UF Creative Writing Program is Well-Kept Secret in CLAS

The Creative Writing Program at UF was founded in 1949 by the Southern writer Andrew Lytle. Current poetry faculty include Debora Greger, Michael Hofmann, William Logan and Sidney Wade.

Greger is the author of five books of poetry, including Desert Fathers, Uranium Daughters, published this fall. She is the winner of the Brandeis University Award in Poetry, the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Hoffman is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Corona, Corona. He is a distinguished translator of German fiction and non-fiction, and has twice won the Schelgel-Tieck Translation Prize. His poetry has won the Cholmondeley Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Wade has published one book of poetry, Empty Sleeves; her second is due out next year. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 1991. Logan, director of the program, is the author of three books of poetry and the forthcoming Vain Empires. Two books of his criticism will be published next year. He is the winner of the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle and the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, as well as the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sundays in the South

The gravid gecko lies
aslant a stalk of banana,
just a tilde over
the n in mañana,

translucent as a thin
slice of kiwi fruit,
with two small beads-
or seeds!-for eyes. The root

of all evil is motion,
its body seems to say.
A crab spider looks it over
as it overlooks prey.

With a ticking, pebbly rattle,
tubercular pigeons sun
on the hot tin roof,
the roof of Sin,

burning, burning
over those fierce Christians
sinning-or singing, perhaps,
much louder than sinning.

The pigeons roost in judgment,
mottled, maculate angels,
complacent but nervous
above the stacked cannonballs.

Heat is a form of love,
boasts the courthouse square
to the Frank Lloyd Wright
air conditioner.

Fruit bats lodge in the rafters.
Against the low gas fire
of sunset, the bankrupt palms
open their broken armatures

like Edwardian ladies
at the season's last tea-dance-
black fans, black fans!
And, at a distance,

thunder, a great steamroller,
rumbles now with a sad consent
over the tropics' grandeur
and diminishment.

-William Logan

For My Mother

At the time of your long dying you touched
with your clumsy hand the firm white body
of my baby your skin so fragile it wept
and your eyes bright and wet as the scales of a fish
My little white whale you called her your language

richer in metaphor the thinner your grasp
on us as you swelled in the white trunk
of redundant flesh that spread in your bed
as you died We spoke on the phone
and you wandered-a visit to me in Oklahoma

you said such a nice visit and then you were gone and
I was fiercely glad for you no more pain no more overflowing
vessels no more unbearable weight And the moon
has filled now many times and the glaze on my eyes
comes and goes and sometimes the mornings are heavy

The baby is two and gives us great joy but I need
to know where you have gone is it off in the waters
or bright and permanent in the sky?
your body is now ash and in the dirt
but I need to know do you correspond

with the stony mass of the spheres? do you rock
in some dark grand basin lapping the shores
of the light and the tangible? do we breathe
you in with the air? do you still swell with love
to the drum of her small, splendid heart?

-Sydney Wade

Air-Conditioned Air

Of windows closing on muslin curtains
so they no longer swelled into hoop skirts
or swooned across love seats

the night a taxi raced from lab to lodgings,
men in white coats thrusting a bundled blanket
at a dreamer-their swaddled ice

the first from his machine. Farewell,
ceiling fans that propelled interim regimes
into torrid zones, palm courts

fawning over wilted colonials,
aspics weeping onto the negative greens.
Farewell, the flies that tended leftover meat.

Like servants shooed from table,
they wove shadow to shadow
through the vestigial dusk.

It is late. The street light
lies fair upon the strait, on the coast
of Florida it gleams. Sea turtles lay their eggs

in the parking lots of hotels
glimmering and vast-come to the window,
air-conditioned is the night air,

you can hear the comfort of its roar
begin to chill and then begin again,
the flow of something human drowning the sea

somewhere far below our room.
The air is calm tonight, the same air as tomorrow,
and we are here. Look how the little candelabra

of a pleasure boat is borne by the darkness
of water through the earthly dark
over the old slave route.

-Debora Greger