Friday, December 18, 2015

FIU MFA Spotlight: Ashley M. Jones

Since graduating from the FIU MFA program in May 2015, poet Ashley M. Jones has received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, has had her first poetry collection accepted, and has just been named co-editor of PANK Magazine.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award is given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers.The awards of $30,000 were presented to the six recipients on September 17th in New York City.  You can hear Jones and the other awardees  reading from their work on the foundation website.

Jones' poetry collection Magic City Gospel, which was her MFA thesis, will be published in Fall 2016 by Hub City Books. Currently a faculty member teaching creative writing at Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, AL, Jones recently received a Birmingham Metro Fusion Award.

In early December, PANK Magazine's new publisher John Gosslee announced the latest stage in the life of the magazine, originally founded by M. Bartley Siegel and Roxane Gay in 2006 with the goal of publishing “emerging and innovative poetry and prose, publishing the brightest and most promising writers for the most adventurous readers.” "I want us, as artists, to create wild art with purpose," Jones says in a piece just published in which Jones and fellow editor Chris Campioni discuss PANK's vision and their personal aesthetics.

Jones was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow while in FIU's graduate program. She served as Official Poet for the City of Sunrise, FL, and her work was recognized in the 2014 Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writer's Exchange contest and the 2015 Academy of American Poets competition at FIU. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Night Owl, The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, pluck!, Valley Voices: New York School Edition, Fjords Review: Black American Edition, PMSPoemMemoirStory, Kinfolks Quarterly, Tough Times in American Anthology, and Lucid Moose Press's Like a Girl. Learn  more about Ashley M. Jones at her website.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Nina Romano's First Novel, The Secret Language of Women

FIU MFA alumna Nina Romano's The Secret Language of Women, an historical novel set against the background of the Boxer Rebellion, has recently been published by Turner Publishing. The first of the Wayfarer Trilogy, the novel will be followed by Lemon Blossoms, set in mob-era Sicily, and In America, which moves to in Brooklyn during the Great Depression.

Among Romano's earlier works are the poetry chapbooks Prayer in a Summer of Grace and Time's Mirrored Illusion (both, Flutter Press) and Faraway Confections, a full-length collection from Aldrich Press. You can read more about these and other projects at Romano's website. She will be reading from and discussing her book at Murder on the Beach bookstore in Delray Beach along with author D.J. Niko on Nov. 13 at 7 PM, at Miami Book Fair International's Festival of Authors, Sat. Nov. 21st at 2 PM,  and at Books & Books in Coral Gables on December 11th at 6 PM.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Elisa Albo's Each Day More Published

Main Street Rag Press has published Each Day More, a collection of elegies by MFA alumna Elisa Albo. The Potomac Review writes, "The poems in Each Day More are somber, but they are wise . . . The spare, evocative lines also provide their own sense of solace by the sheer artfulness and gentle reflection with which they are written."

Albo's work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Alimentum, Bomb Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, MiPoesias, and Tigertail: a South Florida Annual. Her chapbook Coming to America, originally published by March Street Press and available as an ebook, will soon be reissued by Main Street Rag Press. Born in Havana and raised in Central Florida, Albo teaches English and ESL at Broward College.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Anthony Gagliano's The Emperor's Club Published

MFA alumnus Anthony Gagliano's noir thesis novel, Straits of Fortune, was published by Harper Collins to critical acclaim.  But while he was working on the follow-up, continuing the adventures of Jack Vaughan, Gagliano suffered a stroke and died at 53, leaving The Emperor's Club incomplete.  His professors at FIU, Dan Wakefield and Les Standiford, took on the task of finishing the book, which has now been published by MidTown Publishing.

The result, says Pamela Akins in The Florida Book Review, is "an action-packed crime tale, preserving Gagliano's sharp, world-weary voice."  How Standiford and Wakefield's approached turning the layered drafts of the unfinished book into the published one is recounted in this article from FIU news.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dave Landsberger's Poetry Collection Suicide by Jaguar Debuts

Suicide by Jaguar, the first full-length poetry collection by MFA alumnus Dave Landsberger, has just been published by Miami-based Jai-Alai Books.  The book was designed in a bilingual format, also containing Suicido por Jaguar, a Spanish language version of the poems, translated by J.V. Portela.  Landsberger's poems have been described as having the themes of "death, tacos, Egyptian mythology, basketball, motherhood, and beauty.

