Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Peter Meinke Appointed Florida Poet Laureate: Florida Poetry is in Good Shape

One of Peter Meinke’s most popular books from the University of Tampa Press is The Shape of Poetry, his “practical guide to writing and reading poems.”  Now we are delighted to know that poetry in Florida is in great shape and good hands, since Peter has been appointed as Florida’s Poet Laureate.

Peter has been poet laureate for the City of St. Petersburg since 2009. This month Florida Governor Rick Scott named him to a four-year term as official Poet Laureate for the State of Florida. He becomes only the fourth Poet Laureate in the state’s history, stepping into a position officially established by the Florida Legislature in 2014. The state’s previous laureates were Franklin N. Wood, appointed by Gov. John W. Martin in 1929; Vivian Laramore Rader, appointed by Gov. Doyle E. Carlton in 1931; and Edmund Skellings, appointed by Gov. Robert Graham in 1980.

Peter is Professor Emeritus at Eckerd College, where he directed the creative writing program for nearly 30 years.  He has published eighteen books and chapbooks, including eight volumes of poetry in the Pitt Poetry series, and he has three books in print from the University of Tampa Press: Lines from Neuchatel, The Shape of Poetry, and Truth and Affection, all of them with drawings by Jeanne Meinke, his wife. This summer the press is working on its fourth Meinke book, The Elf Poem, another collaboration with drawings by Jeanne. It is an introduction to poetry for young people (and children of all ages), containing, as its subtitle states, “Less Than 10 Not Very Golden Rules for Children Who Like to Write Poetry.”

Congratulations to Peter (and Jeanne)—and watch for The Elf this fall from UT Press!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Announcing the new Tampa Review Online

This year as Tampa Review celebrates fifty years of publication we’re naturally looking back over the last half-decade to savor milestones and accomplishments. But we’re also looking forward to the next fifty years!  We expect they will bring even more changes as new media continue to offer new forms of literary publishing. We know there will be even more changes ahead, but to along with our 50th anniversary issues, we have also launched a new look and location for Tampa Review Online.

Starting last fall, our sibling on the Web, Tampa Review Online, originally created and edited by graduate students in the low-res MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Tampa, has been more closely linked in staff and content to the print edition of Tampa Review. At the same time, we have joined the launch of Project Muse Commons, a shared space on the Web for content and comment in the context of other university presses and nonprofit publishers that make up Project MUSE. A Johns Hopkins University-based digital collection of over 550 scholarly journals, Project MUSE represents 160 university presses and academic publishers. It now makes digital editions of Tampa Review available to about 2,700 college and university libraries around the world that are Project MUSE subscribers, and with the addition of Tampa Review Online we are able to offer content that complements and extends our print edition. 

TR Online currently includes an extended conversation about new art from China and the artists whose work appears in Tampa Review 49. Barbara Pollack, a New York-based independent curator and a leading expert on contemporary Chinese art, speaks with Katherine Pill, Assistant Curator of Art after 1950 at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. Together they explore many fascinating aspects of the Chinese art scene as they consider ways in which “the aesthetics of misinterpretation” play a role in international art.  Recent Tampa Review Prize poet Michael Hettich discusses one of the poems from his prize-winning manuscript that is featured in the latest issue, and there is a video link to Michael's reading of the poem. Also online, J. Malcolm Garcia, whose “My Middle Age” from Tampa Review 45/46  was named a “notable essay” in Best American Essays and who reflects on Syrian refugees in Tampa Review 49, has sent an email update about some of his current work.

The new Tampa Review Online will be a continuous source of creative writing and art published to the same standard as work in the print edition of Tampa Review. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews and conversations, as well as all forms of visual art will complement and expand the print edition of Tampa Review.

Read the Project MUSE Commons announcement about the new site, and visit

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Paula Brancato Wins Ninth Annual Danahy Fiction Prize


