MFA@FLA Newsletter, Spring 2012

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, the balance by graduates, current students, and faculty..


We are in our fourth year of the new three-year program format.  Last spring the first three-year theses were tendered.  Witnesses, impartial and not, report that they are stronger than the obsolete two-year theses.  One of them, Halvor Aakhus’s Book of Knut, after taking the last Henfield Prize, has been bought by Jaded Ibis Press for release later this year.

We would like to acknowledge our gratitude for our having been included in all forms and iterations of the Henfield Prize over the twenty-five years or so of the Prize’s history.  The Prize’s passing is not unrelated to the passing of Joe McCrindle, a good friend of the program whom we will miss.

This year we accepted a smaller class than usual, with results that workshops will have enrollments of ten, not twelve, for two years.  It’s a cozy size.  We expect to resume normal matriculation next year.


Halvor Aakhus (MFA, 2011), <>
h’varr got a driver’s license, knut sold a book

Eve Adamson (MFA, 1992)
This year has been surprising in many ways, most of all because my teenager and his girlfriend recently revealed to all of their startled parents that they are going to be having a baby in February. This will make me a grandmother at the tender age of 46. This does not thrill me, and in fact, concerns me greatly—not the grandmother part (well, sort of the grandmother part), but the part where I’m not nearly done raising the child who is about to have a child of his own. Yet, it is, apparently, happening, whether I approve of it or not. After two boys, I’m at least gratified to hear that the baby is a girl. Ha ha. Good one, Fate. That’s pretty funny. 

In other news, after writing so many nonfiction books with various celebs and experts, I am finally getting to write a novel with my celebrity colleague Bethenny Frankel—a roman a clef based on her life. It’s been an interesting and challenging experience so far, and great practice.  At the same time, I’m working on a diet book for a celebrity nutritionist-to-the-stars, and agents are currently shopping proposals I wrote for a celebrity cardiologist and a former Miss Fit Universe personal trainer. Books I wrote last year are coming out in winter 2012: Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food and Still Look Fabulous, with Chicago green mom and health coach Beth Aldrich (Penguin), and The Organic Nanny’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids: How to Create a Natural Diet and Lifestyle for Your Child, with celebrity nanny Barbara Rodriguez (DeCapo). I’m also considering a memoir on the whole teen-pregnancy-premature-grandma situation—for therapeutic purposes, if nothing else. 

In any case, work, as well as life, remains un-boring.

Kevin Canty (MA, 1990), <>
I seem to have skipped a year or two so, hmmm. My novel Everything came out in summer 2010, did unexpectedly well critically but was the usual commercial flop. Working on a new novel about conjoined-twin lesbian vampyr detectives tentatively entitled Darkness at Twilight. Will keep you posted. Playing my pink Telecaster in three bands lately, including a new-country outfit with a fishing theme. On sabbatical this year, working on a novel, fishing, spending the winter in Tucson. Still trying to teach the Corgi to hula.

On a bluer note, I did manage to see Peter Eichenberger a few months before he died last Thanksgiving, and found him to be as strange and lively as ever. A lovely man and I miss him daily.

John Elderkin (MFA, 2002)
I wrote two songs featured in The Book Club Play, which opened this fall at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. And I spent the summer writing music in Nashville. I have found that I like a good cowboy hat.

Rebecca Evanhoe (MFA, 2013), <>
My story “Snake” was published in the November 2011 issue of Harper’s. My story “Tandy and Bo” was published in the Fall 2011 issue of Parcel, a small journal based in Lawrence, KS.

Peter Grimes (MFA, 2003)
Peter Grimes received his PhD in English and comparative literature from the University of Cincinnati in 2011. He is now assistant professor in the Department of Language and Literature at Dickinson State University. His short fiction has appeared in journals such as Narrative, Mississippi Review, Lake Effect, Cream City Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Gulf Stream, Brand, and Packingtown Review.

Michael Hofmann
I went full-time at UF, with the to me wholly unexpected result that I suddenly find much less time on my hands. Strange. But then, I was kept out of the country, and so missed a semester. I now have a medium-term visa, a small house, and uncertain expectations.

