MFA@FLA Newsletter, Spring 2007

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.

MFA@FLA Newsletter 2007

This is an irregular Newsletter.  It is without headnote proper because at the time of its solicitation Powell was in France or Africa and did not write one.  The Newsletter 2007 did not issue and was found on the floor of the cyber cutting room by Powell when he got back and issued in 2008 simultaneously with Newsletter 2008.  Some of the testifiers for the 2008 Newsletter have sent in things for 2008 assuming that the things they sent in 2007 were not to see the light of day, but they have, herewith, and we ask you to regard redundancies and repetitions, if they obtain, between the two Newsletters, as understandable under the circumstances.  If you as a testifier caught in this squeeze feel you are insufferably compromised by the appearance of this lost scroll, below, contact me and I will adjust your utterance(s) to roseate-spoonbill elegance.


Eve Adamson (MFA, 1992), <>

I finally finished my book on craft beer (Beer: Domestic, Imported, and Homebrewed, HarperTorch). I have now been assigned the Complete Idiot's Guide to Gluten-Free Eating. Since I am a “method writer,” I've been gluten-free since January 1 and will remain so until I finish this book. This isn’t easy, but it’s been an education. Beer has gluten, although I’m tracking down gluten-free varieties to sample and rate for the book. Meanwhile, I’m heading once again to NY to cover the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on February 12–13, for Dog Fancy magazine. I will be riding around in a van with the winning dog the following morning while he/she does all the morning shows. Rumor has it we'll be doing Martha Stewart’s show and I’ll get to hang around in her green room. This thrills me. While in NY, I’ll also be receiving the 2006 ASPCA Humane Issues Award for my book Adopting a Pet for Dummies (Wiley), presented during the Dog Writers Association of America Annual Awards Banquet. It’s the Academy Awards of Dog Writers. I’m not kidding.

Chris Bachelder (MFA, 2002), <>

Now back in the Eastern Time Zone after a year in New Mexico and three in Colorado.  I’m teaching with fellow Gator Noy Holland at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  My daughter Alice will be two in August, and Jenn and I are expecting another girl on September 1.  I have recent work in The Believer, The Oxford American, McSweeney’s, and Black Warrior Review.

Sharla Benedict (MFA, 2003)

After adventures and misadventures in the Tennessee mountains, I determined that my inner hillbilly is claustrophobic. I’ve therefore come home to north Florida where I technical write by day and play music by night, grow collard greens, paddle slow black rivers, learn to play claw-hammer banjo, and try to walk the dogs with some regularity.

My solo CD, Flyin’ without my Wings Again, has just been released and is available at <>. You can check out my band at <> or my solo shenanigans at <>. The Mayhaws will be touring the east coast this summer. If you have a floor to offer us, we’ll gladly take it.

Coles Burroughs (MFA, 1997)

My son Oscar Ringo was born February 26, 2007, at 2:45 AM.

Kevin Canty (MA, 1990), <>

After much turmoil, I have landed in a different house than the one I started out in. Details on request. Winslow in Love came out in paperback, Honeymoon (the most recent story collection) was translated into Italian as “Tenersi la mano nel sonno,” which does not mean “Honeymoon.” Turner’s heading for college in the fall and Nora, still with pink hair, is entering high school. Spring has come to Montana at long last and all is well.

David Caplan (MFA, 1993)

This last year Longman published Poetic Form: An Introduction and Oxford University Press released a paperback edition of Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form. The Virginia Quarterly Review named me a contributing editor; accordingly, I have been contributing essays to the journal (considering the poetry of Alan Shapiro, Mark Twain and patriotism).

Michael Cox (MA, 1988)<>

Has just begun a tenure-earning position at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he is Coordinator of Professional Writing.  His essay “Richland” appears in the current issue of River Teeth.  His review of Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss will
appear in the next issue of South Asian Review, and he has a story, “Away from Home,” accepted for an anthology of train stories set in the state of West Virginia.  He’ll be giving a paper on Gojira at the April meeting of the Popular Culture Association in Boston.  Michael’s essay “Visitor,” which appeared in Best American Essays 1999, has been selected by Editors Lex Williford and Michael Martone to appear in the new Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction.  He and his ex-wife are thinking of purchasing a house.

Geri Doran (MFA, 1995), <>

Marvels of landscape followed by cornfields. 2006 was all motion; I lived in (and walked and walked) the cities of Lisbon and Budapest, and small villages in Ireland and Croatia. I’m now resting my legs in Urbana, where I’m a visiting writer in the University of Illinois’ MFA program for the semester.

Jeffrey Franklin (MFA, 1991)

My collection of poetry, For the Lost Boys, was published in 2006 by Ghost Road Press.  My next scholarly book, Victorian Buddhism, should be out in 2007 or 2008.  For more information and reading calendar, see: <>.

