Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Conference Briefs

I have arrived home exhausted from the weekend's conference. Here's what I discovered:

  • David Eshelman is a fine performer and he really does have a Black Brother; it wasn't just a catchy title. I saw the photos. And his one man show was funny & thought provoking.
  • The Good Old Days weren't as good as we imagine, epecially when considering Renaissance and the institute of marriage. Who knew they used to sell their wives?
  • Corporate American is using movtivational material from Will S. in their management training booklets. And clips from "Sophie's Choice" can illustrate brutally how people chose between the choices they're offered by their social, economical, and political positions.
  • It takes about 6 hours to drive from Illinois to Missouri. And it's tough to travel all the way from Florida and then have to speak first thing in the morning.
  • Truman State sent about 1/4 of their graduate students to speak and they're a friendly lot.
  • Poets from U of Denver like E.D. much more than I do, and suggest she's the greatest poet of all times. I tentatively countered with Auden, who I adore, but don't know if I'd endorse for the label of "greatest poet of all times."
  • The students I met from Missouri-Columbia were friendly & helpful. (Especially K. H., B.N., and W.B. Thanks!) And it was nice to hear how their poetry Ph. D. program works.
  • Wordsworth's work can be used as a model for the simple & responsible lifestyle that we could choose to make our communities stronger and reduce our footprint on the environment.
  • Arches National Park is beautiful, but overcrowded, and near where "they" tested bombs. That critical work alongside a recounting of personal exploration can sound like good creative non-fiction.
  • There is a pizza place called Shakespeare's in Columbia, good Mexican food on Broadway, and a fantastic Artisan cafe in the basement of what looks like an office building whose portabella panini with feta and pesto was worth the drive.
  • Most students studying Shakespeare are still trying to understand the plot so there is little time to explore the interesting social & political aspects of his work. One doesn't have to teach theory to undergraduates.
  • Film is "sexier" than the printed word. & some independent film producers don't "get" why a person filming out the window of a train could be seen as a danger.
  • The piano player at Jack's Gourmet plays for hours without any sheet music. He also played my favorite piano piece "Fur Elise" as well as "Memory" from Cats. I also think that Jack was actually there, guiding his staff and overseeing the dining room. White table cloths, candles; wear a tie.
  • Rumor that people in Asia and South American don't really understand what "Vegetarian" means.
  • The radio stations in Kansas City are much, much better than mine at home. Especially since they have a classic rock station with the hilarious initials "KY."
  • It's not worth it to make color copies of your handout. (Unless perhaps one is trying to get a job?)
  • I wish that the poets would all bring a few photocopies of their work so that we could at least all exchange and take home a few poems for further review. I like to hear the poems read, (and the poets I heard did a great job) but I'm a visual learner & really would like to see the poem on the page as well.
  • The idea of caves as wombs, no not Freud, but a Native American view. It's hard to use genderless language when speaking of the earth.
  • It's always nice to have a friend to stop and visit on one's way home.
  • University of South Dakota has a special writing program for those needing a little extra writing support. For these students, they attend 5 days a week and learn more basics. But at the end of the semester, they've "caught up" to the group that attends 3 days a week. It sounds like a great plan for everyone.

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