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Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award 2008-2009
Mark Ari

Mark Ari

Mark Ari also won the 2006 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and a 2003 Distinguished Advisor Award. He has led efforts to make creative writing an important part of the conversation at UNF.

Ari founded and serves as advisor to Fiction Fix, the University of North Florida’s student-edited literary journal; EAT, a student-edited CD magazine, and helped to establish SNAP, an online journal of poetry and prose. He created and maintains River House, the university’s virtual writer’s house.

The various literary enterprises mentioned above have been used by Ari to provide unofficial internships in publishing and editing to new students every term. Fiction Fix alone has an editorial staff that includes alumni, graduate students and undergrads, all working together to maintain a journal that has become a source of pride for UNF and attracts submissions from across the country.

Students from Ari’s pioneering fiction workshop and other creative writing classes have consistently found publication in print and online journals. At least, 15 works of fiction and five works of creative nonfiction were published in the last 2 years. During the same time, Ari mentored two students toward the completion of book length manuscripts:  a collection of short fiction and a novel.

Ari Self PortraitFrom 2007 to date, Ari has published 3 short stories, 4 poems, 2 short works of nonfiction, and released one song on a CD collection. His short story “The King of Mulberry Street,” was included in KISS THE SKY, an anthology of works about Jimi Hendrix (ISBN: 0-931181-24-0), and his interview with Julian Beck, founder of The Living Theater, was incorporated into PARADISE NOW,  a DVD commemorating the troupe’s 50 years of vanguard theater.

“It can be cacophonous, this jazz-like thing,” Ari says of teaching. “It should be.  Just on the edge of falling apart. Full of clinkers and missed opportunities and searching riffs and sudden flashes and silences that ache. It should hurt sometimes. Learning. It should also thrill.”

Mark Ari received his MFA from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. His paintings have been exhibited in group and solo shows in New York and abroad. He is a respected singer-songwriter and a novelist who has been acclaimed “A true original” by the Kirkus Reviews. His teaching interests include writing, particularly fiction, creative nonfiction and song; anti-literature; form and practice in the application of algebra, fire and wildcards in creative acts; free jazz, hard bop, the lonesome sound (both high and low) and Radical Jewish Culture.