Friday, April 3, 2009

NULCing it

I keep having this fantasy that I'm going to blog regularly... like every day. What a joke.

Here I am, though, sitting at a computer in the student union building on the campus of Weber State University. The annual National Undergraduate Literature Conference is underway. CSI has sent a strong group of student writers/presenters, as usual. They have presented or will present papers on western ecology, Beowulf (2 diff students), Hawthorne, Vietnam war literature, why poetry matters, and short fiction. They represent the college very well. They're exceptional students and they hold their own very well in this national forum.

I'll be moderating a session on American Literature tomorrow.

Michael Chabon, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, spoke last night at the banquet. It was a revelatory experience. I'd been reading the above-named, prize-winning novel and enjoying it well enough. It seemed to me, however, to be quite po-mo and self-absorbed. Hearing Chabon speak, however, rehabilitated his book for me. One of the things he focused on was his devotion to his family. He has 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, and, because he lives in Berekely, that makes him, in his own words, a freak. Of course, in Mormon country, like Utah, 4 kids is nothing-- just average. He acknowledged as much to the great delight of the audience.

I'm glad I've given him a second chance. I read a few more pages in the novel last night after the banquet and I am finding myself more and more interested in it. The deep psychological reasons (or whatever) for my shift of perspective about his book might be fodder for some future post. We'll see. 

Anyway, it's time to go listen to the poet, Michael Sowder. He's at USU now, but he was at ISU when I was doing my doctoral work. We ran in to each other in the elevator at the hotel last night. He said, "You look familiar. Do I know you?" That's about as far as it went though. I never had a class from him or anything, so I only ever really saw him in the hallways or at the department BBQ. 

More soon? Hopefully....

1 comment:

Patricia Murphy, a resident of said...

More soon please! Wow! You are rubbing elbows with the great ones there.