son in November.

I’m expecting a heart attack in December.

Eve Adamson (MFA, 1992), <>, (319) 358-0044

Although the year has been full of such things as the release of Empowering Your Life with Joy, Releasing the Mother Goddess, Your Outta Control Adopted Dog, The Simple Guide to Dog Grooming, a vastly expanded Idiot’s Guide to Yoga (3rd revised illustrated edition) and the like, I only sent poems out once, but happily had two accepted from that submission to the upcoming metrical issue of Salt (thanks Jerry for the tip). I’m just finishing up the Idiot’s Guide to Pet Psychic Communication, co-authored by a “real live” pet psychic who lives (and I say this with fondness and nostalgia) in Florida with her many communicative dogs, cats, and horses. I’m also getting ready to do the second revised edition of the Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living and have been asked to pen the Idiot’s Guide to Being a Sex Goddess, which I of course felt it was my duty to accept. (No, seriously, I do not come up with these titles). My most recent escapade: the purchase of a brand new orange Honda Element compact SUV and, after having made one car payment, to be knocked off Interstate 80 by a young girl who lost control. I smashed over iron I-beams, plummetting down a rocky embankment and into a very deep, dark ditch. Ambulances, fire trucks, sirens, people gasping in horror, sliding down the embankment to see the grim result, me emerging from SUV shaky but unscathed. Insurance company not thrilled with situation, but I’m arguing for another new car thank you very much. In any case, I’m quite thrilled to remain among the living as I’ve still got many books to write that have nothing to do with idiots, including that darned poetry manuscript that I really need to wrap up and send out. So many deadlines, so little time, but suddenly it seems as if I have more time than I might have. Despite my recent brush with the hereafter (or whatever), I’m still doing lots of jazz singing (CD may be forthcoming within next year or two) and working and child-rearing, and life is never boring. I’ll conclude with a word to the wise: despite the seatbelt burn on my chest and a bruised sternum, a sturdy car and a fastened seatbelt saved my life. Not telling you all what to do in your own car or anything, but… the more poets remaining on earth, the better, I say.

Jay Atkinson (MA, 1982)

At UF, I used to sit on what we then called “the Plaza of the Dirt Bags” with my rugby friends, watching the accidentally dreadlocked white kids playing hacky sack and a very well-tanned homeless guy lift weights, cadge a free meal from the Hare Krishnas, and then strum his guitar, while I daydreamed about having an agent and publishing a book in New York.… Nowadays, I enjoy bitching to Peter, my agent, that Random House isn’t paying me enough and that their publicity efforts on my behalf are about as well-organized as Al Sharpton’s presidential campaign.

Yesterday I sent in the manuscript for my third book, about the year I spent as a private eye in Boston. My other books, Caveman Politics and Ice Time, are new in paperback, and I just published a short story, “Latin Kings,” in Shenandoah, alongside stories by Rick Bass and Ann Harleman. All this reminds me that I’m doing precisely what I imagined and prayed and hoped I’d be doing when I lived in Alachua County, i.e., working as a writer, and that I should get down on my knees and thank God for that blessing.

Sharla Benedict (MFA, 2003)

I trust all’s well and swinging along there in Gainesville? I’m adjuncting comp/rhet at UT at Chattanooga and love the town and the mountains and the river, but am po’ po’ po’. Here is my question: do you know of a list anywhere in the world where grants and fellowships for creative writing are gathered into one place with their respective requirements and dates? In news, I have a poem in the summer issue of the New England Review. Pretty exciting stuff, I know. And I sang on Friday at the Mountain Opry for a bunch of old codgers who told me I remind them of Brenda Lee. Give my regards to the ones who count, and let me know what you think about the fellowship list. Please take care.

