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Alumni News

Are you a former RopeWalk participant or faculty member? If so, we want to share your good news - publications, awards, with the rest of the RopeWalk community. E-mail your items to Linda Cleek.

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Spring 2011

Deborah Lee Luskin’s debut novel, Into the Wilderness, has been

awarded the Independent Publishers’ Gold Medal for Regional Fiction. Into the Wilderness is a love story set in Vermont in 1964. The book was published by White River Press in February, 2010; an electronic edition was released in April, 2011.

ITW cover image

We are excited to announce that Jim McGarrah will be reading from and signing copies of his new book, The End of an Era on Wednesday, March 16, 7:00pm - 8:00pm at the Bower-Suhrheinrich Foundation Gallery, 318 Main Street, Evansville, IN.

View the full press release here.

The Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award: 2011 Nomination Process Opens February 1. Nominate your favorite Indiana author February 1 through March 25, 2011. Visit the Web site for a nomination form and guidelines.

Fall 2010

Michael Jackman recently had four poems published in Scribblers on the Roof, an online Jewish-themed literary magazine.  The Spalding University low-residency MFA program has also hired Michael to serve as an expository writing coach during the current fall residency. 

RopeWalk alum Jim McGarrah signed a publication contract recently with Ink Brush Press for his newest book, The End of an Era. This is the second book in a proposed creative nonfiction trilogy. The first book, A Temporary Sort of Peace, won the Legacy Nonfiction Prize from the Eric Hoffer Foundation in 2010.  Also, he has poems forthcoming in North American Review, Dupage Valley Review, and Blast Furnace Magazine.

Fall 2008

Jim McGarrah's second book of poetry, When the Stars Go Dark, is available for advance sale at Main Street Rag's Web site.  Rick Jackson says "Jim McGarrahs' poems are characterized by what he calls the myth / of love that grants us grace beyond our own humanity, while Matthew Graham urges us to "read them (the poems) and learn something wise about art and life." When the Stars Go Dark by Jim McGarrah
The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard: A Novel Erin McGraw's new novel, The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard (Houghton Mifflin) is based on the life of her paternal grandmother.  We think it fitting to have Erin back with us at RopeWalk 2009, and hope we can get her to tell us some of the real episodes on which her fiction is patterned.  Seamstress is a ripping  good read, and seems perfect for the big screen.  Erin has been at RopeWalk as a workshop leader and as a guest reader.  In 2009, she will give a public reading and a craft lecture.  (Review and bad puns by LC.)
What I Thought I Knew (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing) is the first collection of personal essays from Barbara Stahura. These ten linked essays tell the stories of times when she changed her mind and changed her life. Those times range from the death of her father when she was 14 and his later reappearance in her life, learning to ride a bicycle at age 38, liberating herself from Corporate America in her 40s to become a freelance writer, ongoing adventures along her spiritual path, and finding love at 50 only to nearly lose her new husband to a traumatic brain injury. What I Thought I Knew is available at,, and

Spring/Summer 2008

Donna Mosher sent us bad news and good news.  The bad news is that she can't attend RopeWalk this summer.  The good news is the reason why: she has just accepted a position as editor of Science of the Mind magazine, published by the United Centers for Spiritual Living.

When the Stars Go Dark
, a new book of poems by Jim McGarrah, has been chosen as part of Main Street Rag Publishing House's Editors Select Poetry Series.  It will be available this winter.

The poems of Robin Chapman's Smoke and Strong Whiskey sing their own special blues, evoking the darkness and joy in human experience in a manner that connects us all, these songs sad but beautiful in their wisdom. Robin participated in RopeWalk in 1990, and Robin's latest work, Smoke and Strong Whiskey, (WordTech Communications 2008) is available at

The Dreamer Who Counted the Dead by Robin Chapman is a collection in which the political is intimately personal, and family and national history converge in startling ways. In these poems, fallout pervades memory and experience, and establishes Chapman's book as an unusually powerful one (WordTech Communications 2007).


We are sorry to report RopeWalk has lost a dear friend, Liam Rector.  Liam provided guidance and advice in the creation of RopeWalk and was a guest reader both at RopeWalk and on campus for the RopeWalk reading series.  You can read his obituary in the New York Times at


Hollyhocks, a new volume of poetry by Robert Brimm (2001) is now listed at Finishing Line Press on their "New Releases" page.  Robert reports that he designed the cover himself.  I'm impressed!


Nan Byrne (2006) is editor of Bar Stories, a collection of works by familiar and emerging writers, coming from Bottom Dog Press this summer.  Nan also has poems in Borderlands, will be featured in the next issue of MovieMaker Magazine, AND will be reading at KGB Bar in New York City on Friday, May 18!  Keep up with Nan at

Matthew Graham's latest book, A World without End: Poems, (River City Press) is now available online at Amazon and other outlets, and from the USI Bookstore at

A World Without End: Poems (River City Poetry)

Winter 2007

Jim McGarrah just keeps on writing!  His new book, Going Postal, is available on line at  This is Jim's first novel, and his protagonist is described as: "veteran of a bad war, child of the sixties counterculture, philosopher, family man . . ."  Jim, should this book be in the biography section?

