Monday, August 09, 2004

And we're back. Had a wonderful week hanging with the Montana boys: first in NYC, then back in Ithaca for a couple of days with Emily and Bogie (who appears at the moment in perfect health, but we're waiting for a blood test), then waaay up to the North Country, Canton New York, to see Denver U. sweethearts Robert Strong and Hillory Oakes get hitched. It's beautiful country up there but it's easy to imagine how very frigging cold it must be in the winter. Colder than here. Less snow, though. Back to Ithaca yesterday and Richard and Trevor left on the bus this morning. Now I'm trying to ease back into normal life: straighten up the house, check; finish research on "Defenses of Poetry" for Debby Fried, check; writer dissertation, check.

In poetry news, delighted to learn that AWP has accepted "The New Nature Writing" panel cooked up by myself, Karen Anderson, Richard Greenfield, Jonathan Skinner, Sally Keith, and Bin Ramke. Shocked to learn that AWP has rejected the University of Montana graduate reading that the Montana English department proposed. I would rather have expected the reverse. But at least we're all going to make it to Vancouver! Now I have to think of something to say there.... Here's the panel description if you're curious:
As questions of human interaction with the environment gain urgency, what answers can formally innovative writing provide? We'll look at new approaches to nature writing, from the sublimity of urban pigweed to the use of scientific discourse in the postmodern pastoral. In examining how language experiments might help us to reimagine relationships with the environment, we'll ask what "nature"—and thus what "human"—means in an increasingly urban and industrialized world.
It's funny how I'm being pulled further and further into an ecopoetics constellation; I still don't think of myself as any sort of nature writer, partly because my vocabulary for plants, animals, etc., is so impoverished (I don't have a firm grasp on "scientific discourse" either). For me "pastoral" is more a kind of phantasmagoric image of utopian political economy. Hopefully I can boil that down into something presentable in under ten minutes.

First rainless day in a while promised for today. To work, outside, with the dog.

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