Nomad Ink

Monday, October 23, 2006

tulsa tussle

just back from MSA8 where i had a lovely time seeing Barrett Watten, Ben Friedlander, George Hartley (who read a KICKASS paper on Pound's ideograms, Fascism, and Bush's doublepeak), Steve McCaffery, Michael Davidson and Dee Morris (though i didn't really get to connect with the latter three), my very first doctoral student, Mike Bibby, now a full prof at Shippensburg U) and my own UMN colleagues Paula Rabinowitz and Lois Cucullu; and meeting new groovoids like Sarah Ruddy, Joel Nickel, Amy Hume and Matt Hart. The Tulsa Doubletree Hotel had terribly stale air in the guestrooms and freezing conference rooms,and i felt super-alienated until i connected with my panel-mates and the panel actually took place. "New Directions in Poetics." BW framed it in usual trenchantly theorized style and then we were off to the races. I spoke first, about WEB DuBois and Walter Benjamin, and what we can learn from them about new directions for current poetics. I prefaced it by saying how hard it was to speak on new poetic in the current planetary cacophony in which sustained thinking is pulverized by global war conditions, and referred to poetics going missing, "non habeas corpus." It was a good warm-up act for George Hartley's amazing polemic mentioned above. I had also mentioned the death of Du Bois's infant son as an impetus for the Souls of Black Folk, and then George referenced the "death of my sons," to whom his paper was dedicated. It was an incredible moment as I had not known about the tragic events in George's recent life, and learned more about them later, at dinner. Sarah gave a paper on Ben F's Simulcast, referring to the "savage adolescent" impulse to take on one's seniors in the poetry-heavy scene, while Ben was sitting right there in the audience, a sweetly quizzical half-smile on his lips. It was great. Then a marvelous couple of dinners right in a row, with many of the above-named groovsters in the town where steak was king and they do meat right. eventually made it to the fascinating Gilcrease Museum of Western-themed art and was quite impressed. With Barrett and Sarah. We had a magnificent sunday brunch there overlooking the "grounds," with a series of goofy and/or majestically beautiful women serving us and asking us how we were doing, how we liked the food and if we were ready to have our plates taken away or our drinks refilled. what a life!! it's hard to get back into the groove here in my office in mpls, but i am glad to be back in control of my diet and the air quality of my sleeping quarters. Reading Ashbery's Flow Chart for an independent study w/ a Creative Writing MFA student; it's sheer delight, much to my amazement.


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