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Sandhill Writers Retreat - Faculty & Staff

Sandhill Writers Retreat - Faculty & Staff

    2020 Faculty


    Anne Barngrover - Poetry

    Anne Barngrover's most recent book of poetry, was published with University of Akron Press in 2018. She is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University, where she is also on faculty in the low-residency MA program in Creative Writing.

    Susan Cerulean

    Susan Cerulean - Nonfiction, Nature Writing, Memoir

    Writer, naturalist and activist Susan Cerulean's Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change was awarded a Gold Medal for Florida Nonfiction in 2016. Her nature memoir, Tracking Desire: A Journey after Swallow-tailed Kites (University of Georgia Press, 2005), was named Editors' Choice by Audubon magazine. Her newest work, I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird: A Daughter’s Memoir, will be published in summer 2020 by the University of Georgia Press. Cerulean edited Between Two Rivers: Stories from the Red Hills to the Gulf, Unspoiled: Writers Speak for Florida’s Coast and The Book of the Everglades. She divides her time between Tallahassee and Indian Pass with her husband, oceanographer and climate scientist, Dr. Jeffrey Chanton. She is President of the Friends of St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge.


    Patrick Crerand - Nonfiction

    Patrick Crerand is an Associate Professor of English in the Department of Language Studies and the Arts. A member of the Saint Leo faculty since 2008, he received his Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his MFA in Fiction from Bowling Green State University, and his BA in English from The Ohio State University. His short stories have appeared in literary magazines such as McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Conjunctions, New Orleans Review, Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, Knee Jerk, Monkeybicycle, among others. Two of his stories have been short-listed in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best American Fantasy anthologies. His creative nonfiction essays have appeared in New Ohio Review, North American Review, The Collagist, Midway Journal, and the Tampa Bay Times. Recently, Arc Pair Press published a collection of his stories entitled, The Paper Life They Lead.

    Yolanda J. Franklin

    Yolanda J. Franklin - Poetry

    Yolanda J. Franklin’s debut poetry collection Blood Vinyls  (Anhinga Press) is a book that Roxane Gay insists is a "must-must-must read." A three-time Fulbright Scholar Award Finalist (’19, ‘18, & ‘17), Franklin is also a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow. Her poems appear or are set to appear in Sugar House Review, Southern Humanities Review, and The Langston Hughes Review. Franklin's poetry also appears in the recent anthology It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip Hop. Also, she is a two-time recipient of the J.M. Shaw Academy of American Poets Award. Franklin is a proud third generation Floridian, born in the state's capital—Tallahassee. She received a McKnight Dissertation Fellowship and a Kingsbury Writing Award at Florida State University. Currently, Franklin is a visiting professor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU), where she teaches Writing Across the Curriculum certified courses, and has been nominated for a Teaching Innovation Award.

    Brooke King

    Brooke N. King - Multi-genre

    Brooke N. King served in the U.S. Army, deploying to Iraq in 2006 as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, machine gunner, and recovery specialist. Her work has been published in the O-Dark Thirty, War, Literature, & Arts, Prairie Schooner, the Atlantic, as well as other publications. She has also appeared as featured veteran author on the KPBS literary series Incoming. Brooke's memoir, War Flower: My Life after Iraq, published by University of Nebraska Press, has been heralded as a "harrowing and powerful book", by Publishers Weekly and "full of frank emotional and explicit itimacy" by the Military Times. Currently, she teaches nonfiction writing at Saint Leo University's MA program for Creative Writing.



    Steven Kistulentz - Fiction

    Steve Kistulentz is the author of the novel Panorama (2018, Little, Brown & Co.), named a must read by publications as diverse as Entertainment Weekly and the New York Post. He is also the author of two collections of poetry, Little Black Daydream (2012), an editor’s choice selection in the University of Akron Press Series in Poetry, and The Luckless Age (2010), selected from over 700 manuscripts as the winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. He teaches at Saint Leo University in Florida, where he serves as director of the MA program for Creative Writing.

    Bob Kunzinger

    Bob Kunzinger - Nonfiction, Memoir

    Bob Kunzinger is the author of eight collections of essays, including A Third Place: Notes in Nature (Madville Press, 2019) and the critically acclaimed Penance (All Nations Press, 2007). His work has appeared in many publications, including the Washington Post, World War Two History, St Anthony Messenger, and more. Several of his works have been noted by Best American Essays, and his next book, The Iron Scar: A Father and Son in Siberia, recounts his journey across Russia with his son. Bob lives in Virginia.