Next term, I have a make-up class to look forward to; a very brief trip to London (where I haven’t been for ages - I would say ‘yonks’ if I thought anyone would understand) for the Jewish Book Fair in February, to do with the launching of a vast book of Joseph Roth letters that I edited and translated; in the summer I hope to be briefly in New Zealand; towards the end of the year - if I get that far - I have the publication of a novel hewn - yea, hewn - from waste verbiage of Jakob Wassermann (hewn and translated by MH); and a long-awaited-by-two-or-three-people book of my Gottfried Benn translations, from Farrar, Straus. In another piece of decayed English slang, bless. Just bless.

Noy Holland (MFA, 1994)
My next story collection, Swim for the Little One First, is forthcoming from FC2. I have had stories recently in Conjunctions, The Milan Review, Fairy Tale Review, and Western Humanities Review. Still teaching in the MFA program at University of Massachusetts Amherst, for which I’m currently serving as director. We spent a lovely sabbatical year on the coast of Ecuador.

Hilary Jacqmin (MFA, 2012), <>
This past spring, my poem “World’s Fair” won 3rd Prize in The Atlantic Student Writing Contest. My poem “Wedding Album” was published this January in the Best New Poets 2011 anthology, edited by D.A. Powell, which also features 2011 MFA@FLA graduate James Davis’s poem “Aa.” I was a Finalist for the 2011 Morton Marr Poetry Prize, and I have poems forthcoming in Pank and The Awl.

Amanda Jones (MFA, 2007)
Left Brooklyn for a farm in Indiana. Three Red Star laying hens with literary names; no eggs yet.

Rachel Khong (MFA, 2011), <>
I left Gainesville in May and moved to San Francisco, to an apartment—appropriately enough—at the end of Florida Street. After a short stint as a professional fruit feeler, I’m now editing cookbooks for McSweeney’s and their food quarterly, Lucky Peach. No children, pets, cars, or money. But it’s All Good.

Noelle Kocot (MFA, 1995)
Just biding time here in NJ, arranging pumpkins, things like that. Also, writing like mad, haven’t stopped since Damon died 7 1/2 years ago, can’t. Occasionally, I teach. 

Everything is exactly the same as it was in last year’s newsletter, except there is one more thing to add—in October of this year (as in, now), I had a book of translations called Poet by Default, poems by Tristan Corbiere, the 19th-century French poet, come out through Wave Books. 

I hope it’s okay that I’m sending you this information in this format, because I couldn’t make head or tail out of the memo, as in, how to send the information back.

Anyway, I’m in a totally strange mood. Time to drink an O’Doul’s, I think. Actually, way past that time.

Andrew Kozma (MFA, 2002)
Still living in sin in Houston, Texas, I’ve tried to make myself respectable through having poems published in Linebreak, Cave Wall, and Yemassee, among other journals. Orphaned stories have shown up, well-taken care of, in Front Range Review and Chariton Review. I took part in the inaugural Alfred Uhry Playwriting Workshop run by the Eudora Welty Foundation, and am looking forward to being whisked away to Wyoming in March as a resident of the Jentel Foundation. In an attempt to make me feel good, two journals nominated works of mine for Pushcarts, which was very nice of them.

David Leavitt
This year I made a couple of interesting trips to Buenos Aires, took part in a documentary film about Alan Turing, and attended a writers’ festival on the isle of Capri. Still working on the same damn novel.

William Logan
Deception Island: Selected Poems, 1974-1999, appeared from Salt (UK) last spring. My edition of the lost American classic, John Townsend Trowbridge’s Guy Vernon, will be published by the University of Minnesota next spring. I’ll have a new book of poems, Madame X, out next fall from Penguin. In the past year, I’ve had poems in The New Yorker, Sewanee Review, New England Review, Salmagundi, and Parnassus, among other places. I had an essay on Frost and Wilbur in the New Criterion (along with the usual spring and fall poetry chronicles), another essay on Shelley’s “Ozymandias” in Parnassus, a review in The New York Times Book Review on Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry and letters and another on T.S. Eliot’s letters. I taught during the summer at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and gave a paper on Whitman’s reviewers at October’s ALSCW conference in Boston. I was the Kidd lecturer at the University of Oregon in the spring, and gave a poetry reading there and at Sewanee. Among essays forthcoming: one on Lowell’s skunk and Heaney’s skunk in Salmagundi, “The Unbearable Lightness of Criticism” in The New Criterion, a very short piece in Poetry on meeting Geoffrey Hill, and a very long one in Virginia Quarterly Review titled “Elizabeth Bishop at Summer Camp.”

