Monday, October 30, 2006

from Curtis Crisler (MFA '04):

I will be getting married at the end of January to Arana McCall. She’s an RN, and she’s paying off her school bills by working for one of the hospitals here. We plan on going to the Bahamas and doing it on the beach (that is, getting married on the beach. Get your mind out of the gutter, Rodney). So that’s still coming together. In September I went to Soul Mountain Retreat with Marilyn Nelson and Tonya Hegamin. I met this cool brother, Carl Dean, Jr. (up and coming poet and musician). I recently went to New York. My first time, and it was nice. I really enjoyed it. I had a ball! And this past week, I went to the Gwendolyn Brooks Conference in Chi-town. I got to see Adrian, but only for a minute because I was back on the road to The Fort (Fort Wayne, IN).

So I’ll be grading papers all weekend. Yea! Kevin and I were going to come to the Devil’s Kitchen, but he is doing catch up, and I am doing a balancing act (both, for academia).

I am currently working on a manuscript for helping incoming freshmen (Summer Bridge) make that transition from high school to college. For some reason I realized that they go from teenagers to adults in a small span of time (May/June –August). After reading the Freedom Writers Diary we came up with our own, tentatively titled: Our Last Summer: Six Weeks of Writing to Independence. Through journaling they are able to address their fears, concerns, weaknesses, strengths, and discoveries of their goals and dreams. I plan on using this as a learning tool for future Summer Bridge students, in conjunction with IPFW’s Sociology Department, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Services, and the Writing Center. They have all been instrumental in the project, and in the development of the students.

(Note: Curtis teaches at his undergraduate alma mater, IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne). His first book of poems, Tough Boy Sonatas, is forthcoming.)

A note from Steve Leek, aka Steven Trebellas (MFA '05)

Note: Steve's poems appear on such sites as Poemelon, Cezanne's Carrot, and Boxcar Poetry Review. CRWROPPS is the Creative Writers Opportunites List (link at right).

From Steve:

I have totally used CRWROPPS to get my journal pubs. They have all been in E-Zines, and, per Rodney's suggestion, I have used my Mother's maiden name 'Trebellas' as my writer's name. My father always resisted, while my Mother assisted, so I think that's fair. After getting into some electronic journals, I decided to stick with them, mainly because they were interesting to me and a little strange (to my generation). It surprised me how astute some of the editors are--especially the ones who liked my poems ;). If I didn't take the E's seriously before, I do now. A few of them even struck up conversations and I was delighted to have some clever new friends. The transition to print journals seems intimidating. After the MFA, I just wanted to write more poems while I had the momentum. The E-Journals seemed friendly and it was less trouble to click "send" than lick stamps.

I have been taking jobs here and there--doing most anything. I own my old gas station, so I don't need much money, and my health is holding up. I have tried to keep a high level of involvement in writing. I spent two semesters as a kind of guest coach at WIU where I worked with grad students who submitted a creative thesis. This allowed me to get some of my own new poems critiqued. A high point for me was a visit to the CCCC convention in Chicago where I saw Teresa Kramer, and my old subversive friend Dr. Strickland. For now, I want to start entering contests. I have a chapbook ready and have about a third of the poems in it taken. When I get around half of them taken, I'll be ready to send it out along with many dollars.

Hi to everyone! Allison, Jon, Rodney, Judy, and Mag. To my workshop peers, you know I miss you all. Hopefully, I'll see some of you at this years Devil's Kitchen. Ta, you Speedsters! Steve
Recent MFA grad and current English Dept. lecturer Michael Meyerhofer has won the 2006 Laureate Prize from the National Poetry Review for his poem "Diagnosing God."
National Poetry Review

Sunday, October 29, 2006

a little sunshine

Allison Joseph's poem "The Poem Your Mother Warned You About" won first place in the 2006 Florida State Poetry Association Contest, formal verse category. Her poem "Future Writer" won first place in the 2006 FSPA's Alkoff Memorial Award.
2007 FSPA Contest Guidelines

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ben Percy news

Great news from Benjamin Percy (MFA '04). His story "Obsidian Junior High" has been accepted for publication in Esquire--it will appear in January! Another story, "Where to Begin," received a $1000 Tamarack Award from Minnesota Monthly and will appear in the December 2006 issue. Congrats, Ben!
You can visit Ben at his web site:
Ben's site

