Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Memorial Tribute to Dr. Duane Locke (1921-2019)

Julius Duane Locke, 1921-2019

Duane Locke was one of the three founding editors of the Poetry Review at the University of Tampa in 1964 (with R. Morris Newton and W. T. Cuddihy), and while others came and went, Duane continued to edit the literary journal on his own until his retirement in 1986.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1958, and he joined the faculty at the University of Tampa that same year. 

Duane devoted his teaching and writing career to the University of Tampa, where he became Professor of English and poet-in-residence. His many years of professional service established commitments to poetry and to nonprofit literary and artistic innovation, outreach, and publication that have been carried forward to the direct descendant of Duane’s UT Poetry Review: today’s Tampa Review, now the oldest continuously published literary journal in the state. He inspired many of his students to devote themselves to poetry, teaching, and literary pursuits, and he left a literary legacy of dedication and passion. His letters and papers preserved in the Special and Area Studies Collections at the George A. Smathers Library at the University of Florida provide ample evidence of his vitality as editor, writer, and teacher.  There is correspondence with other poetry editors and publishers (Fred Wolven, editor of the Ann Arbor Review; Harvey Tucker of Black Sun Press; Hugh Fox of Ghost Dance Press, Paul Roth of Bitter Oleander Press, and many other poets and former students, including Sylvia Krohn Scheibli, Charles Hayes, Helene Jarmol, Leo Connellan, William Taylor, Nico Suarez, Gerritt O’Sullivan, Sam Cornish, Jane Leonard, James MacQueen, Randall Ackley, and Roger Sauls, some of whom worked with him on the Poetry Review. Among the better-known poets included in his correspondence are Robert Bly, David Ignatow, Louis Hammer, Robert Morgan, and Diane Wakoski, all of whom appeared in the editions of the journals Duane published during his twenty-eight years at the university.  

The editors of Tampa Review note with sadness and deep appreciation the passing of an inspiring Editor and Professor Emeritus. We want to share a tribute from one of his former students, which speaks for itself.

Tribute to Dr. Duane Locke

by  Dr. José Rodeiro, one of his former students

Brilliant Florida poet Dr. Duane Locke died February 17, 2019. He was a leading light of American poetry from the 1960s to the early-21st century, standing as one of the seminal voices of his generation inspiring several generations of poets and artists involved in Linguistic Reality, Immanentism, Imagistic Poetry, Thing-Thing Metaphysics, and other contemporary poetic movements. He published many books, including: Duane Locke: “The First Decade (1968-1978),” Bitter Oleander Press. Courageously, Dr. Locke maintained full control of his brilliant mind and his energetic intensity until the very end of his remarkable creative life!   In fact, Last year at the Poetry Convention in Tampa (FL), Dr. Duane Locke (at age 96) read his poems with such strength and power that he filled the room with “duende.”  A year later, he passed at age 97 in full possession of his passionate, creative, and deeply perceptive “poetic-being.”

In 1921, Duane Locke was born in Plains, Georgia; consequently, as a small child, he played with his neighbor—little Jimmy Carter. His family moved to Florida, which remained his home. He lived in Tampa and on Sanibel Island. He earned his Ph.D. in literature from the University of Florida, where a hefty archive is kept about him. 

A devout naturalist, Duane Locke had an overwhelming passion, fascination, and love for all living things, perceiving (innately “knowing”) concrete, specific details about every living thing. He fervently loved the Earth and every animal and plant inhabiting it, knowing their precise scientific names and specific details regarding their existence. Beyond Florida, Duane Locke loved Italy and all things Italian: opera, Campari, fine wines, Chianti, Italian cuisine, and Early-Renaissance art from Cimabue, Giotto, Duccio, all the way to Botticelli. He agreed with Picasso that Paolo Uccello was the greatest of all painters. Thus, he loathed High Renaissance art (he especially reviled Michelangelo), but passionately loved the Mannerists, particularly Domenico Beccafumi. Duane Locke believed that art reflected internal reality, valuing the Immanent (“the within”) over the Transcendental (“the without”). Thus he preferred William Blake’s poems over William Wordsworth’s poems; he preferred the visual art of William Blake over the art of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He valued French Surrealism, Spanish Surrealism, and Latin American Surrealism in poetry and art. Both nationally and internationally, he knew every aspect of modern and contemporary poetry, and was a scholar of Baroque Poetry (especially the English Metaphysical poets). He knew more and experienced more than any human being that I’ve known, always delving deeply into the tiniest hidden marrow of each particular “living” thing.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Michael Lavers Wins 2018 Tampa Review Prize