Anthony Luebbert (MFA, 2009), <>
Back home on the ranch in Iowa. Helped launch Asymptote, an international literary journal that has featured translations by Sidney Wade and an essay by fellow MFA@FLAer Hai-Dang Phan. It’s doing well, four issues later and approaching its first anniversary. I’ve had stories published in Parcel and Quick Fiction and a couple of essays in Asymptote. I played the role of a female Russian gymnast in a live radio production of a Russian play and went on eleven first dates. A quiet year.

Margaret Luongo (MFA, 2001), <>
Since I last wrote, stories of mine have appeared in Granta on-line, Memorious, The Cincinnati Review, and Fiction Southeast. I went to Amherst to read at the Juniper Literary Festival and stayed in a room at an inn where the microwave had been demolished by someone who had nuked a pie pan full of savory leftovers. The room smelled like feet from the leftovers, which had been sitting in the microwave—how long? I don't know. Also read with Donald Ray Pollock at the Ohio Festival of the Short Story. I’m still at Miami of Ohio, and my family has not tired yet of making jokes about the wrong Oxford, the wrong Miami. I'm going to stop reporting on our old house infestations (see previous posts); it’s just getting too Amityville.

Randall Mann (MFA, 1997), <>
My third collection of poems, Straight Razor, is forthcoming from Persea Books on the Fall 2013/Winter 2014 list. I published poems in Iron Horse Literary ReviewThe Kenyon ReviewLiterary Imagination, The Rumpus, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, and a few anthologies. I introduced the poems of our very own Eric Smith for a feature in Pleaides, and wrote a little piece on an E.A. Robinson villanelle for Poetry Daily. I also moderated a panel at the DC AWP called “The Great Indoors: Gender, Writing, and Re-envisioning Literary Merit.” And finally, I am writing an essay for The Yellow of Unlove, a collection of essays, poems, and commentaries on the great Michael Hofmann.

Mark McKain (MFA, 2004), <>
Teaching screenwriting and animation writing online at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.

Work recently appeared in The New York Times, American Letters & Commentary, The Journal, Cimarron Review, Cider Press Review, and The Prose-Poem Project. In October, The Center for Book Arts published a limited-edition letterpress broadside of my poem “Wild Coffee.” 

Oindrila Mukherjee (MFA, 2004)
Some good news. I had a few campus visits and have just accepted a tenure track position in the writing dept. of Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, MI. I’ll die in the cold but it’s a good dept. for undergrads.

Phoebe North (MFA, 2009)
I’m living in New York State with my husband Jordan and my cat Sammy, both of whom remain quite spoiled. My debut novel Starglass and its sequel sold in November to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for publication in Summer of 2013. I recently attended the Viable Paradise workshop on Martha’s Vineyard, and am working on a book about teenage girls, abusive relationships, and robots.

Padgett Powell
I’ve had a year of Hendrixing in England.  Went in November and did three BBC shows, a Dazed & Confused video interview, an Irish radio piece, a Guardian interview, a trip to Glasgow as an ambassador of experimental fiction, which no one there could define to the ambassador’s liking.  I told Jarvis Cocker that Americans debate two matters when he comes up: whether he mooned Michael Jackson and whether Joe Cocker is his Daddy.  He dismissed the Jackson with a touch of exasperation, but on Joe he said that Joe had, before he was Joe Cocker, in fact installed a gas heater for his (Jarvis’s) mother.  So Joe Cocker was in your house, with your mother?  Yes.  Well that changes the debate a little, you have to admit.

Magdalen Powers (MFA, 2008), <>
Still in Salem, Ore., attempting to teach various sorts of writing at the local community college and fancy-pants U. Erstwhile compatriots at twentieth (20th!) college reunion in summer ’11 lured me onto Facebook, to my sometime delight and occasional dismay. Personal life implosions a-go-go, although health and general outlook are good, as is fairly newly purchased house (avec guest bed and bath: hint). I now, apparently, grow Japanese persimmons and two types of fig, in addition to less esoteric fruit. Writing with great frequency but not much outward effect, although the Shrimpfest story finally saw the light of day, on Spork.

Diana R. Smith (MFA, 2009), <>
I am still teaching composition, literature, and creative writing at Southwest Texas Junior College, a little border college made of dust and plagiarism. Three of my poems appeared in the Jackson Hole Review in 2011. At the convention for the Two-Year College English Association, I presented about incorporating poetry translation into the composition classroom. I’m engaged to AJ Bolton, and the wedding will be in 2012.

Eric Smith (MFA, 2009), <>
Placed poems this year at Greensboro Review, Measure, Pleiades, and Smartish Pace. The Rumpus took a review of Dave Lucas’ Weather. My manuscript, Black Hole Factory, was a finalist for the Anthony Hecht Prize at Waywiser and a semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard First Book Prize. I’m still editing Cellpoems with four other UF grads, and have a couple of years left on my visiting assistant professor of English gig at Marshall University.

Jennifer Phifer Strange (MFA, 2001), <>
We have two sons now—the 5-year-old tells stories and builds forts, and the 2.5-year-old follows him around with his underwear on backwards. They’re work and fun enough, so I’ve dropped to a mere adjunct at the big college in order to pursue the art of homemaking. Literary fun has ensued as well, including a reading at a local place called Yellow House Highland and whatever freelance editing falls into my inbox. I’ve had some poems and an essay on the Art House America blog, which I also serve as assistant editor. And Texas Review Press will publish three of my poems in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IV: Louisiana any day now.

Alexandra Teague (MFA, 1998)
My first book, Mortal Geography (Persea 2010), won the California Book Award this spring. This fall, I started a new job as Assistant Professor of Poetry at the University of Idaho, which means my partner, Dylan, and I have relocated to small-town Moscow after years in the Bay Area. I’ve recently had poems published in FIELD, Cimarron Review, and Slate, and a 12-poem series from my new manuscript is forthcoming in The Seattle Review in Dec/Jan.

Troy Teegarden (MFA, 2006), <>
Several of my fictional endeavors made it past the editor’s desk in the last year. All of these appear in print or online journals that you haven’t heard of, and these fine publications will likely disappear within a year due to publishing my writing. So it goes. I’m working on a novel about an old guy who shoots a young guy in the kneecap over a dispute regarding a boat. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Adam Vines (MFA, 2006)
My first collection of poetry, The Coal Life, was a finalist for the Miller Williams Prize and will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in the spring of 2012. Last year, poems of mine appeared in The Literary Review, Redivider, Iron Horse Literary Review, among others. Poems are forthcoming in Poetry, Post Road, and a couple of anthologies. I continue to teach at UAB and edit Birmingham Poetry Review. I am also faculty advisor for the UAB Fishing Team, which places well in regional and national tournaments. I spent my third year on staff at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference this past summer, where I am now a drink-slinger at the French House and serve my infamous possum-water hooch and specialty drinks, one aptly christened The Earthworm: red wine, gin, and diet Dr. Pepper. Melissa Dameron-Vines and my daughter Mary are starting to gang up on me. My buck-cat is going blind and is no help with the matter.

Sidney Wade
On October 20, Sidney Wade delivered a powerful reprimand to Governor Scott, setting him straight about the immense economic value to the Florida economy that resides in its community of poets and their students in University programs:

Unfortunately, the reporter left off her introductory sentences, which went like this:

As you no doubt understand, the governor is a short-sighted boob. But surely, even HE can’t be so blind as not to recognize that the study of Creative Writing, and especially Poetry, at the University level contributes substantially to the economic wealth of corporations, which is certainly his main concern. He also spelled her name wrong.

Before she was asked to offer her expert advice on the economy, she spent a week in Istanbul, at the International Istanbul Poetry Festival, where she gave three television and eight newspaper interviews. Now THERE’s a country that appreciates the enormous economic value of poets and poetry. Her poem about another of Florida’s valuable economic engines, the Burrowing Owl, was published in The New Yorker on October 17th. A new book of poems, Out of This World, will be published by Persea Books in the spring of 2013. This event will surely bring in millions of dollars of revenue, most of which will be reinvested in the Florida economy in some form or another.

Martin Wilson  (MFA, 1998), <>
I’m still living in New York City. Since August of 2011, I’ve been working as a publicity manager at HarperCollins, working on books for the Harper, Harper Perennial, and Ecco imprints. I’m also finishing up the latest draft of my second novel, which is under contract at Random House. Hopefully it will come out sometime in 2013. If you’re ever in New York, drop me a line.