William Bowers (MFA, 1999)

This year I continued to be published by Magnet, The Oxford American, and No Depression printed an article. The Week ran my list of recommended books and, as a result, a picture of me and a blokey bath towel appeared above a picture of Muddy Waters singing. One of my articles received press from outlets as infallible as The Chronicle of Higher Education, CBSNews, and Liz Smith’s syndicated gossip column. The Gainesville Sun wondered on its front page why I haven’t lost my teaching job, and quoted me as saying, “The war has taken over everything.” My agent knows the Wu-Tang Clan. A nonfiction book about something is due from Harcourt in 2004. An homage to William Logan’s MacBeth in Venice, entitled “Mick Jagger In Sarasota,” was almost published in the The Believer, but the periodical opted to consider an article instead. My exercise bulimia has its ups and downs.

Also: I appear alongside several overrated typists in an anthology of critical perspectives of Eminem called White Noise.

Geoffrey Brock (MFA, 1998), <>

I am a lucky bastard. This past year I enjoyed the first half of my Stegner Fellowship as well as an NEA Poetry Fellowship. In addition, my book of translations, Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930–1950, by Cesare Pavese, received many nice reviews, including a full-pager in the L.A. Times, and won both the PEN Center USA Translation Award and the Lois Roth Translation Award from the MLA. Later this year, Carcanet will bring out a UK edition of Disaffections and Knopf will publish my translation of Roberto Calasso’s new book, K. (My own manuscript, Interrogating Eros, is currently interrogating publishers.) Pinch me.

Coles Burroughs (MFA, 1996)

I am currently a resident at Blue Mountain Center. I am getting married soon.

Kevin Canty (MA, 1990), <>

I don’t want to talk about my life in letters, as I have just run two more novels into the ground and have retreated in the short story, which is like running away from an automobile accident into a burning building. My essay on Little Milton Campbell was in the Oxford American music issue, although they went out of business as soon as they ran it. I did finally write a magazine piece about fly-fishing, so now my flies, tackle and Gink are fully tax-deductible.

No, what I want to talk about is my son Turner, a peanut when Gainesville last saw him, who has (by a simple trick of mathematics) turned into a fourteen-year-old and just started his freshman year at Hellgate High School (no kidding) here in Missoula. He’s considerably taller than Lucy and his feet are bigger than mine. Nora, his sister, is also huge. If anybody can explain how this happened in the twenty minutes since I left graduate school, I’d be grateful.

I continue to teach in the MFA program here at Montana. I’ve reached the stage where my students and ex-students are now publishing in better places and making more money than I am, which I guess is the way it should be. A German producer/writer/director optioned my first novel (Into the Great Wide Open) for about fifty cents. He described his vision of the story as “a kind of Last Tango in Paris for teenagers” (direct quote). I caught a 24-inch brown trout on the Missouri this spring.

And Eve: It was just a metaphor. Really.

David Caplan (MFA, 1993)

I am an Assistant Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University and have two books forthcoming. In 2004 Oxford University Press will publish Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form; in 2005 Longman will publish Poetic Form: An Introduction. Other work is forthcoming in the Virginia Quarterly Review, South Atlantic Review, and Antioch Review. I also organized a special session and gave a talk at last year’s MLA and will do so again at this year’s convention.

Gary Corseri (BA, 1967, Instructor, 1971–1974)

“The President’s Whoop,” an anti-war poem, was in the San Francisco Call, and also at the Poets Against the War website, and <> (Glasgow) and Znet Creative, and a couple of other places. A poem and an essay also appeared at the Dao House website. WBUR in Boston ran six of my anti-war poems on their website. I read at the Defoor Centre in Atlanta, also the Horizon School and Java Monkey; in Boston/Cambridge: readings at Cantab Lounge and Walden Pond. I began my 7th year as Literary Editor of d’Arts, and edited Manifestations, the DeKalb Council for the Arts’ anthology, featuring prose, poetry and drama by 50 mostly living (a couple not) super writers, including (perhaps dead) Baudelaire, Tu Fu, Mark Twain, and assuredly undead writers like Lola Haskins, Robert Dana, Thomas Lux, Ha Jin, Cecilia Woloch, Lawrence Hetrick, Jean Monahan and too many others to mention modestly. (To order, phone: 404-371-8826; discounts for multiple and special orders.) I am working on my perennial book of poems, a play, and (quietly, without fanfare) my soul. My wife and I removed ourselves to Cambridge, MA for a year.