Utah Poet Michael Lavers

     Michael Lavers, of Provo, Utah, has won the 2018 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry for his first book of poems, After Earth. In addition to a $2,000 check, the award includes hardback and paperback book publication in 2019 by the University of Tampa Press. 
 Poems by Lavers have appeared in Crazyhorse, 32 Poems, The Hudson Review, Best New Poets 2015, TriQuarterly, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He has been awarded the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize, the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize, and the Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets.
Tampa Review judges praised his manuscript for its lyricism and intelligence:  
After Earth constructs a fascinating perspective on our planet and our lives. On one hand it is tender, personal, and intimate—a father singing a lovely lullaby for his newborn infant—and on another it is breathtakingly cosmic, detached, and nearly post-apocalyptic—looking at Earth as a blip in a science fiction spacetime multiverse unfolding in terms of light years and infinite distances. The author draws from a reservoir of scientific, theological, and literary sources to build a structure for the book with something of the architectural strength and uplifting decorative beauty of a gothic cathedral.”
Lavers earned his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University.  He continued his education to complete an MFA at Johns Hopkins, and PhD at the University of Utah. Together with his wife, the writer and artist Claire Åkebrand, and their two children, he now lives in Provo, Utah, and teaches poetry at Brigham Young University.
Lavers says that the poems in this first book were written in a variety of circumstances.
”Most of the poems in After Earth were written while I was learning how to be a father,” Lavers explains, ”and so they are fueled by all the anxiety and fear, and joy and bliss, that come with that new life. They were written sometimes at home, sometimes at school or work, but also at playgrounds and parks, coming as hasty and distracted drafts while my two small kids clambered up and down slides or chased ducks. I admit to spending many hours early in the morning at McDonald's—because there was nowhere else to go—polishing what lines and stanzas I could before going home to parent, and felt somewhat reassured when I learned that for many years Harper Lee also had a regular booth at her local Golden Arches.”
“I wanted these poems to convey to my kids what really matters to me, what I would want them to know or think or feel about the world. If the book has a central tension or concern, I hope it is invoked by the title: the impulse to simply record this earth—to praise all we can, as Auden says, ‘for being and for happening’—as well as to consider what is coming next, what we might hope for, what we will miss.”
This year the judges also announced ten finalists: 
Heather Altfeld, of Chico, California, for "Selected Obituaries and Autopsies”;
William Greenway, of Ephrata, Penn.,  for “Everything We Bring, All We Leave Behind”;
Hunt Hawkins, of Temple Terrace, Florida, for “The Young-Old Life”;
V. P. Loggins, of Annapolis, Maryland, for “The Wild Severance”; 
Sarah Fawn Montgomery, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, for “The Intimacy of Survival”; 
Emily Mohn-Slate, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for “The Falls”; 
Peter Munro, of Kenmore, Washington, for “Fisheries Science in The North Pacific”; 
William Notter, of Richmond, Virginia, for “Buying the Farm”; 
Brian Simoneau, of West Hartford, Connecticut, for “No Small Comfort”; and
Ross White, of Durham, North Carolina, for “Guilt Ledger.”
The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry is given annually for a previously unpublished booklength manuscript. Judging is by the editors of Tampa Review, who are members of the faculty at the University of Tampa. Submissions are now being accepted for 2019. Entries should follow the published guidelines and must be received online or postmarked by December 31, 2018.

Complete guidelines are available at <> or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hannah Weyer Garners
12th Annual Danahy Fiction Prize

Hannah Weyer, winner of The Danahy Fiction Prize

     Hannah Weyer, a writer and filmmaker from Brooklyn, N.Y., is the winner of the twelfth annual Danahy Fiction Prize, judged by the editors of Tampa Review. She receives a cash award of $1,000, and her winning short story, “Sanctuary City,” will be published in the forthcoming Fall/Winter issue of Tampa Review.

     Weyer's debut novel, On the Come Up, received a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers award in 2013 and was an NAACP Image Award Finalist for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author.

     She has also written, directed, and produced narrative and documentary films screened at MoMA, Sundance, the New York Film Festival, and others around the world. Her films have won numerous recognitions, including awards from Sundance, Doubletake Documentary, and South by Southwest Film Festivals. Her documentaries have aired on PBS as part of the POV-American Documentary series and her screenwriting credits include work that premiered on HBO, including Life Support, starring Queen Latifah.

     “The idea for ‘Sanctuary City’ came to me after a subway commute and an overheard conversation—three boys on a train discussing a violent altercation,” Weyer says. “Around this same time, a family friend had been in a schoolyard fight, which was recorded, then posted on YouTube.”

     “As a subway rider,” Weyer explains, “I am constantly reminded to be vigilant in the face of unforeseen dangers relating to global terror, a reminder that brings with it a certain level of helplessness and fear. I began to think about the connection between helplessness caused by imagined scenarios of future violence with the helplessness and fear caused by day-to-day, street-level violence. Can helplessness be transformed into something else? If so, how?”

     Tampa Review judges praised Weyer for portraying complex and fully realized characters as they struggle not only with violence, but with their own generational and cultural gaps.

     “Weyer’s story is perceptive and timely,” said Tampa Review editor Richard Mathews. “The central character, Esme, is an honest, hard-working immigrant who finds she is under assault—her family and her values are being literally and figuratively ‘gunned down.’ It leaves a reader troubled by uncertainy and wrestling with injustice, but also deeply filled with greater empathy.”

