Archive for October, 2009

Writers Harvest and St. Pete Times Festival of Reading

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

WRITERS HARVEST

The University of South Florida’s MFA Program in Creative Writing invites you to join them for an evening of poetry and fiction as they host the 2009 Writers’ Harvest. The event will be held on October 23, at Karma Bar and Café in downtown Tampa. Come early, the reading begins at 7pm.Featured readers will include John Fleming, Karen Brown, Hunt Hawkins, and Alicia Thompson. There is a $3 admission fee or you can bring 3 canned goods. Authors will sign copies of their books which will be available for purchase and there will be a raffle for a variety of prizes. All proceeds will go to America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay. If you have any questions about Writers’ Harvest, please don’t hesitate to email Professor Ira Sukrungruang, isukrung@cas.usf.edu.

Festival of Reading

ST. PETERSBURG TIMES FESTIVAL OF READING

I’ll be presenting at the Festival of Reading Saturday 10/24 from 11-11:45. More than 50 authors and 15,000 attendees are expected. This is the major literary event of the region, and well worth your time.

More info here.

St. Petersburg Times Review 10/11/19

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Review: John Henry Fleming’s ‘Fearsome Creatures of Florida’ is suitably creepy

Review By Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor
In Print: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some might say the most fearsome creatures in the Sunshine State are the human ones, but John Henry Fleming lets us off the hook (maybe) in his whimsical bestiary Fearsome Creatures of Florida.

Fleming, a professor of creative writing at the University of South Florida who will be a featured author at the Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 24, writes of critters mythical and real — and some that blur that border. Wild things still prowl Florida even if it is encrusted with gated subdivisions “with vigilant, uniformed guards charged with improving upon the gatekeeper of Eden, who, after all, couldn’t keep out the snakes.”

Among his subjects is that giant Everglades python, split open after gobbling a gator — a real animal, but Fleming gives its future a discomforting spin. He writes of another real animal, the beautiful and endangered Key deer, spinning an eerie legend of deer amassing on the road through Big Pine Key during hurricanes to blockade evacuating motorists: “If I’m not getting out, neither are you.”

Some of his more cryptozoological subjects are familiar, like the lonesome skunk ape (“the infamous artist of stink”) and the links sprites, jocularly blamed for missing golf balls but perhaps up to much worse.

Others are less familiar, like the Okeechobee flatwhale and the were-panther. There is only ever one were-panther; it reproduces itself by attacking humans while they’re driving at least 75 mph on Alligator Alley, crashing through their windshields to create an “unblessed union of species.”

An environmentalist’s heart beats behind these stories, but instead of lectures Fleming artfully draws us into the kind of campfire tales we almost believe. As he writes in his disclaimer, “Any resemblance of these creatures to the one now standing behind you is purely coincidental.”

Colette Bancroft can be reached at cbancroft@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8435.