Katherine Sanchez Espano and Allan Espano (MFA, 2000), <> and <>

We recently celebrated our first year of marriage and bought a house in Jacksonville. Although neither of us are particularly “handy,” we somehow mastered a drum sander to refinish our hardwood floors. One of Katherine’s poems was published in Bitter Oleander this past October, and Katherine teaches creative writing and literature part-time at the University of North Florida. Allan works as a technical writer for Fidelity National Financial.

Bessie Gantt (MFA, 2000), <>

In July I gave birth to three little boys: John, James, and George, all two pounds a piece. [See photos, here, here, and here.] They are now close to five pounds each and getting bigger every day as they eat more and more – they are all definitely boob men.

It was unbelievable. At first we were just glad they survived and then it was a roller coaster for three months of pneumonia, ventilators, and eye problems. Now they are all completely healthy and weigh around 9 pounds. This will be our best Christmas ever! Tell everyone we said hello! Love, Bessie.

Ivy Garlitz (MA, 1987)

I teach courses in Contemporary Fiction, American and British poetry, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia in England. I was a featured reader at the 2003 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. By the way, I will soon be changing my email address to <>, as my husband are changing servers so we both have Broadband.

Charlie Geer (MFA, 2001)

Well, the only thing that’s happened is Marian has called to say River City Publishing really digs and really wants the book. She then asked if I wanted them to have the book, and I said yes, and she said I’ll get the contract just before or just after Christmas. The advance won’t go too far – that is unless I take it to South America and exchange it for pesos, which, hell, I very well might. Anyway, it looks like a small but solid house – maybe more like a good cozy cabin. That’s what I know. Otherwise, I’ve been sending out flurries of travel essays, and a piece about my short time in the circus. No bites yet, but a few nibbles…

And, as always, collecting gems from Freshman Comp Comps –
“Roderigo puts Desdemona up on a pedal-stool”;
“Blanche DuBois is a real pre-Madonna”;
“the treatment was good for the family as a hole”;
“we have a lot to be proud of in the Untied States”;
“O’Connor has said that the Misfit is a profit gone wrong”;
“Connie’s reaction is borrisome”;
– and my personal favorite –
“the eyes have been called the port-hole to the soul”
(well, they have now)

Debora Greger

Poems of mine have appeared recently in Gettysburg Review, Raritan, Paris Review, Agni Review, Yale Review, and The Poets’ Grimm: Twentieth Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales (Story Line, 2003). Poems are forthcoming in Antioch Review, Gettysburg Review, Sewanee Review, New Criterion, New England Review, Paris Review, Poetry, Salmagundi, Raritan, Tri-Quarterly. My new book of poetry, Western Art, will be published by Penguin in Fall 2004. Three of my collages are to hang on the walls of the offices of the NEA in Washington, D.C.

Peter Grimes (MFA, 2003)

News from Philadelphia: 300-pound woman sits in her doorway, throwing scraps at walked dogs. Classrooms are half full. Peter Grimes lives very close to the Art Museum, close enough to act as a look-out. Residents actually had to remove snow and ice from their windshields on two occasions. In most cases, they used a tool constructed especially for that purpose. No women yet for Mr. Grimes.

Jerry Harp (MFA, 1991)

My first volume of poems, Creature, was brought out by Salt Publishing in September 2003. Please don’t hesitate to check out the WWW site: <>. Lately my poems have appeared in Delmar, The Iowa Review, Pleiades, Salt, and Xantippe. I have poems forthcoming in Delmar, Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, Salt, and Verse. My reviews of contemporary poetry regularly appear in American Book Review, The Iowa Review, and Pleiades. I am finishing up work on co-editing, for the University of Iowa Press, an anthology of essays about contemporary poetry. Recently I began work on a book-length study of the work of Donald Justice. I am in my third one-year stint as a Visiting Professor at Kenyon College.

Lawrence Hetrick

I continue to edit The Chattahoochee Review, which was the first litmag in Georgia to win the Governor’s Award in the Humanities, in 2003. The CR also hosted the first Southeastern Conference of Literary Editors and Publishers in Atlanta, sponsored by CLMP and the Atlanta Literary Festival. This Conference will be held annually henceforward in October in Atlanta. I read my poetry at UT Knoxville and USC Columbia along with local venues, and published poems in Aethlon, Field, D’Arts, and Terrain. My reviews, primarily of poetry, appear regularly in American Book Review. As editor, I welcome submissions from graduates or associates of the UF writing program.

Michael Hofmann

Michael Hofmann has been translating books like it’s going out of style. (Which of course it is.) The latest Joseph Roth – his ninth – Report from a Parisian Paradise, came out in December from Norton. (Joan Acocella wrote a long piece on the Roth enterprise in the New Yorker recently.) A translation of his father Gert Hofmann’s last novel, Lichtenberg and the Flower Girl, comes out in May from New Directions, as does the paperback of his (Hofmann the younger) new translation of Kafka’s Amerika. Penguin are publishing (also in May) his translation of Ernst Junger’s classic World War One memoir, Storm of Steel, which has been out in England for several months. He has written a long piece on Lowell for the LRB, and another one on Hughes for Poetry (Chicago) (forthcoming). A selection he made from the poems of John Berryman appears from Fabers in March, in their Poet to Poet series.

Flournoy Holland (MFA, 1994), <>

I finished up directing the MFA program here at the University of Massachusetts year before last, after a three and a half year stint. Got a little banged up doing it, but learned some usefully unpleasant things about myself. Learned to grub for money, for one. Weathered a tenure review and got bumped up to Associate. I finished a next collection of stories I am sending around to publishers, and am working along on a novel. All the stories in the collection and a handful more have been published in various places, including Conjunctions, Noon, Open City, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Black Warrior Review, and The American Voice. My story “Time for the Flat-headed Man” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2002. I was a finalist for a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Grant in 2001. I established and direct a Writers in the Schools project, which sends poets and writers from the MFA program here out into public K-12 schools. We publish a collection of funny and heartbreaking kid poems each year.

Dave Johnson (MFA, 1999), <>

I recently defended my dissertation and will be leaving Gainesville in the not-too-distant future. As for my next locale, that will depend on the job search, which I am conducting this fall and next spring. Since academic jobs tend to hire for the following fall semester, I will most likely be in Gainesville through next summer. Please let me know if you will be here for the Writers Conference; I somehow missed Chad Woody and company during their last visit and am hoping to catch them this time around.

D.J. Kinney (MFA, 2005)

I don’t know if this is relevent to your newsletter, but I have some fun pictures from the reading last week on my website: <>. Then click on “pics” and you should find said photos.

Molly Kugel (MFA, 2001)

I’m getting married to Christopher Merkner (2001) this summer and can’t wait! Right now I’m finishing my certification to teach elementary school and hope to focus on literacy programs. One of our orange kittens (cats now), Alice, died last May. That was pretty sad, but we still have Penny. I have a poem forthcoming in Poetry East. I wish we could have a reunion.

Victoria Lancelotta (MFA, 1994)

My novel Far was published in September of 2003, along with the paperback edition of my first collection, Here in the World. The collection was also published in France last winter under the title En Ce Bas Monde, which translates literally to In this Low World, but beyond that, I have very little idea what the rest of the book says. While the French do not seem to love me quite as much as, say, Mickey Rourke, they did write very kind reviews (I think), and my editor kissed me on both cheeks when we met. I live in Nashville with my husband, whom I met in a workshop at USM in 1996, and whose first words to me were something along the lines of “There’s a lot wrong with this story you wrote.” He was right, but is generally far more charming than I initially thought. I tutor, edit, and teach, all part time.

David Leavitt

My Collected Stories came out this fall from Bloomsbury. A new novel, The Body of Jonah Boyd, is due from the same house in May, 2004. At present I’m working on a non-fiction book, The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing, Mathematics, and the Origins of the Computer, for the series Great Discoveries (Atlas Books/Norton). We are avidly trying to amass funds to start a new literary magazine out of the writing program, possibly to be called Subtropics, and would welcome contributions of any size.

