Archive for June 7, 2009

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The Working-Class Studies Conference is an interdisciplinary conference — so I always come back from this particular conference feeling overwhelmed.  When I go to a conference in English or in Developmental Studies, I often know a lot of the material being presented — the sessions I attend are confirmations about what I am already doing in the classroom.  However, at the Working-Class Studies Conference I attended sessions by historians, activists, and teachers.  Probably the most interesting session (for me) was the session I attended yesterday morning where creative writing teachers talked about class in their creative writing classrooms.    I also got to attend a poetry reading by Judith Vollmer, Jan Beatty, and Peter Oresick.   Finally, I saw a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time — which is always a plus.

My session went well, I think.  I spoke along with Paola Corso (Death by Renaissance — a great book you should pick up). Paola is working on a collection of poetry based on oral histories of those who worked in Pittsburgh.   As for my session — I did what I always seem to do and that is give way too much information for a 20 minute paper!  But that’s okay — I got some good feedback.

And the loot.  What can I say?  I think that I did my part in stimulating the economy — well, at least the part of the economy that encompasses the publishing companies.  You have to understand — I live in a very rural area and while we have a local Waldenbooks, I often can’t find what I want there.  So suddenly, here I am, in the middle of Pittsburgh surrounded by university and independent bookstores.  Not a good thing.  I picked up poetry books from C. Dale Young, Patricia Smith, Peter Oresick, Gerald McCarthy, James Reiss, Sarah Messer, Jeffrey McDaniel, Rebecca Reynolds, Patricia Henley, Michelle Tokarczyk and Greg Pape.  I also picked up a history book about Labor Wars.  But the book that will be the first work I pick up this weekend?  A book titled What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race, and the State of the Nation edited by the South End Press Collective. 

So, today I will be recovering from the trip, unpacking, reorganizing, etc… It’s raining here in Western New York — so it really is the perfect day to stay in and get caught up with life.