     Weyer offers insights informed by close observation and experience. An advocate for youth, she has volunteered in New York at The Door, Scenarios USA, and Reel Works where she works with teens in the media arts. She also teaches screenwriting at Columbia University.

     “She vividly describes the New York settings, the subway scene, and the challenging situations that the young people confront—one in high school; one as a junior college dropout,” Mathews says. “She has a cinematic eye for detail and a fantastic ear for dialog.”

     This year Tampa Review judges also named five Danahy Prize Finalists:

Halvor Aakhus, of Columbia, Missouri, for “Two Women, One Gay Viking”;

Sally Lipton Derringer, of Nanuet, New York, for “Medals”;

Liana Jahan Imam, of Missoula, Montana, for “Tore a Hole in the World What Did You Expect”;

Raven Leilani of Corona, New York, for “The Void Witch”; and

Giovanna Varella of Kissimmee, Florida, for “Local Girls, 2001.”

* * *

     The Danahy Fiction Prize was established by Paul and Georgia Danahy as an annual award for a previously unpublished work of short fiction judged by the editors of Tampa Review, the faculty-edited literary journal of the University of Tampa, which is published twice yearly in a distinctive hardback format. Subscriptions are $25 annually, and subscriptions received by the end of August will begin with the issue featuring Weyer’s prize-winning story.

     The Danahy Fiction Prize is open to both new and widely published writers, with an annual postmark deadline of December 31. The $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Tampa Review, and all entries submitted are considered for publication.

     Complete guidelines are available on the Web at or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Danahy Fiction Prize, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.

* * *

Enjoy the first decade of Danahy Fiction Prize stories in

Monday, November 20, 2017

In Memoriam: Michelle Boisseau

Michelle Boisseau. Photo courtesy UMKC.
The editors and staff of the University of Tampa Press and Tampa Review share a deep sense of loss at the passing of poet, editor, and teacher Michelle Boisseau. She died Wednesday, November 15, 2017, in Kansas City of lung cancer.

Click this sentence for a link to the notice posted by Kansas City’s public radio station KCUR.

Michelle won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry for her last book, Among the Gorgons. When Michelle visited our campus last year to read selections from the book, I had the pleasure of introducing her.  In tribute to her, I would like to post that introduction here:

As many readers will know, the gorgons in Greek mythology are three sisters with serpents for hair. Their penetrating eyes are powerfully compelling, capable of destroying or turning to stone those who look upon them.  As ancient goddesses with origins going all the way back beyond six thousand years B.C., their irresistible monstrous beauty holds the power to both destroy and resurrect.  Their gorgon faces serve as both mask and mirror.

Through the words of Michelle Boisseau, “among the gorgons,” one gradually senses what it might be like inside those eyes, on the other side of the mirror and the mask. What unrelenting courage does it take to see with such eyes?  What dreadful humor, terrifying sympathy, or fierce and penetrating love is awake behind the gaze?

Each year I read hundreds of unpublished poetry book manuscripts for the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, and I find myself looking for one manuscript that I cannot resist.  I set this as a challenge for myself.  If I can put it down, turn away, and stop looking at it, then I do, and move on to consider the next one. But my gaze kept returning to Among the Gorgons.

It was a manuscript with such impressive range, variety, and craftsmanship that I could not turn away. It leapt unexpectedly from personal to mythic, tender to satiric, or tragic to comic. It was beautifully crafted and artistically compelling. It simply had to be our winner.

Eventually I would discover the poet who submitted it: Michelle Boisseau.  When it comes to poetry, she literally wrote the book.  Her creative writing textbook, Writing Poems, is required reading in workshops around the country and is now in its eighth edition.

She is the author of four previous books of poetry: A Sunday in God-Years, published in 2009 by the University of Arkansas Press; Tumbling Air, a PEN USA finalist, published by University of Arkansas Press, 2003; Understory, winner of the Morse Prize, Northeastern University Press, 1996; and No Private Life, Vanderbilt, 1990. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, The Yale Review, and Shenandoah, in addition to many other influential journals.

She was educated at Ohio University and the University of Houston (Ph.D., English/Creative Writing). She has taught at Virginia Intermont College, Morehead State University, and since 1995 at the University of Missouri Kansas City. She has received two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and two prizes from The Poetry Society of America.  She serves as associate editor of BkMk Press and is a member of The Poetry Society of America and PEN America.

In writing judges’ comments for the unpublished text of Among the Gorgons, I tried to express some of the things that made the manuscript so compelling. They remain among the many reasons I am glad this manuscript existed, for I feel very grateful that it has given me the opportunity to get to know Michelle, and to come to know her book more fully during the process of publishing it. I also feel fortunate to be able to introduce her to you here, and in doing so, I would like to share the conclusion of my comments:

In a world where we are all aware of sudden reversals, Boisseau suggests the relevance of art. We are tasked with admiration for the artistic gift that frames contradiction and reveals its beauty. Her voice constantly surprises us with strength in unexpected places and shapes irony into an energetic force. Best of all, her poems in this collection work individually—satisfy and stand fully on their own—while at the same time gathering force and resonance as the book moves confidently into a whole that is greater than its parts.  As Boisseau writes of Henry James’s  meeting with George Eliot: “Ugly is the mother of the sublime—dreadful / and magnetic, it sucks you over the edges / with the torque of awe, so much like love / it must be love.” Boisseau renders and controls the torque through a collection that inspires both awe and love.