William Logan

I spent the summer in England, where I saw a cow and a church. New books: Macbeth in Venice, new poems, last June, and Desperate Measures, essays and reviews, last December. I won Poetry magazine’s J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize, which, a colleague said, is worth a lot of doughnuts. I also won the Southwest Review Elizabeth Matchett Stover Memorial Award, worth a few more doughnuts. Poems recently in Agni, Antioch Review, Hudson Review, Leviathan Quarterly, Partisan Review, Sewanee Review, Smartish Pace, Southern Review, Southwest Review, Southern Theological Review, 32 Poems and Yale Review. Poems forthcoming in DoubleTake, The Nation, New Criterion, New Republic, Paris Review, Salmagundi, Sewanee Review, and TLS. My verse chronicles appeared, on schedule, in the New Criterion in June and December. I have a long essay on Robert Lowell due in Parnassus and a shorter one on Marianne Moore in the New Criterion. I read in Tampa last spring and Ohio Wesleyan in the fall, where I also lectured on Walt Whitman. One of my poems appeared in an Australian anthology, A Return to Poetry 2000: Ten Australians Choose Ten of Their Favorite Poems. Word came by very slow boat.

Margaret Luongo (MFA, 2001), <>

In January 2003 I was hired full time as an Assistant Professor of English at Santa Fe Community College, teaching Technical Communication and Advanced Composition. Over the summer, by accident, I got to teach Creative Writing. My short story “Pretty,” originally published in Tin House, has won a Pushcart Prize this year. I saved the email announcing this for about two weeks and kept checking it (daily) to make sure it wasn’t a mistake.

Krissy Madrid (MFA, 2000)

In the spring I moved to Manhattan, got a terrific deal on a 1-bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen. A week after moving I ran a marathon in Vermont, which rocked. Whoever hasn’t received a thank you, I’m sorry, I lost the rest of the addresses in the move. Also, some didn’t arrive because the postal service screwed the address change. Terrible planning on my part, and I wound up giving most of my life savings to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the honor of running 26 miles (which rocked, oh goodness was that fantastic). Anyway, on account of this I received 1) a limp, 2) much sympathy, 3) enormous debt, 4) a professional masseuse at a Soho Spa by a Russian named Igor, and 5) dinner cooked by a Celebrity Chef. Which was great, but I wish I’d thought to stuff my napkin. I have nine dollars right now. I eat a lot of beans and discarded poultry parts and I steal beer from the catered lunches and dinners held for Toilet & Douche executives. The cat food’s starting to look tolerable. You know, that probably doesn’t make anybody want to join Team in Training so they can run a marathon/triathlon/century ride, but everyone totally should. Like right now. And for whoever gave, literally, had I been five dollars shy on donations I wouldn’t have been able to do it, because on the day we had to get in all our donations, I made the limit with $4.65 in my checking account. Still shopping around the novel and short stories. Got a few encouraging letters but so far no buys. I think the only reason they read them at all is because of the cover letters, and I’m thinking I should just sign up as a professional cover letter writer.

Randall Mann (MFA, 1997) <>

Randall Mann was awarded the 2003 Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry; his first collection of poems, Complaint in the Garden, is forthcoming from Zoo Press in the spring of 2004. His poems are forthcoming in 32 Poems, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Pleiades, Poetry, Salmagundi, and the anthology Poetry Daily: Selections from the World’s Most Popular Poetry Website (Sourcebooks, 2003). He lives in San Francisco, where he recently attended a reading at a sex club, Eros, where a gentleman wearing only a white towel sang erotic songs about truckers. Fierce!

Arthur McMaster (MFA, 2004)

I have found that the second year in Gainesville looks strikingly like the first. I suspect that the degree to which this is “good” has a lot to do with how taken one is with lovebugs and geckoes. I am trying to remain friendly with both species; and I am particularly glad that geckoes don’t fly into my windscreen with their tales stuck together. As a new but old poet, the recent months have been promising if not necessaarily profitable. I recently published a poem in Pegasus, have one forthcoming (this December I think) in Southwest Review, and have a review of Stuart Dischell’s volume Dig Safe coming out next spring in Rattle. I am also trying to “market” my latest stageplay “The Guile of Lucy Strada.” Hope your bonfires are all reasonably banked.