     Paula Brancato of Long Island City, New York, has been selected as winner of the ninth annual Danahy Fiction Prize by the editors of Tampa Review. She will receive a cash award of $1,000 and her winning short story, “Executive Spa,” will be published in the forthcoming Fall/Winter issue of Tampa Review.
     Brancato is a first-generation Sicilian-American writer with a business degree from Harvard and both Wall Street and Hollywood experiences informing her writing.
     “‘Executive Spa’ is one of a series of stories from my novel-in-progress called Never Iron Naked, loosely based on my growing up in the 1970s in and around New York City,” Brancato explains. ”While the Bronx was burning, disco reigned, and entire buildings stood empty in the inner city, a new generation of women had begun to fight their way into power positions in the mainstream. We came from difficult, parochial backgrounds, where a college education was rarely more than a hope and a dream.”
     Brancato is a graduate of Hunter College and the Los Angeles Film School. She also earned an MBA from Harvard, becoming one of the first women executives on Wall Street. She is also a filmmaker, music producer, and financial advisor working with hedge funds, family offices, and The World Bank, all of which have contributed to her unique voice.
     “We learned to make our way in foreign territory bringing our cultures, beliefs and creativity with us and forever changing business, the sciences, and the arts, ”Brancato says. “If you recognize this story it is because this is what young men always do, but we really were the first generation of women who had the full liberty to do so, often against what our families and the men in our lives had to say about it. After all, the Ivy Leagues only began accepting women in the mid-’70s, weird as that may now seem.”
     Brancato’s poems and stories have appeared in Mudfish, Bomb Magazine, Georgetown ReviewLitchfield Review, Southern California Anthology, Ambit Magazine, and Georgia Review. She has received the Brushfire Poet Award, first prize from the Chester H. Jones Foundation, and the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize honorable mention.
     She explains that her business experiences are part of her fiction, “But this is not what I was thinking when I wrote this story. What I was thinking about was the feel of ironing, the warmth, the soothing sensation of the cloth, the smells and tastes of home and home lost, because that’s what it takes if you are going to move forward into new territory. It takes leaving everything and everyone behind. So, I remembered myself, alone, 17, making my own way in a city in a culture that was simultaneously bursting with life and falling apart. In three days I would be homeless. I had sunk so low there was nothing else to lose—and then what? Then what is this story.”

* * *
This year the judges also named four outstanding finalists for the Danahy Prize:

     “Ruth’s Red Ale” by Ann Stewart McBee of St. Francis, Wisconsin;
     “Rome” by Gretchen Comba of Richmond, Virginia;
     “Reclaimed” by Mary DiRago of Chicago, Illinois;
     and “Everything Nice” by Jill Rosenberg of Montclair, New Jersey.

* * *
     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 $22 annually, and those received before August will begin with the issue featuring Brancato’s prize-winning story.
     The Danahy Fiction Prize is open to both new and widely published writers, with an annual postmark deadline of November 1. The $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Tampa Review, and all entries submitted are considered for publication.
     Complete guidelines are available online 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, April 3, 2015

In Memoriam: Steve Kowit

     The editors and staff of Tampa Review and the University of Tampa Press mourn the loss of poet-editor-teacher Steve Kowit, 2006 winner of the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry for his collection The First Noble Truth and author of other books of poems, including Lurid Confessions, The Dumbbell Nebula, and The Gods of Rapture.  He also wrote the influential creative writing workshop text In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop.
     Steve passed away in his sleep in the early hours of April 2, 2015, at his home in Potrero, California, on Coyote Holler Road, in the San Diego area, near the Mexican border.  We were in the process of editing page proofs for his forthcoming collection, Cherish: New and Selected Poems, which will be published later this year by the University of Tampa Press. He is survived by his wife, Mary, who will complete the editing of this final collection.
     Tributes can be found on Steve’s Facebook page. He was a strong and vibrant force for poetry and a friend who will be deeply missed.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Southside Buddhist Wins Florida Book Award Honor

Southside Buddhist by Ira Sukrungruang, published in 2014 by the University of Tampa Press, has just been named winner of the Bronze Medal for General Nonfiction in the Ninth Annual Florida Book Awards recognitions.

        The Florida Book Awards were established in 2006 to recognize the best contemporary Florida literature. The annual selection is coordinated by Florida State University Libraries and has become the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program. Eligible authors must be full-time Florida residents.
        This year more than 200 submissions were read and evaluated by juries of three members, each nominated from across the state by co-sponsoring organizations. Details about all of this year’s winners are available on the 2014 awards page of the Florida Book Awards website.
        Sukrungruang, who teaches writing at the University of South Florida in Tampa, is a Thai American writer. The autobiographical essays in Southside Buddhist include reflections on life, art, and writing. His previous books include his memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and a collection of poetry, In Thailand It Is Night, which won the Anita Claire Scharf Prize and was also published by the University of Tampa Press.

Both books are available on our website, or you can click directly to their catalog listings:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Celebrating Sixty Years of Craftsmanship

Sixty Years of Prints & Wood
 (paperback edition)

Spokane artist and craftsman Gale Mueller began making relief prints as greeting cards on a nipping press for Christmas 1953. In the sixty years and many prints that have followed he has excelled in his own flavor of skillful printmaking—and in the process become a much-loved and admired printer and wood engraver. Sixty Years of Prints & Wood Engravings, a new publication from University of Tampa Press, collects the evidence of this lifetime of printing to show what a substantial body of work can result from an activity one does out of love.

