Saturday, February 17, 2007


This is one of those weekends – one of those “J’s away at a family event in New York & I’ve got solo charge of the girls, even as I’m either recovering from something very minor or in the early stages of something major & working frantically on a conference paper & having conscience-attacks about various sets of page proofs that ought to be read & returned” weekends. I’m surviving, tho just barely. It doesn’t help that the East Coast cold front has reached us down here in St. Peter’s Waiting Room: it was down in the 40s last night, & I for one was shivering. (Derisive laughter from readers in Ann Arbor, Chicago, & Ithaca.)

My Milton class is in the process of completing the foreplay & getting down to the real business: after a midterm next week it’s Paradise Lost. Joyce is launching into the Bloom section of Ulysses. It’s embarassing to admit, but I “teach” Joyce in a kind of delirium of admiration & wonder, & only intermittently remember to pretend to raise various “critical” & “theoretical” issues. Or maybe I’m too harsh – maybe they’re already getting raised, but I’m having too much fun to experience them with the appropriate sourness.

Next week I’m off to Louisville for the Conference Formerly Known as the Twentieth Century Literature Conference (now the “Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900,” or something like that?). This used to be the hottest ticket in town back in the day, back when I was a young buck with a skoshe more hair & no gray in my beard; it’s turned a bit more staid since, but still seems to attract a decent number of people doing interesting work. In the 1990s, one would go there and it seemed like half of the Buffalo poetics program had taken up residence, as well as most of the interesting scholars of modernism. These days Louisville’s lost a lot of its clientele to the MSA, & Buffalo is, well, frankly a shadow of its former self.

I’m going to be talking about the English poet Robert Sheppard, whose Twentieth Century Blues is one of the most exciting serial poems I’ve read in the past decade. Sheppard himself is something of a mover & shaker on the British blog scene, tho I’m disappointed to see that his blog Pages has gone into something like hibernation. Anyway, if you’re reading this & planning to be in Louisville & want to get together for a drink, by all means phone me at the Seelbach – my calendar is entirely open.

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