It was a deep pleasure to know and to publish editor, professor, poet, and half-sister to Gorgons, Michelle Boisseau.

-Richard Mathews, Director, University of Tampa Press

Monday, August 21, 2017

Poet Eric Smith Wins 2017 Tampa Review Prize

Poet Eric Smith

Eric Smith, of Carrboro, North Carolina, has won the sixteenth annual Tampa Review Prize for Poetry for his collection of poems, Black Hole Factory. In addition to a $2,000 check, the award includes hardback and paperback book publication in 2018 by the University of Tampa Press. 
 Smith’s poems have been published in 32 Poems, Southwest Review, The New Criterion, and the Best New Poets anthology. His critical prose appears in Pleiades and The Rumpus, and is forthcoming in the AWP Writers' Chronicle. He was a founding editor of cellpoems, the innovative and award-winning poetry journal distributed via text message, and he has received scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Convivio, among others.  He is an assistant professor of English at Marshall University, in Huntington, West Virginia, and divides his time between West Virginia and a home in North Carolina. 
Tampa Review judges praised his manuscript for its exploration of an impressive range of traditional poetic forms while building an innovative, personal voice:  
“Eric Smith writes with a commitment to the history and craftsmanship of the well-shaped poem, but his use of tradition, rhyme, and meter become sources of surprise and innovation in his hands. The book has poems that communicate impressive control, intellect, and wit—poems that cultivate ironic self-awareness and detachment on the part of both poet and reader.  And then there are breakthrough moments giving up both irony and control.  In the end, he has shaped a profound and accomplished manuscript of deep personal engagement graced by moving, open flights of lyricism.”
Smith was born in Carrollton, Georgia, and lived in Michigan, Florida, and Spain before moving to West Virginia in 2010.  He earned his BA at the University of West Georgia, an MA from Northern Michigan University, and an MFA from the University of Florida. 
Smith says that his interests in form are wide-ranging.
“I do think rhyme and meter are important. But that’s not to say these tools are more important than any others,” Smith says. “These just happen to be ones that work for me. I’m perpetually astonished by my contemporaries who dare the limits of form, who put new pressure on language and on the sentence.”
“It’s not a stretch to connect that interest in form and restraint to cellpoems, ” he adds. ”My friend Christopher Shannon, an incredible poet and the founding editor of cellpoems, introduced me to the work of Lorine Niedecker, who says in “Poet’s Work”: “No layoff / from this / condensery.” We took that, I think, as an imperative—both for the kind of work we published in the magazine, and also in the work we were ourselves attempting to do.”
Smith is currently working on a second collection of poems, as well as a collection of critical essays on contemporary poetry. 
This year the judges also announced ten finalists: 
Aaron Baker, of Chicago, Illinois, for "Posthumous Noon”;
Charlie Bondhus of Bridgewater, New Jersey,  for “Divining Bones”;
Polly Buckingham of Medical Lake, Washington, for “A Day Like This”;
Donna L. Emerson of Petaluma, California, for “The Place of Our Meeting”;
Jonathan Greenhause of Jersey City, New Jersey, for “Our Recurring List of Heartbreaks”; 
Emily Mohn-Slate of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for “The Falls”; 
Jim Peterson of Lynchburg, Virginia, for “The Horse Who Bears Me Away”; 
Nicholas Samaras of West Nyack, New York, for “The World as Smoke and Distance”; 
Maureen Seaton of Miami, Florida, for “Undersea”; and
Randall Watson of Houston, Texas, for “The Geometry of Wishes.”
The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry is given annually for a previously unpublished booklength manuscript. Judging is by the editors of Tampa Review, who are members of the faculty at the University of Tampa. Submissions are now being accepted for 2018. Entries should follow the published guidelines and must be received online or postmarked by December 31, 2017.
Complete guidelines are available at <> or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Garrett Theige Garners Eleventh Annual
Danahy Fiction Prize from Tampa Review