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Upcoming Reading--10/25

This week's in-house reading sponsored by the Graduate Writers Forum features
Martin Call, poet
Jason Brown, fiction writer
Jon Tribble, poet

The reading will be in the SIUC Student Center Illinois Room from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
All are invited.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Forthcoming Poem

Third-year poetry MFA student Lis Meyer's poem "My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies" has been accepted by PMS (Poem/Memoir/Story)!
Congrats, LIs!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Meyerhofer on Verse Daily

Recent MFA grad and current lecturer in the department appears today on Verse Daily:
Verse Daily

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Settling for First...

Allison Joseph's poem "The Settling" has won first place in the poetry division of the Fall 2006 Writing Contest held by the California Writers Club, Central Coast Branch.
Central Coast Writers

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Graduate Student Reading Today--10/18

Another In-House Graduate Student Reading will take place today from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in the SIUC Student Center Illinois Room.

Reading from their work will be MFA students Mary Keck (fiction), Helena Bell (poetry) and John Flaherty (fiction). The reading is sponsored by the Graduate Writers Forum and the MFA Program in Creative Writing. All are welcome.

Pinckney Benedict to Judge National Contest

To get contest guidelines, visit

Salem College

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pinckney's latest pubs

The Pinckney Benedict era at SIUC continues with these publications:

“Mercy” (short story), Ontario Review # 65 (Princeton, NJ), Fall/Winter 2006-07.


“Pig Helmet & the Wall of Life” (short story), StoryQuarterly #42 (Kenilworth, IL), October 2006.


“Rescuing Moon” (short story), reprint, I Feel (magazine), Kinokuniya Publishing (Tokyo), October 2006.

Documentary featuring Allison Joseph airs tonight

From the WTTW web site:

Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts

Commissioned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Illinois Arts Council, this poignant and inspiring film interweaves the compelling stories of four artists in widely divergent mediums living and working in Illinois. Trumpeter and composer Orbert Davis, Carbondale poet and educator Allison Joseph, large scale metal sculptor Dessa Kirk of Chicago, and Albany Park Theatre Project co-founder/co-director Laura Wiley speak candidly about the challenges, sacrifices and rewards of their work, and the importance of “passing the torch” to young and developing artists.

Viewing notes:
In Chicago, "Beauty Rises" will air twice (on the 12th at 8 and on the 15th at 6 pm. In southern Illinois, it will air on WSIU on the 12th at 11pm. It will also be on the internet at the WTTW website (

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Graduate Student Reading Today

Another In-House Graduate Student Reading will take place today from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in the SIUC Student Center Illinois Room.

Reading from their work will be MFA students Alex Lumens (fiction), Martin Call (poetry) and Will Tyler (poetry). The reading is sponsored by the Graduate Writers Forum and the MFA Program in Creative Writing. All are welcome.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Serialized fiction from Mike Magnuson

Mike Magnuson's fiction can be found at

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Latest Faculty Publication

Pinckney Benedict's "Pig Helmet & The Wall of Life" appears in the
just-published issue of Story Quarterly (#42).

Literary Events in Carbondale This Week

The first of a series of "In-House" Graduate Student Readings will
happen this October 4th at 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in the SIUC Student
Center Illinois Room.

Reading from their work will be MFA students/fiction writers Jared
Sexton and Andrew Lewellen, along with MFA student/poet Kerry James

SIUC's undergraduate magazine, Grassroots, will hold its first open
mike reading of the semester on October 5, 8 pm to 10 pm, at the Long
Branch Coffee House, 100 East Jackson Street, in Carbondale.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Upcoming author appearances for SIUC creative writing faculty

Allison Joseph will be appearing again at Woman Made Gallery as part of the premiere party for the Her Mark 2007 calendar. The reading is at Woman Made Gallery, 685 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL, from 2-4 pm on October 8.
For more information:

Rodney Jones will be reading from his new collection, Salvation Blues, at the Southern Festival of Books in Memphis, TN on Sunday, October 15, from 12 noon to 1 pm.
For more information: