Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just because Devil's Kitchen's over...

doesn't mean that the literary doings stop in Carbondale!
Here's a summary of upcoming literary events. All are free and open
to the public.

Oct 31: Grassroots, the undergraduate literary journal of SIUC, hosts a
Halloween Literary Open Mic that will take place this Wednesday
(Halloween) from 7:30-10:00pm in the Big Muddy Room
(basement of the SIUC Student Center). Come dressed in costume
(or not, if you wish) to share and/or listen to original
poetry or prose with the undergraduate creative writing community.
Yummy treats will be provided.

Nov 1: MFA Program Graduate Student Reading
Kaskaskia/Missouri Room, 5 pm, SIUC Student Center

Laura Gross, first-year MFA student, poetry
Justin Benton, first-year MFA student, fiction
Kerry James Evans, second-year MFA, poetry

Nov 6: Native American poet Sherwin Bitsui
7 p.m. – Sherwin Bitsui (DinĂ©) with contemporary Native American Poetry
including readings from his book "Shapeshift" and more recent works.
He'll also discuss the importance of poetry in Native American education and identity.
Originally from the White Cone, Ariz. Navajo Reservation,
A Diné of the Tocich'ii'nii (Bitter Water Clan)
and borne of the Tl'zilani (Many Goats Clan),
he currently resides in Tucson, Ariz. Event to be held in the
Ohio Room on the second floor of the Student Center.

Nov 7: Reading and Drinking, Open Mike at Melange, 7pm
607 S. Illinois Avenue, Carbondale.

Nov 12: Laura Benedict reads from her literary thriller, Isabella Moon,
for Sigma Tau Delta (English Honors Society).
6-7 pm, Mackinaw Room, Student Center.
For more about the book and Laura, visit www.laurabenedict.com.
She will read from her newly published novel and answer questions about her work.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pinckney's a Great Man...and Judge!

from my esteemed colleague Pinckney Benedict:

"For the blog, whenever it’s convenient: For what it’s worth, just wanted to tell you that I served as judge, along with Amy Hempel and Lynn Freed, for the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Awards this year. This was a particular pleasure because I won the Algren way back in 1986.

The description of the awards is as follows:

“The Nelson Algren awards are for short fiction. Submissions must be written by an American and must be unpublished. One $5,000 prize and three runner-up prizes of $1,500 are awarded. The award is given in memory of Chicago author Nelson Algren.”

It looks as though they’ll begin accepting submissions for next year’s awards beginning November 1. Everybody in the program who has a story should enter."

To find the guidelines, visit the Chicago Tribune's web site at http://www.chicagotribune.com/
and put "Algren Awards" in the search box.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Paul Guest (MFA '99) Named a Whiting Fellow

The official announcement!
  • Whiting Foundation

    Article in Atlanta Journal Constitution:
  • AJC
  • And Now a Word from Mark Vannier

    Melanie Dusseau (MFA '03) sent me this about fellow MFA grad Mark Vannier:

    I think Mark is too shy to send you his "clippings,"
    as he calls them. Here he is on Chicago Public Radio
    reading a sketch with other comedy writers:

  • WBEZ

    Scoll down to "Hello Beautiful." It is segment two,
    you can click on the "listen" tab and his story starts
    at about minute three. Cool stuff! I thought the MFA
    blog would like to hear from him.

    Thanks, Mel D!
  • Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Be on the lookout for...

    new poems by Matt Guenette (MFA '99):

    "Have 4 poems forthcoming: 2 in Diagram, 2 in Poetry Midwest."

    Thanks for the update, Matt. Let us know when the poems are published!

    Paul Guest (MFA '99) Slide Show

    Go to
  • AJC

    for a slide show about MFA poetry grad Paul Guest, with a lovely surprise at the end.
    Congratulations, Paul! A well-deserved honor!
  • Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Ben Percy (MFA '04) Featured in Poets and Writers!

    A wonderful feature article on SIU MFA alum Ben Percy can be found in the November/December issue of Poets and Writers.
    An excerpt from the article can be found at

  • Poets and Writers

    You have to get the magazine to read the entire article, but it's worth it, if only for the story of how Ben met (and wooed) his wife Lisa.
  • Friday, October 19, 2007

    Congratulations to Andrew Lewellen!

    Big news from third-year MFA fiction writer Andrew Lewellen:

    "After being 8 days late and putting Aishwarya through 24 hours of labor, Josephine Nukala Lewellen was born by Caesarean section on Tuesday, October 16 at 2:12 pm.
    We were expecting a boy due to the baby's size and activity. But we both wanted a girl and were delighted when one appeared. Josephine weighed 8.9 lbs at birth and came into the world
    looking suspiciously at everything she saw (particularly me!). So far she has demonstrated the same acrobatic feats she did while in the womb and appears to have her father's incessant and insatiable appetite for food.

    Both baby and mother are doing well, and we are scheduled to be dismissed from the hospital on Friday.

    Hope everyone is doing well. I'm delighted to share this news with you."

    Congratulations, Andrew, on your new daughter!

    Press Release on Devil's Kitchen

    Here's the University's press release on Devil's Kitchen. Check it out
    University Communications

    Congrats to Amie Whittemore!

    Lovely news this morning from first-year poetry MFA student Amie Whittemore:

    "I am delighted to let you know that my poem "The Sting" has been accepted for
    publication by the Packingtown Review, University of Illinois-Chicago's literary
    magazine. It'll be in their inaugural issue, November 2008."

    Congrats, Amie!

    For information on Packingtown Review, visit their site at
    Packingtown Review

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival Feature Article

    Nightlife, Carbondale's free entertainment newspaper, has an article about this year's Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival. Thanks to Meg Moynihan for the coverage (scroll down to read the article):


    Author Appearances: SIUC Faculty Writers

    Allison Joseph will be appearing at the University of Pittsburgh as part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series (reading October 23, "Publishing Poets" panel October 24):
    Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series

    Judy Jordan will be a featured poet at the John R. Milton Writers Conference at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, reading from her work on Friday, October 26.
    Conference schedule:
    John R. Milton Conference

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    A Change in Today's Line-Up

    Today's Graduate Student In-House Reading is still at 2PM in the SIUC Student Center Illinois Room, but there's been a change in readers. Renee Evans (second-year, fiction) will share the stage with Hannah New (first-year, poetry) instead of Halvor Aakhus.

    Welcome Visiting Graduate Student Writers!

    The Graduate Writers Forum
    at Southern Illinois University Carbondale

    presents the first-ever edition of

    Writers on the Road

    featuring fiction and poetry readings
    by graduate writing students from

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Illinois State University

    Friday, October 19, 2007
    SIUC Student Center ~ Mississippi Room

    3 p.m. Readers from UIUC
    4:30 p.m. Readers from ISU

    All are welcome. Please spread the word.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    New poems by Rodney Jones

    Faculty member and poet supreme Rodney Jones has several new poems in the latest issue of TriQuarterly (TriQuarterly 128, guest-edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby). The poems are "On Fiction," "Sook," and "Deathly."

    Ben Percy in Green Mountains Review

    A new piece by Ben Percy (MFA '04) appears in the 20th Anniversary Issue of Green Mountains Review. The piece, entitled "Wal-Mart and the Apocalpyse and Me" is, fittingly enough, part of an issue focusing on the "Literature of the American Apocalypse."

    Read more about the issue at
    Green Mountains Review

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Allison Joseph to read at SUNY-Oneonta

    Allison Joseph will read from her poems on the campus of SUNY-Oneonta
    on October 11, 2007 at 7:30 pm.

    More info at:
    SUNY Oneonta

    Saturday, October 06, 2007

    Adrian Matejka Update

    Adrian Matejka (MFA '01) has some upcoming reading dates. Catch him this fall at the venues listed below:

    October 19th, 1:00pm--Gwendolyn Brooks Conference at Chicago State University, Chicago, IL

    November 19th, 7:30pm--River Styx at Duff's Reading Series, 392 N. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63108
    River Styx

    December 6th, 8:00pm--Observable Reading Series at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave. (at Manchester)
    Maplewood, MO 63143
    Observable Reading Series

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Ben Percy (MFA '04) Reading Tour Dates

    Ben Percy will be on the road to promote his new book, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf Press). He'd love to see familiar faces! Catch Ben on these dates at these venues:

    Thursday, October 25th, 2007. 192 Books--sponsored by Symphony Space. New York. Actor Ted Marcoux will read "Refresh, Refresh" followed by a conversation with Ben.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007. With Roy Kesey, as part of the Happy Ending reading series. At the Happy Ending Bar, 302 Broome Street, NY.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007. Micawbers Bookstore. St. Paul, MN.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007. Seminary Co-op Bookstore. Chicago.

    October 18-21, 2007. Chippewa Valley Book Festival. Eau Claire, Wisconsin. http://www.cvbookfest.org/ for festival info.

    October 14, 2007. 4-5pm. Wisconsin Book Festival. Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State Street. Madison, WI. With Danielle Trussoni.

    Monday, October 8, 2007. 7pm. Marquette University's Weasler Auditorium, 15th and Wells, Milwaukee, WI. Wisconsin Authors' Night. With Larry Watson and Jane Hamilton.

    Thursday, October 4, 2007, 7:30pm. Sponsored by Bookslut. A reading at The Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark Street, Andersonville, IL.

    Dates in November, December and January to be posted in the future.

    Congrats to Amy Blache (MFA '07)!

    Amy Blache (MFA '07) has a big announcement:

    "Just thought I'd share with the MFA family that Julian Joseph Graziano was born at 11:40 a.m. by c-section on 9/26/2007. (Julian shares a birthday with T.S. Eliot!) He weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. and spent four exhausting days in the NICU but now has a clean bill of health. I am doing just fine and the little man is cute as can be!"

    Congratulations, Amy, on your new son!