Garrett Theige, winner of the 2017 Danahy Fiction Prize 
Garrett Theige, of Andover, Massachusetts, has been selected as the winner of the eleventh annual Danahy Fiction Prize by the editors of Tampa Review. He receives a cash award of $1,000 and his winning short story, “Blast Radius,” will be published in the forthcoming Fall/Winter issue of Tampa Review.
This will be a first fiction publication for Theige, who has substantial work in print as a journalist and teaches English at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. 
Theige grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in magazine journalism and English. His previous writing experience includes work as a sports reporter and freelance magazine writer in Missouri, two summers as a newspaper reporter in Michigan, and work as a reporter in Grand Forks, North Dakota, before moving to Andover to teach.
 “Blast Radius,” while set within the confines of a central character’s apartment, has its origins from a global perspective. The story gradually reveals the frightening awareness of an approaching worldwide destruction.
“I wrote a much shorter version of ‘Blast Radius’ in 2013 while studying in Pamplona, Spain,” Theige says. “My roommate and most of my friends were vacationing in other countries, which left me with an unusually quiet apartment and an entire week to myself. Pamplona itself also felt pretty hushed that week, as if the blankets of clouds were muffling the normal sounds of the city. I'm somewhat of a classic extrovert, so I usually cope with silence by doing a lot of writing. That first version of the story reflected a lot of that week—Jerry [the central character] wandered around his apartment while wondering about the outside world in the face of a looming apocalypse.”
“I put the story away for three years until I returned to it this past fall to expand it,“ Theige said. 
Tampa Review judges praised Theige for his use of vivid and original detail, controlled pacing of his plot, and a clear and evocative prose style. 
“Garrett's story was unusual in the best ways,” said one of the judges, fiction editor Yuly Restrepo. “Its dystopian, apocalyptic setting is immediately engaging, but what makes it a winner is the humanity at its core.” 
This year judges also named two runners-up for the Danahy Prize: Alicia Fuhrman of Northampton, Massachusetts, for “Salvage,” and Ron MacLean of Roslindale, Massachusetts, for “Lesser Escape Artists.” 
“It was a real surprise to discover the coincidence that these top three writers are all living in Massachusetts,” said Richard Mathews, editor of Tampa Review. “That’s never happened before. But when we contacted Garrett Theige to tell him he’d won, we found out he’d moved out of Fargo, North Dakota, where he lived when he submitted his story, and he now lives in Massachusetts. It’s definitely a literary state!”
The Danahy Fiction Prize was established by Paul and Georgia Danahy as an annual award for a previously unpublished work of short fiction judged by the editors of Tampa Review, the faculty-edited literary journal of the University of Tampa, published twice yearly in a distinctive hardback format. Subscriptions are $25 annually, and subscriptions received by the end of August will begin with the issue featuring Theige’s prize-winning story.
The Danahy Fiction Prize is open to both new and widely published writers, with an annual postmark deadline of December 31. The $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Tampa Review, and all entries submitted are considered for publication.
Complete guidelines are available on the Web at or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Danahy Fiction Prize, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Richard Chess Discusses His Newest Book of Poetry

Poet Richard Chess is the Director of The Center for Jewish Studies, Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts and Sciences, and Chair of the Department of English at the University of North Carolina Asheville. He is also the author of three previous collections of poetry, Tekiah (1994), Chair in the Desert (2000), and Third Temple (2007), all of them available from the University of Tampa Press. 

As the official publication date approaches, Rick sat down with Tampa Press Director Richard Mathews to talk about the new book, what he’s been up to, and what 2017 will bring. This is an excerpt of their discussion, but you can read the complete conversation with Richard Chess on Tampa Review Online.

* * *

Mathews: The variety and focus of work in your new collection of poetry, Love Nailed to the Doorpost, is surprising and impressive, even to those of us who have known your work well over the years.  Can you talk a little about how it came to be?

Chess: Since publishing Third Temple, I’ve become a regular contributor to “Good Letters,” the blog published by the folks at Image journal. I contribute a thousand-word piece (or a little less) to “Good Letters” about every eighteen days or so. I’ve been writing for them for six years now.

Writing for “Good Letters” has enabled me to discover a new voice and style of writing. It has been one of the most exciting developments for me as a writer at this stage of my life. A good number of the pieces are lyrical prose, more like longish prose poems. Some (but very few) are straightforward narrative, analytical, or argumentative pieces of prose. I’ve also written some about my experiences as an educator, looking in particular at ways I’ve been integrating contemplative practices into my teaching.

I am also very active in two other networks that have some bearing on the directions in which my writing and teaching have moved in recent years. First, I’m involved in a national movement exploring the use of contemplative practices in higher education. The organization is called “The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.” It is the umbrella organization for the “Association for the Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.” I have been on the faculty of ACMHE’s summer seminar in contemplative curriculum development, and I have presented regularly at their annual academic conference. This organization has really become my professional home.

My work with this organization grows out of my own commitment to a personal contemplative practice discipline. I began my daily meditation and related contemplative practices in a Jewish context, participating in two cohorts of the sixteen-month-long Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program, a national program. My engagement with contemplative life—in Jewish contexts and academic contexts—has been a transformative experience for me over the last eight years or so—since the publication of Third Temple.

I am a leader on my own campus of an initiative to integrate contemplative practice throughout university life. I’ve also been developing courses that I teach, mostly in the honors program, on topics connected to contemplative practices, including spiritual autobiography and poetry as a spiritual practice. 

I have no doubt that my writing has been deeply informed by these new developments in my personal and professional life.

Mathews: So we see all of these strands brought together in Love Nailed to the Doorpost?

Chess: Yes, directly and indirectly. These strands, I think, inform the way I move and think through a number of the poems and pieces of lyrical prose. These experiences have also opened my eyes to certain subjects that I don’t think I would have explored if it had not been for the practices in which I’ve been engaged as an educator, a Jew, and a writer.