Good news for two of our summer 2007 faculty:  Marianne Boruch tells us that Wesleyan University Press will release her newest book, Grace, Fallen From, in spring 2008.  Michael Water's most recent book, Darling Vulgarity, is one of five finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry.  We are a bit concerned that Michael will go Hollywood at the awards ceremony on April 27, but hopefully he will have recovered enough to read at the LA Festival of Books on April 28.

Our own Jim McGarrah signs copies of his books Running the Voodoo Down and Back Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana at the recent Indianapolis Book Fair.  Home Again is an anthology of work by Indiana writers, co-edited by Jim and Tom Watson (2004, 2005, 2006).  Contributors include Matthew Graham and Leisa Belleau (who participated in several early RopeWalks), as well as former faculty member and guest artist Margaret McMullan.

Fall 2006

Deb Bogen (2002) reports that "Bedtime Story" from her book Landscape with Silos will be featured on Poetry Daily on Saturday, November 4.

Ron Houchin (2002, 2003) is the winner of the Appalachian-Book-of-the-Year in Poetry for 2005 for Among Wordless Things (Wind Publications).  The award is presented by the Appalachian Writers Association.  (Ron apologizes for not reporting this until May 2006.  LC apologizes for not posting it until October!)

Winter 2006

Alexi Zentner's short story, "Touch," which he workshopped with Sigrid Nunez in 2005, was accepted for publication by Tin House magazine.  It will appear in either fall 2006 or winter 2006/2007.  Alexi's Web site is

Belinda Anderson (2003) writes that her experience at RopeWalk helped shape her new book, The Bingo Cheaters, coming this spring from Mountain State Press.  The collection of short stories has been favorably reviewed by Lee Smith who says that Belinda's characters are "as deep and surprising as life itself."  Further compliments come from Meredith Sue Willis: "It's that remarkable ability to reach through the mists and veils that make Anderson's beautifully wrought stories such a dependable pleasure."

Our own Matthew Graham's third book of poetry, A World Without End, will soon be released by River City Publishing. A World Without End is the sixth volume of the River City Poetry Series. Series editor Andrew Hudgins (a RopeWalk faculty frequent flyer) said, “A thoughtful elegiac voice pervades A World Without End, Matthew’s best book yet. A small sense of mourning arises even in his celebration of deep and continuing love because he knows love, in the fullness of time, inevitably ends, even if the lovers never falter in their loving."  More information is available on the USI Web site.

Sigrid Nunez' (faculty 1999, 2005) new novel, The Last of Her Kind (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), is now available.  Additionally, a new edition of her first novel, A Feather on the Breath of God (Picador), has just been released.

Fall 2005

Alexi Zentner's (2005) short story, "The Adjuster, " was accepted for publication by The Southwest Review.  It will appear in either the Spring 2006 or Summer 2006 issue.  You can check out Alexi's Web site at, not surprisingly,

Cynthia Roth (2000, 2001) wants to let poets know submissions are still open for the 3rd issue of the online poetry journal Mot Juste. Send 3-5 poems as an attachment in Word (your name should be in the subject line) to Cynthia and Paul Guest co-edit Mot Juste. See the journal at

Tom Watson (2004, 2005) and Jim McGarrah (more years than you can imagine) are editors of the forthcoming Back Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana.  Watch for it from the Indiana Historical Society Press in summer 2006.

Angela Hamilton’s (2004) short story, “Rusted Nails,” was published in Natural Bridge, the literary magazine of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  This story was also accepted for publication in the forthcoming anthology Peculiar Pilgrims: Stories from the Left Hand of God (Hourglass Books).

Deb Bogen (2002) writes: My book MS, Landscape with Silos, was chosen by Betty Adcock as the winner of the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. Texas Review Press will publish the book and it should be out next Spring. If anyone has reading possibilities I can use all the help and advice I can get - they can contact me at  Also for those in the first book competitions - they should keep at it. This MS was a finalist 8 times before it was chosen. There's a lot of good work out there seeking a home.

Robin Chapman's recent poetry collections include the chapbooks Arborvitae and Once (Juniper Press, 2002, 2005) and the collaboration, with physicist Julien Clinton Sprott, Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos (Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2005). She posts poems from fellow poets on her blog, Robin Chapman's Poem a Day Blog, most days--send five poems and credits to

Tammy Wilson (2003) lets us know: My story collection, "The House of Nits," including the title piece workshopped in Susan Neville's class at RopeWalk, is a finalist for the 2004 Spire Press Award in Fiction.  My story, "Paradise Found," is a current finalist for the 2004 Iowa Award in Short Fiction, and my story, "Priscilla the Meatpacker," appeared in the first print edition of Epiphany. This same piece also placed second in the Robert Ruark Short Fiction competition in North Carolina, judged by novelist Jill McCorkle.