John Guzlowski

Here's the news from Valdosta:

It’s been a busy fall. I did something that I haven’t done for 35 years. I wrote a short story! When I first started writing in high school, I wrote fiction, science fiction in fact, but then when I went to college I was so busy reading fiction that I couldn’t find time for writing it. I guess this new story of mine is a sure clue that I have too much time on my hands.

I’ve also been placing poems. Probably the one I’m most proud of is “My Mother’s Optimism,” a poem about my mom’s surgeries for breast and ovarian cancer. The poem was published in an anthology called Under Our Skin: Literature of Breast Cancer. I’ve also placed poems in the second edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, Atlanta Review, Free Lunch, New Works Review, and two polish journals, Nowa Olicta Poetow and Fraza.

As always, it would be a pleasure to hear from any of my old friends at EIU.

The picture shows me and Linda on a Caribbean cruise last December.


Bruce Guernsey

I have a poem called "Vulture" coming out in Measure, a journal that publishes verse in meter and rhyme only (remember those terms?). One of my essays called "Nobody's Home," first published in War, Literature and the Arts, has been selected to be published in a forthcoming anthology called When War Becomes Personal. I'll be giving a reading in the Great Hall Series at Harlaxton College this March.

And the big news, I guess, is that I was asked to take over the editorship of the Spoon River Poetry Review, which I have decided to do (gulp!) starting with the Spring, 2007 issue. This reformed Luddite also now has a website ( which pales in comparison to Victoria's, which everyone must see at

I got a buck with my bow on Saturday, but you don't have to put that in Agora.


Anne Zahlan

In November, I gave a paper at the South Atlantic MLA, meeting this year in Charlotte. The panel on "The Southerner outside the South" was sponsored by the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. My paper was on two 1960s texts: William Styron's Set This House on Fire and Frank Yerby's Speak Now.

My very good news at the end of November: The forthcoming issue of the Thomas Wolfe Review is at the printer! For information see the Thomas Wolfe Society website.


Congratulations to the 2006 winners of the EIU Achievement and Contribution Awards. From left: Julie Campbell (Research and Creative Activity); David Radavich (Research and Creative Activity); Daiva Markelis (Balanced Award).



Alumni News

Jennifer (Pringle) Rardin ('87) has signed a deal with Devi Pillai at Orbit, a Little, Brown imprint of Hachette Books, U.S.A. Rardin will write three books with an option on a fourth, the first being scheduled to release in September 2007. Entitled Once Bitten, Twice Shy, the first book is a dark, humorous urban fantasy about a lady assassin and her 290-year-old vampire boss, Vayl. It features bioterrorists, an ancient monstrosity, a strapping young PI, a beautiful Miami psychic and a paranoid techno-wizard with all kinds of deadly gadgets.

Rardin began writing at the age of twelve, and despite the lure of beauty school and veterinary college, she never truly wanted to do anything else. She attended EIU from 1983 to 1987, where she majored in English and minored in Creative Writing. While at Eastern she won the Louis B. Murray Award for Children’s Literature. In fact, Rardin had almost completed her first children’s novel when she received word of the sale of her adult fantasy series. The news still hasn’t quite sunk in. “When I’m holding the published book in my hand,” says Rardin, “maybe then it will finally be real to me.” Rardin lives in southeastern Illinois with her husband and two children.

Jeff Vande Zande (’96) is still teaching at Delta College in Bay City, MI. His son, Max, is now seven, and his daughter, Emerson, is four. After staying at home with the children, Jeff’s wife, Jennifer, finds herself
back in school for a Childhood Development degree, which she is discovering is a cruel joke she has played on herself. Terrible, she thinks, to raise one’s children, only to go back to school to discover all the ways you might have messed them up. Jeff still writes poetry. Most recently, a poem of his entitled “Clean” appeared in Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s nationally syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry. Since grad school, Jeff has also been writing fiction. His debut novel, Into the Desperate Country, recently came out from March Street Press.
  Jeff Vande Zande's Into the Desperate Country captures the primitive pulse of a life on the edge. Against the backdrop of Northern Michigan, a taut drama plays itself out, pulling the reader along on its tight rope. Once the logical world of our daily routines falls away, what are we left with? Vande Zande offers no easy answers in this impressive debut novel.

-- Jim Daniels, author of Detroit Tales






The novel is available at or by visiting Jeff’s website:


top of page