Drove around the corner to Forest Automotive this morning to drop off the car for routine service, saw this scrawled on the chalkboard next to the front desk:
Asked the mechanic about it — he said his father really likes the poem and wanted a poster made, but he decided to write it on the chalkboard for now. Apparently he used to go fishing in Gloucester a lot when he was a kid, but I’m not sure whether there’s another, more personal connection to Olson or what…
Another Kalamazoo is in the books, and as always I come away inspired by everything I’ve seen and heard. Highlights include the “Rogue Session” of GWMEMSI’s “Impossible Words” at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, an incredible and haunting first evening of short performances by an all-star cast of scholars, including Lara Farina, Eileen Joy, Karen Overbey, Marty Shichtman, Alan Montroso, and Jonathan Hsy, among others. I also attended “Materialities II” with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Karl Steel, and several Spenser panels in addition to the one I was on. Finally, the Punctuation panel organized by Rick Godden was a real hit, full of provocative, funny, and even moving presentations on the comma, the space, the ampersand, etc. — I was honored to be a part of it, talking about the apostrophe. Kisha Tracy, who helped perform a little comma-drama during Josh Eyler‘s talk, blogs about it here. Big thanks to Rick for organizing this, and I suspect we haven’t heard the last of it — hopefully there will be future panels including our friends the semi-colon, the ellipsis, the dash…
But the most stimulating part of Kalamazoo for me is always the social gatherings around the conference — the dinners, happy hours, and little moments of interaction with old friends and new acquaintances that suggest further lines of inquiry and future projects. In that vein, though I didn’t set foot in a single “Valley” open bar this time around and had to miss the dance on Saturday night, I had a great time catching up with Will Rhodes, Susan Morrison, Chris Piuma, Michael Collins, Dan Remein, Carla Thomas, Megan Cook, Myra Seaman, Karl Steel, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Chris Taylor, Ben Ambler, and so many others I met for the first time or enjoyed hanging out with again. Some memorable rides also punctuate the trip — the long drive to and from with Randy Schiff, my dissertation director and huge basketball fan; and a ridiculous odyssey around Greater Kalamazoo with Dan Remein when we got on the wrong shuttle on an exhausted Friday afternoon.
Finally, I’m grateful to the Harriet Blog at the Poetry Foundation for excerpting some bits from my conversation with Kent Johnson.