Redefining the Classroom

LSSU professors' writing to appear in U.P. anthology

Posted: May 14th, 2013

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Five Lake Superior State University creative writing professors have their work featured in a new anthology, The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works, published this month by Wayne State University Press.

The poetry of Julie Brooks Barbour, Mary McMyne, James Zukowski and Eric Gadzinski, as well as a short story by Janice Repka, are included in the anthology. Other contributors include Edgar Award winner Steve Hamilton, Rona Jaffe Award winner Catie Rosemurgy, Michigan Notable Book Award winner Keith Taylor, Michigan Author Award winner John Smolens, Jonathan Johnson of Best American Poetry, and novelist Ellen Airgood.

According to Ron Riekki, the anthology’s editor, “The Way North brings the U.P.'s literary tradition to the awareness of more readers and showcases some of the most compelling work connected to the area. It will be welcomed by readers interested in new fiction and poetry and instructors who teach Michigan writing."

The anthology includes new fiction, poetry, and non-fiction from 42 writers and is part of the Made in Michigan Writers Series. In 49 poems and 20 stories -- diverse in form, length, and content -- readers are introduced to the unmistakable terrain and characters of the U.P. The book not only showcases the snow, small towns, and idiosyncratic characters that readers might expect, but also introduces unexpected regions and voices. The contributors range widely in age and background, as The Way North highlights the work of established writers, teachers, students, laborers, fishermen, housewives, and many others.

Poetry contributor Julie Brooks Barbour teaches creative writing and poetry at LSSU and edits Border Crossing, the program’s journal of art and literature. She earned her MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her chapbook, Come to Me and Drink, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New Zoo Poetry Review, roger, PigeonBike, UCity Review, Waccamaw, and Kestrel, and have been anthologized in Migrations: Poetry and Prose for Life's Transitions and Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems.

Eric Gadzinski has taught English at LSSU since 1995. One of the founders of LSSU’s creative writing program and of the literary journal now called Border Crossing, he teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Temple University, where he wrote his dissertation on American soldier poetry of the Vietnam War. His own poetry has been published widely in a variety of online and print journals, and one of his poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006. He has been a regular workshop leader at the annual Creative Writing Festival held at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and is one of five poets being considered for the title of U.P. Poet Laureate.

Mary McMyne teaches English and creative writing at LSSU and edits Border Crossing with Brooks Barbour. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, and New Delta Review. She earned her master of fine arts in fiction from New York University, and another master’s degree in creative writing from Louisiana State University. Her project retelling the Odysseus myth from the perspective of a Vietnam soldier's wife won the Faulkner Prize for a Novel in Progress. Before coming to LSSU, she taught English and creative writing at various schools, including New York University and South Louisiana Community College.

Janice Repka teaches creative writing and children’s literature at LSSU and organizes the LSSU Visiting Writer Series. Her short stories and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Antietam Review, Potomac Review, Writer’s Journal, and The Louisiana Review. Her novels for children include The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco, a Junior Library Selection and 2008 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Honor Book, and The Clueless Girl’s Guide to Being a Genius, a Scholastic Book Club feature. She has a master of fine arts degree in creative writing and a master of arts degree in English from McNeese State University and a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Jim Zukowski teaches creative writing and poetry at LSSU. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he wrote his dissertation on the 18th-century English novel in relation to the period's literate practices. He earned his M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College. Some of his work appears in Provincetown Arts, Northwest Review, Water Stone Review, and Nimrod.

LSSU offers both an undergraduate major and minor concentration in creative writing. An intimate program with enthusiastic faculty, the creative writing program encourages innovation and experimentation as students develop their voices. Students complete coursework in prose, poetry, and performance writing, and are given opportunities to get publishing experience before graduation.

Learn more about the creative writing program at LSSU here. You may order The Way North through WSU Press or through -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315,; John Shibley, 635-2314,; Prof. Janice Repka, 635-2448,