    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner - Poetry, Writing for Veterans

    Brian Turner is a poet and memoirist who served seven years in the US Army. He is the author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West” award, the 2007 Poets Prize, and others. In addition to his poetry, he is the editor of the anthology The Kiss (2018), a diverse anthology of essays, stories, poems, and graphic memoirs. Turner’s work has been published in National Geographic, the New York Times, Poetry Daily, Harper’s Magazine, and other fine journals. Turner has been awarded a United States Artists Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and more. His recent memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, has been called, “achingly, disturbingly, shockingly beautiful.”

    Helen Pruitt Wallace

    Helen Pruitt Wallace - Poetry

    Helen Pruitt Wallace is the Poet Laureate of Saint Petersburg, Florida. Former Professor of Creative Writing at Eckerd College, Wallace received her Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from Florida State University. The winner of a Florida Book Award, Shimming the Glass House, Wallace’s first collection of poems, was chosen for the Richard Snyder Prize and published by Ashland Poetry Press. Her chapbook, Pink Streets, was published in 2016 by YellowJacket Press. Individual poems and essays are published or forthcoming in Harvard Review Online, The Literary Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod International, Tampa Review, Plume, River Teeth, Sweet: A Literary Confection, and other journals and anthologies. Wallace served as co-editor of the anthology Isle of Flowers published by Anhinga Press. She received a McKay Shaw Academy of American Poets Award, The dA Center for the Arts Poetry Award, a residency fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She and her husband Peter both grew up in St. Petersburg, and raised their children there. As Poet Laureate, Wallace hosts the Dalí Poetry Series at the Dalí Museum.

    Sterling Watson

    Sterling Watson - Fiction

    Sterling Watson is the author of eight novels, including Deadly Sweet, Sweet Dream Baby, Fighting in the Shade, and Suitcase City. Watson’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Georgia Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. He was director of the creative writing program at Eckerd College for twenty years and now teaches in the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College in Boston. Of his sixth novel, Suitcase City, Tom Franklin said, “If this taut literary crime novel doesn’t center Sterling Watson on the map, we should change maps.” Watson lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    2020 Staff

    Gianna Russo

    Gianna Russo

    Retreat Director

    Gianna Russo is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University, where she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs. She is editor-in-chief of Saint Leo’s Sandhill Review and director of the Sandhill Writers Retreat.

    Russo is the author of the full-length poetry collection, One House Down (Madville Publishing, 2019) and Moonflower, (Kitsune Books, 2011), winner of a Florida Book Awards bronze medal, Florida Publishers Association Presidents’ Award silver medal, and was an Eric Hofer First Horizons finalist award. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Blue Slumber (YellowJacket Press, 2006), and The Companion of Joy (Green Rabbit Press, 2014). She is founding editor of YellowJacket Press, Florida’s premiere publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts. She has published poems in Green Mountains Review, Negative Capability, Crab Orchard Review, Apalachee Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, saw palm, The MacGuffin, Florida Review, Tampa Review, Ekphrasis, Florida Humanities Council Forum, Karamu, The Bloomsbury Review, and Calyx, among others. She was named Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Local Poet in 2017. Russo holds an MFA in Poetry from The University of Tampa.

    Angel Jimenez

    Angel Jimenez

    Associate Director

    Angel Jimenez has been a faculty member of Saint Leo University since 2011, providing writing support services for Cannon Memorial Library, and teaching academic writing and literature for the Department of Language Studies and the Arts. He dreams of a world free of exploitation, warfare, and the word “amazeballs.”

    John David Harding

    John David Harding

    Assistant Director

    John David Harding teaches writing and research as a faculty member in the Cannon Memorial Library at Saint Leo University. His creative work includes publications in fiction, poetry, and visual art. He co-edits Lightning Key Review and Orange Blossom Review.

    More About Brian Turner's Work

    THE KISS  (Anthology, 2018)
    A deliciously diverse anthology of essays, stories, poems, and graphic memoirs, where writers explore the deeply human act of kissing. From Sioux Falls to Khartoum, from Kyoto to Reykjavik; from the panchayat forests of India to the Giant’s Causeway on the coast of Northern Ireland; in taxis and at bus stops, in kitchens and sleigh beds, haystacks and airports around the globe—people are kissing one another. The sublime kiss. The ambiguous kiss. The devastating kiss. The kiss we can’t take back. The kiss we can never give. The kiss that changes a life. In this anthology, writers and thinkers share their thoughts on a specific kiss—the unexpected and unforgettable—in an attempt to bridge the gulf, to connect us to one another on a deeply human level, and to explore the messy and complicated intimacies that exist in our actual lives, as well as in the complicated landscape of the imagination. This is a book meant to be read from cover to cover, just as much as it’s meant to be dipped into—with each kiss pulling us closer to the moments in our lives that matter most.

