WORDSMITH OF THE CITY OF TAMPA
Thanks for visiting my site. Here’s my official bio, written appropriately in third person:
Once dubbed the “doyen of Tampa poets” by Creative Loafing (then Weekly Planet), poet, writer, editor and teacher Gianna Russo is the inaugural Wordsmith of The City of Tampa. https://www.tampagov.net/news/mayor-castor-appoints-gianna-russo-wordsmith
Gianna is the author of the poetry collections Moonflower (2011, Kitsune Books), One House Down (2019, Madville Publishing) and, with photographer Jenny Carey, All I See is Your Glinting (2021-22, Madville Publishing). She is also the author of the chapbooks The Companion of Joy (Green Rabbit Press) and, with photographer Lori Ballard, In Late Day Sun. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Tampa Review, Ekphrasis, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Florida Humanities Council Forum, Karamu, The Bloomsbury Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Calyx and others, in addition to several anthologies. Her creative non-fiction essays have been published in the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) . In her first stab at fiction, she contributed a chapter to the collaborative novel 15 Views of Tampa Bay, published serially on the website of Barrow Street Press.
A fellow of both the Surdna Foundation and the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, she is the recipient of an Arts Teacher Fellowship which allowed her to attend the Spoleto, Italy Writers Workshop, where she worked with Dorianne Laux and Joe Millar. She has also received a Hillsborough County Artist Fellowship, an Emerging Artist Grant, and an honorable mention for the Florida Artist Fellowship.
Gianna is founding editor of YellowJacket Press, currently Florida’s only publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts, for which she won a 2011 Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Award. In 2017, she won another award from Creative Loafing, Best Local Poet.
A life-long resident of Tampa, Gianna served as an artist-advisor to the Hillsborough County Arts Council for nearly 10 years. She has twice served as grant panelist for Hillsborough County Arts Grants She co-developed the curriculum for the creative writing track at Blake Magnet School of the Arts.
Gianna holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from The University of Tampa. She is Assistant Professor of English and creative writing at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida, where she teaches in the graduate and under graduate programs. She also directs the Sandhill Writers Retreat and is Editor-in-Chief of the Sandhill Review. She was appointed the first Poet-in-Residence for the College of Arts and Sciences and the scholarly journal Rebus.