Whatever the outcome of the 1984 presidential campaign, the first item on the next president’s agenda of foreign policy will be—as it has been for more than three decades now—America’s relations with the Soviet Union, Those relations have been tense and troubled, sometimes (as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962) traumatic since America’s Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union began in the late 1940’s, but thus far the two superpowers have avoided the tragedy of an all-out nuclear war. Nevertheless, the arms race has continued and indeed accelerated, and the danger of unleashing the greatest weapons of destruction in human history has intensified. Yet, contends diplomatic historian Norman Graebner, “nuclear weapons have proved to be quite irrelevent to the task of creating a stable international order.” Moreover, Mr. Graebner notes in discussing what he calls “the strange phenomenon” of U.S.-Soviet relations, “despite the global fears that sustain the Cold War, the Soviet danger has remained so imprecise that no one has managed to define it. Nowhere . . .have the Russians revealed any ambition or interest of sufficient importance to merit military aggression or a showdown with the United States.” Mr. Graebner has been following the course of Soviet-American relations since the inception of the Cold War. He is the Randolph P. Compton Professor of History at the University of Virginia, and his books include Empire on the Pacific, Cold War Diplomacy, and The Age of Global Power. He is a former Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University and has served as a visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.
Among American writers of the 20th century few, if any, have been as influential, as colorful, and as controversial as Ernest Hemingway. From the beginnings of his literary career in the now legendary Paris of the 1920’s to the day on which he ended his life in Ketchum, Idaho in 1961, Hemingway not only created great fiction in his novels and short stories; he also created so many tales about himself that it finally became difficult to separate the man from the myths. And many of these myths have been perpetuated in no fewer than 17 personal memoirs (books written about “Papa” by people who knew him) that appeared between 1949 and 1980. These books—often woven largely out of whole cloth—are the subject of Jeffrey Meyers’ latest VQR essay. The prolific Mr. Meyers—the author of 14 books on modern literature, including biographies of Katherine Mansfield and Wyndham Lewis—is himself in search of the real Hemingway: he is completing a biography of the Nobel Prize-winner, to be published by Harper & Row. When not dealing with the importance of being Ernest, Mr. Meyers teaches English at the University of Colorado.
Martha Collins was a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe in 1983. She was director of creative writing at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and was director of the Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Workshop last summer. Her poems have appeared in such publications as Field, Prairie Schooner, and Ironwood.
Sue Owen’s VQR poems are from her second manuscript, The Book of Winter, a finalist in the National Poetry Series competition. Her first book, Nursery Rhymes for the Dead, was published by Ithaca House in 1980.
Diane Ackerman served as writer-in-residence at William and Mary College during the 1983—84 academic year. Her books of poems include Lady Faustus, Wife of Light, and The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral. She is also the author of a prose memoir, Twilight of the Tenderfoot, all her works having been published by Morrow.
Terese Svoboda, who has published previously in VQR, is a recipient of a New York State Creative Arts Performance grant. Her poems have appeared in The Nation, Paris Review, Harper’s, and American Poetry Review. A film producer as well as a poet, she has just completed a pilot TV film on Walt Whitman.
Jeptha Evans has published poems in Southern Writing in the Sixties, New Campus Writing, The Iowa Review, and other publications. His poems constitute one-third of a recently published book of Long Island poets.
Charles Atkinson is a resident of Santa Cruz, making his debut as a VQR poet.
Kim Stafford recently taught in the English Department of the University of California, Davis. He has published poems in numerous periodicals, including an earlier issue of VQR.
William Hoffman is the author of eight novels and a volume of short stories. His latest novel is The Land That Drank the Rain, published by Louisiana in 1982. Mr. Hoffman has worked as a newspaperman, banker, and more recently as a teacher at Hampden-Sydney College. He now lives with his wife and two daughters on a farm in Charlotte County, Virginia.
Robert D. Schultz is both a published poet and a recipient of a Ph.D. in English from Cornell University, where his doctorate was on “Ezra Pound’s Developing Poetics, 1908—1915: The Critical Prose.” Mr. Schultz was a recipient of the Corson-Bishop Poetry Prize and a former Danforth Fellow. He was a Merit Scholar during his undergraduate years at Luther College in Iowa, where he was also an all-Iowa short-stop in 1972. Mr. Schultz has retained his interest in both sports and poetry, serving as publications editor for the department of athletics at the University of Virginia as well as a lecturer in that institution’s English department, where his courses include poetry writing and studies in poetry. His poems have appeared in the Hudson Review, VQR, and other journals.
Himself the subject of a VQR essay (“Art and Identity in Richard Jones’ Work” by Jane Barnes, Autumn 1982), Richard Jones is also a frequent VQR contributor, his subjects being such contemporary British writers as Anthony Powell and the Sitwells. In his latest essay, he discusses the work of the first British Nobel Prize-winner for literature in more than 30 years, William Golding, best known in this country for his novel, Lord of the Flies. Mr. Jones finds Golding’s work reminiscent of the little girl with the curl in the nursery rhyme, who when she was good was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid. A native of Wales, Mr. Jones own novels include The Three Suitors, The Tower Is Everywhere, Supper with the Borgias, and Living in the 25th Hour. Now living in London, he has just completed a new novel.
Charles R. Anderson is no stranger to Japan, having recently returned from a six-year residence in that island country. A native of Elgin, Illinois, where he was born in 1943, he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and his previous publications include two personal accounts of that conflict, The Grunts, published in 1976, and Vietnam: The Other War, which appeared in 1982.
The galleys of Jay Silverman’s personal memoir of his Cameroon houseboy Felix were sent to him just as he arrived back from a honeymoon in Brittany and Scotland last summer. Mr. Silverman met Felix in 1979, when he was a Fulbright lecturer in American literature for a year at the University of Yaoundé. Since returning from Cameroon, Mr. Silverman has taught English at Nassau Community College on Long Island. He earned his doctoral degree in English at the University of Virginia.
A former student of noted short story writer Peter Taylor, Dean Albarelli is a Vermont native now residing in Iowa, where he is teaching at a Quaker private school in West Branch. “They have taken me on as a sort of writer-in-residence,” he writes, “and literally I have to live there, although I am teaching various literary courses in creative writing.”
Raymond Nelson’s latest book, Kenneth Patchen and American Mysticism, places this little-known poet of the 1930’s and 40’s within the American mystical tradition of Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and others, The book will be published by North Carolina next month. An associate professor of English at the University of Virginia, Mr. Nelson is also the author of Van Wyck Brooks: A Writer’s Life.
Having described the American class system as envisaged by critic Paul Fussell in VQR’s Summer 1984 issue, the versatile Doris L. Eder turns her eye to a completely different subject, namely, modern Irish writers as seen in Hugh Kenner’s A Colder Eye. Ms. Eder is a member of the English faculty at Yale University.
After practicing law in Savannah, Georgia for several years, Philip L. Merkel, a native of Chicago, decided to seek a doctoral degree in legal history, and he is now doing just that at the University of Virginia Law School, where he is also a member of the faculty, specializing in the teaching of legal writing.
A published poet as well as an authority on modern American poetry, Hank Lazer is a member of the English faculty at the University of Alabama, where he was recently promoted to associate professor. He holds a doctoral degree in English from the University of Virginia.
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