* * *
Love Nailed to the Doorpost is available now for order in hardback or paperback.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Memoriam: R. C. H. Briggs

Author and Barrister R. C. H. Briggs

The editors and staff of the University of Tampa Press share a deep sense of loss at the passing of a friend and mentor, the British writer, barrister, and editor R. C. H Briggs.  He died peacefully on December 28, 2016, in his bed at home in Coombe Bissett, near Salisbury, with his family around him. He was 92.

Ronald Charles Hawkswell Briggs was born in West Yorkshire, and graduated from New College, Oxford. After serving in the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) from 1943 until 1947, earning the rank of Captain, he completed a Master of Jurisprudence degree and an advanced degree in French.  He became a barrister at law, and following a period of practice at the Common Law Bar, in 1972 he accepted  appointment as Legal Secretary for the independent legal watchdog organization Justice, the UK section of the International Commission of Jurists. There he advanced the group’s mission of “promoting human rights” and “improving the system of justice.”

During his years at Oxford University, and even as he began his legal work, Ron was also becoming a leading authority on the work of William Morris. He was drawn to Morris for a host of reasons, from printing to politics.  In 1957, Ron proposed and successfully launched the first important traveling exhibition of Morris’s work as a printer and typographer: The Typographic Adventure of William Morris. He completed a groundbreaking "Handlist of the Public Addresses of William Morris” in 1960, which called attention to Morris’s speeches as a central and neglected part of his achievements. He launched the first issue of the Journal of the William Morris Society in 1961, serving as its founding editor, and continuing to edit and publish it for seventeen years and making it the single most important source for William Morris studies. In his "Editorial" for the first issue, Ron wrote: “Morris’ central theme, epitomized by him as ‘Reverence for the life of Man upon the Earth,’ led him to criticize much in the world around him; and much that Morris criticized still exists.”

As a leading light for the William Morris Society, he served as its Honorary Secretary as well as a trustee of the Kelmscott House Trust.  He designed numerous publications and led the Society’s publishing program, including introducing a custom of hand printing an annual Christmas greetings card, often in the Kelmscott House basement, which housed a treadle-operated Arab press and one of the original Albion presses from the Kelmscott Press. He organized excursions to important Morris sites, launched the William Morris Centre at Kelmscott House, and was instrumental in the historic home’s preservation and improvement. Today it continues to be home to the William Morris Society.

Ron was deeply committed to issues of human rights and human dignity, equitable justice, political integrity and reform, historical preservation, international thinking, and the preservation of the environment.  He worked to sustain and contribute to many of the works and perceptions that Morris advocated.  His friend and colleague Martin Williams, who served with him as an officer of the Morris Society and later became a founding trustee of the Emery Walker Trust, aptly observed: “Ron was a remarkable character—inspirational, idiosyncratic, and truly larger than life. There was something of William Morris about him, with that continuous energy and unrelenting pursuit of what he perceived to be the right.”

As a dedicated amateur printer, Ron was also drawn to the achievements and influence of Morris’s friend and Hammersmith neighbor, Emery Walker.  He campaigned in many ways for greater recognition of Walker's achievements, promoting him as not only an inspiration and virtual partner in Morris’s Kelmscott Press, but for his many impressive achievements as a photographer, photographic engraver, printer, and founding partner of the influential Doves Press. Ron championed efforts that led the London County Council to place a blue plaque at Walker’s residence at 7 Hammersmith Terrace in 1959.  For that occasion, he produced the earliest draft of another influential work, which was later revised and published by the University of Tampa Press—Sir Emery Walker: A Memoir

Ron is survived by his wife, Joan; his children, Julian, Roland, and Jeni; and his grandchildren, Sylvie and Sasha.

A memorial service was held in Salisbury on January 12. In lieu of flowers, the family suggested donations to one of Ron’s favorite charities, the Tibet Relief Fund.

Ronald Briggs at his home a few months before his 90th birthday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Additional Printers’ Praise for “The Rich Mouse”

After a twenty-six year tenure at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, as Professor of Fine Arts directing the Printmaking program, Jim Jereb is now one of the curators of art at The Brinton Museum, located in Big Horn, Wyoming, and will head the Printmaking section of the museum’s new Art Education Center.

With his many years of printing experience, we’re happy to share with you Jim’s comments about a book he describes as, “A charming story with strong connections and relevance to the current society.”

Jim Jereb on The Rich Mouse . . .

The proportions of the book fit comfortably in the hand and present the story and illustrations for easy reading and viewing.

• The cover design is well integrated with the illustrations, using the texture of woodcut as a motif.

• The layout of the text blocks and illustrations (margins, pagination, gutters) enhances the reading experience.

 The selection of the J. J. Lankes woodcut illustrations complements the story and treats the reader to an enchanting visual and literary experience.

• Technically speaking, the illustrations and text are inked and printed with great skill.  The darks have rich solids yet maintain crisp, clean edges and definition.

