Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giscombe! Matthias! Ivănescu!

I'm back in Chicago from the Modernist Studies Association blowout down at Vanderbilt, but I arrived with mixed feelings. It was good to see all the Obama signs, Steppenwolf Theater posters, and Museum of Science and Industry banners on the way out of O'Hare. Nashville seems to specialize in advertising different kinds of things — in one two-block walk I saw bumper stickers reading "Drill Here, Drill Now," "McPalin for President," "Choose Life," "A Proud Descendent of a Confederate Soldier," and "1 cross + 3 nails = 4given." So it's nice to get back to a place where one's own values seem to be a part of the social landscape. On the other hand, Chicago was bite-ass cold and semi-snowy. The locals down in Nashville were complaining about their weather, but I'd take it over what we've got in the windy city any day.

Anyway — Ron Silliman has been hinting that he wants a full report on the conference, and I'm hoping to work up some kind of post on it within the next couple of days, but I'm pinned down for the moment with teaching (if it's Tuesday it must be Yeats), reading proofs, and following up on post-conference correspondence. So for now I'll forego the conference wrap-up report and point, instead, to the hot-off-the-presses new issue of the Cincinnati Review,which proves once and for all that the cultural life of Cincinatti continues to thrive, despite the demise of the much-lamented WKRP. The issue has (along with much else) new poems by C.S. Giscombe, Bradford Gray Telford (whose work I discovered this summer), and Mary Szybist (whose work you can hear on the latest Poetry podcast, too), as well as a big slab of translations of Mircea Ivănescu, an essay by Margot Livesey, and a bit of critical writing on John Matthias' amazing Kedging by your present humble blogger. Order a copy now and it'll get you through the long wait at the airport this Thanksgiving.

(By the way: this record store is my favorite place in Nashville, narrowly edging out the full-size replica of the Parthenon, complete with gilded 40-foot Athena — for real. The store may not have any Greek goddesses, but it did have a ton of Steve Reich, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Daft Punk. A welcome relief in a sea of honky-tonks!)