Ryan Meany (MFA, 2002)

Never before the MFA could I enter a classroom hung over and be called “Sir.” And now, editors ignore my work less and less often. They address me directly and explain why it is unskillful, irrelevant, “sexed but not sexy,” “not exactly on our wavelength,” better suited for the audiences of 1981, etc. I was saved from brutality and rape by the MFA After I was booked, jail officials put me in the general population. I’m a little waifish, so, to avoid conflict, I told stories in which my characters all wanted something. Language served plot rather than vice-versa. I told a story about a man who broke out of jail by slowing his own heartbeat and convincing the nurse he was dying. An inmate croaked for me to shut up. I quieted down a notch. The plot thing was working. Three inmates were listening, three very pathetic men. I realized the general problem with some poetry, Ulysees, and political debate. A man punched me from behind. One man who’d been enjoying my story, the one who was really pissed he couldn’t get more crack, punched the puncher until a prison guard finally bludgeoned one off the other. A lot of blood ended up on the floor, and on some of the inmates who hadn’t been fighting, but I was given my own cell. Rumors: A reliable source spotted a Bachelderlike man spanking an Antonlike man at a fetish party in Denver, Colorado. Both likemen were performing on stage at the nightclub, wearing leather briefs and fishnets with garters. The reliable source, who is not Mark Devish, ran excitedly to the bathroom before taking a good look at either man’s face. He was soon thrown out of the club. His voice has been distorted to protect his identity: “I know ya ain’t got too much crederbility left once you get kicked outta’uh fetish party, but I’m tellin’ya true, I’d recognize that fanny anywhere.”

Preston Merchant (MFA, 1996)

Photography and non-fiction have completely supplanted poetry for many reasons, not the least of which is that these endeavors involve five-star hotels, backstage passes, and foriegn currencies. Who knew? I have also become part of the UF-Oxford American-Funworld nexus (cf. Paul Reyes and William Bowers). Before the OA folded, I shot a man-on-the-street-in-New York column called North Poll, wherein I asked the locals (wise guys, boxers, Indo-Guyanese immigrants, mermaids, arts patrons) goofy questions about southern culture. Funworld, the monthly magazine of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, sent me to India to write three articles about the amusement and water parks industry. I have a great shot of a slide adorned with huge blue bust of Shiva with water spouting out of the side of his head. The magazine is sending me to the United Arab Emirates next year (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Umm al Quwain) for another series. I go to India as often as I can (twice last year) and contribute to the immigrant press in the U.S. (cricket, beauty pageants, etc.). If I do write about poetry, I take up Indian concerns. I am a contributing editor of the online Contemporary Poetry Review, where I try to find ways of writing about international relations in the guise of a literary essay.

Christopher Merkner (MFA, 2001)

Biggest accomplishment of my year/life: Molly and I will be married in July 2004.

Emily Miller (MFA, 2002)

I live in Washington, D.C., and teach Creative Writing at George Washington University. Teaching “Introduction to Creative Writing,” I find, is a mixed bag; this semester, I’ve also been informed that: 1) excessive, pointless violence is hilarious, just look at Pulp Fiction 2) packing a dip and spitting the juice into a Snapple bottle during class is something I should permit, perhaps encourage 4) Denis Johnson’s “Emergency” is a pale imitation of the “real thing” (?) and 5) “I got laid like a carpet” is a simile. But on the plus side, I don’t have to sit in an office all day. I’m working on a story collection I started in Florida, and (I hope) actually making some progress. Our Nation’s Capital is nice, except when there are snipers or terrorist attacks or, most recently, big hurricanes. I saw Michael Jordan at my gym last spring. People should come visit. I’ll take you to the memorials or the CIA or whatever.