• The paper that the book is printed upon is wonderful, with a slight texture that feels good under my fingers.  There is no ‘read-through’ or other technical distractions.

• The colophon is informative and concise.

• The binding gives the reader a sturdy, well-constructed object, with excellent ‘lay flat’ opening.  This makes for ease of handling while reading.”

On The Rich Mouse Compendium . . .

   This book pairs with The Rich Mouse in proportions so that both nestle in the slipcase. This quality storage makes both books immediately accessible for cross-referencing.”

   The chronology of J. J. Lankes gives a solid historical listing. This, coupled with the photographs of the artist through the years and the images of the manuscript stages invites the reader to become acquainted with the author. Further, the details of the origin of the Village Type Face and Lankes’s involvement in printing and the book arts give great insight into the creative process that is required to bring an idea into completed form. The photographs of the actual wood blocks were of great interest to me, allowing me to study the marks and carving style that produces the illustrations.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Matt Sumpter Wins 2016 Anita Claire Scharf Award

Poet Matt Sumpter
      Matt Sumpter of New York City has won the fourth Anita Claire Scharf Award given by the editors of Tampa Review. His new poetry manuscript, Public Land, will be published in 2017 by the University of Tampa Press.
     The Anita Claire Scharf Award is given to support publication of a book of poetry submitted to the annual Tampa Review Prize for Poetry competition that speaks to the journal’s mission to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the natural world and to illuminate the interconnectedness of our global environment. The award is named in honor of Anita Scharf, the founding editorial assistant, and later associate and contributing editor, of Tampa Review who helped define the aesthetic and global values that are part of the journal’s mission.
     “Matt Sumpter’s poems are gritty, often bleak, and intensely aware of the troubled relations between humans and the natural world,“ the judges wrote. “In fact, this book is an eloquent private and public act, intensely personal experience turned to poetry that constitutes a public call to face the dangerous implications of many of our current individual and social practices.”
     Sumpter’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Best New Poets 2014, Ninth Letter, 32 Poems, and Boulevard, and a group of five poems won the Crab Orchard Review Special Issues Feature Award. His fiction is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, and he is the Lead Narrative Designer for the adventure/fitness app, MarchQuest. His scholarship on writing pedagogy appeared in the March 2016 issue of College English.
     From 2008-2010, Sumpter worked on trail crews and conservation projects in Montana, Oregon, Illinois, and Missouri. He helped build and dig trail, fell invasive tree species, and suppress wildfires. Living in tents for weeks at a time, he became well acquainted with the difficulties and blessings of outdoor work: shoving his feet into wet socks on snowy mornings, drinking water sanitized with iodine, having his “office view” be overlooks in national forests. If it had paid a sustainable wage, he says he would still be doing it today. But the experiences helped inform and shape his prize-winning collection.
     “I am fascinated by the ways people interact with place: how our environments make possible surprising, troubling, and triumphant new ways of being ourselves,” Sumpter says. “How do public spaces transform our private lives? How can place help us reckon with darkness and loss? Do any of these things bring us closer to understanding the nature of place—or people?”
      He pursued these questions at The Ohio State University, where he received his MFA, and continues to consider them at Binghamton University, where he will receive his PhD this fall.
     “The more I explored the topic as a writer, the more I realized I had been exploring this topic my whole life, ” Sumpter says. “After elementary school, I would climb a tree next to my bus stop and listen to the pine needles.”
      A lifetime of natural curiosity sustained Sumpter through the long process of assembling Public Land. He reports that over the past seven years, he has written, revised, and re-ordered the poems more times than Microsoft Word can keep track of. He met his wife, Alex, married her, and witnessed the birth of their daughter, Rosalie. He moved from Cincinnati to St. Louis to Columbus to Binghamton to New York City. He submitted Public Land over sixty times, receiving nine finalist or semifinalist nods before hearing he won the Anita Claire Scharf Award from the University of Tampa Press. It will be his first book.
     “When I got the phone call, I was visiting my wife’s family in Florida,” Sumpter says, “Two dogs were playing outside in a lake, and I tried very hard to talk normally while jumping up and down.”  
     The Anita Claire Scharf Award is selected by the editors of Tampa Review from among the manuscripts submitted to its annual Tampa Review Prize for Poetry competition. Submissions for next year’s awards are now being accepted.
     To be eligible, authors are asked to submit a previously unpublished booklength manuscript. There is a contest fee of $25, and each submitter receives a complimentary one-year subscription to Tampa Review. Entries must follow published guidelines and must be postmarked by December 31, 2016. All entries will be considered for both the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry and the Anita Claire Scharf Award.
     Complete guidelines are available at or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Tampa Review Prizes, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Our Limited-Edition “Rich Mouse” Letterpress Production Earns Generous Praise

Amelia Fontanel, Associate Curator of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, is a letterpress printer herself, and she knows first-hand the thrills and chills of producing work on an iron handpress.

Knowing her experience and accomplishments, we are even more delighted to publish her comments on the latest Tampa Book Arts Studio limited-edition project, now available from the University of Tampa Press.

