Archive for June 2, 2009

Off to Pittsburgh

Tomorrow, I am heading to Pittsburgh to attend the Working Class Studies Association annual conference.  The conference schedule looks great — readings by poets Judith Vollmer (Judy is an old professor of mine), Jan Beatty, and Terrance Hayes; conference panels about class issues in academia; and sessions dedicated to working with class issues in the actual classroom.  My own paper is focused on working-class landscape in contemporary poetry.  As always, I picked a broad topic — I found out just how broad the topic really was when I sat down a few weeks ago to put my thoughts together.  To look at working-class landscape is to try to look at ALL working-class landscapes — factories, mining towns, lumber mills, service industries restaurants.  Plus, we must not forget that the homefront is often a working-class landscape!  So, finally, I had to edit my paper to discuss just factories and coal mining towns.  And then, I had to narrow down those two landscapes to specific regions of the United States (Coal mining in the East is, of course, very different than coal mining in the West). Finally, I had to mention only a few poets.  Really, the paper topic is more dissertation material than conference paper material!

I’m also looking forward to some down time.  Things have been a bit crazy since school finished, and I haven’t had a lot of time to work on my own writing.  I’m hoping to hang out in my hotel room at least one night and work on some revisions of some new work.