Michael Newirth (MFA, 1995) <>

I published one story and two essays in the Baffler magazine anthology Boob Jubilee: The Cultural Poltics of the New Economy (W.W. Norton). I read from it alongside contributors like Thomas Frank and Doug Henwood at Northwestern, the New School, and bookstores in Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Chicago. Other stories appeared in Closer Magazine and are forthcoming in Open City, and sundry reviews in In These Times, AlterNet, Chicago Reader, and elsewhere. I continue to serve as fiction editor, event co-coordinator, and house shadow for the independent multidisciplinary journal Bridge. Our recent projects include a full-length DVD of experimental film and video, and the brand-new 408-page “double” issue, with contributors including Lydia Millet, Beth Bosworth, Imad Rahman, Charles Taylor, Bin Ramke, and Momus. Come around to our way of thinking at <> – you won’t be sorry.

Christine Niles(nee Le) (BA, 1997)

After graduating from Notre Dame Law School, I am now a law clerk to a Justice on the Supreme Court of Indiana. He keeps me busy doing obscure research and drafting memoranda and opinions on such titillating topics as statutory construction and equity jurisprudence.

Padgett Powell

Padgett Powell published a few thin weird things here and there and read at Southern Illinois (MFA Mike Magnuson directs program there) and at Amherst (MFA Noy Holland directed there). He took an honorary doctorate at the College of Charleston, accompanied by Bessie Gantt, before the triplets had been thought of. He published an article about Flannery O’Connor’s farmstead in the last Oxford American before its most recent demise.

Benjamin Pryor (MFA, 2001)

I live with Ibai in Carrboro, NC, and work in Durham. Ibai is an eight year old third grader – he’s growing into his teeth and getting large. We’re happy as larks and ready to set up shop in the woods. Over the past year I published poems twice in the Oxford American. Otherwise, it’s rejections and bills.

Dan Rifenburgh (MA, 1986)

Advent, (by YO!) has been selected for the Texas Institute of Letters, “Natalie Ornish Award for First Book of Poetry” for 2002. Awards dinner at Hotel Galvez, Galveston, March 29th and $1000 prize. Could this be a trend? I have been invited by the National Endowment for the Arts to take part in Operation Homecoming this Spring. American writers will be sent to military bases to speak about the craft of writing to returning veterans of Iraqi Freedom. Participating writers are: Jeff Shaara (Gods and Generals), Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down), Tom Clancy (The Hunt For Red October), Barry Hannah (Airships), Bobbie Ann Mason (In Country), Daniel Rifenburgh (Advent) and others.

Ellie Schaffzin (MFA, 1999), <>

I’ve spotted J. Campbell all over the place: at <> (where one can make a sport of spotting), at <> (where J was chosen contest winner, sharing “the award, but not the prize” with Pablo Neruda), and not least at <>, where one can find J’s weekly tidbits on Crimson Tide football and related existential matters. I spotted Jen Rapaport’s short-short fiction in the Fall 2002 issue of Paragraph and in this summer’s Quarterly West, where I also happened to spot the work of Alexandra Teague, whose bio promised a forthcoming poem in the Paris Review. I spotted Chris Bachelder’s name on the recall notice that informed me I would have to return his Bear v. Shark to the library, leaving me bereft. I’ve spotted my Powder-Blue Baby-Doll Gator Tee with bicycle chain grease, and would welcome spot removal advice.

Jennifer Strange (MFA, 2001) <>

Still teaching poetry, mass media writing, and advanced grammar at Centenary College of Louisiana, I have also lately taken the rather silly title “Coordinator of Communications for the President” which means I write speeches and correspondence for the college president. Mostly mundane writing, but sufficient knotty writing to make the job fun, and it’s got good perks – like an office with a window. Last spring, I enjoyed something of a marathon reading with some colleagues at Shreveport’s revived spring festival Arts on the Edge, which also hosted Sidney Wade and Josh Russell a few weeks later. In other news, my husband will run a real marathon in February, but I’m cheering him on from my Nordic Trac. Most recently, I’ve gathered notes for new poems while vacationing in Oregon, home of the big mountains and big trees, beavers and ducks.