Here’s what Amelia wrote:

“The Rich Mouse is a bibliophile’s dream!

When marketeers tout the publication of a forgotten manuscript by some bygone author, we oft expect a trade edition, maybe in hardback, sometimes in e-ink, and a chance to enjoy a bit more of that writer’s brilliance. But when bibliophiles get involved in breathing new life into a lost text, the result can be so much more than words on paper: it can be a book worthy of appreciation on many levels—good content in concert with excellent production and presentation.

This is just what the team of historians, typographers, and printers at the Tampa Book Arts Studio has done to publish The Rich Mouse, a sweet parable left unpublished in 1950 by famed woodcut artist J. J. Lankes. Great care has gone into the typographic choices, paper selection and even, meticulous printing of the book on the iron handpress once owned by Mr. Lankes himself. The Rich Mouse in limited edition is a labor of love in revealing a new facet of Lankes’s creativity. Its companion Rich Mouse Compendium also gives the rationale and describes the effort spent to bring this important work to press by bibliophiles and for bibliophiles too!”

Amelia Fontanel
Associate Curator
RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nancy Chen Long Wins 2016 Tampa Review Prize


Nancy Chen Long, winner of the
Tampa Review Prize for Poetry
Nancy Chen Long of Morgantown, Indiana, has been named winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. Long receives the fifteenth annual prize for her manuscript, Light into Bodies. In addition to a $2,000 check, the award includes hardback and paperback book publication in 2017 by the University of Tampa Press. 
       Long is the author of a poetry chapbook, Clouds as Inkblots for the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013), and has recent and forthcoming work in Alaska Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Bat City Review, Superstition Review, DIAGRAM, the Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writers, and elsewhere. She earned her BS in Electrical Engineering Technology and an MBA from Indiana University—Purdue University Fort Wayne, worked as an electrical engineer, software consultant, and project manager, and more recently completed an MFA in creative writing at Spalding University. 
       Tampa Review judges praised her “bold, intelligent, beautifully shaped manuscript” and commented that the poems in Light into Bodies clearly benefit from the poet’s strong scientific background. “Starting with the opening epigraph from Sir Isaac Newton’s Opticks and developing through vocabulary and metaphors informed by mathematics and engineering as well as by myth and literature, Nancy Chen Long has composed a shining suite of poems in which cultural and scientific history merge with and illuminate personal experience,” the judges wrote.
       Born in Taiwan, Long grew up in various parts of the U.S. as the daughter of a military man. She calls south-central Indiana home and works at Indiana University in the Research Technologies division. 
       “I’ve loved poetry and writing since I was a kid,” Long says. “And because I was also a bookworm, I handcrafted books of my poems and stories—illustrated them, carefully folded the pages and stapled them together for the binding, gave them ‘library numbers’ like I’d seen on real books. 
       “When considering college, creative writing was my first career choice. I was strongly counseled, though, that ‘female writers are a dime a dozen’ and that I should go into something like science instead. So I stopped writing creatively and eventually ended up in engineering and technology. I did continue to journal and scribble down small poems, but didn’t seriously write poetry again until years later when an acquaintance suggested that I attend a women’s writing circle. That experience inspired me to once again take up the pen. I started writing and writing. Things fell into place so that I could pursue an MFA part-time while still working full-time. As a sort of joke, I’d say I felt like I was living Pablo Neruda’s line ‘And it was at that age . . . Poetry arrived / in search of me.’ The poems kept arriving until a manuscript took shape.” 
       Long sent the manuscript out for three years before it was selected for the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, and it had been a finalist fifteen times during that period. 
       “Through interviews with other poets and attending AWP panels on publication, I’d heard of poets whose manuscripts came in as finalists for ten years before being published,” Long says. “When I got the call that Light into Bodies had won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, I could almost not believe it. The whole experience has been one wild ride, beautifully unexpected. It’s the realization of a dream that I thought had been lost to me.”

* * *

The judges also announced ten finalists this year: 

Sally Lipton Derringer of Nanuet, New York,  for “Tilted Room”;
Mary Gilliland of Ithaca, New York, for “The Devil’s Fools”;
Roger Greenwald of Toronto, Canada, for “The Half-Life”; 
Shaun Griffin of Virginia City, Nevada, for “The Monastery of Stars”;
Julie Hanson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for “Dialectic and Infusion”; 
Kate Partridge of Anchorage, Alaska, for “Ends of the Earth”; 
Jim Peterson of Lynchburg, VA, for “The Horse Who Bears Me Away”;
Doug Ramspeck of Lima, Ohio, for “Naming the Field”; 
Nicholas Samaras of West Nyack, NY, for “The Kidnapped Child”; and
Jay Udall of Vienna, Virginia, for “Because a Fire in My Head.”

* * *

The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry is given annually for a previously unpublished booklength manuscript. Judging is by the editors of Tampa Review, who are members of the faculty at the University of Tampa. Submissions are now being accepted for 2017. Entries should follow the published guidelines and must be postmarked by December 31, 2016.
       Complete guidelines are available at or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.