Bessie Gantt (MFA, 2000), <>

The triplets are almost four now and I’m holding on to my sanity by a thinning thread. For more along those lines, check out my online journal at <>.

Stephanie Kartalopoulos (MFA, 2003) <>

This year I finally learned how to program my DVD player.  I also hooked it up successfully to my television and, by doing so, entered the technological age.  When I am not learning how to plug things into doodads, I am temping in stupid cubicle farms, teaching at Boston University and at Lesley University, writing things for the Museum of Fine Arts, and trying to straighten out the kinks in my neck from working too much.  I have finally found the perfect recipe for butternut squash soup and it is getting me through winter.  And I’m writing stuff and reading things.  Otherwise, I am sleeping, chasing my cat around the apartment, riding my bike, and watching movies.

David Leavitt

My novel The Indian Clerk will be published in September. Researching the novel occasioned a trip to India that was life-changing, as trips to India are supposed to be.

Subtropics, our new magazine, thrives. We will have stories in the next editions of Best American Short Stories (edited by Stephen King) and the O. Henry Prize Stories. Poems from the magazine appear in the most recent Best American Poetry (edited by Billy Collins) as well as the forthcoming edition, edited by Heather McHugh. Issue 4 will include a story by former MFA@FLA faculty member Nancy Reisman. We encourage submissions from alumni. See our website for more information: <>.

Jill and I have taken over as co-directors of MFA@FLA. We are doing our best to live up to Padgett’s legacy.

Michael Loughran (MFA, 2005), <>

Engaged self to the Lovely Noelle atop a mountain/swamp in Vermont. Returned, witnessed, six months later, Rocky VI during opening week in a small theater here in Philadelphia with Michael Dietz. Am teaching at the Community College of Philadelphia. Had poems in the wonderful and wonderful-smelling Subtropics as well as the new and ordinary smelling, but fancily covered CAB/NET.

Margaret Luongo (MFA, 2001), <>

Billy and I live in Hamilton, Ohio, hometown of Michelle Gould (MFA, poetry, 2001). The jewel in the crown of downtown Hamilton is the super-hero sized statue of Michelle wearing a flowing cape made of the American flag. The statue is situated at the intersection of High and Millville, near the music store where Michelle took lessons, and the Elder-Beerman department store where she spent air-conditioned afternoons and baby-sitting money. I teach creative writing at Miami of Ohio in Oxford, where students drive SUVs emblazoned with snappy slogans like “Hit a Gator.” In May, The Cincinnati Review will publish a short-short of mine. I'm still trying to convince someone to publish my collection of short stories. Despite the world’s apparent lack of interest in my first collection of stories, I’ve started working on a second collection of stories.

Mike Magnuson (MFA, 1997), <>

Still teaches at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he has tenure and is going blind reading student manuscripts.  He has published nonfiction recently in Bicycling and Backpacker, and he has numerous pieces forthcoming in both of those magazines.  He has also published obscure fiction in The Means and <>.  What else?  I still race bicycles – speciality:  cyclocross – and I’m just getting into competitive rowing.  Basically, I do anything to avoid being involved in reading and writing.  And I’m very happy.  Thanks for asking.

Randall Mann (MFA, 1997), <>

I recently moved back to San Francisco, where I work as a senior editor at Genentech, a massive biotech company.  Lord.  The poetry textbook I co-wrote, Writing Poems (Pearson Longman), comes out in July 2007.  I’ve had recent poems in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Salmagundi, Pleiades, Court Green, and Cimarron Review.  I don’t blog.

Arthur McMaster (MFA 2004), <>

Another year?  Maybe I should start checking my mailbox again. I’ve been holding off, worried that Sid Dobrin might have assigned me another “tech writng” section.  I survived the last one, 3 years ago, but my stream has been weak ever since.  Good news in publishing: one of my poems was nominated for the 2006 Pushcart, but I don’t think I’ve been asked home after the dance.  Maybe I should check the mail. Anyway, I’m teaching lit and writing courses at Converse College, which is a joy. Come take my Emily Dickinson this summer. I need the enrollment numbers!

Shamrock McShane (MFA, 1987), <>

Our movie The Votive Pit <> , shot on location at Weswtood Middle School in Gainesville, screened at the Southern Fried Flicks Fest in Augusta, Georgria and at the Pumelo International Film Festival in Mubai, India. We’re in pre-production on a new musical called You Are Not Frank Sinatra. <>.