    “My Life as a Foreign Country is brilliant and beautiful. It surely ranks with the best war memoirs I’ve ever encountered—a humane, heartbreaking, and expertly crafted work of literature.” —Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried
    A war memoir of unusual literary beauty and power from the acclaimed poet who wrote the poem “The Hurt Locker.” In 2003, Sergeant Brian Turner crossed the line of departure with a convoy of soldiers headed into the Iraqi desert. Now, each night beside his sleeping wife, he imagines himself as a drone aircraft, hovering over the terrains of Bosnia and Vietnam, Iraq and Northern Ireland, the killing fields of Cambodia and the death camps of Europe—a landscape of ongoing violence, revealing all that man has done to man. In this breathtaking memoir, Turner retraces his war experience—pre-deployment to combat zone, homecoming to aftermath. Free of self-indulgence or self-glorification, his account combines recollection with the imagination’s efforts to make reality comprehensible. Across time, he seeks parallels in the histories of others who have gone to war, especially his taciturn grandfather (World War II), father (Cold War), and uncle (Vietnam). Through it all, Turner paints a devastating portrait of what it means to be a soldier and a human being.

    PHANTOM NOISE  (Poetry, 2010)
    “With courage and an uncommon willingness to see the world as it actually is, Brian Turner returns with a bullet-borne language in which helicopters hover like spiders over a film of water. His poem “Al-A’imma Bridge” alone proves his mastery, and joins him to the tradition of Wilfred Owen and David Jones, for he is their descendent, his poetic gifts detonated into a spray of lyric force that will mark what is possible in poetry for years to come, a chiseling of agony onto paper and a poignant  cri de Coeur to the republic of conscience.” — Carolyn Forché
    “Shaped by his time spent serving in Iraq, American soldier Brian Turner’s first collection, Here, Bullet, depicted combat with a mixture of bleak reality and disturbing surrealism. His second, Phantom Noise, also bristles with war’s devastations, but here conflict appears in flashbacks set against the backdrop of the poet’s Californian home. Turner’s is a world where even a visit to the local hardware shop opens on to artillery fire: a spilled “50-pound box of double headed nails” that pour on to the floor “constant as the shells / falling south of Baghdad.” The poems often read as an attempt to explain, understand and come to terms with the terrible things soldiers witness and are party to: the language sparse and precise, the tone questing and urgent. Yet the writing is rarely prescriptive, leaving interpretation open. Almost miraculously, there is also much sensitivity: “Al-A’imma Bridge” is a nightmarish account of the 2005 Tigris River disaster, yet finds “flowers that may light the darkness” to commemorate those who lost their lives. Turner’s resilient, humane poems remind us of war’s impact but also provoke and question.” —The Guardian

    HERE, BULLET (Poetry, 2005)
    A harrowing, beautiful first-person account of the Iraq War by a soldier-poet. The poems in Here, Bullet were written in his notebooks while he served in Iraq. Adding his voice to the current debate about the US occupation of Iraq, in poems written in the tradition of such poets as Wilfred Owen, Yusef Komunyakaa (Dien Cai Dau), and Bruce Weigl (Song of Napalm), Iraq war veteran Brian Turner writes powerfully affecting poetry of witness, exceptional for its beauty, honesty, and skill. Based upon Turner’s year-long tour in Iraq as an infantry team leader, the poems offer gracefully-rendered, unflinching description but, remarkably, leave the reader to draw conclusions or moral lessons. Here, Bullet is a must-read for anyone who cares about the war, regardless of political affiliation.

    Past Faculty, 2013-2018

    Jocelyn Bartkevicius
    Erica Bernheim
    Karen Brown
    Rita Ciresi
    Dawn Davies
    Erica Dawson
    Philip F. Deaver
    Lane DeGregory
    John Henry Fleming
    Lola Haskins
    Michael Hettich
    Ernest Hooper
    Jeff Klinkenberg
    Phyllis McEwen
    Jesse Millner
    Lyn Millner
    Matthew Mobley
    Amy Christine Parker
    Peter Schmitt
    Enid Shomer
    Claire Stephens
    Ira Sukrungruang
    Spencer Wise

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