The collection was launched during Miami Book Fair International, with a Jai-Alai press party at Ball & Chain in Little Havana, and Landsberger, who lives in Chicago, read on Sunday, Nov. 23rd at the Fair. Landsberger's poetry has been profiled in The New Yorker and The Chicago Tribune, and his comic "Beef Jams" is currently being published in serial form by Image Comics. He is a founding member, along with Kathleen Rooney, of Poems While You Wait, a group of public performance typewriter poets. His chapbook, Whoa, Yeah, Baby, is available for free at Floating Wolf Quarterly.  (Dave Landsberger photo, credit Gesi Schilling Photography.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FIU MFA Authors at Miami Book Fair International 2014

At Miami Book Fair International this week. FIU’s Creative Writing program will be well-represented, with faculty, students, and alumni among the more than 500 authors who’ll be presenting at the Festival of Authors. Below is a quick listing of those from FIU, the books they’ll be speaking about or the special presentations they’re involved in, with the day and time.  For rooms and other details, please see the complete Book Fair Schedule online.  (And at the Fair, pick up a printed copy which will be updated with any changes.)
This year, the Book Fair is introducing The Swamp, a pop-up lounge in a big tent at the southeast corner of N.E. 3rd Street and 2nd Ave, that showcases Florida stories, music, dance, film, history, and art.  “All week long, Swamp events will explore the beauty, contradictions, uniqueness, and downright ‘weirdness’ of life in Florida.”  Swamp events are listed separately in the Street Fair part of the schedule.  MFA alumna Emma Trelles is interviewed in this Cultist blog piece in the Miami New Times about one of the Swamp events that includes a number of FIU writers, The Sweat II Broadsheet project.
The O Miami Poetry Festival, directed by MFA alumnus Scott Cunningham, has produced a special Poetry Guide to the Book Fair, highlighting poetry-related events, including special micro-workshops in poetry at the Jai-Alai books booth.
To find out what goes on at the sessions you miss, you can read The Florida Book Review's annual Book Fair Blog,  reported this year by two dozen FIU MFA alumni and graduate students, led by faculty member and FBR Editor Lynne Barrett.
Sunday Nov. 16:
7:30 PM O Miami Poetry Karaoke Lounge, Scott Cunningham, O Miami Founder/Director, The Swamp

Wednesday, Nov. 19:
7 PM Launch of Badass—Lip Service True Stories, The Double Album, with Nicholas Garnett and Esther Martinez-Keniff, The Swamp

Thursday, Nov. 20:
5 PM Poem Depot: Poetry on Demand, with Ashley M. Jones and Laura McDermott Matheric, The Swamp

6 PM Fifteen Views of Miami launch, Battle of Literary Short Stories: Miami vs. Orlando, with JJ Colagrande, The Swamp

Saturday, Nov. 22:
10 AM, Elisa Albo, Each Day More

11 AM: James W. Hall, The Big Finish

12:30 Sweat Broadside Project II: Readings and Limited Edition Broadside Giveaway, with Annik Adey-Babinski, Lynne Barrett, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello,  Cathleen Chambless,  John Dufresne,Yaddyra Peralta, Emma Trelles, and Nick Vagnoni, The Swamp

4:30 PM  Denise Duhamel, Blowout

5:30 PM: John Dufresne, No Regrets, Coyote

6 PM: Julie Marie Wade, When I Was Straight

Sunday, Nov. 23
10 AM: John W. Evans, Young Widower: A Memoir

11 AM: Cecilia M. Fernandez, Leaving Little Havana

11 AM: Parker Phillips, Reading Queer  presents This Is For the Ladies Who Brunch, The Swamp

12 PM: Ran Henry, Spurrier: How the Ball Coach Taught the South to Play Football

1 PM: Anjanette Delgado, The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho
2 PM: Richard Blanco,  The Prince of Los Cocuyos, a Miami Childhood

2:30 PM:  Joe Clifford, Lamentation

5:30 PM: Anjanette Delgado, The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho, in Spanish.

6 PM: Dave Landsberger, Suicide by Jaguar

Friday, November 14, 2014

Just Published: Ran Henry's Spurrier

Lyons Press has just published Spurrier: How the Ball Coach Taught the South to Play Football by FIU MFA alumnus Ran Henry.  Publishers Weekly says, "Committed to piercing the media-hyped myth of Spurrier, Henry has written a wise and honest biography of a man who has revamped the strategy of college football, making it more exciting for players and fans alike."

Henry has written for the Florida Times-Union, the St. Petersburg Times, and Tropic, the Miami Herald Sunday magazine, and has taught writing at FIU and Virginia Commonwealth University. He currently teaches at the University of Virginia and teaches football writing for the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. He first interviewed Steve Spurrier in 1986 and began writing Spurrier when the coach led the Florida Gators to their first-ever national championship in 1997. Henry divides his time between Charlottesville, VA, Columbia, SC, and a home in the mountains of West Virginia.

Henry's extensive book tour will bring him to Florida, including a game day reading at the University of Florida Bookstore in Gainesville on Saturday, Nov. 15th. On Sunday, Nov. 16th, he will be presenting at Miami Book Fair International at noon.