Alexandra Teague (MFA, 1998)

After two years of teaching composition at City College of San Francisco, I am now directing the Writing Lab, which means slightly fewer papers to grade and slightly more time to write poems. In early October, I was a guest on the public radio poetry show “Out of Our Minds” in Santa Clara/Cupertino. A poem of mine recently appeared in Quarterly West; poems are forthcoming in 32 Poems, The Threepenny Review, and The Paris Review. I’ve been happily married for four years now to a fellow English instructor.

Gordon Thompson (MFA, 2000), <>

It turns out there’s a monster mall even bigger and badder than Butler Plaza. It’s called Great Lakes Crossing – you might remember it from such films as Bowling for Columbine. I’ve had to go there twice on school trips with my dorm boys. (Oh, the sacrifices I make for the children who are our future!) The second time I planned to achieve a delicious meta-moment by watching said Michael Moore movie inside the belly of the very beast it exposes. But it was not to be, so I settled for walking round and round and round the labyrinth of original-issue team-branded sweats, exotic fishing lures, cutting-edge fudge flavors, psychedelic animal toys, and minions of overweight gawkers. This summer I walked up the highest peak in Central America, an active volcano in central Guatemala from which you can see two oceans, as many countries, and a mass of clouds that looks uncannily like Niagara Falls. Recently I girded my loins and dispatched several dozens of poetry manuscripts to various respectable journals. More and more, however, I find myself slumming in fiction and essays. Teaching is a splendid gig in every sense except the ineffable one which allows the muse to strut her stuff. I welcome news at <>. If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d be happy to disavow you of the notion that Detroit is nothing but crack houses and bloated cars.

C. Dale Young (MFA, 1993)

C. Dale Young was the Stanley P. Young Fellow in Poetry at Bread Loaf in the summer of 2003. He has recently had poems in 32 Poems, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Salmagundi, and has poems forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review and Yale Review. His second collection of poems, A Fistful of Sand, will be published by Zoo Press in Spring 2005. Spottings: A poem by Geri Doran in The New Republic in late September 2003.

Sidney Wade

Sidney Wade’s poems have recently appeared or are shortly forthcoming in Literary Imagination, Quadrant, New England Review, 32 Poems, and Blues for Bill, an anthology honoring the memory of Bill Matthews. She’s been reading her head off all over the country: the Turning Leaves Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Cody’s Bookstore in Berkeley; Mississippi State University in Starkville; the Grolier Poetry Series in Cambridge. She moderated another panel on Turkish Literature at the American Literary Translators’ Association’s conference in Boston, and one of her translations of Yahya Kemal’s poems has been chosen for inclusion in a new anthology of Turkish literature in English. She forgets the title, but the publisher is Talisman Press. She was recently appointed to the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

Martin Wilson, (MFA, 1998), <>

I gave Texas the boot in June and moved to New York City, where I’ve always wanted to live. So far, I love it! I worked for four months at a book packager, manging the editorial side of a line of library/reference books about the 50 states for 10-year-olds. I actually wrote three of these books myself, so my first publications – Uniquely Alabama, Uniquely North Carolina, and Uniquely Mississippi – will be forthcoming from Heinemann Library in 2004. I just landed a job at Little, Brown, working in the publicity department, which I am very excited about. I am still writing, slowly but surely, and making contacts, etc. I hope to be accepted to the Writer’s Room up here, which is a space for writers to do their work in peace. One of these days I will have a fiction book. Until then, I’ll plug away and enjoy the city and all it has to offer. If you pass through, let me know!

Chad Woody (MFA, 2000)

I have been maintaining properties and teaching English this past year, to the betterment of most. In March I bought an old house, to which I have made many improvements; Brenda Sieczkowski has visited it not once but twice, on both to and fro legs of her Little Rock journey, and she can attest to my accomplishments in the area of cat-pee stench removal.

I have poems out this year in Seneca Review, Mid-American Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. “Somnaholic,” my chapbook of sorts, was printed in Moon City Review, and I gave a reading at one branch of the Springfield Public Library. I thought I saw Gordon Thompson in a shopping-mall jewelry store with a diamond-encrusted beard, but it turned out to be merely a hope-stoked mirage followed by a mild fugue of disappointment. Thanks a lot, Gordon.