Martha Otis (MFA, 2000)  <>

I've been in Miami with Serena, my daughter, for almost five years.  We got two weeks of school off apiece last year after Wilma hit because no one had any electricity.  A beautiful darkness and quiet came over the city – until the neighbors all discovered gas generators, at which time we’d go outside and it would sound like motor boats were trolling around out there.  During those weeks, we discovered Wolfgang Puck’s self-heating coffee and wind-up radios.  We lit candles, slept in the living room, read the scary parts of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and met our best friends.

I’ve been teaching composition and some creative writing at the University of Miami.  I got a first, second, third, and fourth version of my novel done, sent out, rejected, before admitting what I knew all along, it wasn’t good enough.  In the middle of THAT exercise, I ended up becoming a tango addict.  I spent a month dancing in Buenos Aires this past summer, and when I came back, I finally went back to writing, mostly about accomplished, nonhuman primates.  Serena, who is now nine, starred as Marie in Miami City Ballet’s The Nutcracker this past December, which meant I became a ballet mom.

Would love to see you all down here.  Great beaches, country’s largest book fair, huge, poisonous toads, and once a tree in my garden shat out a raccoon.

Christine Gallagher Schmitz (MFA, 1998)  <

I have somehow managed to get a job teaching in UF’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.  For the last two years I have co-taught with Debora Greger a creative writing class for engineers. I also recently took on the job of producing the MAE alumni newsletter and various other media publications for the department.  Though I have not been writing much poetry, I have had a few short stories appear in print over the last three years. My husband, Tony, is considerably the more prolific one, it turns out, with over 100 journal articles, two text books and a few U.S. Patents under his belt. Aside from these professional activities, I stay busy with my eight year old son Jake and my six year old daughter Barbara Kate. I have run the New York Marathon for the past two years and hope to do it again this year. At this year’s race I managed to run alongside Lance Armstrong for exactly 3/10ths of a mile. He looked exceptionally fit.

Deb Schwartz (BA, 1999) <>

My husband and I recently moved from my crazy uncle’s apartment in Manhattan to our own very own one in Brooklyn. I turned 30 and experienced a small life crisis. Then I had an essay about my crazy uncle published in Collectanea and had a short story accepted by the Kenyon Review (Spring, 2008). This made me feel better. I still maintain the illustrious <>, though I thankfully haven’t had to update the rejections section recently.

Jennifer Phifer Strange (MFA, 2001), <>

During one week last March, I received notice of a poem accepted at Oxford American and a baby brewing in my belly; then during one week last December, the issue with that poem came to newsstands and Noel Lewis Strange came into the breathing world.  Stats and figures: issue 55, page 28, 7 pounds and 13 ounces, 19.5 inches.  Other poems are forthcoming in Christianity and Literature, Poetry Southeast, and Rock and Sling. Teeth, speech, and motor skills are (we hope) forthcoming for the son.

Gordon Thompson (MFA, 2000)

I continue to tool around the outskirts of the Motor City, where even “starving writer” seems pretty posh against the weekly auto industry bloodletting. I’m still maintaining a dual identity: boarding school teacher by winter, globetrotter by summer. This year I went from St. Petersburg to Beijing on the world’s longest train ride, and on to Hong Kong by train, bus, bicycle, boat, and rickshaw. My students suspect I’m a spy, and I don’t fight the rumors. I spent what few spare minutes fall afforded whipping together a book-length manuscript about the odd outposts of Eurasia and the even odder people who visit them: my next odyssey will be into the exotic landscape of agents and publishers.

Chris Tusa (MFA, 2000), <>

Still teaching mostly Business Writing and Lit at LSU. Have a T/TH schedule, so thankfully I have lots of time to write. My debut collection of poems was published in 2006 by Louisiana Literature Press. Recent poems and stories have appeared in Connecticut Review, StorySouth, Texas Review, and New Delta Review. My agent is currently shopping my first novel, Dirty Little Angels, and I’m currently working on a second novel entitled Mean BloodChris.

Sidney Wade

Sidney Wade’s fifth collection of poems, Stroke, is due out from Persea Books in January 2008. She served last year as President of AWP. She continues to translate from the Turkish of Guven Turan, Yahya Kemal, Pir Sultan Abdal, and Gulseli Inal, and her two daughters are big and very beautiful.

Martin Wilson (MFA, 1998), <>

This past summer I signed a two-book deal with Delacorte/Random House Books for Young Readers for two YA novels. My first novel, What They Always Tell Us, is set to be published sometime in 2008. The manuscript for the second novel is due early next year, so it will probably be published in 2009. I am still living, working, and writing in New York City.

C. Dale Young (MFA, 1993)

My second book, The Second Person, was published this Spring by Four Way Books.  I continue to practice medicine full-time, administer my own medical practice, edit poetry for New England Review, and teach in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.  My poems have recently appeared in Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.  I am still living in San Francisco with my life-partner, the biologist and composer Jacob Bertrand.