To heighten your anticipation of our upcoming December 1 publication of Sixty Years of Prints & Wood Engravings we’re glad to share a few spreads from the book and to present a special pre-publication purchase offer.

These few prints are only a small sampling of all that the book offers—Sixty Years of Prints & Wood Engravings reproduces over 125 prints, including 24 color reproductions of multicolor relief prints.

Click on each image for a closer view

From the “Barns & Doors” section

From the “Fauna” section

From the “Miscellaneous” section

From the “Portraits” section
Frederic Goudy, left, and Johann Gutenberg

“There is a distinctly personal dimension . . . at times humorous, occasionally whimsical but never inappropriate or gratuitous. It is his manner to observe the telling qualities of a subject, respect its uniqueness as he expresses it and then, often but not always, embellish it with a touch of his own unique essence . . . His work indicates that a human hand, guided by a human heart, has carved the design.”
– From the Foreword to the book by Welford D. Taylor –

– Special Prepublication Offer –
Sixty Years of Prints & Wood Engravings is available as a limited edition hand-bound hardback that includes a signed frontispiece wood engraving printed by the artist from the original block. This edition—limited to only 60 copies, only 50 of which are for sale—is available at a special prepublication price of $50—only through November 30, 2014. Price upon publication December 1, 2015, will be $60.

Sixty Years of Prints & Wood Engravings
is also available in a Paperback Edition.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Celebrating 50 years of Tampa Review: Tampa Review 49

Announcing the release of Tampa Review 49

TR49 is the first of two issues this year that will
celebrate a milestone—50 years of literary publishing.

         We are pleased to begin our fiftieth year by featuring selections from a unique and wholly new exhibition entitled, My Generation: Young Chinese Artists. The exhibition showcases a new generation of world-class Chinese artists who have emerged in China since 2000—all born after Mao’s death in 1976, marking the end of China’s Cultural Revolution. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Museum of Art, and offers stunning visual evidence that Florida is fully engaged in global cultural dialog. The show runs here June 7-September 28, 2014, before traveling to Oklahoma City Museum of Art, where it will be on view October 25, 2014-January 18, 2015. The works speak for themselves while bridging the country and spanning the globe.
         The literary contents of TR49 reflect a new generation’s struggle with “Utopia”—as Qui Xiaofei visually depicts on the cover. Poet Zeina Hashem Beck also expresses it in her opening poem as she personifies a world “trying to tip over its pain.” Daniel Gabriel describes a utopian interlude in his 2009 visit to “Syria Before It All Went South.” By contrast, Malcolm Garcia struggles to find grounds for faith amidst horror and ruin in “Praying in Reyhanli.”

         Less destructive but deeply troubling is the singing war started by Mrs. Mudd in Jill Birdsall’s “The Beer Garden,” where experiences that promise harmony become discordant when inflected by greed, ego, and nationalism. Poet Michael Hettich takes a higher view in “Certain Constellations,” in which attentiveness to the natural world affirms the possibility of harmony if “we might move into/the circle of its song.”

         The issue concludes with struggles from our more recent past portrayed in Vincent Czyz’s “Straightsville,” set in the 1980s, mostly at a gay rally in Manhattan. The story’s narrator experiences a series of mutual misreadings that blur the cultural divide between New York and New Jersey, gay and straight, work week and weekend. Czyz’s story suggests, as does the speaker of Knute Skinner ’s poem “What I Have Assembled,” that selves are multiple, that they can be torn apart and reassembled in diverse ways, and that people and generations may be more alike than different.

         Finally, this first issue of our 50th anniversary year includes a few pages reproduced from the very first issue of Tampa Poetry Review in 1964.  They remind us how both our distant and recent pasts contain the cultural heritage and visionary struggles that create each new version of “my generation.” 

We have come a long way from our earliest mimeograph edition to our present hardcover format, and both of our issues this academic year will include a little taste of the journey through the past, while continuing to showcase some of the best contemporary writing and visual art from Florida and the world.

Tampa Review 49 includes:

Fiction: Jill Birdsall, Michael Cuglietta, Vincent Czyz, Dana Fitz Gale

Poetry: Zeina Hashem Beck, Robert Bense, Joshua Butts, Bill Christophersen, Mary Gilliland, Michael Hettich, Teresa Leo, Carol Levin, Lisa Lewis, Austin MacRae, Jenna Rindo, Roger Sauls, Knute Skinner, Kelly Talbot, Ralph Tejeda Wilson

Nonfiction: Daniel Gabriel, J. Malcolm Garcia, Aileen Kilgore Henderson, Laura L. Runge

Art: Birdhead, Cui Jie, Sima Diab, Liu Di, Qiu Xiaofei, Shi Zhiying, Song Kun