Taking on the World

Four professors join forces to go on a literary journey.


By Barbara Melendez
USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2012) – Fasten your seatbelts. Creative forces are gathering for a trip “Around the World in Sixty Minutes” with four of the University of South Florida’s literary stars Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 4:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and takes place in the Library’s Grace Allen Room on the Tampa campus. 


The foursome of faculty members is using poetry and fiction to transport the audience to a variety of locales and fascinating encounters. Hosted by USF’s Humanities Institute and co-sponsored by USF World and the Departments of English/Creative Writing Program and World Languages, the program will showcase countries and cultures that promise to open up unique worlds. 


“This ‘world’ can be France, an alternate universe, or even cyberspace,” said World Languages Associate Professor Pablo Brescia. He and English Professor Rita Ciresi, who also serves as the English department’s coordinator of creative writing, organized the program. 


“We wanted to align ourselves with USF's global initiatives, stimulate inter-departmental cooperation, showcase USF faculty who are also creative writers and invite students and the public to enjoy literature through the spoken word,” he said. “We hope to hold this event once a semester or once a year, and gather students, faculty and staff around the literary word.”


Brescia’s reading is titled “The Twilight Zone,” and will consist of short fiction and thought poems. He is the author of the story collections La apariencia de las cosas (The Appearance of Things) and the book of thought poems, No hay tiempo para la poesia (No Time for Poetry) under the pseudonym Harry Bimer.  Brescia’s stories have been published in books and literary journals in Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Spain and the United States. He teaches courses on the masterpieces of Hispanic literature, is the coordinator of the Spanish Graduate Program and directs the Argentina Study Abroad Program. 


John Henry Fleming, associate professor of English, will read “In the Shadow of the World’s Greatest Monument to Love.”  The founder and advisory editor for Saw Palm, USF’s Florida-themed literary journal, Fleming is the author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, Fearsome Creatures of Florida, and the serial novel The Book I Will Write, now being published in twice weekly installments at the Atticus Books website. 


The English Department Chair and English professor, Hunt Hawkins, will read from his poem, “The Havana Psychiatric Hospital” from the collection The Domestic Life, which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett prize in 1994. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Minnesota Review, Poetry Northwest and many other magazines. His works have also been read on national radio by Garrison Keillor.


Just back from sabbatical, Victor Peppard, professor of Russian, will read from his short story “The Kingdom Come Bomb.”  In addition to being a scholar of Russian literature and short story writer, he is a translator. His works of fiction include “Babel’s Brighton Beach” published in Northeast Corridor. His translations of Russian prose and poetry into English include work by Evtushenko. He is currently working on a number of stories, more translations of Russian poetry and a memoir titled “Faculty Brat Forever.”


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.